Review by Gruel
"The best Gamecube title of 2001, go add this to your library now"
Super Smash Bros. Melee is the sequel to the original Super Smash Bros. for the N64 in 1999. It featured various characters from the Nintendo universe brawling against each other in a 2D game engine. The game was a new direction the fighting genre has never seen before and it became an instant hit and million seller. Will the sequel find the same success the original generated? Let's get onto the review and find out.
All the twelve characters from the original Super Smash Bros. are here with your usual favorites like Mario, Kirby, Fox, Samus, and Donkey Kong. And yes the two Pokemon from the last game are here, plus a couple more in this game. Besides the twelve characters from the last game, this version adds over ten new characters to the roster for a grand total of 25 selectable characters. Some characters are in here that weren't seen since the NES days like the Ice Climbers. Other odd individuals in this game are Mr. Game and Watch and Garth and Roy from Nintendo's RPG series, Fire Emblem in Japan. There are many other surprising characters in the game, but I'll let you find them out for yourself.
If you didn't play the first Super Smash Bros., you should know that the game runs off a 2D engine with 3D backgrounds, and runs typically like other 2 and a half dimensional games on the N64 like Mischief Makers, and Yoshi's Island. I loved how the character models turned out in the game; for you to get a good picture of them just imagine the graphics of the original Super Smash Bros. for a moment. Remember how most of the graphics were shiny, bright, and had that slight polygonal look? Well, all the polygonal looking characters are now replaced with super smooth looking computer models, with rounded off edges, that would make you think these character models came right out of a computer animated cartoon. And the developers at Hal didn't skimp out on the detail of the characters either, all the tiniest touches can be made out like the little red dots on Pikachu, and the buttons on the overalls of the Mario Bros. The character models are not the only things that got a new make over, all the little items in the game got touched up to look a lot better; you'll notice this right away after using the flower item where the fire looks a hell of a lot more realistic than the original.
The arenas you play in the game got a brand new feeling. Some of the old levels from the first game return with new computer animated make overs and they play out exactly like the original where you play on that limited 2D plane area. Now this is where things get interesting, some, not all, of the new levels keep going as you play them. It is very hard to explain this, but to get a good picture of this situation, just imagine how the levels of Power Stone 2 for Dreamcast run off of its engine, and give it a 2D make over. For example, there is a level where you play in the Pokemon Stadium, a big dome arena from the Pokemon Stadium games for the N64, and a couple of minutes into the bout, craters and cliffs erect from under the stadium and you end up playing in a brand new environment. There are many interesting levels like this, especially the two stages from the F-Zero universe that play out so crazy that I'm going to let you experience the mayhem for yourself. The menus look a lot like the ones from the first game, but touched up a bit. A nice feature is when you wiggle the yellow analog stick on the menus, the whole menu interface floats in a different 3D like direction. Nintendo did a great job at keeping all the action going at a fast pace with not much slowdown at all, and they adjusted to the disc format easily with only loading times for bouts of under five seconds.
Just like in last years game, the level you duel in has the background music associated with it. Like the music from the Pokemon levels sound like they came off from there mainstream cartoon show. And the tracks from the mushroom kingdom stages have the same catchy tunes from Super Mario Bros. 1 & 2. I think this is just a great touch and makes the whole gaming experience more worthwhile. The same announcer from the first game is back to announce the progress of matches and to make note of when certain characters are eliminated from battle. All the sound effects sound great, and some of the certain sounds are borrowed from previous Nintendo titles to match the borrowed background music as well.
The Game cube controller is a unique work of art, and the developers at Hal made the controller set up seem like it was made for this game. Just like in the old game, the B button and a direction does all your special attacks, and the A button does your basic kick and punches. Also the yellow control stick acts as a certain advance fighting maneuver like a back flip or drop kick, depending in the direction you move it. L and R buttons do the same shielding and posing as in the original title. Once you start playing with the Game cube controller, the button layout will seem confusing at first, but after a few bouts, the controller will come to you as second nature.
At first glance I thought this game would just be a revamped of the original with just more characters and better graphics. I couldn't of been more wrong. The main mode for this game is known simply as Melee mode where you do all your multi player dueling. There are two main single player story modes, the first is Classic which is the same as the first game's story mode where you go through several bouts and fight the Master Hand in the end. The other is the Adventure mode, where you go through stages that play a lot like NES side scrolling games. Like the first stage is pretty much what the original Super Mario Bros. would like with a Gamecube make over. There are a total of 51 stages in Adventure with the challenges getting near unbeatable in the end levels. The game has many bonus rounds and stages at your disposal to try out like the classic board the platforms and break the targets from the first game. New bonus rounds appear in this game like Home Run Derby where you have to hit Mr. Sandbag as many times within a time limit.
After completing the games single player modes are doing many various objectives in the game. You are awarded a trophy. You also earn coins by playing the game for so long and can purchase trophies from a lottery like program. There are literally dozens upon dozens of trophies (little nick-knacks from the Nintendo universe) to be found in the game, and when you unlock one you get to see it added to your trophy collection, which is a huge picture of a living room filled with all the Nintendo systems (with the exception of the Virtual Boy, of course) and all the trophies you earned. Also many data profiles pop up for all the characters and items involved in the game as you run across them. The game also keeps tabs on all of your match records, with totals on wins, losses, knockouts and so on. The bonus rounds, and the new adventure mode also add on to what seems an endless amount of replay value. And, of course, don't forget that up to four players can go at it simultaneously for an all out party.
+: Great new computer graphics make over, new on going stages, huge roster, brand new adventure mode
-: Some will not play the game simply because of the button layout on the controller, adventure mode gets too challenging in the end
The Final Ratings Rundown
Game play: 9.6
Replay Value: 9.8
Rounded to fit GameFAQs Score: 9
Thank you Nintendo for not just giving us a rehash of the original Super Smash Bros. like many of us thought you would. The many added game modes and trophy system are reasons by them self to make you purchase this game. If you're still having second thoughts, go out and rent this game now to change your mind. I recommend this title to all Gamecube owners as it is, in my opinion, the best Gamecube game of 2001.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 01/13/02, Updated 01/13/02
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