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Pokémon Colosseum Package Art
 GENRE
  RPG
 DEVELOPER
  Nintendo
 PUBLISHER
  Nintendo
 NUMBER OF PLAYERS
  1-4
 CONNECTIVITY
  yes
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Pokémon Colosseum

Pokémon Colosseum is the latest installment in the Pokémon franchise, and the first major one for the GameCube console. It is the long-awaited Stadium game for the Ruby/Sapphire generation, but it also features a full-fledged 3D RPG mode, the first one of its kind for the pocket monsters. With over 300 Pokémon available in Pokémon Colosseum, all in lush 3D, with two separate modes of play, it is the most comprehensive Pokémon game to date.

visuals

This is it -- this is what everyone has been waiting for -- all of the Pokémon from Pokémon Ruby and Pokémon Sapphire have finally been brought into the 3D world. Most of the new Pokémon look great, however many of the older ones that were seen in Pokémon Stadium and Pokémon Stadium 2 for the Nintendo 64 are very similar to their Stadium counterparts, with only technical enhancements.

That being said, all the attack animations have been redone, and they look spectacular. The only complaint here is that some of the animations were used for several different attacks. For example, "strength" and "tackle" share the same animation. For a game that is supposed to be focused mainly on 3D Pokémon battles, this is a little disappointing.

As far as the RPG mode is concerned, the visuals are very nice. There's a desert town, a jungle town, an underground city and a thug-ridden area, all with especially different surroundings and layout. There are plenty of water effects thrown in among the different locations. Between translucent waterfalls and running streams, there is plenty of eye candy for players.

The characters in the game look quite realistic and have plenty of human-like mannerisms about them. There is a lot of detail put into each foe to separate them from the others. It's a staple part of the handheld games that there be many "types" of enemies to battle. From 'athlete' to 'fun old man' to 'lady in suit', Pokémon Colosseum does not shy away in that area. Each type of foe has their own personality, which comes across in the animated mannerisms and the overall depictions of them. It's well done.

audio

Pokémon Colosseum puts no blemish in the long-standing tradition of great music in Pokémon games. In RPG mode, the background music is always fitting for the surrounding environment -- when in a mysterious place, the haunting chimes will play, and the vibrant cities are greeted with a graceful trumpet. Also thrown in are the classic battle themes, with orchestral music instead of the monophonic sound on the Game Boy systems.

Sound effects, while nicely in sync with the game, are nothing amazing. When a Pokémon gets hit, there's a single "hit" sound, no matter what attack was used. Also, the Pokémon voices are simply their 'cries' from the GBA versions, which are essentially what the original Game Boy used. Sure, there are hundreds of Pokémon, but it just sounds ugly on such a high-power system.

Another disappointment is that there is absolutely no voice acting in Pokémon Colosseum. All speaking is done through subtitles, and there is no announcer in the colosseum/multiplayer mode. While this hardly makes the game any less playable, it is a disappointment nonetheless and its absence is inexcusable.

gameplay

Pokémon Colosseum consists of two different games: There’s a "Story Mode," which is the RPG, and a "Colosseum Mode", which is just like the old Stadium games on the N64.

Story Mode sets the player as the protagonist, Wes, though the player is allowed to choose any name for him. Unlike the other RPG games, the main character's gender cannot be chosen -- it is always male -- however, the protagonist teams up with a female sidekick, whose name is also decided by the player.

The adventure takes place in what is known as the Orre region. An evil organization, known as Team Snagem, has been stealing Pokémon and turning them into "Shadow Pokémon." These Shadow Pokémon are not only stronger than regular Pokémon, but they also attack humans. Team Snagem wants to take over the world with these shadow Pokémon, and the player must stop them. As you can see, the storyline is definitely more intense than any previous Pokémon game.

The main difference in gameplay between Pokémon Colosseum and the Game Boy titles is that there are no wild Pokémon -- all Pokémon are caught by "snagging" them from enemies. Only Shadow Pokémon may be snagged, however, making the number of Pokémon available to catch very unimpressive. In fact, there are only 49 Pokémon to capture. With such a radical twist in the long-running gameplay style, it definitely takes some getting used to. The main thing is that this really is not the full 3D RPG that Pokémon fans have waited for -- It's more of a complement to the Colosseum mode, and it only lasts 20 hours for the most avid players. It's an enjoyable 20 hours, but it just doesn’t have that Pokémon magic that the handheld versions do.

In Colosseum Mode, players can compete in a multiplayer battle or try to conquer a set of trainers alone. Also available is a "Battle Now" mode, where players can enter a Pokémon battle without having to worry about raising the Pokémon.

In both play modes, the player is able to upload Pokémon from his Ruby or Sapphire cartridge from the Game Boy Advance via the GBA/GCN link cable. However, in story mode, the player must clear the entire story in order to access the ability to upload the Ruby/Sapphire Pokémon.

multiplayer

Colosseum Mode offers a multiplayer option for two or four players. The four-player mode sets a team of two against two, and two-player matches may be "single" or "double" battles. It's exactly like it was in the GBA titles. One player or team may use his story mode team, while the other one uses his GBA team, or both players/teams may use their GBA teams. By using the GBA to control the battle, it makes it much more advantageous in that players secretly select their moves, and cannot see each other's move-sets.

overall

Pokémon Colosseum is solid as the first real Pokémon game for the GameCube. The problem is that Nintendo tried to squeeze two games in one. The story mode has no where near the complexities and storyline that the Game Boy games have had, and the Colosseum mode is no where near as customizable as the Stadium titles were for the N64. However, both play modes are enjoyable. The game just really does not live up to its excessive hype.

final score 7.5/10





WRITER INFORMATION
Staff Avatar Mark Raby
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"'The smartest one is he who knows he does not know' -- Socrates"


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