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Video Game / Fossil Fighters

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Can you dig it?
"Awaken an era."

Fossil Fighters (Kaseki Horider, or "Fossil Hunters", in Japan) is a Mons collection RPG/paleontology sim series for the DS and 3DS.

On the tropical Vivosaur island, the Richmond archaeological foundation has built a fantastic resort. Using the brilliance of Dr. Diggins, they have developed a process to revive dead animals from fossil fragments. (Sound familiar?) As a side-effect of this process, the animals are not complete copies of the creatures they originally were in life—they gain unusual appearances and best of all, superpowers. Vivosaur Island has become a playground for the rich where wealthy young dinosaur fanatics can revive extinct animals in the form of superpowered monsters and fight them against each other for glory and fame.

Like most games, this one stars a young boy (or girl, starting with the second game) who aspires To Be a Master. You hunt fossils, battle other fans, and raise in the ranks, with the help of his friends. The island is lousy with groups of fossil thieves and general schemers who want to Take Over the World, but there are plots stretching far beyond that...


Games in the series:

  • Fossil Fighters (Bokura wa Kaseki Horider, or "We Are Fossil Hunters", in Japan), 2008 JP/2009 US Nintendo DS. Co-developed by Red Entertainment, Artdink, M2 Co., and Nintendo SPD.
  • Fossil Fighters: Champions (Super Kaseki Horider, or "Super Fossil Hunters" in Japan), 2010 JP/2011 US Nintendo DS: This game features improved, cel-shaded graphics (with FMV cutscenes), a female player character, a revamped movement system, new islands, new villains, and the ability to Super Revive certain Vivosaurs into evolved forms. Made by the same association of developers as the first game.
  • Fossil Fighters: Frontier (Kaseki Horider Mugengear, or "Fossil Hunters Infinite Gear" in Japan), 2014 JP/2015 US Nintendo 3DS: The series was handed off to a new developer, Spike Chunsoft, and it shows. The new feature for this title is the ability to fight wild Vivosaurs and to drive around in customizable vehicles. The combat and cleaning systems have also been entirely overhauled.

This series provides examples of:

  • Absent-Minded Professor: Dr. Diggins in the first game, Professor Scatterly in Champions.
  • Absurdly Low Level Cap: In the first game, it's set surprisingly low at just twelve, and you can get as high as rank eight by fossil cleaning alone (ten if you get a full set of rare red fossils). The second game ups the cap to 20, though viviosaurs gain stats more slowly to go with it. The third game upped the cap even further, to 30.
  • Acceptable Hobby Targets: In-Universe. The three commanders of the Barebones Brigade are a hipster, a hippie, and a metalhead. The game especially has fun taking potshots at Cole, the hipster, and Todd remarks that it's no wonder everyone was so terrified of him. It's later deconstructed. The fact that they were such acceptable targets meant no one wanted to have anything to do with them, meaning they desperately attached themselves to the first charismatic figure who appeared to them and had no trouble turning on those who mocked them. But it's also why, despite the fact that they were used, they can't stay mad at said figure—they know he tried to do what he thought was right, and they were ecstatic that they'd been shown any kindness at all.
  • Adventurer Archaeologist: Nevada Montecarlo, who is a Dark-Skinned Redhead version of Lara Croft with Indiana Jones' whip. Champions has an even more direct Captain Ersatz of Indiana Jones called Joe Wildwest.
  • All-Natural Gem Polish: Everything you find in the Jewel Rocks.
  • Ancient Astronauts: The dinaurians.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: The first two games include a series of masks that your character can collect and wear. Some have additional effects, but others are purely aesthetic.
  • Agent Peacock: Ryne from the Champions DLC. He wears the only pink Brigade suit in the game and draws attention to himself because of it. But he is also the first character in the franchise to actually make his own Vivosaur, discounting Zongazonga and his purple evil zombiesaurs, and whoever created the Boneysaurs.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Pauleen from Champions. There's a late-game scene where she holds the main character's hands and blushes, with Rupert commenting on the situation. This scene plays out the same way whether the main character is male or female.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Cole in Champions. It's hard to tell which parts of his campness just come from his obsession with fashion, and which parts come from... somewhere else.
  • Announcer Chatter: In the first two games, the two announcers like to prattle on with each other about nonsensical things only tangentially related to the battles taking place.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Frontier cleans up some of the issues with finding fossils in the field; identifying fossils on sight and allowing immediate excavations, rather than requiring the player to haul an entire inventory back to base before they even know what they have. Vivosaurs can also be revived from any fossils, not just the heads. It's also more lenient with damaging fossils compared to the other games.
  • Art Evolution: Champions features a much more detailed, and more Animesque, art style than the original's more cartoony look. Frontier has significant changes in everything's design.
  • Art Shift:
    • Rosie's icon in Champions is in the same style as the first game, making her stand out next to the anime-style characters from the second game.
    • Frontier has significant changes in everything's design.
  • Artistic License – Paleontology: Fully justified by the fact that vivosaurs are explicitly stated to be dinosaur-like creatures and not actual dinosaurs. Beyond that, it's generally averted since the creators have Shown Their Work and keep their data as accurate as possible.
  • Author Avatar: The first game's announcers are the game's two creators, and the idea of putting them in the game started out as a joke.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Many high-level vivosaurs with really high Attack or LP are devastating from the Attack Zone... but if they end up in the Support Zone somehow, they'll turn your attacker into a quivering pile of useless mush. T-Rex is a perfect example—he has the highest attack in the game and can attack all of your enemies at once, but, if he ends up in the support zone, he reduces all your attacker's stats by 30%!
