Pokémon Stadium 2


    Only a craze like Pokémon could generate a game like Pokémon Stadium 2: a sequel to an add-on to a portable monster breeding RPG. But there has always been more to Pokémon than it may seem, and the same is true for “Pokésta” as well. The second installment in the series does an excellent job expanding that simple premise into a varied and comprehensive Poke-experience, one that may even rekindle the interest of series fans who have wandered astray.

 Nice eyebrows.
Hoot Hooting at you

    The fundamental idea of uploading your Game Boy monsters for 3D combat remains constant from the first game, but a number of added extras squeeze even more gameplay out of this basic formula: more monsters, more battles, more options, more items, and much more information.

    An updated roster with the 100 new monsters is the most obvious addition, including all the new animations and attacks that were introduced in Gold/Silver – an impressive feat considering the quality of the animations and size limitations of a cartridge. The models remain smooth and well animated, and even the somewhat plain backgrounds mark an improvement over those found in the first Pokésta.

Fire - heh heh heh
En fuego!

    And you'll be seeing a lot of these backgrounds, as more battles than ever await you in Stadium Mode and Gym Leader Castle. The former separates tournaments by the level of your Pokémon, ranging from the level 1-5 Little Cup to the all levels Prime Cup. Some tournaments have expanded from eight opposing trainers to four tiers of eight trainers each, more than enough for your average player. Gym Leader Castle is a battle-only recreation of the Game Boy adventure's gyms, with each having from one to four trainers.

    Fans seeking added challenge need look no further than the Challenge Cup, which forces you to guide a team of six random Pokémon through 32 opposing trainers. The fact that Pokémon are selected at random adds a welcome level of difficulty to the fights, especially when your team is heavy or light in a particular area.

 Plug it in, plug it in
Indoor combat

    The lack of story to tie these fights together places the game's weight squarely on the battle system, and Pokémon's proves more than up to the task. The most welcome and useful of the new features is Earl's Pokémon Academy, which serves as an electronic version of the most thorough Pokémon battle guide imaginable. It is a brilliant feature that lets novices understand the game in a short time while giving experts a wealth of functional information to get even better.

    The Library section of the academy lists every single Pokémon move, when it can be learned, and what it does. Evolutions, eggs, items, elemental strengths and weakness; all these and more are here for your digestion. You can even look up Pokémon by name, number, or type. The Classroom section not only gives specific lectures on the strategies of battle, but also puts those skills to the test against three levels of Academy students.

Run, various Pokemon, run!
On the treadmill

    Despite being about as well executed as a game of such relatively narrow appeal can be, Pokémon Stadium 2's sound is a glaring and inexplicable weak point. The announcer is less irritating, but the fact there is an announcer at all is unacceptable when an overwhelming majority of the Pokémon remain silent. It is better to hear an enthusiastic “Pika!” than listen to the same line you heard four times last battle coming from the commentator.

    Fainting animations have been drastically shortened by a Pokeball that appears to snap up defeated monsters; it's a shame these humorous and rewarding animations were all but cut out of the game. Gamers just discovering the phenomenon will also have to buy their own Transfer Pak to access a large majority of the gameplay.

    Having played both rounds of Game Boy titles but completed neither, I found myself wanting to play through them again so I could fully exploit the options available here. The Academy in particular makes the series as a whole infinitely more accessible to those without the time to obsess over their Totodile's development. Pokémon Stadium 2 should more than satisfy current Pokémon fans, and the patient might just find themselves converted into new ones.

Review by Ed McGlothlin, GIA.
Pokémon Stadium 2
Developer Nintendo
Publisher Nintendo
Genre N/A
Medium Cartridge
Platform Nintendo 64
Release Date  12.00
Pokémon Stadium 2 gets a special cartridge
11 screenshots
U.S. box art