Pokemon Stadium - Review

By: Ben Martin

Review Breakdown
   Battle System 9
   Gameplay 7
   Music 4
   Originality 3
   Plot 3
   Replay Value 4
   Sound 4
   Visuals 8
   Difficulty Medium
   Time to Complete

Extremly variable

5 = Not good.

Title Screen
The newest Pokemon RPG release? Hmmm... I don't seem to see one...  

   Unless you've been living under a rock for two and a half years you've heard about the Pokemon craze. Nintendo has released hit after hit of Pokemon games with many more on the horizon. This craze comes to the Nintendo 64 in the form of Pokemon Stadium; a game in which you once again battle Pokemon, but in an arena type environment. While this is a new and good way to battle your Pokemon, and the game isn't just battling, I just found something lacking in this $70 Game Boy add-on.

   The first thing that almost everyone wants to do when they plug this game in is to start battling either the computer or a live opponent. The one thing you will notice right away is that there are several differences from the Game Boy's combat system. The two main ones is the fact that you gain no experience from any of the battles and that you cannot use any of your items in battle. Another thing that people will have to get used to is that during most events, only three of your chosen six Pokemon may be used in battle. With this in mind, several of your strategies may need to change so you don't need to count on certain things. With these changes in mind, the fighting scheme is exactly like the Game Boy games, except in 3-D.

   This game's main attraction is combat, and luckily for the younger fans of this game, this game is laid out so almost everyone can catch onto the basics as soon as they pick up the controller. This is both good and bad in a way. While you can get into all the attractions this game has to offer quickly, it means that other than your own Pokemon there are very few things you can actually tweak in this game.

Who wants to be a crispy critter?
Who wants to be a crispy critter?  

   The music in this game generally remains in the background and you hardly notice it. While this means that it doesn't really have an annoyance factor, there also isn't any stellar compositions to make this game memorable to the ear. One thing that can get annoying however is the announcer. With a very limited vocabulary and continual comments thoughout every single action, it certainly is a nice option to be able to turn this guy off.

   This game unfortunatley doesn't have a whole lot to offer in originality. You can take pictures of your pokemon, but the views and backgrounds are quite limited. If you have a pokemon that you want a picture of and it's in Pokemon Snap, take it there and you'll have a much nicer shot. The mini-games aspect of Stadium is enjoyable, but somewhat limited in my opinion. These games could have used some extras in them such as choosing different pokemon, choosing different backgrounds, or even more mini games. One of the things that I did like in Stadium however is the fact that you can find out a lot more about your individual Pokemon and their attacks. Learning exactly the accuracy and power level of an attack is a definate good thing.

   My main beef of this game is that it *has no plot*. There is absolutely no storyline to Pokemon Stadium unless you count the fact that you can play the your Game Boy cartridges, which I don't. I have always preferred my games to have some sort of attraction besides mindless fighting. This game does offer more, but not much.

   While fighting your Pokemon is enjoyable, it can get old after a while. I personally played this game constantly for about a week, and then I went on to other things. For me, this game just didn't live up to the hype.

The cutest of them all
The cutest of them all  

   The difficulty of this game really depends on what you're using for Pokemon, and what their levels are. For the cups with lower level pokemon, strategy is a key issue. In the other cups power comes into play more as you can have many one hit kills if you play your pokemon right. Overall, if you've got the patience to level up your pokemon to amazing levels, you should do fine in this game. If you're using rental pokemon only however, the cups become a lot harder at the upper levels. The Computer is allowed to have higher level pokemon then what you can rent.

The time to truely complete this game greatly varies from person to person. If you only want to finish the game with all 150 pokemon in the Hall of Fame, it's going to take an awful long time to get them all there.

In conclusion, I feel that Pokemon Stadium is not the worst game out there to play, but it certainly does not hold my attention for long. The game has no definite goal in it besides win the different cups, get additional pokemon by defeating the Elite Four, or making your pokemon game play much faster on your Nintendo 64. Not very much meat for an RPG, and this is why I must give this game a low score.

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