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»Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team
  "Gotta rescue 'em all!"

Graphics: 7

Gameplay: 9

Sound: 8

Value: 9
Here we have the most recent roguelike game to hit the western world – Pokémon Mystery Dungeon. Pokémon MD features two versions – Red Rescue Team for the Game Boy Advance, and Blue Rescue Team for the Nintendo DS, making it the first Pokémon game to have its versions on two different consoles. While some gamers may find roguelike games too repetitive, it is a genre that many – including some of you – love regardless or just simply disagree with the other gamers. As for me, I am a little of both. I admit that it’s pretty repetitive, but it’s also a pretty wonderful game.

Pokémon MD starts off by asking you a variety of randomly selected questions. Once you are finished, the game determines which personality and Pokémon you are (out of a list of sixteen Pokémon and personalities), based on your answers. It will then ask you which Pokémon you would like to be paired with (taken from the same list). The game determined that I was Squirtle and jolly, and I chose Pikachu as my partner. You then awaken in the middle of a forest as whichever Pokémon the game assigned you to, and your future partner standing next to you. You were once a human living in our universe, but you have been sent into the Pokémon world. You and your partner eventually form a Rescue Team, which is a group of Pokémon that help rescue other Pokémon from deep dungeons.

A roguelike game is an overhead, 2D dungeon crawler. Other notable roguelike games are Torneko: The Last Hope for the PlayStation, and Dragon Quest Yangus for the PlayStation 2. Once you enter a dungeon, you either have to simply give up, reach the final floor or complete a job in order to exit. Each time you visit a particular dungeon, each floor that you go to, and it is virtually impossible to get one layout more than once. In each dungeon, you will find healing squares, enemies, items/Poké (the currency of the game), the stairway to the next floor down, and if you have any missions, your client will be on the floor listed in the job description. The objective of the dungeon is to survive long enough to reach the end of the dungeon, and also overcome any obstacles on the last floor. However, it is not quite so easy – being randomly generated, a floor of the dungeon may have you standing on the stairway right away, while the reverse is also true – it may be in the last place you look.

In dungeons, you move freely and do not actually enter battles. Each time you make an attack or move one space, you take a “turn”. Once you do so, every enemy and client on that floor will move or attack (depending on if they can attack a member of your team or not). You can have up to four characters in your team, who usually move in a single-file line. You and your first partner cannot leave the party, either temporarily or permanently, restricting your party options somewhat. The layout of a dungeon is always several one-square large corridors with large, open areas in between, which often hold items scattered around the ground and the stairs.

Throughout the dungeons, you will encounter a large variety of Pokémon, almost all of which attack you. When you encounter one, it can attack any of your teammates near it (even diagonally), although they are sometimes sleeping. Once they are done with their attack, you can attack back, but you must either be right next to them or have a ranged attack aimed at them for it to work, or else you’ll merely attack with no effect to anyone. Each successful attack depletes a certain amount of HP, depending on the attack’s power, the enemy’s defense and whether the attack is effective or not on their type. Once they are defeated, they give you experience and any items they may have picked up. The battles in Mystery Dungeon are similar to the battles in the traditional Pokémon role-playing games. It has status effects, critical hits, degrees of effectiveness of attacks and many moves from the RPGs are found in this one as well. However, I must admit that the depth of Pokémon MD is much lower than in Pokémon RPGs.

However, if you have reached the point in the game where you can buy Friend Areas and own the particular Friend Area that your enemy can live in, there is a chance that they will want to join your Rescue Team after being defeated. If you accept, they will join your party, and if you complete the dungeon without them fainting, they will become a full-fledged member of the Rescue Team. There are many things to do in the dungeons – much of the game’s replay value comes from the side missions. If you hope to expand your Rescue Team, you must take on many jobs in order to obtain Poké, items and rescue points, which improves your standing as a Rescue Team. Some of the jobs are pretty easy, thanks both to being on a higher floor and to the luck of starting in the same area as the stairs several times throughout the dungeon. However, sometimes a job can be highly difficult, thanks to an annoying ally AI. Pokémon MD has the oft dreaded escort mission, where you bring your client to a particular floor without them being defeated. This is made all the more difficult by the client always being level one, and constantly choosing to fight with enemies much stronger than them, a problem with the rest of your AI-controlled partners as well.

There is very little difference between Red and Blue. There are several differences, including six exclusive Pokémon for each version, although they can be acquired through having both games in a DS at once and transferring data back and forth. The DS version is a tiny bit better looking and better sounding than the GBA version as well. The biggest difference between the two modes is the dual screen support and touch screen support in the DS version. These features help speed up gameplay, so the DS version is the clear winner (if you own a DS, that is).

The visuals are middle-quality for a GBA game. However, ChunSoft cannot be faulted for lack of effort. The visuals aren’t that bad, they are just extremely simple. Just like how Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga on GBA didn’t have the best visuals on the GBA, but it had some of the most awesome visuals on the GBA. But instead of awesomeness, it’s the simple fact that good-looking Mystery Dungeon games are a dime a dozen, and that the visuals not only do not interfere with the gameplay, but they actually compliment its simplicity.

The audio is pretty good for a GBA game, not really suffering from any major technological flaws. Each dungeon has its own, unique song, which suit each dungeon well. While the composition is mostly of medium to high quality, they are pretty repetitive, like most video game music is. Sound effects are pretty sparse – if I recall correctly, each attack has its own sound effect that other attacks may share, but until I began writing the audio section for this review, I never really thought about them.

The replay value is pretty high – depending on your patience for a game like this. Like the Pokémon RPGs, there’s a whole lot of Pokémon modification that can be done, including leveling up and new moves, although it’s more entertaining in the traditional Pokémon games. You also have the arduous task of purchasing every Friend Area, completing every mission and filling your Pokédex with every Pokémon that you may encounter. Unfortunately, it shares a similar flaw to Pokémon Snap – you can only get some Pokémon. Regardless, collecting the Pokémon that CAN be collected is still a lengthy process that’ll keep you playing, at least for a while.

Overall, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team is an excellent example of a great roguelike game and a great game period. If you have enough patience, you should consider getting this (specifically, the DS version if you can). Not all people will like it, of course. I don’t usually do this, but I must dissuade you from getting it if you don’t think you’ll like it, regardless of what I think of it. But if you are either interested or like roguelike games, don’t pass this one up.

Article by:
Posted on: Sep. 26th, 2006

     Review Recap
Solid roguelike game, but can be a bit repetitive and frustrating at times.

Good for a simple game style as this, but could have been a little better.

Decent composition, but repetitive music and forgettable sound effects.

 Replay Value
Plenty of missions, the Pokédex and leveling up make me wish I bought this instead of renting it.

  November 4, 2006

  February 21, 2007


i got pokemon red rescue for christmas its really good

  February 21, 2007


i like i love it

  February 21, 2007


  February 21, 2007

id give everything a 9 9 gameplay 9 graghics 9 sound and 9 replay value

  February 21, 2007



  June 1, 2007


rules and rocks

  June 27, 2007


my game dont save

Platform: Gameboy Advance
Genre: Adventure
Developer: ChunSoft
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: Out Now
Save Type: 1 Slot

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