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New ‘Super Smash Bros.’ game packs serious punch

Mychal Stanley | Tuesday, March 18, 2008

It all started on April 26, 1999. The greatest game of all time was released in America for the Nintendo 64. Or so we thought.

Super Smash Bros. revolutionized the way multiplayer games would be made and played. Sure, Goldeneye came out first, but if you had a computer, multiplayer first person shooters were old hat. But no one had seen the likes of SSB before.

In this game, we could live out all our Nintendo fantasies. We could beat the crap out of that annoying plumber Mario, or that yellow rat Pikachu. One could control the pink ball of terror that is Kirby the way he was meant to be used: to dominate all comers. Life was good.

Just two years later, on Nintendo’s new console, Super Smash Bros. Melee was released on December 3rd, 2001. I admit, I bought a Gamecube just so I could play SSBM. Melee took what was perfect, and made it more perfect. (I know there are a lot of Melee haters around here who still continue to play original Smash Bros. You guys are sick and wrong.) More characters, more moves, more stages, better graphics, Melee had it all. Or so I thought.

For nearly seven years, we lived and died in the world of Melee. We memorized ever pixel of every stage, every move of every character, and argued passionately for our favorites. We did this for nearly seven years, until just last week.

On March 9th, 2008, the greatest day in the history of mankind, the pinnacle of human achievement was bestowed upon the waiting faithful. Like manna from the heavens, Super Smash Bros. Brawl descended upon the ready masses. And it was good.

A cast of 35 characters including the likes of Sonic the Hedgehog and Solid Snake return to brawl on new stages with new moves. Being a lifelong Sega fan, I know how much of a disconnect it is to be playing as Sonic on a Nintendo console, but at least I can use the spiky blue blur to destroy Mario all I want.

Nintendo has simplified the controls a little bit, allowing new players to jump in easily. But there still remains a depth of control that allows veteran players to show off their skills (and lack of social lives) whenever necessary. There is also the addition of Final Smashes, which are random items that give players the ability to perform a single powerful move.

There are 41 stages, some old, some new, and some redesigned from previous games. Unlike the previous two games, almost all of them are dynamic. Obstacles can be destroyed, and things change as night turns into day, or winter turns to spring. It’s amazing the amount of detail they have loaded into the stages, and I don’t see myself getting tired of any of the levels soon.

Besides that, they’ve added a richer single player game. While Melee attempted to have a single player adventure, it was weak and shallow. Brawl’s single player game has much more depth and fun, but still pales in comparison to the times when you can play with three of your friends. After all, this was mean to be a multiplayer game.

While I don’t have Wii myself, I can walk down the hall and into any room and find people playing the game. Much like I did with Melee, I can definitely see myself buying a Wii just for this game. And I bet I’m not the only one.

While admittedly fantastic multiplayer games like Halo, Rock Band, and Call of Duty 4 have stolen our hearts the past couple of years, we must remember to gather to praise and give thanks for the latest installment in the greatest multiplayer franchise that has ever existed. Let’s brawl.

The views expressed in Scene & Heard are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Observer.

Contact Mychal Stanley at wstanley@nd.edu