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Super Smash Bros.: Melee (GameCube)

Teen
ESRB Rating
Genre
Perspective
Theme
87
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.1
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Pixelspeech (955)
Written on  :  Dec 19, 2011
Rating  :  4.8 Stars4.8 Stars4.8 Stars4.8 Stars4.8 Stars

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Summary

Gaming at its finest.

The Good

Taking characters from the Nintendo franchise and controlling them as they punch the hell out of each other is still one of my favorite concepts for a game ever. It allows for a lot of fun, revenge and memorable moments and at a party it will always prove to be everybody's favorite. This time around we expanded ourselves a bit further by adding characters from Fire Emblem and some retro titles, as well as adding several fighters from games that were already on the list (Peach and Bowser from the Mario series for example).

Despite of this expansion, the designers at least knew where to stop and this is where Brawl went wrong. The list of fighters in Brawl was indeed huge, but it features so many copies and complete unknowns that it was a bit overwhelming and a waste of space. I excuse Dr. Mario for been a very good reference, Young Link for the fact that Wind Waker was riding high on this system and Falco for just been a badass. That leaves Pichu as the only character that was genuinely a copy of another one. All the other new (and old) characters have their own moves and fighting styles and it compliments them much better.

The new trophies section is a giant Nostalgia trip for Nintendo fans of all ages, a whole gallery filled with information on classic characters that couldn't make it into the game. I would even go as far as to say that it is quite a museum, but it's kinda sad that there are only 300 trophies or so to collect. It's an impressive number, but dear god, you just never want to stop collecting these prizes.

The fighting is a huge improvement over the original Super Smash Bros.. The reason for this is that the controls are now 100% fluent and responsive, you have complete control over the characters you are playing as and you'll never run into a situation where you'll be justified to complain about the controls leading to your death. While this is hardly the game that absolutely required it, it is still nice to have and it makes the game great for tournaments with more serious friends.

All the fighters are really balanced and they all have their own advantages and disadvantages. For example: Sheik is a very fast and flexible damage dealer that can run at high speed and do a lot of damage, but at the same time he is rather fragile and lacks the power to perform the actual attacks that would launch you out of the map. Even the characters that you may find completely useless, like in my case the Ice Climbers and Pichu, are really effective when given to the right people.

The level design is simply gorgeous and there is a nice variety of maps to play in. Almost all the maps are based on locations from the games Super Smash draws its fighters from and compared to the original title these are a huge update both in terms of gameplay and graphics. Some of the maps look breathtaking and many of them have special rules that you need to keep in mind, for example Mute City has cars race over the course that you are fighting one.

The soundtrack is also fittingly awesome to hear and most of it consists once again of tracks from the games we all know and love.

The Bad

It is kind of a shame that the game doesn't feature any of the old maps from the original with a graphical update. It seems like a small task to put them in and they were genuinely entertaining to play (Pokémon stage!!!). There are some unlockable stages I believe, but that is not going to cut it, we want the full package.

The new story mode (or adventure mode) is pretty fun to play, but it lacks context. An adventure would imply you are on some kind of quest, but due to the lack of narration or even a few messages throughout the span of the hour-long trip, you just do the same thing as in the Classic mode. That's not to say that it isn't a lot of fun, but when you make your way through a cave filled with monsters from the Zelda universe in search of the Triforce, it would be at least fair to give us a little explanations as to why. (P.S. that is a pretty good idea for the next Zelda game, I liked that part a lot.)

If I am absolutely forced to come up with another argument, it would be that it's very hard to figure out which character you are playing when there is two copies of that character on the screen (an NPC might have picked it or another human player). It's okay in Free-For-All due to the difference in color, but when you go in teams the second player will have a lighter version of the character which is almost impossible to notice during hectic moments.

The Bottom Line

Melee is by far the best installment in this franchise, which also happens to be my second-favorite Nintendo franchise, so you can see why I am rather fond off this game. The combat is fun and due to the fluent controls it is great for parties, newcomers and even tournaments, all of these situations will come with great laughter due to the great concept this franchise has going. A few very minor issues can't ruin the experience for anybody.

Who can I not recommend this game to? If you have something against Nintendo than this is not really anything for you, it might be a good fighter, but you'll most likely be unable to put up with the premise.