    • Zino and Centro. Every hit from them will be a critical-but their accuracy is so terrible that the rest of the team needs to be focused around buffing accuracy/evasion stats to get them to even land a hit. In other words: Critical Hit Class meets A-Team Firing.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: Joe Wildwest in Champions and Captain Stryker in Frontier.
  • Bad Sidequest, Worse Costume: So... how 'bout that Hare Club? Y'know, the one where you have to wear a bunny mask, then clean 100 fossils to 80 points or higher?
  • Bag of Holding: A twelve-year-old can lug around up to 64 fossils as long as his entire body and not get sore, especially when some of those rocks contain an entire skeleton. Justified and averted in Frontier, where you travel by car, which can much more easily accommodate the size and weight, and fossils are processed automatically, so you're not even carrying them around in the first place.
  • Balance Buff: Some game mechanics got stronger in the transition from the original game to Champions.
    • In the original game, only the vivosaur in the Attack Zone could have a negative status effect put on them, and switching zones got rid of status effects. This made attacks whose only purpose was to cause a status effect weak, but this hurts poison attacks especially—you would need to use a chain of either knockback or excite skills to get a poison attack to work, and the extra damage frequently wasn't that spectacular. In the sequel, however, all zones can have status effects and rotating doesn't get rid of them, meaning the extra damage from poison is more likely to stick around.
    • Counterattacks. In the first game, counterattacks only had a 40% chance of working, making them a rather weak and luck-based strategy. In the sequel, counterattacks were upped to a 70% success rate, making them far more dangerous.
  • Batman Cold Open: Frontier opens with Captain Stryker storming Dr. Blackraven's headquarters and defeating him.
  • Big Good: Captain Stryker in Frontier, who defeated Dr. Blackraven five years ago.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: The samurai, with a Big Ol' Unibrow chaser.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Subverted in the first game. Guhnash is defeated, but your partner didn't quite make it out of stone sleep. You've saved the world, at a cost, and that's how it has to be... and then the Digadig chieftain shows up and tells you to use the hip-shaker dance!!
  • Black and Nerdy: Dr. Diggins in the first game is dorky enough to wear shorts and a Hawaiian shirt beneath his lab coat.
  • Blunt Metaphors Trauma: It's no wonder Nick Nack mangles foreign languages so bad—he barely gets English! "I can have my snacks and feet them too!"
  • Body Surf: This is how Zongazonga's immortality spell works in Champions. His latest victim is actually the owner of the Fossil Park, Joe Wildwest.
  • Bonus Boss:
    • After you beat the final boss of the first game, almost every character you've fought before becomes a Bonus Boss. Almost all of them have maxed-out teams, some of them you have to fight one right after the other, and the prizes for beating them range from "Bragging Rights Reward" to "Olympus Mons." You can even take on the Final Boss again as often as you like! The most difficult Bonus Boss fight, however, is probably against Dynal, Duna, and Raptin all at once.
    • There's an Early Bird Bonus Boss named Petey, who requires you fight him with three very specific vivosaurs. If you take the time to max out said three and wait until you're near the end of the game, he's not so tough... But try him without copius Level Grinding, and he proves to be quite the Killer Rabbit.
  • Brainwashed: In Frontier, Olga was brainwashed into working with Dr. Blackraven.
  • Butt Biter: A Running Gag in Frontier involves your little vivosaur sidekick chomping down on Nate's butt. In the little guy's defense, Nate is usually literally asking for it by sticking his butt out and taunting him.
  • Butt-Monkey: Rosie, Todd, Pauleen, and Nate.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": The names have been changed to emphasize that Vivosaurs aren't really dinosaurs, and to trim down the Overly Long Names that real dinos often have. There's a mode that gives detailed information on the animals that inspired each dinosaur.
  • Canon Name:
    • The main character of the first doesn't really have one, but Nintendo's guide suggests "Buckland", after an early paleontologist. The official mini-manga gives his name as "Hunter." The second game's protagonists, though, are Dino and Dina.
    • Frontier has nameable protagonists "Jura" and "Tria". The canonical name for their little dino sidekick is "Nibbles".
  • Cardboard Prison: Only in the first game, but it's exaggerated. What happens in that police station is anybody's guess. The actual reason is because there's a teleporter leading from there straight to the BB Base... because their boss is the police chief.
  • Cel Shading: Champions uses cel-shaded graphics, as well as more detailed graphics in general.
  • Chekhov's Skill: The hip-shaking dance, used to revive Rosie/Duna from tainted stone sleep.
  • The Chief's Daughter: Pauleen is the digadig chieftain's granddaughter.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Trip Cera in the second game. His first name seems appropriate.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: The vast majority of Vivosaurs are absent in Frontier, in particular nearly all of the non-dinosaur Vivosaurs are gone, with the exception of a few pterosaurs.
  • Co-Dragons: Kowloon and Olga in Frontier serve as the two main underlings of Blackraven.
  • Collector of the Strange: Since you can't use them to revive vivosaurs, nobody wants dropping fossils. Except Nick Nack. John Guano replaces him in the sequel.
  • Combat Commentator: In Fossil Fighters, they're Author Avatars. In Champions we have a two talking Vivosaurs. Frontier doesn't have any announcers.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • In Champions, Pauleen is a throwback to the first game's Digadig tribe. You also get to fight Rosie in the post-game. Duna, Raptin, and Dynal also make appearances in some bonus content.
