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- Ruby and Sapphire redirects here. For the Pokémon Trading Card Game expansion, see EX Ruby & Sapphire (TCG).
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| Pokémon Ruby Version|
Pokémon Ruby Version's boxart, featuring Groudon
| Pokémon Sapphire Version|
Pokémon Sapphire Version's boxart, featuring Kyogre
|| Release dates
|| November 21, 2002
| North America:
|| March 19, 2003
|| April 3, 2003
|| July 25, 2003
| South Korea:
| Hong Kong:
| Japanese boxart
Boxart of Pocket Monsters Ruby
Boxart of Pocket Monsters Sapphire
Pokémon Ruby Version (Japanese: ポケットモンスタールビー Pocket Monsters Ruby) and Pokémon Sapphire Version (Japanese: ポケットモンスターサファイア Pocket Monsters Sapphire) are the first paired core series of Generation III games that are set in the Hoenn region. They were released in Japan on November 21, 2002, in North America on March 19, 2003, in Australia on April 3, 2003 and in Europe on July 25, 2003.
On March 15, 2003, the Pokémon Center New York held a party at which players could purchase Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire. The games were not sold in stores across North America until March 19, 2003.
Like all paired games beforehand, Ruby and Sapphire were followed by a third version, Pokémon Emerald Version, two years later, and together they became the best-selling Game Boy Advance games of all time. Remakes of the games, in the form of Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, were released three generations later in November 2014 worldwide.
The player starts their journey in Littleroot Town, where the family has just moved in from the Johto region after the player's father, Norman, became the leader of the Petalburg Gym. The story starts off with the player riding in the moving van, which arrives in Littleroot. After exiting the van, the player's mother explains that they have just arrived at their new home; they then enter the house together, and there are Machoke movers carrying boxes. The player's mother suggests that the player introduce themselves to Professor Birch, a friend of Norman's.
Upon arriving at Birch's house, his wife greets the player, and upstairs the player meets their pseudo-rival (the alternate-gender player character of the player), the child of Professor Birch; after the introduction, he/she soon leaves to join Birch, who is out in the field. The player then finds Birch on Route 101, where he is being chased by a Poochyena. Birch asks the player to take a Poké Ball out of his bag, which is lying on the ground; the player then chooses between Treecko, Torchic, and Mudkip as their starter Pokémon. After choosing, a battle immediately begins with the wild Poochyena. After rescuing Birch, he lets the player keep the chosen Pokémon as thanks for saving him. He then tells the player to meet up with his kid on Route 103 for pointers on how to be a Trainer.
Once the player finds their pseudo-rival on Route 103, they have their first battle, after which they return to Birch's lab, where the player receives a Pokédex and some Poké Balls. Outside of the lab, the player's mother gives them the Running Shoes. Once the player arrives in Petalburg City, they meet with their father at the Gym, where he tells them that he is happy to learn that they have become a Trainer like him. During the conversation, a local boy named Wally enters the Gym and asks Norman to help him catch a Pokémon. Norman loans Wally a Zigzagoon and a Poké Ball. He then asks the player to go along and help Wally with his task. On Route 102, Wally catches a Ralts, and the Trainers then return to the Gym, where Wally gives his thanks before being called home by his mother. Norman then encourages the player to travel Hoenn and challenge the nine Gym Leaders: Roxanne, Brawly, Wattson, Flannery, Norman, Winona, Tate and Liza, and Wallace.
The player then travels through Route 104 and Petalburg Woods; just before the exit from the woods, the player encounters the nefarious Team MagmaR or Team AquaS. After battling, the grunt reveals that their team is after something in Rustboro City.
At the Rustboro Gym, the player battles Roxanne and earns the Stone Badge; afterwards, the player runs into the Devon Researcher from Petalburg Woods. He tells the player that he has been robbed by Team MagmaR/Team AquaS and that the player must get the Devon Goods back from the evil team. The player then heads out onto Route 116 and discovers an old man named Mr. Briney who tells them that the villainous team has also taken his Wingull Peeko hostage and gone into the Rusturf Tunnel. The player confronts the grunt inside the tunnel and retrieves the Devon Goods, as well as rescuing Peeko.
