The history of Pokemon
In the mid 1990's Nintendo released the GameBoy pocket and with it, a new game that would take the Japanese gaming market, and soon, the rest of the gaming world by storm. The game was of course the original Pokemon game in two different versions or three in Japan followed by a slightly altered version called Pokemon Yellow which featured a pikachu that followed you wherever you went.
Of course seeing the huge following Pokemon had acquired with the anime series and games Nintendo couldn't let the Nintendo 64 miss out on the little monsters so they put internal development team and creators of the Kirby games, HAL in charge of developing the N64 Pokemon games. Pokemon Snap was the first Pokemon game to come from HAL a short but original affair where you had to take pictures of Pokemon while you drifted down a stream, one of the highlights of that game (for me anyway) was being to launch apples at pikachu's head. The second Pokemon N64 game was the original PokÃ©mon Stadium, which brought all of your Pokemon from red, yellow, and blue to life in full 3D on the Nintendo 64 with extensive tournament modes and a hand full of mini-games.
A few years later, Pokemon has established itself as a major force in Nintendo's arsenal of franchises and so Nintendo developed a new Pokemon game featuring a game world about twice the size of the original. Pokemon Gold and Silver were made to take advantage of the new GameBoy Color hardware sporting full 56 color graphics on the GameBoy Color, while also maintaining backwards compatibility with the GameBoy and GameBoy pocket. They also had backwards compatibility with the original Pokemon games so players of the previous games could transfer their high level Pokemon over to the new game. So with Pokemon Yellow, Red, Blue, Gold, and Silver out they developed a sequel to the successful Pokemon Stadium, called Pokemon Stadium 2 which supported the 100 new Pokemon from Gold and Silver as well as the original games.
A short time later they developed Pokemon Crystal for the GameBoy Color which was essentially gold and silver with one extra Pokemon and the option to play as a girl. With Crystal was the last GameBoy Color Pokemon title released. Around this time Nintendo also created a new company to handle all of the new Pokemon games; simply called The Pokemon Company. They were put in charge of developing the games and whatever else they can milk it with. This brings us to the new offering from The Pokemon Company.
It had to happen sooner or later, a dark, almost mature Pokemon game. Pokemon Colosseum is the name of this follow up to the Nintendo 64 Pokemon Stadium games and no, that isn't a typo, it is the North American version. You will know right from the start this is a different kind of Pokemon game. In the single player adventure you play the roll of an ex-Pokemon thief turned good guy and you are accompanied on your journey by a young girl who can identify the dark Pokemon which you will need to snatch from other trainers. That is right, this time you have to steal Pokemon from other trainers. Do not worry however as these are Pokemon that have been abused by their trainers called 'Shadow Pokemon' and you must rescue them so you can 'open their hearts' again so it is perfectly ok. Once you get into the game you will find that can't buy Pokeballs from the Pokemarts in this game, rather you will have to go to a shop in the first town you find yourself in after blowing up your former gang's base.
So now you are on a mission to set free all of the Shadow Pokemon from the evil trainers of the world. As you might have already guessed there is no home town with a house and a GameCube hooked up to a TV in your trainer's room. Instead you are just a guy trying to free all of the shadow Pokemon, whom just happens to have a bunch of items ready to be withdrawn from a PC at the local Pokemon Center. Speaking of the Pokemon centers, they are not much different in this Pokemon game; they still house a PC for you to deposit or withdraw Pokemon, items and now are the only means of saving your game in adventure mode! That is correct you can no longer save anywhere on your quest to become a Pokemon Master. The Pokemarts are still basically the same with the exception of buying the Pokeballs of course but are still useful for buying other items such as; Potions, TMs and state changing items like Awakening which wakes up sleeping Pokemon.
Anyone who was annoyed by the random battles in Pokemon for the GameBoy will be very pleased to know that there are no wild Pokemon what-so-ever in this game. Instead to keep gameplay less repetitious The Pokemon Company have opted to make it possible to fight other trainers more the once and this helps make it easier to train Pokemon without worrying about fighting wild Pokemon every few seconds while trying to escape a cave because you forgot to take your Pokemon with the 'DIG-TM' with you, have no escape ropes and your last living Pokemon has 5 hit points left!
As with every other Pokemon game in this one you must battle every Gym leader to collect the badges so your Pokemon will continue to obey you and let you use HMs in the wild but keep in mind that like every Pokemon game you will need to train a bit before taking on the first Gym leader and you will need six Pokemon to even get into battle with them, you can use shadow Pokemon in Gym leader battles and you will need a party of six for the first Gym anyway. Before you even get into the Gym Battles you will have gone to Pyrite Town where you will find a few trainers to fight, this is a good training ground to prepare for the Gym leader battle.
The only PokÃ©mon you will be able to raise the stats of are the two you started off with as at this point the rest will still be 'Shadow Pokemon', although you will also need to fight using your shadow Pokemon to unlock their hearts, which can not be opened completely until a bit later in the game. When you complete the single player adventure once you will be able to use Pokemon transferred from your GameBoy Advance Pokemon games in the single player adventure should you want to play through it again. Overall I thought the single player adventure is a decent RPG, but a follow up to Pokemon Stadium would not be complete without a great multiplayer battle mode! And Colosseum is the answer.
Colosseum mode plays the same as Pokemon Stadium on the N64; you register a party of 6 Pokemon from your Colosseum party (Shadow Pokemon cannot be registered) or via GBA link cable and select three of them to take into battle. Some battles have rule sets that prevent you from entering some Pokemon for example; level limit rules are not open to registered parties with Pokemon over the set level. Unfortunately there are no mini games to be found in this game, a small price to pay for a full blown 3D Pokemon adventure though. Something most Pokemon fans have wanted ever since the original GameBoy games were ridiculously popular. I guess I will wrap this review up now, with a few short words; "Gotta Catch 'em all" I had to say it at least once in this review or it just would not feel quite right.