Review by plasmabeam

"Super Smash Bros. Melee edges out Metroid Prime for the title of GameCube's Best Game"

A few years ago, I bought a GameCube, because I wanted to play this game so much. I loved the original Super Smash Bros. (SSB), and I was expecting a lot from its sequel. I was not let down! I've been playing Super Smash Bros. Melee for over 2 years now, and I still think it's the best game on GameCube with Metroid Prime in a close second.

Graphics - 10/10
The game immediately opens up with a spectacular cut scene that shows many of the characters. It's very action-packed and entertaining. The gameplay graphics in this game are spectacular. They were the best on GameCube for quite a while (they're outdone by games like Metroid Prime). I wasn't expecting them to be great, because the graphics on the Nintendo 64 SSB were pretty ugly. They also got choppy or blurry sometimes. The graphics in Melee are brilliant, and they run smoothly. The character models are stunning. Bowser probably looks the best, because of his fierce appearance and nice details. Fox McCloud is another character that looks great. You can see his extremely detailed fur in a close-up. Even Link's bombs look hundreds of times better. In the original, his bombs looked like animated garbage. Now, they look great. The levels are large and detailed. I especially loved the Star Fox level, Corneria. While you're fighting on a large spaceship, you see the world below you, and it's nicely detailed with trees, oceans, and mountains. There's also a Kirby level called the Fountain of Dreams. Water endlessly pours from the massive fountain. You can even see the reflections of the characters in the water. The water in both Donkey Kong levels is very realistic, also. Fire and explosions are regularly seen in Melee. It's great, because the fire looks realistic, and it's fun to see other characters in flames. The graphics have greatly improved over the predecessor's in every way imaginable. They are still some of the best on GameCube, even after two years.

Music - 10/10
This is easily some of the best music to be in a game. There's music for every character. There's a different track for every level. Sometimes there's even two for one level. You can access the entire soundtrack in the Sound Test. The music is upbeat and keeps the pace of the battle. The music is always very fitting for the levels. The Corneria spaceship level has loud, strong music, while the music from the small town of Onett is calm and quieter. There's also the DK Rap song from the intro of Donkey Kong 64. Nintendo just kept spoiling us in the music department.

Sound - 9/10
There are hundreds of sound effects in Melee. Characters will yell, scream, grunt, moan, punch, toss, and speak. I could go on and on telling you about the different sounds and noises that the characters make, but it's better to hear it yourself. There are tons of great sounds that items, attacks, and explosions make, also. I don't like the sound that the ray gun makes in Melee. In the original, it sounded cool, but now it sounds like some cheap toy. Each character also has a taunt, which can be used by pressing up on the directional pad. There's only one reason that I gave Sound a 9/10: The game's brilliant music overshadows the sounds and noises. Both are spectacular and well done.

Control - 8/10
The controls in Melee are good for the most part. They're very responsive and comfortable. I like how there's two different ways to grab someone. There are two different ways to bring up your shield and jump, too. I really wish that you could use the directional pad to move, as well as the control stick. I like using the d-pad in 2D fighters. I also don't like how you can use the C-stick to perform smash attacks in Versus Mode, but the C-stick does nothing in single player mode. Another small problem is picking up items. When you're walking or running towards them, you'll press A, and instead of picking up the item, you'll attack. It's still a minor problem. Other than those few problems that I mentioned, the controls work fine.

Gameplay - 10/10
SSBM is a 2D fighting game. It has plenty of different modes to play by yourself or with friends. You can play with up to 4 people at once. Multiplayer is where the game shines. You and your friends will spend hours playing this game. It's very addictive, and it has tons of variety. There are so many different characters, levels, and items to keep the game fresh. You could play for many hours straight, and it's also a great game to play when you only have a little bit of time to play games. You can play for 5 minutes or 5 hours straight.