Once the Devon Goods are returned, the researcher asks the player to deliver them to the shipyard in Slateport City. The player then meets Mr. Stone, the president of the Devon Corporation, who asks that the player stop by Dewford Town and deliver a letter to his son Steven; as thanks for the player's earlier work, Mr. Stone gives the player a PokéNav. The player heads back through the Petalburg Woods to Mr. Briney's house, where he gives the player a ride down Route 105 to Dewford Town. Just north of Dewford on Route 106 is the Granite Cave where Steven is exploring. The player obtains HM05 (Flash) at the entrance, but it will not work without the Dewford Gym's Badge. After earning the Knuckle Badge from Brawly, the player can now use Flash to find Steven in the Granite Cave and deliver the letter. Steven rewards the player with TM47 (Steel Wing) and tells the player that he/she could potentially become the Pokémon League Champion.
After leaving Dewford Town, Mr. Briney takes the player across Route 107 and Route 108 to Route 109, just south of Slateport City. When the player arrives in Slateport, there is a noticeable crowd of Team MagmaR/Team AquaS grunts blocking the entrance to the Oceanic Museum. When the player tries to drop off the Devon Goods at Stern's Shipyard, they learn that Captain Stern is in the Oceanic Museum. Once the player finds Captain Stern, they are confronted by two villainous grunts, and after defeating them, the villainous team's leader MaxieR/ArchieS appears and tells the player of their plans before warning not to get in the way again.
After giving the Devon Goods to Captain Stern, the player leaves Slateport City and travels Route 110; after encountering and battling the pseudo-rival, the player arrives in Mauville City. Outside of the Mauville Gym, the player finds Wally and his uncle; Wally challenges the player to a battle to prove to his uncle that he is ready for the Gym. After the battle, Wally's uncle invites the player to visit Verdanturf Town sometime. Once the Dynamo Badge has been earned from Wattson, the player heads to Verdanturf Town and uses Rock Smash to clear the previously blocked Rusturf Tunnel, earning HM04 (Strength) as a reward. Next, the player returns to Mauville and travels through Route 111 and Route 112 to the Fiery Path, on the other side of which the player continues through Route 113 to Fallarbor Town.
Inside the Fallarbor Pokémon Center, the player meets Lanette, who invites them to her house on Route 114. At the end of Route 114 is Meteor Falls, inside which the player finds Team MagmaR/Team AquaS. This time, they have stolen a valuable Meteorite from Professor Cozmo. Suddenly, the scene is interrupted by the appearance of the opposite-version's team, which causes the thieves to retreat to Mt. Chimney with the stolen meteorite. At the top of Mt. Chimney, Team Magma and Team Aqua can be found fighting over the meteorite; after fighting an admin of the primary evil team (Tabitha in Ruby, Matt in Sapphire), the player finds the leader of the team using the meteorite in a strange machine. The leader then battles the player.
Taking the southern path that was blocked by the battling teams, the player exits Mt. Chimney and reaches Lavaridge Town, home of the Lavaridge Gym. After receiving the Heat Badge from Flannery, the player is given the Go-Goggles by their pseudo-rival, who then suggests that the player challenge their father at the Petalburg Gym. After getting the Balance Badge from Norman, the player visits Wally's father, who gives the player HM03 (Surf).
As the player then travels through Route 118 (just east of Mauville City), they encounter Steven once again. Afterwards, the player continues through Route 119, reaching the Weather Institute, which is being attacked by the evil team in search of the weather Pokémon that the institute has created. After battling the grunts and facing off with an admin (Courtney in Ruby, Shelly in Sapphire), the player saves the institute and is given the Pokémon Castform as a reward. Shortly after leaving the Institute, the pseudo-rival appears and battles the player, and they give away HM02 (Fly) upon defeat.
The player arrives in Fortree City but cannot challenge the Gym because something invisible is blocking the entrance. On Route 120, the player once again meets Steven, and he gives the player the Devon Scope, which allows them to enter the Gym by revealing the invisible thing to be the Pokémon Kecleon. After the player defeats Winona and receives the Feather Badge, the quest continues through Route 120 and Route 121 to Lilycove City. On Route 121, there are some grunts from the evil team discussing their plan to go to Mt. Pyre, and upon arriving in Lilycove, the player finds it crawling with more grunts. Outside of the Lilycove Department Store, the player battles his/her pseudo-rival again.