    • In Frontier, the Vivosaur Island and Caliosteo Fossil Parks from the first two games get mentioned occasionally. Characters from Champions (or at least people with the same names) can show up in the in-game tournaments; one such team is Joanie, Pooch, and Tonzilla and another is Todd, Rupert, and Pauline.
  • Convection Schmonvection: Mt. Lavaflow in the first game, and Mt. Krakanak in the second.
  • Cowardly Lion: Todd in Champions.
  • Crooks Are Better Armed: Wanted vivosaur thief Blambeau carries around a shotgun. The unarmed and largely ineffective police force send Hunter after him. Thrice.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Initially you'll default to using a hammer and whacking a fossil close to the bones... up until you find your first soft fossil, after which you'll default to using a drill away from the bones to see if it's soft first.
  • Dark-Skinned Redhead: Nevada Montecarlo, who also likes to Whip It Good.
  • Deconstructed Trope: Rosie can be seen as a deconstruction of The Load/Damsel in Distress. She is those things, but realizes it, and is sorry for the times when you have to save her. After one instance she even asks if you hate her.
  • Defied Trope: The final boss of Fossil Fighters Champions:
  • Dem Bones: The BareBones Brigade's boneysaurs in Champions.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?:
    • Averted in the first game. When the bad guy pulls out an Olympus Mon, you need to get your own before you can properly challenge him. However, it's later played straight with Guhnash, where you destroy his three brains and defeat him.
    • In Champions the Final Boss, Zongazonga, is pretty much exactly this. A body-snatching skull that turns into a literally on fire zombie T-Rex with giant, bloody skeleton arms coming out of it? Just send some kid with his pet dinosaurs to beat it up.
    • In Frontier, you defeat Dr. Blackraven after he turns into a dinosaur himself.
  • Dinosaurs Are Dragons:
    • The Fire-type Vivosaurs breathe fire, but remember - they're no longer Dinosaurs, they're Vivosaurs.
    • In Champions, the Super Revive function in the sequel plays this to the hilt, essentially morphing your Vivosaurs from dinosaur-like creatures into more draconic monsters. Also, the Big Bad Zongazonga literally refers to the dinosaurs as dragons in his magic chant in the penultimate battle.
  • Dinosaur Motif: In Champions, the male PC has a T-Rex motif, while the female PC has a triceratops motif.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Frigisaur, and the leader of the BB Bandits with him.
  • Disc-One Final Dungeon: Boy, isn't Mt. Lavaflow climactic! The lava! The Heel–Face Turn! The impending epic battle between the opposing forces of Frigisaur and Ignosaur! ...Wait, whaddiya mean half the plot threads still haven't been followed up on?
  • Disc-One Nuke:
    • The Spinax you're given at the beginning of the first game is strong enough to last you until endgame.
    • In Champions the starters are powerful enough to last you the entire game, particularly Dimetro.
    • The 'Donation Point' dinosaurs also count, particularly Compso in the first game. There's nothing to stop you from grinding all the way to him the moment you get access to your first dig-site, and his support-effects will make you basically unstoppable for the rest of the game.
    • To a lesser degree, Stego. Being the cheapest of the DP-dinosaurs, you can fairly easily get all 4 parts of him, in red quality, for an instantly high-level Tank who can solo practically anything up to late-mid-game if need be.
    • Giga Raja in Champions, which is created by evolving Raja (available in the first area) with a gold fossil (can be found early with some dedication). Giga Raja's already powerful attacks can be bolstered by his ability to Charge-Up for a turn, causing him to hit like a meteor and deal damage exceeding the highest possible Life Points for anything in the game!
  • Do Well, but Not Perfect: In Champions, there's a man who wants your help making hard-boiled eggs in the hot springs. They need to be in there for 10 seconds exactly, and hardly a millisecond longer. However, boiling the eggs for 9.9 seconds exactly is the only way to get the elemental chick fossils. Better bring a stopwatch. Or learn how to count to 7-1.
  • Downloadable Content:
    • The original game briefly featured four of the five Mysterious Egg fossils available for download on the Nintendo Channel, but they were taken down eventually. (They're still available in-game, though; it just takes longer.)
    • Champions features Frigisaur and Ignosaur from the first game, along with sidequests from a... strange character named Ryne, and downloadable fights with Duna, Raptin, and Dynal.
    • Frontier distributes its bonus content through AR cards rather than actual downloads; including some Bone Buggys, versions of Yutie in all four elements, the villains' dark vivosaurs, and some actual dinosaurs.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Averted. The NPCs' dialogue changes to praise you as you progress through the story and ranks.
  • Eagleland: The Fossil Park America in Frontier. The whole place is lit up like Las Vegas, the Warden in charge is Totally Radical and dresses like a cowboy, and the first dig site is in a southwest canyon. The Starry Falls dig site is a South American jungle instead of being a US stereotype. Fossil Parks Asia and Europe aren't all that much better when it comes to cultural stereotypes.
  • Elemental Powers: It turns out that the cloning process gives these to animals as a side-effect.
  • Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors: Fire beats Air, which beats Earth, which beats Water, which beats Fire. Neutral has no advantages or disadvantages.
  • Eloquent in My Native Tongue: Rex's true speech patterns tend toward Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness. Those kooky English bulldogs...
  • Elvis Impersonator: Rockin' Billy from Champions. Did you catch the Punny Name?
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: Duh!
  • Evolutionary Levels:
    • The Dinaurians have a devolution beam. It turns humans into "triconodonta", a ratlike mammal ancestor.
