Nintendo has just about all the possible Pokemon angles covered. You can play the card game, train the creatures to fight on your Game Boy, watch the movie or TV show, and snap pictures of them until the Butterfrees come home. Pokemon Stadium doesn't really bring any new Pokemon activities to the table - it offers gameplay that feels scaled down and oversimplified, even when compared with the original Game Boy games.
The main hook to Pokemon Stadium is the GB Transfer Pak, which ships with the game. The transfer pak fits into your N64 controller and has a slot for Game Boy carts. This interface lets you take the Pokemon you captured and raised in Pokemon Red, Blue, or Yellow and place them - and their stats - onto the N64. Once you've done this, it's off to the arena, where you can enter one of four tournaments, each broken up into level brackets. Each tournament puts you up against eight trainers, each of whom possesses one of the eight Pokemon League badges. If your Pokemon come out on top, you move ahead. Lose, and you'll have to use a continue. You can also set up multiplayer tournaments.
The turn-based fighting is handled in the classic RPG style, just as the Game Boy Pokemon games were. Before a round, each combatant picks the attack he's going to go with or decides if he's going to recall his current Pokemon in favor of another. Each Pokemon and its attacks are given types which are used to determine a certain Pokemon's strengths and weaknesses, bringing a bit of rock-paper-scissors-esque strategy to the proceedings.
Besides the tournament fighting, there is a small collection of minigames. The minigames in Pokemon Stadium make Mario Party's minigames look like rocket science. Most of the minigames involve hitting A over and over again until someone is declared the winner. Also of note is a mode that actually lets you put your Game Boy Pokemon carts (limited to Red, Blue, and Yellow) into the transfer pak and play them on your television. This is great for saving batteries and limiting your eyestrain. Also, the sticker-printing mode from Pokemon Snap has been carried over to Stadium. You can put any Pokemon in any of the arena backgrounds and snap away, then take the cart to a participating Blockbuster Video and print out little Pokemon stickers.
The Pokemon look great - even better than they looked in Pokemon Snap. The fighting animation is a little drab, as it sticks to standard RPG conventions, meaning that when attacking, the Pokemon will merely step forward and execute its attack, then the opposing Pokemon will go into an attacked animation. It would have been nice to see the little critters actually get down and dirty with a little physical contact. The effects for projectile and other magic-style attacks are done well. The sound leaves a lot to be desired. Tossing in Pokemon voices from the TV show seems like a real no-brainer here, but alas, there is none to be found. An announcer gives the play-by-play, but his speech is very limited, and you'll be hearing the same few phrases repeatedly. In addition, the voice and soundtrack are a little low on the frequency scale, making everything sound a little tinny and muffled.
If you've grown attached to the Pokemon team you're raising on the Game Boy, or you're playing the heck out of the Game Boy version and you're tired of playing on the little screen, Pokemon Stadium is worth owning. But if you're after a little more storyline and a little less generic RPG battling, Stadium comes off as a bit of a disappointment.