After the battle, the player heads to Mt. Pyre to drive off the evil team. At the summit of Mt. Pyre, the player finds the leader of the team, who has taken the Blue OrbR/Red OrbS and proclaims that the young Trainer has arrived too late to stop him; the team then heads for Slateport City. The old couple that watch over the orbs beseech the player to stop the evil team, and they give the player the stolen orb's counterpart. Upon returning to Slateport, the player finds that Capt. Stern has discovered an undersea cavern on Route 128. The evil team then suddenly appears and takes over the captain's research submarine. The leader of the evil team once again taunts the player, and he mentions that the team's hideout is in Lilycove City. Once the player fights their way through to the center of the hideout, finding the Master Ball along the way, they encounter an admin (Tabitha in Ruby, Courtney in Sapphire) who battles the player to stall until the leader takes off in the submarine.
The player must then travel Route 124 to Mossdeep City. Steven's house is at the northwestern edge of the city, and here the player receives HM08 (Dive). Next, the player challenges Tate and Liza of the Mossdeep Gym to earn the Mind Badge. Heading to Route 128 and using Dive, the player finds the Seafloor Cavern, where the evil team has gone. In the deepest reaches of the cavern, the player has a showdown with the team leader, who then uses the Orb to awaken the sleeping GroudonR/KyogreS there. After being awakened, the ancient Pokémon vanishes, and the weather all over Hoenn goes out of control. The leader realizes that he can't control the Pokémon's power at all; just then, the leader of the opposite team appears, and the two bosses team up to try to stop the rampage.
After the bosses leave, Steven appears and tells the player to head to Sootopolis City, to which Groudon/Kyogre has gone. Heading to Route 126 and using Dive again, the player finds the entrance to Sootopolis City. Inside the city, the player finds Steven, who introduces them to his friend Wallace, the Sootopolis Gym Leader, who is also entrusted with the duty of protecting the Cave of Origin. Upon seeing the Orb that the player possesses, Wallace grants them entrance to the cave, where the rampaging ancient Pokémon is waiting. After capturing or defeating the Pokémon, the weather returns to normal, and the world is saved.
Afterwards, Steven is found waiting outside of the Sootopolis Gym to thank the player on his and Wallace's behalf before the player faces the final Gym challenge. After defeating the Gym and leaving with the Rain Badge in tow, the player now has all eight Badges, and they head down Route 128 to Ever Grande City, where Victory Road and the Elite Four await. Wally battles the player one last time before they exit the cavern.
The Elite Four are the strongest Trainers in the region, and they can only be battled by challengers that have proven themselves by collecting the eight Badges of Hoenn. They are Sidney, who specializes in Dark-type Pokémon; Phoebe, who specializes in Ghost-type Pokémon; Glacia, who specializes in Ice-type Pokémon; and Drake, who specializes in Dragon-type Pokémon. After defeating the Elite Four, the player must then battle the Pokémon League Champion, Steven.
After the battle, Professor Birch and the pseudo-rival arrive to congratulate the player. Birch examines the player's Pokédex, the player is registered in the Hall of Fame, and the credits roll.
After the credits, the player is returned to Littleroot Town. Downstairs, Norman gives the player the S.S. Ticket to take the S.S. Tidal over to the Battle Tower. The player also now has the ability to encounter Rayquaza at the Sky Pillar and find LatiosR/LatiasS roaming around Hoenn.
Immerse yourself in the beautiful region of Hoenn, a place of masterful heroes and mysterious teams, of friendship and battles. As the new kid in town, you set off your journey as a Pokémon Trainer. Who knows what wonders and dangers await you? Now it's time to grab your gear and head out on your own...
- Over 200 Pokémon appear with over 100 newly discovered species—you'll have to link up and trade with a friend who has SapphireR/RubyS Version to catch them all!
- 2-on-2 battles—use two of your Pokémon in battle at the same time!
