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Pokemon Colosseum - GC - Review


Posted by: jkdmedia

Review Rating 8.5 Great
In 1998 it didn't matter what your gaming preference was because you just had to catch 'em all.  Grown men with tattoos and a gaming collection of nothing but T and M-rated games were compelled to buy a Game Boy and go on a journey through red or blue.  The hype is what got everyone's attention, but when it came time to sit down and play the game, people found that it was so much more than a kiddie quest.  It was a real role-playing game with a massive quest.  And even though it was a bit easier than the other RPGs released at the time, it was anything but easy to catch all 151 Pokemon.

Once the Pokemon craze hit the States (it was booming in Japan a couple years prior), Nintendo knew it was time to make the big push.  Besides the Game Boy Color sequel (Gold and Silver), and the remixed game (Yellow), Pokemon landed on Nintendo 64 in two forms: photography and stadium battles.

Pokemon Snap was a crazy idea (the only goal is to take pictures of Pokemon in their natural habitat), but it turned out to be a really fun, unique game.

Pokemon Stadium wasn't quite what I had hoped for though.  I wanted a full-fledged role-playing quest for N64, one that could compete with the best PSone RPGs.  But all I got was a 3D battle mode.  Fun here and there, but it couldn't keep me playing late into the night like the other Pokemon games could.

Finally the wait for that desired Pokemon game is over.  Everything that Stadium didn't have can be found in Pokemon Colosseum: new worlds, new items, new adversaries, and an all-new journey for you to embark on.

This time you won't be playing as Ash.  You can enter your own name just as before (I generally call the main character "RehAsh," but this time you're not playing as an Ash clone), or choose one of the three pre-sets.

You won't be catching Pokemon either.  "Wha?"  "Misty, this can't be happening!"  "Pi, Pikachu!"  Hold your horses, guys!  Catching Pokemon is the old way to build your collection.  In Pokemon Colosseum, you snag them.  Snagging as in "stealing."  In the Robin Hood sense -- take from those who are evil, and give to those who are not (like yourself).

Also different: you begin the game with two powerful Pokemon, Espeon and Umbreon.  These cat-like Pokemon will rip the first few enemies to shreds.  They'll also crush other trainers' Pokemon.  What do you do with all this strength?  Enjoy it while it lasts, and prepare for the more difficult battles.

It's cool to see the Pokemon universe come to life for the first time.  Each town is packed with a decent amount of polygons, and many of them have exquisite architecture.  Being able to explore these worlds in took me back to the days of Final Fantasy VII, a time when RPGs were just beginning to enter the third dimension.

Battles take place on a separate field.  When you encounter someone who's evil, or get challenged by another trainer, the picture fades to black, transporting your characters to the battle arena.  The arena is different depending on where you are in the game, just as it would be in any other RPG.

The Pokemon themselves have a fairly simplistic design, just as they did on Game Boy and on the cartoon.  Animations are brief but impressive; each attack move is more elaborate and more extravagant on the 'Cube.  The spells are particularly eye-catching: fire, water, wind – if it was represented in the previous games, it's represented here and in its most appealing form yet.

Controlling the main character through the game is about as simple as an RPG can be.  The thumbstick moves him around, the X and Y buttons access your menu screen, and the A button is used to select Pokemon, choose an attack, initiate conversation, etc.

Colosseum's sound effects will instantly take you back to the first time you played Red or Blue.  Have your Pokemon healed at the healing station for one of the game's most recognizable jingles.

Colosseum's soundtrack is a great surprise.  Many of the songs are new and have more depth than any of the songs from the previous Pokemon games.  Some of your old favorites have returned as well, making this soundtrack a complete package that's worth listening to.

Review Scoring Details Pokemon Colosseum for GameCube

Gameplay: 8.5
Snag Pokemon, raise their stats, explore the world, search for secrets, and have loads of fun every step of the way.  Pokemon Colosseum takes the gameplay of Stadium (in which you and a friend or a computer-controlled opponent battle) to a whole new level by adding an entirely new single-player quest.  You can't deny yourself the urge to play it – if you loved Red/Blue, Gold/Silver, and/or Ruby/Sapphire, then you must buy this game.  I have friends who purchased a Game Boy Advance SP primarily for Pokemon.  I don't know that they'd buy a GameCube for Colosseum, but they should.  It's worth it.

Graphics: 8
Pokemon Colosseum is one of the best-looking RPGs available for GameCube.

Sound: 8.7
Familiar sound effects and a collection of new songs make this game impossible to play with the sound off.

Difficulty: Easy/Medium
The Pokemon series is still a little too easy…  

Concept: 8
The next evolution of Pokemon.  Everything you could have hoped for is here.  The only thing missing is a Final Fantasy-style world map that connects each city (Colosseum uses a flat, point-and-click map for navigation).

Multiplayer: 7
Like all Pokemon games, the best part is catching (or snagging) the Pokemon.  It's fun to battle with friends, but not for several hours at a time.  (FYI: "several hours" is the amount of time you'll spend playing the single-player quest every time you sit in front of your TV.)

Overall: 8.5
I love Pokemon, so I wasn't about to turn down the opportunity to review the latest game in the series.  To be honest though I was pretty skeptical about Colosseum.  I knew what Stadium was like, and as far as I could tell this was just another battle mode.

You know how sometimes it's great to be wrong?  This is one of those times.  Pokemon Colosseum is a true sequel to the Game Boy Advance games.  It could be considered a side-story, but the gameplay is a continuation of Ruby and Sapphire.  It's got almost everything I wanted 3D Pokemon game to have – classic, addictive gameplay, good graphics, an excellent soundtrack, and decent length.  It also has something you can't find in today's RPGs: replay value.

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