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    Flowteau
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    Smash64 vs Melee vs Brawl: The Ultimate Review

    Post  Flowteau on Thu Jan 13, 2011 7:00 pm

    Now, I'm going to give a full, legitimate comparison between Smash64, Melee, and Brawl. This time, I will give my full opinion on Brawl, rather than just point out the cons it has.

    Smash Brothers was never meant to be as competitive as the consumers take it today. While Smash64 was clearly supposed to be just-for-fun (moderately low budget, created by an employee for a subsidiary of Nintendo, and was originally meant to be a Japan-only release), Melee has a fighting system with so much versatility that it sparked a big tournament scene. Players soon found out which characters are the most advantageous and techniques that are just side effects of the intended physics (the developers discovered wavedashing during development, though). Years later, Brawl came out. The critics generally liked this one the most, but fan reception was mixed. Whether it was intentional is unconfirmed, but the physics were much different from Melee; they were smoothened out so that players can't take advantage of the kinks in the engine that provided players the ability to make extremely fast maneuvers or make Bowser suck less. This disappointed a lot of players, but many others either got over it or even prefer the new physics, allegedly because they are less favorable to the player who is really good at making inescapable and almost broken combos. Brawl, on the good side, improved on the problems that Melee had.

    Physics

    Smash64 has the highest average knockback, so some players argue that it has the best physics for combos.

    Melee : It has lower knockback than Smash64, but the introduction of vertical throws and The Knee is enough for me to think it has better combo physics than Smash 64. Also, the lower knockback allows you to hit the opponent more. The introduction of the air-dodge provides a lot more versatility.

    Brawl: The physics feature much slower movement, TRIPPING, and overall gameplay that is based more around racking up damage for lengthier matches rather than demonstrating technical skill (or suck). The air-dodge was changed so that it doesn't lead to the helpless state, so you can use it multiple times before landing. It was also changed so that it works based on momentum, so you can't influence the direction of the air-dodge to the same extent that you could in Melee, and you can't just stay still in the air. This change made wavedashing impossible in Brawl. L-canceling was removed, but auto-canceling is still in, as usual. *Auto-canceling is automatic animation canceling that occurs if you're already close enough to the ground: about 4 frames. It's probably intended by the developers.
    While this isn't exactly an effect of the physics, here's another interesting point: The animations of charging up smash-attacks now have the characters move too much. This feature's effect on the game ranges from good (Lucario's super cool Tai-Chi movements!) to somewhat annoying (Luigi wobbling while charging his up-smash). I personally prefer to have the characters stay still while charging because the effect is awesome (it's like the cousin of slow-motion.), except for Lucario. Those animations are too awesome to leave out.

    Overall, the point goes to Melee. The combos were much more dynamic. Tripping sucks.

    Characters

    Smash64: This game doesn't really have much to complain about in character selection. There are only 12 of them, and only 1 clone. You can't hate Luigi for being a clone of Mario; he got his start as a palette-swap for player two. Along with that, the side-b attacks haven't been made then, so the dev team didn't really have a chance to make him much different. Peach, Bowser, Mewtwo, Meowth, Pit, and King Dedede were going to be in the game, but for whatever reason, they weren't included.

    Melee: This game, without a doubt, has the worst character selection in the series. Instead of adding more completely new characters, the space had to be wasted on Dr. Mario (why not make him an alternate colour for Mario?), Pichu (why not make it a summoned Pokémon?) and Young Link (OoT may be one of the best games of all time, but is that really a reason to make him a playable character instead of Pit and Wario?) Roy and Marth were originally going to be Japan-only characters, and Lucas was going to replace Ness.

