Review by horror_spooky

Reviewed: 07/12/08

Get ready to be falcon punched!

A lot of people consider the GameCube to be a failure. While it did have plenty of third party titles that were also released for the Xbox and PlayStation 2, plus it had some really awesome exclusives, the system just didn’t deliver with games as consistently as it needed to in order to succeed. However, one game that was released for the system back in 2001 is still being played by millions of people today simply because it is probably the best fighting game ever made and it is one really, really good reason to own a GameCube. That game is, obviously, Super Smash Bros. Melee.

Like I said, Melee is a fighting game, so the game’s main focus is, and I shouldn’t even have to say this, on fighting each other. What makes Melee unique though is that there are a variety of Nintendo characters to choose from as opposed to your usual generic fighting game character. There are plenty of characters available to you in Melee including the legendary Mario and even the greatest hero of all time, Link. More characters become available to you as you unlock them by various means, whether it be playing the game for so many hours or beating Adventure Mode with a certain character.

When you unlock a new character, they suddenly appear on the screen and the game informs you that a new fighter has arrived. You are transported to a stage and you must fight them with the character you won the last match with. Don’t worry if you lose though, you don’t have to complete the requirement to face them again; they automatically come back after your next match.

In Adventure Mode, you must go through various stages in a side-scrolling style, killing enemies as you come across them using your fighting moves as opposed to the traditional way you would in the Nintendo game they come from, which is really cool. Adventure Mode is a lot of fun and since it is very short, you can go through it multiple times with multiple characters without getting bored at all.

Fans of the original game shouldn’t be worried though. The single-player mode from the first game, now dubbed Classic Mode, is still here. In case you don’t know what this mode is like, you basically fight character after character, sometimes with unique circumstances, until you reach the end. This is also fairly short so you should be able to go through it multiple times in one gaming session without getting bored at all.

There are plenty of other things to do in single-player mode, including two mini-games. One of these mini-games is one where you must hit a sandbag a certain distance using a baseball bat, while the other one is a rather difficult mini-game where you have to destroy targets by various means in areas designed to suit the character you chose. You will definitely feel challenged by these mini-games and the hardcore gamers will be desperately trying to get the fastest times and distances in them for days.

Earning the opportunity to unlock new characters isn’t the only thing you can unlock in Super Smash Bros. Melee. A big part of the gameplay is actually collecting trophies, which can be found lying on the ground in stages or by putting coins into a slot machine. Depending on how many coins you put in the slot machine will determine how rare of a trophy will pop out of the machine. There are a ton of trophies to collect, so you’ll always have something to do when you play Melee.

In order to earn coins you can play the various game modes, but the most entertaining way to put some gold in your pocket is by playing the versus mode. You can play in a variety of stages, with plenty of unlockable ones, using any character you want to use.

These battles are highly customizable. You can play a stock battle where you have to kill each other a certain amount of times or a timed battle where you play until the time runs out and the person who killed the most and died the least wins. You can choose which items will appear in stages and how often they appear as well.

Unlike most traditional fighting games, items are an integral part in the gameplay for Super Smash Bros. Melee. There is a wide variety of items taken from Nintendo franchises. You can grab the fire flower from the Mario games and use it to burn your enemies to a crisp or you can grab a blaster from the Star Fox games and shoot your enemies until they eventually fall to their demise. However, the most popular item is easily the pokeball, taken from the Pokemon games. When you throw a pokeball, a Pokemon will pop out of it and attack. Some Pokemon are useless, like Goldeen who just flops around, while other Pokemon, like Entei, will shoot a giant flaming pillar out of their back. Anyone caught in this pillar is obviously going to receive a hell of a lot of damage. Each Pokemon does a different move and sometimes you’ll be playing the game just to see all of the Pokemon included in the game.

Unfortunately, Melee’s only real flaw is that it doesn’t really have a story to it. The only real plot is that there is a giant hand called Master Hand and it is up to the Nintendo characters to defeat him. While this is all fine and good, it’s really disappointing that the developers didn’t take more time to flesh out the story more. If you want to have an awesome Super Smash Bros. experience and you want a really good story to go along with it, then I suggest playing Brawl over Melee as the story in Brawl is one hundred times better.

Graphically, Melee gets the job done. Character models are great and the environments are varied plus they look just as good. Sometimes things go a little too fast and you’ll get lost in the shuffle and there are some glitches, but they won’t really hinder you gameplay any.

There is a ton of classic Nintendo music featured in this game and the audio is easily one of the best features in Melee. All of the characters sound like they’re supposed to and it seems like there are sound effects taken from every Nintendo game ever created that are packed into this title. Each stage has its own music plus the background music for the selection screens is good as well. It really means something when the developer cares so much about their game that they want to perfect everything so much that they even make some awesome music for something as simple as the selection screens. That’s really something.

Melee’s Adventure Mode will last about fifteen minutes, give or take. Classic Mode will last about the same, so if you play the game only expecting to play the single-player modes you have about half an hour of game time on your hands. However, if you want to go through the stages with every character in the game, which is needed to unlock all the trophies, the replayability sky rockets. Add trying to perfect the mini-games onto that and that’s even more hours piled on. Events are present in the game for you to play and they will last about an hour or two depending on your skill level. There are plenty of things to unlock and unlocking all of the trophies will take months. You will be playing this game for years just for the multiplayer, which is easily the most entertaining multiplayer in any fighting game ever.

Super Smash Bros. Melee is a legendary game for many reasons. It is practically flawless except for an almost non-existent story and some minor graphical mishaps. You will have more fun with this game than any other fighting game released before it or after it. There is so much to do and so much that challenges you, plus you’ll love playing as your favorite Nintendo characters. Melee is a huge reason to own a GameCube and it is proof that Nintendo really knows how to make awesome games, no matter what genre they are.

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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

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