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See also the franchise-wide Hilarious in Hindsight page here.


  • Anticlimax Boss: After defeating Chobin several times over the course of the early-to-mid game, he decides to bring out the big guns in order to stop the "burglar" from breaking into Kaminko Manor. And the big guns just so happen to be an imposing Groudon mech that towers over the player. Cue the dramatic boss music... and it's just another easy battle with Chobin that's barely different from the previous battle mere minutes ago. In this case though, it's both intentional and hilarious.
  • Author's Saving Throw: In Colosseum, you could only save on a PC, unlike the other games where you could save anywhere. This was fixed here.
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    • Shadow Pokémon have been greatly improved upon: there are twice as many as the previous game, they have more moves than just Shadow Rush (which also don't deal recoil damage and are super effective against regular Pokémon, making them a legit threat) and there are far more different varieties of Pokémon.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Michael's little sister Jovi is either adorable and cute, or an Annoying Younger Sibling.
  • Breather Boss: Gorigan's second fight isn't exactly easy, but it's sandwiched between Ardos and Eldes, two of the hardest boss fights in the game. It almost comes across as relaxing compared to those two.
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome: Teddiursa/Ursaring tends to be a staple on most player's teams due to it being the player's first Shadow Pokémon, and a physical powerhouse that stays useful for the entire game.
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  • Complete Monster: Ardos, one of the sons and Co-Dragons of Cipher's leader Greevil, shows himself to be the most vicious and fanatical member within an already monstrous organization. Ardos is fully involved and supportive of Cipher's worst atrocities, involving the mass corruption of Pokémon into becoming unfeeling Shadow Pokémon—whereupon they'll be rendered unable to be purified and massed into an army through which Cipher will control the world. When Greevil is defeated, Ardos, in a last moment of desperation, attempts to cajole his father into killing the child protagonist by wiping out their base on Citadark Isle—taking all his subordinates in the building with it, to which Ardos merely scoffs "such things can be replaced". Even in the post-game, Ardos is as dedicated to the Cipher agenda as ever even when his father has surrendered himself, coldly informing the protagonist they are now Ardos's top target.
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  • Contested Sequel: To Pokémon Colosseum. The Lighter and Softer take on Orre, using a more traditional Kid Hero protagonist, and in general recycling a lot of plot elements from Colosseum made many feel like this game was a step backwards. On the other hand, the vastly increased roster of Shadow Pokemon, giving them diverse moves and status effects made them feel like a fleshed out type in their own right, rather than a gimmick. These Mon are much more viable compared to the first game, where Shadow Pokemon had one move with no effect on other types or themselves. The graphics have notably improved textures and shading, as well as longer and more involved original locations. The only thing people never seem to criticize about the plot is Shadow Lugia.
  • Difficulty Spike:
    • Shadow Lugia and 3 of the final boss's Shadow Pokémon have catch rates of 3 (out of 255) while, with the exception of a Shadow Snorlax and Chansey (which are still 30, or 3.9% with no damage and a default ball), everything else has catch rates that can easily be gotten to 20+% (sleep + Ultra/Net Ball). It seems as though catch rates for Legendary Pokémon may have been modified for this game, however, as they're at least easier to catch than in the main games.
    • The Hexagon Brothers and Miror B, postgame. The Hexagon Brothers hang around the Cipher lab in case you feel like battling them again or have to snag any Shadow Pokémon you missed the first time around. However, after you beat Greevil, they're all at level 50, save any Shadow Pokémon. Miror B, in the final battle at Gateon Port, has five level 57 Ludicolo and one level 55 Shadow Dragonite. (Fortunately, if you have Shadow Salamence, and it has been purified or relearned Wing Attack spamming Wing Attack keeps the Ludicolo from being too annoying, as long as you watch out for the one that knows an ice-type move.)
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Shadow Lugia for being utterly badass and Miror B. (again) for being hilarious, Laughably Evil, stylish, and having awesome music, are the most remembered characters in the game. Even to this day there are several fans demanding that they both make another appearance in the series.
    • Lovrina, for her Genius Ditz personality who doesn't lose an ounce of her valley girl accent or competence while she cheerfully crosses the Moral Event Horizon in creating new and stronger Shadow Pokémon.
    • Cipher Peon Kleef, for having the audacity to avert Mook Chivalry for once in the series and ambush you right after a boss fight, while you're on your way to the nearest healing machine. Among those who've played this game, he's fondly remembered as the smartest evil team Grunt in the entire franchise.
  • Even Better Sequel: Despite mixed opinions on the plot compared to its predecessor, the gameplay is universally considered an improvement across the board. Shadow Pokémon now have fleshed out movesets, don't try to kill themselves with recoil damage, are much more useful in battle, there's a greater variety and number than before, you can convert Shadow Pokémon in batch now without having to constantly keep a slot open to individually Purify them, and Cipher's dungeons are more complex and engaging.
  • Fashion-Victim Villain: Snattle's outfit consists of a Badass Longcoat combined with a white jumpsuit underneath, with what appears to be a massive mood ring around his neck. His purple lipstick and bizarre hat (or possibly hair) don't do him any favors, either.
  • Faux Symbolism: All the protagonist's default names in the English version (Michael, David and Adam) have Biblical connotations.
