Let's Talk About: Pokémon Mystery Dungeon - Blue Rescue Team

Back in 2006, I was inspired to try a new gaming style that Nintendo had mashed together for Pokémon fans. This game was Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team for the Nintendo DS (an alternate version was released as Red Rescue Team on the Game Boy Advance) and was a very intriguing game for it's time.
In this story you play as a Pokémon (mainly a starter or another small Pokémon from Generations I-III) who has no memory of who he/she is, only that they were once human. Your partner Pokémon and yourself are decided through a personality questionnaire you play in the very start to help you begin your adventure. The game's main intention is to have you and your partner go out on adventures and quests where you venture into Dungeons to rescue fellow Pokémon who are lost. One recurring theme is that your character is plagued by mysterious dreams. What do they mean? Why are you inflicted with them? You'll have to play on to find out!

The Pokémon world in this game is nothing like the original games we all grew up playing. In this (maybe alternate) Pokémon reality, humans don't feature. In your Pokémon Square, you live with other peaceful Pokémon, including other competing Rescue Teams, and everyday you venture into faraway lands. There are things for you to do in the square to help you gear up and store away during your quests. Every morning you wake up and meet your partner and you're greeted by Pelipper the Mail Pokémon and are granted your own Rescue Team Base which will, eventually, look outstanding.

The dungeons bring a whole new perspective to playing Pokémon. Each dungeon has a different layout and requires you to explore every nook and cranny. The dungeons are filled with aggressive Pokémon who will attack without reason, so you must train and endure as best you can if you want to make it out alive. The main objective is to search every floor looking for the blue stairs icon which helps you ascend/descend further and help you search for your objectives. The top of the screen shows you and your team, whilst the bottom shows a silhouette of the dungeon map - as you venture further, the dungeon's layout will begin to write itself. You'll encounter territorial Pokémon as well as discover things in every area. Once you have reached your objective, you and your fellow Pokémon will shine a Rescue Badge and you will all zoom out of the dungeon. Strangely it looks like an abduction or like they're shouting "It's Morphing Time!"

The controls are confusing at first but you get used to them. Suffice to say they all have different functions in different situations and react with how you press them. You can combine buttons for certain effects in battle, depending on choices you've made for your Pokémon. It takes a while to master, but that's part of the charm. The music, as anyone who's played any other game in the franchise would expect, is phenomenal. I won't go into much about the story for fear of ruining your own experience. Instead I'll let you in on the unique qualities that unfold once you have finished the game. It's good when games are over but there is still plenty more to do and discover, right?

Thanks to the cataclysmic ending, things become out of balance and new things arise for you to fix and discover. Evolution becomes available which is very interesting as it's not like in the original games where you suddenly begin evolving after a battle. No; in this game you use a mysterious stone, similar to Pokémon Coliseum. Plus a whole new load of epic and frustratingly difficult dungeons become the bane of your skills. To make the game harder than before, these new dungeons have hidden traps everywhere that affect you in the most annoying ways, really putting your skills and patience to the test. Some traps make your Pokémon or Items become damaged or inflict problems which can make it harder to advance. On the bright side, you are now able to recruit new Pokémon from the dungeons to join your Rescue Team and come back to other friend areas (so long as you have purchased them from Wigglytuff). So why not recruit Legendary Pokémon and make your team look overwhelmingly powerful and cool? I'd say the biggest problem that gets me every time besides the damn traps are the Monster Houses. Imagine walking into a room where suddenly a big group of powerful Pokémon fall from the ceiling and the music suddenly changes which means you're pretty much screwed. Seeing as they surround your team, they're pretty much unbeatable. I've lost lots and lots of times thanks to this mechanic. If you can somehow overcome this surprise attack then well done! Otherwise stock up on Revival Seeds and expect the unexpected.

I actually began this game back in 2006 and got quite far through vigorous training with my Blastoise (main choice) and my partner Charizard. But things didn't quite go according to plan and I decided to start again, losing everything in the process *sad face*. But now I'm reliving the glory days and it feels good! I haven't played any other Mystery Dungeon game that was ever released since, sadly. I don't know why, I guess I just never got around to it. I have seen all of the improvements/changes to each game and they look stunning. I think that the 3DS Gates To Infinity looks most intriguing since its graphics remind me of the Wii game PokéPark which I had a lot of fun playing.

So overall, if I was to give this game a rating, I'd give it a decent 8/10. I do wonder if the Red Rescue Team on Game Boy Advance would have been harder without the two screens to show everything. Perhaps in time, I can acquire all the other games and give them a try too. Maybe they are available on the Nintendo eShop for 3DS? It'd be helpful, as my original Nintendo DS is starting to fall apart. It is amazing that it has worked and stayed alive all this time ever since I got it bundled with Mario Kart DS.

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