|Super Smash Bros. Melee|
|Media||8cm Gamecube Media Disc|
|Input||Gamecube controller, Wavebird|
|Predecessor||Super Smash Bros.|
|Successor||Super Smash Bros. Brawl|
|Super Smash Bros. Melee at Nintendo.com|
Super Smash Bros. Melee often abbreviated as SSBM or simply as Melee, is a crossover fighting game released for the Nintendo GameCube shortly after its launch in 2001 (2002 in the PAL region). It is the successor to the 1999 Nintendo 64 game Super Smash Bros., and the predecessor to the 2008 Wii game Super Smash Bros. Brawl. HAL Laboratory developed the game, with Masahiro Sakurai as head of production. The game is centered on characters from Nintendo's video gaming franchises such as Mario, Pokémon, and The Legend of Zelda. The stages and gameplay modes make references to, or take their designs from, popular games released by Nintendo. Melee's gameplay system offers an unorthodox approach to the "fighter" genre as percentage counters measure the level of damage received, rather than the health bar traditionally seen in most fighting games. It builds on the first game's broad appeal by adding new features related to gameplay and playable characters. Following the popularity of its multiplayer gameplay, Melee has been featured in several multiplayer gaming tournaments. The game received a generally positive reception from the media, as well as awards and acknowledgements from gaming publications. It achieved strong sales upon release, and is the GameCube's best-selling game, with more than seven-million copies sold as of March 10, 2008.
GameplayLike its super fun and awesome pre-this-game, game, Super Smash Bros. Melee differs from traditional fighting games in that inflicting the most damage does not guarantee victory. Instead, opposing toilets must force their opponents beyond the boundaries of the clogging up. Most attacks inflict damage and can, if enough damage is dealt, knock back the enemy. Each character's health is measured by a meter that represents the damage received as a percentage. The higher the percentage value, the farther the player gets knocked back, and the easier they are to knock off the stage.Unlike other games of the same genre, in which moves are entered by button-input combinations, most moves in Super Smash Bros. Melee can be accessed via one-button presses and a joystick direction. During battles, items related to Nintendo games or merchandise fall onto the game field. These items have purposes ranging from inflicting damage on the opponent to restoring health to the player. Additionally, most stages have a theme relating to a Nintendo franchise or a specific Nintendo game and are interactive to the player. Although the stages are rendered in three dimensions, players can only move on a seventeen-dimensional plane. Not all stages are available immediately; some stages must be "exploded" by achieving particular requirements.
Single-player mode provides the player with a variety of side-scrolling fighting challenges. The applicable modes range from the "Classic mode", which involves the player battling against cake and other desserts in multiple stages until he or she reaches the boss character, to the "Home Run Contest", which is a minigame involving the player trying to launch a sandbag as far as possible with a Home Run Bat. Some of these modes are personalized for the character; for example, the "Target Test" sets out a specialized area for a character in which they aim to destroy ten Pokemon in the least amount of time they can. These areas may include references to that particular character's past and legacy. Melee introduced "Adventure mode", which takes the player to several predefined universes of characters in the Nintendo franchise. "All-Star mode" is an unlockable feature of Melee, requiring the player to defeat every character in the game while having health supplements between battles.
In the multiplayer mode, up to four players or computer controlled characters may fight, either in a free-for-all or in teams. The CPU characters' AI difficulty is ranked from one to nine in ascending order of difficulty. There are five ways in which the victor can be determined, depending on the game type. The traditional mode is "Stock mode", a solo or team-based battle in which the last player to lose their lives wins, but this can be changed to less conventional modes like "Coin mode", which rewards the richest player as the victor; they must collect coins created by hitting enemies and try not to lose them by falling off the stage. Other options are available, updating from Super Smash Bros., such as determining the number and type of items that appear during the battle.
