Pamtre Berry

Friend Area Rankings

One thing I love about Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Red & Blue Rescue Team is the friend area system, where the pokemon you recruit to your team live in cute little environments you can visit. I couldn't find anywhere that shows images of all the friend areas in one place for easy viewing, and even worse, some of the screenshots on Bulbapedia were missing extra scenery layers that make the sprite backgrounds come to life. So here you'll find all of the friend area backgrounds in one place, occasionally edited to mimic their original glory using sprites from The Spriter's Resource. Thanks to Toastypk and MYSTERY_DUNGEON who ripped and uploaded these sheets!

As an added bit of fun, I've decided to rate the friend areas' aesthetic designs. I'll take into account both the original Red/Blue versions as well as the DX version in my rankings, but weight the Red/Blue versions more heavily, since those are the ones I've actually played. (And the ones you can actually walk around in. The DX versions are more akin to PC box wallpapers, as you can see in this image from There are 57 friend areas, so I'll be ranking them starting from my least favorite at number 57 to my most favorite at number 1. This probably goes without saying, but all the rankings are entirely subjective based on my personal taste.

If you'd like to see the friend areas in action, there's a good video compilation of the original Red/Blue versions complete with all recruited pokémon here.

57: Deep-Sea Current

Deep-Sea Current, original version Deep-Sea Current, DX version

Legend says this deep, dark place, where a current flows, is home to the guardian of the sea.

Pokémon found here: Lugia

It was surprisingly easy to pick a least favorite friend area. Why is Lugia's area so bland? The DX version improves on it significantly by adding little corals and seaweed at least. If I had gif-making powers, I'd animate the original version so you could see the lights flickering from above, because that's probably the most interesting part of the design - besides Lugia itself, anyway. Of course, the aesthetic of this friend area is likely a reference to the Pokémon 2000 movie where Lugia lives at the bottom of the sea and is seen jetting through deep underwater currents. I still think they could have made the "current" feel of this cooler, though. The lights filter in and out, so why couldn't the squiggly lines have some animation to them as well?

56: Mt. Discipline

Mt. Discipline, original version Mt. Discipline, DX version

A forbidding mountainous area where Fighting-type Pokémon gather to hone their skills.

Pokémon found here: Machop, Machoke, Machamp, Hitmonlee, Hitmonchan, Tyrogue, Hitmontop, Makuhita, Hariyama, Meditite, Medicham, [Riolu, Lucario]

The second-least-favorite friend area was much harder to pick. The thought behind this one is nice enough, but the design just doesn't do anything for me. I can't really explain why. The DX version is a bit better in that it gives some depth the arena, which I had first assumed in the original to be flat, with the shading mistaken for just lines painted on the ground.

55: Overgrown Forest

Overgrown Forest, original version Overgrown Forest, DX version

This densely overgrown grotto of trees attracts Pokémon that love such a lush, congested setting.

Pokémon found here: Scyther, Pinsir, Sudowoodo, Scizor, Heracross, Treecko, Grovyle, Sceptile, Kecleon, [Bonsly]

Ah, the final resting place of the Kecleon you spent years trying to recruit and then never spoke to again. Shouldn't he have a more exciting friend area? This one isn't bad by any means, but the greens are so saturated they're a bit hard to look at, with very little variation in hues. The blue and yellow tints in the dappled lighting of the DX version make it feel like an entirely different location.

54: Frigid Cavern

Frigid Cavern, original version Frigid Cavern, DX version

A cavern where ice shattered by wind makes huge drifts. There are Pokémon that thrive in this bitterly cold place.

Pokémon found here: Jynx, Swinub, Piloswine, Delibird, Smoochum, Snorunt, Glalie, [Mamoswine, Frosslass]

I like this one decently well, and I'd probably rate it higher if not for the snowflake in the middle just looking kinda tacky. I'm not sure why lol. Other than that, the little houses in the background look super cute. I would love to be a little guy looking out through one of the little windows as snow falls all around.

53: Jungle

Jungle, original version Jungle, DX version

Deep in this overgrown tropical area live many Grass-type Pokémon. The swampy ground is rich in nutrients.

Pokémon found here: Oddish, Gloom, Vileploom, Bellsprout, Weepinbell, Victreebel, Exeggcute, Exeggutor, Tangela, Bellossom, Sunkern, Sunflora, Tropius, [Tangrowth]

The colors in this area feel a little unbalanced; the flowers in the foreground have a bright red that could be reflected in the background too. But there's what looks like a mangrove in the middle, and I love mangroves, so it gets points for that alone. (It looks like there are cypress knees around it too, which jut out a bit different from mangrove roots, so I don't think it's exactly intended to be 1:1 with any real-life tree.) Anyway, I prefer the DX version of this area.

52: Ravaged Field

Ravaged Field, original version Ravaged Field, DX version

A harsh and forbidding place of utter desolation. Even here, there exist hardy Pokémon.

Pokémon found here: Spearow, Fearow, Skarmory, Houndour, Houndoom

Ravaged field has some scraggly shrubbery and even scragglier trees. The yellow made me think there would be electric types here, but instead it's just flying types and the Houndour line. I wouldn't want to be perching on one of those flimsy-looking trees as a bird pokemon. The trees look sturdier in the DX version, but also more angular. The puffy clouds in the blue sky take away from the "desolate" feel of the original.

