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by Maria "Jigglypuff" Rider

Just when you thought you couldn't get enough Pokémon Stadium, a sequel blasts out into the video gaming scene for the Nintendo 64. Pokémon Stadium 2 is a lot like the first game, but it has a whole lot of extras and this time you can play all 150 Pokémon!

Pokémon Stadium 2 holds a lot more playability than its predecessor does as it involves four battle modes, a mini game mode, and two non-battle modes. Like the original Pokémon Stadium, the game uses a special Game Boy 64 accessory that attached to the bottom of the Nintendo 64 controller. In Game Boy mode, the player can play any of his Pokémon Game Boy games buy inserting the cartridge into the slot provided on the Game Boy 64. Although it underuses the true 3D polygon processing power of the Nintendo 64, this allows the player to play his Game Boy games using the Nintendo 64 as well as seeing the games on a much larger screen. The Game Boy 64 also has other uses such as acting as an input device for the other 3D modes like Stadium Battle, Free Battle, and Gym Battle.

This is when the Game Boy is really put to good use as the player can use his own Pokémon to battle against the computer and up to 3 other opponents. Although Pokémon Stadium 2 does have all 150 Pokémon at your fingertips to do battle with, each Pokémon may not have the attack or defense moves the player prefers.

With Stadium Battle mode, the player can choose to participate against a vast number of opponents in a number of different tournaments. There are a total of six distinct tournament battles: Nintendo Cup '99 Cup, Nintendo Cup '98, Nintendo Cup '97, Ultra Cup, Yellow Cup, and the Fancy Cup. There are two other modes in the stadium a "Potpourri Mode" and Gym League Mode. Each mode allows only certain levels of Pokémon into the stadium arena and thus makes it very challenging to the player.

Other modes are a Research Mode where the player can view the different Pokémons statistics and an Event Battle Mode where the battles have a time limit on them for the total battles and the turns for each player. The Event Battle mode helps the player to make quick decisions when involved in a Pokémon Battle and ups his skill level. The mode that is separate from the Stadium is the Winners Castle, which pits the player against three regular opponents, and a Gym Leader. There are six castles in all and once the player gets through that he has truly won! Finally in Free Battle mode the player is able to team up with another live player in a six on six Pokémon battle.

The playability is high on Pokémon Stadium 2 because of the addition of mode tournaments as well as all 150 Pokémon. Also, with the addition of the nine mini games, there is no turning this game off for hours on end! The graphics and animation completely utilizes the awesome 64-bit power of the Nintendo 64. Each Pokémon battle flows smoothly and the load times are close to nil as all of the data is immediately accessible through the Nintendo 64 cartridge. Nintendo has yet to go into the CD-R age along with Sony and Sega, but the cartridge media definitely has its pluses!

The sound effects are pretty much the same as the original, the canned growls and roars from the Pokémon still keep the game separated from its animated series. One improvement, if there is indeed one, is to include the Anime series voices for each Pokémon. This author realizes it may be a lost dream as the expense involved in doing such a venture would be astronomical and put the project over budget. Oh well, one can dream!

Suffice to say, Pokémon Stadium 2 is a vast improvement over Pokémon Stadium 1 and if you are a Pokémon fan and don't mind the Japanese, this is definitely a game to get! Although, most of you will want to wait until December to get this game since it will be released in the US by then.

@a! Rating
out of 4.

Pokémon Stadium 2 © 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999 Nintendo/Creatures/GAME FREAK

Title Pokémon Stadium 2
System Nintendo 64
Players 1-4
Catalog # NUS-P-CP2J (JPN)
Price ¥5800
Street Date Available NOW



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