Super Smash Bros. Melee, sequel to the 1999 Fighting game feature of the year. It’s returned, and with a slew of new characters.
The game lays out very broadly for you, even at the begining, so there are many different ways to start your “career” as a Smash fighter. Last time, you were left with an arcade-like mode where you fight a set cast of characters, until you confront Metal Mario, and then the Master Hand, the game’s toughest enemies. This time around, that mode is now in the form of a mode labeled “Classic”, giving you a sense of reminiscence when you play it. Only, this time, every round of fighting will feature randomized characters, allowing you endless fun and suprises for Classic mode. The Master Hand returns, yes, but he’s significantly weaker. Why is that? Well, he brought a friend in this sequel, but it’d be a shame for you not to know by yourself. I can say that you’ll be in for a two-on-you fight.
Anyway, besides the Classic mode, thee’s a new and inventive mode, called Adventure mode, in which you travel side-scrolling environments and smash up enemies and obstacles, much like an old-style NES game, but with a hint of power. Maneuvering the levels are far more easy than easy itself, the only hard part about them happen to be the enemies, which typically go down with a petty strike or two. This downplays the challenge of platforming in the game, but it was still a very inventive addition to the mix. Third comes a mode called All-Star. This is where you take a single character and fight 24 characters, one-by-one, then two-by-two, and then eventually three-by-three. But, the catch is that whatever damage you take in a fight will follow you into the next fight, you you must learn to be evasive. The only healing you will get are the hearts given, which will be a maximum of three. Luckily, you won’t have to witness the cruelty of this mode when you start, for it is unlocked later in the game, and is solely meant for advanced players. Of course, should you want to become as advanced as needed, then try the Training mode to adjust your bad areas, and learn the skills you lack. The training mode is a great way to learn the mechanics of the game’s fighting.
Another Fun addition was the trophy system. As you win coins from matches, you can get trophies from a slot machine in the database, and build a collection of over 300 trophies, which span over the history of Nintendo’s library. However, most of theese trophies are also earned through fighting and special Melee profits.
One of the best additions to the game was the Event Match mode, where you engage in events where you may have to play as a certain character under a certain condition, or you choose a certain character to do a certain task, such as KO’ing Captain Falcon in under 7 seconds. Some of them are tough and some of them may not be so tough, it depends on the player, especially with the variety of characters available. Through the Event Match, you’re allowed to unlock certain characters such as Ganondorf and others, which gives it purpose in your triumph upon the game. However, it’s all good fun.
Another addition is the Stadium. In it, you can do the Target Test, a mini game returning from the original, which is uniquely set up for each character to use their special moves for. However, there is something awkward…The Home-Run Contest. This funny little mini-game gives you ten seconds to size up a sandbag and then try to slam it as far as you can. Sometimes you can end up with distances over 1000 feet. It can be done. You are given a bat to perform the task of hitting it out of the park, but some character don’t exactly hit the bag forward. take Captain Falcon. This guy thrusts the bat as if to uppercut, so the bag goes up, but he has a more effiecient way of forward travel: The Falcon Punch. So, the game is unique, and you will eventually find that each character has their own way of hitting a quarter mile.
The next addition the the Stadium is the Multi-Man Melee. This mode is either a hassle or gym practice in the game. There are three modes of Multi-Man Melee: Limited enemies, Timed, and High score types. Within these come 10 Man Melee, 100 Man melee, 3 Minute Melee, 15 Minute Melee, Endless melee, and Cruel Melee. Of course, the first two, you have to kill a limited amount of enemies, which are wire-frames, by the way, but they are relatively weak…in fact, too weak to handle a few punches. The same goes for the timed Melees, except, of course, you’re timed. Endless Melee brings the same slew of enemies, only…well, it’s endless, it’s for a high score. However, cruel melee does the opposite. The enemies are buff, bold, and ready to beat you down stupid. They’re as tough as yu, and there are three of them. No items, and you have to kill them all, as long as they keep coming. That’s some challenge, huh?
As I’ve been blabbering about all the interesting modes of play, the array of items has increased drastically, and all the new items are here to be cherished for a long time to come. Most are just enhanced versions of old items, but those such as the cloaking device and the Poison mushroom are great additions to make the game more interesting that it has already been. On the topic of improvements, the multiplayer, Smash Bros.’ most crucial area of expertise, has been improved drastically for its users’ enjoyment.
First of all, this time around, the game has brought in a crew of 13 new characters, in addition to those you saw last time (including the hidden ones). Each of them have their own special abilities and statistics, giving them certain areas of expertise as well as downfall. However, with all that variety, there’s guaranteed to be a character in here for everybody.
For multiplayer, there’s first the general Melee mode, in which you can have a timed match, a stock match, or a squabble for coins. Of course, you can adjust your item, handicap, and all those other settings that Hal got all picky with. It’s best to play with a friend or friends, but even when you feel like playing, and they’re not there, then you can still pit against the computer players, with range from diffculty levels 1 to 9, so you can get good practice and beat your friends every time.
There also a Tournament Melee, in which, well, you have a tournament. These tournament can have from only four contestants, all the way to sixty four contestants, so you can have quite a party if you have some friends over. In addition, there comes the Special Melee, in which you can have a match of titans in Giant Melee, or a squabble of rodents in Tiny Melee. There’s endless variety in the multiplayer, and undoubtedly, you will get the bulk of your Melee experience through these modes.
A game is nothing without music or sounds. Just a moving, controlled image isn’t enough for a gaming experience. Melee does a great job of enhancing the experience with it’s remarkable soundtrack and array of sounds and effects. Mostly, the music is most notable when put to their respective levels, such as Corneria’s track, one of the most well done tracks in the game. The music is crisp and modern, more than capable for passing into a next generation game, because people will never know the difference. It’s that good.
The sounds and effects should not be said unglorified, either. Just about every smack, footstep, gunshot, sword swing, string pull, chain wiggle, ground pound, scream, yell, roar, crackle, and whatever others there will be has been put into this game. Hard work was put into the ballad of footsteps and raging fire that Mario sports, or the gruntling and stomping of Ganondorf’s uncanny stride. I can only describe them so vividly because they were portrayed more than gloriously behind all the music.
A game was made for fun, but you need to see it as well. This game does an amazing job in designing its character, and animating them accordingly to moving, and fighting. However, while the characters themselves looked very well refined, the levels could have been a little better. The one thing about this game that tends to bother me sometimes is that the characters put into the modern stages are way more advanced than the quality of the stages. Take Venom, for one. It is an escape scenario, and the environment enacts with the ship, but the environment looks like it was cooked up back in the 90s. Why was this? However, it is a problem that’s easily ignored, with all the fighting going on.
The game altogether is totally replayable. But then again, it’ll take you a very long while to finish the game as a whole, with all the content it hides. However, modes like adventure and classic are always there for you to play through again, and experience it like it was when you first got the game. If there comes a problem with playing it again, the problem is you.
Super Smash Bros. Melee is probably the Gamecube’s best fighting game, if it is considered a fighting game, that is. Here’s my summary:
Overall, Super Smash Bros. Melee gets a 9 (Not an average).
Don’t consider renting it. Don’t consider borrowing it from a friend, you go out a buy it if you don’t have it. It’s cheap, and you’re practically robbing the store if you buy it at such a low price.