Review by Baradur

"Nothing Is More Satisfying Than Having Link Beat Pikachu Over The Head Several Times With A Hammer"

We all remember Super Smash Brothers, the spectacular N64 title that became considered by many as the greatest fighting game on the N64. Well, while Super Smash Brothers may have been the best fighting title of the N64, Super Smash Brothers: Melee is the best fighting game of all time. Of course, that is in my humble opinion. Anyway, aware of he phenomenal success of SSB on the N64, Nintendo decided to bring that same achievement to the new Gamecube, as one of the launch titles for the recently developed system. Let's face it, the main reason so many people bought their Gamecubes when the console first came out is because of SSB:M. Why was this game so unbelievably successful? Here's why...

Gameplay 10/10: Melee simply took everything that made its predecessor so great, and made it better. One of these elements was the gameplay, the most important factor of any game. Like SSB, this is a sidescrolling fighting game. Unlike most fighting games, where you are trying to lower your opponent's health bar to zero, Melee is the other way around. In this game your health bar starts out at zero, and the objective is to raise your adversary's health percentage. You see, the higher the percentage, the farther the enemy goes when you hit him. The objective is to knock your opponent around until he flies out of the arena.

The control is this game is significantly superior to its N64 ancestor. The Gamecube controller is designed perfectly for this game. Best of all, the controls are very easy to learn, and hard to forget. You push up to jump, down to crouch, and left and right to move...left and right. The A and B buttons perform the attacks, and if you get pretty good, you will be able to pull off some pretty sweet attack combos! A new feature to Smash Brothers is the C-Stick, which you can use to make your A attacks even more powerful.

All of the characters from the original game are here again, such as Link, Mario, Fox, Kirby, etc., and they still have all their old moves, but this time they have some upgrades. Now Link gets a chance to use his mighty bow that he wields in most of his games, Captain Falcon has a brand new punching technique, and the list just goes on and on. There are also many newcomers to the SSB circle, like the pathetic Ice Climber duo, Peach, and the ultra powerful (but obnoxiously slow) Bowser. Most of these newer characters are secret characters, so you have to work to get them, but the three I just mentioned, are default players.

Aside from the enormous amount of characters in this game, there are many, many more weapons to fight with in this game. You can still use the lightsaber, ray gun, and baseball bat from the original game, but you can also use some of the newer items, like a star that you can ride around to crash into people, or a metal Mario box, which gives you incredible defense against most attacks. Along with the addition of more weapons, there are also way more levels in Melee than in SSB. All of the default characters (except for the Ice Climbers) get two levels designed for them.

The single Player mode is more advanced in Melee, since along with the classic mode that we saw in SSB, we also get Adventure mode. In classic mode, you basically fight one opponent after another until you make it to the Master Hand, the boss of Classic mode. In Adventure mode though, you do the same thing, except before most fights, you're forced to travel through a long level based on your opponent's game. For instance, if you were to fight Mario, you would first have to go through a huge, Super Mario-like world, fighting enemies from the Mario games until you finally reached the Italian plumber. Even the multiplayer has been improved immensely. Besides a regular battle with one of your friends, you can also choose from on of the special melees. Some of the special melees include giant melee, where everyone is huge, obviously, or tiny melee, which is the complete opposite. Heck, there's even single button melee, where the only attack you can only use the A button to fight. There's even a tournament mode for multiplayer! Everything is good about the gameplay here.

Challenge 10/10: Melee simply leaves its N64 cousin in the dust when it comes to challenge. Computer character are probably twice as hard as they are on the N64 Smash Brothers, even at their lowest settings! Completing Adventure mode on ''Hard'' mode is near impossible, for me anyway. In classic mode, when playing on ''Hard'', at the final battle with the Master Hand, you'll be disappointed to realize that there are now TWO hands to defeat, each with devastating new attacks, doubling the challenge in ways I cannot begin to comprehend. So, to keep things short, I'll just say that Super Smash Brothers: Melee is far harder than the regular Smash Bros.

Story 5/10: Another thing that Melee has in common with the N64 version is a bad story. I'm just going to assume that one day all of the Nintendo mascots got really upset over something and decided to take out their rage and frustration on their peers. After all of the fighting was over and the damage was done, the Nintendo characters realized the error of their ways and decided to team up on the Pokemon and the X-Box, and prevailed. There, that can be the story for the game.

Graphics 10/10: Super Smash Brothers for the Nintendo 64 had pretty bad graphics for its time. Super Smash Brothers: Melee is on the other side of the graphics spectrum. It's a vast improvement over its predecessor, with no blurriness whatsoever. Melee has some of the best graphics I have ever seen in a fighting game. The opening cutscene is a truly astounding piece of work, far better than the opening cutscene in the original title. it the game itself, everything is very detailed. VERY detailed. So much that you can point out the hairs on Starfox from a distance. Even the Master Hand, which is essentially a large glove, looks ten times better. You can barely make out any polygons in Melee, whereas in Super Smash Brothers, everywhere you looked there were polygons. The explosions in Melee look spectacular and realistic, adding to the greatness of the game. The levels themselves are very well drawn out, especially Starfox's ship level, Corneria. The backgrounds are also beautiful, and fit each level perfectly. The best background in my opinion would have to be the Great Bay level. If you take the time to look, you can see the moon start to fall out of the sky, only to be held back up by four giants, just like in the Zelda game the Great Bay level is from. Although a little outdated now, especially when compared to Metroid Prime, these graphics are still some of the best I have ever seen on a video game system.

Sound 10/10: As if Super Smash Brothers: Melee couldn't get any better, it does. This time it's the sound. I believe the CD format that the Gamecube uses has much to do with this. There are dozens of music tracks in this game, one different one for every level, from the classic Super Mario theme to the unforgettable Metroid tune. They all sound stupendous. There are hundreds of sound effects in Super Smash Brothers: Melee, too many for me to list them all. All of the character yells sound better than ever, and more realistic than in the original. The explosions sound better in Melee too, but there is still one problem that hasn't been fixed from the original Smash Bros.: the lightsaber. It STILL doesn't sound anything like it does in the Star Wars movies. Besides that one thing, the sound in Super Smash Brothers: Melee is fantastic.

Playtime/Replayability 10/10: Believe me, Super Smash Brothers: Melee will probably keep you occupied more than any other game for the Gamecube. There are just so many things to do in this title. You can try to get all of the secret characters and levels, or if you want a true challenge, try to collect all of the trophies. There are around 300 trophies to get, so that should keep you busy for a while. One factor that will keep you interested in this game will definitely be the multiplayer mode. It's all that my friends and I do with this game anymore.

Rent or Buy? Don't rent. Buy. Definitely buy. Even if you don't really like fighting games that much you should get this game. It is really worth your money.

And I'm finally done. That's all I can truly say about Super Smash Brothers: Melee for the Nintendo Gamecube, the greatest fighting game of all time.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 05/24/03, Updated 05/24/03

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