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Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team (ポケモン不思議のダンジョン 赤の救助隊, Pokemon Fushigi no Danjon Aka no Kyūjotai) is a Pokemon franchise video game for the Nintendo DS, developed by Chunsoft and published by Nintendo.
This video game and its sister version, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team are mostly identical, with the Blue version taking advantage of the dual-screen features and increased graphical capabilities of the Nintendo DS. The game has six Pokémon exclusive to each version.
The player starts out as a human who turned into a Pokémon, which can be one of sixteen Pokémon (Bulbasaur, Squirtle, Charmander, Cyndaquil, Totodile, Chikorita, Treecko, Torchic, Mudkip, Pikachu, Eevee, Machop, Cubone, Psyduck, Meowth, and Skitty) and is determined by a personality quiz taken at the beginning of the game. The player chooses a partner Pokémon which is one of ten Pokémon (which excludes the last six stated above and the Pokémon of the same type). The game is mission-based with many jobs, which can be found on the bulletin board, requested by mail, or initiated through story events, and include rescuing Pokémon, delivering items, or escorting clients. If the player successfully completes a job, they receive a reward, and Rescue Points, which increase a team's rank.
These jobs take part in dungeons, of which the layout is randomized. The objective is to either finish a job, or go through all the floors to find the exit. In the dungeon, there are wild Pokémon that battle with the player's team. These battles are turn-based, and take place in the dungeon map. Pokémon fight using the four moves they know, by using a standard 'A button' attack, or throwing rocks and other items. While going through the dungeon, the player gets hungry, and has to eat food either found in the dungeon, or bought in advance.
The player wakes up one day finding that they have been transformed into a Pokémon, without any memory of his past. In a world devastated by many natural disasters — that have only begun to happen quite recently —  they are asked for help by a distressed Butterfree, who asks him for help to find her child, Caterpie, in the nearby Tiny Woods. After the rescue, the player's partner suggests that the two of them should join forces and form a rescue team. The team meets other rescue teams, including a top-ranked rescue team consisting of Alakazam, Charizard and Tyranitar, named Team ACT (This name is not specifically given in the game, but rather the anime special based on the game.), which corresponds to the first letter of the three Pokémon's names. The team makes enemies unwittingly with another rescue team, Team Meanies, consisting of Gengar, Ekans, and Medicham, who seek world domination under the disguise of a rescue team. Not far into the storyline, the player is told of a legend about a Ninetales laying a curse on a human who had deliberately grabbed Ninetales's tail. Ninetales predicted that the human would eventually be reborn as a Pokémon, and that the natural balance of the world would be upset.
In the quest to discover the player's lost memory and purpose as a Pokémon, the team quests to where fortune-teller Xatu resides. Xatu is quick to realize that the player was once a human, and tells that the player's human-to-Pokémon transformation is tied together with the natural disasters. This conversation is eavesdropped upon by Team Meanies' Gengar, who reveals the player's secret to the townsfolk and says that eliminating the human-turned-Pokémon in the legend would bring everything back to normal. The partner, in unwavering support of the player, doubts Gengar's assertion. The player is unable to speak in his defense, fearing they may be the human from the Ninetales legend, due to having dreams of Gardevoir.
They are then confronted by Alakazam, who says the Pokémon held a town meeting on what they must do to save the world: they must find and kill the player, and anyone who sides with him. As they give the team one night to get away, the two leave Pokémon Square as fugitives and make their way to the northeasternmost part of the world in an effort to elude the teams that are now hunting them down. Along the way, they encounter the legendary birds Moltres and Articuno who feel the effects of the disasters in their respective areas. They befriend an Absol who seeks to find the true cause of the natural disasters. The trio reaches the top of Mt. Freeze only to be cornered by Team ACT. They get ready to finish the player and partner off, but are stopped by Ninetales, who reveals that the player is not the human in the legend, but reveals that the world is in greater danger caused by the awakening of Groudon.
