GBAtemp Recommends: Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Red & Blue Rescue Team

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The latest Nintendo Direct had quite the surprise for us—a full remake of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Red and Blue Rescue Team! [prebreak][/prebreak]To my friends, it's no secret that the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games are close to my heart. When I was young, I owned Red Rescue Team, and I played the hell out of it. With the remakes coming in hot, we take a look at the originals for the Gameboy Advance and Nintendo DS.

Premise

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon is based on a rather simple premise. You are a human, who has mysteriously turned into a Pokémon, losing all of your memories in the process. All you can remember is that you were human. Upon starting the game, you take a personality quiz to determine which Pokémon you play as. This is a charming concept, but sometimes I'm unhappy with the results. Perhaps a relic of its time, I feel it'd be much better to just be able to choose. You are, however, allowed to pick your partner Pokémon, who you travel with throughout the game.

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon is far more interesting to me than the mainline entries due to the emotional story and lovable characters. When you wake up in the Pokémon world, you soon learn that its residents have recently been plagued with natural disasters, causing mass panic. You, along with your partner, form a Rescue Team in order to help Pokémon in Mystery Dungeons, dangerous places with aggressive Pokémon and randomised layouts. On your journey, you meet a number of Pokémon both good and bad, facing numerous challenges, sticking together with your partner through thick and thin. It's a tough journey, with some Pokémon believing that you are the cause of the disasters.

Gameplay

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In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon, you traverse through randomly generated floors in a variety of themed dungeons. Your goal is to either reach the end, defeat a boss Pokémon, or to complete missions from the town's bulletin board. Each dungeon is unique, and filled with different Pokémon to fight. As in standard RPGs, defeating enemies nets you experience, allowing you to progressively get stronger and learn new moves throughout the game. The way Red and Blue Rescue Team handle moves is excellent, allowing you to slowly build your power over the course of the game.

Some types of Pokémon have different advantages in certain dungeons. For example, if your Pokémon is a water type or fire type, you can walk on water and lava respectively. If your Pokémon can levitate or fly, you can float over both! Ghost types can even pass through walls, at the cost of hunger.

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Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games take a little more thought than your bog-standard Pokémon game. My experience with main-series titles is to spam attack moves, and ignore status moves. You just don't need to use them in single-player, as the games are so easy. In Mystery Dungeon, though, I keep status moves handy all the time. They're immensely useful in both explorations and boss battles. This isn't a 'mash A to win' game. It's no Dark Souls, but it's a lot more involved than other Pokémon games.

Sometimes the balance feels a little bit off. A whopping five out of the seven bosses in the main story are flying type, which can feel unfair if you're unfortunate enough to be weak to flying. As a Chikorita in my latest playthrough, one of the bird legendaries managed to KO me in one hit. This isn't impossible to get around if you use the aforementioned status moves wisely, but if you're unprepared, you could very well get beaten into a pulp.

There are some minor niggles I have here and there—this is the first game in the series, after all, so there's bound to be some oversights. For one thing, recruiting Pokémon can be a painful task. To get new Pokémon, you need to have the correct 'Friend Area', which can cost a hefty amount. This isn't really the issue though, as money isn't too hard to come across. The real issues are small quality of life stuff that were massively improved in the sequel. To add Pokémon to your team, you have to visit their friend area and speak with them. Alone this doesn't sound too annoying, but after you complete the game, all of your team members reset after every exploration. This makes for some tedious time-wasting, when you're trying to just enjoy yourself.

Secondly, there is a small aspect borrowed from main-series titles that makes an annoying appearance here; HMs. Some dungeons require you to either carry an HM with you to enter, or to have a Pokémon with that move on your team. This is dreadful, and thankfully, HMs never played this role in sequels. Let's just hope these are kept out of the remakes, hm?

Graphics & Sound


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The Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series lost a ton of charm on its transition to the 3D world. The Gameboy Advance and Nintendo DS entries are beautiful, with wonderfully designed environments that don't get old. One of the things that gives PMD so much personality is the headshot sprites of important characters, with several versions depending on reactions. This is done for the entire main cast, making the characters feel alive. The music is just as good, with catchy tracks to fit whatever mood the game throws at you. I recommend checking out the Spriters Resource page for this game, as it's full of the charming sprites that make this game so beautiful.

Gameboy Advance, Nintendo DS, or the Switch?

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The Rescue Team games are an amazing start to a franchise that had an even better sequel. These are amongst my favourite games of all time. Right now, the definitive version is Blue Rescue Team for the DS, thanks to the second screen coming in handy for some information during gameplay. I'm curious to see how the Switch version will stack up. With the quality of life improvements we've seen in the demo and recent Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games, it could very well be the best way to play, even if I'm sceptical about the graphics. I'd say that there's no better time to jump on the original to see where the series started, all the way back in 2006.

