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Retro Review: Super Smash Bros: Melee

This republished review was originally written in 2001, this review is unedited and appears as it did back then. We hope this review gives you an idea of how the reviewer felt at the time and at the end you’ll see a small review from today where you can see how well the game held up over time.

The sequel to one of the best fighters on the n64 is here on the Gamecube. Offering twice as much fire power, twice as many characters, millions more options and a bit of Gamecube shine. Will it just be another remake or will it make the machine something to own?

Super Smash Bros Melee to give it its full name is the 2nd fighter to appear on the Gamecube, after Bloody Roar 3. Not your traditional fighter in any sense, it takes a unique approach and attacks it head on. Instead of having an energy bar you have a percentage meter. The higher the percentage is, the more likely you can be smashed out of the right. See the whole idea isn’t about trying to do the most powerful move until they fall over, its all about trying to get them out of the ring, either making them fall to their doom, or smashing them so hard they just fly off screen in a ball of flames.

Taking a 3D world in a 2D view approach makes things easy to get to grips with, especially as you can have as many as eight, yes eight other characters on screen at once. Working a lot more like street fighter, than power stone, you only have to move left right and up and down. Moves are easy to get to grips with. The A button does your basic moves, and the B button does your special moves. With a touch of the control stick with a button press you can come up with some powerful and devastating moves. The X/Y buttons jump and Z allows you to grab onto people or use your shield. All characters have the same moves list, which might not sound great, but their moves are all different. With just the input commands being the same. For example UP and B normally means an upwards special assault, no matter what character you use. But the damage, the effects and how they execute the move is different for all characters. Mario jumps up with his first in the air, while Donkey Kong spins on the ground.
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You’ve got a choice of 25 characters in total, with 11 being locked away, making you play for ages before they are unlocked, and 25 stages to which are also unlocked. Now while the original game was mainly multiplayer fun, this version, they’ve spent a long hard look at the one player and put everything they could into it. You’ve got the normal one player of fighting against everyone before the boss, an adventure mode where you play fights and classic Mario levels from a side on view, special pre set challenges to complete. A trophy gathering option, where there are 300 trophy’s to collect in the game, just by completing it or by finding them around the levels. This will take you a long time as it is, but each trophy can be viewed in detail and also has a short description about the character.

Multi player hasn’t been left out either! You have a million different modes to chose from, allowing you to get the perfect match, loads of options you can change, you can have team battles or free for alls. You can fight only as big characters, as invisible characters and a whole host more. Trust us when we say this, multiplayer will last you for a very long time to come.

A lot of levels are interactive, with moving parts, such as the F-Zero level where you play on a race track which is constantly moving beneath you. Their weapons to pick up, health bonus’s, bombs, the lot!

Anyone can get to grips with this game, the controls are simple and you’ll find results happen easily after a few minutes practice. It can become a bit annoying when people gang up on you, or someone is just hammering everything. But in the end, tactics do win, such as standing near the edge, grabbing people and kicking them off. The one player will keep you going for months, as you complete with all the characters for more trophy’s and hidden extras. But the multi player will keep you going longer.
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The graphics on the game are simply stunning, with the characters bright and big, and set on some wonderful scenery. Sound wise is full of classic Nintendo tunes, such as Mario’s tunes, F-Zero and Zelda. This package is just perfect, it may not be Virtua Fighter, but that’s what its not trying to be. If anything its power stone in 2D, a free for all of action and fun!

Got a Gamecube, get it, you wont be disappointed.

2015 Re-Review

Super Smash Bros on the N64 was an interesting game, who’d have thought Nintendo would let Mario punch Princess Peach. Yet they did and we was lucky to have it but no one ever expected Melee. Not only did it look absolutely amazing, it was Super Smash Bros X a million with a much expanded character roster, a huge single player mode and more stages than you can shake a stick at. All of that and more is why its still Smash fans No.1 version with it having top billing at Evo despite Smash Bros Wii U having been released.

So whys it so popular? Mainly because its the one most of the fans played for years, especially after the disappointing Brawl, but because it is pretty much near perfect despite any flaws it may have. It looks great, moves well and the Gamecube pad is designed for this game. If you have the Wii U version, this will offer more of the same but slightly different due to its faster pace but thats no bad thing and you really should have this version in your collection.