The Pokémon franchise has been around for nearly twenty five years now. While there have been both highs and lows for the series throughout the years, there was one high point that was barely recognized by the masses. That time period was the GameCube era, where a new type of spin off series emerged, the Shadow Pokémon games. These Pokémon games were unlike any other before, and while the first of two, Pokémon Colosseum did absolutely have its fair share of flaws, Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness improved on almost all of them. In return, this left us with a gem in the Pokémon franchise.
What is Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness?
The game takes place five years after the events of it’s predecessor, Pokémon Colosseum in the Orre region. The evil organization known as Cipher has captured more Pokémon to convert into Shadow Pokémon to use under their control. This includes a Lugia, also known as codename XD001, which is included prominently front and center on the cover art of the game. The Hero of this game is a kid named Michael, with his starter Pokémon, Eevee. He is the son of Professor Krane of the Pokémon HQ Lab. Professor Krane is randomly abducted by a group of strange men, before they take Krane away, one challenges you to a battle. Using your newly acquired Eevee, you battle him, only to notice he carries a Shadow Teddiursa, which you capture. At this point, it’s clear that the evil origination known as Cipher is back, and they must be stopped.
Environments In Orre Region
The Orre Region is such an exciting region to explore in the Pokemon series. In 2005, it was also a breathtaking experience. One of my personal favorite places to explore in the game is the Cipher Key Lair. The area has such an ominous feel to it when walking on the outside. Once you walk inside, the damage that Cipher has done to the Orre region and the Pokémon they converted into shadows really sinks in. Another area in the game that sticks out to me the final area in the game, Citadark Isle. The area is massive and there’s countless subareas within to explore, they only way to get to it is by riding a Robo Kyogre through the rapid seas. Walking through the area, it felt like there were high stakes the entire time. It topped off what was already a truly memorable experience to me.
One of the biggest criticisms against this game is the small selection of Pokémon. There’s only 97 Pokémon you can obtain within the game. However, you are able to use a GBA Link Cable to trade Pokémon from the GBA titles to this game. Still though, the amount of Pokémon you can obtain in game is fairly minuscule. While this is not a popular opinion, I personally do enjoy the lower amount of obtainable Pokémon, as I feel like it requires a bit more strategy when building a team. One of the most notable Pokémon in the game is your starter Pokémon, an Eevee. Your Eevee can evolve into five different potential evolutions, which is a very unique aspect that’s exclusive to this game. Pokémon that can be found in the game are a variety of species from the Kanto, Johto, and Hoenn regions.
What are Shadow Pokémon?
Shadow Pokémon are Pokémon that have had the doors to their hearts shut and are used for evil. One of the main objectives in this game is to open the door to the heart each individual Shadow Pokémon, known as purifying. To purify the Shadow Pokémon, you must lower its heart gauge. You are able to do this by battling, walking around with the Pokémon, or using special scents you could purchase in shops. Once the heart gauge is lowered down enough, you are able to take the Shadow Pokémon to the Relic Stone in the Relic Forest, which is located in Agate Village, to purify the Pokémon. However, new to this game is another added option to purify the Shadow Pokémon, the Purification Chamber. While playing the game, you are able to place the Pokémon in the Purification Chamber to purify each Pokémon, the heart gauge goes down while you’re walking around in areas and continuing the main campaign. Personally, I prefer this method much more, it is significantly more useful and efficient to complete the task of purifying all the Shadow Pokémon. Once you purify all the Shadow Pokémon, you are able to purify the notorious Shadow Lugia, which as noted before, it’s featured prominently front and center on the cover art of the game. Completing this task is very time consuming, but very rewarding. So are you up for the challenge?
One more thing I’d like to touch on that I adore about this game, is the magnificent soundtrack. This game is in my opinion, home to one of the most under appreciated soundtracks in gaming. There are just so many songs that give a special feel to this game, and really set the mood of what is going on in the environment. If you’ve never listened to the soundtrack of this game, I’d highly recommend looking some of the songs up on YouTube. As it is a real treat to listen to. However, it’s your lucky day, because I’ll leave one of my personal favorites right down below, please feel free to give it a listen!
Overall, Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness holds a special place in my heart, and it is something that I’ve felt for over a decade deserves much more love than it receives. Everything about this game when I play it puts a smile on my face, from the wonderful soundtrack, to the breathtaking environments, this game has it all. In return, we got an absolute gem in the Pokémon franchise. This game recently turned 14 years old, and we still have not received a follow up unfortunately. So if this is the end to the Shadow Pokémon series, this was definitely a fantastic way to go out. Thank you so much for reading.