Super Smash Bros. Brawl

Nintendo's 3rd installment to the Smash Brothers series.
Matt Triponey - Staff Reviewer

Content at a glance:

Cartoon Violence: violence in this game is Looney Tunes-esque.

Revealing Clothing: Zero Suit Samus wears a ridiculously tight outfit, and while she doesn't show any skin the outfit is still tight enough to leave little to the imagination.

Crude Humor: The character Wario has an attack where he farts to damage the enemy.

So, if you haven’t heard of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, you’ve probably been living under a rock somewhere in the wilds of Africa. Simply put- this is unarguably the most anticipated game this year.
For those of you not in the loop, Brawl is the third installment in the Super Smash Bros. series. Basically, the games are devoted to uniting Nintendo’s most iconic and historically significant characters for a fighting game where they can brawl it out to see who’s the best. Brawl takes that to the next level. But with its predecessor, Super Smash Bros. Melee, being considered one of the greatest games of all time, can Brawl live up to its own hype?
For the sake of those who are still waiting on their copy (I feel for you), I will avoid spoilers in this review.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl.  Illustration copyrighted.

If you’ve played a Super Smash Bros. game before, you’ll basically be able to pick up Brawl and play it pretty much like a pro. The gameplay has gone relatively unchanged, but what changes could really have been made?
If you haven’t played a Super Smash Bros. game before, the gameplay is simple to play but difficult to get really good at. It works like this- you attack your enemies with fighting moves (all of which are centered around the use of two buttons and the control stick- no complicated combos here, so you can breathe a sigh of relief). As your opponent takes damage, his damage percentage gets higher. The higher your percentage, the farther you’ll fly when hit. Work up your enemies to a significant damage percentage (it’s worth mentioning for the pros that characters are KO’d at much higher percentages this time around, so matches are much longer). When you do, hit them with a powerful attack and knock them off the screen. This will take away one life. The only real difference is that the game feels slowed down now. It doesn’t look that way in the videos, but it is. It will take a few matches to get used to the new speed, but it doesn’t take long.
So, you may ask, if nothing’s changed at all, aside from a few new characters and stages, how is this game any better than Melee. Here’s why- Nintendo really went all-out on game modes. In Melee, you could battle computers for about fifteen minutes in Classic, Adventure, and All-Star mode, all of which were fairly lackluster; you could collect trophies, which was pretty fun for a while; or you could battle in multiplayer, which is where the game will always find its appeal. In Brawl, you can do all that. You can also play through the 8-hour Subspace Emissary mode, a new adventure mode complete with levels, bosses, and cut-scenes. This mode also features co-op, if you don’t feel like going it alone. You can also collect a staggering amount of Stickers, which are found sort of like trophies. Speaking of trophies, you don’t just use your coins to gamble for them now. In Brawl, you go into a Coin Launcher minigame, where you shoot your coins at trophies as they pass by the screen. It’s much more fun than just sticking money in a lottery machine and hoping you get a new trophy. But wait- that’s not even close to all. In Brawl, you can create your own stages with a variety of pieces. I have seen some incredible stages created with this feature, and it will never cease to amuse. You can also play through classic games such as Super Mario Bros. or the Legend of Zelda for a minute or two using the Masterpieces feature. There’s also a chronology featuring just about every video game Nintendo’s ever made, if you want to educate yourself on the company’s history. The multiplayer options are staggering, too- free-for-alls, team battles, stock matches, time matches, coin battles, special matches that use items, tournaments… You could fill a book with the multiplayer options in this game. If you get bored with the multiplayer, you, my friend, do not have a pulse. And finally, the most anticipated option- online play. Admittedly, it’s as bare-bones as it gets- friend codes remain, and there isn’t even a ranking system. But it beats playing against computers, right?
I have only two complaints about the gameplay. For starters, the Subspace Emissary, while it is a novel and moderately amusing concept, gets boring after a while. It’s basically watch a cut-scene, beat up some enemies, walk through a door, repeat from step one. It’s fun at first, especially if you do co-op, but it loses its luster.
Secondly, and this isn’t really a gameplay complaint, the game’s roster does not live up to fan’s expectations. If you were expecting 40-plus characters, you’ll be disappointed. If you were expecting no clones, you’ll also be disappointed. The roster is good, all considered, but our expectations gone haywire kept it from being great.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl.  Illustration copyrighted.

Let me start off with this- this game should be rated E10. The Teen rating is not sensible. The violence in this game is Looney Tunes-esque. If those oh-so-violent cartoons don’t offend you, Brawl won’t offend you.
Another content concern is that some characters use magic for fighting moves, but it’s never explicit or particularly spiritual, no more so than Mario shooting fireballs out of his hands.
Finally, a new character called Zero Suit Samus (who is just a transformation of Samus accessed after she uses a Final Smash, a new hyper-powered move used after grabbing a Smash Ball item) wears a ridiculously tight outfit. I’m not sure how she gets into that thing or how it doesn’t chafe like mad. She doesn’t show any skin, which is a plus, but the outfit is still tight enough to leave little to the imagination. Fortunately, the game’s camera is situated pretty far away from the fighting, so you won’t see her in detail except for on the victory screen.


Super Smash Bros. Brawl.  Illustration copyrighted. Super Smash Bros. Brawl.  Illustration copyrighted. 

So, did Brawl live up to its hype? It’s arguable, and it depends on who you are, but I would say yes. Does it exceed it? Probably not. But considering how high the hype was, that’s not saying much. Brawl is one of the best games in years. The multiplayer alone will keep you occupied for months, let alone the mind-boggling amount of single-player options. The online mode is just icing on the cake- and it’s a big, delicious cake that you’ll probably never stop eating. So, go pick up a copy, and join the Brawl! You will not regret it.


Super Smash Bros. Brawl.  Illustration copyrighted. Super Smash Bros. Brawl.  Illustration copyrighted. 

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Eden Communications or the Answers Network.

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