Review by Dogg

" The definite reason to own a Gamecube yet despite what anyone says"

Super Smash Brothers well what can you say about this series. I know memories of sticking rods up Pikachu’s ass are never forgotten and hopefully I hope this series is never forgotten. Super Smash Brothers made from HAL Laboratory ( a company who works for Nintendo, they have also done Kirby 64) was definitely a good game. It was first planned for the Super Nintendo, but was moved to the more irrelevant Nintendo 64 console. When it arrived it found instant success with many people. With this game a brand new prank was pulled on Nintendo’s franchises and one prank that should never be forgotten. In Super Smash Brothers the greatest of Nintendo’s history, characters like Donkey Kong and Mario squared it off in a brawl. Here they fought till their opponent was eliminated from the arena. Kind of a winner takes all sort of approach.

Super Smash Brothers was a good game by any chance, but its worst feature was its Single Player Mode. This just didn’t provide a challenge and it soon became quite timid. So then why was Super Smash Brothers so good- because of its 2-player mode...that’s why. Now up to 4 people could’ve enjoyed beating up Nintendo’s franchises together. And that pretty much summed up Super Smash Brothers.

Now that Nintendo has released a new console, HAL Laboratory has released a new game. This game will be the sequel to the Nintendo 64’s popular Super Smash Brothers game and it will be called Super Smash Bros. Melee.

Super Smash Bros. Melee for the Nintendo Gamecube brings back everything that was good about Super Smash Brothers and it puts it in a package that will be never forgotten. But to say the truth is Super Smash Bros. Melee really a sequel? Well actually no it is more of an enhancement. It also plays the same as its Nintendo 64 cousin.

Once again the main premise of the game is to eliminate the person’s opponent out of the battlefield. This is actually easier said then done. HAL Laboratory has improved the AI of all of the characters making matches even harder at times. Talking about battlefields, well let me just say that this game has plenty of. The backgrounds this time include things like fighting in back of Pokemon stadium while a huge TV screen is monitoring your every move and to things like you actually being in an F’Zero stadium while at times the crafts will come and if you do not watch out then they will knock you silly and at times eliminate you from the arena.

Super Smash Brothers for the N64 was obviously not a perfect game. As I mentioned its worst function was its single player mode. Well with Super Smash Brothers Melee most of that crud can be forgotten, even though single player won’t be the game’s strongest suit. In Single Player you will pick one of the many characters in the game and then you will begin your quest, sort of speak. Then you will fight your opponents and beat them by annihilating them and means to throw them out of the arena or ring.

You will go through many battles in Single Player mode and if you can notice, then you will notice that each battle keeps on getting harder and harder. And with its difficulty settings then you can bet that Single Player will “ advance “ you to the action even better than the first game. Once you beat all your opponents, then you will fight against a boss. Obviously it is the same boss from the first game. It is a hand wearing a glove and this hand can perform many types of magical powers. In this game he got even more magical powers and it makes him much more of a challenge to beat, making Single Player mode actually harder to beat. Also to break matches up at times player will have to endure minigames. These minigames are not really that addictive, but they are still fun at times. These games range from collecting targets to running to the end of the stage before the time runs out.

Just like the first game, Super Smash Brothers Melee still has that percentage health thing in it. This isn’t a health meter by any chance, but this is actually a meter that tells you easier it can be to knock yourself out of the arena or to knock your opponent or opponents out of the arena. So the more you hit an opponent, then the more easier it will be to knock them out of the arena and perhaps finish them off once and for all.

Also like the first game Super Smash Brothers has many different types of weapons. These weapons include stuff like a light saber, a gun, a flame-pod, a hammer, poke’-balls, bombs, and many more. Many of these are obviously taken from the first game. In Melee however, more strategy will be interspersed with using these weapons. Also weapons like the hammer can literally be used to help you win or lose the match. Let’s say for example a beginner fought against a pro. If the beginner picks up the hammer then undoubtedly he will win the match. Also stuff like the poke’-balls are always fun to pick up because you never know what monster will come out of the ball and what kind of damage they can do.

Control is uncomplicated. It consists of an attack button, special attack button, block, and jump. Combining analog stick motions with the attacks will produce different results. The key to doing well is learning what each character's moves do, and in what situations to use them. ''Super Smash Bros. Melee'' is an easy game to learn, but a very difficult one to master. For those who like to perfect their own play style, this title has a lot to offer.

The deceptively simple control scheme hides a surprisingly solid fighting engine. You will not find canned 19-hit chain combos in ''Super Smash Bros. Melee,'' but you will find markedly skill-based gameplay. Survival and success in the game depend on how well a player uses a character's move set, the environment of the stage a match takes place in, and the items that appear during the fight. Positioning yourself just right to tag your friend with that short-fused Bob-omb is a tricky proposition that can easily lead to self-destruction if you don't plan your moves. Underneath the chaos, at least in multiplayer games between humans, the players are always in control of their own victories and defeats.

