Take a bat and beat the crap out of Pikachu. Sounds like fun ? Well than this game is for you...
The idea of Super Smash Bros. Melee is simple. Take some of Nintendo’s most famous game characters and let them compete in various Beat’em up events, add some nifty weapons, hundreds of trophies for the “got to get them all” collectors and the possibility for the player to customize the gameplay and you should have a good game – and in this case you have.
Once upon a time Pikachu was beaten up big time by Mario. The End.
Normally at this point of the review I start talking about the story but well how shall I put it - well there is none. Not hardly any story or a story not worth mentioning – simply nothing. We don’t learn why Mario is feed up about Yoshi or why Zelda is beating up Link with a beam sword, but do we really care ? Personally I leaned back and enjoyed.
Beat this up, beat that up...
One thing you should be aware of from the very beginning is that you get the most fun out of the game while competing against human players. The AI is not bad but it lacks this certain meanness we love about our fellow humans – if you know what I mean.
The game basics are simple. Two or more opponents, one platform (last one preferably very high up in the air, above an active volcano or deep in space). And now you have to do everything to satisfy this urgent need you are feeling – to be alone on this platform.
The single player only part of the game can be roughly divided into two main categories: stage mode and special event. The stage mode consists of two parts of it’s own: Classic and Adventure. In Classic you find the kind of gameplay you are used to from most other Beat’em Ups. You compete against one enemy after another, try to gain bonus points in 4 bonus events and after you defeated the boss you are done. Adventure is quiet similar to this, only difference is that to get to the main enemies you have to travel through levels filled with “normal” enemies a.ka. minions of the bosses. Of course there are several rewards for hardcore gamers in both modes. You can unlock several bonus characters and stages for both – if you know how to do it...
The second main part of single player consists of special events. Besides a fun event which is all about punching a puppet as far as possible, Nintendo programmers mainly show off the mentioned possibilities to play with the game settings to generate events the way you like them. You might have already guessed that finishing some or all of the sewed in events *might* be a way of finding even more secrets.
With the player having the possibility to modify gameplay as he likes one can claim that the game has almost unlimited ways of being played. Considering that many configurations are very similar we “only” have a dozen or more really unique modes left, but for the normal player this should be way enough.
Was that me who just died ?
In Smash Bros. the GameCube shows of again what it can handle. Up to 4 Opponents slashing and flashing around the screen, devastating explosions and rays of light and fire everywhere. The graphics are awesome BUT (don’t tell me that you didn’t except this one) the automatic camera which zooms in and out while moving, trying to catch everything and everybody in it’s field of view *sometimes* doesn’t react fast enough and in times of great action with everyone kicked and punched around the screen you *might* loose sight of your character for a moment and before you know what happened you are history. That’s why I suggest that you always keep an eye on your C stick which allows you to control the camera manually – sometimes when things get really out of hand on the screen (and they do, believe me) even this is not enough. An annoyance but only a small one.
*Boing* *Scrrreeech* *Twag*
If you played at least some of Nintendo’s more famous titles you will likely recognize most or even all background music tracks used. Mario still yells “uata” while jumping and Bowser still has this nice roar he cultivated during the last years. Don’t except any innovation here – but is audio innovation really needed when you just want to have fun with the characters you like (or hate) ?
Nintendo DID build on the success of Smash Bros. for Nintendo 64 and developed the game further. Certain parts of gameplay sometimes get a little repetitive perhaps (especially if you try to get ALL characters, trophies and bonus stages) A buggy camera is a little annoyance from time to time but the game is fun and that’s what really matters.