Review by The Unheard Z

"Mascot Madness on an Astronomical Scale"

Lets get one thing out of the way before you begin reading my review of SSBM - you should not take this game seriously as a fighting game. In all honesty, Melee is more like the ultimate party game. That said, you NEED FRIENDS TO ENJOY SSBM the way it is meant to be enjoyed. One player mode is good. 2 player mode is a blast. Invite some friends over (especially if they have some skill in it) and be amazed by the sheer amount of fun, trash-talking, and utter insanity that ensues all at the same time. Watch in awe as your best friend knocks you into oblivion and posses right afterward, talking junk throughout the entire time. But then you come back and pair-up with another human player next to you to take him down. “Now what was that you just said about being numero uno, John?!?!?”. 5 seconds later and John gets smacked across the screen going about 75 mph.

Thankfully, the big roster of fighting fiends is huge, allowing everyone to find a character they feel comfortable using and mastering. Matches usually end in a dynamic battle between 2 heated opponents, so don’t bring over the friend who’s known to throw a fit. It just might get ugly. will get ugly. SSBM can kill you in now time flat provided you aren’t watching the screen at all times (unless its paused). Even a new person to the game can come in and do alright. He’ll get destroyed, of course, but he’ll still do alright.

The single player mode consists of 3 main components: Classic, Adventure, and All-Star. Classic is just like the old Smash Bros. (go through a random set of characters to fight until you get to the final boss, the Master Hand). Adventure mode is quite entertaining and interesting, allowing you to choose a character and go through a mini-quest, battling other characters along the way. The difference between Classic and Adventure, though, is that you actually play through a classic level from various Nintendo games, ranging from running on an F-Zero track to hopping through the Mushroom Kingdom to even escaping Brinstar. Each level provides a cool look as to how the old Nintendo games would look in this day and age and, quite honestly, its cool. Never before have you been able to play as Mario and navigate through an old-style dungeon from The Legend of Zelda (when it looks this good, too).

Speaking of the single player mode, it consists of something called “Event Mode” where you fight to make it through 51 events of different scenarios. Some can be ridiculously easy. Some can be headache-inducing hard. Each one is solid and fun, allowing you to unlock new things the farther you proceed in it. Luckilly, this mode doesn’t feel tacked-on and serves as a main mode of play rather than a quick and meaningless diversion. Nice job, Nintendo.

All said, Super Smash Bros. Melee is a solid game. It gives great entertainment for when you are going at it solo or if you have some friends over to knock around (in the game, of course...). Even as a fighting game nothing beats Melee in terms of simple fun, and thats what its all about. Now for the technical stuff.

Graphics: 9/10
Even though Metroid Prime and RE0 have come, Melee still has good graphics by Gamecube standards. The game flows without the slightest hint of slowdown and each character has nice details. You can’t really ask for them to be any better. SSBM has the Nintendo look nailed in this game. Everything looks just right. The character models, the stages, the lighting effects used, everything.

Gameplay: 10/10
Excellent and easy to control. SSBM remains fun and interesting for a really long time. Way longer if you have some friends whom you can invite over in a flash. Single player holds-up admirably, giving the solo game entertainment by means of the 3 main modes and the event mode. Multiplayer remains a blast regardless of how many times you play it (as long as you don’t overdo it. Everything can get overplayed). A note on multiplayer matches, though: Try to keep the combat close together. The camera moves farther away depending on the distance of each fighter away from each other, so it can be hard to see perfectly if everyone is on a different side of the stage. A minor complaint, though.

Extras: 9/10
The trophies, secret characters, new modes of play, etc. will keep you playing for awhile since its actually worth getting all of them. Whether it’s a new stage or a new character, SSBM gives you plenty of things to strive for and unlock, even after you’ve done most of it all. The trophy gallery is a virtual museum of Nintendo and it’s history, displacing the whole timeline of it’s characters and games. Some trophies are from things directly in SSBM. Some aren’t, though (an example of this is the trophy Majora’s Mask). Its quite cool to see the entire history of Nintendo in a gallery this big. Quite impressive, too.

Replay Value: 10/10
What do you expect? This is a game meant for replay. With all the extras and multiplayer madness, Melee begs to be popped into the Cube over and over again. The ability to customize all of your multiplayer matches is key. Hate the items? Turns them all off, making each battle a true test of your skill in SSBM (which is the multiplayer matches that I always play in). Love a level in particular? Make it so you always play there. Fond of a particular weapon but dislike all the other ones? Make that the only weapon that comes out. The possibilities are literally endless.

Final Score: 9/10
The sheer enjoyment that comes from this title is truly second to none. Mario Sunshine, Metroid Prime, Star Fox: Adventures, etc. can’t beat Melee in terms of replay ability. The single player is fun, the multiplayer rocks, the extras are present in in droves, and the magic is there when you bring it all together and examine it as a whole. Worth recommending and more importantly, worth the $50. Enjoy the carnage.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 12/29/02, Updated 12/29/02

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