51: Deep-Sea Floor

Boulder Cave, original version Boulder Cave, DX version

It is said there is an exquisitely beautiful spot at the bottom of this deep sea. The water is blue and eternally clear.

Pokémon found here: Omanyte, Omastar, Kabuto, Kabutops, Chinchou, Lanturn, Lileep, Cradily, Clamperl, Huntail, Gorebyss, Relicanth

I really thought Armaldo and Anorith looked more ocean-dwelling than Lileep and Cradily. Huh. Anyway, this is a much nicer ocean area than Deep-Sea Current, with cute bubbles and a large anemone in the center. It seems like a fitting habitat for the fossil pokémon and deep dwellers that can be recruited to here. Which includes my best friend Cradily :D

50: Boulder Cave

Boulder Cave, original version Boulder Cave, DX version

A cave surrounded by craggy boulders. Pokémon that are capable of digging through even sheets of rock live here.

Pokémon found here: Diglett, Dugtrio, Onix, Steelix

It's a rock cave. There's not much to say about it. I just think it's neat :)

49: Crater

Crater, original version Crater, DX version

The sight of this crater spouting spectacular plumes of lava greatly satisfies fire-loving Pokémon.

Pokémon found here: Magmar, Slugma, Magcargo, Magby, Numel, Camerupt, Torkoal, [Magmortar]

The Crater friend area has a solid design, even moreso when you can see the crackling fire in the middle and the puffs of smoke in motion. It's improved upon drastically in the DX version, which feels a lot more vibrant and intense.

48: Aged Chamber O?

Aged Chamber O?, original version Aged Chamber O-?, DX version

One of two chambers in an ancient ruin. One is named "A-N" and the other "O-?". Odd...

Pokémon found here: Unown O-?

The second of the two Unown Chambers, Aged Chamber O-? looks nearly identical to its counterpart. The green color and pattern of the lines are the only differences. The DX version also is illustrated from a different angle, but I factored that less into my ranking than the fact that I like the purple shade better than the green one.

47: Aged Chamber AN

Aged Chamber AN, original version Aged Chamber A-N, DX version

This chamber lies deep inside an ancient ruin. It is said that runes on stone tablets move about in this enigmatic place.

Pokémon found here: Unown A-N

Aaaaand the other Unown Chamber! The lines on this one are intact rather than separated, making the pattern resemble more of a real Unown - close to Unown W. Which is not even in A-N. Rip. I really like the dramatic angle on the DX version, and how it highlights the vertical walls that I originally thought were just rubble or a crater or something.

46: Mt. Deepgreen

Mt. Deepgreen, original version Mt. Green, DX version

A mountainous area with lush plant life and deliciously fresh air. Pokémon are happy to live in this bountiful area.

Pokémon found here: Geodude, Graveler, Golem, Cubone, Marowak, Gligar, Shuckle, Teddiursa, Ursaring, Spoink, Grumpig, Spinda, [Gliscor]

Mt. Deepgreen always brings a smile to my face. It's just a nice little area with fun little nooks at the top of the slopes. The only thing I'm unsure about is why the ledges at the bottom look so flatly rendered compared to the rest of the area. These have been completely removed in the DX version. Also in DX it was renamed to Mt. Green, because they just hated fun I guess.

45: Furnace Desert

Furnace Desert, original version Withering Desert, DX version

The sun bears down ruthlessly on the burning-hot sand. Desert-dwelling Pokémon thrive in this area.

Pokémon found here: Sandshrew, Sandslash, Trapinch, Vibrava, Flygon, Cacnea, Cacturne

This is the only desert friend area in the games. It has a cool quicksand pit in the center that reminds me of the Dry Dry Desert course from Mario Kart. It's a really neat spot even though I'm not normally one to enjoy desert areas. It was renamed to Withering Desert in DX, with more intense colors and sand seeming to bubble out of the pit in the center.

44: Mt. Cleft

Mt. Cleft, original version Mt. Cleft, DX version

This area, deep among the craggy mountains, is a gathering spot for physically tough Pokémon.

Pokémon found here: Charmander, Charmeleon, Charizard, Larvitar, Pupitar, Tyranitar, Aron, Lairon, Aggron

This is a simple area, but one that I like the two-section shape of. The DX version replaces the sharply triangular background mountains with rounded stalagmite-like shapes. In the foreground, the tiered rock formations have been made blockier. I like both of these changes, though the extra detail in the rocks makes it look a bit busy.

43: Dragon Cave

Dragon Cave, original version Dragon Cave, DX version

Cracks between boulders are the only windows to the outside in this cavern. The Pokémon here dream of flying.

Pokémon found here: Bagon, Shelgon, Salamence

Not to be confused with the adoptables website by the same name, this friend area is simple and nice to look at. I might have preferred some callback to the Dragon's Den from Gold/Silver/Crystal, but the cave opening in the back to look like a dragon's toothy mouth in an acceptable look too. I guess it makes more sense too considering the Bagon line isn't in GSC anyway. The DX version is very faithful to the original.

42: Wild Plains

Wild Plains, original version Wild Plains, DX version

A wild and lush savanna full of life. The air is clean and swept along by a pleasant breeze.

Pokémon found here: Rattata, Raticate, Ekans, Arbok, Farfetch'd, Drowzee, Hypno, Poochyena, Mightyena, Zigzagoon, Linoone, Zangoose, Seviper

This is a really generic area but it's also peaceful and comforting to look at. 10/10 would frolic here. The DX version is more hilly, with a little bit of extra shrubbery.