    • The three "Transformation-Class" Vivosaurs also transform into later descendants of theirs: Guan turns into T-Rex, and Proto turns into Tricera. Aoptryx is somewhat more confusing—it can turn into any neutral-type Vivosaur.
    • In Champions, some vivosaurs can "Super Evolve" into stronger forms.
  • Expy: Pauleen in Champions has a lot in common with Rosie from the first game. In addition to being your designated female hanger-on and being surprisingly powerful for such a young age, both have bright pink Twin Tails... and the same (accidental, in Rosie's case) Verbal Tic.
  • Feathered Fiend: Aopteryx. It can semi-reliably steal FP with Thieving Talons, recover LP with Life Drain and as mentioned above, transform into any Neutral vivosaur. Unfortunately, it needs significant support to dish out and/or take damage...
  • Fetch Quest: AND HOW. The first game is loaded with these. Thankfully, most of them go by quickly enough to keep the story rolling.
  • Fire/Water Juxtaposition: Frigisaur and Ignosaur in the first game represent the Fire/Ice version.
  • Flying Seafood Special: Played straight most of the time; inverted when fighting in Bottomsup Bay.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The tacky idols you find in the first game turn out to be very important.
    • In the second game, Todd is crushed when Joe Wildwest doesn't remember saving the player character from an Allosaurus, hinting that he's not really Joe.
    • Pauleen has a noticeable personality shift every time she wears her mask, hinting at what it does to her.
  • Fossil Revival: It's the backbone of the series.
  • Genius Sweet Tooth: Dr. Diggins has a weakness for Dino Cakes.
  • Global Currency Exception: Redundant fossils are donated to the museum, which gives you donation points based on how good they are. These points are the only currency the cleaning station store accepts. Averted in Frontier, where you just get cash for extra fossils.
  • Gonk: Dr. Baron von Blackraven, especially compared to his two associates.
  • Good All Along: Don Boneyard and the BareBones Brigade were trying to stop the Caliosteo Cup in order to stop Zongazonga's scheme. Well, the Brigade didn't know Don Boneyard was a good guy, but they don't have a problem with it when they find out.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All
  • Gray Is Useless: The series grays out combat actions that can't be used due to insufficient FP.
  • Green Hill Zone: Greenhorn Plains in the first game, Treasure Lake in Champions, and Paradise Beach in Frontier.
  • Halfway Plot Switch: The first game goes from you fighting the local Terrible Trio and their boss to a well-intentioned alien invasion, culminating in a fight against the Planet Eater that destroyed the Dinaurians' home, and the second game goes from you fighting the local Terrible Trio and their boss to fighting a near-immortal bodysnatcher.
  • Harmless Freezing: Frigisaur freezes you and Rosie completely after your first fight with it. But you're still OK.
  • Harmless Villain: The Barebones Brigade aren't exactly what you'd call menacing at first. Their eeeeevil plans involve such plots as "Pampering girls so they forget to participate in a tournament," and "Fill the hot springs up with powdered gelatin so people get stuck and can't participate." Subverted, kind of, when these plans actually work.
  • Headbutting Pachy: Several different species of Pachycephalosauria are present and all of them have skills that have the word "Headbutt" and/or "Ram" in them implying this trope.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • The BB Bandits - well, the Terrible Trio team, anyway; the Mooks don't seem to turn.
    • The Dinaurians also turn good once they realize the main characters want to fight Guhnash even after all they've done.
    • The entire BareBones Brigade.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: All games allow you to change your main character's name at any time. The first game doesn't allow you to name your Mons, though this was changed in the second.
  • Heroic Mime: The player character doesn't speak at all in the first two games. Frontier averts this, though they're still fairly quiet.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: Round one against Frigisaurus.
  • Hot Springs Episode: In the second game, there's a hot spring-themed dig site called Hot Spring Heights. Not surprisingly, most of the plot in that area revolves around the hot springs.
  • Humans Are Special Not only do they have the sci-fi standard "pluck," but the dinaurians are impressed by their capacity for both compassion and forgiveness.
  • Hypnotize the Princess: Comes into play late in Champions. It's Todd.
  • Inconsistent Dub: Frontier changes a couple names from previous games. The coin-like items vivosaurs are stored in were "Dino Medals" but are now "Dino Gears", and Becklespinax's vivosaur name goes from "Spinax" to "Beckles"—of course, the first two games identified it as an Altispinax, and its Japanese name was "Altis", which would explain the change.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: T-Rex in the first game, natch. Also, Compso, who debuffs the enemy's attack power by 90%. Even moreso are Duna, Dynal, and Raptin, with their ridiculous support effects, and crazy abilities.
  • Interspecies Romance: Before the final battle with Guhnash, you can choose to bring either Rosie or Duna with you. Choosing Duna leads to this, and considering that little mishap with the devolution ray, Rosie technically counts for this too.
  • Item Get!: Every last fossil is one of these in the first two games. The hero bends over, picks up the rock, faces the camera and thrusts it above his/her head triumphantly. The fanfare plays, and a blurb appears stating the nature of the rock found. It's a thing of beauty.
  • Joke Character:
    • In the first game, Anato. Its expression can only be described as "derpy," and even the game goes out of its way to point out how stupid it looks. It's a vivosaur who tries to sell itself based solely on the fact that it looks ridiculous. From a gameplay perspective, it also tries to lay claim to having a 100% effective Confusion skill, but said skill also does no damage and costs 240 FP. Similar skills on other vivosaurs not only do damage, they also cost over 100 FP less.