Team ACT proceeds to try and stop Groudon, while the team heads home to clear all remaining suspicion at Pokémon Square. After a few days, the player and the partner worry that Team ACT has not come back from their mission to quell Groudon. Asking to rescue the missing Team ACT, Lombre refuses to let them go, saying there are plenty of tougher Pokémon than them. Shiftry convinces three of the best Pokémon, Team Hydro's Blastoise, Team Constrictor's Octillery, and Team Rumblerock's Golem to form a special rescue team and rescue Team ACT. After a few days, the special team returns defeated, not even having gotten far enough to even reach Groudon. After being discouraged by Gengar, the player and partner are able to get everyone's spirits back up, and volunteer to rescue Team ACT themselves. When the team reaches Magma Cavern, they find Charizard and Tyranitar defeated, with Alakazam fighting against Groudon alone — but is quickly defeated. The team takes matters into their own hands and defeat Groudon.
They return back to town as heroes, but their celebration is short-lived as grave news arrives from Xatu. A huge meteor, revealed to be the true cause of the natural disasters, is heading for the world, threatening to destroy it. The only way to stop it is to ask for help from the sky guardian Rayquaza. After the player heads to the Sky Tower, they find that Rayquaza is less than cooperative. They are forced to battle Rayquaza in order to force its cooperation, and Rayquaza agrees to use its Hyper Beam to destroy the meteor. The team reawakens on the ground, surrounded by their supporters, where they find that the world is safe once again. However, the player must return to being a human and leave the Pokémon world behind. The Pokémon are shocked by the player's sudden departure, but let them leave. Once the credits roll, the player returns to the rescue team base, where all the town's Pokémon are gathered and surprises all the supporters by returning in Pokémon form, and a celebration begins. Once the player Pokémon returns, a shard of the destroyed meteor opens a secret cave under Whiscash Pond, enabling evolution.
First revealed August 2005, the Japanese release date was announced in September. More details were released later that month, showing information about the gameplay and plot. In November, Nintendo announced a bug in Blue Rescue Team version, when connecting to the GameBoy Advance slot to link up with Red Rescue Team. If the user had any other game besides Red Rescue Team, it would erase any game files the game has. Nintendo started shipment of replacement DS cards on December 8. At E3 2006, Nintendo announced the English release of the games, and revealed the release date later that month.
The game has received mixed reviews. IGN rated the game a "Passable" 6.5, feeling that the DS version could have been better, if it did not have to be made for GameBoy Advance. They stated that "For a game that encourages team play, it's amazing that ChunSoft missed the boat when it comes to exploring dungeons and finishing missions with a friend". The game has been criticized for its visuals, with reviewers stating that the DS version does not improve graphically on the GBA version. GameSpot gave it a 5.2, stating that "No matter how much you claim to love Pokémon, you should probably skip Pokémon Mystery Dungeon", stating that "ChunSoft's dungeon hack game wasn't that good to begin with, and the injection of Pokémon elements hasn't done a thing to change that". 1UP gave the games an A-, saying "you may realize the game isn't "perfect," but somehow it's addictive". GameSpy gave it a 4/5, stating "It may confuse some and frustrate others, but its addictive nature should keep you hooked until you learn to appreciate the art of the dungeon crawl". Nintendo Power gave the game an 80/100, saying that "Mystery Dungeon is not perfect, but its robust and original aspects form a game more solid than many expected". Electronic Gaming Monthly gave the game a 7.2/10, stating that "storing and retrieving items is too much of a hassle", and also did not like that when the player dies, they lose all of their valuable items.
- Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Ginji's Rescue Team (the manga serial based on the games)
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- Chris Slate, ed (November 2006). Nintendo Power. Nintendo. p. 86. "Mystery Dungeon is not perfect, but its robust and original aspects form a game more solid than many expected"
- James "Milkman" Mielke, ed (November 2006). Electronic Gaming Monthly. EGM Media, LLC. p. 138.