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The basic mechanics of Ruby and Sapphire are largely the same as their predecessors'. As with all Pokémon games for hand-held consoles, gameplay is in third-person, overhead perspective and consists of three basic screens: a field map, in which the player navigates the main character; a battle screen; and the menu, in which the player configures their party, items, or gameplay settings. The player begins the game with one Pokémon, and can capture more using Poké Balls. The player can also use their Pokémon to battle other Pokémon. When the player encounters a wild Pokémon or is challenged by a trainer to a battle, the screen switches to a turn-based battle screen where the Pokémon fight.During battle, the player may fight, use an item, switch their active Pokémon, or flee (the last is not an option in battles against trainers). All Pokémon have hit points (HP); when a Pokémon's HP is reduced to zero, it faints and cannot battle until it is revived. If the player's Pokémon defeats the opposing Pokémon (causes it to faint), it receives experience points. After accumulating enough experience points, it may level up; most Pokémon evolve into a new species of Pokémon when they reach a certain level.

Apart from battling, capturing Pokémon is the most essential element of Pokémon gameplay. During battle with a wild Pokémon (other trainers' Pokémon cannot be captured), the player may use a Poké Ball on the wild Pokémon. If successful, the Pokémon will be added to the player's active party (or stored if the player already has the maximum six Pokémon in his/her party).[5] Factors in the success rate of capture include the HP (and/or status effects such as Paralysis or Sleep,) of the target Pokémon and the strength of the Poké Ball used: the lower the target's HP and the stronger the Poké Ball, the higher the success rate of capture is.

New gameplay features

The most prominent change in the battle mechanics is the introduction of double battles, in which the opposing parties each use two Pokémon at the same time. Consequently, certain Pokémon moves can affect multiple combatants at once. Multi battles were added alongside double battles. They are identical to double battle, but there are two trainers to a side, each controlling one of the two Pokémon sent out. Also new to the games are innate abilities and natures; the former is shared by every Pokémon of a certain species, while the latter may vary among a particular species. Abilities grant their holders certain powers in battle, such as immunity against certain types of moves or strengthening a certain type of move. Natures, like innate abilities, affect the strength of Pokémon in battle; however, they affect the stats of the Pokémon rather than directly affecting the strength of the moves. Another stat introduced in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire is Condition, an important factor in Pokémon Contests, mini-games in which participants perform moves before a judge. Both Pokémon and their moves have a Condition, which is increased by using Pokéblocks (candies made from berries). Ruby and Sapphire were the first games to have different weather conditions (sunny, rain, hail, and sandstorm), and these affected battle in unique ways. Secret bases were added as a one off feature where players could open up a hole in the world and customize the place with various items picked up in game. Players who linked up with others who set up secret bases were able to battle an NPC version of that trainer within their secret base.

Like Pokémon Gold, Silver, and Crystal, Ruby and Sapphire keep track of real-life time; this influences events like tides and berry plant growth. However, unlike their predecessors, Ruby and Sapphire do not differentiate between day and night. Also, due to the differences in the technical specifications of Game Boy link cables and Game Boy Advance link cables, Ruby and Sapphire cannot be linked with Pokémon games of previous generations; one cannot battle with or trade to the previous generations.

Connectivity with other devices

Ruby and Sapphire have limited e-Reader support. Nintendo released Battle-e Cards, a set of e-Reader cards that contained trainer battles in which the player could see previously-hidden Pokémon.[12] A special e-Reader card called the Eon Ticket was also released; obtained through the Mystery Gift function, the Ticket allows the player to reach a place called Southern Island. There, the player faces either Latios or Latias, depending on which version the player is using.

Ruby and Sapphire are also able to connect to the GameCube games Pokémon Colosseum, Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness and Pokémon Box. In the former two, once players reach a certain point in the game, they are able to transfer Pokémon between Colosseum/XD and Ruby/Sapphire. Additionally, those who pre-ordered Colosseum were able to access the Pokémon Jirachi and see a preview of the movie Pokémon: Jirachi Wish Maker. Box, a so-called Pokémon "Microsoft Office", allows players to store and organize their Pokémon on the GameCube. Also, in the European version of Pokémon Channel, players could receive a Jirachi at a certain point in the game, which they could then transfer over to Ruby/Sapphire.


Ruby and Sapphire are set in the Hoenn region, designed to be similar to Japan's island of Kyushu.
Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire take place in the Hoenn region, located some distance from the Kanto and Johto regions featured in previous games. The design of Hoenn was based on the Japanese island and region of Kyushu; however Hoenn is rotated 90° relative to Kyushu, as Junichi Masuda felt that it would provide a better gameplay balance. Like Kyushu, Hoenn possesses many smaller islands, and part of the region is dominated by sea routes, several of which contain areas where the player can dive underwater.


Like other Pokémon games, Ruby and Sapphire's gameplay is linear; the main events occur in a fixed order. The protagonist of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire is a child who has recently moved to a small town called Littleroot Town. At the beginning of the games, the player chooses either Treecko, Torchic, or Mudkip to protect Professor Birch, the regional professor, from an attacking poochyena. After defending Birch, the player is taken to his lab and receives the chosen Pokémon as his or her starter Pokémon with the choice of Mudkip,Treeko or Torchic. After that the player encounters May, daughter of professor birch. The player's rival, who appears as the professor's child, is also a Pokémon Trainer and occasionally battles the player. The games' two main goals are defeating the eight Gym Leaders, proving oneself worthy of challenging the Elite Four and Champion to become the new Champion and completing the Pokédex by capturing, evolving, and trading to obtain all 202 Pokémon (It is possible to obtain all 386 Pokémon, but this requires trading with Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen).

In addition to the main quest of defeating the Gym Leaders, there are side quests in which the player can aid NPCs by fulfilling tasks, usually by obtaining items. The most prominent subplot involves Team Aqua and Team Magma, crime syndicates who want to use Pokémon to alter the climate of Hoenn: in Ruby, the villains, Team Magma, want to use the legendary Pokémon Groudon to dry up the oceans of Hoenn and increase the region's landmass; in Sapphire, the Team Aqua are the villains and they try to use Groudon's counterpart, Kyogre, to flood the landmasses of Hoenn and increase the region's ocean. Prior to facing the eighth Gym Leader, the player has a showdown with Magma/Aqua where the team's leader uses a mystical orb that awakens the slumbering Pokémon, believing it has the power to enthrall their respective target, only for the Pokémon to become enraged and cause catastrophic, region-wide climate changes—a drought in Ruby, and heavy rainfall in Sapphire—until it is defeated or captured by the player.The player's father also introduces the player to Wally, a sickly young boy whom the player helps capture a Pokémon to be his companion as he moves away from the big city. Wally eventually overcomes his illness and becomes a successful Pokémon trainer, ultimately becoming the final challenger the player must face before the Elite Four.


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