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Game Review: Super Smash Bros. Brawl

For those of you familiar with this blog, or my personal tastes, you will know I am not a fan of the Wii. I think it is an incredibly gimmicky system designed to bring non-gamers into the video game industry. It also is not revolutionary. Swinging a control technology has been around for years, and we all laughed at those commercials with the lame bat attached to a baseball diamond that you swing at a tv for realism. Oh, but the second Nintendo makes something, it is seen as revolutionary, and look, everyone is playing Wii Sports! Wow, thanks for making even more dumbasses ruin video games for the rest of us, Nintendo; fuck you! (and yes, I know that I am wearing a Nintendo hoodie in my avatar).

Anyways, they did bring something that my friends and I can get behind (seeing as how we are bored out of our skulls of FPSs). Super Smash Bros. Brawl, or SSBB, Super Smash Bros. 3, or whatever the fuck you want to call it. Its here, doesn’t require the Wiitard mote, and has brought back classic Nintendo party gaming (party gaming never left us: we have always had Mario Carts, Parties, Guitar Heroes, and Rock Bands.)

Party gaming, specifically Nintendo, really started with the N64. The ability to have four people play on a game made those other people who used to have to watch now able to participate as well. This created in my youth weekends spent playing Goldeneye, Mario Cart, and the original Super Smash Bros. These games moved on to the next gen with Mario Cart Double Dash and Super Smash Bros. Melee, and thankfully they brought SSB to the Wii, and we will soon be getting the new Mario Cart.

If you are looking for top notch graphics, look not ye here. It looks like a crisper version of the previous games. Hell, Mr. Game & Watch may not have changed at all. But characters still move as smooth as always. But graphics are not what you come here for. Super Smash Bros. has always been a game where any player of any type can get into the game and kill people with the right character. Don’t expect to pick Lucas and clear the board, but you may have more luck with Fox or Link.

Speaking of characters, the original cast is back, as is most from the second game, and a slue of new characters (Snake?). Marth, who was originally a hidden character in the second game has now replaced Roy, with Ike being his hidden (and granted its fun that my name rhymes with Ike’s, but damn is he powerful, and I like to add an M to when the crowd cheers for him). I’ll go into my favorite characters further on. They have also added some new features to the game play. Items are still the same: the fan is great, the Pokeball can be hit or miss, and you can become METAL! , but there are some new ones as well.  There are three “artifacts” since I have no idea what they are, but if you get all three, you get to send a missile attack on the screen that knocks out anyone it connects with. Likewise, there is the new SuperSmash. An orb appears that must be hit. Whoever does gets a SuperSmash. They are all different: some are based on proximity, like MetaKnights; some affect the whole screen at once, like Lucas’; and others are controllable, like Samus’ canon, or Pikachu’s ball.

The stages kinda took a major hit, as in the designers were blindfolded, shot a few times, and then from their stacked corpses the levels were made. Now all the games have had tiny, two level battlefields, but for crying out loud, they are almost all like that now. In the past, a few stages would make us cringe, now, its like half. The Mario Bros. stage is notorious for you dying more to the objects (the Turtles and Crabs on full charge) on screen then you are your opponents. Likewise, to unlock certain awards, you have to build custom stages, and a few are included in the game. These all suck, and it makes choosing Random Stage more like choosing Russian Roulette. They kept some of the all time greats, like Castle Hyrule, but the new levels for the most part aren’t fun and too easy to get knocked out of. I will speak great praises to the moving wallpaper background of Fox’s new level. In a twist, it is probably more enjoyable to be a viewer than a player, being able to watch the epic space battle in the background. Of course, it does make some ponder how the hell everyone is breathing fighting on a moving spaceship.

Before I get into the characters, I would like to make a note of common player styles or archetypes you are likely to encounter. Some are based directly on character play styles, and others are a unique blend of that and player preferences. These are just a few examples of player styles that you will come across.

