Super Smash Bros. Brawl Review for the Nintendo Wii

Super Smash Bros. Brawl Review for the Nintendo Wii

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.

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

In Brawl mode you can create your own rules and add special effects, which include gravity, speed, camera modes, body types, character size, etc. This makes it even more interesting than a plain old fight. Since Super Smash Bros. Brawl is multiplayer oriented, you can select Tourney mode next time you have a party with up to 32 friends; everyone can enter their name and become part of the competition. Rotation mode makes sure that, no matter how many controllers you have, everyone takes turns and gets to play. As always, up to four players can battle at the same time in these “Group” game modes.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl screenshot

The real innovation this time around is the Nintendo Wi-Fi support. In “Wi-Fi” mode you’ll get online and play against your friends or unknown people from all over the world. Once again, Nintendo opted for the friend codes in order to have you play co-op or against your friends (I wish the codes weren’t that long!). If you want to brawl against people you don’t know, all you have to do is enter a quick match (Basic Mode). There’s also the Team Battle option, where you can team up with someone and play against another pair. It seems like the online options could have been beefed up a little by adding a few extra modes and the much-wanted headset support. I think almost everyone playing against a friend far away will appreciate this feature. Plus, where is the fun if you can’t tease your opponents? They better add it to Mario Kart!

Brawl’s “Solo” category (not Wi-Fi) includes several other challenges that are welcome additions to the series. In Classic mode you’ll choose a character and fight over a dozen battles against different enemies, sometimes one at a time and sometimes you against many; at the end you’ll face the Master Hand boss. When you beat the classic mode you’ll obtain a trophy of the character you used during competition.

In the Stadium there are three minigames: Target Smash, Home-Run Contest, and Multi-Man Brawl. Target Smash also appears on Classic mode: you’ll have to run through the platform-based stage as fast as you can, breaking targets along the way. The Home-Run Contest can be challenging at first: you and a punching bag are trapped inside a glass capsule; by performing a strong attack you’ll break the capsule and send your enemy flying with a baseball bat. The further you send it, the better. Finally, there’s the Multi-Man Brawl, where you just fight enemies according to the rules.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl screenshot

In the Events mode there are numerous challenges where you’ll be required to beat certain enemies, perform a Final Smash, destroy the terrain, race Bowser to the flag, and much more. Training mode allows you to hone your fighting skills with different characters and setting your own in-fight conditions; you can choose a dummy enemy that doesn’t even move or a more balanced competition. You can also change the speed of the fight, the items you can use, the damage the CPU character can cause, etc.

Last, but certainly not least, Super Smash Bros. Brawl includes a great adventure mode called “The Subspace Emissary.” While it doesn’t contain a very in-depth story, you will follow a nice plot that progressively brings up different characters and makes them part of the gameplay. What’s best, you can play the adventure mode with a friend, which I found really fun. Your friend can drop in and out at any time during the adventure, making it easy for you to continue with it whenever you want. There’s no dialogue in Story mode, but you’ll understand the story by watching the cool cutscenes. The Super Smash Bros. world has been invaded by the “Ancient Minister” and his subordinates. This mystery character is turning everyone into trophies, ridding them of their powers. Little by little, he’s taking over the world. Using different playable characters, you’ll have to restore peace by conquering the side-scrolling levels. All the characters must work together to defeat this evil force.

If you thought all these options weren’t enough, the game still has even more to offer. While playing, you should make sure and collect all the stickers that drop to the ground. While it may seem gimmicky, it turned out to be one of the best ideas they could have had. The stickers are not only collectibles that include all the Nintendo characters, game items, and power-ups you could imagine. They actually have a purpose: each sticker is worth a certain amount of points applied to aspects like arm and leg attacks, overall power, resistance, etc. You can give different stickers to each character, increasing their abilities as if it were an RPG.