    Brawl: It's possible for almost any game character to be playable in Smash Bros.; a notable one that isn't is Ridley, who is simply too big (Smash Bros. has its share of resized characters, but a Ridley any smaller than he regularly is would just be weird.) It's just a matter of asking. Hideo Kojima practically begged for Snake to be in Melee; he didn't make the cut not because his games are very violent and rated M, but because Melee was just too late in development. Mega Man didn't appear in Brawl simply because nobody asked; Nintendo didn't ask Capcom, and Capcom didn't ask Nintendo. Here's to hoping that we'll see Amaterasu and the RE4 Merchant in the next game.
    My problem with Brawl's character selection is that it's a complete fail at balance. Meta Knight and Ganondorf have their own tiers, and everyone else is squished in the middle! If they wanted the game to be closer to balanced, they would have made every veteran good, rather than nerfing them all! (Except Mr. Game & Watch and Bowser.) The problem is also prevalent in the new characters; although Ike's running speed is pretty accurate with his game, his attack speed is unnecessarily slow and the down-slash of his Aether doesn't have a projectile like it did in Fire Emblem!
    The example of failed balanced that bugs me the most is Sonic. Let's compare him to Meta Knight.
    1. Both of them have good standard attack speed.
    2. Meta Knight's attacks have decent knockback. Sonic's hardly have any knockback.
    3. Meta Knight's Dimensional Cape, Shuttle Loop, and all of his standard attacks besides his dash-attack have transcendent priority. Sonic's attacks have low priority.
    4. Meta Knight has four unpredictable recovery moves. Sonic has some recovery moves, but they're very easy to counter.
    5. Meta Knight specialized in quickly slashing opponents to win. Sonic specializes in running and stalling under the stage.
    6 Meta Knight has no projectiles, but makes up for it with very quick moves. Sonic has a projectile that's not even useful, considering that it has to hit the opponent from above, it's weak, and it's also his recovery move
    Sonic would have been so much better yet balanced if they made any of his attacks high priority.
    On the good side, Brawl Luigified the veteran clones to be semiclones, and Toon Link is different enough for people to consider him a semiclone. Falco's new moves suck, but he's finally higher tier than Fox! Also, it has characters that fans thought they would only dream of! Before the official website had its weekly updates, I just had to predict what character would make it to Brawl. of course, I thought Wario, Waluigi (only an assist trophy; those jerks...), and Ike, but I also predicted Pokémon Trainer and Sonic! Yes, I actually thought of the possibility of Pokémon Trainer being in Smash Bros., commanding his Pokémon to fight for him.

    Point goes to Brawl.

    Stages

    Smash64: This game has an efficient stage selection for tournament use, not that there's a big tournament scene to begin with; the stages are less gimmicky, and only 3-4 are banned. However, it doesn't have a completely flat stage in VS Mode! The fan-named Master Hand's Domain only appears in the single-player mode. Saffron City is my favorite stage, and I wish it got a good successor (Fourside is banned and doesn't have Pokémon).

    Melee: In my opinion, Melee has, by average, the worst stage selection. There's a decent variety of tournament-legal stages, but there are way too many stages that are just pointless, like Venom, Brinstar Depths, and Fountain of Dreams (it's tournament-legal on singles, but the visuals and size make it very disorienting to play on).

    Brawl: Nintendo definitely didn't mess around when choosing these. They've succeeded in really immersing the player in the environments of the games. Of course there are the obligatory stages like Battlefield and Final Destination, but the game's really great stages include Mario Bros., Mushroomy Kingdom, PictoChat, WarioWare, Inc., Delfino Plaza, and my favorite stage in the entire series, Spear Pillar. I need to talk about Spear Pillar.

    Spear Pillar always has the element of surprise, randomly hosting one of three legendary Pokémon to attack and up to three more for aesthetics. My favorite, of course, is Palkia's. I love the stage turning upside down, the 30-degree tilt which is actually an illusion, and the mirroring effect. Noobs think that the controls are affected by this, instead of the picture. I would like to clear this up with evidence that such a thought is completely wrong.
    1. The background has small carvings of Dialga and Palkia. when the change occurs, their placement is switched.
    2. If a player is initially standing at the left corner of the stage, he will appear to be on the right corner after the transition. This couldn't occur due to controls, as there is no move in the game that could move a player that distance in only a single frame. Furthermore, if Link throws his Gale Boomerang off the left edge just prior to the change, then it will look like it's returning from the right after the change.
    3. If the controls were reversed, then up would be down. But they're not. ↑ and A still make an up-smash. Furthermore, Pit's bow could be aimed up prior to launching the arrow in the same manner as usual.
    4. The reversing of the controls wouldn't even fit the theme of Palkia. Palkia is a space warper, not a mind controller.
    5. If one were to dash (the regular dash, not the initial dash animation) left prior to the transition and hold left through the transition, he would continue to dash without any stopping animation. But if the controls were reversed, then he would go through the stopping animation, the turning animation, and the initial dash animation before running in the same manner before the transition.

    Point goes to Brawl.

    Engineering

    Smash64: You need to unlock the option to turn off items. That's stupid. It's reasonable that the option that only non-beginners use would be saved for the more experienced players (a la Final Destination), but it doesn't allow consistent practice for novices who want to get better fast. Other than that, there isn't really anything to complain about.