    • Lethal Joke Character in Champions It gets an upgrade to gold confusion which means that the vivosaur inflicted has a chance of attacking itself or any of its allies. In addition its super evolver form Papygon, is widely accepted as one of the best in the game.note 
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Mihu, a ceratopsian found in Japan, has katanas for horns.
  • Kid Hero: The main characters.
  • King Incognito: During Champions, you're tasked with finding the Princess of Nomadistan, who has quietly entered the tournament; and are shown a picture of a girl and her dog that you ran into earlier. The Princess turns out to be the dog; the girl's her retainer. Both the fact that this would have been good to know earlier and the absurdity of appointing dogs as royalty is lampshaded.
  • King of the Dinosaurs: T-Rex, the Fire-type Vivosaur version of Tyrannosaurus rex, is the Series Mascot present in all three games, and is treated as one of the strongest and most popular, with skill names like "Tyrant's Roar" and "Law of the Jungle". In the original game and Champions it is something of an Infinity +1 Sword, having tremendous attack but detrimental support effects and usually only being able to be revived late in the game, though the small theropod Guan can transform into it during battle. Champions lets it Super Evolve into T-Rex Lord, and adds the skeletonized B-Rex and the zombified Z-Rex. Frontier splits T-Rex into the early-game T-Rex Sue (which resembles the original) and the late-game T-Rex Stan (which is blue with purple fur and Air-element), and you can even fight the real Tyrannosaurus rex at one point and use it yourself via an AR card.
  • Lampshade Hanging: The Combat Commentators sometimes do this.
    P.A. Leon: I was wondering, why do we talk through every fight?
    Slate Johnson: I'm wondering how we can see every fight happening!
    P.A. Leon: Excellent point, Slate.
  • Large Ham Announcer: All the announcers, but special mention must be given to Trip Cera. A couple choice quotes:
    Not as excited as me! BOOYAH, GRANDMA!
    Trip: Just like my wife with a credit card! Zing!
    Ty: You're not married, Trip.
    Trip: I'M SO LONELY!
    There is a literal river of sweat running over my laptop! Seriously, I may electrocute myself before the day is over!
  • Last Lousy Point: The five elemental baby birds in the first game, who can only be obtained by getting every other vivosaur in the game and then maxing their levels. Yikes! They used to be downloadable from the Nintendo Channel on the Wii, but have since disappeared, as the aforementioned channel is no longer supported.
    • More generally, you may find yourself gritting your teeth over the last lousy point of every single fossil you can clean. Properly-cleaned fossils are worth a ton of experience points, way more than you can reasonably give any specific vivosaur through combat. It's not mandatory to get everything perfect, but for perfectionists...
  • Later Installment Weirdness: Frontier has a Real Is Brown aesthetic compared to the previous games, a completely overhauled battle system, and is open about the Big Bad from the start, unlike earlier games where it's a Halfway Plot Switch.
  • Leaked Experience: Three vivosaurs participate in each fight, but all five that you're carrying (including defeated ones) get the experience. Averted in Frontier, where all vivosaurs are available to use at all times but only the one used in battle gets experience.
  • Lizard Folk: In the second half of the game the dinaurians, a race of dromaeosauridae that evolved into hyper intelligent humanoids, become the main antagonists after the BB Bandits are defeated. They want to Kill All Humans, naturally.
  • Lovable Coward: Todd in the second game is supportive of the hero, but always fakes stomachaches to get out of trouble. He finally breaks this habit near the end.
  • Malaproper: Nick Nack does this. Airy cat oh! Donkey shine!
  • Masked Luchador: There seems to be a thriving masked-battler community, since each game involves some:
    • Saurhead in the first game, who wears no less than thirty full-head dinosaur masks at any given time. Can't risk being unmasked, after all.
    • Pauleen from Champions also wears a mask. She wears it because it's shy, and it helps her feel more confident—but the mask is enchanted to bestow confidence, and evil, so it takes over the wearer's body in a rather literal case of Becoming the Mask.
    • In Frontier, it's Dino Gigante. You have to find his old rival, the Flying Smile Kid, and draw him out of retirement to try and win his belt in order to get the piece of MacGuffin on it.
  • Metal Detector Puzzle: This is your entire means of finding Mons—you have sonar and need to search the ground for stuff.
  • Mister Muffykins: Joannie and Madame Pooch in Champions. Joannie's pampering is justified as Madame Pooch is legitimately royalty as "Princess Pooch"; see King Incognito above.
  • Mole in Charge: Bartholomew Bullwort, Vivosaur Island's chief of police, is also the leader and namesake of the BB Bandits. He even has a teleporter connecting the BB Base to Police HQ for easy Bandit recovery.
  • Mon: It's a dinosaur-collecting and battling game.
  • Mythology Gag: Many visual details of the Vivosaurs are based on facts about their dinos.
    • Some are name puns (Krona is covered in clock-like Roman numerals, and Coatlus was made to look like its namesake, Quetzalcoatl.)
    • Others are based on the location of their discovery (U-Raptor (Utahraptor) has feathers that look like a Native American headdress, Carchar has Egyptian details, Chinese Shanshan is designed to look like a Chinese Girl crossed with an Asian dragon.)
      • The fact that Breme (Bradycneme draculae) is vampiric is both a name and location reference, as it was discovered in Transylvania and and consequently named after Dracula.
    • And more have their own fun facts (M-Raptor was exceptionally bird-like and so resembles a parrot; Megalo was one of the first discoveries ever, so according to the graphic designer "I deliberately used the design of a dinosaur as it was conceived by people long ago.")