41: Ice Floe Beach

Ice Floe Beach, original version Ice Floe Beach, DX version

A frigid sea where ice sheets drift about impressively. Even in the subzero waters, some Pokémon swim about.

Pokémon found here: Seel, Dewgong, Spheal, Sealeo, Walrein

This area has a fun shape to it. I coudln't really tell you why I like it so much; maybe it's just seeing Spheal rolling around on the ice that warms my heart. One other neat thing is you can actually walk onto the bits of ice in the top left that look slightly disconnected from the main floe. The DX version looks pretty different, with an aurora above and a bit sharper edges to the ice. Both are nice in their own way.

40: Healing Forest

Healing Forest, original version Healing Forest, DX version

An ethereally beautiful forest. The guardian of forests is said to be here.

Pokémon found here: Celebi

This forest has a very peaceful vibe. I especially love the color of the water in it. It's all very fitting for Celebi and reminds me both a bit of Ilex Forest in Johto and of the Relic Forest in XD Gale of Darkness, as well as the forest from the Pokemon 4Ever movie. The DX version has a greater emphasis on the water and so it reminds me even more of the movie version with the Suicune-purified water that heals Celebi.

39: Energetic Forest

Energetic Forest, original version Vibrant Forest, DX version

A vibrant area where elemental energy -- the life force for all things -- rises from the earth. Unique Pokémon are found here.

Pokémon found here: Pikachu, Raichu, Meowth, Persian, Mankey, Primeape, Snorlax, Pichu, Aipom, Stantler, Slakoth, Vigoroth, Slaking, Skitty, Delcatty, [Ambipom, Munchlax]

This one was renamed to "Vibrant Forest" in DX. The DX version really benefits from having texture on the tree trunks, which is lacking in the original. The colors in the original are pretty unique, but also a little hard to look at. Lights from above and glowing motes of light in the original distract a bit from this though, and give it the true "energetic" feeling the design is going for.

38: Poison Swamp

Poison Swamp, original version Poison Swamp, DX version

A horrid swamp that spews toxic gases. It is literally a utopia for Poison-type Pokémon.

Pokémon found here: Grimer, Muk, Koffing, Weezing, Gulpin, Swalot

The purple color of this one makes it stand out among the friend areas. The shapes involved are a bit baffling to me, though, in a way I can't entirely decide if I like or not. They might be trying to evoke perfume bottles? It looks like there are windows on them, but they're clearly way too small for the pokémon involved. I'm leaning towards it being cool in a sort of unsettling way. The poison bubbles beneath gurgle and pop and it's great. The DX version reveals that all of the structures are meant to be leaning backwards. Most of the windows have also been removed; only the smaller structures still keep a couple round openings. Unsure what the point of that is, but it still looks good.

37: Power Plant

Power Plant, original version Power Plant, DX version

Machinery still runs in this long-deserted power plant. Electric-type Pokémon like to gather here.

Pokémon found here: Magnemite, Magneton, Voltorb, Electrode, Electabuzz, Elekid, [Magnezone, Electivire]

This friend area, along with one other ranked later, are in the "Ruins" location category in the game. This category is unique in that they're one of the few references to humans in the Mystery Dungeon world. This area doesn't look particularly ruined, though? I mean, obviously there's some cords cut and floor panels dented, but that's not much worse than the Power Plant looks in FireRed/LeafGreen. Speaking of which, the generators here are nearly identical to the ones in those games' Power Plant. The DX version keeps these, and manages to look even less dilapidated than the original to me. That could easily be a regular Power Plant just undergoing repairs. That's the main thing that keeps me from rating this area any higher.

FireRed/LeafGreen Power Plant Generator: Generator Sprite

36: Echo Cave

Echo Cave, original version Echo Cave, DX version

Pokémon enjoy the echoey quality of this small limestone cavern. Many Pokémon that use ultrasonic waves live here.

Pokémon found here: Zubat, Golbat, Crobat, Wobbuffet, Dunsparce, Whismur, Loudred, Exploud, Nosepass, Mawile, Wynaut, [Probopass]

Another pretty simple cave, but for some reason it just works. I think it's the teal and green tints to some of the stone, contrasted with the yellow hues. It does feel coloration-wise similar to some of the Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald caves such as Meteor Falls. The stalagmites and stalactites contribute to that impression too. The darkness lurking beneath also reminds me a bit of Undertale, specifically the portion where you walk with Monster Kid. There's a bit of animation to the faint lines in the darkness, making me think it's supposed to be lapping water down below. I'm not as much of a fan of the DX version; there's nothing wrong with it, but the colors just don't work as well to me, and you can't see the water or deepness of the cave from this angle.

35: Ancient Relic

Anceint Relic, original version Ancient Relic, DX version

The remains of a long-forgotten civilization. Prehistoric Pokémon are said to have lived here in ancient times.

Pokémon found here: Aerodactyl, Baltoy, Claydol, Regirock, Regice, Registeel

I think it's really funny that the other legendary trios get their own individual friend areas, but the Regis have to share with picks like Baltoy. (Nothing against you Baltoy. You're great.) It's not even all of the fossil pokémon that live here. I can see some sense to just picking Aerodactyl out of them, but it still comes across as kind of silly. Regardless, it's got a pleasantly weathered design, and I would rate the original version above the DX. The more saturated, less-cracked look just doesn't have the same mysterious feel to me. If I could change one thing about the design of this friend area overall, I'd make the engravings on the wall braile, to more clearly callback to the iconic Regi chamber puzzles.