    Melee: This has bad engineering, but it's important to note that it's on a bigger scale than Smash64, so it isn't necessarily the worst because you'd expect more content overall. By default, items can be turned off, but there's a catch. If you allow any item to be in the match, then crates and capsules will also appear, even if you've turned them off! What's the point of having the option of turning off containers if it's not even going to work?
    What bugs me the most is the camera, and that's saying a lot: complaining about the camera in a fighting game. First, try pausing. You get a lot of movement for just a pause screen. You can zoom, auto-close-up to specific characters... with this range of movement you would think that you can take a snapshot...but you can't. Instead, you have to take pictures using the Camera Mode in the VS section. Only the first three characters could be fighters because the fourth player is the cameraman. He controls the camera through the whole (infinite) battle, and can take snapshots during the battle or on the pause screen. This leads to my biggest "what-were-they-thinking?" issue: if HAL Laboratory could make it possible to take snapshots while the game is paused, why not just make the camera always available in the pause screen? They've already made the most movable pause screen in existence, so why wouldn't they add the camera to make it useful?
    Another camera-related issue is the regular camera that you normally think of in video games. In vs mode, the players have no control over the camera, other than influencing it by moving around. But in the single player modes, HAL thought that someone would actually want to control the camera, so the c-stick does that instead of smash moves! That is a huge sacrifice! It's not like the camera control is useful either; all it can do is zoom in and out on your character, and you can't even take a picture!

    Brawl: The Brawl team definitely learned from HAL's past mistakes. (FYI: Brawl was the combined effort of many developers, the core being HAL and Sora ltd., which is a two-person company, one of them being Masahiro Sakurai, who officially broke off from HAL, so the companies are totally different; trust me. Kojima Productions and Sega were close partners.) The camera that can take pictures can be pulled up at any time, names can be created without disrupting other players on the character selection screen, and I think the container problem was solved as well. There is still one problem left unimproved upon: training mode is still under the single-player section! Didn't most people find out at this point that the CPU can be changed with a human? It wasn't strictly single-player since Smash64!

    Point goes to Brawl.

    Supporting Challenges

    Smash64: Board the Platforms was a neat idea. I wonder why it didn't return in Brawl.

    Melee: The event matches are great and home-run contest is fun.

    Brawl: These are basically nerfed in some manner. There are less event matches, which have a difficulty adjustment, and you can do some of them with a friend either way, most of them are too easy. Home-run Contest can be done with a partner, which is neat, but there's a cage that prevents the sandbag from being knocked away for the most of the time you have to hit the bag, or until you break the cage. If they wanted to give the player a better chance at hitting the sandbag, they could've just made the platform longer. 100-Man Melee now has a not-alloy character appear for every ten alloys you KO, and the last one is the same as the character you're playing as. I find it kind of weird seeing Yoshi randomly pop up among these many less-specific characters. Brawl does feature a challenge board based on the one from Kirby Air Ride for unlocking objects. These challenges can be legitimately hard, so I'm glad it's in the game. I hope to see this again if there's another Smash Bros.

    Point goes to Melee because the Event Matches are more challenging, fun, and rewarding, and the Training Mode is actually useful because you can wavedash and do super mega combos with lower and higher speed for both learning and frame-perfect practice.

    Items

    Smash64: Bumper!

    Melee: The rigidness of the items make them a fun part of the environment. What really sucks, though, is that you can't have items in the match without having containers.

    Brawl: Bumper! The floaty physics make them less devastating to use, though. You can move around while shooting, which is really good. This game finally included the Smash Ball, which allows players to do final smashes. The idea of the final smash originated in Smash64, but for some reason wasn't included in that or Melee. The Final Smash is a like a double-edged sword. On the good side, they are a visual delight and are totally awesome. On the bad side, they're very unbalanced and/or crappy. Link's Triforce Slash is awesome, but Toon Link's Triforce Slash is shorter AND has less knockback. What a total fail at balance! They should have given Toon Link's traits that make it as good as regular Links! Falco and Wolf have Landmasters for no explained reason, Pikachu's is too hard to control, Zero Suit Samus's is pathetic...but the worst of all is Peach's. They shouldn't even call it a smash if it doesn't do any damage!!! The smash ball also reveals the terrible side of Brawl's engineering. If one player falls 5 points behind the leader, he automatically gets the "pity final smash". I guess that's okay for casual matches, but what if you don't want them? You would think there's a button to turn them off next to Friendly-Fire and Pause, but there isn't. The only way to turn off pity final smashes is to turn off smash balls both on frequency AND the on/off switch. How would anyone guess to do that? I thought the point of the frequency setting is so that you won't have to manually turn off every individual item!

    Point goes to Melee.

    Summons

    Smash64: Hitmonlee!

    Melee: Why Goldeen? Shouldn't it be a Magikarp?

