…then you probably didn’t like the previous parts from the series either. As, honestly, also this Super Smash Bros. game doesn’t differ much from its predecessors. The basic principle is still the same: try to bash your opponent out of the screen and the more you hurt someone the easier it goes. If you didn’t find that interesting before, Brawl won’t change your mind. All the rest, and more in particular Nintendo fanboys, will again fall for the uncomplicated action the title offers.
Where the magical appeal from Brawl comes from is hard to say. Are it the many recognisable decors and tunes, the simple but after a while extensive gameplay, or is it maybe the huge hunger after the long wait (seven years after Super Smash Brow Melee)? I think it’s just heart warming to see the many Nintendo icons have some rock hard fighting with each other. Maybe that’s it. Isn’t it about time that Mario hits that retarded smile off of Princess Peach’ face? As thanks for services rendered. And the same goes for Link by the way.
In this party fighter the combat isn’t limited to the Nintendo family. Also others like Sonic and Solid Snake are present and in total there are 37 characters to choose from, each with their own arsenal of characteristic and often funny moves. Wario for instance can drive over his opponent with a big “chopper”. Afterwards he can take his bike and bash it onto the person that’s laying on the ground. When the motorcycle finally falls apart, there are still the pieces that can be used to share some love with.
The game is filled with this type of stuff and also the decors nicely add to this. The levels aren’t only build ingenious but they also look really cool. Take for example the Ice Climbers level. Here you have a peaceful ice berg that’s floating on the water. After half a minute, however, it will get in some sort of stream that makes it turn for 45°. Finally it will halt to little later rise from the water and end up above the clouds in the nebula of the beautiful Northern light. Nice, no?
Or take the bizarre PictoChat level. This sterile white decor is at first dead and doesn’t contain any platform. As the fight progresses simplistic drawings are added to the background which you can use. These sketches also contain a lot of variation. One time they’re rockets or flames, the other time trees or eye brows on which you can jump. Nice idea and the for DS users well-known “now entering” icon, that appears at the beginning of a fight, completely finishes it. Those that think they can do things better should certainly try out the “Stage Builder” where you can create the most insane arenas yourself in a very simple way.
That things aren’t all that sharp couldn’t interest me the least to be honest. I’m fed up with the crap about the mediocre Wii graphics. By now we all know that the console has a few less horses under its hood than the competition but when you look at the beauty of games like Mario Galaxy, Metroid and now also in lesser fashion Super Smash Bros. Brawl you have to conclude that Wii can deliver goodlooking games, eventhough those are still rare (one has to be honest in that).
The arenas are also overloaded with all kinds of items. Guns, light swords, hammers, footballs, crates, boxing bags, pokeballs, bombs, hot peppers, and so on. Most of these are intended to be used to hit someone with them but some also have a defensive value and make your damage meter go back. Also so-called “assist trophies” are present where non-playable characters appear, like for instance Tingle, who you’ll have to help or obstruct. A good example of this is the cute labrador puppy from Nintendogs that suddenly starts licking the inside of your tv screen and blocks the view for anyone watching.
From all these aids the so-called Smash Ball is without a doubt the most wanted. Bashing this floating ball leads to a brutal special attack which differs by character. Luigi will hypnotise his opponent to start bashing him without interruption, Fox calls in a giant tank and Pit gets the help of an army of blood thirsty angels. These attacks can really make the difference.
Thanks to this it’s often hilarious to see how players will do just about anything to kick the Smash Ball first.
The audio that accompanies all this is also truly amazing. The ears are masterly played by a mix of original and reworked tunes we know from the many classics. Think poppy Mario Bros tunes, old Zelda music or the sad violin from the Metal Gear Solid level. Another nice detail are the cries that come from the Wiimote speakers when selecting a character. If you for instance choose Samus Aran you’ll get to hear that squeel of a Metroid. With Wario then we get his typical joking laugh. Nice!
This is a minute of nice laugh for a while. At times, you need this laugh when it has been quite engaging. For instance you need to use a trading platform like 1K daily Profit to take a break from the monotony of trading. This gives you chances to earn more money as well.
The ability to go online is of course an absolute plus. The fights in cyberspace usually run fluid and greatly improve the lifespan of the gme. Still the gameplay experience remains only truly optimal when you’re at home with a couple of friends on the couch. Call me oldfashioned but there’s nothing better than looking at the frustration and disappointment on your friends’ faces in real life.
For a game that focuses on multiplayer fun, there’s plenty to do in single player. The most important part is the adventure mode, expensively called “The Subspace Emissary”, where the necessary platform and puzzle elements are combined with some good fighting. Not really something you have to buy this game for, but amusing enough to keep you occupied for a couple of hours. Also the other parts are worth checking out, especially if you want to unlock one of the uncountable items.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl is a game that keeps hanging. Where at first you get some fun with some random button bashing, the true depth appears later on. You get familiar with the strong and weak points of the many characters, learn to use items to their maximum and maybe even learn the art of defense. In the end you grow out to a true Brawldude who wins by skill and not by accident. And then it actually only starts…