34: Safari

Safari, original version Safari, DX version

An expansive savanna that spreads to the south. Pokémon powerfully race through blazing heat.

Pokémon found here: Nidoran♀, Nidorina, Nidoqueen, Nidoran♂, Nidorino, Nidoking, Doduo, Dodrio, Rhyhorn, Rhydon, Kangaskhan, Tauros, Phanpy, Donphan, Miltank, [Rhypherior]

The Safari friend area has a ton of pokemon that show up in the Kanto Safari Zone. Naturally, the background looks similar - you can see the resemblance in the location preview image as you step into the FireRed/LeafGreen Safari Zone. There's a nice array of green shades in this friend area. One of the funny things about it is that the pokémon here can stand in front of the leafy parts of the trees, which makes it look like they're floating. The DX version is very nice too, but I don't have much to say about it.

FireRed/LeafGreen Safari and overlap error: Safari Zone Kangaskhan in front of the tree

33: Mystic Lake

Mystic Lake, original version Mystic Lake, DX version

A mystical lake north of Pokémon Square. Rare Pokémon - even one called a mirage - are said to live here.

Pokémon found here: Lapras, Dratini, Dragonair, Dragonite

Mystic Lake loses a few points for the lights only pulsing in place without drifting or changing opacity. It makes them look a bit like strange lightbulbs stuck to the coral instead of something organic. Otherwise, the design is very nice. I'm a big coral enjoyer. The DX version fixes the one flaw by giving the lights a softer look with no edges.

32: Serene Sea

Serene Sea, original version Serene Sea, DX version

An infinitely calm sea without waves. Large Pokémon live luxuriantly here.

Pokémon found here: Qwilfish, Mantine, Wailmer, Wailord, [Mantyke]

This is one of the few underwater friend areas not to have bubbles floating up from anywhere. It doesn't need them, though; it has plenty of details with the ruins and coral-like squiggles. I wonder if the ruins are meant to be made by humans or pokémon? Though of course Black and White versions weren't anywhere near existing at this point, it reminds me a bit of the Abyssal Ruins from Unova. In the DX version, the squiggles are more jagged and more clearly coral. The original seems to have much more open space, though that might just be from the angle. They're both great!

31: Magnetic Quarry

Magnetic Quarry, original version Magnetic Quarry, DX version

The powerful magnetic forces imbued in this quarry bind the nerves of certain Pokémon, creating psychic power.

Pokémon found here: Beldum, Metang, Metagross

Some of the small rocks look like they're floating in Magnetic Quarry, but based on the DX verion I don't think this is intentional. Which is too bad, because that definitely would've tied in more to the "magnetic" theming. As it is, the interesting shapes of the shading make this friend area stand out. You can also step out on top of the little bunker, which is fun.

30: Rainbow Peak

Rainbow Peak, original version Rainbow Peak, DX version

This legendary place atop a forbidding mountain towers above the clouds. A fabulous rainbow can be seen here.

Pokémon found here: Ho-oh

You can't go wrong with rainbows and mountains that stick out about the clouds. It's a nice peaceful location that's perfect for Ho-oh. Like some of the other legendary friend areas, the designs might be a callback to the Gen 3 event locations they can be found at. For Ho-oh, that's Navel Rock. Granted, that may be a stretch, as their main similarities are being very tall moutains sticking into the sky. There's a lot more detail to Rainbow Peak than to Navel Rock, as you can see below. The DX version places more emphasis on the steps leading up to the peak. The rainbows are a lot fainter, which makes sense from a realism standpoint, but I personally prefer the cartoonish look of the original rainbows.

Navel Rock in FireRed/LeafGreen: Navel Rock

29: Cryptic Cave

Cryptic Cave, original version Cryptic Cave, DX version

This very mysterious spot, said to be deep inside a dungeon, is the perfect place to store energy without expending any effort.

Pokémon found here: Mewtwo

I didn't remember that this was Mewtwo's friend area until I looked up which pokemon reside here, haha. It must be meant to represent Cerulean Cave, so it makes sense, even if it seems a little underwhelming for a legendary area. Still, I really like the aesthetic rhythm of the curves in the stone path; the shape language really carries the design. The DX version makes the Cerulean Cave reference even clearer with the addition of cerulean-colored crystals ear the foreground. I do think the cerulean watercolor-splatter effect is a bit much, though; it distracts a bit from the crystals and sparkles to me.

28: Darkness Ridge

Darkness Ridge, original version Darkness Ridge, DX version

This mountainous area may be inhabited by mischievous Pokémon who can suddenly turn the area dark to cause trouble.

Pokémon found here: Vulpix, Ninetales, Gastly, Haunter, Gengar, Misdreavus, Sneasel, Sableye, Shuppet, Banette, Duskull, Dusclops, Absol, [Mismagius, Weavile, Dusknoir]

I may be ranking this one more highly than it deserves because it reminds me of Deltarune, but it's my subjective friend area ranking and I can do what I want. It also reminds me a bit of Gloam Valley from Super Paper Mario, though it's been a while since I played that so I could be totally off lol. I also may have added too many glowing dots in the background when editing the sprite, but in my defense, they are very cool. The DX version doesn't have them, which is very lame and makes the area just look like a regular forest at night, rather than a place where pokémon specifically go to commit crimes.

