Expecting this year's E3 to be a shoe-in, I thought that I would be prepared for what I'd experience on the showroom floor. But such was not the case once I witnessed Super Smash Bros. Melee. To put it simply, Melee is essentially the same as the original, but is packed with a number of new perks that will have you scrambling to find your jaw. Having such a high fondness for the original, there's no question of the anticipation factor that I have for this all new edition.
The biggest change in SMB: Melee is the first player mode. No longer a lonely romp against a CPU controlled opponent, you are treated to a side scrolling platforming fest that traverses many famous Nintendo landscapes. Ever wonder if Link could take on Goombas? Want to see Samus blow away the cute foes of Kirby's world? Look no further than the one player quest, as all of this (and more) is possible. Surely anyone who cringed at the first edition. will take a second look at SMB: Melee for this feature alone.
However interesting this change is, the multiplayer matches are still the biggest draw. Up to four players can pick their favorite Nintendo characters and duke it out with an assortment of punches, kicks, special moves, and pick-up items. Just like before, the idea of life bars has been tossed out for favor of a percentage system. The more damage you take, the higher your percentage goes and the more likely it is to find yourself being knocked out of the level. The character count is climbing too, with all the originals returning and newcomers such as Sheik of Ocarina fame, Princess Toadstool, the Ice Climber siblings, Pitt from Kid Icarus, and Bowser making their debut. No final roster has been announced, so other Nintendo classics may muscle in SMB: Melee as well.
Graphically, SMB: Melee is a whole new realm of excellence. Sure the characters look spectacular, and seeing Samus charge her gun is a near-religious experience, but something else really grabbed my attention: the backgrounds. The original edition, Super Smash Bros., given the limitations of the N64, had exceptionally cool backgrounds which complemented each character, but beyond that, there was nothing mezmerizing about them. That's all changed now with that latest installment on the GameCube. Now every level is boasts tons of player interaction and activity. For example.Ness's level is a quiet neighborhood, but like all suburbs, comes along with traffic - stay on the streets too long and suffer the consequences. Or for more of an adrenaline-rush, check out Falcon's stage, in which players will battle right in the middle of an actual F-Zero track. But I'd have to say by far the most impressive level featured in Melee has got to be Link's Majora's Mask stage. Set out on the beach, it reproduces same atmosphere featured on N64 (albeit the drastic visual improvements). Even Tingle is hanging out, just asking to get his balloon busted. After some fisticuffs with other players, you might notice something changing way up in the sky...that's right, the moon; and it's coming right for you.
With the enhanced capabilities of the Gamecube, players can select characters based on their signature moves and weapons to battle opponents for triumph and trophies. Available game modes allows you to play against your friends, or opt for the all-new side scrolling one-player mode. Throughout the game, opponents practice moves in a training mode that judges fighting ability and specific character attack skills, and then enter a new tourney mode that can handle up to 64 entratnts battling at the same time. Melee features 30 new offensive and defensive moves that can be used in battle...in addition to a slew of hidden moves and new characters. Adding further gameplay value, Melle allows players to earn points through battles and collect figures of favorite Nintendo characters from past and prsent to become the ultimate warrior.
Smash Bros. SMB: Melee is shaping up to be one of those 'must buy' titles when GameCube launches November 5th. With a one player platforming fest, graphics to die for, backgrounds with extra flair, and all the multiplayer madness that made the first a hit, how could you go wrong?
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