They have their flaws—they are nearly 15 years old, after all. But, despite this, they're still stand-out titles, and a must-have in your Nintendo DS library.

If you enjoyed this week's edition of GBAtemp Recommends, please leave a comment in the thread. This helps us monitor feedback and ensures we keep posting these articles in the future! For those who are interested in viewing previous entries, you can see them below!

Tags: [GAME=/game/pok-mon-mystery-dungeon-red-rescue-team.2319]Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team[/GAME] [GAME=/game/pok-mon-mystery-dungeon-blue-rescue-team.2320]Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team[/GAME]

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AkiraKurusu

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YAAAAS!
These, especially the DS Blue Rescue Team, are excellent games, even now; BRT is among my favourite DS games due to both gameplay and story. While I don't like the postgame or Friend Areas (fairly frequently, I found myself unable to recruit a species I wanted because the appropriate Friend Area wasn't available for sale or otherwise unlocked yet), and that being able to recruit Pokemon via completing Jobs wouldn't be implemented until Explorers of Time/Darkness, the main story is still brilliant and well worth experiencing even once - let alone multiple times, trying out different main/partner combinations.

Also, compared to Rescue Team DX, BRT has a basic A-button attack that is weaker than actual moves, but doesn't consume PP - making it perfect as a finisher for random encounters (if you use a move, you'll get an EXP bonus; this bonus still applies if you use a move and then finish off with the A-button attack). Dunno why the Switch remake removed it, at least in the demo. Stupid.

The Wonder Mail system is also quite exploitable, in that if you find an online Wonder Mail generator you can create codes for custom missions - whichever dungeon and floor you desire, whichever Pokemon are involved, whatever rewards you want.

Blue Rescue Team isn't as good as Explorers of (especially Sky), but SO much better than Gates to Infinity or Super Mystery Dungeon. Hell, the actual-2D artstyle looks better than the artbook motif the remake's attempting.
 
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Daisy

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Did you guys play temtem? No one is talking about it here.
https://gbatemp.net/threads/temtem-preview-the-pokemon-mmo-weve-been-waiting-for.555782
YAAAAS!
These, especially the DS Blue Rescue Team, are excellent games, even now; BRT is among my favourite DS games due to both gameplay and story. While I don't like the postgame or Friend Areas (fairly frequently, I found myself unable to recruit a species I wanted because the appropriate Friend Area wasn't available for sale or otherwise unlocked yet), and that being able to recruit Pokemon via completing Jobs wouldn't be implemented until Explorers of Time/Darkness, the main story is still brilliant and well worth experiencing even once - let alone multiple times, trying out different main/partner combinations.

Also, compared to Rescue Team DX, BRT has a basic A-button attack that is weaker than actual moves, but doesn't consume PP - making it perfect as a finisher for random encounters (if you use a move, you'll get an EXP bonus; this bonus still applies if you use a move and then finish off with the A-button attack). Dunno why the Switch remake removed it, at least in the demo. Stupid.

The Wonder Mail system is also quite exploitable, in that if you find an online Wonder Mail generator you can create codes for custom missions - whichever dungeon and floor you desire, whichever Pokemon are involved, whatever rewards you want.

Blue Rescue Team isn't as good as Explorers of (especially Sky), but SO much better than Gates to Infinity or Super Mystery Dungeon. Hell, the actual-2D artstyle looks better than the artbook motif the remake's attempting.

Yeah the 3DS titles suck ):
 
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AkiraKurusu

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Yeah it’s a shame. It’s also a shame that there was no Pokemon ranger for the 3ds. PMD and ranger series for the ds was amazing
While the original Ranger is quite frustrating (due to not having the 'HP gauge' the other two would have, meaning you have to capture Pokemon in one line - if you lift the stylus, in order to dodge attacks or your hand getting tired, you have to start again. Note that some Pokemon can require a lot of circling - I seem to remember 40 or so), and Guardian Sign's multiplayer system is timed (ugh), I generally like the Ranger trilogy.

It's a shame that they couldn't really innovate after Shadows of Almia, couldn't bring something stand-out and new; for the most part, Guardian Signs is just more SoA in terms of gameplay. They did try with the titular Guardian Signs, and improving the 'captured Pokemon boosted the Styler' system, but that wasn't enough to save the series.
I would've loved Gen V Ranger, and there hasn't been anything as interesting since. Hell, the DS had the most alternative Pokemon experiences (Mystery Dungeon, Ranger, Dash, Trozei, etc.), but all that's fallen away since the release of the 3DS, leading to a much more boring lineup - nothing to really look forward to except mainline and Mystery Dungeon games, and even those were decreasing in quality.

The DS shall always be the PokeConsole, at least in my eyes.
 