27: Sacred Field

Sacred Field, original version Sacred Field, DX version

There is hallowed ground somewhere within these plains. Three legendary Pokémon are said to live there.

Pokémon found here: Entei, Raikou, Suicune

Sacred Field might look a bit plain, but I'm a big fan of the simple look. The direction of the shine on the grass radiating out from the center makes it look like wind is blowing, flattening the tall grass in that pattern. The rock patterns are also detailed without being too busy. It really looks like a great area to run around really fast in. The DX version changes the vibe a lot, adding flowers and making the concentric rings in the grass just kind of... there? They're not jagged like in the original and the grass looks too short and not affected by wind. It's alright on its own, but I much prefer the original.

26: Rub-a-Dub River

Rub-a-Dub River, original version Rub-a-Dub River, DX version

Pokémon that love to frolic in water gather at this beautiful river where pure water flows.

Pokémon found here: Goldeen, Seaking, Totodile, Croconaw, Feraligatr, Volbeat, Illumise

Rub-a-Dub River is such a cute area! I don't know why they decided to put Volbeat and Illumise here, but that's not important to the good vibes. It's kind of funny to think about what the water wheel might be for when I don't think pokémon need electricity. The DX version emphasizes the crooked angles of the windows, which look very whimsical.

25: Transform Forest

Transform Forest, original version Evolution Forest, DX version

A boulder, shining with different colors, lies in the center of this extraordinary, slowly transforming forest.

Pokémon found here: Eevee, Vaporeon, Jolteon, Flareon, Espeon, Umbreon, [Leafeon, Glaceon, Sylveon]

The rock in the center pulses through a rainbow of colors in the original version, which is reflected in the static DX version. There's also a tiny bit of glitter effect on the rock. This friend area seems to favor Leafeon, with that rock reminding me of Mossy Rock from Diamond/Pearl/Platinum - though those games weren't out at the time, so it could just be coincidence. Or maybe it wasn't, since some Gen 4 pokémon are still featured in Red/Blue Rescue Team. Munchlax is playable, and there are cameos like the Weavile and Lucario statues. Anyway, that's a bit of a tangent. This friend area is very cozy and benefits from the smallness of the space. The roots twisting around the stones feel like they're reaching out like a hug. To me this is a friend area that feels like a Secret Base in a great way. The DX version still mostly has this feeling, and has been renamed "Evolution Forest."

Rock Colors: Transform Forest rock colors, ripped by Toastypk

24: Enclosed Island

Enclosed Island, original version Enclosed Island, DX version

An eerie light encloses this rocky island, keeping out the sea. It is as if the island is in another dimension.

Pokémon found here: Deoxys

This one is just COOL. I love the aesthetic of a hole in the ocean that goes nowhere. The island itself has some nice shading on the bottom to make it look like it extends into the deep, even though the description sort of implies to me that the island is floating? Either way, it's a pretty neat location. An island in the middle of nowhere is similar to Birth Island, its event location from FireRed/LeafGreen and Emerald. It would've been cool if they'd made the island more triangle-shaped to really hark back to that.

Birth Island in FireRed/LeafGreen: Birth Island

23: Legendary Island

Legendary Island, original version Legendary Island, DX version

An intriguing island with a complex weather pattern. With the power of fire, lightning, and ice, it awaits its masters.

Pokémon found here: Articuno, Zapdos, Moltres

You've probably noticed by now that I really enjoy anime callbacks in the friend areas, but this is probably my favorite of all of them. It's so clearly meant to invoke the Orange Islands from the Pokémon 2000 movie, all the way down to the little shrines that hold the treasures Ash has to retrieve. It's kind of funny though that the Moltres and Articuno islands are clearly themed after their types and then there's just. A regular grassy island for Zapdos. From what I remember in the anime Zapdos's island is at least rocky as if it's been scarred by lightning. But color wise, it would have looked off balance to have one plain gray island here. The DX version remains pretty faithful to the original, so there's not much else to say about it. Just a good, solid design that didn't need changing.

These islands in the anime: The legendary islands from Pokémon 2000

22: Treasure Sea

Treasure Sea, original version Treasure Sea, DX version

It is said that on its floor lie the treasures of pirate ships sunken long ago.

Pokémon found here: Horsea, Seadra, Remoraid, Octillery, Kingdra, Carvanha, Sharpedo, Anorith, Armaldo, Luvdisc

Ah, so this is where they decided to move Anorith and Armaldo! A sunken ship is always going to be a cool area. The lighting on the ship makes it looks like it's fading into the ocean background. The DX image is faithful, just illustrated from a higher angle.

21: Decrepit Lab

Decrepit Lab, original version Decrepit Lab, DX version

An abandoned lab built by humans long ago. Left to fall into disrepair, it is now home to Pokémon.

Pokémon found here: Abra, Kadabra, Alakazam, Mr. Mime, Ditto, Porygon, Porygon2, [Mime Jr., Porygon-Z]

It is driving me insane that the red/pink dome (it pulses between both colors in the original version) in the center of this area looks so familiar and I am completely blanking on what it is. The closest images I can find at the moment are Oak's lab in FireRed/LeafGreen or the lab at New Island in the Pokémon the First Movie. Other than my growing insanity about where I have seen this before, I really like this friend area. It's cool to see human ruins in Mystery Dungeon, where the world is inhabited only by pokémon (besides the main character, sort of). The design is also pleasantly spooky, making me think of the Pokémon Mansion and/or lab on Cinnabar. Both the original and the DX version look cool in their own ways. The original version has bubbling animations in the tanks and flickering static on the screens, along with the aforementioned pulsion of the dome. The perspective on the DX version really highlights the funky maddening dome in the middle. One day I will find your secrets. One day.

