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Review: Super Smash Bros. Brawl

Players:1-4

Price: $49.99

Platform(s): Nintendo Wii

Developer: Nintendo/Game Arts

Publisher: Nintendo

ESRB: Teen

Website:Brawl

Rating:

Did you like the last Super Smash Bros. game? You know, the one on the failed Nintendo Gamecube. Yeah, of course you did, who didn’t, that game was a monster on the sales charts. Well, if you liked that game, then I’m sure you’ve already picked up the sequel, Super Smash Bros. Brawl and beat it five times over already. But for the sake of having a review (and for the sake of the unintiated, you poor, misguided souls, you), here’s my take on the biggest game of the year…Until GTA IV comes out, of course.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl, if it is to be believed, is even better than the last game, and by better, I mean, bigger, as the last game was just about perfect in every way. In the continuing saga of Nintendo characters (I’m sorry, trophies of Nintendo characters) duking it out for the sake of, well, duking it out, we have Smash Bros. Brawl, which boasts a numbing 35 characters, some familiar, some just plain out there (Um, Captain Olimar from Pikmin?), and some pretty much the same exact character but with a different outfit, such as Lucas and Ness from Earthbound. Seriously, these two guys have no discernible difference besides hair color and color shades. But to be completely honest with you, as much as this game is French fries with gravy and cheese good, I’m not entirely thrilled with all of the new characters on the roster. Like Sonic, for instance, who’s a character I was highly looking forward to that turned out to be an uncontrollable mess. Or Wario, who’s so bad he’s almost unplayable. This game surprisingly doesn’t seem as balanced as the last one, if that’s even possible as some of the characters in the last game were incredibly lopsided (Like Jigglypuff, if you knew how to use him/her), and that somewhat hinders the game a little bit.

Still, the characters that are good are really good, like Solid Snake, Pit, and, I can’t believe my eyes, Meta Knight, who was far and away my favorite character in the game. With these characters, you can either take the rounds in classic mode, which is everything you’d expect it to be—multiple battles followed by fight with a floating hand in the end—or, you can take them through the new and improved Adventure Mode, which is called The Subspace Emissary. In this mode, you basically take on the role of multiple characters in a quest to thwart the main badguys, Bowser, Wario, and King Dedede, who are shooting a weird laser gun that transforms everybody it touches back into trophies. It’s a fun, little diversion from classic mode and there are definitely a few loopy twists in the story that really make it worth your playthrough, especially since you can unlock more trophies and items along the way. Honestly, I think the game is worth playing for this mode alone, but that could just be the rantings of a fanboy again who just loves hearing all the classic songs again.

It doesn’t stop there, though. There are of course other modes, including the homerun derby game where you have to slam that weird, phallic shaped thing out of the park (Note to reader: Don’t choose R.O.B. the Robot for this one, he sucks), and many others, and also, most importantly, a mode that can make the game playable for a thousand years—on-line play, which is a key one-up in this seminal series. During my playthrough, there was no lag at all and no problems, save for getting more of my friends to give up their friend codes so we could play against each other. There’s also the level editor feature, which I’m not really all that fond of, but my little brother loved it, so I guess it can’t be all that bad

And then there’s the vault, which has always been a coveted feature in every Smash Bros. game. In it this time are of course the regular batch of trophies and goodies you’ve uncovered in Adventure Mode, but there’s also some brief, Virtual Console moments in there, too, where you play some of the games that these characters made their first appearances in. Some are very short, while others are about four or five minutes long. And, as you could probably guess, this, to me, was the most important feature in the entire game, as so many kids born in the 90s have no idea how these legends became legends in the first place. It makes this old, Nintendo fanboy/historian proud.

There are of course other little tools to tinker with, such as Assist Trophies (Whoo hoo, ‘Lil Mac! Though, I still wish he was a playable character…), new items, and super smash balls, which allow you to initiate your Final Smash. But let me tell you, out of all these new items, the best out of them all was the super smash ball, where you basically had to hit it multiple times just to open it.

Hitting an oscillating ball multiple times may not seem like all that much fun, but when you’re playing a four way brawl, it’s the most competitive thing in the world as three other people will practically run right over you just to open the ball. That’s because once it’s opened, all Hades breaks loose, as these attacks can knock every single character right off the screen if you connect with it. I swear, Solid Snake will pwn you all

Overall, Super Smash Bros. Brawl is the quintessential Wii game where you can either play it with friends and have a complete blast, or play it alone and plumb the depths of its intricate adventure mode. Either way, if you have a Nintendo Wii and already beat Super Mario Galaxy—twice—then you owe it to yourself to pick up this masterpiece. There really is quite no other game like it on any other console. GTA IV be damned!

Rich Knight
Rich Knight

Rich is a Jersey boy, through and through. He graduated from Rutgers University (Go, R.U.!), and thinks the Garden State is the best state in the country. That said, he’ll take Chicago Deep Dish pizza over a New York slice any day of the week. Don’t hate. When he’s not watching his two kids, he’s usually working on a novel, watching vintage movies, or reading some obscure book.