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YMMV / Pokémon Ranger

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  • Angst? What Angst?: The Pichu from Dolce Island in the aftergame are still as cheerful as ever despite their home island being vaporized.
    Man: They sure don't look like they lost their home island.
  • Anticlimax Boss: Giant Crobat, while definitely a cool idea, is executed in a way where it is simply not difficult especially compared to its fellow late-game bosses. It is a sky battle, meaning that there is no rage mode, and while the player can't use any Poke Assists, it can't break the line except through attacks. This also means that its large size actually works against it, being a bigger target to only partially circle. It also has very low health and very easy to avoid attacks (Just don't get hit by those attacks).
  • Breather Boss:
    • The two Kingdra from the original Ranger are far easier than the other bosses in the Jungle Relic. They're not as difficult to loop or avoid damage from, and capturing one makes the remaining one much easier to defeat.
    • Spiritomb in Shadows of Almia, after Kincaid's Drapion, mainly because of two things: between those two you can get Steel-type Partner Pokémon and you also unlock Power Charge.
  • Complete Monster: Purple Eyes from Guardian Signs. Purple Eyes is the nefarious leader of the Pokémon Pinchers and a true sociopath who eclipses even the Societea in cruel ambition. Kidnapping and brutalizing Rand before the plot and pulling the strings behind Red Eyes and Blue Eyes, Purple Eyes debuts in the midst of holding Rand's family hostage and torturing his young daughter Nema. After he's sold as a lost cause by Dr. Edward, Purple Eyes raids the parts of the Golden Armor from the other Societea members, usurping Dr. Edward's position and controlling Mewtwo into finishing him off — gleefully brushing off Rand's apparent sacrifice once he takes the bullet. Once he's defeated, Purple Eyes allows himself to die with the full knowledge that without the Golden Armor's power, the fortress he and the Rangers are on will plummet into the ocean and create a tsunami powerful enough to wipe out Oblivia and everyone in it. Purple Eyes truly comes into his own in the story's last extra mission; after repeated interrogation, Purple Eyes snaps and decides the only logical course of action is to exterminate all humanity and recreate it as its supreme god, attempting to goad Arceus into killing off all humans whilst leaving himself as their sole survivor.
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  • Critical Dissonance: The games tend to get lower scores on review sites due to being a very niche spin-off of the core games, while the fandom usually remembers them fondly as quirky but enjoyable. Of course, this is probably because of what the games could do for the core games in the first place.
  • Demonic Spiders:
    • Linoone in the original Ranger are a pain to capture. They only have one attack, but it's an annoying one: they'll charge forward at top speed off screen, dealing quite a chunk of damage. While one Linoone isn't too bad, they can be very threatening when they're sent either in numbers or alongside other Pokémon, such as the group of three sent at you in the climb up Fiore Temple.
    • Hariyama and Machamp, also in the original Ranger. They use a long-lasting punching attack with a very wide hitbox, and it's tough to loop them without getting hit. While Hariyama is fortunately alone most of the time save an optional encounter with two of them in Krokka Tunnel, it's possible to get mobbed by multiple Machamp in the Go-Rock Base.
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  • Ensemble Dark Horse: The Go-Rock Quads in the first game. They even reappear in both subsequent games as guest stars, though they're Demoted to Extra in the third.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Both gendered protagonists together in all three games. Though in Shadows of Almia, Protagonist/Keith is also significantly popular, even if the protagonist is a guy.
  • Game-Breaker: Occurs in the later games:
    • In Shadows of Almia:
      • The Steel-type assist prevents targeted Pokémon from attacking. Halfway through the game, you obtain a steel-type partner Pokémon. Do the math.
      • The Psychic-type assist is also very powerful, being able to prevent just about anything from attacking for extended periods of time, though it's somewhat hard to control. Drawing loops around empty space forms psychic rings, which can be flicked at Pokémon to stun them for a long time. Grab Mime Jr. as your partner, and laugh all the way to the end of the game.
      • The Electric-type assist is like the Psychic one, only you can get the partner Pokémon for it early game, and it's tap to use. On group captures, you can gather the targets all together, paralyze them, and circle around them, paralyze again, and circle, repeating until you've recharged your partner Pokémon’s assist and can use it before it's initially run out. This even applies to the final room of the capture arena! The only downside is that it doesn't last as long as other assists.
      • The Ice-type assist is basically what happens when the Steel and Electric assists have a baby. While the snowball does take a bit longer to form than Steel's ball of light, in exchange it completely immobilizes the Pokémon. You can get an Ice-type partner in the form of Snover, albeit a bit later than the other partners.
    • Early in Guardian Signs, you can catch a Xatu. Its assist is extremely powerful, and briefly prevents the opponent from attacking. Just put it in a corner or behind an attacking Pokémon, and you've won. Since you can now keep assist Pokemon for company with you at all times until you use them for a target clear, you can bring along said Xatu all the way to the endgame.
  • Goddamned Bats:
    • Golbat and Crobat in the caves will not leave you alone. Generally, any aggressive Pokémon that is faster than you, such as Houndoom, would qualify.
