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Video Game / Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team

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The one where it all began, 10 years after it really began.

"Welcome! This is the portal that leads to the world of Pokémon!"

The first entry (or rather, entries) in the roguelike Pokémon spinoff series known as Pokémon Mystery Dungeon, Red Rescue Team and Blue Rescue Team were released for the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS (respectively) in 2006.

The story concerns the player character who awakens in a world inhabited exclusively by Pokémon, with no memories but their name and the subsequent discovery that they've inexplicably been transformed from a human into a Pokémon. Natural disasters (earthquakes, etc.) have been plaguing the land, and concerned citizens — er, Pokémon — have been banding together in "Rescue Teams" to help out Mons in need. The player quickly allies with another Pokémon to form a two-Mon rescue team of their own, while slowly piecing together clues about how and why they got here.


The games had two separate adaptations: a 20-minute anime special based on the start of the games called Mystery Dungeon: Team Go-Getters Out of the Gate! which featured the protagonist as a Squirtle and a one volume manga called Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Ginji's Rescue Team which featured the protagonist as a Torchic.

In the Pokémon Direct on the 9th of January, 2020, a Video Game Remake of the games for Nintendo Switch was announced, dubbed "Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX", including features from newer games, such as Mega Evolution, which is slated for release on the 6th of March. The trailer can be watched here.

Please note that certain tropes listed under Red Rescue Team and Blue Rescue Team also apply to Rescue Team DX.

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    Tropes used in Red Rescue Team and Blue Rescue Team 