- Engage in intense multi battles with up to four friends!
- Pokémon Contests let you groom your Pokémon to be the Best of Show!
- Stunning Game Boy Advance graphics display the world of Pokémon with more detail than ever!
Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire continued the tradition allowing players to trade Pokémon between two cartridges, this time via the Game Boy Advance Game Link Cable. They are not compatible with the wireless adapter.
Unlike previous games, Ruby and Sapphire were not backward compatible with Generations I and II. This prompted remakes of the original games, Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen. Trading between these games, Pokémon Colosseum, and Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness and the third Hoenn-based game, Pokémon Emerald, is possible. These games are also the first to support linking between different language versions for trading and battling without risk of losing their saved games. If one person is trading with FireRed, LeafGreen or Emerald, the sprite is changed to either Brendan's or May's depending on the gender; this was changed in Emerald where a different sprite is used depending of the version being exchanged. However, some limitations still existed, and they would not be removed until much later in Generation IV with Pokémon Diamond and Pearl Versions for the Nintendo DS.
While Generation III cannot trade directly with the Generation IV, Generation V or Generation VI games, a player's Pokémon may be permanently transferred to Generation IV via Pal Park, and some Generation III Pokémon can be found using the dual-slot mode. Pokémon from Generation III games can be transferred to Generation V via Poké Transfer by going through a Generation IV game. Pokémon from Generation III games can be transferred to Generation VI via the Poké Transporter and Pokémon Bank by going through a Generation IV game and a Generation V game.
There are eight Pokémon Gyms in Hoenn, each with their own type affiliation. The Gym Leaders are Roxanne (Rock), Brawly (Fighting), Wattson (Electric), Flannery (Fire), Norman (Normal), Winona (Flying), Tate and Liza (Psychic), and Wallace (Water).
Ruby and Sapphire introduced a brand new Elite Four syndicate, which is found in Ever Grande City. The Elite Trainers are Sidney (Dark), Phoebe (Ghost), Glacia (Ice), and Drake (Dragon); the Champion is Steven, who uses Steel-type Pokémon.
Like Pokémon Gold and Silver Versions before them, Ruby and Sapphire introduced many new Pokémon. With 135 additions, the total is 386 in these games. However, Ruby and Sapphire are incompatible with previous games, due to the lack of communications between Game Boy and Game Boy Color games with Game Boy Advance games.
Regardless of version; trades must occur between players in order to complete their Pokédex without the use of cheats or glitches. Latios (Sapphire event only), Latias (Ruby event only), Jirachi and Deoxys are the only Generation III Pokémon in Ruby and Sapphire that must be acquired through external means, such as attending a Nintendo sponsored event or using a cheating device. Other Pokémon, such as Bulbasaur, are not featured in the Hoenn Pokédex, and must be traded from a Generation III game in which they are found.
- Mixing records with the other game allows Lotad and Seedot to appear in Ruby and Sapphire via swarming respectively. This requires interaction with the other game, so their evolutionary lines are still considered version exclusive.
- While only one of Latios or Latias roam the region in each game, the other one can be found on Southern Island with the Eon Ticket.
The PokéNav is received shortly after the beginning of the game from Mr. Stone. It has several functions which are used throughout the game. The PokéNav displays a map of Hoenn, the Condition of the player's Pokémon, and also has the feature Trainer's Eyes, which keeps data on various Trainers and alerts the player when the Trainers want rematches. The PokéNav also displays the Ribbons that a Pokémon has earned.
New Poké Balls
More specialized Poké Balls were introduced in these games. The Premier Ball is a commemorative Poké Ball, a Repeat Ball makes it easier to catch Pokémon that the player has already caught before, the Timer Ball makes catching Pokémon easier the more turns have passed in the battle, the Nest Ball makes lower-leveled Pokémon easier to catch, while the Net Ball makes Water and Bug Pokémon easier to catch. The Dive Ball has a high catch-rate with sea-dwelling Pokémon, and the Luxury Ball makes the captured Pokémon more comfortable and friendly to its Trainer much more quickly. These balls are sold at various Poké Marts throughout Hoenn.
