Ever since Gen V, Pokemon has grown to be notorious for having games that are extremely easy to beat. Given that Nintendo in general is more kid-focused, it’s not terribly surprising that this is the case for Pokemon—especially considering that it was marketed towards children upon its release in 1998. Given that there aren’t any difficulty settings (with the exception of Gen V, which made a feeble attempt at including those settings that ended in disaster), you can pretty much assume that you’re playing on a perpetual easy mode. Furthermore, the AI of the Pokemon, trainers, and gym leaders is severely lacking, which has historically caused situations like your opponent not switching out Pokemon during battles, Pokemon using ineffective moves, and more.
In light of this, if you take a look back at the history of all the Pokemon games that have been made, there seems to be a pretty clear winner for which one is the hardest of all—Pokemon Stadium 2. Though not one of the main games, Pokemon Stadium 2 was extremely fun, but perhaps equally as frustrating and difficult if you played it with the Pokemon that the game provided you with.
This isn’t to say that Pokemon Stadium 2 is a better game though, just because it’s more difficult. While it’s great that players can rely on the game for a challenge, whether or not it’s a good challenge is definitely up for debate. Some fans actually question whether the game is actually beatable with rental Pokemon or not.
What makes the game so hard? Ultimately, it really boils down to the rental Pokemon. If you play Pokemon Stadium 2 without bringing in Pokemon from the Transfer Pak accessory (or Pokemon that you’ve trained up in other games that are compatible with Stadium), you must use a bunch of weak Pokemon with horrible move sets. When I say “horrible,” I really mean horrible. Charizard’s best fire attack was Fire Punch, if that gives you an idea.
And don’t think for a second that your enemies’ Pokemon are anything like yours! For example, the Dragonite used by Champion Lance has the moves Hyper Beam, Ice Beam, Thunderbolt, and Dragonbreath. What do you get if you go in with a Dragonite? Fly, Dragon Rage, Rock Smash, and Leer. Furthermore, the AI in Pokemon Stadium 2 is immensely better than in the main Pokemon games. CPUs will definitely change out their Pokemon if they’re at a type disadvantage. Good luck!
To get to the obvious, yes, you can beat the game without having to rely on rentals. But if you’re anything like me, this feels too much like taking the easy route. If I’m going to beat the game, I want to do it with what the devs originally provided me. That being said, I’ve yet to actually manage to take down the Elite 4, (though part of that is likely from stubbornness that causes me to avoid looking at guides on the internet for help).
The original Pokemon Stadium had a similar setup, but at the end of the day, it was less difficult to complete than Pokemon Stadium 2. There are definitely fewer moves you have to prepare yourself for in the first game, which likely plays a big part in its difficulty level. So, if you’re ever fed up with how easy the newer Pokemon games have been, just break out your N64 and play Pokemon Stadium 2, then you can return to your other games with a fresh sense of appreciation.
Next: Pokemon’s Ice-Type Is A Problem. Here’s How They Could Fix It
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Stephanie is an Editor at TheGamer, solidly aligned chaotic neutral. Though her favorite game is Fire Emblem: Three Houses, she vows to do everything in her power to one day see a Legend of Dragoon remake. Absolutely nothing can top her immense love for The Lord of the Rings.
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