  • Ability Required to Proceed: A few dungeons in the postgame can only be accessed via Hidden Machines, which in this game are rare items found on specific floors of dungeons. Once you have an HM, you can enter the HM-specific dungeon either by keeping it in your item bag (only takes up a single space, but can be lost if you faint) or by teaching its move to a Pokémon and taking it to the dungeon (prevents it from being lost, but may require you to take a specific team member in or erase a good move for the HM move).
  • Ambiguous Gender: Unlike in future games, Pokemon's genders aren't shown when you fight them and most NPCs aren't referred to by gendered pronouns (others either use their name or occasionally use "it" or "they"/"them" instead). This made the move Attract into a very powerful move as Everyone Is Bi.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: In the postgame, the player is able to control anyone on their team. Anyone you recruited before or will recruit will be playable.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Almost all boss Pokémon found at the end a 99 floor dungeon have a 99.9 percent base rate of being recruited, meaning the player won't have to slog through the hour-long level again just because they got unlucky. The only exception to this is Mewtwo, who can't be recruited on the first battle but has the standard 99.9 chance on subsequent runs.
  • Apocalypse How: Via Colony Drop; something between Class 4 - Class 6 is implied. Or possibly Class X, if Xatu's prophecy is to be taken literally.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Your party can only hold up to four Pokémon at any given time, with "large" Pokémon taking three slots.
  • The Atoner: It's eventually revealed that the Trainer who abandoned his cursed Gardevoir is actually Gengar, and when this comes around, he's ready to try atoning for his sin and reversing Gardevoir's curse. This leads to an Escort Mission that involves taking Gengar to Ninetails to learn how to undo the curse, and then taking Gengar to the Murky Cave to find Gardevoir and prove Gengar's change of heart to undo Gardevoir's curse.
  • Back from the Dead: The player character and their partner are killed by the explosion from Rayquaza's destruction of the falling star but are brought back to life by Gengar, who pretends to drag the player character off to 'the dark world' but actually saves them.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Jirachi and Celebi. If you can even manage to get down to them— both at the bottom of grueling level 1 dungeons— you've practically already mastered the game.
  • Breather Episode:
    • Uproar Forest and its main mission serve as it. It comes up right after the lengthy fugitives Plot Tunnel wraps up, and has the much lower stakes of helping Wynaut and Wobbuffet deal with a gang of Mankeys, followed by them remodeling the player's home. Uproar Forest is easier than preceeding dungeons (though it is the first place where Monster Houses can be generated) and needs to be explored a few times to get Chestnuts to finish the remodeling. Once the new base is finished, the story picks back up in intensity and leads in to the penultimate and final dungeons.
    • The mission that unlocks Howling Forest tends to show up right after the remodel is finished. While it's optional, it falls under this as well, since it's a lighthearted subplot that recruits Smeargle, who can repaint the base's flag.
  • Brick Joke: Upon entering Silent Chasm for the first time, Jumpluff states there is a terrifying monster deep within, which causes your Partner to fake a stomachache, clearly expecting you to fake one as well (if you don't, they're upset at you for not getting the hint). Regardless of which you choose, before the next mission, when Alakazam states how dangerous Mt. Thunder is you can fake a stomachache as well, which your Partner jokes to Alakazam, "My friend does this a lot, kind of embarrassing".
  • Broken Bridge: Sky Tower is the only main-game dungeon that can't be revisited immediately, since it's extremely high in the air; the first visit is only possible because of the Teleport Gem. Once you have the Fly HM, it can be returned to freely (unless the HM is lost).
  • Bubbly Clouds: The last story dungeon is Sky Tower, which takes place on clouds high in the air.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Medicham of Team Meanies proudly declares that their ultimate goal is world domination. They're only a rescue team to better their image; every mission gives them more money and influence in the eyes of society.
  • Character Portrait: The protagonist and their partner have over a dozen emotive portraits, and most background characters have at least one.
  • Colony Drop: A large meteor is threatening the planet.
  • Commonplace Rare: Some Pokémon that were Com Mons in Generation 3 main games are not so common here. For example, Pidgey and Magikarp can be recruited only (the latter won't appear in Red Rescue Team at all until it's unlocked) in specific dungeons, where they spawn with an average rate of 1.50% and 2.13%, respectively. Note  Pidgey is actually seen in the very first dungeon, but the game prevents anyone from being recruited in Tiny Woods, so it's a long time before you fight ones that can be recruited.
  • Contractual Boss Immunity: Wonder Orbs simply fail to work during boss battles.
  • Covers Always Lie: The covers have the various members of both Team Meanies and Team ACT surrounding what appears to be the main characters. In the game, Team ACT are good guys while Team Meanies are Card Carrying Villains, and while Team ACT pursues the rescue team during the fugitives arc, it's as the result of a ploy from Gengar. Also, for some reason, one member is swapped out for the member of the other team on each box—it features Gengar being in Team ACT (which would make it Team AGT) and Charizard in Team Meanies. The remade cover art for DX removes the red eyes from Alakazam and Tyranitar and repositions everyone so that they look less imposing.
  • Demoted to Extra: Groudon and Rayquaza serve as some of the last bosses in the main story, but the other Generation III box legendary, Kyogre, is just one of the first post-game bosses and has no story importance.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • After getting Rayquaza to destroy the falling star, if you had recruited Pokémon that survived the boss battle, either by luck or Reviver Seeds, your Partner asks what became of them, whereupon Xatu will say that they're safe. If you didn't have anyone besides the two of you (period, or left alive), these lines won't play.
    • In "The Mystery of the Mirage Pokemon", Spinda will ask what the mirage Pokémon is. If the player has Ho-Oh as the team leader, Spinda will have special dialogue in reaction to finding out that the mirage Pokemon is in front of it.
