Super Smash Bros. Brawl

Published by Nintendo, Developed by HAL Labs

Genres: Fighting

US release date: Mar 9th, 2008 | EU release date: -

Super Smash Bros. Brawl review

Brawl is here, but is it worth the hype?

Andrew Gray wrote this game review.

Review written by
Andrew Gray

So here we are. More than a year and a half after its announcement, Super Smash Bros. Brawl has finally reached Wii owners in the US. So, is the game worth it? In a word... yes. In two words, Hell yes!

A Star Studded Slamfest!

Super Smash Bros. Brawl screenshotOverall, Brawl doesn't change much in the Smash Bros. game style. Two to Four characters enter a themed stage, duke it out with one another and try to see which of them can knock the others to the side or above fastest. Each character has their own special moves, smash attacks, and specific techniques. Items fall periodically which can either help or hurt friends and foes alike.

Of course, if you're a Smash veteran, you already know this by now. What's different about Brawl's gameplay though? Not much, but there are quite a few little things. The biggest change is to the game's overall engine which makes it feel a lot faster and also slower than Melee did. This is sort of hard to explain, but if you play you'll understand and quickly get used to it.

There are also additional items, which include the Assist Trophies (sort of like Pokeballs with more interesting characters like Little Mac from Punch-Out!, Lyn from Fire Emblem and even Saki from Sin and Punishment). Then there are the Smash Balls, which act in a similar fashion to the super moves you would find in a game like Marvel Vs. Capcom. Returning players will also notice that certain veteran characters are different in subtle ways (Mario for example uses the FLUDD waterpack from Super Mario Sunshine for his Down-B move), but the game hasn't changed that much.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl screenshotRegarding the Final Smashes I will say that they're an interesting idea, but one which could have been better implemented. Certain characters have moves which are next to useless (Donkey Kong and Meta Knight's for example), while others are too good to the extent of being unfair. Most likely they'll be banned from the 'serious' tournament play, which I'm actually glad about.

Returning from Melee is the trophy system, where players are able to obtain various trophies sporting Nintendo characters and trivia on them. These are a lot of fun to collect. The trophies have now been doubled to almost six hundred, most of them you won't be getting in the classic mode like before. Instead of a capsule machine this time around, players are given a Space Invader-like 'Coin Launcher' in which they shoot coins at targets and trophies to obtain them, along with more coins.

In addition to trophies, there are also stickers. Not only are these nice little images to look at from various games, they can be used in Brawl's adventure mode (like the badges in Paper Mario games were). For most players though, the stickers will probably be seen as just fluff.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl screenshotFinally, an additional extra called "The Vault", tasks players with certain challenges in exchange for rare trophies, stickers, stages and music. These challenges will likely keep the avid enthusiast active for months. As if all this weren't enough, the Home-run contest, Multi-man Melee (sorry, I don't go with the Brawl moniker), and other extras from Melee return as well. If that's not a full package, I don't know what is!

An Old Friend

Now what about Brawl's vaunted one-player extra, the Subspace Emissary? Well, that's kind of a mixed bag. SSE is essentially what would happen if you made a modern version of an old Kirby title, add the Smash play style for fighting and alternated between various characters in the game. In some cases the game can be really fun, particularly when you fight bosses like Ridley, Rayquaza or Petey Piranha.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl screenshotOn the other hand, platforming sections of the game can quickly get old, with the possible exception of the Donkey Kong Country-esque Jungle stage. At times it can feel like a chore, but it is the best way to get all the hidden characters without going through several hundred brawls.

Freaks and Geeks

Now to the actual main reasons why many such as myself plunked down fifty bones. The starting roster in Brawl consists of twenty three characters, many of which are completely new to the game. What's especially nice is that many of these new characters have their own unique play styles, adding considerable depth to the overall system. Characters like the Pokemon Trainer, who can use three different Pokemon at a time (naturally, they're the original three starter Pokemon from Red and Blue in various forms), Captain Olimar who uses Pikmin to fight and Zero Suit Samus who is a lighter, speedier version of her armored self.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl screenshotThe other fighters, while not as innovative, are still fun and give newcomers and veterans alike interesting new variations to try. I imagine that Pit and Meta-Knight in particular will become favorites. Oh, and you can't forget Sonic and Snake, which will probably draw in a good deal more fans.

** SPOILER PARAGRAPH! **

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the hidden characters. Speculated about for months, the final roster was the basis for much of Brawl's hype and one of the reasons why the official Dojo was looked at for updates frequently. I'm sorry to say though that the majority of the hidden characters are simply the remaining cast of Melee, retaining their 'clone character' move sets despite Sakurai's denials to the contrary earlier. Mostly, because Roy's gone for good and Mewtwo has been replaced by Lucario who basically uses the same moves. What especially irritates me is that Fox has TWO clones in Brawl; Falco was fine but now Wolf O'Donnell has come to play. Seriously? If there was Golden Sun music Nintendo, why the hell didn't you include Issac?

