Hello gamers and welcome to week 10 of our 100 reviews in 100 days! We are rapidly approaching the mid point of our list and in case you haven’t had the opportunity to catch anything before this, fear not, it’s still there. The Ultimate Gamer has joined forces with Pwnrank.com to brink you the top 100 games ever made!
Smashing into the 55 position…
After the original game for the Nintendo 64, Super Smash Brothers Melee was a game that most fans of Nintendo were excited about. It filled expectations and what started as a fun family party game became playable at a high competitive level in ways unforeseen by its creators. Melee is the biggest reason many people still have a Game Cube and four controllers floating around at home.
Enter the Fight
Most people are familiar with the Super Smash Brothers games, but for those of you who are not, here’s a quick synopsis. Take characters from your favorite Nintendo games; Now, it’s time to fight them against each other. Fights between characters such as Mario, Link, Kirby, and Pikachu become reality. The game features a one player mode, where you’ll fight each character on the roaster until you come to a final fight, as well as small challenges, but the sweetness comes from the multiplayer. Playing Smash Brothers Melee with friends has the competition of other fighter games, but can keep lightheartedness that many other button smashing games do not.
Also unlike other fighting games, characters don’t have health. Instead, hits cause a percentage to increase for the struck character. A higher percentage causes the fighter to fly farther when hit. A player loses a ‘stock’ when they were knocked off the map, either up, down, or to the side. Either the player with the most stock and lowest percentage at the end of game time, or the last player on the stage, won the round. The game was different, but simple enough for anyone to grasp quickly, enabling the game to be picked up by any range of experienced gamer.
Melee added a good number of characters to the roster from the original game. Some made perfect sense, but others were odd additions that kept the game fairly silly, such as Mr. Game and Watch. Depending on your play style, there was a character that would be a fit for you and let you fight the in the style you enjoyed. Aside from the core characters, more would unlock as you played through the single player mode and challenges as you gained achievements for them. With a total number of 26 characters to choose from, Melee more than doubled the character count of the original.
The stages were also more dynamic in Melee, and some had big effects on play. The Changing landscape the Pokémon Arena to bomb blocks on Kirby’s Green Greens. The random assortment of items added to the diversity to ensure that no two games would ever be the same (matches with Poké-balls on do not count, and anyone who says they do, is not your friend). This diversity of characters, stages, and items made every game you played with friends unique. You could select which items were able to drop, and what stages were included in ‘Random’, so diverse house rules could apply.
When Super Smash Brother’s Melee was designed and released, the last thing the developers expected that it would become a high end fighting game, but there were certain aspects of the game that allowed a player, if they looked for it and played enough, to pick up on and use to their advantage. Small techniques would allow a character to move faster and combine attacks in ways otherwise not possible. Some players discovered they could slightly control themselves while flying through the air after being hit (called DI, or Directional Influence), or a shield-stop would quickly stop a character mid dash to block an attack and open them for a grab. The list goes on, including a couple combos named after the players who discovered/popularized them.
This lead to players fighting on levels unforeseen by the developers. Fights between such players were quick and fast. People who had a love for the game began hosting tournaments, having skilled players from nearby traveling meet other players and to compete. Super Smash Brothers Melee became more than a fun party game; it became competitive. With the freedom the game had to offer, players looked different during a fight, even when using the same characters, something other fighting games didn’t show. This created a group of players passionate about competitive Super Smash Brothers Melee, many of which still play on a console over a decade old.
One More Game
The follow up of Melee, Super Smash Brothers Brawl on the Wii, didn’t contain many of the aspects that made Melee so popular. I never played much of Brawl, and could never put my finger on why until I really looked at Melee in comparison. The speed of Melee allowed aggressive play and quick moves, a style from which Brawl moved away. I’ve played Melee until the sun rose the next morning, and fighting not to fall asleep, controller in hand. “One more game” my brother or I would protest, and the other would always agree to it. For a person that has never been into fighting games, Melee is the Holy Grail, allowing creativity of combos, rather than have to memorize a sequence of buttons.
Five out of five is what Super Smash Brothers Melee deserves, and it will always get one more game from me.