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It's been a long time coming, but Pokemon Stadium has finally made it to the States, and the question remains, was it worth the wait. Then answer? Well, you have to really look at Pokemon Stadium in two ways; an add-on to Pokemon Yellow, Blue, and Red, or a game on it's own. Pokemon Stadium was the 2nd Pokemon game for Nintendo 64. Most people though you would just be able to fight against friends Pokemon in 3D, but there is a lot more to do. Pokemon Stadium was the most advanced game for the N64 for awhile, is quite a remarkable game.
In the game's Stadium Mode, one player competes in 80 different battles, divided into four tournaments. Beat the Stadium Mode and you're in for a bonus battle against the ultimate Pokemon warrior, Mewtwo, as well as a secret mode that gives you 80 brand-new and devilishly tough battles. There is virtually no way you can beat the secret mode without having trained your own, elite Pokemon.
One to four players compete against each other or the computer in a no-holds-barred battle with customizable rules. You can select rental Pokemon for these battles -- but that makes them much too predictable since their selection of techniques isn't determined by the trainer. You can also select quick and easy versus and random battles.
Battle against all the gym leaders that appeared in the Pokemon Game Boy games and win up to eight semi-rare to rare Pokemon that you can add to your Game Boy party and Pokedex!
Get full control over your Pokemon PC Boxes and examine, sort, group and move your Pokemon. You can even bring up tables that display moves, abilities, ID numbers, area locations, and more on one screen. This lets you easily compare new Pokemon you have caught to see which ones are worth keeping.
Organize, sort and store whole PC Boxes (which hold up to 30 Pokemon) on the N64 to free up room on your GB cartridge. Up to 240 Pokemon can be stored on the N64 cart. You can even give a whole box full of Pokemon to a friend.
Store items on the N64 cartridge. You can't give them to a friend since the GB cart ID numbers have to match, but it frees up room in your GB inventory. Up to 400 items can be stored in four different ID boxes.
Examine and compare Pokemon techniques. See what every attack's accuracy rating is and get detailed descriptions on what they do.
An expanded Pokedex lets you look at your Pokemon in detail and bring up detailed map data that shows you where you can catch them in the GB games.
Trade Pokemon with a friend using easy on-screen controls.
Play Pokemon Red, Blue or Yellow on your TV screen using the GB Tower Mode. The emulation is flawless, but HAL actually went a step further. You can unlock two extra speed settings that let you play your Game Boy Pokemon at hyper speeds. This is incredibly helpful if you want to upgrade certain Pokemon and do as many battles as possible in very little time.
Collect trophies for winning battles. Try to get one for each Pokemon to unlock a secret.
Compete in nine Mario Party type mini-games with up to four players.
Snap pictures of your Pokemon in the Gallery Mode and print them out as stickers in participating stores.
See all 151 Pokemon and all attacks and defense moves in glorious 3D.
This game is a whooping 256 megabytes, has Factor 5 Voice Compression (Very Poorly used my Nintendo), and has 60 Frames per second
As you can tell from the list of features, Pokemon Stadium is packed full with goodies that should make Pokemon Game Boy owners salivate. No, it's not an RPG -- and as such, it doesn't have a storyline or a quest mode. Pokemon Stadium is a clever add-on package that's based on the Game Boy games popular Colosseum battle mode and not only enhances the GB games, but actually got me to go back and invest even more time into Pokemon Yellow. Sure, the initial attraction is to see your Pokemon in 3D and Stadium definitely delivers the goods when it comes to bringing the creatures to live. But the battles quickly become meaningless if the combatants you're using aren't really yours.
Although the Pokemon Stadium mode is considered to be the main attraction, the Gym Leader Castle is probably the feature GB Pokemon owners will like best. Every time you beat it, you are randomly awarded one of eight Pokemon. For many gamers who don't have the chance to trade with friends, this is virtually the only way to get a complete Pokedex. But the upgrades you get in the Stadium mode are equally impressive. Playing the Game Boy games in four-times the speed on your TV screen is awesome. No longer do you have to wait 20 seconds to heal your Pokemon at a Poke Center. Just kick the thing into overdrive and you're done.
