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Pokmon Ranger: Shadows of Almia (????????? ????? Pokemon Renja Batonaji?, lit.

Po kmon Ranger: Vatonage) is an action/role-playing video game developed by Creature s Inc. for the Nintendo DS video game console. It is the prequel to the Pokmon Ra nger video game, also for the DS. It was announced in the January 2008 issue of CoroCoro and was released in Japan on March 20, 2008. It was announced at E3 2008 that the game would be released in the United States under the title Shadows of Almia on November 10, 2008. It w as announced on September 25 that the game would be released in Europe under the title Shadows of Almia on November 21, 2008. The game features 270 Pokmon, including new Pokmon which were not featured in the original Pokmon Ranger, from Pokmon Diamond and Pearl. The game utilizes the Ninte ndo Wi-Fi Connection to download new missions. Gameplay The game takes place in the Almia region. The player begins as a Pokmon ranger-in -training at the Ranger School and quickly graduates to a rookie Ranger and must advance from there. The player may choose their character s gender, but unlike in the original Pokmon Ranger, this choice does not affect their partner Pokmon. Much of gameplay is similar to the original game. Players must capture/befriend wild Pokmon to aid them by circling them with their Nintendo DS stylus (known as a Capture Styler in the game). There is a major change from the original capture method. Instead of having to c omplete certain number of loops without lifting the stylus, the player must fill up a Pokmon s Friendship Gauge by drawing loops around the Pokmon, but can lift the stylus to avoid attacks. However, the power in Friendship Gauge will decrease o ver time if the player stops drawing loops for too long. The amount of power in the gauge filled by each loop increases as the player levels up the styler. Shadows of Almia also introduces Quests, which are mini-missions not essential t o the plot that involve the player completing requests from Almia citizens, earn ing new partner Pokmon and power-ups (such as resistance to attacks or longer cap ture lines) for their styler as rewards. Unlike the original, Shadows of Almia allows the player to choose their partner Pokmon. In the previous game, the partner was decided based on the players chosen gender (Minun for male, Plusle for female). Players start with either Pachirisu , Munchlax, or Starly, and the other 14 partners (as well as the two partners th at were not chosen at the beginning) are obtainable either through sub-quests or in-game events, and once captured, can be switched to be the player's partner a t any time. There are 17 possible partners, one for each Pokmon type. Shadows of Almia also includes 4 different types of stylers: the School, Capture , Fine and Vatonage stylers. The School styler is a simplified version of the ca pture styler, while the Fine Styler has a charge feature (which can be upgraded) which activates when the styler is held down, increasing the amount of feelings conveyed to the Pokmon and enabling quicker captures. The Vatonage styler is a u nique Fine Styler that can capture Team Dim Sun's Pokmon instead of merely releas ing them. Synopsis Setting This game takes place in a new region - Almia (?????? Arumia-chiho?), far from a ll other regions encountered in other games. The Fiore region is an exception, h owever. It is mentioned frequently in Almia. Almia has a widely varied landscape , everything from the hot Haruba Desert to the chilly Hia Valley.

Plot The game follows the protagonists, a young Pokmon Ranger as he or she graduates f rom Ranger School and takes on the duties of a fully fledged Ranger. The male is called Kellyn (Hajime in the Japanese version) and the female is called Kate (H itomi in the Japanese version). Only Kellyn appears in the Pokmon anime. Missions advance the story, which is centred around the antagonists Team Dim Sun (Team Yami Yami in the Japanese version) and their unknown intentions involving Pokmon mind-control machines called Gigaremos powered by dark crystals. Quests u sually consist of the player travelling around the Almia region, performing vary ing tasks requested by citizens in exchange for rewards. The game starts at the Ranger School, with the player enrolling as a student aft er expertly capturing a Pikachu. The player quickly makes friends with two of cl assmates, Rhythmi who dreams of being an Operator, and Keith, a rival, who dream s of becoming a Top Ranger. After the player and Keith nearly discover what Mr. Kincaid, a teacher, is doing in the basement, Mr. Kincaid seals it off from all students. Both the player and Keith show strong potential as Rangers, and gradua te with full honors after defeating two Tangrowth at their graduation ceremony. The player stays in Almia, while Keith and Rhythmi go to Fiore as part of their training. The player's family moves into a nearby town known as Chicole Village, and the player goes to live with them. The next day, the player becomes an Area Ranger in the local village of Vientown . After recovering a Partner Pokmon at the beach, the player begins his/her first major mission by patrolling a nearby cave. The Pokmon inside the cave are unusua lly aggressive and resistant to capture by the ranger's styler. At the back of t he cave, the player finds a strange machine (later called a Gigaremo) that appea rs to be controlling the Pokmon. The rangers promptly destroy the device, freeing the Pokmon, and begin researching its abilities. Subsequently, the rangers disco ver that the Gigaremos are being set up by Team Dim Sun, suggesting wider crimin al activities. The player travels to the Ranger Union, the headquarters of all r anger operations in Almia, to warn the rangers about the Gigaremo. On the way, t he player sees Altru Inc., a powerful oil company that is building a massive tow er in the center of the Almia region. Soon afterward, the player is informed of a fire in the Vien Forest, north of Vi entown. After going into the forest, the player will have to capture a Blastoise and use its Rain Dance ability to douse the fire. Afterwards, the player is con gratulated on how well the player has done, and can progress onto the city on th e other end of the Vien Forest-Pueltown. A few days later, the player is sent on a mission to retrieve his missing team l eader, Barlow. Barlow was last seen in Boyleland investigating a volcanic cave. The player will have to go to Pueltown and take a boat to Boyleland. Deep inside the cave, the player finds members of Team Dim Sun deploying new Miniremo devic es to control all of the Pokmon on the island. The player dodges the guards and l earns that Barlow has been captured and is being placed on a ship along with the Pokmon. The player sneaks on board, locates Barlow, and the two launch an assaul t on the ship's bridge. Although Barlow's styler is destroyed in the ensuing att ack, the player forces Team Dim Sun, including its leader, Mr. Kincaid, to aband on the ship, saving all of Boyleland's Pokmon. The ship crashes into the yard of the Ranger School, never to sail again. Recognizing the threat posed by Team Dim Sun, the Ranger Union promptly promotes the player to the rank of Top Ranger. At the Union, the player discovers that K eith has also been promoted to Top Ranger, and that Rhythmi has achieved her dre am of becoming a Top Operator, where she serves as the player's guide. During th

