Pokémon Stadium - Staff Retroview  

The Champion?
by Derek 'Roku' Cavin

10-20 Hours


Rating definitions 

   Pokemon fans are finally able to face off against their friends in full 3D thanks to Pokemon Stadium. While the one-player aspect of the game isn't exactly thrilling, it can be a relatively fun if you have a few friends over to play with you.

   The battle system of Stadium comes directly from Red/Blue. Each Pokemon can have four abilities at once, each with its own elemental base. Each Pokemon has 1-2 elementals of its own as well which affect its strengths and weaknesses. The object is to KO all of your opponent's Pokemon before yours are KOed. While it may appear simplistic at first glance, there is actually quite a bit of strategy involved. You need to carefully select a team that covers its own weaknesses while being able to defeat any challengers.

One of the tournament-type levels One of the tournament-type levels

   Battles are a bit more difficult than in Red/Blue due to the fact that enemies are always equal to or greater than your level. Since Red/Blue was really easy, that's not saying much though. If you raised your own custom set of Pokemon from Red/Blue, none of the opponents will be able to really stand in your way. If you replay the game in round two, the difficultly is raised a bit more, but the game still isn't very challenging. If you use a rental team for the whole game, things will be a little harder and you'll have to pay careful attention to which abilities each Pokemon gets. It's still pretty easy though, especially since rentals usually get high level TM abilities.

   Pokemon Stadium's interaction is great. It's even better than it was in the original Pokemon game thanks to plenty of shortcut keys that speed things up and keep your choices hidden when playing against a friend. There's very little to translate, but they did a decent job of what little there is.

   The idea of having a game completely based in the stadium is fairly original, but aside from that it simply takes all the Pokemon from Red/Blue and doesn't change very much, if anything at all.

   There really isn't any story in Pokemon Stadium. You enter tournaments in order to get first place. That's about it.

   Since there isn't any plot to slow you down, the game goes very quickly. With a well-balanced team you can except to spend about 10 hours playing through all the tournaments. If you're very cautious or have a less-balanced team it could take as much as 20 hours though. If you replay it after unlocking round 2 it will take a little longer than the first time around due to a mild increase in difficulty.

A rather unbalanced fight A rather unbalanced fight

   Music is very similar to that of the original Pokemon, but it has been remixed and is now being played on a N64 rather than a Gameboy. Needless to say, it sounds a lot better coming from a N64. There are multiple variations to the battle theme which keeps things from getting repetitive. Sound effects are quite nice and vary slightly from Pokemon to Pokemon, adding a bit of variety.

   The visuals are simply impressive in Pokemon Stadium. All of the tiny Pokemon sprites from Red/Blue have been rendered in full 3D and have been animated extremely well. Every single Pokemon has a variety of animations for various attacks which is quite impressive since there are 151 in total.

   While Pokemon Stadium is has lots of graphical improvements over the original, since it doesn't have any plot and isn't a ton of fun solo, it's slightly below average overall. The real reason to play it is to be able to fight against your friends in full 3D or to play the minigames with them. It also helps if you have the original Red/Blue and can import your teams from there. Like all other Pokemon games, Pokemon Stadium is a lot more fun with friends than alone.

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