      • Special mention to the Gligar that harasses you in the first and second games during their respective missions where you need to slowly climb across vines while it tries to knock you off to waste your time. They're even worse in the second game since they can actually deal damage to your styler.
    • Some fights for the final mission might count, like three Gabite. They're not much as difficult as annoying, since half of the time they will run over your line (and as such, the otherwise gamebreaking Shieldon won't make it a piece of cake). Your best bet is probably to use Steel-type assist and spam the hell out of it with small balls, and then quickly encircle it before the bar drops down.
  • Goddamned Boss: Mew in the original game. You get roughly 30 seconds to try and capture it before it flees, and all the while it will be jumping around like a hamster on a sugar rush, making it nigh-impossible to get enough loops down. You do get Bug assists by the dozen to hold it down, but unless you're really fast, Mew will break free and snap your Capture Line before you can capture it. While it's basically impossible to fail the associated mission as Mew doesn't deal any damage and you get unlimited attempts, your patience might not hold out that long. Fortunately, there is a Shedinja nearby that has a Ghost assist that can completely stop it in it's tracks.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Check the main page.
  • Junk Rare: Several of the most elusive Pokémon in the first game, such as Kecleon and Porygon, have neither a Poké Assist nor a field move, making them useless outside of collection.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: Show of hands - who played the first game without the intention of getting that Manaphy egg for the Gen IV games (assuming you didn't get the game second-hand and got screwed over by the previous owner already swiping that cart's egg)?
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • The Societea cross this when they VAPORIZE Dolce Island! And where to begin with Purple Eyes...
    • Probably when he beats Rand and has Nema and Leanne kidnapped. And that is before we even see him for the first time.
    • Kincaid crosses it in Shadows when he leaves you, many Pokémon, and several subordinates on a ship that will sink in four minutes.
  • Nightmare Fuel: It is possible to die via Non-Standard Game Over in Shadows of Almia if you fail to stop the cargo ship you're on from sinking. If you let the timer run out, the game falls to black and silence before noting that the ship sank beneath the waves.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: The fact that the Ranger Net bonus missions can only be played once per cartridge, not once per playthrough, but only once per actual physical copy of the game. While this is obviously done to keep the Pokémon limited, it also completely destroys the game's resale value, since who wants to play a used copy with all the endgame prizes taken from it? This has also made Manaphy one of the most elusive Legendary Pokémon to obtain in any of the games, as a result. Even more infuriatingly, since Nintendo WFC is discontinued, players that didn't have the Ranger Net special missions unlocked can never play them anymorenote .
  • Scrappy Weapon:
    • In the original, the Grass and Ground assists had the same underwhelming effect in the form of stopping Pokémon that hit your capture line. While this sounds solid in theory, it's surprisingly hard to make the effect activate due to your capture line disappearing whenever a Pokémon hits it. While Shadows of Almia did give Ground a more powerful effect in the form of pausing Pokémon via shaking the ground with the stylus, Grass sadly got even worse, as it now merely slows the Pokémon instead.
    • Normal types in the original, due to completely lacking any Assist power, making them borderline dead weight. Somewhat fixed in Shadows of Almia, as they got an alright Assist effect in the form of extending your capture line and powering up your Styler a bit. Still, it's one of the weaker effects.
    • Ghost was a very powerful assist effect in the original, being able to immobilize most Pokémon just by having the Styler loop around them. However, Shadows of Almia nerfed it a bit too hard, as the Ghost assist can no longer form ghosts when the Styler is looping around a Pokémon. Worse still, the ghosts no longer immobilize the target, but rather only make them Tired while adding a little bit of meter. Said ghosts are also stupidly hard to control. To add insult to injury, the Fire and Dragon effects also make the target Tired, but do so in more precise and powerful ways.
    • In both the original and Shadows of Almia, the Flying Assist effect, due to being very imprecise and hard to hit. While it at least stuns the Pokémon for a good while in the original Ranger, it's even worse in Almia because the tornadoes no longer immobilize Pokémon. This also makes Starly by far the worst choice for a starting partner, putting it in this territory as well.
    • Dark was already a very situational assist in the original, draining a lot of energy from your Styler to extend your line length, but is arguably the worst Assist in Shadows of Almia. It's supposed to remove any harmful effects, but it only does so for the puddle/glob effects, which aren't super common. It's so situational that it sees little use in-game.
  • Sequel Difficulty Drop: Shadows of Almia. While in the original you had to complete all loops without failing, Shadows instead has a bar which fills with every loop, and slowly empties after a while of not doing loops. Completing side quests also lets you accumulate defense boosts against every Pokémon type and other upgrades, so enemy Pokémon will be less threatening. However, the boss Pokémon tend to be more challenging due to having a wider variety of attacks.
  • Surprisingly Improved Sequel: Most people think that both the story and gameplay were improved in the second and third games; Shadows of Almia replaced the capture system with a friend meter (at the cost of some of the game's difficulty; hence the "most"), and Guardian Signs allowed the reuse of friend Pokémon over and over again under certain conditions as well as making Quests less tedious by allowing you to pick up Quests as you find them rather than taking them one at a time.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: The theme for Fall City from the first game might bring "Strange Things" from Toy Story to mind.
