Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness, GameCube

Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness is the successor to Pokémon Colosseum and is another third-generation spin-off from the main Pokémon series. It was developed by Genius Sonority and published by The Pokémon Company exclusively for the Nintendo GameCube in 2005.

Pokémon XD takes place five years after the events of Pokémon Colosseum and once again takes place in Orre, the desert region with little to no vegetation, and therefore no tall grass in which to capture wild Pokémon. This game does begin on the edge of the desert region, so does have a few green areas, plus a port, and some of the same locations as seen in Colosseum are also available to visit in this.

The story and gameplay are very much similar to Pokémon Colosseum, with you playing a young protagonist whose main focus is to capture and purify “Shadow Pokémon” from other trainers using a “Snag Machine”. Unlike Colosseum, though, in this one you have a device called an “Aura Reader” for detecting shadow Pokémon. The purification process is the same as before: by battling with captured shadow Pokémon you can gradually open the door to their heart and finally purify them (ie. turn them back into regular Pokémon) by undergoing a special ritual at the relic stone in Agate Village. As the game unfolds an alternative way of purifying them also becomes available.

Graphically, Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness is much better than Pokémon Colosseum. The 3D models are more detailed; the use of colour is better, and the standard of character animation is also much better than in Pokémon Colosseum (it actually looks like the developers have used motion capture in this, which makes it look much more realistic).

All the various menus and processes have been refined; the game seems to move faster – in terms of combat timings – which is welcomed, and the special effects during combat are also much more interesting too. It’s obvious to me that more time and effort seems to have gone into Pokémon XD than Pokémon Colosseum.

One significant difference to Colosseum is that “Hyper Mode” has been replaced with “Reverse Mode”, although the effects are pretty much the same – if one of your shadow Pokémon enters reverse mode it makes them unpredictable and difficult to control, and you can’t give them potions when they’re in this state. You can – once again – call out their name during battle to snap them out of it, but it doesn’t always work.

There are also “Poké Spots” in XD that did not appear in Colosseum. These are special locations where the player can lay down Poké Snacks and cause wild Pokémon to appear for capture.

While Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness is very similar to Pokémon Colosseum it is arguably the better game of the two. Better presentation; more detail; more to do. It’s again possible to link up to any of the available Game Boy Advance Pokémon games for trading and battling.

More: Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness on Wikipedia

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