  • Nerf:
    • Support effects were nerfed quite heavily in Champions. In the first game, vivosaurs had their full support effects regardless of their level, making things like Compso incredibly dangerous. In the sequel, support effects grow when your levels do... meaning the game gives you a Compso in the very beginning of the game, and feels no remorse.
    • Cleaning level-ups were marginally nerfed in Champions but made unusable in Frontier; due to the increased level cap even your best cleaning would get you around rank 10 at most.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot:
    • The Dinomatons are robot dinosaurs, and the aforementioned Breme is a vampire dinosaur.
    • Champions brings us skeleton and zombie dinosaurs.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: The player can get a dinosaur sidekick.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: A rare living example in Frigi(saur) and Igno(saur). As soon as you defeat the former, the latter vanishes as well due to them cancelling each other's powers out. Still, it removes a god-like power from your party to prevent a Game Breaker. Until you can win them from post-game Bonus Bosses, anyway.
  • Not Brainwashed: Unlike Olga, Kowloon isn't brainwashed and happily tells you he feels no remorse for working with Dr. Blackraven.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: When the BB Bandits take over Vivosaur Island, no music plays even in friendly areas.
  • Not Quite Back to Normal: Poor Rosie. The other girl's ending shows she hasn't fully thrown off the effects of the Digadig charm or the deevolution ray.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: The fourth plan of the Barebones Brigade, the one Don comes up with, is to destroy the entire Caliosteo island system. It's later justified when you learn that Don Boneyard is, in fact, the real Joe Wildwest in disguise. He didn't want to hurt anybody. When he OKed the plan, things were getting extremely desperate, and it went slowly enough to give the people plenty of time to evacuate.
  • Oddball in the Series: Frontier has redesigns and overhauls of just about everything, especially the cleaning and combat systems, to the point that going from it to previous games or vice versa is very jarring. It's also the only game that's open about the Big Bad from the start via the opening cutscene.
  • Odd Name Out: Three of Holt's V-Raptors in the mini-manga are Odin, Thor, and Steve.
  • Olympus Mons: Frigisaur and Ignosaur.
  • One-Winged Angel: The main villains of both Champions and Frontier turn themselves into monstrous dino-beasts for the final battle. Duna, Raptin, and Dinal can also shapeshift into dinosaurs, but they look closer to actual dinosaurs.
  • Overly Long Name: Avoided. Many dinos have these, but their Vivosaur counterparts have them cut short.
  • Palette Swap: In Frontier, certain dinos have variants (based off famous specimens) that are colored differently. They sometimes differ in elements and skills, too—Hypsi comes in Air, Water, and Fire versions.
  • Panspermia: Subverted. The Dinaurians seeded the planet with life, but it was Earth's own species that survived instead.
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling: There's a bonus boss post-game that most people have trouble with. However, with the right team (ex. Seismo, Hoplo, and Compso) you can consistently defeat said bonus boss over and over again in about 6 turns each time by abusing a team skill and how long-range attacks work, making leveling up all your vivosaurs to rank 12 easy.
    • In the second game, there's the three Barebones Brigade officials. They use teams made up entirely of Boneysaurs; although Boneys have powerful support effects, they're also extreme Glass Cannons, meaning vivosaurs several levels lower of them can take them out with some decent planning. They grant a full 30 points (in a game where level-ups come every 50 points) on defeat, making them great for grinding.
    • Also in the second game, after you beat the game, you can talk to Prof. Scatterly to "reenact" the final battle with Zongazonga. By thee end of the game your vivosaurs will probably be strong enough to take him out no problem, and he gives you 50 points, so any dinosaurs can be leveled up just by being put in the support group.
  • Permanently Missable Content: The Seabed Cavern in Champions has six vivosaurs that can be found there. Since you only visit the area once throughout the story, those vivosaurs can all be found elsewhere... that is, their head fossils can be found elsewhere, at extremely low encounter rates. The body, arm, and leg fossils of those vivosaurs only appear in the Seabed Cavern.
  • Planet Eater: Guhnash.
  • Playable Epilogue: A whole crop of stuff opens up after you beat the game. Unusable Enemy Equipment becomes usable, new areas open up, everyone becomes a Bonus Boss, you get both the Olympus Mons...
  • Phlebotinum Killed the Dinosaurs: Inverted. Phlebotinum created the dinosaurs, as they were introduced on Earth by the Dinaurians. Their death was entirely non-phlebotinous, and one of the factors was that Earth life just out-competed them.
  • Pop Quiz:
    • The second go through the Secret Tunnels has you correctly answering dinosaur trivia to advance in the maze.
    • In Champions there's a roaming quiz show sidequest run by Tess Score.
  • Power Trio: Hunter, Rosie, and Holt become one of these in the mini-manga. In Champions, it's the player, Todd, and Pauleen; with Rupert as Sixth Ranger.
  • Power-Up Letdown: Getting the upgrade for Dark Fossils lets you find red fossils, which you could already find anyway, jewels, which you could find anyway, and dino droppings, which you couldn't. Also, dark fossils have an outer shell that can only be broken with a hammer. If there's a speck of outer shell covering that perfect red fossil, expect to lose some points smashing it.
  • Punny Name: Where to start? We've got name changer Ty Tull, advice giver Tipper, Sam Inaro who teaches seminars... And these are just from the first game. Even the NPCs warn you that "We've heard all the jokes" about Bea Ginner (who teaches novices). Gets lampshaded:
    Rosie: Oh, I can't believe I didn't make the connection before... Knickknacks... Nick Nack. Ugh. Waa ha ha! To think we're out looking for knickknacks for a guy named Nick Nack... It's like some awful joke!
