Released on March 28, 2001 for the Nintendo 64, Pokémon Stadium 2 (which is referred to as Pokémon Stadium Kin Gin in Japan) is a console role-playing game in the Pokémon universe. The game includes all 251 Pokémon from the first and second generations, and thus is compatible with Pokémon Red/Blue, Pokémon Yellow, Pokémon Gold/Silver, and Pokémon Crystal through usage of a Transfer Pak. Essentially a tournament fighting game, Pokémon Stadium 2 includes a variety of Pokémon-centric activities and features.
The game was relatively well-received, garnering an aggregate of 74% on Game Rankings. Critics agreed that purchasing the game without owning a copy of Pokémon Gold/Silver was a poor decision, as the majority of the game rests on the inclusion of second generation Pokémon (Stadium 2 is the first time these Pokémon are in the third dimension). Despite this and other criticisms, most agreed that the game had a wide range of activities (including minigames that are arguably better than than those found in Mario Party), and that the game was a great game for Pokémon fans.
Pokémon Stadium 2 takes place in White City, hometown of the Pokémon Stadium, as well as other Pokémon centered locales. The primary game mode is the Stadium mode, where the central goal is to win Cups. There are four different Cup types: Little Cup (Level 5 Pokémon who have not yet evolved), Poké Cup (up to Level 50 Pokémon, some ineligible Legendary Pokémon), Prime Cup (up to Level 100 Pokémon), and the Challenge Cup (four different difficulty types ranging from Level 30 to Level 75, randomly selected Pokémon). Players who don't have an eligible Pokémon can rent other Pokémon from a rental shop.
After the completion of the Cup modes, the player gains access to the Gym Leader Castle, where the player is allowed to use Pokémon up to level 50 fighting various Gym Leaders from Johto and Kanto. Additionally, players will fight four Team Rocket members (who interrupt after the Olivine Gym) and the Elite Four. After finishing all of the Johto and all of the Kanto Gym Leaders, the player's rival comes to fight. When all of this is complete, the player has the option to completely start over with the Round 2 mode (in order to completely finish the game, this is a requirement).
The game comes packaged with a variety of other modes, including a four player tournament battling mode. In this mode, players can customize the rules (including eligible Pokémon), and then fight either in a free-for-all or team based mode. The Pokémon Academy is a school led by Earl where players can teach Pokémon certain moves, and then put them to use. In Professor Oak's Laboratory, players can transfer Pokémon from the Game Boy games, managing which Pokémon are transferred, checking the Pokédex, and transferring items.
Pokémon Stadium 2 also allows players to use the Transfer Pak to play the Game Boy Pokémon games on a television, along with new features. The game can be loaded fully at the expense of a longer initial load time, although the gameplay will be smoother. Additionally, the game allows players to play "sped up" versions of the Game Boy Pokémon games, which is available after completing certain battles in the Gym Leader Castle.
Other than all of the traditional battling modes, Pokémon Stadium 2 introduces twelve mini-games (most of which were well-received among critics for their diversity and unique concepts). These mini-games range from quizzes that test the player's knowledge (which can also be played in multiplayer) and various mini-games centering around a single Pokémon.