Stop Poking me.
Man, Pokemon fans are a tough crowd. I’ve gotten death threats for my poke-views in the past. I’d be scared, but what are you guys going to do? Throw your Game Boys at me? Give me a paper cut with your PooglyDooglyPuff card? Set your Bonkerjerk against me? Ooooo…I’m so scared.
And what I’m going to say now will only rain more fury down on me. Pokemon Stadium 2 is just like the first Pokemon Stadium. A lot like the first. Too much like the first. All in all, it’s just an upgrade that adds in the Gold/Silver set of creatures and fills in some strategy.
With the Game Boy Adapter for the N64, you can transport your Pokemon data from any primary or metal colored Pokemon GB game into the N64 for battles and utility functions. And even if you don’t have the Game Boy games (you Pokemon poser) you can just use "rental" Pokemon – pre-configured Pokemon within the game that you can check out for all your battling needs.
The main part of Pokemon Stadium 2 is the Stadium Battles. Herein, pure strategy will be demanded of you, requiring you to know the ins and outs of all your Pokemon – what attack will work best for which opponent, what items you should use, etc. The back and forth, checks and balance nature of Pokemon battles can be fun to the initiated. But you better be prepared for plenty of it.
Where the GB games have questing elements to break up the flow of battles, the N64 Stadium game will smother you with match after match. You will get Poke-tired.
Let’s say you don’t know squat about your Pokemon strategy. Well, you can always go to Earl’s Pokemon Academy, an option that has all the fun of actual school. Oh joy. I can hardly contain myself. Read page after page of Poke-strategy and then take quizzes on the material. Cripes, that sounds like too much fun. The option is helpful if you want to learn, but the presentation of the material is just lame.
Pokemon Stadium 2 also contains 12 brand new mini games – good for a set of finger twitching, thumb twiddling diversions. There’s nothing here that hasn’t been done before by the Mario Party games, but overall, the simplicity keeps them entertaining. Unfortunately, there’s nothing nearly as memorable as the Lickitung Sushi Gorging from the first Pokemon Stadium. Oh well – can’t have everything.
If you are looking for grand leaps and bounds with the graphics, then you’ll be crying home to mama like a kid who’s been beaten up for their Pokemon trading cards. I don’t see any improvements with the character models or any smoother animations. This one has the same level of quality as the original Pokemon Stadium. Nothing worse, nothing better.
And how about some real poke-interactions? On the Game Boy cart you get a piddling little animation signifying an attack. That’s okay – it’s a Gameboy. On the N64, the scale has been upped, but it’s still just a piddling little animation. Your Pokemon runs forward and swipes its paw. The backgrounds go all triptastic with fancy colors. But never do you see your Pokemon actually pimpslap your foe. Battles are just two Pokemon making gestures at one another, each in an isolated vacuum.
It isn’t that tall of an order to ask that Pokemon actually interact with one another. Isn’t that the whole point? In this bare minimum sequel, you’ll just have to settle for more of the same.
The music is dismal. Just Game Boy Pokemon music redux…from 8-bit pings to the only slightly better MIDI. Blargh.
I often find myself saying this about RPG’s, but what the hey, I’ll say it again. See, I just like riling up you folks. Where are the damn voices? I complained about it in the first Pokemon Stadium, and it’s still a complaint now. Instead of voice, you get dumb text where the Pokemon say their name over and over in an angry fit, like this: "Johnny Liu! Johnny Liu! Graaah! Johnny Liu!"
So is Pokemon Stadium for you? That all depends on what your needs are. If you swear by Pokemon, have attached a surname of Wuggly to your name, or are one of the many who want me dead for calling these creatures "silly," then you’ll probably like it. It all depends on how much you are into the new Pokmeon Gold and Silver on the Game Boy.
But just because you are nuts for Pokemon GS doesn’t make this an immediate Poke-purchase. Pokemon Stadium 2 is a cursory game that does little more than its predecessor. If you don’t already have the newest two Pokemon games, there’s little point to this one. If you’re still playing the primary colored Game Boy games, you’ll be just fine with the cheaper original Pokemon Stadium. And if you don’t have any GB Pokemon games, you probably don’t care about Pokemon anyway. So here’s a job for you: Throw stuff at the people who send me death threats.