Review by A Friendly Cactus
"THE game for the gamecube-Super Smash"
Before we begin, let me say that this is a different style than my other reviews ,so bear with me:
Gameplay- The premise is simple: its a 2d fighter where the objective is to knock the opponent off the stage. This is accomplished by roughing them up a bit then taking your best swing to send them flying. The big deal here is that you can do so as any of Nintendo's mascots. Each stage is taken directly from the nintendo universe, coupled with remixed music from the respective games the stage is based off of. Many stages are full of traps that will interfere with the battle, but there are a few that are straightfoward platforms, no tricks. Your charactor has a variety of melee, special and grab moves that are usually straight from the game. Link has a bow, Mario has a cape, Kirby eats enemies, etc. To make battles even more interesting, items that give you more abilities drop on the stage at random.
The real focus is the multiplayer. Up to four players can compete in Timed, Stock, Coin, Point, Tournament, or Special battles... throw in a lot of charactors and items and you've got endless variety. The game really starts to suffer in the single player modes, however. Instead of increasingly good AI, the opponents simply get stronger and more annoying. No matter how hard the diffuculty is, the computer will always stop what its doing if a Pokeball drops on the field. Stupid things like that make single player get old faster than it should.
Multiplayer matches can get annoying on larger stages, since the camera has to zoom out to emcompass the players on both sides of the playing field.
There is a lot of single-player content to be wowed by, though. The "classic" mode is where you fight your way to the final battle with the super smash bros. themselves, master hand and crazy hand, who are essentially giant mario gloves of death. The order is always the same: the team battles, giant and metal charactor fights, and the minigames are always in the same order, but unlike the first game, the fighters are random.
The big single player mode IS always the same though: adventure mode has you fighting in 2-D platforming stages in between the major fights, and has about ten or so worlds. Weirdly enough, though you start in the Mario stage, you finish fighting Bowser. Go figure.
There is also an event mode, which has you clearing certain challenges. The stadium is where you compete against mindless "wire frame" bots, reminiscent of the fighting polygon team in the first game. The stadium also has a the "break the targets" and "hit the sandbag" minigames. Don't overlook the practice mode either if you plan on unlocking everything, either.
The Melee mode is where it's really at, though. This is where you can set up a custom battle with two to four fighters (at least one human player) and duke it out with an endless array of possibilities. If this gets old, check out the scenario guide here on Gamefaqs, its got some two-three hundred pages of stupid (in a good way) custom fights. Melee mode also has several special modes, the most interesting being the camera mode. Camera mode has players fighting while one player takes pictures that can be saved to your memory card. They take up a bit of room and they're pointless, but it's still really cool. There's a lot of other special melees as well, including the traditional fighting style of game where the objective is to beat the other fighters down until they run out of health- too bad these matches are made way too short by the lack of health you get.
There is a surprising amount of depth to the fighting, too. There are people that are really hardcore about the game and insist on tiering the roster from best to worst charactor. While fairly evident, unless you are very serious about your party games, there really isn't too much point in figuring out which charactors are superior to eachother.
This game ups the ante when it comes to just how much stuff there is to do, as well as how much there is to unlock. You won't feel like you've mastered the game until you've beaten the hardest diffuculty with every charactor on every mode- then do it again with no continues. There is always a higher level of play, always some new challenge to give yourself. Getting a high score is just the beginning in this one. Of course, there's plenty of secret charactors, stages, "good job" messages, and trophies to be unlocked.
Trophies are basically...well, virtual trophies. These can be unlocked in a variety of challenges you can complete, meeting certain time requirements in multiplayer, performing tricky manuevers, beating minigames, or simply beating the game. You typically are award coins to spend on trophies as well. Buying trophies is completely random, and the chance of getting one you already have is reduced by spending more coins. Coins are also spent to continue your game when you lose in single player. Each trophy comes with it's own description including the game it was orginally seen in. There are nearly three hundred trophies in all, and it's scary just how many could have been squeezed into the game. When viewing a trophy, you can change the background, watching the lighting effects on the trophy change as well. This is pretty neat for a gimmick to show off the gamecube's graphics.
This game keeps statistics of everything you do- how many battles you have participated in, how many KO's you have, the exact date and time you unlocked something, and if you're one of those people that like to max out every single number a game keeps track of, whether its points or the money you've obtained in a role playing game, you're out of luck. There is absolutely no way these records can stop going up.
Among these records are individual charactor records- so, if for some weird reason you feel an urge to see just how many times Ness had Ko'd Donkey Kong, go for it. The level of depth in this game is almost a crime.
If you feel a need to personalize the game, then you can create a profile. Even though you can create a lot of these, they are all limited to four letters. Well, here's to my 10,000 KO as "Poop," guys! Creating these profiles do serve more purpose than to create more records you can choose to keep track of. If you are in battle using a named profile, then a little arrow icon appears above your charactor's head showing your name. In the chaos of multiplayer battles, it really pays to have this on, just in case you lose track of your fighter in the midst of all the action, there's an obnoxious arrow right there above his/her head!
Even though this game is pretty child-friendly, it's managed to land itself a "T" rating for comic mischief and mild violence. Go figure. And, even though this game has been labeled a "kiddy button masher not worth any hardcore gamer's time," it's one of the best-selling games this generation, and it doesn't really take much to see why that is.
Considering that it was released in 2001, the graphics have held up very well. However, they don't do much to hold their own against the respective franchises compiling the game. Samus looks good, but not Metroid Prime good. The F-Zero racers are pretty bad looking after playing F-Zero gx. However, there is no slowdown even in the midst of four player chaos, which is impressive considering the level of detail in the graphics. The majority of the game is in 3d, but some of the items are flat 2-d, which is especially noticable in some of the unlockable N64 stages. Instead of looking flat when you turn the camera, though, these textures turn to face you, which is a really cheap trick. The charactors have very fluid animations and their faces can express pain when being attacked.
The sound isn't bad or anything, but there really isn't anything that memorable here. The voice acting is lighthearted and fits the game well, and the music is decent enough. The remixed tunes may bring a slight bit of nostalgia to a long time gamer... then again, they probably won't. There is an unlockable sound test mode... why, exactly?
Control- Perfect, responsive, the layout is great and easy to pickup, and there are a suprising number of actions to perform once you get the hang of fighting.
Replay- Very, very good, especially if you know two or three people that enjoy the game as well , and are as good as you are.
Final word- Buy this game, this is an extremely good initial purchase if you are picking up a gamecube. This game is an excellent follow up to the original game of Super Smash Brothers.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 12/19/05
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