Berserkers: If the second the game starts and 2 characters are already in the air from damage, you are probably facing a berserker. Berserkers prefer big characters that can do a lot of damage to a lot of characters at once. If you see Ganondorf, Bowser, or Ike, you may be dealing with Berserkers. While their attacks may be slow, when they hit, they hit hard, and again, are likely to take out a few enemies.
How to Play: Choose a big character that can soak a lot of damage, charge into the middle and just keep hitting anyone that comes to you. If they try to snipe, charge them, or go for someone else. Your goal is doing massive damage, not being fancy.
How to Counter: Jugglers can usually stop them; snipers can pick them off from afar and usually retreat away from them, and if all else fails, a double team is nice. Just remember, they can take a lot more damage than you can, and if they land, they will show you that fact.

Jugglers: If you find yourself saying “Dude, knock it off, or I’m chucking this controller at you,” you are facing a Juggler. Jugglers don’t do much damage, but they don’t have to because they will hit you more times than you will hit them. Fortunately for the rest of us, they are also usually the weakest characters in the game, smashable in the 60s. If you see Shiek or Princess, you got a Juggler.
How to Play: You better like being a cheap lil’ shit, because that is the only real way to play these characters. You also have to be quick to stay under your enemy, and prepare for the inevitable other character coming in to take you out. Also remember, you are weak. In a slugfest, you will lose.
How to Counter: As I said, Jugglers don’t do much damage, and they can’t take much either. Sheik may be able to Juggle Ganondorf for minutes, but if he lands and gets an elbow off, she is gone. Teams ups work great, and so does sniping.

Snipers: If you are getting hit from across the screen, you are facing a sniper. Any character with a long range attack can be a sniper: Snake, Pikachu, Pit, Samus, etc. Basically you get as far away from everyone as possible, fire from afar, and when they come up, either knock em back, or get the hell out of there. You are also similar to the Vulture: a powerful move for Samus is to stand back, charge her canon, wait for her enemies to take each other into the triple digits, then fire at the first one in your crosshair. It will usually launch them off screen.
How to Play: First you have to have a character with a long range attack. Roy and Donkey Kong aren’t Snipers. Then you have to be sneaky. Maybe start off with the initial melee, and after you get knocked back, then commence firing. Remember, be on your toes because once someone knows what you are doing, they will beeline for you.
How to Counter: Make a beeline for them as soon as the game starts and don’t let them get distance. Keeping a sniper in melee removes them from their goal. Having a deflect attack also helps, even at a distance.

Duelists: In a way the opposite of the Berserker, the Duelist goes for one person at a time and doesn’t let up. While they can be Jugglers, the Duelist doesn’t care about anyone else, just the one person they target. This can allow them to get a number of kills on that one target, but it also leaves them open to attacks from others, and the ire of their target in the next match.
How to Play: Just be good with your character, and don’t care about what anyone else is doing. Just focus on one opponent and don’t let up.
How to Counter: Bring them back to reality. Remember this is a multiplayer game. If you find yourself under assault from a Duelist, on first chance, head into the other two players. They may kill you, but they will also notice the duelist, and kill him too.

Vultures: A cross between the Sniper and the Berserker, Vultures tend to wait for enemies to come to them, weakened by battles with other players, and take the kill for themselves. These characters usually have an area of effect or powerful smash with range on it, and they sit back, occasionally sending damage at the pack, and then waiting for the moment to swoop in and take the kill.
How to Play: Cheapachu (as I like to call him when I play him) is great for being a vulture. He has a mid-sized range attack, decent melee, and if enemies come at him, the cry of “PIKA!” signals a strike from heaven. It will also probably cause a strike from your friends in real life because they get sick of hearing it and getting hit by it. You can also do it from below, so it doesn’t hurt to get on a different level than your foes. Ike is also great as he has an extremely powerful attack. Charging in while your opponents are busy and getting his smash off can usually take them both out, while you have taken little to no damage.
How to counter: Duelists will really ruin a Vulture’s time, as they will constantly be on top of the Vulture. The way to take them out is the same with Snipers, just make sure you bring them into the mix and don’t let them profit off of your kills.