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Brigand

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I just started playing Red Rescue Team the other day! I've completed Blue before, but never really delved into the aftergame which is actually quite enjoyable, especially if you're aiming to recruit all the Pokemon. Unpopular opinion, I actually like the friend areas. It adds to the challenge. I think the fact that we're getting Rescue Team DX is great, it means the company knew they did something amazing with the original Mystery Dungeon titles. I just hope it retains the same amount of difficulty as the originals, as even though I starved to death a hundred times and lost to Moltres twice as much, the feeling of completing the game after all that difficulty was awesome. The last Mystery Dungeon game I played was Super which wasn't anywhere near as challenging as the originals or PMD2, which was a bit disappointing.

The soundtrack also needs a shoutout, it was great at communicating where you were and what you were feeling (Sinister Woods, Great Canyon and Fugitives really stand out) though if you're going to listen to it on its own go with BRT's soundtrack, as RRT's only really sounds good while playing on the GBA. I definitely recommend this game even if you're not into Pokemon. It just has a really neat story and gameplay that could be described as quite addicitve. I like Blue just that little bit more because of the ability to see your team's HP on the top screen, and the controls also feel a bit more refined.
 
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relauby

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I’ll need to check these out. I love the premise and world of Pokémon, but I’ve never been able to get into the mainline RPGs, so I’ve always been drawn to the spinoffs. The PMD games have certainly caught my attention based on this article.
 
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AkiraKurusu

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I just started playing Red Rescue Team the other day! I've completed Blue before, but never really delved into the aftergame which is actually quite enjoyable, especially if you're aiming to recruit all the Pokemon. Unpopular opinion, I actually like the friend areas. It adds to the challenge. I think the fact that we're getting Rescue Team DX is great, it means the company knew they did something amazing with the original Mystery Dungeon titles. I just hope it retains the same amount of difficulty as the originals, as even though I starved to death a hundred times and lost to Moltres twice as much, the feeling of completing the game after all that difficulty was awesome. The last Mystery Dungeon game I played was Super which wasn't anywhere near as challenging as the originals or PMD2, which was a bit disappointing.

The soundtrack also needs a shoutout, it was great at communicating where you were and what you were feeling (Sinister Woods, Great Canyon and Fugitives really stand out) though if you're going to listen to it on its own go with BRT's soundtrack, as RRT's only really sounds good while playing on the GBA. I definitely recommend this game even if you're not into Pokemon. It just has a really neat story and gameplay that could be described as quite addicitve. I like Blue just that little bit more because of the ability to see your team's HP on the top screen, and the controls also feel a bit more refined.
...You know, you could've used a Wonder Mail generator to give yourself a Tight Belt (prevents Belly from decreasing, except for if you're going through walls. That is, like Ghost-types do; not if you're just smashing through them with a late IQ skill)...
 

Brigand

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...You know, you could've used a Wonder Mail generator to give yourself a Tight Belt (prevents Belly from decreasing, except for if you're going through walls. That is, like Ghost-types do; not if you're just smashing through them with a late IQ skill)...
I'm not into cheating, even if its built in through a feature like wonder mail. Stamina bands are available pretty early on anyway, and so are huge apples, so hunger's not really a huge problem until you get to Western Cave and the like because of the grime traps, but you're right tight belts are mad helpful and you usually have one by the aftergame. And I admit the ability to use custom wonder mail codes is fun after you've completed everything.
 
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Asia81

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I'm replaying it due to the DX announce.
I'm almost at 99.99% finished, I just need to find this f*cking Munchlax at Pokémon Square to finish complete my adventure log.
 

Chary

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I'll never forget picking up the game from pre-order from a Hollywood video, and playing it, amazed at what I was seeing on my GBA. You could play as a Pokemon?! And the unexpected joy at getting Charmander in the first quiz I took. It was the coolest thing for me as a kid. I absolutely love these games to death, and while I don't think the remake is poised to improve on them in any way, I'll certainly be playing at launch.
 

Mythical

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I downloaded 24 gb of all GBA games for my everdrive gba x5. I will look for these two games and play them.
There's definitely not 24gb of gba games (or even gba, gbc, and gb).
Hope you enjoy the games though.

This was one of my favorite games as a kid and I played it all the time (BLue ds version)
until the card stopped working that is :/
Maybe if I can find it I could somehow extract the save data but probably not :/
 

Daisy

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There's definitely not 24gb of gba games (or even gba, gbc, and gb).
Hope you enjoy the games though.

This was one of my favorite games as a kid and I played it all the time (BLue ds version)
until the card stopped working that is :/
Maybe if I can find it I could somehow extract the save data but probably not :/

Y'know what's fun? The GBA and DS versions of this game have interchangeable save files. I played the story in RRT and moved over to Blue for the postgame stuff
 

Mythical

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Y'know what's fun? The GBA and DS versions of this game have interchangeable save files. I played the story in RRT and moved over to Blue for the postgame stuff
That's really nice to know actually maybe I can find my old cart :D
 
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