Pokemon Puzzle League (Nintendo 64)

 

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Pokemon Puzzle League
Pokemon Puzzle League Box
General information
 Platform  Nintendo 64
 Developed by  Nintendo Software Technology
 Intelligent Systems
 Published by  Nintendo
 Players
 1-2
 Generation  Generation I
 Release dates
  Australia  N/A
  Europe  March 2nd, 2001
  Japan  N/A
  United States  September 25th, 2000
Quick menu: Official Description / Game Modes / Characters / Videos / Trivia / Sales / Reviews / Media & Artwork

Pokemon Puzzle League title screenReleased on Nintendo 64, Pokémon Puzzle League introduces the Pokémon world in a game very similar in style to Tetris Attack. The game was mainly based on the anime series, with the characters being all from the anime. It was also among the few Nintendo 64 games to have full motion videos incorporated in it, as the game features cut scenes very similar to the anime. Within the game, the player has to face different Pokémon Trainers in puzzle matches.

The main goal of the matches is to clear the blocks, by arranging up to three similar ones, either horizontally or vertically, all while other waves of blocks keep popping from the bottom of the playground. The player for whom the blocks reach the top of the screen loses. Unlike the classic puzzle games, which focus only on clearing blocks, Pokémon Puzzle League also gives the ability to hinder their opponents progress. In fact, successfully making combos, will make can pop garbage blocks on top of the opponents screen, which makes smart and speed two crucial elements for beating the game.

Additionally, Pokémon Puzzle League also featured for the first time, a 3D mode for the puzzles, with the player's screen transforming into a cylinder with blocks all around it, making the game way more challenging. Although the game offers a variety of trainers to play as, with different Pokémon, this has no effect on the actual game play and is only superficial. The game takes place in the Pokémon Puzzle League Village, where six different game modes be played.

Story

While enjoying the holidays, Pikachu and Ash Ketchum get a call from Professor Oak, who informs Ash that he was honorably selected to participate in the Official Puzzle League Tournament. With haste, Ash heads to the Pokémon Puzzle League Village, where all the action takes place, with the ultimate goal of becoming the Pokémon Puzzle League Champion. There he has to face all the eight Kanto Gym Leaders and earn their badges, allowing him to face the elite four and then finally battle the actual Pokémon Champion.
Pikachu and Ash taking the call from Prof. OakPikachu and Ash taking the call from Prof. OakThroughout his quest of collecting badges, Ash gets interrupted by different trainers including Tracey and the Team Rocket. Facing the last gym leader Giovanni, he gets lied to and told that Giovanni is the Pokémon Puzzle League Champion, but Ritchie shows up and tells him that Giovanni didn't even reach the actual champion. Ash then faces the elite four, starting with Ritchie.

After beating all of them, he gets to face the final challenge, the Pokémon Puzzle League champion, who turned out to be, none other than his rival Gary. After defeating Gary, he earns a trophy and the title of the champion. Ash's adventure doesn't seem to be over yet, as he and Pikachu get teleported by Mewtwo who claims to be the Pokémon Puzzle League Master and the mastermind that secretly organized the tournament, in order to find a worthy opponent. Just after defeating Mewtwo, Ash and Pikachu get teleported again, but to the starting point of the game, with Ash waking up and finding a trophy near him, given as a prize from Mewtwo.

Official Description

Master a new challenge!

Discover the most frantic, frenzied, fun-filled Pokémon challenge ever - Pokémon Puzzle League! Line up three or more blocks of the same type to clear them off the screen. Create chains and combos to send garbage to your opponent. Collect badges from other Pokémon trainers to earn the right to enter the ultimate competition... a battle against the mysterious Puzzle Master!

A puzzle game with a Pokémon theme! Ash and Pikachu are off to the Pokémon Puzzle League Tournament to defeat the mysterious Puzzle Master.
Six different modes in 2-D or 3-D! Train at Professor Oak's Lab or Mimic Mansion, then challenge a friend or the computer in the Main Stadium. Build endurance in the Marathon Field. Solve puzzles at the Puzzle University, race against the clock in the Time Zone, and battle Team Rocket at the Spa.
Defeat all 15 Pokémon trainers! Win all their badges to become the Pokémon Puzzle Master!

