Super Smash Bros.: Melee (GameCube)

ESRB Rating
Critic Score
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
User Score
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Guy Chapman (2001)
Written on  :  May 24, 2007
Rating  :  5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful

write a review of this game
read more reviews by Guy Chapman
read more reviews for this game


One Of The First. Still The Best.

The Good

For one of the the "first" games on the system, the game is beautiful. It still is, even by today's standards. From a Nintendo fan point of view, there is so much that is visually and aurally pleasing that it's more a playable version of Nintendo's history.

The character selection is significantly enhanced from the original game, adding villains and more female characters outside of Samus Aran. The game even takes a nod towards more obscure titles like Ice Climber and the Game & Watch series, as well as introducing the Fire Emblem heroes. Every character is full of the appropriate personality.

The music is a full soundtrack of classic NES/SNES/N64 hit after hit after hit. It's fun to hear which tunes comes next, and repetition is not terribly common.

Control wise, the game does exactly as you want it to. It offers precise control that allows for a strong chance to get out of even the worst situation.

The options are equally as impressive. Playing through the Adventure Mode the first time is just great. Link in the Mushroom Kingdom? Kirby in Hyrule? Pikachu in Brinstar? Again, it's a Nintendo fan dorkgasm that isn't thrown together to simply say "Look! I'm here!" Everything is fun to explore and stays accurate to the individual game's history, and each stage offers creative challenges from within the levels, and are just incredibly thought out.

It's nice to see that they actually took time to make the single player modes interesting. Also noteworthy are all the little challenge modes that players can test themselves to beat. Whether it's endurance modes, breaking targets, or the individual challenges, players aren't left wanting. Even collecting the trophies is tremendously addictive, full of Nintendo history, and just fun to display. It was not uncommon going on a mad quest to collect as many trophies and unlockables as possible. It's equally as addicting as the gameplay itself.

Multi-player allows a fantastic amount of customization options, adding all new aspects to every time you play. And Smash Bros Melee makes for a highly fun party game.

As a whole, the game has aged very, very well, and is still as relevant now as it was 5-6 years ago.

The Bad

A few minor things: The "clone" characters aren't as diverse as one would hope. Dr. Mario is another Mario. Pichu is a bit silly, especially when there are more powerful Pokemon to offer, or even Ash. How different are Roy and Marth, honestly? Why couldn't Luigi be equipped with some of his "Luigi's Mansion" abilities? There are a lot of characters, but some are a little too similar to the others, which is more disappointing as some other characters could have been included instead. The game is very Mario-heavy on its character roster, and some unique characters missed their chance to shine.

Where was Pit from Kid Icarus? Any of the boxers from Punch-Out!! Wario? The sequel is addressing some of these questions, but for the current game, there were a few missed opportunities. But not everyone is going to be satisfied, so it's a tall order to fill.

The Bottom Line

Nintendo's characters are to the video game industry what Disney's Mickey Mouse and company are to animation. You can't think of the medium without a handful these characters springing to mind. It's hard to say much "new" about a game that everyone knows, everyone has played, and everyone is waiting like fiends for the sequel.

Super Smash Bros. Melee is the "Captain N: The Game Master" episode we always wanted to happen on Saturday morning, but never did. It's wild, fast-paced, fun, and so laden with nostalgia, that you can't help but remember those nights of staying up all night long trying to beat some level on your NES.

Super Smash Bros. Melee is a love letter from Nintendo to its fans. That pat on the head for buying their games all these years, and as much as they give you in this game, you keep wanting more, as the imaginations of Nintendo's various designers have given us so many worlds to play in over the years. And while I am admittedly gushing over this title, it's more than justified. This was THE game to own on Gamecube, and it's only built up hype for the Wii sequel to a frenzied pace.

Truly a fantastic and attention worthy game. Highly recommended.