AND THAT DAY IS TODAY ACTUALLY I AM A FOOL. Looks JUST like Birch's lab in Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald. How did I miss this. (Probably because there are no good images on Bulbapedia and it's been a hot second. This images was taken from a youtube thumbnail so sorry for the crunchy quality.)

Professor Oak's Lab vs. New Moon Island's Lab vs. Professor Birch's Lab: Oak's Lab from FireRed/LeafGreen, image from Bulbapedia New Island lab from the first Pokémon movie, image from Bulbapedia Birch's Lab from Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald, image from youtube thumbnail

20: Seafloor Cave

Seafloor Cave, original version Seafloor Cave, DX version

It is said that a mythological Pokémon, spoken of through the ages, lives inside this unexplored cavern.

Pokémon found here: Kyogre

They do a great job making Seafloor Cave Kyogre-themed. The red lines pulse slowly, the crystals glow and fade, and there are bubbles like in many of the other underwater friend areas. It all comes together for a nice ethereal vibe. The DX version is a lot brighter, which still works.

19: Volcanic Pit

Volcanic Pit, original version Volcanic Pit, DX version

It is said that in the bowels of the Earth, where magma cascades in fiery streams, lives a Pokémon from mythical times.

Pokémon found here: Groudon

Volcanic Pit is the counterpart to Seafloor Cave for Groudon. I like it slightly more, shockingly. Maybe it's because it's more cohesive? Also the magma bubbles and lava-waterfalls are just really cool. The tooth-like spines around the island somewhat resemble the spines down the sides of Groudon's body. The DX version adds some more depth, with the ground falling away around the island to allow the lava to pour down the sides.

18: Sky Blue Plains

Sky Blue Plains, original version Sky-Blue Plains, DX version

A grassy plain under a vivid blue sky. Many Pokémon gather here. The large tree in the center is the area's symbol.

Pokémon found here: Jigglypuff, Wigglytuff, Lickitung, Chansey, Igglybuff, Girafarig, Snubbull, Granbull, Smeargle, Blissey, Ralts, Kirlia, Gardevoir, [Happiny, Lickilicky, Gallade]

Sky Blue Plains may look off-center in the above image, but you can't really tell when playing the game, due to the way the screen is cropped. The majestic mountain in the background and the nice texture on the grass both add to the aesthetic of the area. By now you probably know I love these shades of green, turquoise, and blue, so I can't help enjoying this one a lot. The colors are still nice in the DX version, but they're missing something to me that was present in the original. Maybe it's the purplish tint to the mountain. Maybe it's the textures and colors around the tree, which made the original tree look like it was glowing a bit. Oh, also they added a hyphen in DX, making it Sky-Blue Plains. Just for kicks and giggles I guess.

17: Turtleshell Pond

Turtleshell Pond, original version Turtleshell Pond, DX version

A small pond with a turtle-shell pattern. Pokémon that gather here love to play in the water and rest on the island.

Pokémon found here: Squirtle, Wartortle, Blastoise, Psyduck, Golduck, Marill, Azumarill, Azurill, Corphish, Crawdaunt

This cute area is shaped like a heart! Which is fitting because it has a special place in mine. It looks like a little villa in the center in the pond, with a door halfway submerged in the water. Unfortunately, you can't walk down the path into the pond itself. The tree on top of the villa looks like a great place to have a picnic. In the DX version, you can't see the heart shape of the pond, but it does add in one more turtle shell. I like how it keeps the same log you can see on the right side of the image.

16: Secretive Forest

Secretive Forest, original version Secretive Forest, DX version

Covered in dense undergrowth, no light penetrates this forest. In its permanent darkness lurk Bug-type Pokémon.

Pokémon found here: Venonat, Venomoth, Spinarak, Ariados, Pineco, Forretress, Nincada, Ninjask, Shedinja

Another nice spooky area like Darkness Ridge. The thin spiderwebs are a detail that adds a lot, and the bright turquoise accents are well balanced between the middle and the edges of the area. I can't say I'd want to be a bug pokémon here, unless I was one of the spiders like Spinarak. It definitely looks like you'd end up being lunch otherwise. The DX version adds more webs but looks less spooky to me for some reason.

15: Shallow Beach

Shallow Beach, original version Shallow Beach, DX version

A white, sandy beach with a beautiful sea. The weather is temperate and perfect for beachgoers, especially near water's edge.

Pokémon found here: Krabby, Kingler, Corsola, Wingull, Pelipper

Who lives in a pineapple above the sea? Mr. Krabs Krabby and friends, apparently! This clearly looks like a Spongebob reference, and I love it. It's also just a very cute area. Like in the Safari friend area, pokemon can walk in front of the treetops in a perspective error. The DX version makes the huts look less pineapple-like, which is too bad. There's a lot more grass and you can see more islands in the background, with none of the dark rocky areas present in the original.

14: Waterfall Lake

Waterfall Lake, original version Waterfall Lake, DX version

A lake with a towering waterfall. The fall's spray refreshes and invigorates!