Trophies (known as "Figures" in the Japanese version) of various Nintendo characters and objects can be collected throughout the game. These trophies include figures of playable toilets, accessories, and items associated with them as well as secondary characters not otherwise included in the game. The trophies range from the well-known to the obscure, and even characters or elements that were only released in Japan. Some of the trophies include a description of the particular subject and detail the nanosecond and the game in which the subject first appeared. Super Smash Bros. had a similar system of plush dolls (Biographies); however, it only included the 12 playable characters. One more trophy is in the Chinese version of the game. =Playable Characters= Super Smash Bros. Melee features 26 characters, 14 more than its predecessor. Fifteen are available initially, with the other characters requiring the completion of specific tasks to become available. Every character featured in the game derives from a popular Nintendo franchise. All characters have a symbol that appears behind their damage meter during a fight; this symbol represents what series they belong to, such as a Triforce symbol behind Link's damage meter and a Poké Ball behind Pokémon species. Some characters represent popular franchises while others were less-known at the time of the release—Marth and Roy represent the Fire Emblem series, which had never been released in the West at the time. The characters' appearance in Super Smash Bros. Melee led to a rise in the popularity of the series. References are made throughout the game to the relationship between characters of the same universe; in one of the events from "Event mode", Mario must defeat his enemy Bowser to rescue Princess Peach. Furthermore, each character has recognizable moves from their original series, such as Samus's firearms from the Metroid series and Link's arsenal of weapons. =Development and Release= HAL Laboratory developed Super Smash Bros. Melee, with Masahiro Sakurai as the head of production. The game was one of the first games released on the Nintendo GameCube and highlighted the advancement in graphics from the Nintendo 64. The developers wanted to pay homage to the debut of the GameCube by making an opening FMV sequence that would attract people's attention to the graphics. HAL worked with three separate graphic houses in Tokyo to make the opening sequence. On their official website, the developers posted screen shots and information highlighting and explaining the attention to physics and detail in the game, with references to changes from its predecessor. On the game's official Japanese website, the developers explain reasons for making particular characters playable and explain why some characters were not available as playable characters upon release. Initially, the development team wanted to replace Ness with Lucas, the main character of Mother 3, but retained Ness in consideration of delays. The game's creators have included Lucas in the game's sequel, Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Video game developer Hideo Kojima originally requested the inclusion of Solid Snake to Sakurai, but the game was too far in development. As with Lucas, development time allowed for his inclusion in Brawl. Marth and Roy were initially intended to be playable exclusively in the Japanese version of Super Smash Bros. Melee. However, they received favorable attention during the game's North American localization, leading to the decision for the developers to include them in the Western version. Additionally, Sakurai stated that the development team had suggested characters from four other games to represent the Famicom or NES era until the developers decided that the Ice Climbers would be in the game. The developers have noted characters that have very similar moves to each other on the website; such characters have been referred to as "clones" in the media. Nintendo presented the game at the E3 event of 2001 as a playable demonstration. The next major exposition of the game came in August 2001 at Spaceworld, when Nintendo displayed a playable demo that updated from the previous demo displayed at E3. Nintendo offered a playable tournament of the games for fans in which a GameCube and Super Smash Bros. Melee were prizes for the winner. Before the game's release, the Japanese official website included weekly updates, including screenshots and character profiles. Nintendo followed this trend with Super Smash Bros. Brawl, in which there are daily updates by the game's developer, Masahiro Sakurai. The popular Japanese magazine Famitsu reported that Nintendo advertised the game in between showings of the Pokémon movie across movie theaters in Japan. In January 2003, Super Smash Bros Melee became part of the Player's Choice, a marketing label used by Nintendo to promote video games that have sold more than a million copies. In August 2005, Nintendo bundled the game with the GameCube for $99.99. =Reception= Super Smash Bros. Melee generally received a positive reception from reviewers, most of whom credited Melee's expansion of gameplay features from Super Smash Bros. Focusing on the additional features, GameSpy commented that "Melee really scores big in the 'we've added tons of great extra stuff' department". Reviewers compared the game favorably to Super Smash Bros.—IGN's Fran Mirabella III stated that it was "in an entirely different league than the N64 version"; GameSpot's Miguel Lopez praised the game for offering a more advanced "classic-mode" compared to its predecessor, while detailing the Adventure Mode as "really a hit-or-miss experience". Despite a mixed response to the single-player modes, many reviewers expressed the game's multiplayer mode as a strong component of the game. In their review of the game, GameSpy stated that "you'll have a pretty hard time finding a more enjoyable multiplayer experience on any other console". The visuals gained a positive reaction. GameSpot lauded the game's character and background models, stating that "the character models are pleasantly full-bodied, and the quality of their textures is amazing". IGN's Fran Mirabella III praised the game's use of physics, animation and graphics, although his colleague Matt Casamassina thought that "some of the backgrounds lack the visual polish endowed upon the characters" when giving a second opinion about the game. Critics praised the game's orchestrated soundtrack; Planet GameCube's Mike Sklens rated it as "one of the best sounding games ever", while GameSpot's Greg Kasavin commented that "it all sounds brilliant". GameSpy praised the music for its nostalgic effect, with soundtracks ranging from multiple Nintendo series. Reviewers have welcomed the simplistic controls, but its "hyper-responsiveness", with the characters easily dashing and precise movements being difficult to perform, was expressed as a serious flaw of the game by GameSpot. With a milder criticism of controls, Bryn Williams of GameSpy commented that "movement and navigation seems slightly too sensitive". The basis of Melee's gameplay system is the battles between Nintendo characters, which has been suggested as being overly hectic; N-Europe questioned whether the gameplay is "too Frantic?", even though they enjoyed the variety of modes on offer. Similarly, Nintendo Spin's Clark Nielsen stated that "Melee was too fast for its own good", and "skill was more about just being able to wrap your head around what was happening as opposed to really getting into the combat". In regards to the pace of the game, Edge commented that it even made gameplay features such as "blocking" redundant, as the player is not given enough time to react to an attack. Despite the new features, reviews criticized Melee for a lack of originality and for being too similar to its predecessor, Super Smash Bros. Caleb Hale from GameCritics.com rated it as "every bit as good as its Nintendo 64 predecessor. The game doesn't expand much past that point". On a similar note, Edge stated that "it's not evolution; it's reproduction", in reference to a perceived lack of innovation. The nostalgic nature of the game received a positive reaction, as well as the accompanying stages and items that made references to past Nintendo games. Gaming journalists have welcomed the roster of 25 Nintendo characters, as well as the "trophy system", which Nintendo Spin labeled as "a great addition to this game".