Review by Wo1f

"A game you will play with your grandchildren"

Once upon a time, there was a company named Nintendo. Over the span of about fifteen years, this company had produced an absolutely huge number of classic gaming mascots, such as Mario, Luigi, Link, Kirby, Samus, Fox McCloud and many more.

About thirteen years later, after seeing the extraordinary success of these mascots, Nintendo decided it would be a good idea to create a video game where they could take all the mascots which they have created in the past years, and throw them all together into one big fighting game for the Nintendo64.
They called is Super Smash Brothers. Even though this game was released near the end of the N64's life span, it still managed to sell over five million copies.

About two years later, after the release of the long awaited Nintendo Gamecube, They decided to release a follow up to their greatly successful game, and put the word ''Melee'' at the end. What they got out of this was possibly one of the best fighting games to ever hit a Nintendo Console.

You get to play as over twenty-five different classic Nintendo characters, eleven which you must unlock by completing certain tasks, on over thirty different unique stages, where you also must unlock a majority of them by completing certain tasks. As if that isn't enough, there has to be at least 50 different weapons or items that will randomly pop up in your matches that range from the huge maillot from the original Kong, to bombs you can pick up and blow your opponent away with, to crates full of all sorts of different goodies. You even have the chance to turn on and off which items you want to appear in your game. If you want mushrooms and nothing else, then that's what you'll get.

When it comes to different modes, this game is the reigning champion by far. The single-player modes for this game are very entertaining. You get to choose between two main modes, Classic and Adventure. You get to choose one of five different skill levels before you begin your journey as well. Although they are very different, the two modes are both the same concept of going from stage to stage and beating up your AI opponents, sometimes one, sometimes four, and sometimes up to fifty at once. But don't expect the fifty opponent stages to be as hard as they might look at first, since you can usually knock them off in one hit. You also get to chose the amount of stock (lives) you will have, ranging from one to five.

There is still another mode, the Events. It's pretty simple. There are fifty-one events, but you must start from number one and work your way up. For example, it might ask you to protect Yoshi's egg from being broken. Well take a wild guess at what you have to do. Seems simple? Well it's not, I assure you. Aside from the first few events, these can be some of the most frustrating (but still oddly entertaining) tasks in the whole game.

After you have unlocked all the characters, you will have unlocked a third single-player mode, which is called All-Star mode.

In this mode, you choose one character at the beginning, much like the other two modes, and you must battle your way through every single character using just one life. During the rounds at the beginning, you will only battle one character per round, but as the game proceeds, you will find your self battling up to three different AI opponents at once, which can be very tough if your not on very easy mode. After each stage, you will find your self in a nice, enemy free, stage with trees nice trees, beautiful backrounds and all that crap, where you have three hearts (regain 100% health) waiting for you. You can use these hearts whenever you feel you need to, but beware. You only get three throughout the whole game. After you do or don't use a heart, you then step into a portal and begin your next battle.

The only problem with these singe-player modes is that in order to collect all the trophies, you need to beat them all with each characters, which can get a little tedious after a while.

Other than the main single-player modes, you get things like the Home Run Contest , which you must see how great of a distance your chosen character is able to smash a punching bag in a limited amount of time. Also, there is the target test mode. Some of these will really test your skills, making you use all of your characters special moves in order to break targets placed around the stage. Each stage is unique to it's own character.

Whew, I didn't think it was possible to have that much fun with your self. Oh wait, never mind. Forget I said that.
Throughout the game you will come across different trophies all over the place. You can randomly find them in single-player modes, you're able to use the slot machine with coins that you earn during battle, and tons of other ways as well. Overall there are two hundred and ninety trophies to collect. I can assure you that you won't be finding them all within the first month of playing the game.

Besides all that I mentioned above, there still four different melee matches you can play, which are all based on you trying to kill as many wire framed identical looking enemies as you can.