The worst part about the control is that at times it can really mess you up. Times when you want to pick up an item your character will instead just do a dash. This doesn’t really do anything to affect your game, but at times it can result to you falling off the arena, which is deadly. Speaking of falling off the arena, when you are falling you can still go back up. How? Easy with the game’s uptight control it will be easier to get back up on a platform. But at times this also can be hard. One example of this coming into effect is with the character Kirby and with the character Link. With Kirby you can easily always go back on the platform, but with Link you will have to master his Sword-Dash maneuver to give him a boost. This makes mastering any of the characters moves even more important.

Talking about characters, well this got plenty of, in fact it has even more then its predecessor. You first start off with 14 characters. They are Mario, Fox, Ness, Bowser, the Ice Climbers from an old Nintendo game, Princess Peach, Kirby, Yoshi, Samus Aran from Metroid, Donkey Kong, Princess Zelda, Captain Falcon, Link, and Pikachu. You can by now already tell that this is one hell of a list. But wait, there’s more. You can unlock now over 11 characters. These 11 characters are Dr. Mario, Falco from Star Fox, Luigi, Pichu, Mewtwo, Jigglypuff, Mr. Game and Watch, Ganondorf, Young Link, and Marth and Roy who are part of a Nintendo Japan only RPG called Fire Emblem. Now this is what you can call one hell of a cast.

Now that I mentioned the Single Player mode, I will now talk about some of the other modes. The one mode I should definitely start with will probably be Adventure Mode. In Adventure Mode you will be transported to a characters world, sort of speak. Have you ever been stranded in the middle of the F-Zero track? Probably not. Also in this mode you will experience this along with the cars burning rubber every time they hit your scrawny ass. Adventure Mode can even transport you to where it all began. For Mario, at least. In this part you will see all of the Goombas and you will even be listening to the old and probably never forgotten tune that started off Mario. Adventure Mode will also throw in a fight at times. This and more all help making the experience even more worthwhile.

The next mode I am going to talk about will be Event Mode. Event Mode plays out a lot like the Quest Mode in the Dreamcast game Soul Calibur, except this time you won’t have a map. In Event mode you will have to perform specific and unique tasks so you can be able to advance to the next level. Boy let me just tell you that this mode is hella’ fun and hella’ hard. There are 51 Event stages in all and every single one plays out differently. Examples can be like this. Protect Princess Peach from being annihilated from Bowser in under a minute or do much more “ crazier “ tasks. Also as an added bonus, you will have to beat this mode. Why? Because it unlocks you many of the hidden characters as well as trophies which I will explain later.

Last, but not least there is Stadium Mode. Stadium Mode actually plays out a lot like a Practice mode. In this you take on a variety of minigames. There are at least 3 minigames. The first game is Target Test, where you punch targets around character-specific stages. Then the next one is Home-Run Derby. The last minigame to play are the 5 types of Multi-Man Melee competitions. So even if you do not have any friends then there will still be some fun left in this game. There are also more modes like Coin Mode and some more, but the most important one is Versus Mode.

Versus Mode can obviously be called the greatest factor in this game. Versus Mode pits your character against your friends character. Just like in Super Smash Brothers, SSB:M is even better because of this. Also by doing tons and tons of rounds in Versus Mode you can probably then get new characters. The only problem is that you will need 1 or more friend and 2 or more controllers. The friends will already cost you $100 and the controllers $120. Man, friends are expensive! But if you can dish out the cash you will be on your way to fully playing this game from beginning to end.

Speaking of beginning to end just one thing will probably never end. This is Trophy Mode. In Trophy Mode you will be able to see all of the trophies you collected. In the game there are over 300 trophies, so you can tell it will take a long time to get them all. Each trophy can be collected in different and unique ways. In each trophy you will see a picture of the character and at the bottom of the screen it will explain a little bit about that character. The characters on the trophy consist of known or unknown characters of Nintendo’s past.

Well it looks like the gameplay went unhindered between this game and its predecessor, but how do its graphics match out? Let’s just say that the graphics are pretty good, but nothing outstanding. While they are definitely an improvement over any Nintendo 64 title and most importantly many Gamecube titles, well in my opinion I guess they could have been better especially against its main competitor which is Rogue Leader.

The sound isn’t all that bad either. It features old themes from the characters specific past and it features many uprising beats, which are also good. The sound effects however, are even better. So make sure to put the volume high and kick it down with this game.

As I mentioned Versus Mode being the game’s strongest suit, well there is also something else that comes along with it. This my friends is for all the stuff that can be yours to unlock. Stuff like hidden characters, more trophies, secret arenas, N64 arenas, and even a Secret mode- All Star Mode where you pick a character and you must now fight every single “ other “ character in this game, including the hidden ones. While there is many stuff that can be yours to unlock actually getting most of them will be the problem. I mean that it will probably take months for you to get them and that is already saying a lot. Plus the computer at times can be pretty cheap, by it always throwing or using weapons against you.

Purchase or Rental, Purchase or Rental? Definitely a purchase. This game has got so many stuff to do and so many stuff to unlock that you will probably never finish it in a week’s rental.

All in all, Super Smash Brothers Melee is the definite reason to own a Gamecube yet despite what anyone says. Melee is also a great fighter that’s got more than a Nintendo fan could ever want.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 01/11/02, Updated 09/03/02


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