Review by Fin_Obelius

"The best fighter game ever to grace the GameCube with its exculsivity. Period."

Super Smash Bros. Melee is the sequel to the original SSB on the N64. For those unfamiliar with the series, SSB is actually quite simple. Nintendo throws in their most successful mascots to have a crazy battle in any of a number of stages. Samus firing a Missile at Mario at Hyrule Temple, Sheik doing a Breakdance against Ness in the acid filled pools of Zebes. You name it.

There is a story in SSBM that no one informed me of?! As the previous statement implies, there's absolutely no story. It's just simplistic and good natured cartoon fun. This game has different modes to help you earn trophies, however. That shall be discussed in the gameplay section. The closest this game can get to having an actual story is its nostalgic value. By nostalgic value, I mean the trophies this game offers. One of the goals in this game is to gather all of the trophies in the game. What exactly are the trophies for, you may ask. The answer is simple: Absolutely nothing. All they have is a bit of Nintendo's gaming history you can read up on if you're bored. It also brings back to mind some games that have been lost in the currents of memory your memory.

This is the section that truly makes Melee shine. Most noticeably would be its appeal to all ages. In fact, this will be a smash hit (so to speak) with the younger kids as they like to just simply press buttons and see what happens. That is the only requisite for the easier modes. For older, more hardcore gamers, mere mashing won't appeal their needs, obviously. That is why this game has button combinations (for longer, more intense battles), shields to protect yourself from damage, unlockable characters and stages(more different styles of combat and stages with unique twists!), all for the sake of replayability value. One of the most unique things Melee has going for it is its lack of a health bar. Instead, all characters have percentages that rise every time you are hit by an opponent or item. For such a little number, it is awfully important, as the higher your percentage is, the higher of a chance your opponent has of blowing you off the screen and ultimately, losing.
Most of the items in this game are from old games. For example, if a pokeball decides to spawn, and you use it on a opponent, a random pokemon will pop out and use their attack to do quite a number to anyone who has the misfortune of standing in their way. The single player modes in this game are fun, and the artificial intelligence isn't too shabby either. When you complete one of the modes (you start off with two, Classic and Adventure) in single player mode, you will receive the trophy of the character you were using. But the true beauty of this game isn't in any of the aspects of this game that I expounded upon, it actually lies in the multiplayer battles. This is when the battles really start to get crazy, as artificial intelligence is no substitute for a real opponent. This is the perfect party game and is worth every penny of your money that you had to spend on the extra controllers. The more techniques you learn to employ usefully, the better you become. Therefore, the more you play this game, the better you and your friend/s become, leading to some truly dynamic battles and the enjoyment levels will zoom sky high.

The graphics are not what I'll call the best of the era, but the development team does try to make the stages and characters seem right out of their respective games. They've succeeded, thankfully. An interesting element of this game is the actions you can do while paused. You can zoom in, change the camera, etc, etc. This allows some beautiful effects and maneuvers to be done in the perfect angle. You could perhaps take a picture of it, hmm? The only gripe I have is the battle animation. When you do an attack, normally, lights will flash. When you pause and zoom in while the effects are visible, you will see the effects in their true form, 2-D graphics that clash with their 3-D surroundings. When you attempt to move around the camera in an attempt to see around the effects, the effects will move as well. This looks really cheap. Even so, the graphics as a whole will not disappoint.

What more is there to say other than that Melee is one of the best games ever and must not be missed? The gameplay is cleverly put together in a way so that everyone can enjoy it. The visuals are, in fact, some of the best I have seen on a GameCube game. The story, no, scratch that-the nostalgia is enough to make you think back to the good old days of Pokemon Red/Blue and EarthBound. This game will serve you faithfully if you are looking for a party game, as its multiplayer battles beat the single player modes anytime.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 01/14/08

Game Release: Super Smash Bros. Melee (US, 12/03/01)

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