Wednesday, April 02, 2008

VG Review: Super Smash Bros. Brawl

Nintendo, for Wii, rated T for Teen (cartoon violence, crude humor), $49.99.

It helps to think of “Super Smash Bros. Brawl” as fan fiction for the video game set; a way for players to test out the old “who’d win in a fight” game, but with their favorite Nintendo characters.

The latest edition in the popular “Smash Bros.” franchise, “Brawl” gives fans plenty of opportunities to indulge in unabashed Nintendo love. It’s a pure mash note/ingenious marketing ploy, delivered with love and lots of fists to the face.

The basic structure involves four players duking it out on a precipicelike stage, every man (or princess or giant penguin or whatever) for himself. Various weapons will pop out of the landscape, enabling players to gain an extra boost via a laser rifle, overly large mallet, paper fan or (yes) flower. Get your opponents to sail off the edge enough times and victory is yours.

This is no complex fighting game that requires memorization of elaborate button combos, however. Although strategy and learning how to time your dodges will aid you, you can cruise your way through initially with simple button-mashing. But playing against a more experienced player is another story entirely.

Just about every Nintendo character who’s ever graced a console shows up here, from the well-known (Mario, Samus) to the obscure (“Kid Icarus’¤” Pit). Even a few from other companies such as “Metal Gear’s” Solid Snake and Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog put in an appearance.

As you might guess, the game is specifically engineered to be played with friends, though the solo features are far from anemic. In addition to the more traditional tournament modes, there’s a “subspace emissary” section that combines some platforming abilities with an oddball story line.

The big addition this time around is the ability to play online. The online matches, however, don’t support any sort of chat ability, so those who enjoy trash talking might be disappointed.

The game also features lots of unlockable content, including hidden characters, stickers that up your stats and trophies you can collect.

In the end, your enjoyment of the game will depend on two criteria: If you are a) a lover of all things Nintendo and b) have friends willing to play. If those are the case, then go ahead and bask in all that “Brawl” has to offer.
Copyright The Patriot-News, 2007


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