The Ruins of Alph (Japanese: アルフの遺跡Ruins of Alph) are located in Johto near Violet City, with entrances to the south of Route 36 and west of Route 32. The ruins are filled with Unown once any of the four slide puzzles inside the chambers have been activated. The name may come from the first four letters of "alphabet," which the Unown inside represent.
If the player listens to the Pokégear radio while near or inside the ruins, they will hear strange noises known as Mysterious Transmission on channel 13.5. In Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, the player must be inside one of the chambers, and tuning the radio near the center will broadcast these noises. Some of those noises are actually Ho-Oh's distorted cries, and the melody of the Azure Flute. It also increases the chance of encountering an Unown shape the player has not yet encountered.
There are several scientists in the area listening and studying the ruins to discover more about them. They say it is more than it seems and that the puzzles in the caves must have something to do with the mystery of the past of the Ruins of Alph.
Four small chambers in the ruins hold slide puzzles that, when solved, cause the floor below the player to break, dropping the player into the underground hall of the ruins. The puzzles also cause Unown to appear in the underground hall. Each puzzle corresponds to a specific subset of the 26 alphabetic forms of Unown. To unlock all 26 alphabetic forms, all four slide puzzles must be activated. The puzzles can be completed in any order. Pokémon Crystal explains that these puzzles are signals that summon the Unown.
In Generation II, catching three Unown and speaking to a researcher outside the ruins will cause him to unlock Unown Mode in the player's Pokédex. In Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, the first completed slide puzzle will cause a man to give the player the Unown Report. Once the first seven pages of the report are complete and the 26 alphabetic Unown forms have been caught, the ! and ? forms can be encountered in the entrance room.
In Crystal, HeartGold, and SoulSilver, each puzzle chamber has a word on the far wall that is a hint to unlocking a secret room. When the player completes a certain criterion, the secret room opens, revealing several items. Additionally, in these games, completing the slide puzzles reveals part of the history of Unown written on the floor of the underground hall. In the Japanese version of Crystal, a scientist theorizes that the sudden appearance of these patterns is related to the newly-built Pokémon Communication Center and the radio waves emanating from it.
The puzzles cause the following Unown to appear in the underground hall:
Artwork of Ethan at the entrance of the Ruins of Alph
The upper-right entrance 1, near the Route 36 entrance, requires no HMs to access. In Pokémon Crystal, HeartGold, and SoulSilver, the far wall reads escape upon inspection. Using an Escape Rope there opens a hidden room. In Crystal, the item is consumed and the player must re-enter the chamber in order to reach the hidden room. In HeartGold and SoulSilver, the item is not consumed and the room opens immediately.
The chamber's puzzle forms an image of Kabuto. Completing this puzzle and falling through to the floor below reveals the following message spelled out on the ground in Unown:
Our words shall remain here for the agesC Our clan engraved words in this placeHGSS
Lower-right entrance 1
The lower-right entrance 1 requires HM03Surf to cross the pond on the south side of the ruins. In Pokémon Crystal, HeartGold, and SoulSilver, the far wall reads light. Using HM05Flash will open the hidden room.
The chamber's puzzle forms an image of Aerodactyl. Completing this puzzle and falling through to the floor below reveals the following message spelled out on the ground in Unown:
Thus we shall erect a Pokémon statue outsideC Our clan created Pokémon statue outsideHGSS
Upper-left entrance 1
The upper-left entrance 1 is accessible only from the basement of Union Cave, which requires HM03Surf to navigate. In Pokémon Crystal, HeartGold, and SoulSilver, the far wall reads Ho Oh. The hidden room will open if Ho-Oh is the first Pokémon in the player's party in Crystal, or anywhere in the player's party in Generation IV.
