Review by Shinnokxz

"Hey, it's a good game. We need more of these around."

Super Smash Bros. Melee is a fighting game. A fighting game with a dream. A dream to take Nintendo characters from across the globe, as popular as Mario or Luigi, or as obscure as the Ice Climbers or Marth, and place them in a battleground of death. Death, blood, and carnage. When the game originally debuted on the Nintendo 64, it took the world by storm. Why exactly? Maybe it was the fact that there were tons of Nintendo's star characters, or the most entertainment for you and your friends than you can shake a stick at.

Nintendo Gamecube.

This game was hyped. It was hyped to the point to in which desperate little boys begged their Moms for a Gamecube, and a reservation for the game they once played to death on the Nintendo 64. To death.

Your are equipped with a controller, a simple control scheme, and a bloodthirsty character ready to annihilate anything that dares spills their blood in his or her path. The arenas that Nintendo pit you in include those of many Nintendo games; Peaches Castle, Corneria, Mute City, Onett, and and Dreamland. Each level include their own hazards, platforms, or anything else to smash you to your doom. If you have to pick out one nit-picky detail that disturbs some people about this game, it has to be the size of the battlegrounds. The smaller size of most of levels appear quite small to people, and there are only about four or five bigger levels. Though annoying at first, it's a problem that you can overlook quickly.

Fighting mechanics are simple, yet original. Your characters health is based on a percentage. The higher percentage you have, and the more you get hit, the more vulnerable you are to getting smashed. Smashing is the main goal you are trying to get at in the game, strategically moving yourself around the arena, hitting little by little, then smacking your opponent upright right out of the ball park.

One player mode may seem sparse and lacking on the back of the box, but you will be pleasantly surprised on how well this game will keep you entertained. You are greeted with plenty of modes in the one player option. Firstly you have classic, in which you fight the computer in a battle plan with little mini-games in between. Adventure (which has to be unlocked) is a mode that places you in Nintendo type levels, like Super Mario Land, Mute City, and loads more levels in a Super Mario Bros. type platforming style. Stadium lets you practice your Home Run Derby skills, letting you smack your way through a sandbag with a baseball bat. It also let's you do Target Practice, in which you have to move and jump your character around a unique set of platforms and things to throw you off your goal of hitting targets. Event Match mode is quite intense, with over 51 matches that puts in in a certain situation you need to dig yourself out of. For example, one of them puts you in the role of Ness, in which you have to fight the Space creatures and smash them in order to complete. Another one includes putting you in a selected character against an extensive row of Pokémon. Believe me, it's harder than it reads. Lastly, we have the Training mode. In the Training Arena, you choose any characters you feel you need practice with and perfect your skills with them.

Each character has his or her own special moves. Although there isn't a wide variety of complete special moves, you can combo in the joy stick in with the B button (special button) to add some interesting strategies for smashing.

Multi player in this game is outstanding, letting your be able to have four friends fighting each other and killing, bleeding, and finally dying painfully.

Dude #1: OK, How much matched do we have to play in order to get this secret level?

Dude #2: Well, we've played 800 matches, we need 1,000 matches.

Dude #1: No problem. Grab another round of Mountain Dews, dude, we have another day to conquer.

This game is the definition of replay value. There are just so many characters, levels, and other goodies to unlock. What's even more interesting is the asanine things that Nintendo makes you do to get them. One such makes you complete a certain level in a certain mode where you have to complete the level when the seconds meter ends at a two (xx : xx : x2).

Another gameplay add-on that is new in SSB:M is the Trophies. Trophies in this game are rewards that you earn by doing certain objectives. Such as beat the game with so-and-so character, or getting a certain distance in the Home Run Derby. Sounds easy right? Be prepared to collect over 300 different kinds of trophies. During the game, you can earn Coins for winning a fight, or doing certain things in a fight. You use the coins in something called the Lottery. The Lottery is something that is quite simple, you put in any number of coins, and you might get a trophy you may or may not already have. More coins you enter at a time, the higher chance you have of getting a new trophy to your collection. Lottery is a key part in the trophy section, basically because there are around 100-200 trophies you and ONLY get in the Lottery.

The selection of characters from all over the Nintendo globe is outstanding. There are 25 fighters, each have there own role in any one of Nintendo's games.

This game is tough, but you do have the ability to increases or decreases the challenge if needed. Combat AI is nice, only at times does it actually cheaply smash you or dumbly follow a track right into your own fist or sword.

Visually, the game manages to prepare clean, crisp textures with excellent lighting and shading effects. Character models are vibrant with detail and color, and are fluid with outstanding animations. And the backgrounds look amazing, looking and feeling like you are playing the actually game they portray right on your Gamecube.

The game sounds as good as it plays, with nifty effects that will show off your Gamecubes' audio chip set. All the smacks, explosions, splatters of blood, and sounds of limbs being ripped slowly and painfully from their bases, are done with precise chimes and booms, and sounds as if you lit a cherry bomb in your ear.

The music score is almost as promising as the replay value. Classic tunes such as Fire Emblem and Super Mario Bros. are all seen here, with beautiful orchestral effects to sound as if you were in a music hall yourself.

I guess if you mix in classic lovable Nintendo characters such as Mario, Luigi, Link, Zelda, and loads more, in with memorable backgrounds, tripled with the fact that this game will waste your life trying to get the trophies, you'll get a game that yearns to be played, and conquered. -Shin (5/17/02)

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 04/26/03, Updated 05/19/03

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