The battles themselves are only as exciting as your Pokemon. If you've got a crew of level 100 mega-monsters, you'll definitely see the sparks fly. But even if you've spent weeks upgrading your favorite six, you can't just blaze through the game without losing some of the duels. Nintendo was smart enough to put a few rules and regulations in some of the tournaments that force you to use Pokemon of a certain size or level. That way, you won't just use Mewtwo, Zapdos and co. over and over again, making for more varied battles. There are six-cup challenges consisting of six different battles in this game. The six cups are Nintendo Cup '99, Nintendo Cup '98, Nintendo Cup '97, Ultra cup, Aero Cup, and the Fancy Cup. To make the matches fair each cup has a certain level ranges so you can't take you level hundred Charizard and win all the cups. If you don't like the cup modes you can battle other trainers and gym leaders from the game. On each level you have to battle three trainers and a gym leader for a badge. Depending on which ones you beat, you can get some nice surprises such as Surfing Pikachu and Amnesia Psyduck. The computer's AI starts off really easy. You won't have a problem beating the first few tournaments, even if you're using the so-called "rental Pokemon" that are available to fill gaps in your Pokemon lineup (or for those courageous players who say they don't need the GB games to fully enjoy this game). But wait till you get to the higher tournaments and you will see the difference to the GB games. AI! The computer will employ different tactics, such as trying to take your best Pokemon out first with self-destruct moves. It will withdraw Pokemon that are susceptible to your Pokemon type's attacks. It will use Thunder Wave to slow your fastest Pokemon down. It will poison you with Toxic and try to stall you by putting you to sleep or using Fly and Dig. It will drive you insane with Wrap.
But just like RPG battles in games like Final Fantasy, the battles in Stadium can get old after a while. That's where the multiplayer tournaments come in. Competing against a human player who is probably trying to trick you and do things you wouldn't expect adds a whole new level to Pokemon battles. You have to actually try to analyze the situation and figure out what your opponent is likely to attempt next to be successful. Since the battles are turn-based, the fun definitely isn't on the same "I'll get you!" level as in games like Smash Bros. or Mario Kart. It's more akin to a strategy game like chess -- only that the pieces in Stadium roast each other with Fire Blasts and shoot spores out of their heads.
For those with short attention spans, there are also nine Mario Party-inspired mini-games.
The minigames are:
Magicarp Splash - Make your Magikarp jump to hit a bell the most times to win!
Clefairy Says - Press the correct order of buttons in a short amount of times, without messing up.
Run, Rattata, Run - Make your Rattata run and fast as you can, while jumping over hurtles to get to the finish line.
Snore War - Press the button where the swining pendelum gets to the right spot, at the right time to stay awake.
Thundering Dynamo - Press the correct button(s) the fastest to make your Pokemon shock the others.
Sushi-Go-Round - Make your Pokemon eat the most amount of expensive food before time runs out.
Ekans Hoop Hurl - Throw the Ekans around the Diglets to score points.
Rock Harden - Harden your Metapod/Kakuna at the right time without using all of your life to win.
Dig! Dig! Dig! - Make your Sandshrew dig the fastest to the waterline.
Though these games are simple and not that addicting, they could keep you hooked for a good 15 minutes. Nintendo should have put more difficulty into the mini games. Even at hard, they're too easy. Nintendo probably should also have put in some more mini games.
GB Tower mode aside, the most useful mode for Pokemon GB fans is probably the Pokemon Lab mode where you can organize everything, compare Pokemon, and so forth. Once you have used the Lab, you will notice how rudimentary the menu systems in the Game Boy versions really are. Teaching your Pokemon moves from TMs and HMs is made really easy, since you can now see what each machine does and what Pokemon can learn the respective moves. Now, what makes Pokemon Stadium so great is of course the Transfer Pack, which is bundled with Pokemon Stadium. This little gizmo hooks up to the back of your controller and lets you input your Pokemon from Blue, Red, or Yellow into Pokemon Stadium, you can battle it out with your Pokemon in all the 3D glory that Stadium is. What's more is that you can Register your Gameboy Pokemon into the game using the Registering mode so that you don't have to use the Transfer Pack anymore. Nintendo also allows you to play your Pokemon Game on the N64 when you go to the GB Tower. It is just like the Super NES Gameboy (accept you can only play Pokemon Yellow, Red, and Blue; not any Gameboy game you please. Sorry. So, when all put together, Pokemon Stadium has plenty of things to keep you occupied. These excellent additions round off what is one of the more original console titles to come along in a long time. It's only too bad the game sells at full price (necessitated by the inclusion of the Transfer Pak), which will make some N64 owners expect more than just an expansion of the Game Boy titles, it still shines.
