Super Smash Bros. Brawl
In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the Pokémon series received two new stages just like it did in Melee, and was one of the few series to do so. Unlike in the previous game, this time one of the stages we got was based on an actual Pokémon game. An interesting situation this time around is that due to the time gap between Melee and Brawl, there was two new generations of Pokémon made before this game came out. Only one of them received a stage, but thanks to the addition of the My Music feature, the game also allowed for the other generation that missed out to also have some notable presence.
The first of the two new Pokémon stages is Pokémon Stadium 2. As with its predecessor in Melee, this stage is an original location and isn’t from the games. The name, while a possible shout-out to Pokémon Stadium 2, is likely just a coincidence due to it being a successor to the original stage. Like in the previous game, this stage takes place in the arena of a huge stadium in the middle of a city, but this time the size of the stadium is much larger with more details and has different transformations. This time around the transformations have more than just a cosmetic effect on the stage, with all but one affecting the fighters in some way. The types this time are Electric, Flying Ground and Ice, and some of these allude to locations from the games such as the Kanto Power Plant from the first generation games and the Valley Windworks from Pokémon Diamond and Pearl. Another new addition is the presence of Pokémon appearing in the background of the different variations, with Electivire and Magnezone appearing on the Electric type, Skarmory, Drifloon and Hoppip all in the air on the Flying type, Dugtrio and Cubone present on the Ground type, and Snorunt and Snover on the Ice transformation. The stage includes four songs from Red and Blue/Red and Green, the first of which is another remix of the Pokémon Main Theme, but this time it’s not influenced by the anime. There are also remixes of Road to Viridian City (aka the theme of Route 1/2, and also includes the Viridian City theme itself), the Pokémon Center theme and a medley of the Pokémon Gym and Evolution themes. There is also one other song; an orchestrated remix of Wild Pokémon Battle! from Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire.
The second Pokémon stage of Brawl is the unlockable Spear Pillar from Pokémon Diamond and Pearl. With Generation IV being the newest Pokémon games at the time, it was the natural choice for a new stage. Set at the peak of Mt. Coronet of the Sinnoh region, this stage takes place at the ruins where the legendary Pokémon Dialga and Palkia appear. Due to having an important role in the games’ story and being where the box legendaries are encountered, it’s very likely these are the reasons why this particular location was chosen. There are actually two versions of this stage; a Diamond version with a blue sky where Dialga appears and a Pearl version with a purple sky that is home to Palkia. Each of the legendaries have their own abilities, with Dialga being able to slow time or attack fighters directly with the Roar of Time, while Palkia can cause the stage to flip upside-down or be mirrored (merely a camera effect) and can lower the gravity. Both can also destroy a segment of the upper part of the stage or create a large Hyper Beam that fires either horizontally through the lower area or vertically through one third of the stage. It is also possible for the legendary Pokemon Cresselia to appear instead, who attacks with two different variations of Psycho Cut. Unlike the other two legendaries, Cresselia has no connection to Spear Pillar, so why it appears here is unknown.
The Lake Guardians Uxie, Mesprit and Azelf can also appear on the stage, but their appearance here is purely cosmetic. While not normally found here, they did appear here to stop Team Galactic’s boss, Cyrus, from controlling Dialga/Palkia in the original game. It’s also worth noting that while Uxie and Azelf will just disappear, Mesprit will exit by flying off-screen, a reference to how Mesprit was a roaming Pokémon in Diamond and Pearl. One curious detail is a strange meteorite found at the back of the stage, which could be a reference to the Adamant and Lustrous Orbs, which were found at the back of Spear Pillar in the games. There are also a few details that are references to other locations in the game. Ancient drawings of Dialga and Palkia, which look the same as the drawings found at the entrance of the ruins in Celestic Town, can be found all over the stage. The lower level of the stage with the crystals could also be a reference to The Underground, a series of subterranean tunnels where players can find all sorts of treasures buried within the walls. Notably featured in this stage is a remix of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire‘s Victory Road theme, as well as remixes of multiple songs from Diamond and Pearl, including Dialga/Palkia Battle at Spear Pillar! (which is broken up in the middle by the Spear Pillar background music), Wild Pokemon Battle!, Team Galactic Battle! and the rather upbeat Route 209.
As opposed to Super Smash Bros. Melee, Brawl had an improvement of coverage of the Pokémon games by having one of its stages represent an actual game this time around. Spear Pillar does a pretty good job at representing Diamond and Pearl, showing off a location that played a critical role in the plot, the mascot legendaries and several others, and a good selection of remixes from that game. While Pokémon Stadium 2 doesn’t represent any game, it does continue to show off the various Pokémon types and has a wealth of new remixes from the original Pokémon games that cover many aspects of the series and not just battle themes. The first Pokémon Stadium stage from Melee also returned but didn’t receive any changes beyond the windmills becoming hard platforms. Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, unfortunately, missed out on getting a stage due to being overshadowed by Gen IV, but the pair at least got two songs remixed for both stages. What’s also rather notable is the lack of acknowledgment to any of the Pokémon spin-off games. At this point the Pokémon series was falling behind in terms of games represented, even skipping over an entire generation and having another generic stage again, but the skipping of generations for a more recent one would be rectified in the next pair of games.
Pokémon Diamond and Pearl
Pokémon Red and Blue/Pokémon Red and Green
Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire
Pokémon Stadium 2*
*As with Pokémon Stadium in Melee, Pokémon Stadium 2’s name could just be a coincidence given that it is a second take on the stadium stage, rather than purposefully name-dropping the game Pokémon Stadium 2.
And with that concludes Part 1 of this analysis. Please be sure to return for Part 2 for coverage of Pokémon‘s stages in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U and more!
Mains: Yoshi (64), Game and Watch (Melee), Wario (Brawl), Wario/Pac-Man (Smash for 3DS/Wii U)