Now, to go into characters. I won’t go into all of them, as there are more than 20, and some I really don’t like to play (i.e. Sonic, Sheik, ROB). These are the ones I am most commonly seen playing.

Cheapachu: Pikachu is extremely cheap, is decent on the ground, but has tremendous anti-air attacks.
If you see someone in the Air, your Pika! attack won’t let him land. It also has a nice area, so jumping into a fray and doing this attack is sure to hurt your opponents. Don’t be afraid to get into the mix either, as you have a solid smash attacks, and your teleport attack is nice to get out of a bad situation. His SuperSmash lasts a long time, but can be difficult to control, and doesn’t have the massive effect others have, which is my only complaint.

Ike: Talk about a heavy hitter. His forward smash is great at just clearing the board. Remember it is slow to get off, but when you do, congrats. He does have a defense move, which is always nice, and a great dash attack. I used to be a Ganondorf guy, but Ike has taken my heart in regards to power. I don’t remember what his SuperSmash is, however. I think you have to be right next to your enemies to get it off, that or it is one of the cut-scene smashes. In either case, I usually don’t need it with Ike.

Mr. Game & Watch: I loved G&W from the second game, but he was too weak. Easy to knock out, difficult to coordinate his attacks. However I do look fondly on three of us as Game & Watch taking on the best out of our group and the bacon barrage that followed. This time around, he still is fairly easy to knock out, but his attacks are upgraded. His basic melee attack locks up enemies; he is a powerhouse in the air; his smashes are also solid. His shining moment is his SuperSmash: he turns into a giant 2D octopus that fills up most of the screen. While it can be a pain to navigate, it is sure to knockout at least two opponents with his tentacle rape.

Meta-Knight: Supposedly the people who are diehard players of this game have developed Tiers for this game, with characters like Lucas and Ness on the top due to their difficulty at mastering, but power they have if known on top in “God Tier”. Supposedly Meta-Knight is also “top tier.” I think the whole thing is bullshit, because anyone who is great with any character can wreck the screen. I however use Top Tier as a joke with my friends when I slaughter them with Meta-Knight. He has a number of aerial attacks, including his basic attack, and forward attack. He has good smashes, anti-air attacks, and can fly. Really, so long as you have some platform below you, you can be unstoppable, which is usually what happens. His SuperSmash is also a close proximity attack, which sucks if you forget that, but if you get it off, it does spell doom to those near you.

My friends and I have been playing SSBB since it came out (technically a day before it came out). The Wii has taken over as the dominant console, which is a freak change as we all hate the system. However this game is worth the system. I give it a 10 out of 10, as again, it is a game that anyone can win at, is always different, and has given me renewed confidence in Nintendo.


2 Responses to “Game Review: Super Smash Bros. Brawl”

  1. seriously dude. none of the characters are cheap. you just need to learn how to play with all the characters. each has their ups and downs. and the only character you appear to support is fox. and the creat a level is awesome. you can recreate crude versions of levels in the games and modify them if you want. yeah its not the same but thats the point. they want you to battle in tons of different areas and they want you to create your own worlds and use your imagination. im gonna say though that your strategies about the different types are brilliant. im just giving my opinion cause you obviously do know about the game and how to play.

  2. Hey, thanks for commenting, and I’m glad you enjoyed the player strategies.

    I know that none of the characters are cheap, but can be powerful if played the right way. Just my personal experience with Pikachu, who I love to play as, is I will constantly rain down thunder until one of my friends yells out “All right, who’s playing the fucking rat!”

    I don’t know where you got the Fox support thing from; I don’t play him at all. I feel that some people can be disgusting as Fox, and at the same time, he is a great character to learn the ropes of the game with, like Link.

    Also, my experience with the custom maps is a bit skewed. None of my friends nor I have played around with it, just my friend’s brother has, and he created some god awful maps solely to get the awards.

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