Review by ZaleIsBackAgain

"A game no Nintendo fan can miss"

The successor of the fast paced fighting game on the Nintendo 64, Super Smash Bros. Melee uses the same concept as Super Smash Brothers did, and massively improves on its formula by adding tons of innovative modes and matches with a wider selection of unique characters to play with. Those familiar with Super Smash Brothers may wonder how a game can be improved with an already superior formula. The answer, you add to it, which is something that Super Smash Brothers simply lacked. With a variety of legendary mascots, Super Smash Bros. Melee is a game to be reckoned with, one that every Gamecube owner needs to own.

The fighting style goes: knock out your opponents off of the stage with you remaining victorious. To make this possible, you'll have to smack your opponents a couple of times which will accumulate numbers to their damage meter. The larger their damage meter is, the more fragile they are to falling off the stage. The higher your number is, the easier it is to knock out opponents off the stage. Just keep in mind that anyone with minimum damage can still be knocked out.

The button commands are simple that don't have specific combo's for you to learn. Though combo's are still possible, just like the style of Soul Calibur II. Every character's commands plays much the same as everyone elses. The smash attack is the key attack for every character, for its the attack primarily used for finishing off an opponent. The smash attacks is different for every character, and they require you to charge up before initiating a proper use of it. Some of the characters smash attack can also be used to dodge attacks. Mario uses a fan to send back an attack directed to him, while Samus's figure temporarily disappears for a short second only in the air. The game is very simple that anyone can play, though it's quite deep and will take time for anyone to master.

Items are also available, which comes in a very large variety of offensive and defensive capabilities. A ton of items can become clutched, like the hammer can decide a game because of it's overwhelming power or a deadly Pokemon can be unleashed from its Pokeball. All of these items can be disabled or enabled in multiplayer mode.

The game is a multiplayer concentrated game, just like it's predecessor. Unlike the previous installment, much more multiplayer modes were added like mini character mode, large character mode, super fast, super slow etc. To sum it all up, modes that make the game more interesting. The standard mode which is a regular deathmatch is just as fun, though may get repetitive after a while. To make things fair for those who are new to the game, you can customize your settings to their advantage, like a person always starting with a large amount of damage percentage, or in stock mode, the player who is more experienced can only receive one life to survive with.

Super Smash Bros. Melee's newer addition of modes for single player, particularly the adventure mode is based off of Nintendo's history of video games, using those past game's environments and translating it into the game. The mode is told all by the title, adventure. Advancing through the various levels in a side scrolling format, you'll be fighting off enemies that relate to the environments game. For example, the first level introduced in adventure mode is Mushroom Kingdom. As Mario would of done in the classic Super Mario Bros. games, you'll be fighting off a ton of goomba's as well as other recognizable enemies. Though not all of adventure modes levels are the same as Mushroom Kingdom. Some are simply regular matches held under certain conditions, for example: After defeating your opponent in Brinstar Depths, the time bomb explodes, and as Samus did in Super Metroid, you as well will have to escape by reaching from platform to platform from exploding with the space station. Other matches in adventure mode have the opponents modified in a special way, where they can be defeated in a special way. Some of these levels can be considered those hate 'em or love 'em cases, though in my case I just love 'em all. While the original games that these stages are based on does better, it's still quite fun to play through, especially when you come back to unlock something.

The event matches, which is adventure mode except more conditioned does a good job of occupying your time. Some are not conditioned at all, rather conditioned in the sense of video game background. For example, in one of the event matches, you'll be found fighting girls only, while another, you'll be fighting the classic characters of Mushroom kingdom. Other ones can be very entertaining to beat, while others can be frustrating because the match was tipped towards your opponents advantage. It's quite amusing seeing myself battle against 128 midget Mario's or trying to defeat a character in less than under 10 seconds! Event matches is a very entertaining mode, a very unique mode that I have not seen in any other fighting game I've played so far.

Story mode is an improved version of Super Smash Brother's story mode. Like adventure mode, just this time, you'll be fighting in linear and straightforward battles that are packed in with mini games along the course of this mode. The battles aren't modified with the exception of the last two fights. The mini games are things like racing against time to destroy targets to win, hitting a trophy into the center area and going through a puzzle before time runs out. The modes are nothing more special than the modes mentioned before, but nonetheless it's still an enjoyable experience.

Now, with the graphics. I was speechless how vivid and detailed the graphics were. Noticing Star Fox's gun, the smooth laser when it travels across the screen and the gun itself is very detailed when unnoticeable. Me being use to graphics of the last generation, I should be impressed! The very smooth framerate when four players brawl it out at each other with no slowdown is extremely impressive. The sound plays a big part in this brawl. If you close your eyes for a second, the only thing you'll hear is clashing sounds of a fight, and when a critical hit has been done, it shows. The music is as well enjoyable to hear, because they're either new, classic, or nothing you've heard before but still really nice to listen to.

The game comes in with a large variety of Nintendo characters. You'll recognize classical characters that helped define video games into what it has become today like: Link, Fox, Mario, Bowser, Ness and we can't forget Pikachu! More Pokemon can be unlocked later on, as well as other characters from other Nintendo series. Though some of the game's unlockable characters are sadly carbon copies of original characters, meaning that the only difference between the carbon copies and original characters are it's appearance and the stats. While it may sound disappointing, every character can still be used based on its stats differently, even as carbon copies. Every character has the basic commands with no unique complexed combo's to learn, though what makes every character unique is how the basic commands turn out. Link and Mario both have a ranged attack, though Mario fires a fireball which effect is much different than Link's arrow. You'll find much uniqueness in every character because of how good Nintendo separated every character into this, excluding the carbon copies who's attacks differ by a margin. The unlockable characters can be unlocked much differently than the rest, like one character is required to play multiplayer mode for 20 hours before being unlocked, while a character who shaped up Nintendo before Mario did is required for every character to be unlocked, while completing their unique target stages. Some are harder to unlock, while others require one simple play through the story mode.

Just like the game's characters, recognizable stages will be presented for those long hardcore fans of Nintendo. There's Mute City, Mushroom Kingdom, Brinstar Depths and Hyrule Castle. Most of these stages are also quite interactive like Mute City, occasionally the platform that you and your friends or bots battle in is lowered to the level of the course of where the racers race in, so chances are you'll be hit by a car. The others are just for eye candy memories, like Hyrule Castle is extremely large, but serves nothing other than a large battle arena. Later on the game, you'll be able to unlock a linear battle arena with a plane surface, for a more fairer and more serious fight.

One thing I found really interesting is these trophies that can be unlocked or claimed differently. There's a ton of trophies to unlock, and most of these trophies are very related to past Nintendo games, as much as this game did. A more simpler way to unlock these trophies are through this lottery type of machine, where you insert a coin, and get a trophy every time! The downside to this is that after every trophy, the percentage of getting a new trophy lowers.

Clearly, Super Smash Bros. Melee was made for those who want a fighting game with a ton of value and things to unlock, those gamers who want to easily pick up a game and quickly start playing, and for those that are hardcore fans of Nintendo. The fun doesn't stop with the unlocking, the game is very deep and will take time to master every character. The lasting appeal for this game will last a generation, until the next installment in this fast paced fighting game arrives.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 06/20/04

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