"SSBM is a not a game that every Nintendo fan needs to play nor is it a game every gamer needs to play. It is a game EVERYONE needs to play."

Without a doubt, Super Smash Bros. Melee is THE game of the Nintendo GameCube. Games like Super Mario Sunshine and Zelda: Wind Waker can't even begin to compare. Super Smash Bros. Melee is the biggest selling game on the Nintendo GameCube by a decisive margin. It did not even appear to be hindered by its silly rating of a “T” for teen. Super Smash Bros. Melee is basically a huge upgrade to the Nintendo 64 smash hit, Super Smash Bros. It is essentially a collection of 25 Nintendo characters (26 if you count Zelda and Shiek as separate characters). These characters are taken and the battle it out against each other on various stages relating to these characters.

VS Mode

Up to 4 players can participate in this game! That makes for some real fun! But if you don't have any friends, like me, then you can still play against the computer. You can set the level of difficulty of the computer from 1 to 9 with 9 being hardest. VS. Mode is simple, you select what characters you want to fight as and you can also select the stage. When you are fighting, there are a few things you should know. First things first, there are no health bar of H.P. like in traditional fighting games. Yes, you still do damage to the opponent and when a character is damaged, it is shown on the percent. If you fall off the stage or fly out of bounds too far, you lose a life. It gets easier to knock your opponent out of bounds when the percent is higher. So damaging your opponents a lot is important. The two main aspects that are used is “Time” and “Stock”. Time is just a time limit to see how many kills you get. Stock is where each character is advocated a certain amount of lives. You can even have teams! VS mode is fun to play with your friends. It truly is an awesome experience and makes the game worthwhile right there. But there is more. Oh yes, much more.

Adventure Mode and Classic Mode

The two main single player modes are adventure mode and classic more. There is also an additional mode called All-Star mode that you have to unlock. Classic Mode is similar to the original mode of Super Smash Bros. 64. You go from stage to stage, fighting various Nintendo characters until a final showdown with a glove named Master Hand. Adventure Mode is somewhat similar to that except that are platformer elements involved. For example, you may have to travel through the Mushroom Kingdom, navigate through the Hyrule Maze or avoid cars in the F-Zero Grand Prix. The main focus is still on fighting of course. The ending bad guy of Adventure Mode is Bowser which I found a little odd since Bowser, well, sucks.

Event Match

Event matches are single player but they are quite fun. They are basically tests to test your various skills in Melee. There are 51 of them, and the later ones are naturally more difficult. You may be forced to defeat a giant Yoshi, defeat your enemy with only Pokeballs, protect Peach from Bowser, duel against Master Hand and Crazy Hand or simply defeat Captain Falcon in 7 seconds. These events are a nice addition to the game as it gives you something to do and can often provide a nice challenge that feels rewarding when you beat it.

Character Analysis

The characters in this game are Mario, Bowser, Pikachu, Luigi, Yoshi, Dr. Mario, Pichu, Jigglypuff, Mewtwo, Peach, Fox, Falco, Captain Falcon, Donkey Kong, Link, Samus, Kirby, Ice Climbers, Young Link, Ganondorf, Marth, Roy, Ness, Mr. Game and Watch and Zelda/Shiek. All of them have their strengths and weaknesses. Fox, for example is quick and can attack often. Ganondorf is powerful, but slow. The characters are not equal though, there are noticeable “tiers”. Characters like Marth and Shiek tower ahead of characters like Luigi and Ness. That's not too big of a deal in my opinion, as the whole point of the game is using what characters you like the best. The problem I do have is the blatant clones. Having extra characters is nice, but there is absolutely no point in whoring copies of the original. Dr. Mario is just Mario except he can shoot pills. Pichu is a watered down Pikachu. Falco, while awesome, is just Fox with a slightly different gun. But having 25 characters available to choose from is nice and it is practically a guarantee that more characters will be in future melee games.

Stage Analysis

For the most part, each character is represented. Donkey Kong has several jungle stages, Kirby has several Dreamland stages, Ness has Onett, Link has the Hyrule Temple, Mario has Princess Peach's castle etc. Some characters like Marth and Roy, who are part of the Fire emblem series, don't actually have their own stage but they do get their own music theme. =) Some stages require you to do more than fight. For example, on Brinstar, a stage of Samus, you will have to avoid lava. In Captain Falcon's Mute City, you'll have to avoid racing cars. In the Pokemon Coliseum, the stage will change from time to time. But if you just want a fair fight with no interference, there are stages like Final Destination to fill your epic battle needs.

Items

Like in the last game, items are a factor in Super Smash Bros. Melee. Items help you get the edge over your opponent. You can use Ness's home run bat to basically OHKO your enemy, you can use Mario's fire flower to scorch your foes or you can use a pokeball to summon a random pokemon to help you out. Items are optional, because they can make the battle lopsided in a “fair figh” so yes, you can turn that feature off. But when your opponent blows up in a mine you planted, you just can't help but laugh!

The Fight

No matter what anyone says, this is a fighting games and I find it a little ridiculous to think otherwise. Each character has many ways of damaging the other characters. This is a game that may seem simple to learn but it actually takes a long time to master. There are advanced techniques like wavedashing which will allow you to dispose of the common player IF you can master it. Learning and mastering the game is an art, it isn't something you'll do immediately but it is something you will learn with practice and in due time.

Other Features

Something you can collect in the game are trophies. While these trophies don't actually do anything, it makes it more rewarding to beat all three modes with each character or to complete the events. There are also target tests and home run contests, both of which are nice additions. Target tests are different for each character and require that character to overcome any obstacles and hit all of the targets as quickly as possible. The home run contest is where you damage a sandbag in a certain amount of allotted time and smash it with a home run bat and see how far it goes. These are just more examples of minor aspects that the original didn't quite focus on so much.

Graphics and Music

The graphics to this game are actually good. The characters are smaller than in traditional fighting games but this is mainly because of the ability to use up to four people. The characters aren't as blurry as they are in the original and the attacks and weapons are visually appealing. The music of this game is incredible. Remixes and enhancements of various Nintendo series all mixed into one game is just simply amazing. I'm personally fond of the Fire Emblem theme. The sound of this game is great as well. If Marth and Link are fighting and their swords collide, a realistic clash will happen. I really admired those seemingly minor additions.

Conclusion

There are several games out there that every gamer needs to play. Super Smash Bros. Melee is not just a game that GameCube owners need to play, it is not just a game that Nintendo fans need to play, hell, it is not a game every gamer needs to play. It is a game EVERYONE should play. Super Smash Bros. Melee is a masterpiece. Being able to play as your favorite Nintendo characters and beat the hell out of each other is an insane experience, an experience that very few games can deliver. It isn't just made for multi player because playing single player is very fun as well. It is no wonder why this is the flagship game of the GameCube. It is definitely not flawless but it personally brought me enough fun and entertainment to give this game a 10. It is the least I can do.

Pros:

A wide selection of playable characters
A wide selection of selectable stages
Great music from a wide variety of games
Good graphics
Good sound quality
Four player fun
Single player modes
Event modes
Advanced techniques

Cons:

Clones
Balance Issue



Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 12/20/05


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