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Apr 27, 2008

Review: Super Smash Bros. Brawl

Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Nintendo, Game Arts
Available now for Nintendo Wii

Nintendo fans were beside themselves with joy last month when the newest sequel to the Super Smash Bros. series was finally released after a very long and drawn out wait. Being that I’ve never played a Smash Bros. game before, I knew that this was certainly going to be a fun review and would either end in tears or with me getting a new bad habit. Super Smash Bros. Brawl is a fighting/platforming game with such a silly cast of Nintendo characters, that you would assume it would have died off after the first game, but the series has prevailed with its legion of devoted fans and I was determined to find out why.

Each Super Smash Bros. Brawl character has several types of moves ranging from smash attacks to special attacks to grab and throws. They also get items that drop randomly throughout stages that provide special attacks or recover health. Health is determined by how low their damage percentage is and each vs. goal is to raise your enemies’ percentage high enough, so that when you use your smash attack to knock them off screen they won’t return. Some characters’ moves seem to work better than others, but everyone I played with seemed to pick their favourites based on skill level. I found Fox McCloud and Link easier to use than most, but even their characters were hard to control, especially when it came to jumping and landing.

Players get a multiplayer and single player mode to choose from. The single player option offered modes where you could train against controlled or computer opponent and an adventure game, where you could play through the roster of open characters and unlock a few new ones along the way. There are also mini games and events to play to unlock more fun stuff.

The multiplayer mode offers several brawl modes where you can fight up to 3 opponents, human or computer at once, or 16 opponents at a time, or even 32 opponents in tournament mode and finally there are two brawl modes where you can set the rules to your liking with or without affecting your fighting records. Here you can also save your brawl records onto your Wii remote, so you can take your remote to a friend’s house to brawl over there.

Online play was absolutely terrible and was more trouble than it was worth. Nintendo gives you the option to play with friends on your list, but you and your friends must each input the friend codes from both the system and the game to play each other. Anyone mode allows you to play anyone online without codes, but its not that good either because trying to find someone online at any point during the day is darn near impossible. I did manage to convince a friend or two to play online with me, but our connections were weak and we kept getting dropped off mid-game, so in the end, I just gave up on trying to play online.

I did love playing through all the Nintendo themed levels with all the NES characters and the best part was being able to see some of those old characters recreated in 3D just for this game. I loved the adventure mode and honestly preferred it over the brawl mode because it actually felt like the characters fit in the game. Fighting games need hardcore characters and Mario just doesn’t seem right for the role, which for me made the brawl part of the game less fun. Difficult controls, boring concepts and cute characters beating on each other just didn’t hook me.

If you truly love fighting games and are a Nintendo fan, then please buy this game, but if you prefer flawless victories over seeing Wario’s farting attack, then don’t bother picking up Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

Rating: 6 out of 10
Rent it

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