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Game Review (Stadium)
Category: Nintendo 64
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Gotta connect 'em all! Game Boy and Nintendo hook up for one big monster battle.
I am a proud owner of all three legendary bird Pokémon. I've got both Mew and Mewtwo. I picked Kabuto over Omastar and evolved my Eevee into a Jolteon. Oh, and I just found out that my Pikachu is orange. I've played through Pokémon Yellow, Blue and Gold and I'm halfway through Silver. I'm not sure what evil powers make me play these fairly simplistic RPGs, but I know what I don't play them for: storyline, sound and graphics. That leads to only one possible conclusion. It's all about the fun of collection, character upgrades -- and, most importantly, battles.
With that in mind, Nintendo's second-party developer HAL Laboratories has devised an ingenious add-on pack to the Pokémon Game Boy games. Only that unlike the traditional add-on packs that are released on PC all year long, this one actually bridges the gap between two platforms with the help of a new accessory -- the Transfer Pak. The basic idea is to plug your Pokémon Blue, Red or Pokémon Yellow for Game Boy into the Transfer Pak and use the Pokémon you have captured in fully 3D Pokémon Stadium turn-based monster battles.
No, Pokémon Stadium is not a standalone product. If you don't own Pokémon for the Game Boy, it just doesn't make sense to invest the $60 bucks to play a game that shows its best features only when a Game Boy cartridge is plugged into your N64.
I've already covered a lot of this game's features in an eight-part special called Pokémon Times, so here's a very quick rundown on some of the treats that slumber inside this ingenious little 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 Pokémon 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 Pokémon.
- One to four players compete against each other or the computer in a no-holds-barred battle with customizable rules. You can select rental Pokémon 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 Pokémon Game Boy games and win up to eight semi-rare to rare Pokémon that you can add to your Game Boy party and Pokédex!
- Get full control over your Pokémon PC Boxes and examine, sort, group and move your Pokémon. 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 Pokémon you have caught to see which ones are worth keeping.
- Organize, sort and store whole PC Boxes (which hold up to 30 Pokémon) on the N64 to free up room on your GB cartridge. Up to 240 Pokémon can be stored on the N64 cart. You can even give a whole box full of Pokémon 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 Pokémon techniques. See what every attack's accuracy rating is and get detailed descriptions on what they do.
- An expanded Pokédex lets you look at your Pokémon in detail and bring up detailed map data that shows you where you can catch them in the GB games.
- Trade Pokémon with a friend using easy on-screen controls.
- Play Pokémon 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 Pokémon at hyper speeds. This is incredibly helpful if you want to upgrade certain Pokémon and do as many battles as possible in very little time.
- Collect trophies for winning battles. Try to get one for each Pokémon to unlock a secret.
- Compete in nine Mario Party type mini-games with up to four players.
- Snap pictures of your Pokémon in the Gallery Mode and print them out as stickers in participating stores.
- See all 151 Pokémon and all attacks and defense moves in glorious 3D.
As you can tell from the list of features, Pokémon Stadium is packed full with goodies that should make Pokémon Game Boy owners salivate. No, it's not an RPG -- and as such, it doesn't have a storyline or a quest mode. Pokémon 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 Pokémon Yellow. Sure, the initial attraction is to see your Pokémon 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 Pokémon Stadium mode is considered to be the main attraction, the Gym Leader Castle is probably the feature GB Pokémon owners will like best. Every time you beat it, you are randomly awarded one of eight Pokémon. For many gamers who don't have the chance to trade with friends, this is virtually the only way to get a complete Pokédex. I've got myself four new Eevees, two of which I evolved into Flareon and Vaporeon (since I initially only had a Jolteon). I won Omanyte and went back into Pokémon Yellow and had it evolve to Omastar. Pokémon Blue and Red owners can also finally get the other two starting Pokémon (out of Bulbasaur, Squirtle and Charmander). 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 Pokémon at a Poké Center. Just kick the thing into overdrive and you're done.
The battles themselves are only as exciting as your Pokémon. 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 Pokémon 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.
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 Pokémon"" that are available to fill gaps in your Pokémon 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 Pokémon out first with self-destruct moves. It will withdraw Pokémon that are susceptible to your Pokémon type's attacks. It will use Thunder Wave to slow your fastest Pokémon 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 Pokémon 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. Some, like Clefairy Says and Ekans' Hoop Hurl make for fun little four-player battles, but most of the other games are just button mashers and won't keep your interest long.
GB Tower mode aside, the most useful mode for Pokémon GB fans is probably the Pokémon Lab mode where you can organize everything, compare Pokémon, 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 Pokémon moves from TMs and HMs is made really easy, since you can now see what each machine does and what Pokémon can learn the respective moves. These excellent additions round off what I think 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.