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: Your gender has no effect on the plot in Champions or Frontier, and Champions even refers to you as male at a few points even if you're a girl.
  • Quintessential British Gentleman: In Champions, both Professor Scatterly and Rupert show signs of it. Rupert is more of a nascent one, though he certainly shows signs of Britishness.
  • Randomly Drops: Some fossils are much rarer than others, and you'll have to go back and forth between the main town and the area where they're found if you want to complete your fossil collection. Averted in Frontier, where fossils for a specific vivosaur can be counted on to show up near each other and always in the same areas, plus they're identified on sight and you no longer need to go back to town to excavate them.
  • Ribcage Ridge: Treasure Lake in the second game has a gigantic skull of some variety, smack dab in the middle of the lake.
  • Rich Bitch: Bling sisters Ruby and Sapphire, aka "the Posh Pair", in Frontier's postgame; who consider the player a commoner and recruit him/her in a few schemes to get rare jewels.
  • Rich Idiot With No Day Job: A great deal of the Fossil Fighters are implied to be this.
  • Road Apples: Yes, you can dig up fossilized dino dung. Nick Nack and John Guano are the only ones who want it for whatever reason (the shop will accept it, but will only pay you one dollar for it).
  • Robot Buddy: KL-33N, the cleaning robot. Rupert has a prototype digging robot called Di66-R. In Frontier, the Bone Buggies have an onboard AI called VR-00M whose picture looks like the robots from the prior games.
  • Rose-Haired Sweetie: Rosie and Pauleen in the first game and Champions. Nate from Frontier is a Rare Male Example, in dorky flavor.
  • Rule of Cool: Dinosaurs battling it out is cool enough, but the sequels give them even more powerful, awesome-looking forms.
  • Running Gag: In Champions, every time someone's skull jumps into your pocket, it is always described as "lumpy."
  • Samus Is a Girl: In Frontier, it's revealed that the Mascot Mook T-Rex—the big red, yellow, and black one that appears on the box art of every game—is specifically a female version (named Sue). The male version is a purple variant named Stan.
  • Save Scumming: If you save before you talk to the cleaning robot, you can reload the save until he gives satisfactory results. No longer the case in Frontier, where you do all the cleaning out in the field where you can't save.
  • Schmuck Bait: The Secret Tunnels of the Mole Brothers contain several treasure chests, but a nearby plaque warns you that "greed is its own setback." Opening them keeps you from advancing in the maze. It's later confirmed that opening these chests is why Lemo and O'Mel got separated in the first place.
  • Seldom-Seen Species: One of the series' selling points. Champions contains over 200 vivosaurs, and while several of them are original, the vast majority are based on real-life prehistoric creatures, most of which you aren't likely to see in other forms of media. Dacentrurus, Bradycneme, Anomalocaris, and Anhanguera are just a few good examples.
  • Set Bonus: Putting three vivosaurs with something in common on the field can unlock a special attack for each.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shown Their Work: The information on the extinct animals, also see Mythology Gag above.
  • Significant Anagram: The Mole Brothers' names are Lemo and O'Mel. Hm. I wonder what those are anagrams of?
  • Sinister Schnoz: Snivels, no question.
  • Skull for a Head: Don Boneyard and anyone else who became a victim of Zongazonga.
  • Slasher Smile: Guhweep has one, but it's not immediately obvious until it uses Tears of Dark Light... and turns upside down.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World:
    • The Glacier dig site from the first game, though it doesn't open up until the endgame.
    • All of the Ilium Island digsites in Champions apply. Ilium isn't called "The island where warmth goes to die" for nothing!
  • The Slow Path:
    • In the first game, Dr. Diggins after he's sent back to the Jurassic. Thank goodness he manages to find the Stone Sleep device!
    • Also seen in Frontier. While time-traveling, your vivosaur partner gets left behind in the late Cretaceous in order to make sure you get home safely. Eventually, you realize that a fossilized Dino Gear-like artifact you'd found earlier in the game really is your partner's Dino Gear.
  • Stance System: Used in Frontier. While previous games had tactical systems based on a vivosaur's placement on the field, Frontier instead focuses on how your vivosaur is standing: straight ahead, rearing up, ducking down, or turned around and baring its tail. Each vivosaur has a different set of strong and weak stances, and different attacks can change your or your opponents' stances (though a vivosaur's stance is always reset when it takes its turn).
  • Starter Mon: Each game in the series does it differently:
    • Fossil Fighters: You start the game with a Spinax who, while common, is decently powerful. However, at the game start, you also get a free bonus fossil of a dinosaur based on how you answer some questions about what you like in your dinos.
    • Champions: Joe Wildwest lets you pick between dinos of the four basic elements, which are hard to get until late game. All can Super Evolve. Plus, you get a Tricera as part of the cleaning tutorial.
    • Frontier: You befriend Nibbles, the most traditionally mons-like dino in the series. He's no recognizable dinosaur species, he's quite powerful, and he evolves at certain points in the game. Plus, he's your Team Pet and your close friend.
  • Stat Grinding: A mild case in the first game; most stat gains are at level-ups but vivosaurs also gain HP gradually between levels. Champions removes this.
  • Stock Dinosaurs: But also includes any new prehistoric mammals and dinosaurs discovered during the creation of the game. The sequel appears to be continuing this, including many other prehistoric creatures from before and after the age of dinosaurs.
