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Pokemon as a franchise has developed a ton of different games. From the main series games on the handheld devices to an augmented reality mobile game, to even a fully fleshed out fighting game. Many of these spin-offs like "Pokken Tournament" and "Pokemon Conquest" have received glowing praise from both critics and audiences, while others like "Hey You Pikachu!" and "Pokemon Channel" have been panned by both groups.

Out of all the Pokemon spin off games released, some of my favorite entries would have to be the first true adventures on consoles: "Pokemon Colosseum" and "Pokemon Xd: Gale of Darkness."

When "Pokemon Colosseum" first came out, many were expecting a game like "Pokemon Stadium," where players could bring their Pokemon from the handheld games onto the big screen.

While players can still do this, players can also play a fully fleshed out Story Mode. The game's sequel "Pokemon XD: Gale of Darkness" is also known for this but "Pokemon Colosseum" was the first one to have a story mode. These two games are still the only pocket monster Console games to have a story mode since "Pokemon Battle Revolution" on the Wii removed the story mode.

Many still don't give these games enough credit

These two games have done a lot of things right yet many refuse to acknowledge their achievements. Yes, these games have their problems and I wouldn't go so far as to say they are a "step-up" from the main series installments. However, they do offer a unique and different experience from those installments. These games shook up the conventional Pokemon formula and what they do right needs to be acknowledged.

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The Story

"Pokemon Colosseum" and "Pokemon XD" don't follow the typical storyline of collecting gym badges and becoming the Pokemon League Champion. Both games involve the protagonist going through the region of Orre to take down an evil criminal organization called Cipher from using Shadow Pokemon to take over the world. These Pokemon have had their hearts closed off and have become tools of destruction that even attack trainers. It's up to you as the hero to use a snag machine to take the Pokemon away from these villains and stop Cipher from taking over the world.

The storylines of these two games may be some of the best in Pokemon history, even better than "Pokemon Black And White" where the entire concept of catching Pokemon was put into question. True it may not be as deep as other RPG's like "Final Fantasy VI" or "Final Fantasy VII," but this was something very different for Pokemon. It was a step in the right direction for Pokemon storylines and would help lead to better storytelling in "Pokemon Diamond and Pearl" and "Pokemon Black and White."

Memorable and challenging battles

"Pokemon Colosseum" and "Pokemon XD: Gale of Darkness" set themselves apart from the main series games in terms of the battling system.

While the majority of battles in the main series games are one-on-one battles, these two games are two-on-two battles. This battle format was introduced in the Ruby and Sapphire games and while there were a few battles in those games that used this format, the primary format was still singles. This doubles format is incredibly fast paced and is also the format used in the current VGC tournaments hosted by the official company.

Not only that, but this format also allows for more intricate strategies that enemy trainers often utilize, creating a more challenging opponent. For example, one of the bosses utilizes a strategy of one character using a move called protect and the other one using a move called the earthquake. Earthquake is a powerful move that hits all creatures on the field, which means the user will hurt their ally in the process. However, by using protect that creature is protected from any kind of attack, including their allies earthquake.

These kinds of strategies, as well as the faster pace of double battles, help make the battling in "Pokemon Colosseum" and "Pokemon XD: Gale of Darkness" incredibly enjoyable and challenging.

Presentation

Since these games are on consoles, the presentation is far above that of the handheld games. The graphics, while not the best, still hold up very well after roughly 13 years later. In addition, the music has held up very well too. In fact, these games may have some of the best soundtracks in all of Pokemon. The themes for the Cipher Admins and final battles are some of the most well-composed pieces of music I have ever heard in a video game. This is not to say that the main series games don't look and sound very good too, but "Pokemon Colosseum" and "Pokemon XD: Gale of Darkness" are just a cut above them in terms of presentation.

Give these games a chance

Are "Pokemon Colosseum" and "Pokemon XD: Gale of Darkness" perfect games? Absolutely not. "Pokemon Colosseum," in particular, has many problems such as the low number of obtainable creatures in the game, introducing save points instead of giving players the ability to save whenever they want, and a tedious post game bog down the experience. "Pokemon XD: Gale of Darkness" does fix a lot of the problems of "Pokemon Colosseum" and because of that, I consider "Pokemon XD: Gale of Darkness" to be a better game. However, "Pokemon XD: Gale of Darkness" wasn't perfect either as it didn't have the darker atmosphere of "Pokemon Colosseum" and introduced radars that became very distracting from the main adventure. That being said, both games are still fantastic entries in the series.

If you are growing tired of the main series games and want something a little different from the main series games you owe it to yourself to play these games. Their strengths more than make up for their flaws.