    Brawl: There are Assist Trophies and Pokéballs.
    Assist Trophies: These are awesome. The Nintendog and Mr. Resetti distractions don't affect the CPU, which is absolutely cheap.
    Pokéball: This is a missed opportunity for awesome. Since Porygon and Porygon2 were in Smash64 and Melee respectively, you would think that Porygon-Z would be in Brawl...but it isn't. I don't know why; the infamous episode came out before Melee, so it would be unreasonable to ban it now. Besides, Pikachu caused the epileptic explosion, so if anyone, he should be banned! Besides that, many fan favorites didn't appear. Instead of Mudkip, Blaziken, and Sceptile, we have Piplup (who sucks), Torchic (who sucks), and Chikorita (who was already in Melee, and is just boring.) it's been two generations of Pokémon since Melee came out, but they insisted on keeping the old ones that were in the previous Smash Bros. games. Staryu, Entei, Bellossom, Goldeen, Moltres, Snorlax, sorry, but there are so many Pokémon that deserve to be in the game. You've had your time. There's Manaphy, whom I've only encountered twice and was blessed by its effect only once.

    Point goes to Brawl for having assist trophies and the best Pokémon effects.

    Music

    Smash64: The tracks from the game franchises are good, considering they were just taken right from the source. The original music is good, but not very impressive. The opening theme takes song cues from various Nintendo franchises, like The Legend of Zelda and Star Fox. I like this because it really ties the game together.

    Melee: AN orchestra was assembled just to make music for this game! They've included a great selection of new versions of the classics. There's one song that most American gamers didn't even know existed, and that song is Fire Emblem: Together We Ride. That song is amazing. The opening theme is better this time, keeping the idea of taking cues from the music of different games and improving it. This theme flows more, has better planning, and is much catchier.

    Brawl: What do you get when you combine 38 composers, including the very gods of video game music? Pure super mega ultra chocolatey fudge-coated special awesomeness! This team of musicians include the legendary Koji Kondo (Mario/Zelda), Kazumi Totaka (allegedly hides his theme in every game he's worked on, though it has yet to be found in Brawl [Animal Crossing/Yoshi]), Shogo Sakai (Melee/Mother 3), and my personal favorite, Yoko Shimomura (Kingdom Hearts). The music, as to be expected, is incredible. Yoko Shimomura was the arrangement supervisor for King Dedede's theme, and if you're familiar with the music of Kingdom Hearts, you can really hear her style. This soundtrack shows the excellence that gaming companies could accomplish if they worked together rather than compete over less important things like the best graphics.
    The opening theme doesn't have the contribution that Smash64 and Melee have. It's sung in Latin, it's epic, and it's a good song, but it just doesn't pull off the idea of different-universe Nintendo characters coming together. Its lyrics, when not taken 100% literally, (like it should be) seem to be about the Adventure Mode in which heroes fight together. To me, the lyrics seem to dual-reference Master Hand and Crazy Hand too, but since Crazy Hand isn't in the adventure, so I'm probably incorrect. In other words, the song is good, but it just does its own thing rather than emphasize the fact that it's the ultimate crossover with three badass gaming companies and Yoko Shimomura. In fact, the should have had Yoko make the theme song. Vanitas's theme has cues from
    Spoiler:
    Roxas, Ventus's, and Sora's themes
    and the Unknown's (BbS) theme has cues from
    Spoiler:
    Rage Awakened (Terra's Lingering Sentiment fight), Darkness of the Unknown (Xemnas final fight), and Lord of the Castle (Marluxia fight)
    , so putting Mario next to Star Fox and Pokémon would be a cinch for her. The Brawl theme is still awesome, though. Just watch this first trailer that we got and you'll understand why. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FO83eZdWks

    Point goes to Brawl for having the best music and the best musicians.

    Sound Effects

    Smash64: The Ray Gun actually sounds kind of like a gun...That's awesome.

    Melee: The player has access to the Japanese voices right in the game. I don't know if the beam swords in the Japanese setting actually sound like lightsabers like in the Japanese region version of the game. Captain Falcon was voiced by Vegeta's Japanese actor in all three games. I wish they got the American Vegeta to voice him for the American track.

    Brawl: No Japanese setting (which sucks), but they made up for it with...
    The fight is on!
    Watch the power of Aura! Uuuuuuurrrrrrrhhhhhhh!!!!!
    I fight for my friends. (Which I don't have, except for Soren.)
    You'll get no sympathy from me. (Which I have, but my contract with Sakurai says I need to completely change my personality if I want to be in the game.)
    Here I come!
    Hands off my bread prey!
    Pizza cake Piece of cake!
    Everything that Snake says
    Grey Fox's conversation with Snake (really going into detail!)
    Fox and Falco's special victory dialogue when one of them wins (again, detail!)

