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Super Smash Bros. Melee (GameCube) artwork

Super Smash Bros. Melee (GameCube) review

"I thought I'd begin by mentioning that I really ripped into two player competitive matches with my best friend's Autistic brother. Through this, I came to see this game for what it really is. "

I thought I'd begin by mentioning that I really ripped into two player competitive matches with my best friend's Autistic brother. Through this, I came to see this game for what it really is.

One of my other friends, is truly fanatical about SSB:M. Why? He says that it's perfect. There's a huge roster of well designed, familiar characters to choose from; it's fun for up to four people at a time, perfect for parties; it's easy enough to learn, but hard to master.

Okay; stop. That last one is the one piece of his opinion that really bothers me. Easy to learn, but hard to master? Let's examine the complete moveset here. No matter who you choose to play as, be it Pikachu or Dr. Mario, there's little different. Everyone has the exact the same move commands.

You've got your basic melee attacks with the Gamecube's A button, which you can mix up by adding a direction in there; same goes for the A button while you're in mid-air - press it in combination with a direction and you'll do a different move. Nudge a direction and hold the button down and you get what is known as a "Smash Attack". I get it.

What about the B button? Oh, the B button. The B button offers projectile attacks and "special" moves - that always involve spinning or dropping random shit on someone. Again, use the joystick in conjunction with the B for "badass" button and get a different outcome.

What else can you do?

Well, you can jump; dodge-roll; do this lame ass evasive leap thing, that makes it look like you're trying to fucking fly away like a little bird. You can throw people, too!

. . . Sort of. If someone grapples you, you can get yourself out of it by mashing all of the buttons as fast as you can, may I add, is an extraordinarily easy feat for a kid who can produce mini-seizures of excitement whenever the time calls for it. Last on the list, is the basic block - when you hold either of the shoulders, your character makes an impenetrable bubble around themselves for a short duration.

So yeah, I guess it does sound pretty easy to learn and I know that it was fairly easy for me. The hard to master part? I still don't get that shit. Because let me tell you, this isn't Soul Calibur, this isn't Tekken and this definitely isn't Virtua Fighter; there aren't exactly a plethora of options you can choose or roads you can take when you're fighting against your opponent. My friend counters with the fact that, if two people who know what they're doing, go up and take each other on, it can be in-depth and challenging. Anything is possible.

That is, it would be if it weren't for the fact that SSB:M is a busted up piece of work. Nintendo gave us a vastly improved pool of levels and combatants when held side by side with their first "masterpiece", true, but what they also did is segregate tiers like you should never do with a fighting game. What kind of neglect is this? Speed has all the priority here.

But look at what happens when you pit two equally skilled players as Taki and Nightmare; Sarah and Akira; you know that there is a great difference in their agility, but you can't be sure of the outcome. You can evade, roll away, counter, guard impact, perform cancel moves, you name it - and the thing is that all of them are balance. All of those moves have appropriate levels of startup and downtime, truly adding in that element of strategy.

Now back to Smash Brothers. How good the characters are and how hard it is to win or lose, is entirely based on speed. Only a moron would pick Donkey Kong, because they'd know the other person could pick Fox and hand their dumb ass back to them. It goes on even further than that, though. SSB:M gives you option of adding extras into each arena, items that you can pick up on the battle plane that range from conventional weaponry like laser blasters and home-run bats to Pokeballs.


Everyone knows that they're playing this disaster on the Gamecube; it's supposed to be one of the system's killer apps - why go the extra mile to throw in Pokemon and really cement the fact that it's Nintendo people should be pissed off at?

Don't bother trying to evade or dodge-roll away from a fast character either. I can see what you're thinking, 'Dude, just dodge that shit and give them a dose of their own medicine!'.

It doesn't work that way.

If you're Gannon and you try that tactic against a speed demon, you're going to get in two hits tops and then be on the receiving end of an extremely damaging counter combo. Each move has a ridiculous amount of downtime all across the board, at least that much is equal. If only the base penalty dealt to slow fighters didn't drop them down into the bowels of hell to start with. . .

I'm probably being overly mean spirited here. Maybe I'm way too competitive for my own good.

You do have to give Nintendo credit for attempting to create a fun, fast paced game that you can enjoy with friends and based on certain views, they achieved just that. Sometimes you want to play a game where you get lost on the screen and there's so much battling going on that you don't know who you're attacking.

It's all fun and games until that one guy picks Young Link or Falco; soon after, there's a controller unplugging war and a real life sissy-melee happening in your living room.

I don't know about you, but I can't thank Nintendo for that.

carcinogen_crush's avatar
Community review by carcinogen_crush (July 20, 2007)

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