e player's first mission as a Top Ranger, he helps another Top Ranger, named Sve n, to investigate a Dim Sun mining operation in the Chroma Ruins, east of the Ra nger Union. They discover that Dim Sun is searching for dark crystals for poweri ng the Gigaremo devices. After defeating a Spiritomb, they also discover a massi ve hole, apparently left from removing the legendary "Shadow Crystal" whose curr ent location is unknown. While studying the dark crystal retrieved from a captur ed Gigaremo, several Union workers accidentally discover that the crystals can b e neutralized by a set of red, blue, and yellow shards. The player and Keith go on to separately collect the sources of these shards; the blue gem from Almia Ca stle, the red gem from Boyle Volcano, and the yellow gem from Hippowdon Temple. Although the player takes both the blue and red gems, Keith is captured by Dim S un, which uses him to blackmail the player into surrendering the yellow gem. Mea nwhile, Sven raids Dim Sun's undersea base, stealing plans for an "Incredible Ma chine". The plans reveal that Altru Inc.'s tower is actually a massive Gigaremo powered by the Shadow Crystal and that Altru has been behind Dim Sun's activitie s. Realizing that the tower will become operational within hours (i.e. during th e tower's "opening ceremony"), the Ranger Union orders all of its rangers to att ack the tower. Equipped with a specialized styler designed to overcome the Gigar emo's influence, the player succeeds in deactivating the tower's force fields an d rescues the yellow gem, allowing the other rangers to launch an airborne assau lt on the Shadow Crystal at the tower's top. However, the tower reaches operatio nal capacity before the rangers can reach the Shadow Crystal. Altru Inc.'s presi dent, Blake Hall, takes the chance to destroy the ranger's only hope of disablin g the tower (the three colored gems) by charging the crystal to its maximum powe r level and summoning his strongest Pokmon, Darkrai. Darkrai instead goes insane from the intense power overload, attacks Blake, and darkens the area, preventing the rangers from approaching the Shadow Crystal. By empowering his/her styler w ith the gems, the player stops Darkrai's rage, allowing the other rangers to dis able the tower by converting the Shadow Crystal into a "Luminous Crystal" which undoes the mental torture inflicted on Almia's Pokmon. In the end, peace returns to Almia and its inhabitants, and the characters enjoy a concert originally plan ned for Altru Inc. (ironically played by the Go-Rock Quads from the original Pokm on Ranger) while the player returns home to his family. The game ends showing Da rkrai circling the Luminous Crystal, signifying the return of peace. Reception Shadows of Almia has received mostly mixed reviews, with a score of 68 on Metacr itic. GameSpot gave the title a 7.5 out of 10 rating, stating that "Pokmon Ranger : Shadows of Almia improves upon its predecessor just enough to make it a fun, s olid addition to the spin-off series.". Eurogamer gave Shadows of Almia a 6 out of 10 rating, stating that "With a long wait until the next proper Pokmon game, m any fans may feel that's enough, but they shouldn't expect anything more than a mild distraction." 1UP gave the title a C+ rating, stating that "While it's nowh ere near as addictive as the regular color-coded Pokmon games, Almia's still a de cent diversion -- I just wish the story offered something a little deeper. ". IG N gave the title a rating of 6.7 out of 10, stating that "Unless you're addicted to scribbling circles like that creepy boy from The Ring, or you're some sort o f hippie that only likes playing humane non-battling Pokmon games, you could prob ably pass on this and be just fine." As of July 9, 2008, the game has sold 576,4 67 copies in Japan, according to Famitsu.[10][11] It is also the 13th best-selli ng game of Japan in 2008.[12] It was the sixth best-selling game of December 200 8 in the United States.