Review by andymancan1
"Do yourself a favor and get this piece of perfection"
PROS: Great character selection; wide array of stages; plenty of modes to keep you busy; impossible to get 100%; great graphics; entertaining music; smooth control
CONS: Zilch. Zip. Nada.
The king of fighting games you'd expect something with swords and bows and arrows, right? Well, there are only a couple characters with those in what is likely the best fighting game of all time.
Super Smash Bros. Melee was the clear dominating launch title for the Nintendo GameCube. Although the console never took off as well as it had the potential to, it's clear that it deserved more attention simply because of this piece of perfection.
There really isn't a story to this game because it's a brawler. However, you won't just beat the tar out of an opponent constantly. There are so many different modes that are different when you're a different character. There are 14 different characters to choose from at the start, and 11 more can be unlocked later in the game. They're all Nintendo classic characters. Of course, Mario, Link, Pikachu, Zelda, Fox, Bowser, Kirby, DK, Samus, Peach, and Yoshi are all present here. But there are also lesser-known characters such as The Ice Climbers, Ness, and Captain Falcon. And those are just the starters. You don't have to commit to a specific character throughout the entire game. You get to choose every time you start a new game.
The first mode is Classic mode. You'll face a different opponent (or opponents) in each round. Some of these rounds have twists to them, such as one where you and two allies (which are random) get to pummel an opponent the size of Rosie O'Donnell. Too bad you can't pummel her in this game Also, there's a battle with a foe in metal armor, and a 2-on-2 match. Your opponents and friends are randomly generated each time, and you never know what to expect. There are also bonus stages here. There's the classic Target Test from the N64 version, which is always entertaining. You can even do this outside of Classic mode. There's a trophy-snag (I'll get to those later), and a race-to-the finish mode (there are gates everywhere- how far you get determines the amount of points). These don't vary all that much each time, but different characters bring different strengths. Each character has a different target range unique to them, and the atmosphere is set up in their style.
The second mode is Adventure mode. This plays somewhat like an RPG sidescroller. You go from left to right beating whatever is in your way in some of these. Also, there are matches with characters in each of the different areas. This covers all fourteen starting characters, and expect to see an occasional appearance from some of the unlocked ones once you've unlocked them. This mode differs little each time you play it, but enough to make it fun each time.
Once you unlock all the characters, you also unlock the third mode, All-Star mode. Here, you have to kill everybody else without dying yourself. There are limited heal supplies that can only be accessed in between fights. You'll start out at 1-on-1, but progress to 1-on-2 and later 1-on-3. These matches can be hard even on the easiest difficulty.
Now, on both Classic and All-Star mode, each battle will be appropriately fought on your foe's home turf. Expect to fight Pikachu at Pokemon Stadium, for instance, and Mario at the Mushroom Castle. Eventually, you'll unlock more stages that are even better than some of the originals. You'll fight on top of racing F-Zero vehicles, brawl on a series of Pokemon floats, and dodge cars in Ness' hometown of Onett. There are these and more, and sometimes fights with the same character will go completely differently due to a different stage. There aren't any stinkers here.
The music helps here, too. Each music fits the stage perfectly well, and it's often from the original game from which the stage came. Sometimes different characters will share a stage but have different music accompany them. This is good, and so is the music. Just like the stages, there aren't any stinkers, and Nintendo fanboys will celebrate because they get to hear their favorite tunes again. Also, the graphics are impressive. The characters are finely detailed, and the environments all have depth to them. It's obvious what a gap is. Overall, the presentation is amazing.
There are a hell of a lot more things to do than the three main modes. Event matches are one of these things. There are fifty-one of them. Some of them ache my nuts. Most of them are pretty self-explanatory. They're different missions, basically. There's timed brawls and miscellaneous events, brawls where you're outnumbered and have to kill all two or three of your foes, and ones that require strategy. Some of them have a set character, but you can pick your favorite for others. Some characters are better against certain foes, so make sure you know your characters wisely. There are several different ways to take foes down, so you won't have a problem. The difficulty of these event matches gets harder after each one, and you'll unlock some new ones after beating a certain amount of them or unlocking new characters.
Let me get to the unlocks. The ways of unlocking them vary. Some of them require beating missions or getting through a mode with a specific number of characters. Some of the stages are hard to get, too. Another thing you can unlock is trophies. These trophies are just for collecting. Each one models a Nintendo character. Most of them require entering a raffle. You put coins that you've collected from winning brawls (you'll get one or two for each) and get a trophy. The more coins you put in, the higher the chances that you get a new trophy. Almost every Nintendo game is represented here. There's trophies of everything from Pokemon to an F-Zero car. Each one of the playable characters has three different trophies that you unlock from beating one of the three main modes with that character. But don't count on keeping coins. Restarting after losing all of your lives in a mode will cost you coins and half of your points, making it harder to get bonuses at the end. Just like in Whose Line is it Anyway?, the points don't matter, just like what you ate for breakfast this morning. It does not matter. No, I'm not Drew Carey. The only thing that the points are used for are high scores, which doesn't matter because there is so much else to do here.
There are plenty of other things to do. There's a Home-Run contest, where you pummel a sandbag and hit it as far as you can. There are also massive brawls with wire-framed people. There's a simple 10-man melee in which you have to murder them all as quickly as possible, and that's simple. The 100-man melee is another story. The cruel melee is, well, crueler than Cruela DeVil from 101 Dalmatians. There are plenty of other things to do. Training mode is great for noobs who can set the foe, whether the foe moves or not, what items appear (and how many), as well as anything else. I especially like sending Peach flying with Pikachu's Thunderbolt that's entertainment. You can smack the hell out of any one of the game's characters. Beating up a character that you dislike can help you overcome your hatred for them. Training mode is really the only place where you control everything.
Where this game shines the most is its multiplayer. You and a buddy can beat the stuffing out of one another, or you and three buddies can beat the stuffing out of one another. Just make sure that they don't team up to take you out. Damn you [expletive]-heads! This game has several modes on multiplayer. You can make everyone have 300% damage, make everyone Rosie O'Donnell-sized, make everyone tiny, speed things up, slow things down, and the like. There are a lot of multiplayer modes to keep you entertained for hours. Some unlocks and trophies can only be acquired through multiplayer mode, so be playing it a lot. There isn't any online play, which is disappointing, but it is the GameCube. You don't need it. There is so much to do here and it'll keep you occupied for a lifetime.
Since I was explaining so much about the game itself, I never got to is the controls. They're great. You use the A button for standard attacks, and the B button and analog stick (together) for more powerful attacks. Link can drop bombs. Mario can hit foes with his cape. Pikachu can use Thunder. Samus can shoot missiles. You get the idea. Each character has moves exclusive to them, and they all control well. There's a difference in play for each character, which is a huge plus. You have a different experience playing as Mario than you do playing as Fox. Some of the characters are very similar. Pikachu and Pichu (one of the unlockables), for instance. Or Mario and Luigi. You get the idea.
This is one of the reasons why you should own a GameCube. For only $30, it's a bargain. The game is addictive and has absolutely nothing working against it. If you don't own a GameCube, buying one just for this is completely worth it. This game will keep you entertained for an eternity. Do yourself a favor and get this piece of perfection. That's right, perfection. A 10 out of 10.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 09/13/06
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