    Point goes to Brawl for having, once again, detail.


    Intro/Outro

    Smash64: This is back when the characters were dolls rather than trophies. The intro has Master Hand setting up the battle, which is cool, but they didn't emphasize the meaning of the Smash Bros. symbol (sun through the window) like it should. Most of this intro is just like some cheesy Saturday morning action show. Super Smash Broooootheeeerrrssss!!! The outro is the creepiest of the series. Master Hand is beaten, a creepy tune plays on the points screen, and the room (or table?) is turned back to normal, with your character losing his/her life force. The camera (POV or back view of presumably Master Hand) walks away from the table and walks out the door.

    Melee: The intro is the best of the series. It officially confirmed that Zelda and Sheik are the same person, and suggests the possibility that Master Hand is actually a full person, or at least a full arm. It also has a neat hint of the secret bonus boss. Super Smash Brothers Meeeleeeeeeeeeee!!! The outro has the player turning back into a lifeless trophy.

    Brawl: This is the laziest intro yet. It just has clips from The Subspace Emissary, rather than great exclusive footage like Melee's. It's an odd case because the intro is, in a way, also the outro.
    Spoiler:
    The characters (for some reason, not-animated) look at a bright X of light in the sky. This X marks the place where the Isle of the Ancients was before it was destroyed, meaning Master Robot (R.O.B.) is forever the last of his kind.
    Also, there's no title scream from the narrator!

    Point goes to Melee for the best intro and Smash64 for the best outro.

    Verdict

    -Score-

    Smash64: 1

    Melee: 4

    Brawl: 5

    By score, Brawl won. But does that mean it's the best of the series? The critics like it more, but the fans are divided between it and Melee. Few people like Smash64 the most, but in terms of game design and effectiveness, Smash64 certainly isn't the best. Melee introduced everything needed for a great competitive scene but had some problems. Brawl fixed those problems, but intentionally or not, toned down the competitive nature. Although I would like to say that Melee is better, Brawl, when pure gameplay isn't a concern, is superior. However, it is a GAME, so GAMEplay is a huge factor, maybe big enough to turn the tables. Although Brawl's Adventure Mode has incredible cutscenes, its gameplay is boring. Although Melee's Adventure Mode is fun, it doesn't have story-guided cutscenes.

    It's a tie between Melee and Brawl. While Melee allows players to truly demonstrate their skills, Brawl's content makes it a worthy rival. Melee had a lot of crappy characters with no redeeming factors, and in Brawl, the crappy characters are at least fun to play as. Brawl has Snake and Sonic! It's definitely not a step back for the series, but rather a look ahead for a truly great Smash Bros. game that will hopefully come out, hopefully fewer than seven years away this time. Since Brawl was a huge success, a sequel is inevitable. With Sakurai still within reach as a first-party Nintendo developer and an alliance with Kojima Productions, Sega, and Square Enix, I'm sure they can work something out. Just think about the connections: Square Enix made some games for Nintendo systems. Mega Man (Capcom) had his games on the NES. Capcom made a game with Marvel. Marvel is owned by Disney. Disney made one of the few crossovers that doesn't suck with Square Enix. One of the other good crossovers was made by Nintendo, and it had Metal Gear, Sonic, and Yoko Shimomura.

    Here are my ideas for the next Smash Bros.:

    Characters

    Mega Man
    Balloon Fighter
    Sora
    Tails
    Waluigi
    King K. Rool
    Ridley (Yes, he's TOO BIG, but the proportions could be changed to balance this. Bowser and Donkey Kong should be the size of themselves with a Super Mushroom. Everyone smaller could be buffed in speed and projectile strength.)
    Bowser Jr. (with paintbrush)
    Little Mac
    Mewtwo
    Sothe
    Old Snake
    Skyward Sword Link
    Amaterasu

    Assist Trophies

    Soren
    Moogle
    Cactuar
    Krystal
    Knuckles
    The RE4 Merchant (Random effect: Either doesn't do anything "Not enough cash, stranger." or fires a rocket launcher "Now THAT'S a weapon!".
    Elite Beat Agents
    Oendan

    Pokémon

    Ditto. It was supposed to be in Melee, but it caused the game to crash. However, it got a role as the random picture in tournament mode.

    Gameplay

    Either remove wavedashing or make it so that every character can do it well. Either remove l-canceling or make it harder to do.

    What are your ideas?






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