I remember well my first experiences with Pokémon, Pokémon Blue that was. The evening I had bought it I should have gone to music school but because I found it so exciting to to catch my first pokemon I didn’t go. Then I was still a fanatic, I watched the cartoons every day eventhough I had seen them all already three times. Then I got Pokémon Gold, a game I completely devoured.
Last year I let Sapphire pass on me and when I leant it one time, the magic had gone. Maybe because I wasn’t watching the cartoons anymore and had gotten a day older. I didn’t even play the game for a long time, maybe I should, maybe it becomes more fun once you progress further.
When I heard a 3D Pokémon RPG would be arriving on the Gamecube i was véry interested to see whether the magic of the first two parts would return.
Nintendo is clearly trying to appeal to the somewhat older gamers with Colosseum; you’re no longer a little child on his way to become the best Pokémon trainer and meanwhile helping the professor with his research. Nope, now you’re a former member of the bad Team Snaggem. These people make Pokémon bad by closing their hearts by which they no longer show their emotions.
Luckily, you as main character, have seen that this way isn’t good and you blow up the HQ of the gang and steal a machine with which you can “snag” Pokémon. Not to make more evil Pokémon but to catch the bad ones from their trainers and return them to the good. Pretty fast you get to know a girl who has the special gift to identify the bad ones called “Shadow Pokémon”. During your voyage she’ll be at your side.
As I said before, this game is full 3D but don’t expect a giant world as on the gameboy versions. You choose a city on a map and then you go there on your futuristic motorcycle. Pretty disappointing at first but luckily the cities are big enough to wander around for quite a while. Contrary to the Gameboy versions, all Pokémon Centers and Pokémarts are all different so you won’t run into the same building all the time.
The places vary from detailed garbage cities to boring towns where everything looks green from the trees and grass. The graphics are low quality and the Pokémon look pretty square but luckily the animations do look beautiful. Each Pokémon has dozens of different animations that all depend on which attack you perform with them of by which they get hit.
The fights are sometimes a bit long but for the true fan it’s a real pleasure to watch the animations. If you’ve played the old Gameboy games, you’ll easily find your way through the battle system as nothing has changed to that. During double- or single fights you’ll need to make choices in menu’s. Never change a winning team must have been the idea and next to the battle-system also the typical Pokémon tunes are also present but now in a bit more modern, rock-like, version.
The controls are pretty simple for the rest, walking is done with the control stick, acknowledging choices and talking is done with the A-button. That’s about it, there’s quite a lot of buttons that remain unused but personally I wouldn’t know what the others could be used for.
Next to the Story Mode there’s also a Battle Mode and here the connectivity of Nintendo is central. You can upload your Pokémon from Sapphire or Ruby (and in the future also Leaf Green and Fire Red) or download them to your GBA so that you can still train them further without having to sit in front of your TV.
You won’t need the connectivity to get a lot of Pokémon. “Why ?” you might think ? Well, this is where the biggest disadvantage of the game is: in Story Mode there are in total only about 60 Pokémon available. Nintendo made a big mistake with this because the phrase “Gotta Catch ‘em All” is all but applicable here. Too bad, but not a disaster. Story Mode is and stays fun.
But we were talking about the Battle Mode. Here you can participate in Mt. Battle vs. 100 where you have to beat 100 players before being able to call yourself the ultimate trainer. These fights aren’t easy, the first one immediately starts with a level 50 Pokémon so it will take quite a while before you’ve beaten all of them. Next to that you can also just fight in the Colosseum where 8 opponents are waiting for you.
Of course you can also play against your friends. To multiplay you’ll need at least 1 GBA + Ruby or Sapphire. A player uses the Pokémon from the Story Mode and stears it with the controller while the other uses the GBA. You can connect up to 4 GBA’s, each having to have Sapphire or Ruby installed. Quite pricey that multiplayer…
Pokémon Colosseum is certainly worth the Pokémon name and for the fans it’s a must-have. Nintendo has done the right thing to incorporate a storyline but on the other side it wasn’t a good choice to decrease the freedom by choosing the cities on a map. This makes the game miss the huge feeling you have with the other games. Also, there’s way too little Pokémon to catch.