The Lancer Link
Super Smash Bros. BrawlMonday, April 07, 2008 By Evan L.
It's here! It's finally here! They all said Nintendo would keep delaying it until the end of the world! But on March tenth, we of the proud Wii owner's populations finally got what we've been waiting for since oh-six: Super Smash Brothers Brawl. For anyone who hasn't had either of the two previous installments thrust in his face (the only explanations I can think of for this is you either live under a huge rock, or you might be a communist), Smash Bros. is a "beat 'em up" game, where, as the name suggests, you simply flog around other characters on various different stages. What sets the Smash Bros. series apart from the rest (aside from playing as nearly any Nintendo flag character) is the abandonment of health bars. Instead, ever time a character takes on damage, it goes into a growing percentage. The higher the damage percent, the easier it is for other characters to knock the players off the stage. So a player doesn't necessarily need to be even all that great at video games to be a complete pain in the rear, they just need to know how to keep from being launched off the screen. Now what makes Smash Bros. also the only reason needed to by a Wii (or Game Cube if you're looking for Melee) is no other game will give you the opportunity to prove that Samus Aran of the Metroid series, is without a doubt, so much better than Mario at just about anything. If the character is well known for being with Nintendo, they're probably here in Brawl, from the Mario Brothers to Captain Olimar to Solid Snake. Each of the two dozen or so characters have a unique set of attacks, keeping them closer to they’d appear in their own game series. What makes Brawl such a huge leap from Melee isn’t Snake or Sonic (though they are pretty nifty), but the addition of a full, polished story line called The Subspace Emissary. In the new story mode the video game world is under invasion by a mysterious army, flying around in the Halberd (Meta Knight from the Kirby series’ flying battleship), stealing chunks of the world with Subspace bombs. The player must play through a series of challenging and diverse levels to uncover the origin of the attacks and ultimately put an end to the villains who wish to bring the Smash Bros. to an end. I know what you’re thinking; “The adventure mode in Melee could be easily beaten in fifteen minutes at the most.” Let me tell you readers now that even after logging in well over fifteen hours of time on the Subspace Emissary, I have yet to even come close to 90% complete. Not only is the story decently long, but can be challenging further into it. Several, several times I would find the screen completely swamped with hordes of enemies from who-knows-which game, tossing Captain Falcon (my most used character) around like a rag doll. Very seldom was my character's damage percentage below 90%. In addition to bumping up single player value, Brawl also demonstrates the capabilities of the Wii in terms of graphics (unlike horribly ported and "gimmick" games), none of those weird, smeary textures from ported Wii games, so everything looks much smoother than a Wii game seems like it should be. (Slight spoiler here, if you really care, skip the rest of this paragraph.) For example, one cut scene depicts a giant cannon emerging from a subspace hole. This thing has enough detail that it almost rivals a Star Wars movie! All the buildings on it, spires, antenna, etc; it's amazing. This doesn't take away from the genius multiplayer mode that made the series, though. As always, there's a mass of stages to play head to head with four friends (or NPC's) including several from Melee and even a very basic stage editor. Before a match, players have a nearly unlimited amount of options as to what they want the rules to be like, and what sort of things go on. Every item can be turned off individually, and how often they appear is listed as well. Some of the new characters are somewhat unbalanced, (Olimar is useless for all practical reasons aside from being completely annoying when you least expect it), and if anyone uses the new Final Smash attack during a standard two-minute mach, they'll probably win (so I usually turn that item off). But aside from glowing orbs that fly and guys with orb shaped heads that get sent flying, everything else is in tip-top shape to say the very least. I'd make a comment (or rave) on the Wi-Fi game play, but the option of being brutally crushed by someone from Idaho, sadly, isn't open to this kid. If you have a Wii, buy Brawl. If not, find a friend who has one, and sit them in front of a television and make them watch a tape that you crammed full of subliminal messages so they buy Brawl. Why? Because to this date, there has yet to be a game for the Wii that comes up to par with Brawl's truck-load of content.