Pokemon Colosseum is easily the best Pokemon spin off to date taking the usual formula and twisting it in a new way.
Beleive it or not, this Pokemon game has a plot. A rather boringly executed plot mind you, but a plot non the less. Basically you play as an Ex Member from Team Snagem, who steal people's Pokemon using a Snag Machine which converts Poke Balls to snag balls to snag Pokemon. Your character steals teh snag machine and makes a run for it. He later learns that an evil orgaisation known as Cipher are closing the door to the hearts of Pokemon creating viscous "Shadow Pokemon" Your character decides to put the Snag Machine to good use and sets out to overthrow Cipher and catch and purify all of the Shadow Pokemon.
Your two starter Pokemon for the game are Espeon and Umbreon. You receive them at levels 24 and 25 respectivley. The big notable thing about this game is that ALL of the battles are double battles. There are no grassy patches or wild Pokemon to catch in this game. Early on you will be able to start snagging Shadow Pokemon. Your friend will point out Shadow Pokemon to you when they are sent out into battle and you will then have to train and catch them.
Shadow Pokemon are caught like standard wild Pokemon only they are harder to catch because they have an attack called Shadow Rush, which inflicts recoil damage and so when your cut their HP low, they can end up making themselves faint and your snag attempt will fail. Despite being a game in the Hoen Generation, most of the Pokemon you can snag are actually from the Johto region. Pokemon include Furret, Flaafy, Sudowoodo, Quagsire, Croconaw, Bayleef, Quilava, and even the legendary beasts Raikou, Entei and Suicune. Though a good thing about this game is upon completion you will end up having unlimited attempts at trying to capture any shadow Pokemon you failed to capture earlier.
Shadow Pokemon can't level up and when you first get them, can only use Shadow Rush. They will have a purple bar where the EXP bar should be. When this purple bar depletes, the Pokemon will learn new moves and when it is empty, can be purified and turned into a normal Pokemon at Relic Forest. Shadow Pokemon can enter hyper mode, where Shadow Rush is almost always a critical hit, but they will most likely disobey when you try to issue another command.
The game is actually quite short story wise, but there are several spikes where the levels of the Pokemon you are fighting will dramatically increase making the game really hard. You can train in Colosseums of take the 100 Mt Battle challenge. I hate going out of my way to level grind, especially when it takes more than a few days to get up to the appropriate level. But at least if you choose to level up by Mt Battle, you are advancing through a side quest, so at least you are still doing something, not just hanging around a set grassy patch like the hand held games. Though the battles in this game really do take quite a while.
Aside from the story mode, there is a battle now mode. One mode will enable you to enter colosseums or take the Mt Battle challenge with Pokemon from your GBA games using a link cable, or the Pokemon in your Colosseum team. The other mode is quick battle where you pick either single or double battle. You can't select your own customisable team, but if you continue to click on and off a difficulty setting, the set Pokemon will change, so you can cycle through the sets until you find the team you wish to use. There are four difficulty settings with easy having weaker Pokemon and Ultimate having stronger Pokemon. But it is quite similar to the Stadium games in a way.
Graphically, the game just just pull the models straight from the Stadium games and tidy them up a bit, but they still look nice. The attacks make some pretty effects which are nice to watch and the game is Pokemon eye candy!
Colosseum also features some pretty cool music tracks, both new compositions and remixes from Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald in the quick battle mode are good to listen to.
One technical aspect I want to bring up is that the game requires 48 blocks to save - that's over half of a standard GameCube memory card. New copies of the game come with a free memory card, but new copies will be hard to find now. If you want to get this game, check your memory card memory space; you may want to invest in another one when you buy this game.
Colossum is a unique take on the old formula and is overall a good game. I don't find it as satisfying as Team selection is limited and you really do have to spend ages level grinding through what would otherwise be a very quick game. But it is fun and I do reccomend this to all Pokemon fans or to those who just want to play a GameCube RPG. The game did have a sequal called XD: Glale of Darkness, which is meant to be better, but I haven't played it yet.
Milesprower2k9 Original Reviews