GCN Review: Super Smash Bros. Melee
Review by: Hairball (hairball@sm128c.com)

Game Info

 System: GameCube
 ESRB: Teen
 Genre: Fighting
 # of Players: 1-4
 Developer: HAL Laboratories
 Publisher: Nintendo

 Save: 11 blocks

 Release Date:
 US: Dec 3, 2001
 EU: May 24, 2002
 JP: Nov 21, 2001

Screenshots:

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Final Score:
9.0/10

Reviewed on: December 31, 2001

Super Smash Bros. Melee is one of the long awaited games for the GameCube. Originally, this game was supposed to be launched with the system, but it was delayed by a bit. Still was it worth the wait? The answer should be yes. SSB Melee takes what made the original SSB so good, and makes it even better. It is done with more characters, more stages, more modes, which equals most importantly, more fun.

In total there are 25 different characters to choose from, of which 11 of them are hidden and can be unlocked by performing certain tasks. There are 18 different stages to fight in, spanning all the different Nintendo worlds like The Mushroom Kingdom, Yoshi's Island, Kirby's Dream Land, F-Zero courses, you name it.

The one player mode is also improved quite a bit from the N64 game. In addition to the classic mode, where you choose one character, and go on fighting everyone that comes up, there is also the adventure mode, which has some sidescrolling levels and brings back memories of the old Mario games and, oh there's the fighting with it as well. By playing the classic and adventure modes, you can win different trophies. These trophies are different Nintendo propaganda, and they each include a short description. Some trophies can open up different secrets in the game. There are around 300 trophies in all!

Within the Stadium mode, there is also a event match which has various different tasks, and some of which are quite challenging, also more replay value. There are 51 of these events in total! The classic Break the Targets is available, and also a new mode called Home Run Contest, where you try to hit a sandbag-like thing with the home run bat as far as possible. And finally, the Multi-Man Melee, which has some outrageous tasks.

Of course, the best part of SSB Melee has to be the multiplayer mode. In VS mode, you can choose any of the available characters, and up to 4 humans or computers combined can duke it out in any of the open stages. You can even customize the VS mode to suit your tastes, so you can play the game you want it to be. You can also have a Tournament or a Special Melee, where you can play with different situations, such as having only one button to use, or giant or tiny characters. It's up to you to choose. The VS mode is so simple, yet so much fun.

The graphics in Super Smash Bros. Melee are very good. HAL has taken the N64 engine, and improved it with more realistic graphics. The game looks much more better, while it retains the original feel of the game. The textures are really nice, and the 3D backgrounds gives the game a better look. There is no more "blocky" feel that was in the N64 game. One problem about the graphics is that in big levels, when the characters are very far apart, the detail becomes very bad once the camera zooms out. It becomes really hard to see, and could cause a little eye strain. The animation though is very smooth, and doesn't seem to have slowdowns like on the N64.

SSB Melee has some really nice in-game music. The classic Nintendo music in the levels are all remixed into much higher quality. If you have a nice sound system, try using it with this game and you can hear some really nice tunes. And also don't forget about the sounds of the items, and the characters themselves.

The controls in SSB Melee are rather simple. Anyone can just pick up the GameCube controller and just play. Just press a few buttons, move with the control stick, and get some items, it's really that simple. There isn't much skill needed to start playing the game. But in order to master the game, it's necessary to time your moves, and use some sort of strategy on your opponents.

Super Smash Bros. Melee has some of the best replay value, it's not a game where get sick of after playing it a few times. It's great for playing when friends come over, even better if you have 4 controllers. All the different characters, all the different stages, it's one hell of a fun ride, or I mean, battle... Even the one player mode has a lot to play. It will take hours and hours of play to get all the secrets.

Super Smash Bros. Melee is a very worthy upgrade to the original Super Smash Bros. on the N64. While a lot may have seem rehashed from other Nintendo games, especially in the levels, the result is one of the best GameCube games so far in its early life. The improvement has led the game to a Teen rating by the ESRB, it's weird as there isn't any blood or anything offensive in the game. But in conclusion, Super Smash Bros. Melee brings fun, and lots of it to the GameCube.

-- Hairball (hairball@sm128c.com)

Bottom Line: Super Smash Bros. Melee takes the good from the N64 game, and expands it into an even better fighting game.