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 Pokémon 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 Pokémon. The bird animations are especially impressive and each of the 151 Pokémon 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. Like in the Game Boy games, the Pokémon never actually physically ""touch"" each other -- which comes as somewhat of a disappointment. Luckily, all the elemental attacks and their effects on the Pokémon are shown in their full glory, so it isn't really that big of a deal if you can't actually see two Pokémon 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.
Pokémon Stadium's most disappointing area is its sound. I was ready to be blown away by some MoSys goodness when I saw the name ""Factor 5"" appear on the title screen -- 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 me 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 Pokémon!"" I was almost expecting to hear things like ""One Pokémon won, the other one lost,"" ""The sky is blue!"" and ""There is one Pokémon fighting another one!""
To make things even worse, there are hardly any real Pokémon 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 Pokémon, you only get generic monster sounds -- not the endearing ""Squoitle!"" and ""Ekanssssssss!"" that made the characters so memorable. I realize that the animations and poly models for 151 different Pokémon 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 Pokémon like Charmander and Meowth.
To add insult to injury, 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. On the up-side, the battle noises are all above average.
Stadium supports only the Transfer Pak, which is included with the package. While you can register your Pokémon and play two-player battles with only one Transfer Pak, two are needed for traditional one-on-one Pokémon trading. For more information on the Transfer Pak, check out IGNpocket's detailed special.
Pokemon Reviews (Stadium)
EBWorld.com Customer Reviews
A customer on Monday, April 17, 2000
A BIG dissapointment
I was really jealous that my friend had N64 and I had Playstation when Pokemon Stadium came out.When I played it for the 1st time I was expecting more.The stupid pokemon don't move from their spots!They just sit there and make a red Kaboom and health comes away from the pokemon.
What's up with the attacks!!Staryu has Thundershock,Psybeam,and 2 other moves, only 1 water attack!The Pokemon have different attacks from their type!And the stupid announcer!!
"The 1 hit wonder" or "These Pokemon are entirely different types".STUPID!Hey,I'm a Digimon fan,but I'm not rating it bad because of that.Designers are trying to make Pokemon come back!Tough job!!
If they want it to become as popular as it was,make a better game.It has cool graphics,behind that NOTHING.I like Kids' club the most!
Don't waste your money.
A customer on Wednesday, April 12, 2000
Even for a Pokemon fanatic, this is a dissapointme
I love Pokémon; it's embarrassing but true. I always thought the battles on the GameBoy were ok, but walking around and collecting Pokémon and training them was really the fun part. I even loved Pokémon snap (great game). But this game is a good-looking version of the most boring part of the GameBoy game; you can't even train the Pokémon or walk around or anything like that. And you may say the graphics look fancy, but the only thing that happens is Pokémon sitting there, they don't even move from their same spot during the whole extremely boring battles, which usually consists of constantly switching your Pokémon so that you have the right one to do battle.
Rent before you buy.
James Asher (firstname.lastname@example.org) on Tuesday, April 11, 2000
This game is great!
This game is awesome! The graphics are so lifelike, but the attack animations aren't what everyone said they would be. Also, the announcer is so stupid! Saying such things as "There is a distinct difference in the number of remaining Pokemon!" No Duh! I was expecting him to say such things as: "The sky is blue!", "One Pokemon is battling another!", and "One Pokemon is the winner, one is the loser." Oh come on. However, everything else is great. Congrats to Nintendo for making such a great game.
A customer on Sunday, April 09, 2000
ONE OF THE BEST GAMES EVER!
This is the best game I ever played for N64. I play it alot. I love the part when you play your Pokemon GameBoy cartridge with it. I like battling my brother. I win sometimes, but my brother beats me alot. I recommend this to all Poke-maniacs!!
A customer on Friday, April 07, 2000
This game has everything a horrible game needs! Horrible graphics! You probably think I'm crazy for saying this, but Dreamcast is a 1000 times better! Horrible control! I'm not saying it's hard, it just is too simple. You don't even DO anything. Horrible story. Story? What story? And finally, THAT STUPID ANNOUNCER MUST DIE!!!!!!!!!!!! Don't waste your money on this, because it is just like its Gameboy counterparts: CRAPPY.
A customer on Sunday, April 02, 2000
Best Pokemon Game on N64!!!!
This pokemon game is fantastic! It has Great 3D Pokemon. The graphics are the bomb! The mini games are really fun to play with friends! Cool looking attacks! I give this 5 stars!!!!
A customer on Saturday, April 01, 2000
Pokemon Stadium is the best! I got it for my birthday and I've been playing non-stop. The best part-the mini games. I don't really like the Clefairy game, it's so hard to remember the pattern. Even without one of the Pokemon Gameboy games it's still great. Of course I'm only at Surge at Round 1, but it's really great.