When you start Melee, you can do single player or multiplayer modes. You can also view movies to give you tips on how to play. You can select from about 12 characters at the start of the game, but don't worry. There's plenty to unlock. You'll probably start with single player mode. At the beginning you can do Classic mode or Adventure mode. Classic is basically the same as the single player mode was in the original. You fight characters 1-on-1, 2-on-2, or 3-on-1. There are also some bonus stages like Break the Targets. Adventure mode is something new. It is much longer and much harder than Classic mode. You fight you're way through different themed stages, and some levels are more than fighting. You actually have to run and jump your way to the goal, while facing small bosses along the way. There are also stages that require you to defeat a team of enemies. You face 4 or 5 at a time, and you can usually kill them quickly. There are some special characters that are permanently in giant or metal form. There's also a secret single player mode that you unlock later in the game. The training mode from the original is back, too. The single player mode has greatly improved over the one from Super Smash Bros. It's a lot deeper and more difficult, and there are a lot of things to do.

There is a new mode with Event Matches. Event Matches are battles with special requirements to beat them. You may have to kill a certain character, avoid being killed within a time limit, or defeat enemies using only a certain item. There are also some classic battle moments, like defeating Bowser as Mario, while protecting Princess Peach. There are over 50 event matches. You have to unlock some of them by meeting certain requirements. Event mode is a great addition to the single player mode. Nintendo added some special mini-games and modes to the single player game. There is a Home Run Contest that lets you beat up a big Sandbag and hit it with the Home Run Bat. It’s very fun setting new distance records with different characters. Break the Targets is back from the original game. There's also a Coliseum mode that has games, such as 100 Man Melee, 3 Minute Melee, and Cruel Melee. You can set records with each.

As I said before: Multiplayer is easily the best part of the game. You can have endless fun beating up your friends. The main multiplayer mode is Versus Mode (you can also play against the CPU in Versus Mode). In Versus mode, you and your pals can pick characters and choose which mode you'll play. There are four different modes. In Time mode you try to KO as many people as you can within the time limit. In Stock mode you set the number of lives that the characters have. In Coin mode you collect as many coins as you can. You get coins by hitting your opponents and walking near the coins that they dropped. In Bonus mode you try to become the person with the most points. You get points by doing special things or killing your opponents. You can also set which items can appear, handicaps, and the damage ratio. There can be free-for-all battles or team battles. You can add CPU players, if you don't have four people playing. You can also set their skill level.

There are also new modes added to the multiplayer mode. You can set up a tourney with up to 128 characters. Although setting it up can be a little annoying, the tourney mode is a nice addition. You take part in 1-on-1 matches the entire time, until someone is champion. You can set whether it will be single elimination or double elimination or something else. Besides Tournament Mode, there are several Special Modes, such as Giant Mode (play as large characters), Tiny Mode (play as small characters), Stamina Mode (start with 300 HP instead of 0%), and Slow Mode (characters move very slowly). There is more than that, too. It adds a nice amount of variety.

The battle system has improved greatly. There's more ways to attack as well as more attacks. You can now press left or right and the B button to perform a new special attack. You can also charge Smash attacks in Melee. There are a good amount of new items, too. Most of the attacks and items do less damage, so the matches last longer. Another added thing is the ability to throw someone up or down. All the old abilities and attacks are back from the original. The 12 original characters make a return, and well as a good amount of newcomers. Most of the characters are well balanced. There's just are few that are just plain horrible.

Replay Value - 10/10

This game has outstanding replay value. One more game could lead to 10 more. Melee is THAT addictive. There are tons of things to do, and plenty of fun to have. There are trophies that you receive when you beat the game modes with characters, get them from a trophy machine, or complete special requirements. There are over 250 trophies, and each have a special way to unlock them. You'll be playing Melee for a long time.

Overall - 10/10
This is GameCube's best game. Get it now, if you don't have it. It's a must for any GameCube collection. It'll last you a long time, too. With its fun single player modes and awesome multiplayer, there's something for everyone. Super Smash Bros. Melee should not be missed.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 07/15/04

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