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'Pokemon Stadium' Review

How the Nostalgic Masterpiece Contains a Lot More Than What One Would Expect

Many people who grew up in the 90s on Nintendo 64 games remember playing Pokémon Stadium as children engaging in countless battles within the game and with their friends for hours on end. And while those people (including myself) still love the game even to this day due to nostalgic memories, there are more reasons to enjoy the game in completing it as an adult.

For starters, the game is no pushover. The CPUs both in the Stadium Cups and the Gym Leader Castle are very precise. All their Pokémon are given well-defined move sets that can stress the player to no end (hence why when it comes to Stadium cups building up continues from the start by not losing any Pokémon is a must). Rental Pokemon (Pokémon that the game itself provides) are usable but extremely difficult to beat the game with and virtually impossible on Round 2. When it comes to rentals you either have to settle for the fully evolved Pokémon with good stats but bad move sets or the unevolved Pokémon with bad stats but good move sets. The game pretty much encourages you to bring in your own teams from the original Red, Blue, and Yellow Gameboy games.

Having a RBY cartridge inserted while playing the game has many benefits to it. For starters you get access to the Professor’s lab, which allows you to transfer Pokémon (after beating Gym Leader Castle) to your game that you can only get once a playthrough. The rival in Gym Leader Castle also alters his team depending on which starter you picked in your game. Using a cartridge also gives you access to use Mewtwo who is not available through normal means. Finally, the game gives you a means of playing your Gameboy game through the Game Boy Tower at double and triple speed.

The game also has a fun place to unwind from battles known as the Kid’s Club with a series of games requiring different skills (memory, endurance, dexterity, reflexes, etc.). While this in itself is fun to do for hours on end, it is not without its reward with the unlocking of the Hyper Difficulty by winning 5 times in a row on Hard mode on Who’s the Best mode.

The game has several bosses depending on what mode you’re playing and every one of them is bound to leave some bad memory of failure on the player if they have not already done so. For instance, the Prime Cup Master Ball final trainer has a Mew in both rounds. Round 2 only furthers the difficulty by building up the remaining 5 with a full on competitive team. The Pika Cup final trainer has an Alakazam that no rental can beat outside of freeze hacks as it can lower special with Psychic, heal off damage it took many turns to inflict, paralyze your team with thunder wave, and lower physical blows with reflect. Completing Stadium and Gym Leader Castle unlocks the fight against Mewtwo. Despite it being a 6-on-1 battle, it has the strength to one-shot an entire team and on round 2 has Amnesia to increase its special and infinite Power points.

Completing certain tasks in the game also has numerous easter eggs that are nothing short of a miracle for children to acquire:

Completing the game once unlocks a new title screen in addition to Round 2 which is the game all over again except with much harder trainers who have different Pokémon teams and movesets with max stats.

Completing the Round 2 Prime Cup Master Ball Division with a transferred team with a Pikachu (in addition to using Pikachu in the final battle) will result in Pikachu learning Surf, a move that is elusive to Pikachu even today. Doing so from yellow will also give you access to a surfing Pikachu mini game.

Getting all 151 Pokémon represented in victory palace unlocks the amnesia Psyduck which works wonders in the Petit Cup.

While its graphics have certainly gotten primitive, Pokémon Stadium set the precedents for challenges in the Pokémon franchise, challenges that make the game worth completing and ought to reignite particularly with the excessive handholding throughout the modern day games.