As with all Pokémon games, Ruby and Sapphire have a fair number of glitches. One of these is the infamous Berry glitch, which made most time based events, such as Berry growing, impossible after the game had been owned for a year, or played for over 100 hours. This glitch is able to be corrected, however, by downloading the Berry patch from either the Pokémon Colosseum bonus disc, or FireRed, LeafGreen, and Emerald. These games also host several glitch Pokémon, such as ?????????? or Bad Egg.
Ruby and Sapphire introduced a number of features to the Pokémon video game franchise, many of which set a new standard for every game in the series that followed. Ruby and Sapphire expanded the Pokémon Storage System by adding a much more user-friendly graphical interface. The games also introduced individualized menu sprites for every Pokémon species. Weather may be found on the field in some areas, which will activate that weather at the beginning of battle. A new type of weather, hail, has also been added.
- Main article: Ability
Ruby and Sapphire introduced Abilities for each Pokémon, such as non Flying-type Pokémon being immune to Ground-type attacks, or a Pokémon's STAB attacks being boosted when their HP is low, even the ability to absorb certain attacks and recover HP or boost a stat. The introduction of Abilities added new depths of strategy to the battle system.
- Main article: Nature
Ruby and Sapphire also introduced Natures for Pokémon. Natures shift the stats (excluding HP) of Pokémon by subtracting 10% in one stat, and adding that 10% to another. For example, a Modest Nature means 10% will be subtracted from the Attack stat of a Pokémon, and 10% will be added to the Special Attack stat. This mechanic allowed for levels of customization not previously seen.
- Main article: Double Battle
Ruby and Sapphire are the games that introduced Double Battles. These types of battles are heavier on strategy than usual because each Trainer battles using two Pokémon at a time, so the Abilities and moves of all Pokémon on the field have to be considered.
The EV and IV systems were refined in Ruby and Sapphire, the maximum IV a stat could have was boosted from 15 to 31, and a Pokémon's gender was no longer determined by the IV of its attack stat, which made it possible to have female Pokémon with maximum attack IVs, something that hadn't been possible before. The EV system is altered from the former stat experience system, with all Pokémon giving 1, 2, or 3 effort points in one or more of the six stats after their defeat in battle, with a cap of 255 per stat and 510 overall. A Pokémon with 510 EVs will be awarded with the Effort Ribbon if it is shown to a girl in Slateport City.
- Main article: Pokémon Contest
Ruby and Sapphire were the first in the series to offer a secondary means of interacting with Pokémon, in the form of Pokémon Contests. In Contests the goal is to show off the skills of a Pokémon in the various categories (Beauty, Cool, Cute, Smart and Tough). After winning a Contest in a certain category the player and Pokémon advance to the next rank in that category (Normal, Super, Hyper, and Master). This also brought about the first confectionery goods that could be made by the player and fed to their Pokémon, Pokéblocks.
- Main article: Ribbon
These games were also the first to offer Ribbons to the player's Pokémon for achieving various goals, or to commemorate special events in the game, including winning in Pokémon Contests, beating the Champion, and maxing out the EVs of a Pokémon.
Both games were well received, receiving perfect ratings from GamePro and Mainia. IGN rated the games at 9.5/10 and commented that they were a "wonderful GBA follow-up to the immense Game Boy blockbuster." However, some reviews criticized the repetitive nature of the games, with Eurogamer commenting that "apart from the occasional tense battle with a Gym Leader and the more sophisticated opponents later on in the game, the constant fighting and collecting mechanic gets very tired, very fast." This, however, is more a criticism of the series in general than of any game in particular.
Ruby and Sapphire were the second and third best selling games of 2003 (with Pokémon Ruby selling more), and received an average score of 82% on Metacritic. With the versions combined, the games were the best selling title on the Game Boy Advance. If not, the title belongs to its third version Emerald.
Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire got the 10th spot on IGN's top 25 Game Boy Advance Games of all time.
- Main article: Staff of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire
- Main article: Pokémon Ruby & Pokémon Sapphire: Super Music Collection
The soundtrack contains all of the background music from the games, composed by Junichi Masuda, Gō Ichinose, and Morikazu Aoki. However, the soundtrack does not include the remastered music from Pokémon Gold, Silver, and Crystal or the other unused music, all of which are present in the games' internal data.
