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Super Smash Bros. Melee (GameCube) artwork

Super Smash Bros. Melee (GameCube) review


"Of course, Super Smash Brothers was all about multiplayer, and that hasn't changed in Super Smash Bros. Melee. Nothing beats a well-fought match against four of your best friends, pulverizing eachother, taunting eachother with your elite skills."



In 1999, Nintendo released a game on their Nintendo 64 system that, some would say, both saved the machine and brought along a new approach to the fighting genre. That game was Super Smash Brothers, a crazy 1-4 player smackfest starring many of Nintendo's all-star characters. It was definitely one of the best N64 games, and perhaps the best multiplayer game of all time. So it just seems right that Nintendo should release a sequel on their new GameCube system, and that's just what they did. And let me tell you right now - this game is $%@#ing awesome!

Super Smash Bros. Melee (SSBM) takes the original SSB formula, adds a few new elements, lots of new items, more moves to the original characters, and basically improves on every single thing you can think of. While the original only had 12 characters total (4 hidden), SSBM has 25 (11 hidden), including all-new characters such as Peach, Zelda/Sheik, Bowser, and Ice Climbers (from the old NES game). New items include Food items, the all-powerful Super Scope, and, of course, more Pokémon in the Pokéballs. Not to mention the Multi-Man Melees, Events, Adventure Mode, revamped Classic Mode, Trophies, and much much more...

Perhaps the biggest fault of the original SSB was its lack of a good one-player mode. Luckily, SSBM improves on this in every way you could think of. The Classic Mode is still there, but this time the battles are randomized; the only set stages are a metal character (random as to whom it will be) which precedes the final boss, Master Hand (or, on higher difficulty settings, Crazy Hand), and the bonus stages. New to the one-player mode is an Adventure Mode, which is like its Classic counterpart but with a set path and platform-like levels between battles. For instance, when you start, you play a Mario-like level complete with Goombas and Koopa Troopas. It feels a lot like the Mario games, and the other levels in the Adventure mode are just as fun. Also, there are the Event Matches, where you attempt to conquer over 50 battles designed to test your skills, to the max. One of my favorites is one where you have to separate the recessive Ice Climber, Nana, and destroy her by herself, leaving Popo alive. Stuff like this adds a lot of strategy to the game, and they are more fun than the much-anticipated Adventure, in my opinion.

Of course, Super Smash Brothers was all about multiplayer, and that hasn't changed in Super Smash Bros. Melee. Nothing beats a well-fought match against four of your best friends, pulverizing eachother, taunting eachother with your elite skills. There are new Special Melees, which include Giant Melee, where everyone is gargantuan, and Lightning Melee, where everything happens super-fast. This is where you'll probably play most of the time, and boy, is it fun!

The graphics are excellent, and all the fighters are rendered perfectly, and many of the backgrounds are very detailed. The level Brinstar Depths, for example, contains a humongous moving Kraid, a boss from the first Metroid. He looks awesome, smacking the level from time to time, which rotates a full 90 degrees, changing the battlefield. Cool!

The sound is also superb, and while the voices seem a little odd at times, the soundtrack is perhaps the best ever made for a videogame. Containing fully orchestrated versions of all your favorite Nintendo themes, the music is amazing. Also, the sound effects are great, and put the action into audio form wonderfully.

The controls work well on the GameCube controller, and, in my opinion, the 'Cube's pad works better than the N64's. Y and X are used to jump, A for your basic attacks, and B for your character's special moves. The control stick is obviously to move, and the camera stick can be used to pull of Smash moves in Vs. Mode. Also, pressing up on the D-pad performs the character's taunt, and the R and L buttons are used to use your shield, and roll or dodge (which is new - perform it by pressing down on the control stick to side-step projectiles and attacks; you can use it in mid-air too!). The Z button is used for grabbing, and, although you can use R and A in tandem to grab, I don't know why the R button isn't for grabbing, and the L button for your shield. After a while, though, I got used to the Z button, and it isn't as uncomfortable as it was when I first started playing.

All in all, Super Smash Bros. Melee is a stellar game. A tribute to Nintendo's greatness, complete with trophies of all your favorite past Nintendo characters (over 300 - there's even the Ducks from Duck Hunt), SSBM is truly one of - if not the - best multiplayer games ever, and is an awesome experience when you have 3 friends willing to compete for the ultimate bragging rights.

Rating: 9.5/10

Knux's avatar
Staff review by Zack M (Date unavailable)

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