Pokemon is big. Really big. It has seeped into so many different mediums of entertainment. But it has also become many different video games.
Hopefully I’ll be able to hit some of the best, and most nostalgic ones.
Pokemon Colosseum/XD: Gale of Darkness (2004/2005 Gamecube)
Pokemon Colosseum, was really impressive. It took standard Pokemon gameplay and put it in an all new setting. Instead of being a kid off on a grand journey of collecting, training, and raising through the ranks of a competitive system, the focus was put on battling the crime syndicate. You played a kid on the run for stealing and sabotaging his former gang, and then going off on a grand adventure to capture and cleanse all the ‘shadow’ Pokemon put out by another gang. There were no wild Pokemon, all had to be shadow Pokemon stolen from an adversary.
The sequel, Pokemon XD: Gale of Darkness had the same goal: stop the evil syndicate behind the shadow Pokemon, but a bit different start for the character. Both of these titles are a very unique spin on the standard Pokemon battling, and like Pokemon X/Y versions, gave players a better chance to actually use some of the rarer, more interesting Pokemon.
Pokemon Ranger/Shadows of Almia (2006/2008 Nintendo DS)
This one comes about as a Pokemon game designed specifically for the DS’s touchscreen. There is no Pokemon battling in this game: players instead capture wild and foe Pokemon by means of drawing circles about them, until they become friendly. It is harder than it sounds — I still haven’t finished the first one due to a vicious Salamence.
I think fans tend to overlook this one (and the other third title that I missed somehow) since it seems so simple, and a bit ‘out there’ for a Pokemon game. Pokemon Ranger has its merits, and it was definitely great for killing time, having fun, and propagating the Pokemon franchise.
Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team/Blue Rescue Team/Explorers of Time/Explorers of Darkness/Explorers of Sky (2006 Gameboy/DS, 2008/09 DS)
There is so much one can say about Pokemon Mystery Dungeon, for each individual game or the story as a whole. I will say this for sure: this is one of my most favorite spin-offs. Pokemon Mystery Dungeon allows for the greatest role-playing of any Pokemon game I’ve seen for this reason: you play as the Pokemon. After a quick personality test, a Pokemon is chosen for you and you are immediately immersed in an epic story.
Pokemon Mystery Dungeon comes in almost as many different varieties as the mainline Pokemon games, and follows the story of a world of Pokemon, and mysterious, ever-changing dungeons. I have to admit, the story of Red/Blue Rescue Team was so touching, it made me cry in the end.
Pokemon Battle Revolution (2007 Nintendo Wii)
Following the same vein as the Pokemon Stadium games of yore, Pokemon Battle Revolution is the pinnacle of that style of spin-off. Pokemon Stadium 1 and 2 were engines for simulating Pokemon battles with any Pokemon, and against some famous foes of the time (like the Johto Elite Four.)
But Pokemon Battle Revolution takes it a whole step further. It forms its own little island — think Pokemon Sports Resort– where you upload your generation four and lower Pokemon, and battle away; unlocking new stadiums, new rules, and earning tickets usable to make a custom Pokemon Trainer. This is pure, unadulterated Pokemon fun.
One thing that pushes Pokemon Battle Revolution up above even the likes of Pokemon Stadium, is that it has its own little world. They don’t bring in trainers from the already established games, they make their own, and a lot of them are pretty cool. I think they should remake this game for the generation six games. No wait… then I’d have to buy a Wii U. How about a 3DS version instead?
What are you favorite Pokemon spin-off games?
Images via: Nintendo