Japanese Pokémon Ruby Version logo
Japanese Pokémon Sapphire Version logo
English Pokémon Ruby Version logo
English Pokémon Sapphire Version logo
|| Initial release
The following changes are exclusive to the English release.
- Added a check to the game's code so that the species names of non-English Pokémon are treated as nicknames on evolution in English versions to prevent possible freezes and/or crashes.
- Fixed the typos in Togepi's doll description and Mawile's Pokédex entry (the latter applies only to Ruby v1.1).
- Changed Paras's Pokédex entry to mention both its types.
- Altered the reference to shops in Today's Smart Shopper to more accurately reflect the original Japanese text.
- Corrected the translation of the message returned by the game when using Softboiled as a field move on a Pokémon that is fainted or at full health.
- Various font changes and adjustments.
- An instance of text that refers to the Record Corner as "Record Center" by mistake was rectified.
- Fixed a bug that could cause incorrect rendering of the text used by the save backup function. The misleading localized text about the process (which incorrectly mentions the internal battery) remains the same, however.
This version was only released in English.
- Main article: Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire beta
Internal battery life
Clock-based events in these games as well as Pokémon Emerald are controlled by a CR1616 lithium battery in the game cartridge. When starting up a file, players may receive a notification that the internal battery has run dry, and that clock-based events will no longer occur. This does not affect the save file or progress in the game, only events that happen in real-time, such as berry growth or the Shoal Cave tides.
Even after replacing the battery, symptoms may persist in existing save files. This is because as soon as the battery runs dry, the timestamp associated with real-time events (that had been increasing steadily since the file was created) reverts to its initial value. This means that if the game was played for 5 years before the battery ran dry, it would take 5 years with a new battery for the new timestamp to catch up to the old value and for time to "progress" once more. Furlock's Forest details this issue and possible solutions.
Starting a new save file after the battery is replaced will fix the problem because all events will be triggered relative to a new timestamp.
It should be noted that the same symptoms, but lacking the notification about the internal battery, may be caused by the Berry glitch.
- Along with Pokémon Emerald and the remakes Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, these are the only Pokémon games to feature both parents for the main character.
- These are the first core series games where the name of the rival cannot be chosen by the player.
- These games were released in Japan on the third anniversary of the Japanese release of Pokémon Gold and Silver.
- A special promotional coin featuring Groudon and Kyogre was available with American preorders of Ruby and Sapphire, respectively.
- Pre-release American boxart for these games depicted the version name below the mascot Pokémon with the same font used in the Generation I and II games, with the "Gotta catch 'em all!" slogan present below the Pokémon logo. This was dropped for the final boxart, which features the version names directly below the Pokémon logo and in a different font, dropping the slogan entirely.
- Due to the font used in the international versions, the marker for when a move is selected for usage in the battle screen differs from that of the Japanese version. Whereas the Japanese version uses an arrow to indicate the current selected move, like all later releases of the Generation III games would use, the international versions of Ruby and Sapphire utilize a red rectangle with the same purpose.
- The intros of Ruby and Sapphire differ slightly: Ruby features Brendan or May, depending on the gender chosen, riding a bike near forest and mountains, when Latios appears (and afterwards shows him or her battling against a Sharpedo and a Duskull), while Sapphire has instead Brendan or May (again, dependent on the gender chosen) riding a bike near an ocean, with Latias appearing (and then, similarly to Ruby, he or she is engaged in a battle).
| Early Ruby box art - note the version logo
|| Early Sapphire box art - note the version logo
In other languages
|| Versions Ruby et Sapphire de Pokémon*
|| Pokémon Version Rubis et Version Saphir
|| Pokémon Rubin-Edition und Saphir-Edition
|| Pokémon Versione Rubino e Versione Zaffiro
|| 포켓몬스터 루비・사파이어
|| Pokémon Edición Rubí y Edición Zafiro
- ↑ CERO's website states that it began operations in October 2002. These games were released in November 2002 but were not rated.