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Pokémon Colosseum: Why Pokémon Spinoff Games are Awesome - Destructoid




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This is awesomeness defined


Are you one of those people who wants to play as the villain in a Pokémon game? Well, in Pokémon Colosseum, you get to do just that.

Well, kinda. Also, beware of some mild spoilers below (this also isn't a review of the game. I'll probably be doing a review of its sequel).

Remember how in other Pokémon games you start out in a sleepy town, get a low-level starter, and get your hand held throughout it all? Well, Pokémon Colosseum says, "Screw that!" and decides blowing stuff up is better. That's right, there's explosions in this Pokémon game and it's the greatest thing ever. As it turns out, the main character Wes (the guy who looks like something out of an 80's sci-fi film) is an ex-member of the evil organization, Team Snagem (yes that name is a little ridiculous, I must admit). Why is he an ex-member you ask? He decided one day that the villain scene was a bit too cliché for him, and decided to leave. Well, the truth is that we don't know exactly why Wes decided to leave Team Snagem (and we'll get to why that makes this game a step above the rest later), but my reasoning is just as good as any other since we don't have a concrete answer. Anyways, he thought that betraying his fellow teammates by engulfing their base in a raging inferno would be the best way to cut ties with his old life as a bad guy. To stick it to them even further, he also stole a machine that allows the user to steal other trainers' Pokémon called the snag machine (I know, real original). It's a good thing he did too, because without it he'd be screwed.


This game has all the explosions...


...and cool guys don't look at them.

The game takes place in a new region called Orre, which is mostly a desert. Consequently, no wild Pokémon appear in this region. The only way the player can receive more Pokémon is by stealing them from other trainers. Now, you can't just steal any old Pokémon from a trainer. It has to be a "Shadow Pokémon". These Pokémon have had the door to their hearts closed, and as a result wield greater power and can even attack people. Wes has made it his mission to steal back all these Shadow Pokémon, purify their hearts, and defeat Cipher once and for all. Cipher is yet another evil organization in the game, and they are the ones responsible for closing the hearts of the Shadow Pokémon. As it turns out, Team Snagem and Cipher are bitter rivals. Now that makes me wonder if Wes decided to steal back the Shadow Pokémon out of the goodness of his heart, or if he just really wanted to stick it to Cipher to get revenge of some sort. Or maybe he wanted to steal the snag machine just so he could be more powerful. There is a lot of speculation surrounding this character because his intentions are just so vague. I think that since Wes' choices are open to interpretation, it adds a layer of depth to this game that some (but not all) main-series Pokémon games lack. Because of that, this game feels so fresh and different when compared to the others. Spinoff games have the ability to do completely new things with the franchise, and that's one of the many reasons why Colosseum is so awesome.

Another obvious thing that makes this game amazing is, of course, the battling. Every battle in the game is a double battle, meaning two Pokémon are on the field at the same time. I know some people didn't like being restricted to a certain format, but I think double battling adds more challenging and strategic elements to the game. Double battles also make fighting the various bosses of the game more interesting. The first boss that the player fights uses a team where Earthquake and Protect is used, which can be a tough strategy to deal with early in the game. If you love to battle, then Pokémon Colosseum is for you. Most of the time you spend in the game will be battling other trainers during the main story. But, there's colosseum tournaments to enter, and Mt. Battle to challenge as well. Mt. Battle and colosseum tournaments are good ways to level your team and win great prizes and money. Battling in this game is also just so much fun because all the Pokémon are 3D. You see them attacking, getting hit, and sometimes fainting, unfortunately. They all have their bit-crushed cries too, which I think is a nice touch that adds a bit of nostalgia. There's something just so magical about seeing the usual 2D sprites of Pokémon come to life in 3D. And up until X and Y, the only games that had 3D rendered Pokémon were the ones for consoles. So, Colosseum always just felt so special to me for that reason alone.

Another thing that makes this game special is the setting which it takes place in. Orre may be a desert region, but some parts of it are just stunning nonetheless. You'll go from desolate deserts, to raging volcanoes, to underground cities, to lush forests, and back. My favorite area in the game is Phenac City, which is a desert oasis filled with overflowing water.


I'd like to live in a place like Phenac City in real life

And the music, ugh, the music in this game is fantastic. Seriously, you haven't lived until you've heard Phenac City's theme. 


The game has great music for every situation whether it be for epic boss battles, intense colosseum matches, or serene cities. You won't hear chip tunes in this game. All the music is very clear sounding and very high quality. In fact, I hope they play a version of Phenac City at the upcoming Pokémon Symphonic Evolutions concerts, because that'd be great.

The story and the unique game play are the main things that make this game awesome. The story is just so dark and deep when compared to the normal main series games. This game is a breath of fresh air because it's just so different. There aren't 8 gyms to challenge, there aren't any wild Pokémon to bother or interrupt you, and the protagonist is an anti-hero who likes to blow stuff up and steal people's Pokémon, for heaven's sake! Unlike the main series games, this one throws you right into the action with two fully leveled Pokémon, and sends you on your merry way, no questions asked. It's a 3D Pokémon RPG, and I love it.


Wes and his two partners, Umbreon and Espeon, ride together in his weird motorcycle thing

Now, this game isn't perfect; it has its flaws just like any other game. I played Colosseum as a kid, so maybe I'm a bit nostalgia blind, but I played it again recently and enjoyed it just as much. There hasn't been a game like it since its sequel, Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness, and that game came out in 2005, almost 10 years ago! Nintendo and Genius Sonority, I'm begging you, please make another game like Pokémon Colosseum for the Wii U. Some of the best, most innovative games in the series have been spinoffs, and I'd like very much to see that trend continue. Even though there's hardly been any indication of another console game like Colosseum coming out, a girl can wish as hard as a Blissey for one.



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