Winter!: Prepare for holiday gaming!
Strategy/3D Turn-Based Strategy
EVERYONE, Mild Animated Violence
HAL Laboratory Inc.
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"Pikachu, I choose you!" The Pokémon phenomenon continues with the second Nintendo 64 game based on the hugely successful Game Boy series, which began in 1998. While the first game for the 64-bit system had players snapping pictures in a 3D world, this time they'll pit their trained beasts against either a friend or the computer inside the battle-friendly confines of the Pokémon Stadium. It's Zapdos against Golduck, Raichu versus Ivysaur, and Parasect against Charizard as all 151 Pokémon square off in an environment that will determine once and for all who is the true Pokémon Master.
Pokémon Stadium doesn't just let you battle with the Pokémon included on the cartridge, referred to as Rental Pokémon; you can also compete using your own creatures raised from one of the Game Boy games. This is accomplished through the use of a Transfer Pak, a separate peripheral included with Pokémon Stadium, allowing the information from a Game Boy cartridge to be uploaded to the Nintendo 64. By inserting a Game Boy cartridge at the bottom of the Transfer Pak (which in turn snaps into the bottom of the controller), players can finally see their beloved Pokémon as 3D characters.
The game is divided into seven areas, all of which are viewable from a map screen. The first is the Gym Leader Castle, where players are challenged to defeat three Trainers and one Gym Leader on their way to the Elite Four. By winning the battles against the Elite Four, players will face their team's rival at the top of the castle. The second area is Pokémon Lab, where Professor Oak lets you manage data between the Pokémon Stadium cartridge and that of the following three Game Boy games: Pokémon: Red Version, Pokémon: Blue Version and Pokémon: Yellow Version — Special Pikachu Edition.
The main area, the large dome at the center of the map screen, is the actual Pokémon Stadium. It is here where you'll be able to enter your Pokémon (either Trained or Rental) in one of four Cups: Pika, Petit, Prime and Poke. The first two Cups, Pika and Petit, consist of eight battles each, but only smaller Pokémon may enter. The Prime and Poke Cup span 32 battles and allow mature Pokémon to compete. The third area is the Hall of Fame, a place that showcases the winning Pokémon teams after earning a Cup. By registering all 151 Pokémon, the player will earn a special Pokémon unique to this game.
So what exactly happens in the Pokémon Stadium? Battles take place in a turn-based format that emphasizes strategy over quick reflexes. Players must choose teams of six Pokémon designed to take advantage of their opponent's team's weaknesses. As in the Game Boy games, water-type Pokémon are strong against fire-, rock- and ground-type Pokémon, while electric-type Pokémon are naturally strong against water- and flying-types. Of course, there are many other variables, but this is the underlying strategy forming the game.
Once you have chosen a team and a Cup to compete in, the battles will commence in full 3D. Before the fighting ensues, however, players can view their opponents' team to plan out their attacks. Players will be able to issue commands using the controller, so moves such as the Confuse Ray, Psywave, Seismic Toss and the Bubblebeam can be initiated through the C buttons during the heat of battle. If your Pokémon aren't as strong as you'd hoped, you can still gain experience and more hit points through competing in battles on the Game Boy.
The last three areas forming the game are the Game Boy Tower, Free Battle and Kids' Club. The Game Boy Tower lets players play their Game Boy Pokémon cartridges on the television screen, with the added benefit of the games playing faster once the Poke and Prime Cups are completed! Free Battle lets up to four players can participate in a tag-team format, while the Kids' Club is an area devoted solely to nine mini-games ranging from Clefairy Says (Simon Says) to Dig! Dig! Dig! (rapidly tap the buttons to be the first to dig a hole).
The game also supports the Snap Stations available at participating Blockbuster Video stores. Players can unlock a photo album within the game to display their finest warriors on multiple backgrounds. After choosing their favorite shots, users can then use the Snap Stations to print out a sheet of colored stickers to share with friends and family. Pokémon Stadium is available as a stand-alone purchase or as part of a limited edition set along with a Nintendo 64 console. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide