Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness is a spinoff of the Pokémon series and the sequel to Pokémon Colosseum. It was developed by Genius Sonority and released for the GameCube in 2005. Similar to its predecessor, its gameplay revolves less around battling wild Pokémon and more around stealing them from the bad guys.Despite the Darker and Edgier look, XD scaled things back a few notches by replacing the Anti-Hero main character with a Kid Hero named Michael, and cleaning up Orre so that it's not quite as gritty as before. The plot this time revolves around "XD001": a Lugia transformed by the Cipher crime syndicate into a Shadow Pokémon supposedly immune to purification. XD added a few new features, such as "Poké Spots", small areas where you could lure and catch wild Pokémon, and a method for mass purifying Shadow Pokémon. In addition, Shadow Pokémon now have a much greater variety of moves than just Shadow Rush.
Anti-Frustration Features: One for Pokédex completionists: The majority of endgame Shadow Pokémon are of species that, while they can be found in the wild in FireRed and LeafGreen, have notoriously low (1-5%) chances of appearing (and some have the added annoyance of being found only in the Safari Zone). Additionally, the Hoenn Dex Pokémon unavailable in Emerald (Surskit, Roselia, Meditite, Lunatone and Zangoose) are available here, eliminating the need to trade with Ruby and Sapphire.
In Colosseum, Shadow Pokémon often KOed themselves using Shadow Rush, since it has recoil. Here, while some Shadow moves do hurt the user, they cannot cause the user to faint (Shadow Half and Shadow End reduce the user's HP by half its current value). Tracking down missed Shadow Pokémon is also easier, since they'll go straight to Miror B. for an immediate second chance rather than requiring you to wait until a postgame rematch.
Art Evolution: The graphics improved greatly from Colosseum to XD. This is especially noticeable with the human characters; the Pokémon in Colosseum looked fine (and look unchanged for XD), but the human characters looked like they belonged on the N64 and had no facial movements.
Awesome but Impractical: Robo Groudon, in-universe. Sure, Chobin looks awesome and gets boss battle music in it, but it doesn't make him a better trainer (though he does evolve his Sunkern and get two more Pokémon when you first battle him with it). Every time you defeat Chobin when he's controlling Robo Groudon, it malfunctions and starts smoking from its mouth.
Bag of Spilling: While the player character is separate between the two games, a few returning NPCs have had their levels fall hard. Miror B. in XD no longer possesses his trademark Ludicolo quartet and is nowhere near the level seen in his endgame appearance in Colosseum (at least until XD's postgame, where he's stronger than he was in Colosseum). The same is true for various other Trainers fought (as XD starts with Level 10 opponents instead of 25/26). Eagun's Pikachu takes the largest hit, as in Colosseum it was Lv. 50, but in XD it's only Lv. 12 (and it's actually implied to be the same Pikachu). Though Eagun states before battling you that it's his first time in five years, so the reduced level is probably supposed to represent Pikachu being out of shape.
Bigger Bad: Greevil is possibly one of these. Some lines in Colosseum hint at him being the one who provided Evice with the funds to create Cipher. This would make sense, as this would put him in a position to rebuild Cipher after Evice's defeat.
Boss Rush: The Orre Colosseum consists of 7 challenges, the final round of each being against a boss from the game (Not just the Cipher Admins, but also ones like Robo Groudon Chobin). They can be re-challenged freely, too, but bear in mind these are those "enemy team is scaled to yours" kinds of fights, so you'll likely need to import heavy-hitters from other games.
Ceiling Cling: Cipher Peons still do this, with one even sharing a rather small elevator with you.
Convection Schmonvection: One room in Cipher's lair on Citadark Isle is a lava puzzle that you solve by pushing steel crates to the ground. With the lava blocked, the ground is instantly cool enough to walk on, and the crates don't show any signs of getting red-hot either. You are told it's too hot to approach the chest if you try to get it before you drop the chest, and the peon who drops down as you're about to run through the door says he got hot waiting for you, but that's it.
Crutch Character: Shadow Pokémon have moves super effective against everything but one another, but they can't level up until they're purified.
Poochyena. Bite + Dig is decent coverage, but the fact that Dig takes 2 turns, it evolves early (meaning it gets good stats for when it first evolves, but it never progresses beyond that) and fact that it gets nothing beyond that means that its teammates will quickly catch up with it after a bit.
Cue the Sun: The final cutscene after you defeat the Final Boss has this. The clouds dissipate and the sun breaks through, likely symbolizing the end of Shadow Pokémon.
Damage Over Time: Shadow Pokémon who enter "Reverse Mode" in battle sustain damage per turn, as do non-Shadow Pokémon when subjected to "Shadow Sky" weather.
Dangerously Genre Savvy: Cipher Peon Kleef is fairly pathetic (only 3 Pokémon with no Shadow Pokémon, and two of them are pure tanks with no real offense to speak of) in a straight up fight, but he is the only member of Cipher with the brains to attack you when you have just finished a (fairly hardish) boss fight with no healing machine in sight.
When Cipher takes back their stolen data disk during their raid on ONBS, they also make sure to scrub the data off ONBS's mainframe servers. Luckily Nett remembers one of the key parts, and Michael is able to discover the rest on their own.
After leaving the wreck of the SS Libra, Michael is ambushed by Team Snagem, who want the Snag Machine. Unfortunately for the player, the main man of the group, Wakin, knows better than to engage an ace trainer like Michael in battle: he just gets his Gloom to use Sleep Powder on Michael and steals the machine.
Lovrina, Snattle and Gorigan all come to respect you when you defeat them in the post-game colosseum. Ardos, however, gives you a death threat. What a douche.
And then there's Eldes, who starts to respect you even before you fight him, and ultimately brings down Cipher and performs a Heel-Face Turn.
Difficulty Spike: Shadow Lugia and 3 of the final boss's Shadow Pokémon have catch rates of 3 (out of 255) while, with the exception of a Shadow Snorlax and Chansey (which are still 30, or 3.9% with no damage and a default ball), everything else has catch rates that can easily be gotten to 20+% (sleep + Ultra/Net Ball). It seems as though catch rates for Legendary Pokémon may have been modified for this game, however, as they're at least easier to catch than in the main games.
The Hexagon Brothers and Miror B, postgame. The Hexagon Brothers hang around the Cipher lab in case you feel like battling them again or have to snag any Shadow Pokémon you missed the first time around. However, after you beet Greevil, they're all at level 50, save any Shadow Pokémon. Miror B, in the final battle at Gateon Port, has five level 57 Ludicolo and one level 55 Shadow Dragonite. (Fortunately, if you have Shadow Salamence, and it has been purified or relearned Wing Attack spamming Wing Attack keeps the Ludicolo from being too annoying, as long as you watch out for the one that knows an ice-type move.)
Disappeared Dad: The player's "late" dad, who is explicitly said to be dead ("passed away").
Emoticon: PokémonXD: Gale of Darkness. It stands for "Xtra Dimension".
Disc One Final Dungeon: The Cipher Key Lair to a degree, although it generally becomes apparent once you discover the boss at the end is simply another Cipher Admin.
Disc One Nuke: Espeon once again, if you choose to evolve your Eevee in one. It's arguably worse due to the lower starting levels, but this Espeon has access to Bite for added coverage. Jolteon may count as a milder example, also being a fair notch above the early game foes statistically.
Enemy Mine: Gonzap keeps his word by returning Michael's Snag Machine after being defeated, and explains that Team Snagem doesn't need to make things difficult for Michael; since Michael is trying to take down Cipher himself, they're both on the same side. They even end up helping Michael out later on.
Even Evil Has Standards: Subverted. Dr. Krane gives Naps, Lovrina's number two, an earful about the misdeeds he's committing with Cipher. Naps acknowledges that it's evil, but nowhere near enough to quit his day job. Apparently, Poochyena soccer is the bare minimum to remain employed in his line of work.
Played Straight later with Hordel who signed up for Cipher but was horrified when he actually saw the Cipher Key Lair. And later with Eldes, who put up with a lot out of loyalty toward his father but drew the line at blowing up Citadark Isle to get rid of Michael.
Co-Dragons: Greevil's personal guards Eldes and Ardos, though the former isn't quite as caught up in the whole Cipher thing as the latter is.note Interestingly, despite his lack of love for Cipher, it should be noted that Eldes has four Shadow Pokémon on his team, while Ardos only has three.
The Brute: Gorigan, though he's smart enough to be trusted to oversee Cipher Key Lair.
The Evil Genius: Lovrina, who appears as though she qualifies for the Dark Chick until you realize she's inherited Ein's old job and office.
The Dark Chick: Snattle, hilariously enough. His chief contribution to the workings of Cipher is to be a political figurehead, much like Colosseum's Venus. Note the purple lips and how he runs away upon being defeated.
Foreshadowing: One of the citizens of Gateon Port notes that Mr. Verich has a lot of money as his name suggests. Not to mention his powerful bodyguards.
Funny Afro: Miror B., again. It seems to be even larger than it was in Colosseum.
Gameplay and Story Segregation: After you snag and purify all 83 Shadow Pokémon, if you go re-battle Greevil, you get a little additional scene in the ending. It has Michael, looking at the no-longer-needed snag machine, which is lying on a table in the lab. However, after the credits roll and the game re-starts, he's still wearing the machine. Hard to explain, since a plot point of the game ensures there is data for Michael without the machine programmed in.
