January 10,2008 - Super Smash Bros. was originally an insane idea developed by the people at HAL Laboratories, the ones responsible for Kirby. But ever since Super Smash Bros. Melee, the second entry in the series that ended up being a smash hit, Super Smash Bros. soon became the sole reason to own a Nintendo console. Ask all the GameCube owners you know; they most likely bought the system because of Super Smash Bros. Melee, as it is the best-selling game on the Cube. This is likely to be the same story with the Wii and Super Smash Bros. Brawl, even if it does end up to just be a souped up version of Melee.
Brawl was unveiled pretty much the same way Melee was for the GameCube. Nintendo, in their typical theatrical fashion, had a showstopper set for the Electronic Entertainment Expo—which is sadly now a shell of its former self. The teaser trailer for the game showed Mario in a fierce battle with Kirby as newcomers Pit (Kid Ikarus) and even Wario showed up for the Brawl. There were even additional takes on popular characters like Zero Suit Samus, the bodacious bounty hunter without her power suit introduced in Metroid: Zero Mission. When the vibrancy of the teaser seemed to have ended, there was one unexpected piece at the end. In the midst of a fight on Yoshi's Island, a box hid in the background, seemingly out of place. Then, the screen turned black and a codec conversation occurred. Snake from Metal Gear was having a conversation with Otacon. That's right; Solid Snake was a confirmed newcomer to the brawl.
That seems to be the biggest addition to the Super Smash Bros. series, the arrival of big-name 3rd party characters. The developers have promised no more than three, and at this point in time, only two are known--Solid Snake as previously mentioned and Sonic the Hedgehog. Who knows? There might not even be a third character.
Aside from a whole bunch of new characters, what else highlights the new features? For single player action, the developers have beefed up the Adventure Mode introduced in Melee with a new version called the Subspace Emissary. Unlike Melee's unastounding Adventure Mode, the Subspace Emissary is a fully blown out story mode. Instead of choosing a single character to act out on the adventure, you're forced to use various characters that have to make the best out certain situations. This mode actually has the game's characters interacting with each other in a more personal fashion, rather than just kicking ass all the time.
In terms of actual gameplay, in our first few tries with our demo, Brawl pretty much did play like a souped up version of Melee. However Nintendo really insists that this new item, the Smash Ball, changes gameplay drastically. The Smash Ball is an item that randomly appears, floating around the stage, and just like every cool item in the game, you have to violently compete with your opponent to get it. Except this time, it's not about picking it up, because you can't. You have to break it open with an array of attacks. If and when you succeed, you can pull off what's called the Final Smash, the strongest attack your character has in his, her, or its arsenal. Some of the coolest Final Smashes we've seen belonged to the Pokémon Trainer, Pit, Sonic, and Samus. The Pokémon Trainer, one of the newcomers in the game, can unleash Charizard, Ivysaur, and Squirtle at the same time to unleash a total assault on all the brawlers. Pit can call upon the Gods to get other angelic creatures to do his dirty work (pretty similar to how Beedrill came out of a PokéBall in the original Smash Bros.). Sonic can go Super Sonic and fight like a Super Saiyan, and Samus unleashes a crazy shot from her beam and then morph into Zero Suit Samus. Aside from the fact that Final Smashes are incredibly cool, it looks more like it adds flash and flare to the game, rather than totally change gameplay--but who are we to judge at this point?
Speaking of cool items, the coolest item in the previous games was probably the PokéBall, because it was a bringer of Pokémon fan service along with the fact that the Pokémon definitely packed a punch. Now there's a new item called the Assist Trophy that essentially does the same thing, but it doesn't summon Pokémon all the time. It calls upon characters from other games to do your dirty work. Among these characters from the Assist Trophies include Lyn from the first Fire Emblem for the Game Boy Advance, Little Mac from Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!, and many more.
Another reason for the immediate success of the Smash Bros. series is the nostalgic stages the brawlers duke it out on. Nintendo's All-Stars have roughed it in the Lylat System, the Mushroom Kingdom, Hyrule and Termina, and even that strange place from Doki Doki Panic (ala Super Mario Bros. 2). In Brawl, the stages remain in tune with familiar areas while also being totally interactive. Each character, including the new ones, has their own special stage, even Solid Snake. You can actually fight at the entrance where Snake killed Sniper Wolf in Metal Gear Solid. You can even fight in a WarioWare-themed stage where the environment changes every few seconds for some hectic brawling. There are also a few new stages that have nothing to do with the characters but work in total service to Nintendo fans everywhere. There's an Animal Crossing-themed stage that changes over time like the actual game itself, and a PictoChat stage that changes depending on what's randomly drawn. That's nothing to really brag about, but in the end, it's just cool.
It's no secret that Brawl is going to carry a lot of baggage with diehard Nintendo fans. Melee featured simple controls that were easy to get used to, but with all fighting games, it requires an appropriate style to master. If you're one of those self-obsessed Melee players who post their coolest combos on YouTube, then yes, you've already developed a playing style. But what use is a playing style without a good control scheme? That's one of the cooler things about this edition of Super Smash Bros.; the game is doing a great service by giving players four methods of control. In addition to the "new standard", which would be the Nunchuck and Wii Remote combination, players can also use just the Wii Remote, the Classic Controller, and even the GameCube controller, which should definitely be a sigh of relief to hardcore Melee players.
You may be thinking that Super Smash Bros. is just a whole bunch of Nintendo fan service. Well, it is. Then again, Nintendo fans are a wild bunch, and you'll have to be hard-pressed to find someone who's never liked Nintendo or anything to do with the publisher. And if you somehow find somebody who does, Brawl features characters from Sonic the Hedgehog and the Metal Gear series. It might be Nintendo's cheap scheme to copy a game like Marvel vs. Capcom, but that game is also fan service. Either way you look at it, Brawl is looking like a solid game. The game is coming exactly one month from now, and this preview has barely even scratched the surface. We haven’t even addressed the online mode yet. Rest assured, the online component and a whole lot more will be explained in a whole lot more detail when our review goes up in just a matter of weeks! If you want more Brawl, our GameTrailers.com feed should have more than enough to keep you satisfied, but don't forget the Smash Bros. Dojo either.