Created by Hal Laboratories / Rated T / 1-4 Players / MSRP $50
Wii Remote / Wii Remote + Nunchuk / Classic Controller / Gamecube Controller

Review written by Ray Hargreaves

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I had planned on doing a review of this game as soon as possible, but once I started playing it I realized I wouldn’t feel comfortable writing a review for a game I had only scratched the surface of. Now, even after logging in 120 hours of pure bliss, I still do not feel completely prepared to write this review. But since I was still discovering new things about Smash Bros. Melee five years after I first started playing, I don’t think I’ll ever be as ready as I want to be.

I was not much of a fan for the original Smash Bros. on N64, mostly because I flat-out sucked at that game, and I only picked up Melee for the Gamecube because I heard it was a good multiplayer game for my friends. It was the best Gamecube purchase I ever made. Slowly but surely, the more I played Melee, the more I fell in love with the Smash Bros. series. I wasn’t forcing myself to be a fan based on “fanboy” instincts, I became one out of sheer love for the experience it gave me. In fact, Melee was the only game I kept coming back to year after year. Brawl is shaping up to be exactly that: the ultimate Wii title that will keep players coming back for many, many years.

So what’s so special about Brawl that guarantees it will be longer lasting than the likes of Wii Sports and MarioKart? Simple: the attention to detail is second to none. Every single character is meticulously crafted to be the biggest badass they’ve ever been. They all come from their own individual games, but none of them have ever looked as good as they do here. Each of the 39 playable characters have 41-44 unique animations, which doesn’t even include the unique way most hold and use specific items, and each character has been well balanced for fair fights. That’s not easy to pull off.

What’s probably most impressive to me, however, is the plethora of things to do in this game. Stages, modes, characters, items, play styles, the list goes on….

So let’s take a look at just that………

General:
• 39 Playable Characters
• 31 New Stages

• 10 Melee Stages
• 52+ Items
• 30 Pokéballs
• 27 Assist Trophies

Solo:
• The Subspace Emissary (8-10 hour side-scrolling adventure game: 1-2 players)
• Classic (battle through 10 different stages of various enemies and situations)
• All-Star (fight every character in order: 1-2 players)

• Events (fight in specific matchups: 1-2 players)
• Target Test (break the targets! five different difficulty levels: 1-2 players)
• Home-Run Contest (use a baseball bat and smash the sandbag as far as possible: 1-2 players)
• Multi-Man Brawl (stay alive against an army of computers: 1-2 players)

• Boss Battles (stay alive through bosses you faced in the Subspace Emissary: 1-2 players)
• Training (hone your skills)

Multiplayer:
• Brawl (time, stock, or coin match)
• Special Brawl (sudden death, giant brawl, invisible, etc.)
• Rotation (got more than four players? It’ll organize play order for you)
• Tourney (up to 32 players can compete in a tournament)

Vault:
• Stage Builder (create your own stages to brawl on)
• Coin Launcher (an arcade game. fire off your coins to earn trophies and stickers)
• Stickers (view your collection and arrange them on stationary)

• Trophies (view your collection and arrage them for taking pictures)
• Album (take pictures while paused at any time and save them here)
• Masterpieces (play demos of classic Nintendo games)
• Challenges (view what tasks you need to complete to unlock specific items)

Options:
• Controls (customize your personal button layout and attach it to your name)
• Replays (save any replay under 3min. in length)
• My Music (choose which songs play more often on each stage)

Wi-Fi:

• Basic Brawl (fight against people you don’t know)
• Brawl (fight against people on your friend list)
• Spectator (watch matches others have played and bet coins on who will win)
• Share (send your photos, stages, and replays to your friends)
• Download (one new photo, stage, and replay available from Nintendo every day)

There’s no other way around it: you simply can’t run out of things to do in this game. Whether you just want to mess around a little bit with friends, or you’re here to completely conquer everything there is to offer in this game, I am certain there is something here you will fall in love with. Hal Laboratories hasn’t hastily thrown these franchises together for a quick paycheck, instead they’ve poured their heart and souls into paying respect to everything they love about video games. Heck, they didn’t just pay respect – they went above and beyond on so many counts that I lost track.

Want a good example? Brawl has a soundtrack of over 250 songs, arranged by more than 30 composers. As if including a newly arranged version of “Tetris: Type A” wasn’t good enough, they went out of their way to include “Type B” as well. Take a listen to that. It’s some amazing stuff.

Want another example? The excellent CG cutscenes throughout The Subspace Emissary adventure mode are so spectacular (and hilarious) at moments, that I never would have dreamed I would see such things from Nintendo during my lifetime. Absolutely amazing.

The only real problems I have with the game are incredibly minor. Sending snapshots to friends is limited to about one a day, the viewing angle for taking snapshots is inconsistant from stage to stage, no pointer functionaity for the Wii Remote, the intro movie is a clip-show from The Subspace Emissary cutscenes, and fighting online is still a little spotty (but that’s probably just me).

I swore I would have written a book-long review for this game, but I’m somehow finding myself running out of things to say since the game practically speaks for itself. Super Smash Bros. Brawl is the best looking and longest lasting game for the console, and it proves you can still make a hardcore game for the Wii without gimmicky controls and still make it the fastest selling Nintendo game of all time. If you own a Wii, and you do not yet own Super Smash Bros. Brawl, then you are missing out on one of the greatest Nintendo games ever made.

Verdict: It’s going to be nearly impossible to make a sequel better than this one.

9.8/10
Reviewer’s Completion: All Characters / All Stages / Trophies: 543 / Stickers: 693 / Adventure Mode: Intense + 100% / Boss Battles: Intense / 1 Challenge Window Remains (no golden hammers used) / Cruel Brawl: 14 KO’s / All Solo Events: Hard / All Co-op Events: Normal / All Characters Cleared: Classic + All-Star + Target Test 1-5 + Homerun Contest + 100-Man Brawl + Boss Battles / 106 Notices / All Chronicle Titles Revealed

Say Cheese!

Take a look at my collection of Smash Bros. Brawl snapshots!

warning: spoilers!

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