Fans of the series will be very pleased to know that this game does not lag in the graphic department. All battles take place in closed-off arenas with simple backdrops inspired by the anime series. The environments are pretty unimpressive -- but that's for a reason. The polygonal Pokemon are where it's at. These soft-skinned beauties are not only highly detailed and look exactly like their TV counterparts, they also move with such convincing animation that it seems likely that Nintendo has found a way to motion-capture real-life Pokemon. The bird animations are especially impressive and each of the 151 Pokemon has a unique (and often hilarious) "fainting" animation as well. There are so many neat details, that it's impossible to list them all. Grimer and Muk drip and ooze as they try to maintain their shape, Cloyster's horns rotate, Venusaur gets bloodshot eyes when it's in trouble, Jolteon shakes its head and stumbles backwards after a hit and Lickitung is at its most disturbing. Some of the size differences that weren't apparent in the Game Boy versions are also beautifully reproduced. Just pit a Gyarados against a Magikarp and you'll understand... And best of all, the framerate is rock solid. The attack graphics are equally impressive, with colorful particle animations and screen-shaking special effects. Some of the moves are just simply amazing looking. From the burning power of Fire Blast to the mind-bending Psychic attack. Each move was carefully made to bring out the full magic of it. Even Tackle is a nice sight to see. What's more is that two Pokemon can use the same move, but the move will look a little different, going with the Pokemon Type. For example, when Flareon uses Body Slam, his legs spread out while he jumps into the air, but when Squirtle uses Body Slam, he will descend into his Shell and spin towards the enemy. These little touches will make sure that you won't grow bored of the battle animations. Like in the Game Boy games, the Pokemon never actually physically "touch" each other -- which comes as somewhat of a disappointment. Luckily, all the elemental attacks and their effects on the Pokemon are shown in their full glory, so it isn't really that big of a deal if you can't actually see two Pokemon make contact with some of the more boring moves like Slash and Stomp.
The high-res menu screens are very well laid out and can be understood and navigated quickly, without the need of a manual. Overall, the game's graphical presentation is top notch, though it naturally can't compete with adventure or platform games since it lacks environment detail. . Another added plus from Nintendo if their use of Pokemon Colors in the game. Depending on your Pokemon's ID number, name, and stats, it will have different colors. This adds a lot of variety of slightly different looking Pokemon. I mean, not every Pokemon is supposed to look just alike, are they? All in all, the graphic department will not disappoint, though some of the Pokemon needed a little more work (Like Machamp).
Eeeeek! Pokemon Stadium's most disappointing area is its sound. When the MoSys symbol and the name "Factor 5" appear on the title screen, most people get ready to be blown away by some goodness -- but it turns out that Nintendo only used the developer's patented M.O.R.T. voice compression for the game's announcer. While the announcer isn't terrible, he quickly started to annoy with the phrase "from the word go" and some of the most general statements ever, like "There is a distinct difference in the number of remaining Pokemon!" The announcer says the same thing over and over and over and over and over. You almost start expecting to hear things like "One Pokemon won, the other one lost," "The sky is blue!" and "There is one Pokemon fighting another one!" He is going to make you turn down the volume to the lowest it can get. What were the guys at Nintendo thinking?
To make things even worse, there are hardly any real Pokemon voices in the game. Nintendo added Pikachu's trademark noises for the US version (they weren't in the Japanese release) and you can hear some of the voices in the mini-games, but that's about it. For most of the Pokemon, you only get generic monster sounds -- not the endearing "Squoitle!" and "Ekanssssssss!" that made the characters so memorable. The animations and poly models for 151 different Pokemon take up a lot of room, but considering the fact that Capcom can release a 512 megabit game (RE2), it would have been nice to see Nintendo treat its biggest franchise with the same respect. Nintendo could have at least tried to include the sounds for the most popular Pokemon like Charmander and Meowth.
To add insult to injury, the music isn't really there, the samples used for the music are terrible, making everything sound really tinny. Sure, the melodies are instantly recognizable and sound better than the Game Boy tunes, but the audio is nowhere near the quality of some of the recent Nintendo releases, but that's not what this game is about. You will be so hooked onto the game that you won't even hear the music. The soundtrack is not something to jump for, but on the up side, the battle noises are all above average. Though Pokemon Stadium contains lot of the original music from the game, it isn't enough. There was supposed to be some great new original music, but the overall result was displeasing. Even though the Music lags and the announcer is unforgivable, you will still enjoy the game.
Not much to say here. Control in this game is top notch. The menu-based system is simple and effective. And the mini games are easy to learn as well. The whole game is easy to navigate due to the fact that Nintendo wanted to make sure the game was enjoyable for all audiences. Moves can be pulled off more quickly than ever too. All in all, the control is flawless.
Stadium supports only the Transfer Pak, which is included with the package.
Walkthrough Part 1
Walkthrough Part 2