Wow, so I’ve been meaning to talk about this game for a super long time now. But Pokémon Colosseum is one of those games that is probably the most polarized RPG I have ever seen in my life. Probably even more polarized than Final Fantasy VIII & Shenmue. You either love this game or you absolutely hate it. For a series like Pokémon, this game had only 53 catchable Pokémon. Which if you think about, is incredibly tiny when compared to Ruby & Sapphire. At the time I was dissatisfied because I wanted more Pokémon to be used in a 3D environment. But the selection you do get is mostly a mix of Johto favorites like Espeon, Umbreon, Mantine, Noctowl & Quilava. Plus a few Honen monsters like Makuhita & Absol. But this game is primally focused on Johto based Pokémon.
The main appeal about Colosseum is that once you beat the game, you could transfer your newly caught Pokémon to your Ruby/Sapphire cart. Which is an absolute blessing since many of the best Johto Pokémon did not return to Gen III so easily. Plus, the game is focused on 2 vs 2 battles. Which give you an insane amount of tactics. But let’s talk about the main appeal that Colosseum had. It was a 3D Pokemon game, pure and simple. Back in 2004, this game was the cutting edge of technology for Pokémon. Seeing all of your GBA monsters come to life in 3D come to life was incredible. The music is also absolutely solid. I still have the main battle theme in my head to this day. Plus, the story. This was by far the biggest risk Pokémon has ever taken. It’s quite dark & gritty for a series like this. Seriously, the first cutscene shows the main character Wes blowing up Team Snagem’s hideout. Then he saves a girl from being kidnapped in a bag. It’s quite dark. TBH, I would have never expected Pokémon to ever go down a route like that. But the story definitely shines more than anything else that the Game Boy games have tried to do.
But now sadly, I gotta talk about the problems with Colosseum. First of all, you can’t save anywhere. You have to use a PC in the story, I get it’s a console RPG but you shouldn’t take away a key feature that was in every prominent Pokémon game. Also the animations in this game, while beautiful, make the battles go at a much slower pace. As you’re sitting there just trying to make a move, but the animations still haven’t finished yet. It can get annoying if you’re just trying to grind. Plus, the Gen III Pokémon look absolutely amazing in this game. But for some odd reason the Gen I & II Pokémon have there models ripped right from Pokémon Stadium 2, literally. Kinda strange seeing the low poly N64 monsters paired up with the higher quality GameCube models. Makes you wonder honestly. Also, this game is one of the hardest games in the Pokemon series for two reasons. One, you have to purify all of the Shadow Pokémon and you can’t level them up at all until they get purified. The purification technique is incredibly tedious and is absolute time waster for true potential Pokémon growth. Plus, the one move you get is Shadow Rush, while it doesn’t have any weaknesses. You take recoil damage and that can lead to some negative effects. If the Pokémon you’re trying to catch uses it. Well, you might miss your chance to grab that certain Pokémon until the end of the game. Also, the difficultly spikes in this game are insane. Surprisingly, Pokemon Colosseum is really hard. When you get to fight the first admin you will not be prepared. In fact, you may get demolished. A gym battle, this is not.
But overall, Pokemon Collosseum is a risk taking Pokémon game that had a few solid ideas, the traditional stuff worked very well. But the ideas that were thrown in didn’t get the proper treatment it truly deserved. Some of the annoying nitpicks I mentioned could have been ironed out if the development team had more time. But the story is where this game shines the most. Give this one a look. If you can accept this game for being different from your average Pokémon game, then you might find some enjoyment out of it.