  • "Stop Having Fun" Guys: Rupert in Champions. After witnessing Todd take his loss to you in stride, he's baffled as to why Todd's not upset about losing. Though it turns out it's less arrogance that his way is the right one and more ignorance that there are other ways in the first place. Turns out it comes from his dad, who tried to drive the "have fun" mentality out of him and wanted him to bail out when facing even a 50% chance of failure. This game being high on the idealistic end of the scale, this was just dad trying to protect Rupert from the pain of losing. Or so he says...
  • Strangely Effective Disguise:
    • Somehow, the majority of the Dinaurians are fooled by yours and Dr. Diggins' masks.
    • In Champions the hero(ine) receives a Ty Ranno mask for disguise purposes. No other mask keeps NPCs from immediately knowing who he/she is; how is this mask different?
  • Summon Bigger Fish: Calling up Ignosaur to fight Frigisaur.
  • Support Party Member: Support-class Vivosaurs in a nutshell. Their combat stats are usually garbage, but they either have powerful Support Effects or their moves have some secondary effect when it succeeds. Maia, and later Pacro, takes this to the logical extreme by having exactly one damaging move in their skill set, with the rest being healing and status clearing skills.
  • Take That!: After completing the main quest and all the sidequests of Frontier, you'll take a group photo with the main cast; to which Dahlia comments "And it's a PICTURE, got it? Not a selfie. That word is so overused these days."
  • Taken for Granite: The dinaurians have technology that can do this. The technology that un-stones them is also responsible for how you can revive dinosaurs in the first place.
  • A Taste of Power: Do you go straight to the confrontation with Ignosaur in your party... or do you have some fun with the godlike beast beforehand?
  • Terrible Trio: The BB Gang. Also counts as the Goldfish Poop Gang for the first half of the game. In the sequel, it's the Barebones Brigade. Frontier has Baron von Blackraven and his gang.
  • The Tetris Effect: Expect to see fossils in various states of cleaning every time you close your eyes.
  • This Is Reality: The game goes out of their way to emphasize that dinosaurs didn't really have superpowers, and a great deal of the Vivosaurs aren't even really revived from dinosaurs, per se, but are rather other forms of prehistoric life. Driven home in Frontier, where you travel back in time and encounter real dinosaurs. Unlike vivosaurs, dinosaurs are all Neutral-type, have brown skin, and are identified by their full names (like "Triceratops" instead of "Tricera").
  • The Unintelligible: Rex of the BB Bandits.
  • T-Rexpy: The Vivosaur counterpart of Tyrannosaurus rex (known as T-Rex in the first two games and T-Rex Sue in Frontier) is revived from the fossil of the real dinosaur, but the process gives it the mon treatment, with striped red-black skin, mohawk-like fur, and Fire-element attributes. Alternate versions of it include T-Rex Lord (its Super Evolved form, which is more monstrous and stands upright like how T. rex was originally theorized to), two undead types used by villains, and T-Rex Stan (named after a T. rex skeleton found in South Dakota, using cool colors and being Air-element). You can fight and use a real T. rex in Frontier, and it's considerably less fantastical as a Neutral-type.
  • Unknown Item Identification: In the first two games, fossils had to be brought back to base and excavated before they could be identified. In Frontier, fossils are "unknown" the first time they're excavated but the sonar will be able to ID them afterward.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: Boy, the Dinatomatons sure are cool, aren't they? Who wouldn't want a Robot Dinosaur That Shoots Beams When It Roars? Well, sorry, but you don't get none. And you'll have to keep your paws off Duna, Dynal, and Raptin too... until they all become available in the postgame, that is.
  • Useless Useful Spell: The silver head fossils in Champions. They give a boost to attack and accuracy, but the vast majority of vivosaurs don't need the extra accuracy and would much prefer the greater boost to attack that silver arm fossils give. This isn't the case with silver body vs. silver leg fossils, since extra speed can actually help to make sure that you go first more often. However, on the vivosaurs like Zino and Centro that do need an accuracy boost, silver heads are more worthwhile.
  • Vendor Trash: Digging up and cleaning gemstones is the only way to make money. The better the gem, the more money.
  • Verbal Tic: The Digadigs, including Pauleen in Champions. Rosie picks it up when she is mystically made part of the tribe, and she is very diga-displeased.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • Roise asks "you probably hate me now, don't you?". You actually are ABLE to say "yes".
    • In Frontier, when you travel back in time, you can encounter dino nests. You can cheerfully drive your Bone Buggy over them and shatter them to pieces, for no other reason than they're there. (Though they magically reform themselves if you wait.)
  • We Cannot Go On Without You: In the first game's Master-rank Level-Up Battles, losing even one vivosaur makes you lose the whole fight.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Rupert's father is... difficult to please, shall we say.
  • Whateversaurus: Along with the term "vivosaur" itself, this is used liberally for the various made-up species.
  • Wind Is Green: Air-type Vivosaurs are revived from green fossils.
  • Womb Level: The Bonehemoth in Champions.
  • Word Salad Title: In Champions, all the songs in the sound test have silly and non-indicative names, like "Sleepy Robin," "Chocolate Soiree," or "Raspberry Bell."
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair:
    • Rosie's pink hair could be passed off as an artistic rendition of a strawberry blonde, but there's really no explaining why Dr. Diggins' hair is green.
    • Siamo actually has blue hair, despite being a dinosaur.


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Jaidens hair

The hair blowing in the wind is how you know Jaiden is ready.

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