    • If you manage to receive a Job that requires you to go to a dungeon that has yet to be unlocked (only possible through Wonder Mail), the game will produce unique text remarking that the request is possibly outdated.
  • Dialogue Tree: The player gets frequent two-option choices while talking to other characters, though they never change the course of the story and just give different reactions.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: It is possible to earn statues of various Generation IV Pokémon that had yet to be released as Rescue Team preceded Pokémon Diamond and Pearl. Lucario is even revered as the greatest Rescue Team leader in existence. The Playable Epilogue also has a random event where you can encounter a Munchlax and get a Munch Belt.
  • Early Game Hell: The difficulty changes depending on the combination of you and your partner, but due to the game using Generation 3's movesets a player who chose Cubone as their starter wouldn't learn any attacking moves until level 9 (Bone Club) and the first boss of the game nullifies Ground-type damage.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • You aren't able to freely recruit Pokémon in this game, unlike later ones. Instead, you have to purchase their Friend Areas from Wigglytuff or acquire them otherwise, allowing Pokémon who live in that area to be recruited so they can move into there. The later Mystery Dungeon games let you recruit Pokémon freely, accessing them through a menu instead of Friend Areas.
    • This is the only game in the series without Treasure Boxes.
    • All the other games have a final boss that is unique to the subseries in some way: Explorers has Primal Dialga, Gates to Infinity has the Bittercold, and Super has Dark Matter. Rescue Team only has a normal Rayquaza as its final boss.
    • While Hidden Machines appear in other games, they are only necessary for entering dungeons in Rescue Team.
  • Easter Egg: As shown as the page image, if you stand the two game boxes on top of each other (GBA being on the bottom) it shows that the two images connect as one large image.
  • Escape Rope: The ever-valuable Escape Orb allows you to instantly exit a dungeon while keeping the loot you've gathered along the way.
  • Event Flag: Usually major events in the plot are triggered by doing a certain number of missions.
  • Everyone Is Bi: Genders are largely missing in the original game (though your Player Character is still identified as the gender you choose), since the Mystery Dungeon subseries didn't need it for a major system like breeding. Thus, anything that inflicts infatuation works on every Pokémon.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Early Japanese versions of Blue Rescue Team had a bug that could potentially erase saved data off of any inserted GBA game that wasn't Red Rescue Team.
  • Gender-Neutral Writing: The game almost always avoids referring to you or your partner by gendered pronouns. Usually they use your name instead of a pronoun.
  • Gosh Darn It to Heck!: Gengar says "To heck with it" at one point.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: Not a requirement, but it is nonetheless possible to recruit every Pokémon from the first three generations. For the original games, this is only possible by exchanging data between the two versions or using Wonder Mail to get a few exclusive species.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: Both your character and partner can be named, as well as your Rescue Team.
  • Hub City: Pokémon Square, a small town that holds main necessities like the Kecleon Shop, Felicity Bank, and Kangaskhan Storage, as well as a few townsfolk who gain different dialogue throughout the story.
  • Humanity's Wake: The game is highly ambiguous about where the humans are (Gardevoir had a trainer once and the other Pokemon understand the concept of humans, but humans are not seen and the story implies the protagonist might be from another universe). Certain areas such as the "Ruins" friend zone implies the series takes place centuries after humans died out.
  • Hyperactive Sprite: The Pokémon sprites all have short animations that play even while standing still.
  • I Choose to Stay: While the player is given the opportunity to return to the human world and their original form after saving the world, they ultimately decline, preferring to stay in the Pokémon world.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Gengar ultimately turns into this. He may be a petty Card-Carrying Villain, but he still saves the player at the end of the game and makes amends for what he did as a human in a post-game dungeon.
  • Make a Wish: If you beat Jirachi at the bottom of Wish Cave and turn down its recruit request, you can use the Wish Stone to make a wish.
    • Lots of Money: Jirachi gives you 10,000 to 18,000 Poke.
    • Lots of Items: Jirachi gives you a bunch of items from Wish Cave.
    • Friend Area: Jirachi gives you immediate access to a Friend Area you don't already own.
    • More Power: Jirachi gives you a bunch of Joy Seeds and Drinks.
    • Something Good?: Jirachi raises your Rescue Rank, and if not that, gives you a free Pokemon you don't already have, and if you have both, gives you Poke.
  • The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: While the possible consequences of this are generally ignored, the game drops a few small hints here and there:
    • The game manual's introduction of the setting intones that not only does the player get turned into a Pokémon, but that their "thoughts and feelings" also become "more like a Pokémon".
    • When first introduced to their rescue team base, the player is excited, but immediately questions whether the feeling is truly theirs, or the results of being turned into a Pokémon.
    • In the postgame, Lombre comments that he doesn't want to evolve into a Ludiculo if it means his personality will change from serious to carefree.
  • Mutually Exclusive Party Members: You can play as any of the 16 Pokémon available via the personality quiz, but your partner choices are limited to the three elemental starter trios and Pikachu, and you can't pick anyone with the same typing as you (someone playing as Psyduck can't pick Squirtle, Totodile, or Mudkip, for example).
  • Mythology Gag: You may recruit Pokemon that, in the main series, can only evolve by trading. In this case, you can evolve them by offering a Link Cable.
  • Never Say "Die": Many euphemisms are used instead, despite the fact part of the plot has Pokémon trying to kill you.
    • Another instance that flew over a lot of people's heads was the fact that after Rayquaza destroys the meteor the player remarks that they were swallowed by the star's explosion and that they're now adrift as a spirit, ie. they were actually killed by the explosion and are in the afterlife until Gengar saves them.