  • That One Boss:
    • Salamence from the original game. His attacks hurt, he has one of the highest loop count in the entire game, and making any loops is hard (since there's only that much time he's in the air and landing counts as an attack; on top of that, circling him on the ground is harder, since he has a habit of beaming you when you try to loop). Oh, and he doesn't give a damn about your partner's assist, even though he isn't immune to Electric-type.
    • Charizard in the original Ranger is pretty bothersome when fought the first time, due to the attack it uses: it'll breathe fire into the air, creating lingering patches of flame on the ground. The fire deals heavy damage and severely restricts where you can move your Styler, making drawing loops around it very awkward. If you're not fast enough to loop it 11 times while it's stomping around, then it'll breathe fire into the air again, forcing you to stop looping lest you take damage, and creating more patches of flame. Fortunately, the second encounter with Charizard is far easier.
    • Also from the original game is Steelix. The good news: it doesn't actually attack. The bad news: it doesn't have to. Steelix is the only Pokémon in the game that deals contact damage, and quite a chunk of it at that. It's also the biggest Pokémon in the game bar none, and your maximum loop size at that point is just barely able to contain the whole thing without the use of a Dark assist. To top it off, Steelix never holds still and has a fairly high loop count.
    • Drapion. Not only does it hit quite hard, but low on HP it turns red, spamming with gas cloud giving not much time where you can freely circle it. Additionally, the fight's preceeded by two Rhyhorn and three Stunky, and you have to do all three in a row. And this is before you get the handy Shieldon. Even these Drowzeenote  on the ship may not be enough help and you may need to repeat the fight.
    • Rampardos is also this for some. It's a massive step-up from the previous bosses and has three very strong attacks that can quickly drain your styler. It's telling that Barlow tells you that there's no shame in fleeing if you get into trouble right before you fight it.
    • Lucario, in both Shadows of Almia and Guardian Signs but especially the latter. In the former, it launches flurries of energy orbs and punches, as well as creating energy mines on the ground to hinder your capturing, all without the tell-tale exclamation mark that signals that an attack is coming. And then it periodically surrounds itself in an aura of energy, making its attacks even more fierce. In the latter, it appears as the first boss of the Thunder Temple in the Past missions, where it uses incredibly quick dashes across the screen that must be reacted to instantly otherwise they hit you. It also retains its energy orb landmine attack, only this time it creates four without the energy aura, and the space between them is much tighter while also being the exact distance to make it nearly impossible to circle Lucario while it's in the middle of the orbs. Its punch attack is telegraphed for longer, so it's the easiest to avoid, but it also begins to rush across the screen and launch a flurry of punches while doing so, which basically requires you to stop looping around it otherwise you get hit. But that's not the worst of it. Once you're halfway done capturing it, it becomes agitated and gains a rage meter that you need to deplete; this is normal, but what isn't normal is that once you're nearly done with the capture and the regular gauge is almost full, it becomes agitated AGAIN, giving it the distinction of being one of two bosses in the entire game with two Rage Meters (the other being Arceus in the final Past Mission). And you have to do all of this while being on a strict timer; if you didn't get every timer extension on the way and you got caught by agitated Pokemon multiple times, you're bound to fail.
  • That One Level: The Escort Mission in the first game, where you have to escort another character who's terrified of Bug-Type Pokemon through an area absolutely crawling with them. Oh, and if either you or him touch one, it's right back to the beginning.
  • That One Sidequest:
    • If you consider the Past missions in Guardian Signs to be one big sidequest adventure, then it's this because of how insane several of them are, especially when playing alone.
    • For those Shiny Hunters aiming for the Manaphy Egg in the first game, this can be the biggest challenge. Essentially, you have to complete the Manaphy mission (which itself is not this trope), then transfer the egg to Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, then trade to another game, and hope it's shiny. If it isn't, well, you have to play through the whole damn game again on another cartridge.
    • In the post game of Guardian Signs, you have to chase down the legendary birds while in the air. This is harder than it sounds, since they're just barely slower than Lati@s at max speed, they can turn much sharper than you can, and they can dive in the clouds or fly outside the boundary of the map, both of which end the chase. The only reprieve is that you can reset the ones you haven't caught up to yet by returning to the Aqua Resort and taking off from it again, but even if you manage to figure that out on your own, you'll be doing that a lot. And if you want 100% Completion, then you have to do this, as some bird Pokémon only appear in the post game, but the sky will be barren until the legendary birds are dealt with.
  • Underused Game Mechanic: Downplayed in Shadows of Almia. While the "Swimming on a Pokemon" mechanic is indeed used many times in the game, they mostly advertised the part where you do it on an Empoleon's back... something that happens only once in the whole game (Three times if you're going for 100% Completion, two if you already knew about a certain subquest before and take a short deviation when you go there for the first time), while for most of the time you surf on a Floatzel's back. Granted, you could technically surf on an Empoleon everywhere it's possible to surf on a Floatzel, but this crosses into Awesome, but Impractical considering Empoleon doesn't offer an additional advantage outside of where it has to smash icebergs, and you'd have to go out of your way to fetch it and bring it back to where you want to surf.