Collecting trophies is also really fun and rewarding. You can check out your trophies at the Trophy Museum, where there’s info about each of the characters / objects you collected. You can take pictures of them and send them to your friends; even while fighting you can pause the game and snap a photo of that awesome move! Another way to obtain trophies is to visit the “Coin Launcher.” It’s a space invaders kind of minigame where you use the coins you earned playing the game to snatch stickers and trophies. There’s also a stage builder where you can create your very own original stages; the stage builder lets you choose from a few backgrounds, and there’s a library with platforms and other elements that grows as you play the different game modes. With time, you’ll be able to create very neat stages you can use in many of the offline game modes. You can also send them to your friends. Nintendo will offer the stage of the day (it could be yours!) for online players to try out.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl screenshot

Another great feature in Super Smash Bros. Brawl is the “Challenges.” These are actually achievements you need to obtain within the game by playing some game modes a certain amount of times, beating other modes with specific characters, brawling multiple times in certain stages, etc. When you obtain these, you unlock music, more trophies, etc. Think of it as the achievement points on the Xbox 360. These challenges are such a great idea I’m sure everyone would love to see it implemented in all of the Wii games to come. All Nintendo needs to do is add a new channel to the Wii where you can see all the achievements you’ve obtained and even share this data with friends. Instead of points, players could earn trophies, stickers, or whatever it may be. Come on Nintendo; go for it! We can’t wait to collect all those sweet game trophies and show them with pride!

Brawl looks amazing overall. Due to the cartoonish look of the game and the average resolution capabilities of the Wii, the game doesn’t look as shiny and polished as one would expect. However, you can definitely tell Brawl is superior to Melee graphics-wise, and the characters have been reworked to make them look at their best. I especially loved the new characters like Wario and his mouth-chomping abilities, the dark, wing-fluttering Meta Knight from Kirby, and the slick-looking Pit from Kid Icarus. The carefully crafted character design makes me wish the return of some of those great classic franchises we only saw in the 8 and 16-bit days. Hopefully some of them will come true!

Super Smash Bros. Brawl screenshot

I observed a few and very random frame-rate issues in the game, mostly when loading a stage; choppy loading screens and variable loading times made me think the game had crashed a few times. Other than that, the gameplay is very smooth and no matter how many characters are on the screen, everything runs normally.

The soundtrack is excellent and fully customizable. The first song you’ll hear when you pop in the disc is entirely epic. The opera-like music, along with beautiful cutscenes, gets you all excited and ready for the new fighting adventure. The title includes an incredible amount of tunes that will play during each fight; most of the tunes belong to Nintendo’s game library. Also, the more you play the more music you unlock. The characters’ voices are all authentic and great. However, you may become annoyed with the repetition; a few more sound clips would have helped to avoid the problem.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl is a must-buy for fans of the series. The amazing amount of features and characters included in the game plus the online gameplay make Brawl one of Nintendo’s best titles to date. Even those Nintendo fans who are not interested in fighting titles will find this one appealing. It’s not just a game; it’s a Nintendo museum!

Characters have been polished for the game and look great. Stages are original and more detailed than in Melee. You may face a few loading lags. 4.3 Control
The controls haven’t changed much since SSB Melee. Everything is completely customizable and the four controller choices are a plus. The application of optional motion controls would have sealed the deal. 4.8 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Epic intro music and fabulous in-game tunes. Characters repeat themselves a little too much, but sound authentic, nonetheless. 5.0

Play Value
SSB Melee x100. The game is a complete upgrade, with four fully customizable control options, awesome presentation, tons of challenges and game modes, sweet collectibles and trophies, online gameplay, stage builder, and more!

4.7 Overall Rating – Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Play with four types of controllers!: Wii Remote, Wii Remote & Nunchuk, Classic Controller, and the GameCube controller.
  • Your Favorite Veteran Fighters Are Back! Mario, Link, Kirby, Pikachu, Fox, Samus, Zelda, Bowser and Donkey Kong are ready for more action! New characters like Solid Snake and Sonic also join in the bash this time around!
  • Brawl in your favorite Nintendo Locations!: Battlefield, Delfino Plaza, Yoshi’s Island, Lylat Cruise, Bridge of Eldin, and Smashville are some of the places to get your Brawl on!
  • For the first time, this celebrated series is going Wi-Fi, allowing up to four players to brawl, no matter where they may be. Not only can you brawl with friends or strangers, but you can also send custom-made stages or screenshots to pals.
  • Super Smash Bros. Brawl features a sprawling adventure mode called “The Subspace Emissary” that’s a full game in and of itself. Players jump and brawl their way through enemy-packed side-scrolling levels, meeting up with other characters, watching incredible cinematics and taking on massive bosses. It can even be played by two players cooperatively.

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