Super Smash Brothers is an alternative fighting game released by Nintendo. It has a unique fighting system, where rather than using a health bar, the object is to remove the opposition from the map. Damage inflicted makes it easier to knock the opponent about, and is recorded as a percentage, from 0% (initial health) all the way up to 999% (where an unfriendly fleck of dust is more than capable of removing you from the field of play). This is a refreshingly different style to that of most fighting games, and has won many accolades for the Super Smash Brothers series – this title included.
As a single player experience it comes off a bit dry. There is an Arcade mode, where depending on the character you select, you battle through an array of opponents and bosses until you are declared a champion (much like Mortal Combat). But unique to this title in the series is the Adventure mode: The Subspace Emissary, a story in which all the characters are used, and where they are required to work together to defeat the Subspace Army and the Ancient Minister…unfortunately this is no where near as interesting as it sounds. The single player story is the greatest downfall of Brawl. It is highly repetitive, with an uninspired and completely implausible story. In fact, unless you are wanting certain trophies, there’s no real reason to waste your time on the adventure at all, as all the characters, maps and music can be unlocked with enough time in the multiplayer modes. Upon its release, all the single player elements of the game were met with strong criticism, with many suggesting that it was an attempt to bring a little Crash Bandicoot into the world of Brawl.
Fortunately, the multiplayer mode is almost flawless. With the ability for free-for-all, team games, winner stays on, and play with just about any crazy mix of rules from low/high gravity, invisibility, super-speed….there is a nearly endless list of gaming possibilities. That it is four-player also adds some fun to the party side, where if someone is getting too cocky, an uneven team game can be arranged. The only thing I think this misses out on is a random team setting, where the computer would randomly set up teams, sometimes balanced, sometimes not.
The forty-one maps give a good range, and while some of them are too small or too big, most of them give a good feel for their native game. The most difficult ones to play on are the so called “active maps”, where objects can give bonuses or kill the character that activates it. Additionally, the side-scrolling maps, as in most games, are notorious.
Overall Super Smash Brothers Brawl is an excellent party game, perfectly suited to the Wii and those who own them. As something to pass the time with people who don’t spend half their lives on consoles, it’s perfect. As a single player – don’t bother.