It's really no surprise that Nintendo decided to continue the Smash Brothers franchise on the Gamecube. The original game sold more than 5 million copies on the Nintendo 64, creating a loyal following for the small but growing franchise. The appeal of the game is easy to see; combine lovable Nintendo characters with multiplayer mayhem and you have an instant overnight success. The addition of new characters, gameplay modes, and original stages lifts Super Smash Brothers: Melee beyond its N64 counterpart. This game improves upon the original in every single way.
The main appeal of the Smash Brothers games is arena based multiplayer, and Nintendo has pulled out all the stops to make sure SSBM tops its predecessor. SSBM is a pure fighting game, pitting characters against each other in stage after stage of mayhem. Fourteen characters are available at the beginning of the game, with more arriving as you unlock them. The fourteen characters that are selectable include favorites such as Link and Mario, and old school characters like the Ice Climbers and Ness. Every character has their own moves and techniques, so it always feels refreshing to choose a different competitor. Button mashers as well as combo freaks will enjoy the fighting. Add almost 30 stages to the mix and you really begin to see the deep multiplayer experience. There are plenty of custom options for gamers to explore, extending the game's replay value.
Classic and adventure modes make up the single player portion of the game. Classic mode gives gamers the options of choosing a character and then proceeding to beat the crap out of all the other characters in a series of arena's that have been expertly designed. Bonus fights break up the monotony of the classic mode by including races and other interesting challenges. The adventure mode is a fresh new addition to the franchise, as it simply screams nostalgia. Everything feels familiar here. Classic 2D side scrolling action is combined with all the new elements that SSBM has brought to the table. If you enjoyed the Mario platforming games way back in the day, this mode will definitely appeal to you. There are several other single player options, such as event match, but gamers will likely spend most of their time with the two main modes.
There are some people who will simply label this game as a button masher. As with most fighting games, you will get out of the game what you put into it. If you are a patient person and take the time to learn the combos, the game will reward you by making you feel like a true champion. If you just like to pick these types of games up and button mash, then you can have a good time doing that as well. Nintendo made sure to design the game so that anyone can play, and they have succeeded at that. SSBM combines a deep multiplayer experience with a fulfilling single player romp. The game has an enormous amount of charm, and it mixes old school with new school almost seamlessly. Older gamers such as myself will be taken back to the NES days of gaming, while young whippersnappers will find themselves sucked into the excellent mechanics of the game. Either way, you're sure to enjoy SSBM.