Further XD details announced
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Actually playing Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness at E3 is somewhat of a time-consuming affair. Claiming one of the largest chunks of real estate at Nintendo's Booth, Pokémon XD drew scores of show goers throughout the entire show. It's not just the game people showed up to see, but to score four free Pokémon dolls courtesy of Nintendo. Nintendo employed an excellent strategy here. The masses can't resist free stuff, especially when it's cute and doubles as a pillow.
Once past the mass of freeloaders, we found several kiosks playing Pokémon XD. We restarted the demo and took it for a spin. To start, Pokémon XD looks very much like Pokémon Colosseum on the GameCube. They both use similar color schemes, texture work and design, plus combat unfolds in much the same way also. Nintendo has emphasized that Pokémon XD marks the first true Pokémon RPG for the GameCube, so apart from the similarities listed above, it's actually different from previous efforts.
In terms of story, Pokémon XD sounds decidedly simple, much like other titles in the series. Turns out the XD in the title stands for extra dimension, as the game takes place in a whole new universe from the other Pokémon titles. In this universe, creatures known as shadow Pokémon roam around just waiting to be captured. The actual demo starts in some sort of futuristic temple, where two scientists (or professors) give players orders to investigate the surrounding ruins. Looks as though this funky facility was once used as a battleground where criminals would fight with shadow Pokémon. These shadow Pokémon have had their hearts locked through some mysterious, artificial process.
It's not long before a human boasting several excess layers of muscle tissue assaults players. In Pokémon XD, each fighter enters battle with two Pokémon, with much of the pre-battle arrangements being similar to that previous Poké-titles. The first fighter called on Pikachu and Zubat. Before the fight began, the protagonist uses a scanner on the two enemy Pokémon and discovers Pikachu is a shadow Pokémon. Players won't be able to tell whether a Pokémon is shadow class just from looking at them, since they look the same as normal Pokémon; you need to scan them and discover a shadow "aura" first.
Shadow Pokémon won't attack using their normal abilities, but shadow-powered ones instead. So in the first battle, Pikachu didn't used his regular Electric-type attacks but shadow moves, instead. After defeating the enemy and capturing the shadow Pokémon, it's then possible to move into the odd facility and keep exploring.
All in all, Pokémon XD looks to deliver something unique, at least as far as Pokémon on GameCube is concerned. Unfortunately, not much of the game was playable, but what was available grants a pretty good indication of how the title will end.