#490 Super Smash Bros. Melee

Posted: 17th June 2011 by Jeroen in Games
Tags: , , , ,

62nd game played so far

Genre: Fighting
Platform: Gamecube
Year of Release: 2001
Developer: HAL Laboratory
Publisher: Nintendo

So here’s a game Peter absolutely adores, so I quickly thought I’d snag the intro before he’d unleash his torrent on words on you saying how great the game is. He’s already started about how it’s why he got the Gamecube… lovely stuff.

Anyway, the idea is simple: All sorts of characters from Nintendo and Nintendo-related characters join together into a giant mash-up brawl of a fight (or fight of a brawl if you prefer) where you have to defeat the other characters (by having them fall off the screen). You can use Nintendo-franchise-inspired powerups in Nintendo-franchise-inspired stages… and it’s basically fun, wholesome brawling… the way Nintendo would set up a fighting game.

Our Thoughts

Two words: Kirby Rocks. He may be great but… no. Zelda rocks!

Then again I know someone who can clean house using Jigglypuff.  This is something that many, including myself, have lauded about this game. Many games, SoulCalibur included, tend to have a small echelon of characters that are supreme fighters.  Starting with this entry in the Super Smash Bros. gaming franchise they have levelled out all the fighters so “the best” character depends a lot on how you like to fight.

I like female characters that are quick, magic-based and pack one hell of a punch which is why I always go for Zelda. Something that my best mate Chris still finds strange since I am the only person he knows who has tried (and succeeded) in mastering her. Jeroen, why did you choose Kirby? It’s cute, it’s quite strong, it’s funny to hit people with mallets and to be honest, being able to float up allows me to save myself when I fall and nearly die. But mostly it’s cute.

Nintendo have always been well known to tap into their long-running franchises. In some cases this can be seen as both one of their great strengths and weaknesses. They manage to turn this to their advantage in this game by equipping each character with moves that tap into their respective backgrounds. Peach brandishes a Toad as a shield, Pikachu uses Quick Attack, Yoshi swallows opponents and traps them in eggs, Mewtwo uses psychic-based attacks… the list goes on. Of course Kirby’s big power is swallowing the other fighters to gain their powers… with cute hats!

It also helps that there is a large line-up of characters available to play with. So lots of cute hats! True there are a large number of them from the Mario, Pokémon and The Legend of Zelda but also lesser known characters get a chance at the spotlight.  How many people would have really heard of Nana and Popo from the Ice Climber game? I mean Fire Emblem was not even released outside of Japan until after Super Smash Bros. Melee was released and yet two characters can be unlocked. And Mr Game and Watch is a reference to a fairly obscure Gameboy predecessor that used to be big, but is not remembered anymore.

I guess that the main strength that this game has is the utter insanity of the multi-player battles. They took a leaf out of the Street Fighter handbook by making things take place at a potentially light speed pace. When you first play a game with three mates there is likely to be times where you can get a tad lost in the fray. Happened to me more than once. This is greatly aided by the large number of weapons that gets dropped in from the sky such as Pokéballs, baseball bats, fire flowers and something which makes you invisible. Also bunny ears that make you jump uberly high. An interesting reference to a certain handheld hero.

The main issue I have with it is that they felt that a straight-up fighting would not be enough. They added an ‘adventure mode’ which is not the most inspired gaming mode ever made…  It’s basically just fighting with a semi-platformer… without anything that’d make a platformer interesting, since they really just used their fighting arena engine. The fighting stages are a welcome relief from them. In order to unlock all the characters you need to complete a few rounds of this… that or play hours of multiplayer.

I do like the option of unlocking characters through either time played or something else since it may be easier just to leave the Gamecube on a multi-player battle as you go for a long walk or make lunch.  It means you can do it your own way, based on what way you play best.

There are a lot more things that could be said but they can also be said for its follow-up Super Smash Bros. Brawl so I guess we’ll see y’all then.

Final Thoughts

As Jeroen already mentioned, somewhat pissily, this was the game that made me get a Gamecube. I remember being so excited the night before I went to buy it in my local Game. In fact due to us being robbed in the autumn of 2003 my Gamecube stands as my oldest console as it was the only thing of value (minus the television) that was not taken. So even though I can play all my Gamecube games on the Wii I will not be getting rid of my little purple console as not only is it my oldest console but also the first big thing that I save up for… all thanks to this game.

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