A tutorial with Professor Oak A map of Puzzle Village which acts as a menu The Pokemon League spa workers look suspiciously familiar
Professor Oak giving a tutorial (left), The map of Puzzle Village (centre), Some ominous Spa workers (right)


Game Modes

There are seven different modes that can be played at the Puzzle League Village:

  • Professor Oak's Lab: A tutorial mode, where the player learns the commands of the game and understands its concept.
  • The One Player Stadium: The main game mode of the game, in which the story happens. Ash is on his quest for the Pokémon Puzzle League Champion title, facing the Kanto Gym leaders, the Elite Four and the Champion himself. There are four different difficulties within this mode, with each difficulty having a different final opponent. The final opponent on easy mode is Giovanni. On normal mode, the final adversary is Bruno, while it's Mewtwo on hard and very hard modes.
  • The Two Players Stadium: It is mainly a versus mode, where two players can face each others.
  • The Time Zone: A game mode where the player has to clear all the blocks before the time elapses.
  • The Puzzle University: It is a practice mode that features three classes ; Within the first class the player has to clear the blocks within a certain number of moves and it is taught by Ritchie. Clearing the first class, will give access to the second and third one, taught respectively by Lorelei and Brock.
  • The Mimic Mansion: Another simple practice mode, where the player faces Tracey.
  • The Marathon: A record oriented game mode where the player tries to score the highest number of points possible, as the screen keeps getting filled with blocks endlessly till they finally reach the top.

Characters

There are 16 playable characters in total, except for the One Player Mode, where only Ash can be played. Some of the characters feature unique background theme songs from the anime. There are also characters which are unlockable after meeting a certain condition.
Brock
  • Ash Ketchum: The main protagonist of the Pokémon Series and a lot of Pokémon Games. At the very start of his adventure, Ash befriends Pikachu and sets on a long journey with it, to become the ultimate Pokémon Master. Within both the anime series and the game, Ash lives great adventures throughout the different parts of the Pokémon World. In Pokémon Puzzle League, he's the protagonist and the only playable character in the One Player Mode, who strives to claim the champion title. In the game, Ash seems to use three Pokémon : Pikachu, Squirtle and Bulbasaur.
  • Gary Oak: The grandson of Professor Oak and Ash's childhood friend and rival, present both in the animated series and some Pokémon video games. Gary always seemed ahead of Ash in every aspect, yet Ash somehow manages to defeat him. As his rival, he's the final boss of the Pokémon Puzzle League game. He uses Karabby, Growlithe and Nidoran.
  • Brock: The Rock type Pokémon user and Pewter Gym Leader. He's one of Ash's companions in the anime series. In the game, he uses : Vulpix, Geodude and Zubat.
  • Misty: Also one of Ash's companions in the anime. She's a Water type Pokémon user and the Cerulean Gym Leader. She uses Horsea, Psyduck and Staryu.
  • Surge: The Vermillion Gym Leader and a Thunder Type Pokémon user. He use Jolteon, Raichu and Magneton.
  • Erika: The Celadon's Gym Leader and a Grass Type Pokémon user. She uses Tangela, Weepinbell and Gloom.
  • Koga: The Fuchsia Gym Leader and a Poison Type Pokémon user. He uses Venomoth, Voltorb and Golbat.
  • Sabrina: The Saffron Gym Leader and a Psychic Type Pokémon user. She uses Abra, Hypno and Alakazam.
  • Blaine: The Cinnabar Gym Leader and a Fire Type Pokémon user. He uses Arcanine, Charmeleon and Magmar.
  • Tracey Sketchit: A character portrayed in the anime series, as one of the people who travelled with Ash. He idolizes Professor Oak and has the habit of drawing Pokémon. In the game he uses : Meryll, Venonat and Scyther.Blaine
  • Team Rocket (Jessie, James and Meowth) : The infamous bad guys of the Pokémon series. They're present both in the anime and the games. The group formed of Jessie, James and Meowth specifically is the one Ash faces most during his adventures, as their main goal is to snatch Pikachu and offer it as a gift to their leader Giovanni. In Pokémon Puzzle League, they use Weezing, Arbok and Golbat.
  • Giovanni: The leader of Team Rocket and an evil trainer that tries to spread havoc. He's also the Viridian Gym Leader. He uses Sandslash, Persian and Nidoking.
  • Ritchie: One of Ash's loyal friends, and the first member of the Elite Four he faces. He uses Sparky (Pikachu), Zippo(Charmander) and Happy(Butterfree).
  • Lorelei: A member of the Elite Four and an Ice Type Pokémon user. She uses Cloyster, Dewgong and Poliwhirl.
  • Bruno: One of the Elite Four and a Fighting Type Pokémon user. He uses Onix, Hitmonchan and Primeape.
  • Mewtwo: A legendary Pokémon created from the DNA of Mew by some Pokémon scientists that tried to duplicate Mew but ended up creating something even more powerful. Mewtwo is known for his human like intelligence and ability to telecommunicate with humans. He's portrayed in the anime as one of the most powerful Pokémon. In the game, he's the Pokémon Master that arranged the whole tournament just to find a Pokémon trainer worth facing.