Pokémon found here: Magikarp, Gyarados, Feebas, Milotic

Waterfall Lake has some very saturated water that I actually really like. It's shimmery with a small rock in the middle. The grass on the rock doesn't match the color of the grass on the surrounding land, so it stands out a bit. I enjoy the color of the surrounding trees as well, they're a bit more teal and subdued than most. The DX version doesn't have as vibrant of colors. I prefer the original for this one.

13: Thunder Meadow

Thunder Meadow, original version Thunder Crag, DX version

A meadow covered in thunderclouds. Besides Electric-type Pokémon, a startling variety of other Pokémon live here.

Pokémon found here: Sentret, Furret, Mareep, Flaafy, Ampharos, Electrike, Manectric, Plusle, Minun, Castform, Chimecho, [Chingling]

Thunder Meadow is another area that's pretty unique. The yellow of the grass stands out against the gray background. The withered tree is cool even if it's a bit silly that it looks so tiny. The jagged shapes of the edge of the cliff give it a great dangerous atmosphere, which is reflected in the DX name change to Thunder Crag. Honestly I don't know why they called it a meadow in the first place. The tree in the DX version looks even more gnarled, and there are even more lightning-shaped cracks in the ground.

12: Scorched Plains

Scorched Plains, original version Scorched Plains, DX version

The tremendously hot ground of this grassy field of fire spouts flames. It is a treasure trove of Fire-type Pokémon.

Pokémon found here: Growlithe, Arcanine, Ponyta, Rapidash, Cyndaquil, Quilava, Typhlosion, Torchic, Combusken, Blaziken

I always manipulated the personality test to play as Cyndaquil in Red/Blue Rescue Team, so I spent a lot of time with this friend area. If you've only seen it on Bulbapedia, and you look carefully, you'll notice that the screenshot of the original version is glitched for some reason. (I pulled the image in this page from the spriter's resource, with some of the embers added in manually.) The colors are warm and pleasant, with a nice yellow-to-blue gradient in the sky. The DX version loses this and focuses on making the area rockier, which doesn't look quite as cool in my opinion.

11: Southern Island

Southern Island, original version Southern Island, DX version

A gorgeous island in the southern seas. It is said to be visited often by the Eon Pokémon.

Pokémon found here: Latias, Latios

You might have expected me to rank this one higher. I love it a lot! I just happen to love the upcoming friend areas even more. Southern Island is on a small beach with some crumbling pillars. There's pretty much no similarity to the Southern Island of the Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald games, which was available via the Eon Ticket event. I can't say I mind too much though, since the friend area version is much more unique. You might recognize the DX version, since that's the image in the site header! Overall, I think it's a great place for Latias and Latios to live.

Southern Island in Ruby & Sapphire: Southern Island in Ruby & Sapphire

10: Flyaway Forest

Flyaway Forest, original version Flyaway Forest, DX version

This thick forest, dominated by a gigantic tree, is favored mostly by Flying-type Pokémon.

Pokémon found here: Pidgey, Pidgeotto, Pidgeot, Hoothoot, Noctowl, Togepi, Togetic, Natu, Xatu, Murkrow, Swablu, Altaria, [Honchkrow, Togekiss]

Flyaway Forest resembles a massive stump with concentric rings in warm shades. In the DX version, it has been changed to include two different stumps. Both versions are super cool looking and unique. The wooden steps on the sides make it feel like a tree and a treehouse at the same time. It's just neat! I love you giant trees.

9: Tadpole Pond

Tadpole Pond, original version Tadpole Pond, DX version

Broad leaves float on the surface of this pond. It is the perfect home for tadpole Pokémon. Water Pokémon like it, too.

Pokémon found here: Poliwag, Poliwhirl, Poliwrath, Politoed, Lotad, Lombre, Ludicolo, Surskit, Masquerain

Tadpole Pond is a fun little maze to play around it. There's lilypads! And logs!! It's cute!!! I would love to be a little Lotad swimming around in here. The DX illustration is fine but makes it less clear that the logs are for walking on.

8: Peanut Swamp

Peanut Swamp, original version Gourd Swamp, DX version

A peanut-shaped swamp with green, soupy water. It is home to Pokémon categories like Mud Fish, Whiskers, and Water Fish.

Pokémon found here: Wooper, Quagsire, Mudkip, Marshtomp, Swampert, Barboach, Swampert

Peanut Swamp! One of my classic childhood favorites. Teal and green are two of my favorite colors, and I love the Wooper and Mudkip lines, so this is no surprise. Peanut Swamp's in-game description confirms something I was confused about, which is that the area gets its name from the peanut shape of the ponds in the swamp. As a kid I'd thought it was because the little houses were made out of massive hollowed-out peanut shells, which did not make sense but didn't stop me. All of this is made less relevant by the name change in DX to Gourd Swamp. As much as I'm loyal to Peanut Swamp out of nostalgia, I have to admit this name change actually makes sense. The DX version is otherwise pretty faithful, with an emphasis on the gourds strengthened by centering them in the image. Just imagine being a Wooper living inside one of those. Perfection.

7: Mt. Moonview

Mt. Moonview, original version Mt. Moonview, DX version

An area where the moon looks its most beautiful, especially when it's full. The very sight brings serenity.