  • Not Quite Dead: Despite that flashbacks heavily imply she was killed, the postgame eventually reveals that the Gardevoir from the Ninetales legend is actually sealed within an ancient ruin.
  • Obviously Evil: Team Meanies. Probably invoked; with a lame name like that, who would suspect that world domination was a goal?
  • One Game for the Price of Two: As per the standard, although Rescue Team does it a little bit differently since both games were released on different consoles. In addition to version-exclusive Pokémon, Blue has some exclusive features that Red did not get, such as the Unknown Dungeon and being able to import a party from Red Rescue Team as a Makuhita Dojo fight.
  • Playable Epilogue: There is a wealth of post-game content unlocked after saving the world, including several new dungeons, Legendary Pokémon to recruit, and the most difficult levels in the game.
  • Plot Tunnel: This game starts the subseries tradition of a "dungeon run" around the midway point of the game, where you have to go through several new dungeons in a row without a way to stop at town to shift team members or complete optional missions, and only being able to shop within dungeons. In this case, it happens when you and your partner have to go on the run after Gengar tries to turn Pokémon Square's residents against you, with four dungeons and two bosses to defeat before returning to the normal routine. The game provides Kangaskhan Rocks for storage access and some repeatable grinding dungeons to make things easier.
  • Prophecy Twist: Ninetales predicted that when a certain human was reborn as a Pokémon, the world would be put in danger. However, she never said he was the cause, nor that the two events had any relation to each other besides happening at the same time.
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: Selecting your gender at the end of the personality quiz affects which personality corresponds to which Player Character Pokémon, and some of the choices are gender-exclusive. However, the rest of the game doesn't address the player's gender at all, and gender is not a mechanic.
  • Purple Is the New Black: The Black Gummi sprite is actually a dull purple.
  • Rare Random Drop: Item drops aren't much of a thing in the Mystery Dungeon games, but some of the rare recruitable Pokémon fill the same role.
    • Kecleon has the lowest base recruit rate in the game, at -33.9%. To even have a shot at catching him, you need a Pokemon at maximum level that is holding the Friend Bow, and even then, its recruitment rate only tops at .1% from the combined bonuses. Not to mention that you have to steal from one to force it into fighting, and they respawn endlessly in droves and are hellbent murderers... so if you are lucky enough to recruit one, have an Escape Orb ready or they'll instantly kill your new recruit on the next turn.
    • Blastoise, Feraligatr, and Swampert can count as well, as they also have a -33.9% recruit rate as the only fully-evolved starters to be recruitable, and only spawn in the later floors of Western Cave.
  • Scenery Porn: Not just cutscene scenery, but also the Friend Areas are really well detailed, with good art and atmosphere.
  • Sea Sinkhole: "Enclosed Island," the unlockable friend zone that houses Deoxys, appears as a rocky outcropping in the center of an enclosed waterfall with a single narrow path leading off screen.
    Description: An eerie light encloses this rocky island, keeping out the sea. It is as if the island is in another dimension.
  • So What Do We Do Now?: The main arc's ending, with all the disasters having been solved by that point. Fortunately for the rescue team, more events keep popping up in the postgame.
  • Timed Mission: Sort of. Spending too many turns on a floor will cause an ominous message indicating an incoming storm to appear. Spend more turns, and eventually a massive gust of wind will cause your team to get swept out of the dungeon, which has the same effect as fainting.
  • Terrain Sculpting: One of the very last IQ skills lets you walk through anything. This means you can walk straight through walls, which breaks them in the process and carves a path through solid rock, and unlike things like Mobile Scarf or Ghost-types' innate ability, this does not increase Belly consumption rate.
  • The Unfought: Team ACT is never fought by your team, as the attempted battle at Mt. Freeze starts in a cutscene and gets interrupted and defused quickly. The team also doesn't get a post-game battle in Makuhita Dojo, unlike most other NPC rescue teams.
  • Vague Age: No playable character has their age stated. It's implied the protagonist and their partner are Kid Heroes but that doesn't say much.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: After you help Gengar lift the curse on Gardevoir, neither he or Team Meanies are seen again.
  • You Are Worth Hell: In a postgame event, Latios is so desparate to locate his younger sister Latias in Pitfall Valley that he doesn't care if he becomes lost forever in it himself, so long as the two of them are together; bonus points for the place being called Hell Valley in Japanese. About the only thing stopping him is that you tracked down and defeated him in battle first.
  • You Have Researched Breathing: In the main games, evolution is a natural and common part of most Pokemon's lives. Even if it doesn't happen to them, they've likely seen it occur to another Pokemon. In these games, however, evolution cannot be unlocked until post-game. That would be fine if not for the lack of understanding of the concept by NPCs. The partner and several others have never heard of it (even Metapod, who is a stage two Pokemon).
    • Somewhat justified in a missable npc conversation at the beginning of the game. If the player speaks to Lotad in the town square, Lotad mentions that pokemon used to evolve but for some reason they don't anymore, and that it's been awhile since anybody evolved. Perhaps your partner and some of the other pokemon who don't know about evolution are too young to remember? After all, it's never stated exactly how old Lotad is. He might be one of the few older pokemon that still remember evolution. The game implies that evolution stopped happening due to the natural disasters, so after the player averts the end of the world, it could be that pokemon are finally able to evolve again. Although that still doesn't explain Metapod...
  • Zerg Rush: Monster Houses drop a whole bunch of hostile Pokemon in the room you're in. Bottlenecking them by walking back the way you came is generally a good idea to clear house, but if you brought a partner with you, expect for them to get hammered on the way back.


Video Example(s):


Red Rescue Team

The quiz that determines which Pokemon your main character becomes. (Footage provided by Grimahim on Youtube.)

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / PlayerPersonalityQuiz

Media sources:

Main / PlayerPersonalityQuiz