Select your trainer! Choose your Pokemon! Stage 1 Battle Ash vs Gary begins
Choosing your trainer (left), Pokemon selection screen (centre), Stage 1 battle begins! (right)

Videos

Check out these videos of Pokemon Puzzle League including trailers, gameplay, cutscenes and more.

A USA TV Commercial for Pokemon Puzzle League.

The opening cinematic / intro for Pokemon Puzzle League.

The official trailer.

GiovanniGiovanni

Trivia

  • It is possible to play as Mewtwo in the Two Players Mode by entering a certain code, but the first player will be forced to play as Ash.
  • The story is gradually revealed as the player advances in the game. In fact, the game ends after defeating Giovanni in easy mode, without even reaching the Elite Four.
  • Pokémon Puzzle League is the first game in which the Pokémon Marill is usable, although Pokémon in this game are only for display purposes.
  • A question mark is displayed when a player achieves an insane amount of combinations. This can be replaced by the word "Special" from the settings, in the Pokémon Center.
  • The game was first named Pokémon Attack, similarly to Tetris Attack, but was renamed upon release.
  • The AI in the 3D mode is way weaker than the 2D, It even does severe mistakes that lead to its defeat.
  • The 3D mode can only be played against the AI.
  • Among the Pokémon games, this is the only game released only for the western market.

Sales

The game managed to sell around 0.45 million copies, which is considered as an "okay" amount of sales, not as high as the rest of the Pokémon games. This was probably due to the fact that it was a) a spin off and b) only released in the western regions with perhaps the addition of c) that puzzlers seem to have passed their peak sales wise in general.

MewtwoPlay as Mewtwo in Pokemon Puzzle League

Reviews

  • Pokémon Puzzle League was very well received and scored high scores on major review sites. Let's take a look at those scores :
  • Fran Mirabella lll got quite addicted to the game and scored it 8.9/10 which equates to "Great" on their scale, stating "I'm totally addicted and thrilled with Pokémon Puzzle League. To be fair we have to deduct points for some of the technical shortcomings, but I feel it's my mission to let you know how great this game is''.
  • Ryan Davis from GameSpot was also quite pleased with the game rating it 7/10 the equivalent of "Good" on the GS scale.
  • The game additionally scored a very high score on GameRankings, reaching 82.65%, a fitting score for such a great game.

Media & Artwork

Box Art from Pokemon Puzzle League including numerous regional variations + editions
Screenshots from Pokemon Puzzle League

 

 

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