Welcome to Collection Tales! This is the series where I pull stuff from my shelves and talk about the history that I have with them.
Today’s post is a special one since this is a part of the Pokémon Creator’s Catch Collaboration that was organized by NekoJonez and features posts from 12 bloggers altogether. We all came together to write about the Pokémon series in our own special ways. Make sure check out the hub by clicking the link above or the image below that will take you to everyone’s post, and thank you to everyone who helped and contributed to the project.
For today’s Collection Tale, I wanted to look at one of my favorite games on the Nintendo GameCube, Pokémon Colosseum, and its sequel, Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness.
While I have the most memories and nostalgia for Colosseum, I have played about half of Gale of Darkness to form an opinion. If I start rambling on and on about Colosseum more than XD, just know that it is the one that I’ve played the most.
I don’t remember exactly when we got Colosseum, but it wasn’t too long after it released on March 22, 2004 in the states. There were three factors that got me and my brothers excited about this game. One, we thought this would be close to a mainline game on a console. Around the time, people were wondering if we would ever see a mainline Pokémon game on the big screen. From the commercials that we were looking at, this seemed like a test run to see if it could work, or lead to a whole new separate series. The second factor was that it could also be an evolution to the Stadium games. A stadium is just a small colosseum if you think about it, so this new game could have been like those games with a story mode added to it. While those two predictions didn’t come true at the end, both games did a great job of giving players a great adventure on a smaller scale (on a bigger screen).
The third factor was this commercial:
This commercial is silly and cring, but I remember it well.
Onto what the games are about. Pokémon Colosseum followed a story where an evil organization, Team Snagem, is stealing Pokémon and turning them into fighting machines. They do this by closing their hearts and turning them into the equivalent of mindless animals. You play as Wes (or whatever you want to call him) as he breaks into Team Snagem’s hideout and steals a device known as the Snag Machine. With this machine, Wes can steal Shadow Pokémon from trainers before they can cause further harm. Assisting him is Rui, a strange girl who is able to identify Shadow Pokémon. Together you team up to solve the mysteries of the Shadow Pokémon and stop the people behind it.
The story is a little one-note, but it has interesting characters and a tone that is much darker than most games. The Orre region that the game takes place in is an almost barren wasteland where only the tough come to duke it out, which is the only thing to do. The Orre region features no wild Pokémon since it is not a place where Pokémon can be found normally in the wild (even though we’ve seen Pokémon exist in areas like this). People come here to participate in colosseum battles which are normal battles, just in a large arena.
Gale of Darkness is a similar story but with a different cast. You play as a young kid who lives at a Pokémon research center in the Orre region. After hijinks occur, you are given a new snag machine to capture shadow Pokémon which have once again appeared and rescue the professor of the center. It is not nearly as mature as the original game, but it retains the same great gameplay and mechanics with a few new things. Since I haven’t finished the story and I honestly don’t remember much outside the main plot, I think of Gale of Darkness as an expansion to Colosseum and a look at the aftermath of the Shadow Pokémon incident.
The Shadow Pokémon themselves are interesting because they look like normal Pokémon to most people. Shadow Pokémon will not hesitate to attack anyone rather you be another Pokémon or human. Snagging them from trainers is the only way to acquire them and get them off the streets. What’s stopping you from taking your opponent’s entire team? Morality, and the game won’t let you. To reverse the effects of the shadowing, you have to use the Pokémon in battle and reduce it’s darkness gauge. As you dwindle the gauge, the Shadow Pokémon will regain some moves that it forgot, and reveal some of its nature to the trainer. Once the gauge is empty, you will take it to a shrine blessed by Celebi to purify its heart. The Pokémon will then obtain all experience points it earned from battles, and may evolve if it can. Purifying all the shadow Pokémon becomes one of the end goals of the game since you can then grow your team and take on the different battle challenges in the game. Gale of Darkness changes the purification aspect a bit by allowing you to store Pokémon in special boxes that purify them over time. I would love to see the concept of Shadow Pokémon return in game in the future, but as of this writing, the last time we would see Shadow Pokémon would be in Pokémon GO.
The copy of Colosseum that I have is the original that I had from childhood. We didn’t preorder it, so it didn’t come with the download code for Jirachi. A quick ebay search will tell you how rare a copy of that is. My game still has the original case and manual that has been through a lot. Along with the game, we got the Official Nintendo Players Guide to the game. We were obsessed with guide books since we didn’t have the internet to magically solve all our problems (you young people will never know the struggle sometimes). I was lucky enough to find our copy of the book recently at my brother’s house. Unfortunately, he had stored it in a cardboard box in his outside shed (my inner librarian weeps), so I’m cautious about the potential of hidden mold. It has been out there for years though, and if it hasn’t been destroyed by the elements since, then there might be hope for it.
It wasn’t until college that I got a copy of Gale of Darkness. For some reason, we never got it when it released and it flew under our radar since. I was able to find this copy at my local GameStop around the time they were cleaning out their GameCube inventory. I was lucky enough to only pay $13 USD for the game which is nowhere near how much you have to pay now for a copy. I ended up with two versions of the guide book thanks to my own stupidity. I had forgotten that I purchased the Prima guide and paid a good amount to get the Official Nintendo Players Guide.
Now onto a story that I share with these games. I already mentioned that I’ve spent the most time with Colosseum, but maybe one day I will have stories to share about Gale of Darkness. I think Colosseum is one of the few games that I have played multiple times. That is mostly thanks to my younger brother who loved to see me play this game. He would request me to play this whenever I had the chance to play the GameCube, and he would watch along as I took on the different challenges in the game. I didn’t have a problem with it, since there are plenty of content to do in the game. One such thing was a Mt. Battle, a 100 battle gauntlet as you ascended up this mountain. The challenge takes a while since battles can start to get tedious after a while. What made the challenge worth it however is the prize at the end. If you manage to collect all the Shadow Pokémon and purify them, then you can get Ho-oh at the top of the mountain. This prize alone made us both want to complete it. After a while, we were able to reach the top of the mountain and defeat the last challenger. We made sure that all Pokémon had been captured and purified before we finished, but no Ho-oh showed up. After reviewing the guide book, we discovered that we had to do the Mt. Battle challenge in Battle mode. We had done it in the Story mode. It is safe to say that we never got the Ho-oh after discovering that.
To wrap things up, I highly recommend playing these games if you have the means. They are my favorite spinoffs of the series since it introduces this semi mature not found in most Pokémon games. The games were not afraid to show off one of the darker sides of the Pokémon universe and show one of the more sinister sides of things. If you have Pokémon Ruby or Sapphire, a Gameboy Advance, and a link cable to you can hook up to your GameCube, then you can have battles with your friends on the big screen. Why you would go through the trouble of doing that in this day and age is your business and I am not one to judge. You can also transfer Pokémon from Ruby/Sapphire to use in game and vice versa. I would love for them to bring the Orre region back for another adventure, or introduce a new small region facing their own shadow Pokémon incident. If we ever get a rerelease or another game in this spinoff, I highly recommend you to give them a try.
Once again, thank you to everyone who contributed to the Pokémon Creator’s Catch and make sure that you give the other articles and videos and read/view!