A customer on Friday, March 31, 2000
Must have for Pokemaniacs
This is game is awesome. If you already own Blue Red or Yellow this game is worth it's price in the organizing tool that comes with it alone. The fact that you get to see all your Pokemon in 3D is a plus. Another great thing is that you can get all a bunch of those Pokemon that you didn't think you'd be able to get. The only thing laking in this game is good sound. I think Nintendo should've left out the announcer and put in the cries for all the Pokemon. Other than that this game rocks. If you don't own one of the Game boy games the rating drops to 3.
A customer on Friday, March 31, 2000
It's A Let Down...
This game is absoloutely a let down. It wasn't as good as I expected it to be. The only good thing about the game is that you can win Pokemon at the Gym Leader Castle.
A customer on Wednesday, March 29, 2000
Its a really great game...
If your excpecting an RPG than you will be dissapointed but if you just want to battle with your friends than you should be hopping in your seat!Its just a fun game to play with your friends or your little brother so you can beat the little snot out of them!!!
A customer on Tuesday, March 28, 2000
This game is one of the best. You can even get pokemon off of it. Also, the graphics are the bomb. Some of the things I dont like is the pokemon dont talk and the anouncer needs to say something new.
A customer on Tuesday, March 28, 2000
This game looks good, but behind the 3D Pokemon is a barren shell of a game. There is NOTHING you can do with Pokemon Stadium that you cannot do with an ordinary red or blue version, besides play the poorly designed mini-games, which get boring after about 30 minutes. Also, the announcer is annoying, with such great comments as, "There's a distinct difference in the amount of reserve pokemon." Plus, you can only use only 3 pokemon in a battle, which is utterly horrible. And, many moves do not look the same as they have in the animated series, so don't expect to be impressed. I've also noted that no move involves one Pokemon actually touching another, even punch moves. Usually a wave or something hits the opponent, probably because programmers were to cheap or lazy to program the polygons in. So don't expect an "awesome" game, cause it's really bad.
A customer on Friday, March 24, 2000
I just recently got my hands on Pokemon Stadium. I think it is a pretty good game, but there could be some adjustments. The mini games are the best part because they are pretty fun, but there are a few things wrong with the battling. First of all I think they should have made it to where you should be able to move your character, and second of all the pokemon should talk, (it looks kind of weird when the pokemon are opening their mouths and nothing comes out!) I am not a huge pokemon fan, so I guess other people that love pokemon might like it more than I did, but I was hoping that I would get to move my character around as in Super Smash Brothers. I really suggest that you rent it before you buy it though!
A customer on Friday, March 24, 2000
Gota catch'em all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This game is the best! My friend got it and we played for hours but the only thing that's bad is that the pokemon dont say their name and you have an annoying announcer. Yet this game is still good and the graphics are great. GET IT! It is very interesting and you would have to think strategies in order to win. See Ya!
A customer on Wednesday, March 22, 2000
This game has awesome graphics and cool looking attacks, and if it gets boring you can spice it up by putting in weak Pokémon (I wouldn't, but you can). I think the strategy guide really doesn’t help, but it's your money not mine.
A customer on Wednesday, March 22, 2000
This is a good game but it gets boring. Too easy. I beat the game in a few hours. Ok graphics, but the poke'mon never hit each other when they attack. Only part that caught my interest was multiplayer. Don't buy the game unless you liked the gameboy game alot.
A customer on Monday, March 20, 2000
I would give this game no stars but the lowest is one. This game is pointless and boring. The graphics are okay but the fun factor is awful. If you were thinking of buying this game, don't. It's just a waste of money. Pokémon Stadium may look good on the commercial but when you get it, it stinks. Overall Rating from 1-10: 3
A customer on Sunday, March 19, 2000
This game is a really great game. Most people say that the game sucks if you don’t have the GameBoy game. I don’t have the GameBoy game and I still think that this game is one of the best. The rental Pokémon are just as good and the mini games are really fun. The game is very challenging to beat all the gym trainers. It is worth the money. I recommend this game to anyone!
A customer on Sunday, March 19, 2000
First off, the Gameboy version was a great game, one of my favorite. But this game stinks, there are two people that would rate this game a good game. Type one would be the 7-year-old who has never seen a videogame besides Pokémon. Type two would be the people who worship Nintendo power they always say there games are good. I mean come on, the Pokémon don't even touch each other when the use moves like scratch and tackle. Other then that the graphics are ok. But if you wanna see Pokémon battle get Super Smash Bros. (best game ever.)
A customer on Sunday, March 19, 2000
Pokemon Stadium is this game good or bad
FINALY POKEMON HAS COME TO THE NINTENDO 64
This is your Gamer informer Justin Leandre
I am here to say that some pepole say that Pokemon Stadium is a good game and some say the game is bad because you have to buy the game boy game Pokemon red, blue or yellow because if you do not the game gives you only crapy pokemon that you can't beet anyone with. Well this is how I see this in a point of view I rather pay for Pokemon Stadium and the Pokemon for the gameboy and play the game on the tv then play Pokemon on the small
screen on the Game Boy.
Well this is Justin Leandre
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