Super Smash Bros. Brawl Review
Super Smash Bros. Brawl box art
System: Wii Review Rating Legend
Dev: HAL Lab. / Sora / Game Arts 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Nintendo 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: March 9, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-4 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Teen 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

Super Smash Bros. Brawl is, no doubt, one of the most anticipated games of the year. The two previous installments of the series sold like peanuts at a baseball stadium. The original Super Smash Bros. came out for the Nintendo 64 in 1999 and managed to sell almost five million copies worldwide, becoming the fifth best-selling game for the console. 2001 brought us Super Smash Bros. Melee to the GameCube and quickly became the best-selling game for the cool, purple lunch-box, with over six million copies sold. After playing Brawl, I wouldn't be surprised to see it double its numbers; it's truly a significant upgrade for the franchise in several ways.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl screenshot

It looks like the seven-year gap between the two titles has paid off; I could even say the continuous delays of Super Smash Bros. Brawl were worth it! Those of you who've been anxiously waiting will surely appreciate what Nintendo's new fighting title has to offer, starting with a strong character roster. Even though you "only" get to choose from a couple dozen characters at the beginning, you won't believe how many more characters will be available as you unlock them, including third-party first-timers Sonic the Hedgehog and Solid Snake from Metal Gear Solid. To top it off, you'll encounter a multitude of familiar characters throughout the game. They're not all playable, but at least they made their presence! Almost any Nintendo character you can think of is part of Brawl in one way or another: Link's grandma from the Wind Waker, Tom Nook from Animal Crossing, Peppy Hare from Star Fox, you name it.

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Veterans of the series will appreciate the fact that the controls haven't really changed. The goal is the same as always: to fight the enemies in order to make them weaker and then launch them off the stage. The weaker they are, the less chances of recovery they have. They'll try to do the same to you, so you have to make sure your character remains on stage by dodging and counterattacking. SSB Brawl also has a huge amount of items and power-ups you can use against the enemy. When you fly off stage you can try to come back by using the grab button/s. The characters have different special attacks and abilities; they're all performed the same way, however. One button will be a normal punch / kick attack. If you hold the directional pad / analog stick up, down, left or right, you'll perform other powerful attacks. The same can be done with the special attack button. Mario, almost everyone's favorite, can water down the enemies with Mario Sunshine's water pack. Just like in Melee, he can also hit enemies as if they were a coin block, which is very satisfying, especially when you hear the non-stop coin sound effect. By pushing or holding the shield button you can protect yourself and escape from enemies' attacks. Some characters also have the ability to fly and hover in the air for a little while, for example Kirby, Meta-Knight, and Princess Peach. There are so many characters it could take all day to explain them all. Luckily, we have a special feature about all the Super Smash Bros. Brawl characters, so make sure to check it out, on CCC's Super Smash Bros. Launch Site.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl screenshot

As in most fighting games, different button combinations will result in different attacks. What's great about Super Smash Bros. Brawl is the full control customization, as well as the support for four different controller types. You can make your own profile and decide what buttons work best for you with each controller. You can keep it traditional and continue to use the GameCube controller, add the classic controller attachment to the Wii remote, hold the Wii remote horizontally, or play with both Wii remote and Nunchuk in hand. The last one was my favorite option, followed by the GameCube controller. The other two control styles don't feel quite right, and if you don't get the hang of it, your character will be flat on the floor like a pancake before you know it. Since this is a Wii game, I expected the motion controls to be an option as well. Unfortunately, motion is not used at all really. There's only an afterthought option you can turn on and off - if you shake the Wii remote you'll perform a Smash attack. If you turn it off, you'll just achieve this by pressing a button or moving the secondary analog stick. I think Brawl is missing out on something by not including real motion controls. Who wouldn't love slashing away with Link's sword or grabbing the enemy and punching it back and forth?

Super Smash Bros. Brawl has several game modes that make it extra interesting and addictive, compared to its predecessors. Brawl mode is obviously the main, head-to-head mode where you'll compete against your friends. Up to four people can battle it out on several newly designed stages and even some from Melee, like the Zelda Temple, Star Fox's Corneria, the Rainbow Cruise, etc. The new stages are a step up from the old ones; they are much more detailed and include some interesting and goofy scenarios inspired by all sorts of games. The WarioWare stage really got to me because you'll be fighting and trying to beat classic WarioWare minigames at the same time! The Pictochat stage is also interesting; drawings appear on the screen and become part of the stage, and you can jump all over them and use the new, temporary platforms to your advantage. Brawl also has stages based on more recent games, like the Bridge of Eldin, from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, or Smashville, based on Animal Crossing. Other stages include the Mushroom Kingdom, DK's jungle, and a new Pokémon stadium.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl screenshot

Screenshots / Images
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