Review by Megaman1981

"It's been one year since I did my first review. I just had to do a special review in order to celebrate. Super Smash Bros. Melee was my choice."

I'm sure that everyone remembers the first time that they had their first review accepted. The joy and excitement of finally realizing that your review is actually on Gamefaqs, and that anyone can read it is something special. I really wanted to pick a special game to review in order to celebrate. To be honest, I really have wanted to review Super Smash Bros. Melee for a long time, but never had the ambition, until now. August 2, 2004 was the day my first review was accepted (Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness for the N64). That date is very special to me because it was the day that I became a video game reviewer. Super Smash Bros. Melee is my favorite Gamecube game, and now it was time to do the review.

The basic idea of the first Super Smash Bros. for the N64 was to pit several Nintendo characters together, and basically beat each other up. What may have been a simple idea turned into a cult following. Super Smash Bros. was one of the most successful N64 games, and it actually was the game that showed just how powerful the N64 was, in terms of multiplayer games.

Of course, when the Gamecube was released, the logical thing to do was to release an updated version of Super Smash Bros. The funny thing is people were basically expecting an expansion pack from the first game (better visuals, more character's, etc). Boy was everyone wrong! Not only is Super Smash Bros. Melee everything the original was, but it's much, much more.

The gameplay is what makes Super Smash Bros. Melee so great, but that will take a while, so I'll talk about the story first. Well, to be honest, there really isn't a story. Basically Mario, Link, Donkey Kong, and all of their friends have gotten together to beat each other up, again. Seriously, who cares about the story? It's a fighting game.

Before I start to talk about the gameplay, let me first talk about the game's eye candy, the graphics. Yes, the graphics are better than on the N64. Anyone could see that. Each character isn't blocky like in the N64 version. In a nutshell, each character looks great. Mario even looks like he is wearing a pair of overalls. Each environment has lovely detail, with vibrant colors and textures. The graphics are so great that, I never want to play the N64 version ever again.

The music is what truly blew me away. Nintendo actually dug deep into their vaults, and remade several classic Nintendo tunes for this game. All of these songs bring back fond memories of playing NES games as a kid. Whether it was the dungeon theme for Zelda 2: Adventure of Link, or a more modern song like Saria's Song from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, each song sounds great, and is what truly makes this game a masterpiece.

Now, it's time to talk about the gameplay, and there is tons of stuff to do. First things first, the game is very easy to simply jump right into. That's what I like about Nintendo. They basically made this game for all ages, kids and adults. This is the type of game that isn't like your normal fighting game. There aren't complicated button combos that you have to learn. Basically all of your moves and combos are controlled by the buttons on your controller, and that's it. An average gamer can actually get by and beat this game by simply using only the A and B buttons. Of course, some fighters are better than others, but in all, just about every fighter in the game is unique, and each character should be used at least once. In all, there are 25 total characters in the game (about half need to be unlocked, and some are clones of other fighters). If you're looking for brute force, use Bowser, Donkey Kong, or Ganondorf. If you're looking for an all around fighter, try Mario or Link. Lastly, don't be deceived by smaller characters like Kirby and Jigglypuff. They also pack a “unique” fighting style as well.

Unlike the original N64 Smash Bros., Super Smash Bros. Melee has lots and lots of modes to offer from the get go. First of all, classic mode is back. In a nutshell, or for those that don't remember, classic mode puts one fighter on a quest to defeat the Master Hand. Along the way you'll fight other characters, some big, some small, some in large teams. Of course, your end goal remains the same, to defeat the Master Hand. There are also bonus mini games in the classic mode as well, and of course you can unlock stuff by completing them well enough.

If this was all that Super Smash Bros. Melee had to offer, then the game certainly would have been an expansion pack. Fear not, there are many more modes that this game has to offer. After classic mode, you can try adventure mode. This mode is similar to classic mode in some ways, but basically adventure mode is very different. It puts one character on a quest threw just about every world from each character in the game. After you complete that characters stage, you'll face that character himself. Your ultimate goal is to defeat Bowser. You'll visit several areas from Nintendo's past including the Mushroom Kingdom, Hyrule Castle, and Zebes, among other locations. This adventure mode obviously is much longer than classic mode, and is clearly a mode inspired by Super Mario Bros.

After you unlock all of the secret characters, and beat the classic and adventure modes with them, you'll unlock the third and final mode, All Star. This basically gives one character one life, and challenges you to defeat all of the characters in the game. It's tough, but you do get three recovery hearts. Actually, this is the mode that offers the best challenge, and is the best in my opinion. If you just want to fight character after character, then All Star mode is for you.

After you tackle all of these modes, you can try event mode. In a nutshell, event mode is made up of 51 different matches, but with one difference, each match has a special theme. A couple of examples would be protecting Peach from Bowser for two minutes, or defeating all of the Mario Bros. team (Peach, Mario, Luigi). Sometimes the computer lets you pick your character, sometimes they pick the character for you. This mode is fun since each event is different. Event mode is also a great place to unlock trophies, new battlefields, and even secret characters. Be warned though, this mode gets very hard at the end, but is still rewarding when you win one of the later matches.

Other smaller modes are available as well, although they aren't quite as engrossing as the other modes that I have already talked about. They include 10, 100 man matches against wire frames, endless wire frame matches, cruel melee, and of course Home Run Derby. The Home Run Derby isn't half bad, in fact, it's a good place to unlock a secret battlefield.

So, the ultimate question is, does this game have any replay value? Of course it does! Each game mode that I just described alone will take days to complete. There are hidden characters to unlock, hidden battlefields, hidden game modes. The list goes on and on. Lastly, Nintendo has incorporated a trophy collection theme as well. Certainly modeled after Pokemon, the game offers you a chance to collect 300 different trophies from Nintendo's past and their history. Some of these are a piece of cake to collect, others even I haven't found yet. And I've had the game since 2001!

In conclusion, should you rent or buy? Buy, of course! Besides the game is only $20 nowadays, and is clearly the most popular Gamecube game to date. When I first got this game, I swear that I played it for months straight. To get right to the point, I love this game. Most Gamecube owners out there have this game, but for those of you that don't, buy it now!

To recap this review, I think that this is clearly my favorite Gamecube game. Yes, I don't play it as much anymore, but if I do play it, I'll get all wrapped up in it again and play it for days. It's that good. I've always wanted to review Super Smash Bros. Melee since I became a member of Gamefaqs a little over a year ago. Of course the word requirement was pretty darn steep. To be quite frank, you really need to love a game to write an 1800 word review. Aside from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and The Wind Waker, I don't have much interest in writing such a long review. Still, I always wanted to review this game, but always kept putting it off. I decided that my one year anniversary would give me the added incentive.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 08/03/05, Updated 09/15/06

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