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Super Smash Brothers MeleeGame Cube Title Updates Classic Characters

by Jim Bray

Super Smash Brothers Melee is an interesting blend of old and new, and of genres.

While it's much like the classic Super Mario Brothers games, it's also like one of those kick and chop fighting games; the result is a hybrid that brings new life to the Mario franchise and the fighting genre at the same time.

The game looks superficially like a Super Mario title in that your character (you can choose to be one of the famous plumber or a number of other Nintendo characters including Yoshi, Donkey Kong, Pikachu, Fox McCloud and others) begins the adventure as usual, heading off to the right, avoiding the usual enemies and jumping through the usual hoops (well, maybe not hoops, but bricks, water hazards and the like).

But just when you think you're in yet another Super Mario title, a major league enemy shows up and it's time to chop, kick or use whatever other power your character sports against this baddie.

Each character has a fighting arena including power-ups and a variety of obstacles. The goal is to knock your opponent out of the playing field as many times as possible within a specified time. If you really dominate these bad guys you can kick them so hard they fly away, and turn into a constellation in the sky. And isn't that nice?

Each character has its weapon of choice, too. For example, Link uses his Master Sword, Yoshi turns enemies into eggs after slurping them up, while Fox McCloud uses his trusty Blaster. Any character has the ability to take advantage of special attack items like Fire Flowers and Bob-ombs.

The game is designed to let up to four players fight on the same screen simultaneously, or one player can go it alone. We could only try the single player mode, since we only had one controller at the time.

Graphics and sound quality are very good. The graphics may not be up to the potential of other platforms, but it doesn't really affect your enjoyment of the game.

Nintendo says Super Smash Bros. is extremely easy to learn, and for the most part that's true, but as someone who's only a part time gamer I had problems with some of the levels. This is only to be expected, of course, and to become a true master of the game takes more hours of practice than I had a chance (or was willing) to put in.

Still, it's an interesting title and quite a bit of fun and, as someone who has never really cared for this kung fu-type games, I liked the way they blended the genres in this particular title.

Jim Bray's technology columns are distributed by the TechnoFILE and Mochila Syndicates. Copyright Jim Bray.


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January 31, 2006