Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Look to the Past: Games of the Years 2001 - Super Smash Bros. Melee


Super Smash Bros. Melee (GameCube)

Sonic Adventure 2, Final Fantasy X, Grand Theft Auto III, Halo: Combat Evolved, Pikmin, Jak & Daxter, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Paper Mario, Burnout, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3. Are those enough big names for you? Well, all those and more came out in 2001. It looks like this whole new millennium thing is working out well. However, when it comes to the best of the best, one game stands above them all: Super Smash Bros. Melee. Not only did Melee put the original Super Smash Bros. to shame, but it became one of the greatest games of all time in the process. Back in the days when online play for consoles was an obscure novelty and the rhythm genre was dominated by DDR, there was no substitute for Melee when it came to a game-yearning group a friends. Instantly playable for newcomers and endlessly gratifying for experienced players, Melee offered a list of characters, modes, stages, and unlockables longer than Sonic 06's loading times. All of the old combatants returned from the first game, mingling with a huge cast of new characters ranging from obvious inclusions (such as Bowser and Zelda) to some pretty far-out inclusions (see Mr. Game & Watch). The stages didn't slack either and pulled memorable locales from a ton of classic series. Everything was drenched in a Nintendo nostalgia, even going so far as to include hundreds of collectable 3D trophies that cataloged the vast history of what many view as the greatest video game establishment that ever was.

A futuristic race car driver, a cape-bearing plumber, a gorilla with a tie, and a ball of pink do battle atop a giant sea turtle's back. That would make a good anime.

One of the most impressive things about Melee was the extent to which it creamed its predecessor, as if the creators pushed the Turbo button on the Mad Catz controller that is Super Smash Bros. and ran with it. The whole experience exploded in scope, upping both the graphics and gameplay to new heights never imagined. The pace was quickened and the move set enlarged, allowing for a far more versatile and deep experience. New dodging mechanics were introduced as well, and a boatload of fresh items arrived to make things even crazier. The stages became huge and dynamic, even going so far as to pit fighters against one another on top of giant, Pokemon-shaped balloons and inside a massive Game & Watch. Throwing every other fighting series' principles to the wind, Melee became an exciting game that topped its competition while barely staying in the same genre. Whether two players duked it out one-on-one without any items to get in the way or a room full of people took turns chucking bombs at each other for laughs, Super Smash Bros. refused to disappoint. In conclusion, it goes down in history as one of the greatest games to ever exist because Roy was in it. I'll never forgive Brawl.


NintendoLegend said...

I __LOVE__ me some Melee! Melee was the game that I played my second competitive gaming tournament for (first was Goldeneye). I can still rock the surprise Ness and Jigglypuff, but usually lean back on Sheik.

Oh, and in regards to your eye strain for my new site background, sorry about that! My first thought was "what long-time gamer can't handle a little eye strain?" but, hey, the great thing about backgrounds is that they can change, so I'll keep an eye out for other complaints and see if it comes up more often. Otherwise, thanks!

Emblem180 said...

Oh, you were tournaments, eh? I have a friend who got way into the nuts and bolts of Melee. He knows all about the brackets, wavedashing, and that sort of crazy stuff. I'm not that invested in the strategy (or talented enough to be!) but it sounds like a pretty fascinating sport. But that's the beauty of Super Smash Bros... it can be played any way you like!

As for the background, it's not terribly intrusive and I really do like the design. Besides, if the age of 3D gaming is truly here, I'd better get used to some eye strain! =D Thanks for taking note, though.