Super Smash Bros. Brawl screenshot** END SPOILERS **

The stages in Brawl differ little in actual composition from Melee, but based on scenery there are quite a few standouts. Meta-Knight's Battleship Halberd, Pictochat, the Warioware stage, and F-Zero's Aero City are all very interesting stages that will probably be among the fan favorites as they consist of more than a few things going on in the background and actually affecting the player. The Warioware stage for example has fighters play the minigames associated with the Franchise; if they succeed, they are given health. If they fail, anything can happen - from nothing to being flung off screen. Other than that, the majority of the stages aren't really anything special and most follow the 'three stages, one base' rule established in the original Smash Bros.

We'll make beautiful music together.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl screenshotThe music in Brawl has got to be one of the greatest game soundtracks of all time, bar none. The typical tracks and themes songs from Melee and the original titles that the characters came from are included and expected, but where Brawl really stands out is in that nearly every catchy tune from a particular game series is included. Okay, that's an exaggeration, but the track list is still impressive. Donkey Kong's stage for example, has finally gotten rid of that awful DK Rap and now consists of tracks that more than a few DKCountry fans will recognize, including the 'Bramble Scramble' music. Others include tracks from the Metal Gear Solid titles, Zelda: Link's Awakening, Brain Age, Wii Sports, Kid Icarus, and even Sonic CD. Best of all, nearly every track is fully orchestrated, hopefully indicating that Nintendo will ditch MIDI music for good.

The sound effects in Brawl aren't really that different from Melee, so there's no real need to rate them. However, what I will comment on are the voices. A lot of people have wondered why it is that Nintendo doesn't often have voices in their games, and Brawl may show us the answer why. While the characters from Metal Gear (not just Snake) appear in a cameo through a special Taunt trick (right down to the Codec style of MGS1), the other voices which talk (not DK, Kirby etc) are downright horrible. If you actually listen to Pit without the music, he sounds like a kid suffering badly through puberty. Even worse are the voices for the Starfox gang. Fox, Falco and Wolf's taunts sound stereotyped to a fault and make me suggest that Nintendo hire professionals to do that work for them, or better yet, give us the option to use a Japanese track. As if that weren't enough, for some reason they replaced the announcer from Melee with a new, older sounding voice which I don't like at all and I doubt others will either.

Finally, how does the online mode stack up? Quite well, for the most part. A good amount of lag is still noticeable, which can be the difference between victory and defeat. I hear that things have been improving, but until I experience it I'm more than content with the normal multiplayer, especially since Nintendo has stubbornly refused to give up the terrible friend code system.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl screenshotThe Winner is...

What else is there to say? If you're a Wii owner and a Nintendo fan, there's no better game than Brawl!

97%

Gameplay: Gameplay score: 10

Graphics: Graphics score: 9

Sound: Sound score: 10

Lifespan: Lifespan score: 10

User comments

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luwiigi said:

I don't agree with some of your comments, but other than that, it was a good review. Although the grade could have been better, considering the graphics have been improved upon a lot.

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Diddy Kong Lover said:

Wowza' it is a good game, but I never played anything other than Classic.

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David said:

I love the final smashes.

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Wii Freak said:

I have to agree on graphics, they just feel like an upgrade from Melee. But I don't care because this is the BEST Wii game ever.

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ToTaLgAmEr said:

Good review. But Issac is in the game, he's an assist trophy who uses psimagic (I think that's what its called). He makes a big hand and like pushes you off the stage. You have to unlock the assist trophy though I think.

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davyt0247 said:

I had a hard time trying to find a copy on its first day here in the US, but I scored on its second day! (whew) Anyway great review and here are those famous three words every smash bros fan knows, READY TO FIGHT.

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megamanfan said:

You made a good review, but what made you say that fox, wolf and falco are clones? The only people in brawl who could be clones (maybe) are lucas and ness, and they still are different from each other a bit. Having old characters for unlockables is great, especially if people were good at them in melee, it gives them some motivation to unlock them.

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JRAPOCALYPSE said:

The graphics are fine. I think they are better than a lot of the graphics I've seen on 360 or anything else.

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insultman911 said:

Great game. Gameplay is awesome. So many modes to play in. Lifespan is 100%, you can play this game forever all because of the new stage builder mode. Graphics are great, but not as great as the xbox graphics and I'm not a very huge xbox fan and I had to say that. Sound, wow. So much music to collect and unlock. This is truly a great game.

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Crimson Fang said:

I was hoping for a few specific songs, some just don't seem as memorable, and almost everything is extremely easy to unlock which lowers the lifespan a little. Still, I am happy with it.

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Aeth said:

I agree with the Voice Actor thing. Seriously, I think they were just about finishing translating the game into English when they suddenly remembered they forgot to hire voice actors. Then they just rounded up a few employees around the office. Meta Knight should have his anime voice, Pit should sound younger, Pokemon Trainer should sound less raspy, the StarFox characters should have their game voices. Sonic's voice keeps going from a high tone to a low tone when he speaks, Lucario should have his movie voice, Ike should speak a little slower and deeper, and why in the world is Marth still speaking Japanese in the American version? Other than that everything is okay.

