Pokémon Stadium 2
Pokémon Stadium 2 (ポケモンスタジアム2 Pokemonsutajiamu 2) is a stage for Super Smash Bros. Brawl, based on (as its name suggests) the Pokémon universe. The basic layout of the stage is essentially unchanged from Super Smash Bros. Melee's Pokémon Stadium, save for a major graphical upgrade, including a huge space between the crowd and the stadium. The name of this stadium might be a reference to the game Pokémon Stadium 2 for the Nintendo 64. As with the original Pokémon Stadium, every so often, the stage transforms to represent a certain Pokémon type (see "Elements" below). However, unlike its predecessor, Pokémon will occasionally appear in the background.
Pokémon Stadium 2 is a very controversial stage; it is usually banned in tournaments, although it is allowed as a counterpick in more liberal rulesets. This is because the majority of its transformations are widely considered disruptive to normal gameplay: the electric transformation produces fast conveyor belts that force players to camp the ledge or fight in the middle of the stage; the wind transformation significantly reduces gravity, which slows aerial approaches and results in earlier vertical KOs; and the ice transformation creates slippery terrain which universally decreases traction and slightly increases tripping chance, making more precise movements difficult. Additionally, like PS1, all its transformations except for ice are susceptible to camping.
Some smashers, however, debate PS2's legality, arguing that its perceived disruptive elements are either due to player error or actually beneficial to gameplay. For example, they claim that players can camp out the electric transformation, and that any self-destructs are due to unfamiliarity with the stage rather than a flaw in the stage itself. They also argue that the wind transformation, while actually disruptive, does not last long enough to significantly impact the match. Finally, they suggest that the ice transformation actually enriches gameplay because its terrain boosts the speed and slide distance of DACUSes and slide smashes, and causes shields to be pushed back more, forcing the game to be played more offensively.
Based on these arguments, a few vocal smashers even claim that Pokémon Stadium 2 is actually the most neutral stage in the game. Regardless, it remains banned due to the very specific ways in which players have to adjust to the disruptive nature of transformations.
There are four possible stage transformations, each of which represents a particular type from the Pokémon games. While this feature was in the Melee version as well, the types represented in Brawl are all new. Whenever the stage transforms, the layout of its platforms changes, and in some cases the very physics of the game becomes altered as well. There is no specific order that these elements appear in - the stage transformation is completely random and it is even possible for the stadium to change into the same type twice in a row. However, the stage always begins on the standard arena and has to revert back to its normal state before transforming again. The elements are as follows:
A new feature in Pokémon Stadium 2 is the guest Pokémon who appear in the background of altered stages. They have no effect on the battle itself, but provide a nice addition to the scenery.
A stage such as this has never been seen in any main series Pokémon game. However, just like Pokémon Stadium, it looks identical to the arenas from the Pokémon Stadium games. The arenas in Pokémon Stadium have the Poké Ball logo in the center with crowds watching the battle, and the various arenas in the game were heavily aesthetically themed (such as the ice type gym being covered in ice), just like the type specific transformations of this stage.
While the other transformations don't seem to have a specific origin, the flying transformation's aesthetics are reminiscent of Valley Windworks from the Sinnoh region. The transformation features wind turbines like those seen in Valley Windworks, and the rare Pokémon Drifloon makes a guest appearance here, where in Diamond/Pearl/Platinum, the Valley Windworks was the only location where a Drifloon could be encountered.