Infinity+1 Element: Shadow moves are not effective against other Shadow Pokémon, but super-effective against everything else.
Informed Ability: Apparently Razell and Dazell, two performers at the Krabby Club, "sing, dance, and perform a decent magic act," but they're only ever seen juggling.
If you look closely, you'll see that the pins are changing color. I guess that's a magic act.
Also, when they're performing at ONBS, they spin while they're juggling. That's probably the best way they could really animate dancing.
Joke Character: One of the Battle Bingo cards only contains Pokémon with a secondary Flying type. One of them is a Gligar... whose only move is Earthquake. Earthquake doesn't work on Flying types. Yeah. And if you plan out your moves wrong, you could be forced to catch it just to have enough EP to continue.
Lighter and Softer: Orre is cleaned up in this game (but it is still fairly dark, particularly at the beginning and at the end), more grass and trees are growing, water is spreading, there seems to be more Pokémon League presence in the region, while one Wretched Hive is shut down and the other has a now clean white building in it whose inhabitants are dedicated to being helpful. The game makes it pretty clear that Wes shook up the region's status quo pretty good.
Picking the wrong questions in an interview (you have to answer all completely truthfully) will make the Amulet Coin inaccessible without trading (you instead get a much less useful item that can be found elsewhere) and evolving the Shadow Togepi will make the special Elekid you can trade it for a plain old Elekid.
The real Lost Forever isn't the Elekid, who isn't all that special in the first place (you can even catch a Shadow Electabuzz near the end of the game), it's actually the Togepi. That Togepi is the only one in the entire series who can learn one of Togekiss' better attacks: Tri Attack. Many players trade it back to the scientist without realizing how sought-after that specific Togepi is.
Averted with the Shadow Pokémon themselves — you may only have one or two chances to Snag a given one, but you can track down Miror B. later on, who will have whatever Shadow Pokémon you missed out on. Trainers who can be rematched infinitely (such as the final boss or the Hexagon Bros.) keep their Pokémon, generally.
Never Say "Die": It's made blatantly obvious that Cipher used Shadow Lugia to outright murder the S.S. Libra crew down to the last man, but since this is still an 'E' game, the story does its best to gloss over this fact.
Obfuscating Stupidity: Some bimbo doesn't get a job as an Admin in the lab coincidentally. Lovrina must be one crazy scientist, especially if she claims to have made XD001 unpurifiable. She just pretends to be a Valley Girl so people underestimate her ginormous brain.
The Psycho Rangers: The Hexagon Brothers, who are a bunch of Cipher Peons with colorful outfits.
Quirky Miniboss Squad: The Hexagon Brothers, again. They each have their own Shadow Pokémon of a different element. Ironically, their leader Resix has the least amount of Pokémon (Though they are the highest level).
Recurring Riff: A segment of the Cipher Admin theme from Colosseum can be heard during the opening cutscene with the S.S. Libra.
Saharan Shipwreck: When the Libra is discovered. Apparently XD001 dropped it by accident.
Sequel Hook: A little-considered one. In the Orre Colosseum, you can fight some vital characters and the Cipher Admins in challenging matches. Defeat Ardos, and he brands you Cipher's Biggest Enemy, with a note that he will be watching you. Wait... didn't you bust his Big Bad daddy just to unlock this place?
However, Orre Colosseum seems to be part of the Endgame Plus, thus setting itself at before the final battle. Nevertheless, even in the actual ending Ardos storms out vowing to resurrect Cipher.
Moreso than Colosseum - the game starts out much more lighthearted, and Orre's been cleaned up quite a bit. Then it sinks in that Cipher murdered an entire boat crew offscreen.
Plus, you learn some vital information and go to a distant town to tell someone. You step into town and you immediately get treated to weird music and the townsfolk are acting a little off. Have fun!
This is because you got there too late and Cipher has already replaced almost everyone in the town with their members. Those missing people? They would have starved to death if you didn't get there in time.
A Taste of Power: Right after the introductory cutscene you're treated to a battle with a Lv. 50 Salamence against an NPC's Lv. 50 Metagross. It's only a simulation, however — your real starter Pokémon is a Lv. 10 Eevee. Incidentally, a Salamence is one of the Shadow Pokémon in the game.
The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Citadark Isle is enormous, to the point where you get to rematch Lovrina, Snattle, and Gorigan, and get to face Greevil and his two bodyguards.
Third-Person Person: Jovi and Chobin both speak like this. Oddly, the former is introduced directly after the latter, making this really stand out.