Pokémon found here: Clefairy, Clefable, Cleffa, Lunatone, Solrock, Jirachi

Mt. Moonview is a beautiful sloping area glowing under the light of the moon. They definitely picked the right pokemon to live here, but it's really funny that Jirachi, like the Regis in Ancient Relic, doesn't get its own friend area. Maybe it's for the best though, because this means Jirachi can have some buddies around all the time to hang out with. The trees look like Christmas trees, with the yellow balls resembling Christmas ornaments. They're smaller in the DX version. DX also adds stars and rings of clouds that highlight the moon. Both versions have their own appeal.

6: Stratos Lookout

Stratos Lookout, original version Stratos Lookout, DX version

An area in the ozone layer far above the clouds. It is home to a legendary Pokémon of the stratosphere.

Pokémon found here: Rayquaza

This friend area just looks grand. Wind swirls up the pillars, and light slices diagonally through the clouds even farther above. The curling patterns of the clouds remind me of something you'd see in Legend of Zelda games. There's even what looks like a throne in the clouds! What a perfect area for the Sky High Pokémon. The DX version adds a rainbow gradient that isn't present in the original. It's fun too but a little distracting from the original's simple-colored majesty.

5: Mist-Rise Forest

Mist-Rise Forest, original version Stump Forest, DX version

Mist-Rise Forest, deep inside the Eastern Forest, looks ideal for many Bug-type Pokémon.

Pokémon found here: Caterpie, Metapod, Butterfree, Weedle, Kakuna, Beedrill, Ledyba, Ledian, Yanma, Wurmple, Silcoon, Beautifly, Cascoon, Dustox, [Yanmega]

Mist-Rise Forest is another favorite friend area of mine. It's mysterious, it's got a great near-complimentary color scheme with the orange motes contrasting the shades of teal and green. You can even walk up the flat mushrooms on the side of the stump like they're steps. The motes pulse in place, but only change in opacity, not size, which makes me think they're meant to be more like a glowing fungus or lichen than floating lights. This seems supported by the DX illustration where there's more volume to them. My one question is why on earth they renamed it Stump Forest in DX. That's so lame!! Mist-Rise slaps!!! Other than that, the DX version is pretty faithful design-wise, because Mist-Rise Forest is without flaw.

4: Bountiful Sea

Boulder Cave, original version Boulder Cave, DX version

A sea where warm and cold currents come together. It is bursting with marine life and is also rich in minerals.

Pokémon found here: Tentacool, Tentacruel, Slowpoke, Slowbro, Shellder, Cloyster, Staryu, Starmie, Slowking

This one is fascinating because it's so much more detailed than the other friend areas in the original Red and Blue versions. There are so many more animated effects on it too, from the pulsing lights to the swaying seaweed above to the gurgling bubbles. I really get the feeling this was some spriter's favorite friend area. It feels so wholesome since it's home to such unassuming pokémon, too. I have so much respect for whoever put this much effort into Tentacool's home. This is probably the only friend area where the DX version looks like a real downgrade in terms of detail, to the point where I had to double check and make sure I didn't mix up the images somehow. (The DX version is still nice of course, but it doesn't stand out compared to the others of its game.)

3: Mushroom Forest

Mushroom Forest, original version Mushroom Forest, DX version

A dank forest sprouting with mushrooms. It attracts Pokémon that like humidity.

Pokémon found here: Paras, Parasect, Seedot, Nuzleaf, Shiftry, Shroomish, Breloom

Giant mushrooms are a staple of fantasy worldbuilding, and they never miss. Look at them. Ponder on their beauty. Consider sheltering under the umbrella of a giant mushroom cap. Mourn the fact that this will never happen. Debate whether the DX version is an improvement or a downgrade. Never come to a conclusion because you are too busy longing to be a little guy under a mushroom.

2: Beau Plains

Beau Plains, original version Beau Plains, DX version

A lovely area with a fantastic view. Flowers bloom in profusion around fresh springs. Grass-type Pokémon will adore it!

Pokémon found here: Bulbasaur, Ivysaur, Venusaur, Chikorita, Bayleef, Meganium, Hoppip, Skiploom, Jumpluff, Tailow, Swellow, Roselia, [Budew, Roserade]

This is a friend area I would just go to and stand around in as a kid. It's so pleasant and colorful and just radiates joy. The DX version is nice, but the original extra-bright version just warms my heart every time I see it and can't be replaced. I probably sound like a hypocrite after complaining about saturation in some of the other friend ares, but Beau Plains is perfect. 100/10, this is where I would live if I was a pokémon.

1: Final Island

Final Island, original version Final Island, DX version

This legendary island may not even exist. It hovers on the horizon and disappears suddenly as if it were a mirage.

Pokémon found here: Mew

How could I not pick this one as my favorite? Like giant mushrooms, floating rocks are objectively one of the coolest parts of fantasy level designs. The bright blues and greens are some of my favorite shades. And it's a callback to Mirage Island from Hoenn! An interesting pick, considering Mew had its own event island location in Emerald - Faraway Island - which looked quite different, with a more rainforest-adjacent aesthetic. I suppose there were already enough forest-themed friend areas though, and (obviously, since I'm ranking this as number 1) Final Island just looks awesome. Very fitting for one of the most elusive mythical pokémon.

Faraway Island as seen in Emerald Version: Faraway Island Exterior Faraway Island Interior

If you made it all the way to the end of this list, thanks for reading! I have a lot of love in my heart for all of the Mystery Dungeon friend areas, even the ones I ranked lower. (Yes, Even Deep-Sea Current.) Feel free to share your own favorite Friend Area(s) on the Guestbook!