The main focus was on Pokémon Gold, Silver, and Crystal, but we did receive more spinoffs. Generation II saw the smallest number of spinoff Pokémon games in the franchise’s history. In North America, there were only two titles released in total. Japan was able to get a third spinoff game. The ultimate question still remains: Is it worth giving these games our attention? With its small and limited selection, Can they hold up against both the spinoffs of the past and the spinoffs of the future?
Generation II Spinoffs
Pokémon Puzzle Challenge– Pokémon Puzzle Challenge brings Tetris Attack to the Game Boy Color. It plays similarity to the Super Nintendo game as there are several different modes to enjoy and the single player campaign has players taking the main protagonist across the Johto region and the Elite Four. In a nutshell, this is a fantastic puzzle game to add to your Game Boy Color collection. Since the gameplay is unchanged from Puzzle League, there isn’t anything else I have to say regarding this great on the go game.
Pokémon Stadium 2– After the success of Pokémon Stadium, we got the sequel, Pokémon Stadium 2. I remember renting this game back when it was new in 2001 from Blockbuster. I eventually wanted to own the game, but for some odd reason, my parents never got Stadium 2 and eventually, it was forgotten in my mind until I bought my own copy of the game in 2009. Pokémon Stadium 2 is sadly not remembered as well as its older brother. It’s a shame as the game is severely underrated and overshadowed by Stadium. It was also graphically two generations ahead in its own time as Revolution would use the same Pokémon graphical assets.
Stadium 2 brings back your favorite features like the Gym Leader Castle, the ability to play Red, Blue, Yellow, Gold, Silver, and Crystal on your TV, Free Battle mode, and of course Stadium mode. Unlike Stadium 1, these features have been greatly expanded. The Gym Leader Castle has players fighting both Johto Gym Leaders and Kanto Gym Leaders along with the Elite Four and Red. Free Battle mode is the same as before, but now it is possible to choose the arena field. Thank goodness this mode was no longer restricted to a barren open field. The Stadium mode this time has the returning Poke Cup and Prime Cup. The Prime Cup uses level 100 Pokemon while the Poke Cup has four divisions with level 50-55 Pokemon. The same rules from Stadium 1 are used. The two new cups are the Little Cup and the Challenge Cup. The Little Cup is an interesting mode as the only pokémon allowed are basic pokémon hatched from eggs. In order to survive this cup, moves have to be passed down from the parents to the new pokémon. It not only requires players to breed pokémon well, but also teaches them how to properly use egg learned moves. The Challenge Cup is the only mode in the game to never use rental pokémon or your own pokémon. Instead, six random pokémon are given to the player. There are four divisions in this mode. It is up to the player to carefully use the randomly generated team to win 8 consecutive battles. Critics of this mode argue the mode relies heavily on luck and in some cases, that is true. In most cases, the team is able to get through without having to rely on luck.
The rental pokémon once again are not great options and suffer from the same issues in Stadium 1. The unevolved pokémon have strong moves, but weak stats and the evolved pokémon have great stats, but terrible moves. Pokémon Stadium 2 is meant to be used with a team from Red, Blue, Yellow, Gold, Silver, or Crystal. It is possible to transfer pokémon between Stadium 2 and the handheld games. In addition, there is Earl’s Pokemon Academy, a new feature to teach players the ins and outs of battling, pokémon types, and pokémon moves in Generation II. This mode is useful for the beginners and can be a quick way to learn the battle mechanics in a bind. The Mini games return this time and to be honest with you all, the games are not great or memorable.
Just like Stadium 1, there are two rounds in Stadium 2 and both end with a final boss battle against Silver. Silver will fight against you with Lugia, Mewtwo, and Ho-Oh. In exchange, players get to use six pokémon to take them out. Silver is a tough opponent. The movepools for all three legendaries are designed to elimate weaknesses and take advantage of their strengths. Winning against Silver will reward players with a special Farfetch’d or a Gilgar. If you use a team from your handheld games, there is the option to have a pokemon relearn a move. This was the first time players had a method to teach their Pokemon old level up moves they didn’t have in their move pool.
Pokémon Stadium 2 is the superior experience over Stadium 1. Because it was released late in the N64’s lifecycle, it didn’t sell as well as its older brother. As a swan song for the N64, Stadium 2 exceeded expectations.
Pokémon Trading Card GB 2 (Japan)- Japan got a third spinoff game, Pokémon Trading Card GB 2. While I have never owned a copy, the game continues the story from the Pokémon Trading Card Game as the main character from the previous game or a brand new female protagonist must stop Team Great Rocket from taking over the island and stealing all the cards. At one point, the game was slated to be localized and released in the states, but was cancelled when Nintendo focused their attention on the Game Boy Advance.
Super Smash Bros. Melee.- I only have one miscellaneous topic to discuss. Super Smash Bros. Melee was released in 2001 for the Gamecube. Once again, Pokémon was well represented in the fighting game. Pikachu and Jigglypuff make a return as playable fighters. Both are accompanied by two new fighters from the series, Pichu and Mewtwo. Mewtwo showed off his psychic abilities and Pichu….damaged himself with Thunder. The four Pokémon were solid representatives. A couple of new stages such as Pokémon Stadium and Kanto Skies were introduced. Sadly, Saffron City from Super Smash Bros. did not return.
Generation II was another strong generation. To many people, Generation II is in their eyes the best generation of Pokémon. With the expanded moves, two new types, the introduction of hold items, and even the inclusion of a female protagonist in Crystal Version, Generation II built upon the foundation laid down by Generation I. Battles were only tweaked and fine-tuned and that was ok for fans at the time. Would the wave of success continue on into the mid 2000s? or Would the franchise go through some tough adversity as it headed into the Gamecube and Game Boy Advance generation?