Pokemon Stadium 2
  • Genre:
    • RPG
  • Platform:
    • Nintendo 64
  • Developer:
    • Nintendo
  • Publisher:
    • Nintendo
  • Released:
    • JP 12/14/2000
    • US 03/26/2001
    • UK 10/10/2001
Score: 70%

This review was published on 02/28/2016.

Pokemon Stadium 2 is a role-playing game published and developed by Nintendo for the Nintendo 64. It was originally released in Japan on December 14, 2000, North America on March 26, 2001, Europe on October 10, 2001, and Australia in 2001. Despite its name, this is actually the third game in the series. At this point in time, there were three of these games in Japan, but the first one was never released elsewhere. Because of that, the second and third games were released outside of Japan as Pokemon Stadium and Pokemon Stadium 2, even though that's technically false. Regardless of all that, this review will continue referring to the game as Pokemon Stadium 2. Like the previous game, an accessory called the Transfer Pak can be used to transfer creatures from the handheld Pokemon games. The difference is that the previous Pokemon Stadium was limited to transferring stuff from Pokemon Red, Blue, and Yellow on the Game Boy, but Pokemon Stadium 2 can also transfer critters from Pokemon Gold, Silver, and Crystal on the Game Boy Color. Aside from that, though, all the Pokemon Stadium games are basically the same.

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Like its predecessors, Pokemon Stadium 2 has no storyline or world exploration. Its sole purpose is to allow you to see your Pokemon engage in turn-based combat against each other in glorious 3-D, which was something that obviously couldn't be done on the handheld titles due to their limited hardware. All 251 Pokemon from Pokemon Red, Blue, Yellow, Gold, Silver, and Crystal are in this game. That's truly impressive, considering they had to give them all 3-D models and unique animations. Visually, this game looks real nice for an N64 title, as every Pokemon has a decent amount of detail to it and the backgrounds aren't half bad. The graphics look even better if you have the Expansion Pack installed on your N64. Besides the polygons, the battles in Pokemon Stadium 2 are rather flashy. The camera will swing dramatically around the Pokemon as they do battle, adding a cinematic feel to the fights. Meanwhile, an annoying announcer announces every little detail that transpires during the battle. Don't worry; you can turn the announcer off. The added fluff slows down the pacing of combat, but in exchange, it looks real good.

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All the features and modes of Pokemon Stadium 2 are accessed via menus. The first big single player mode is the stadium, which is where you enter tournaments to face a series of opponents to Pokemon battles. Every tournament cup has its own rules about what Pokemon you're allowed to use. For example, the Little Cup only allows entrants to use weak Pokemon that are level 5. Then there's a cup that randomly selects your team of Pokemon for you, adding a large degree of luck to your success. The other major single player mode is the Gym Leader Castle. In the Gym Leader Castle, you challenge the Gym Leaders and Elite Four from Pokemon Red and Blue and Pokemon Gold and Silver. This is really just an excuse to squeeze in more battles, as it's not too different from the stadium. It should be noted that if you don't have enough Pokemon to put on your team, you can always rent some. The rental system is available to almost all the modes, but rented Pokemon usually aren't as good as transferred ones. All of this was in the previous game, but things are a bit more polished this time around.

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Free Battles are for those that seek freedom on the battlefield. In other words, you can arrange battles against the computer or with up to four people using whatever rules you'd like. As with every other mode in this game, battles can only be fought one-on-one. That means anything with three or more human beings will have to be done as tag team matches, where players form teams and tag in and out during a battle. What's cool about this mode is that, in addition to players being able to use transferred Pokemon from their respective games, they can also just rent some. This allows any group of friends to jump right in and enjoy a match without having to worry about catching and raising a whole team of Pokemon. Honestly, this is probably the best use for the Pokemon Stadium games, especially Pokemon Stadium 2.

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On top of all the battle modes, there are a few other features Pokemon Stadium 2 makes available to you. One of those features is the academy, which wasn't in the previous Pokemon Stadium. In the academy, you have access to a wealth of information on the mechanics of Pokemon, including a glossary of moves, items, and other neat things. After you're done learning at the academy, you can then mosey on over to your room for some interior decorating. If a Pokemon Gold, Silver, or Crystal cartridge is inserted into the Transfer Pak, then you can customize your room in 3-D. Another feature in the game is the ability to play your copy of Pokemon Red, Blue, Yellow, Gold, Silver, or Crystal in the GB Tower; you're able to unlock a fast forward function later on, too. This feature also existed in the previous game, but you weren't able to play Pokemon Gold, Silver, and Crystal in that one. There are some more features in Pokemon Stadium 2, but those are the highlights.

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As with the last Pokemon Stadium, there is an assortment of four player mini-games in Pokemon Stadium 2. If there aren't enough human folk around to make up four players, then the remaining seats will be occupied by the computer. Not unlike Mario Party, all the mini-games have their own rules and controls. Every mini-game has you take control of a different Pokemon as it does silly tasks, like catching falling eggs as a Chansey, racing on a track as a Donphan, and playing four-way Pong as a Mr. Mime. There are twelve mini-games in all, which is three more than the last Pokemon Stadium. There are also a couple of Pokemon related quizzes you can take, for some bizarre reason. The mini-games and quizzes provide a nice break from the nonstop battles of every other mode, but they don't have enough substance to entertain for long.

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There isn't much more to say about this game. Pokemon Stadium 2 is an upgrade over the previous entry in every way. However, it still suffers from the same problem of being nothing more than a glorified 3-D battle simulator for Pokemon. If you're looking for a story filled with adventure and exploration, then you best look elsewhere. Pokemon Stadium 2 is good at what it does; it just doesn't do much.

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