Remember what I mentioned about Rockstar slowly teasing information to the masses with the Grand Theft Auto games? They had evidently taken a page from Nintendo’s playbook, since they did the exact same thing in Japan in 2001 before the release of Super Smash Bros. Melee. Nintendo ended up doing it again leading up Brawl‘s release in 2008; new items, characters and stages were revealed daily on Super Smash Bros. Dojo, the series’ official website.
As time wore on and updates became more and more intriguing, it was obvious that this entry into the series would be the most epic one to date. How were they even going to fit this much content onto one disc??? Assist trophies, “Final Smash” moves, a level creator, online play, a new Subspace Emissary adventure, and tons of new characters – some from Nintendo’s storied past, and some from way out in left field…
Were they even allowed to have some of these new characters in the game?
If the first two games settled arguments over which Nintendo character would win in a fight, then the latest Smash Bros. game took the argument over into rival territory. Sure, Mario had recently battled it out with Sonic the Hedgehog in Beijing at the Olympics, but not quite like this. Fanboys on both sides of the fence could finally live out their fantasy of pounding the piss out of the mascots they had loathed for so long.
It wasn’t just Sonic joining the fray, however.
Metal Gear mastermind Hideo Kojima had always been a fan of Shigeru Miyamoto’s work, and had pleaded his case to Nintendo to get the iconic Solid Snake character into Super Smash Bros. Melee. The game was already too far into development at that point, and the plan was shelved until work began on Brawl.
As a long time gamer who had many childish arguments about the Sega vs. Nintendo rivalry, I was surprised to see that more excitement was generated by Snake’s official addition to the roster than there was for Sonic’s. I’m not sure if this was due to Sega’s departure from making consoles, or the over-abundance of bad Sonic games released in the last few years, but Snake’s inclusion was truly a surprise we didn’t see coming.
So, about the game. It’s pretty darn-tootin’ amazing.
The Subspace Emissary is my favourite game mode, just because it has some great cutscenes and blends every character’s universe together in a convoluted (but hilarious) way. The single player is awesome, if only for the sheer number of characters in the tournament ladder. There’s a challenge mode with various character scenarios to conquer, and I’m pretty sure I still haven’t even played them all, there are so many. I even tried my hand at designing my own stage, but I could never duplicate the awesomeness of ones that were already in the game.
The general complaint about the game was that the online side of things was poorly executed. Like other Wii games, playing with friends over the network was more of a hassle than it was really worth. Who wants to go through the process of adding a 12-digit code, waiting for your friend to stop playing long enough to do the same, only to meet up on one of the laggiest online servers you’ve ever played on?
The real beauty of Super Smash Bros. Brawl is one shared by every game in the series; playing local multiplayer with a group of friends, and experiencing that intensity and friendly competition first hand. With every game in the series, there were wickedly fun times that were had.
From the days of drama-filled high school parties, to the after-class gaming sessions in our university years, all the way to the more recent squeezing-in of gaming gatherings into our busy life schedules, there’s no better way to ward off everyday stress than a good Smash Bros. sesh.