The chamber's puzzle forms an image of Ho-Oh. Completing this puzzle and falling through to the floor below reveals the following message spelled out on the ground in Unown:
We humans must learn to walk in harmony with them. We depart for their sakesC We humans need to walk with them. We leave here for the sake of themHGSS
Lower-left entrance 1
The lower-left entrance 1 is accessible only by moving a boulder in the basement of Union Cave, which requires HM03Surf to navigate as well as HM04Strength. In Pokémon Crystal, HeartGold, and SoulSilver, the far wall reads water. In Crystal, the hidden room will open if the player has a Water Stone in their inventory, and in HeartGold and SoulSilver, it will open when the player selects "Use" on a Water Stone from the Bag while facing the wall. This act will not consume the item.
The chamber's puzzle forms an image of Omanyte. Completing this puzzle and falling through to the floor below reveals the following message spelled out on the ground in Unown:
They possess great insight and refuse the outside worldC They possess power to sense with mind and reject outsideHGSS
Puzzle in the upper-right entrance 1, featuring Kabuto (Generation II)
Puzzle in the lower-right entrance 1, featuring Aerodactyl (Generation II)
Puzzle in the upper-left entrance 1, featuring Ho-Oh (Generation II)
Puzzle in the lower-left entrance 1, featuring Omanyte (Generation II)
Puzzle in the upper-right entrance 1, featuring Kabuto (Generation IV)
Puzzle in the lower-right entrance 1, featuring Aerodactyl (Generation IV)
Puzzle in the upper-left entrance 1 chamber, featuring Ho-Oh (Generation IV)
Puzzle in the lower-left entrance 1, featuring Omanyte (Generation IV)
A colored background means that the Pokémon can be found in this location in the specified game. A white background with a colored letter means that the Pokémon cannot be found here.
The forms of Unown that can appear depend on which puzzles have been solved. Due to how Unown's form is determined, all of the letters except Z have an even chance of appearing—Unown Z will be always slightly less common than other letters.
The puzzle in the upper-right entrance 1 causes Unown A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, and K to appear.
The puzzle in the lower-left entrance 1 causes Unown L, M, N, O, P, Q, and R to appear.
The puzzle in the lower-right entrance 1 causes Unown S, T, U, V, and W to appear.
The puzzle in the upper-left entrance 1 causes Unown X, Y, and Z to appear.
Unown makes a strange sound, growls in a way that sounds almost like speech, and seems to be singing something. It also spins around in circles and sometimes stops moving.
All walking Pokémon, including Unown, gaze around restlessly and scratch at the ground as if searching for something. They stare intently at nothing and suddenly turn around, then may start barking. Happy emotions are seen as they look very interested and wander around listening to the different sounds.
Foster's research laboratory is close to the site and includes museum exhibits and the Ancient Pokémon Study Park, a man-made environment designed to replicate conditions from two million years ago. The study park includes a robotic Aerodactyl and a volcano. Foster hoped to open the study park within the next year to tourists. Several living Omanyte and Omastar had also decided to live at the park.
After Ash's query, the group made their way to a nearby reservoir, which was being pumped dry of water and its wild Omanyte and Omastar populations being stolen by Team Rocket. After rescuing the Fossil Pokémon, the group agreed that the ancient Pokémon should be left alone, and promised Foster not to tell anyone about them.
The Ruins of Alph first appeared in Into the Unown as the location where Gold met Bugsy for the first time. He helped Bugsy rescue his research team who were trapped in the ruins, and also foiled a Team Rocket plan to capture the Unown.
In Let's Aim For The Goal!, Gold arrived at the Ruins of Alph and met Bugsy, who told him that a basketball tournament was being held at the ruins to celebrate their anniversary. Gold decided to participate, eventually facing and defeating Firebreather Takeo in the finals. As a reward for winning, Gold was given an Elekid.
The Ruins of Alph appeared in Rampage at the Ruins of Alph!. Red's Clefairy accidentally caused Red and his Pokémon to fall through a trap door and meet some Unown. After a while of hanging out together, the Unown got mad at Clefairy for attaching them together and attacked. Afterwards, Clefairy smashed a pillar and caused the ruins to crumble.
Related cards Cards listed with a blue background are only legal to use in the current Expanded format. Cards listed with a silver background are legal to use in both the current Standard and Expanded formats.