Review

Super Smash Bros. Melee

Reviewed by Martin Henely, Posted on 2003-06-20

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Developer: Nintendo Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: December 3, 2001 Also On: None

Super Smash Brothers Melee was practically a launch game for the Nintendo Gamecube. It is quite easily the best game on the system up to that point (only Super Monkey Ball puts up anything close to a challenge), and is quite possibly still the best game on the system. It certainly is in my book, as it has received more play time from me than any other game on the system, and, in honesty, is the sole reason I bought a Gamecube in the first place. I'm not saying it is perfect, however, as there is no such thing as a perfect game.

The concept of Super Smash Brothers Melee is simple. You choose a Nintendo franchise character and proceed to beat the living daylights out of other Nintendo franchise characters until they are so beaten that they go flying off the edge of the battle arena. At first, there are fourteen characters to choose from, but eleven more can be unlocked if certain criteria are met, making the total cast twenty-five. That might seem impressive, but seven of those eleven have movesets similar to another character.

Obviously, the game is largely based upon its prequel for the N64, but many things have changed besides the added characters. New items have been added and some of the more useless ones from the original, like the bumper, have been removed. The characters have also gone through a toning down process to make them more evenly balanced, although that was still not completely successful and some characters are obviously still better than others so far as advantages and disadvantages go.

Where Super Smash Brothers was a fun party game, Melee follows very nicely, but the one player has also drastically been improved. From what was the only one player mode in the original comes what is now known in Melee as Classic mode, although the battles have been made random. The only one set in stone now is the Master Hand at the end. They have also added an Adventure mode, which is a combination of character battles and 2-d platformer levels.

If that's not enough for you, they have also added 51 event matches, although you only have access to ten of them from the outset. Some of these require you to master a certain character to beat, while others can be done with any character, and they all get harder as you unlock more. There is a mode where a character is placed in an arena with ten targets and has to use the many abilities at his/her/its disposal to break all of them without falling out of the bottom of the arena. For an added challenge, the game keeps track of how long that takes you and you can strive to improve your times. There is also a homerun contest where the objective is to hit a sandbag as far as possible within ten seconds by damaging it and then hitting it with a bat.

The last one player mode is the multi-man melee. The objective here is, depending on which type, either to last so long or kill so many of a wire frame fighter that attacks in large groups. The main idea here is to just find one move that kills them all and keep doing it until you die or win. It is, however, more difficult than it sounds. The training mode is basically for training and learning the controls.

The multiplayer executes similarly to Super Smash Brothers, except that many moves have been toned down, meaning you can't just throw your opponent off the edge at fifty percent damage and expect him to die. For those who don't know, Super Smash Brothers Melee keeps track of damage as a percentage, counting up instead of down. As percentage increases, the character gets knocked farther until eventually he is knocked out of the arena. Except at the beginning when you are training, battle with the computer opponents is pointless and often dull, but with human opponents that problem is solved.

Let me elaborate on that. The computer AI in this game is stupid. If you and it are separated, you needn't bother moving because the computer player will walk right toward you. If you have a powerful move to charge up, you might as well because the computer will walk right into it with hardly a second thought. This holds true for the one player as well, with the exception of some of the event matches. The computer is very stupid about items, and will ignore most of them, although if it accidentally picks one up that it doesn't usually go for, it does know how to use all of them.

Anyway, the multiplayer mode is very fun if you have human opponents, but with computer opponents, it gets old real fast. The one player modes will last you only as long as it takes you to beat all of them, or, most likely, until you've unlocked everything you can unlock from them. Beyond characters, more arenas can be unlocked and there are also two hundred ninety trophies to get, mostly by luck and patience, although some have to be earned. In conclusion, this is a very fun game, but it is not really worth getting for the single player options. Get this game only if you have a lot of friends to play it with.

Graphics: 8.5
Sound: 8.5
Gameplay: 9.5
Creativity: 8
Replay Value/Game Length: 9
Final: 9
Written by Martin Review Guide

Reviewed by Martin Henely

1762 Views