Ok, so that's all the single-player. Next is multi-player. This is where the game really shines.
You have the option to play against three of your friends (or enemies) at once, in one huge battle.
In a normal VS. mode you have the choice between three different game modes. Normal, which will add up a percentage of damage you have taken, and the higher it gets, the easier you can be knocked off. Stock match, which will give you something like three lives, and the character who lose all his or her lives first loses, and coin match. In this mode, when you hit your opponent, coins will fly out everywhere. The amount of coins that fly out depends on how hard you hit them. It doesn't matter who falls off more, because you win by collecting the most coins.

There is a tournament mode, which allows you to have either a small tournament, or an absolutely huge one. You can range from having six to sixty-four separate fighters in the tournament, and you can have up to four human players participate.

There is also about fifteen or twenty special VS. modes. They can range from having your character as small as a penny on your screen, to having them as big as half the screen. Also things like slow-mo melee, and my personal favorite, super sudden death. This will start all the characters off with 300% damage, which basically means that it only takes one hit to be knocked off.

When you play your first match of Super Smash Brothers:Melee, the first thing you will notice is the stunning graphics compared to the N64 version, or any next generation console for that matter.
The character models are smooth and perfectly shaped, especially while in combat.
Watching Fox shoot his laser, or Bowser spit realistic looking fire, you will know what I mean when I say great lighting effects.

What's even cooler, and possibly one of the coolest features of this game, is that you can pause the game, and zoom the camera in and around the character on different angles. You can also take snapshots of the image and save it on your memory card.
This feature may not sound too amazing, but when you see a still picture of Donkey Kong on the ground, with Bowser just about to land on him, or perhaps Peach smacking Mario with a frying pan, you will wonder how you ever played a fighting game without it.

Detail in the back-rounds will vary for each level. Some will be jaw dropping, while others won't look too sharp. The reason for the not so sharp ones is obviously to keep a steady frame rate through even the most thick of combat with up to 4 players on the screen at once, but that still doesn't hide the fact that the back-rounds look below average.

Speaking of frame rates, after over one hundred hours I have spilled into this game, I have never once noticed a single frame rate drop. Ever. This game is flyin' at 60 frames per second and nothing's going to stop it.

The sound effects in this game are just what they need to be. Characters have different grunting noises if you hit them, or when they jump and perform different attacks. They all have their own unique sound effects that they make, which stay true to their classic origin.
There isn't really much I can complain about the sound.

As for the music, well this is by far the best sound track ever. Each stage has its own music, which in many cases sound exactly like it would from the classic game. Playing in stage from a Mario game will give you some classic Mario tunes from back in the NES, and SNES days.
Want some Metroid music? Go play one of Samus's stages. Want Kirby music? You guessed it.
What's even better is that there is alternate music for most of the stages. A few pushes of the controller buttons and you can have different music on any stage you want.

The control scheme is quite simple. The A button will make your character perform his or her basic attack, the B button will perform the characters special move, which would be something like Mario's fireball, or Links bow and arrows. The Y and X buttons, or up on the analog stick will all make the character jump. The Z button uses your characters grab move, and the L and R buttons will make a temporary shield around your character, to protect him or her from almost any attack.
The controller is perfect for this game, and the only thing that can get a little annoying is having to reach for that Z button when you want to grab an opponent.

There are different combos you can make with these moves, for example up and B will perform an attack which also acts as a third jump, which can keep you from falling to your death at times.
You can also grab a character and perform a special move while they are struggling to get away from you, and there are ways you can roll to the other side of your opponent when he or she is about to attack.
I've heard people say that the fighting in this game is a bit shallow, but I totally disagree. I think it actually has more depth than a lot of those button mashers. *cough killer instinct cough*

One thing that I think this game could have done without is all those pokemon. Don't get me wrong, some of them are really good fighters, and maybe I just hate pokemon in general, but I think they could have come up with some more creative characters - Wario for example - instead of having a total of four pokemon characters.

Overall, I would have to say that this is one of the best games out for the Gamecube to this date.
This game has everything from single-player modes which will last you for at least a month, to having tons of different multi-player modes which give this game virtually unlimited replay value.
Unlike a lot of games where you beat once and forget about, this game will keep you coming back until the disc becomes worn out.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 03/22/03, Updated 03/22/03


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