  • Foe Yay:
    • After being defeated at Orre Colosseum, Lovrina takes a liking to Michael and grants him the title "Lovrina Fan Club Member No. 1".
    Lovrina: I was so impressed by your toughness! Because you are so tough, I'll let you be the first member in my fan club! Doesn't that so make your day?
    • Also, Gorrigan's letter talking of his new "friendship" with Michael is so over the top that some can't wonder how deep these feelings of "friendship" really run.
  • Heartwarming Moments:
    • Shadow Togepi's backstory: you have the option to trade it back to Hordel, with him giving you an Elekid with a unique moveset (if you give him the Shadow Togepi in particular). But you can feel his joy when you give the Togepi/Togetic to him. You can tell he genuinely cared for that little guy and wanted him to be purified as a personal favor, because he grew attached to it.
    • If you beat Greevil again after purifying all Shadow Pokémon, you'll see a brief cutscene of the hero putting his Snag Machine away, as it's not needed anymore. Gives a nice feeling of closure.
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks!: Some thought the game re-used too much from Colosseum, with Greevil in particular basically being a rehashed, less surprising Evice.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Greevil was the Grand Master of Cipher, ruling the organization with his sons. Under the guise of Mr. Verich, Greevil interacted with the citizens of Gateon Port and gave free food and drink at The Krabby Club. After the defeat of the organization in Orre five years prior, Greevil restored the organization with the creation of a Shadow Lugia that could not be purified. Using the Lugia for evil purposes, Greevil worked to hide Cipher's efforts in creating an army of Shadow Pokémon, only acting when the plan was in jeopardy, such as kidnapping Professor Krane when he was inventing a purification machine or attacking ONBS when they had evidence of Cipher's return. Even when production of the Shadow Pokémon fell apart, Greevil was able to kick start the last part of the plan anyway in which Lugia would lead the Shadow Pokémon to take over the world. Upon the defeat of both him and Lugia, Greevil briefly considered destroying his base to make a getaway in spite of the loss of life before surrendering so that he wouldn't have to live with the moral consequences.
  • Narm:
  • Nightmare Fuel: The idea of Shadow Pokémon was already scary enough, but Shadow Lugia is a Pokémon so completely messed up its body literally transformed.
  • Older Than They Think: Gale of Darkness was the first Pokémon game to feature the Physical-Special split, just one year before Pokémon Diamond and Pearl introduced it to the mainline games. What separates the split here from future games, however, is that it only applies to Shadow moves, whereas Gen IV made it so that all moves were categorized.
  • Paranoia Fuel: Cipher Peons have a tendency to drop down from the ceiling when you least expect it. There's also one time where you get on an elevator alone, and you come out of said elevator with a Peon behind you.
  • Slow-Paced Beginning: It takes a few hours before you get into the meat of the game. What with finding your little sister, acquiring the Machine Part, and having to use the Purify Stone to individually convert your Shadow Pokémon until the Purify Chamber's complete. Once it is finished however, Cipher's plans start to come together, the map opens up, and you can start tackling their operations head on.
  • Special Effect Failure: The Bonsly Photo is obviously just official art of Bonsly plopped over a screenshot of Phenac City with a bad drop shadow.
  • Take That, Scrappy!: Pyrite Caves, considered by many to be That One Level, have been sealed off.
  • That One Boss:
    • Snattle's second fight isn't Greevil caliber, but it's also fairly brutal on its own, mainly due to his Shadow Starmie being a decent sweeper and being fought a long way away from a healing machine on either end, but you fight the smartest grunt in the franchise right afterwards.
    • Eldes. His Shadow Salamence is a few levels higher than anything you've fought at this point, and it will steamroll anything that isn't a Shadow Pokémon. Not only that, but his other Shadow Pokémon hit quite hard as well.
    • Greevil not only has access to the three Legendary Birds, but also Lugia, as well as three Pokémon that are fairly strong in their own right.
    • Ardos. Unlike the previous enemies before him, and even a few after him, he introduces some diabolical shadow moves with three very high-quality Shadow Pokémon, two of which are fast, and have full movesets, the other, a Snorlax carrying Leftovers, being very difficult to capture. Oh, and his Alakazam, which he previously used to obliterate an earlier boss, will tear apart an enormous variety of Pokémon, covering all of the weaknesses of his team.
    • Lovrina in her Orre Colesseum battle. While the other 6 rounds are optional, Round 1 is required to be beaten in order to access the new Playable Epilogue content, Lovrina serving as its final boss. Most of her team consists of annoying Stone Walls with little attacking power but many ways to stall, except her Blissey, which is a shocking powerhouse. On top of its massive bulk and Leftovers, it has Counter and Seismic Toss to smash opponents who actually dent its health, and Sing and Attract to make any connecting moves rare. The safest ways to beat it are to get by itself, then deal it a One-Hit Kill, or put it to Sleep and slowly chip its health bar down.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Some fans feel like changing Orre into a much more habitable place made it lose its "edge." One NPC says it's sad that you can't go to The Under anymore, and it's hard to disagree with him.
  • Vindicated by History: In hindsight, some fans have come to appreciate the much more involved stakes relating to the protagonist. His father went missing, never to return, while his mother heads a research lab dedicated to halting Cypher's experiments while working with and getting some Ship Tease with the local professor. Compared to the usual Genre Blindness and lack of relevance families and hometowns tend to get, it's refreshing.

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