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Tennindo said:

Anyone else have trouble playing online? Like lag or delay reaction with your character and remote? If not then online in my town sucks.

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YoshLee said:

The graphics seem even better than Mario Galaxy's from what I see. Wolf isn't that much of a clone, but it is very lame every one of them has the same final smash. Even so, Brawl is getting game of the year no matter what.

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Crimson Fang said:

Yay, I found the song I was looking for! And I withdraw my former statement. I turned the sound effects down, and I can hear the songs now. Also, Aeth, it seems like it'd be difficult to round up all those people. If they're working on other projects, they might not have even been able to do voice work for Brawl. Most of the characters don't talk, so does it really matter? Sonic, Ike, Lucario, and Meta Knight's voices are fine. Although the other voices you mention sound a little weird, they're ok. Oh, except Marth. Why have him speak English if he never has before? All the other characters have had appearances over here where they speak English outside of SSB, but Marth hasn't.

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insultman911 said:

Anyone having trouble with the wifi connection with anyone mode? You're not alone. Everyone is having the exact same problem as you. Ya see, due to the many people online connecting at the same time, Nintendo is having trouble hooking the players up. They're fixing it now so just keep practicing and then by the time you're level 9 nasty, Nintendo will have wifi up and running again.

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Wii Freak said:

I'm surprised no one has ripped off Super Smash Bros. Yet. I can see sony doing it. Are you ready Sony's super battle Royal.

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Smash Bros 4 Ever said:

This game is awesome. It will take 2 years minimum to find every little detail in this game. Worth the wait. P. S. They better make a super smash bros. 4. There's no telling what could happen.

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Jonny said:

My only qualm with this review is that personal opinions worked their way in. Otherwise, good work.

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Scooby Jew said:

You oversee too many flaws: Horrible online play (no game rules customization), Sonic instead of Mega Man, slipping (or as I call it, "Clown-Rolling"), the way you move in the air is like swimming in water, Toon Link, long load times, the deletion of clone characters that could have stayed as a costume or something (Dr Mario, Mewtwo, Young Link instead of Lipstick-Wearing Link, etc) and many stages have too many "interactions" to actually Brawl on. However, I can agree that apart from those, Brawl is an epic game. They could just really afford to fix some of those.

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Smash fan said:

Let me just say this. The game is ridiculous (good thing.. great thing). It's true the voices are little depressing and it's missing a view characters, but you got to love the assist trophies. The final smashes?! Come on, I've been playing this game like crazy and just having it on like 20 stock and 2.0 with high bombs and smash balls is one of the funnest things ever. 100% lifespan all the way. I still played melee a good once in a while before this came out. Haven't gotten to try the online mode yet but I'll get to that. Anyways, I think this is definitely worth buying a Wii for. And the fact you can play with 4 different controller types is awesome. Whatever works for you, do it.

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ssbb skeeter said:

The best game on the Wii hands down. The only let down for me was the online works only half the time, maybe that's just me. Also single player gets old after you play the classic stages over and over but there is no game that keeps from doing that. The large character selection is the best and everyone is pretty much balanced. I wish the speed was like melee's.

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theykilledkenny said:

Ha, they did keep the dk rap. I unlocked it on the jungle japes stage because some stages kept music from more than one melee stage on them. Like Rainbow ride keeps the rainbow ride music and gets the music from princess peach's castle, corneria got the venom music, etc. Also, I don't see the big deal with clones, I'm sick of hearing all this crap. Seriously, there are a lot of characters that are similar, like sonic and pikachu's final smash, squirtle and yoshi's side special etc. But anyway this is an awesome game and I agree with everything positive.

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Wiipaw said:

This is the best game ever made. Better than Zelda, Mario, Metroid, and every other Nintendo game (it's actually kind of painful to say), Halo, Metal Gear Solid, Gears of War, GTA, and most importantly, better than sliced bread.

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Falcon punch said:

Whoa whoa whoa, sliced bread is pretty damn good dude.

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luwiigi said:

I have to disagree with you on that Wiipaw. Sliced bread is a phenomenon! Anyone can have sliced bread, but not everyone has a Wii. Ponder that.

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YouKilledKenny said:

I love how these comments have gone from ssb to sliced bread.

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Wii Freak said:

No I'd rather eat sliced bread than play games. If you don't eat you will DIE.

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Wii Freak said:

There are a few things Nintendo should have put to make brawl better. 1) Create your own character. 2) Have online leaderboards. 3) More characters.

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brawl man said:

What the graphics are sweet, for the Wii of course.

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SSB 4 Hopeful said:

Sliced Bread is the source of all happiness. Next to toe jam, of course.

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Dark Star said:

One way to reduce lag is to turn all items off.

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Tennindo said:

I can't play online at all. I get to a 4 man Brawl and no one can move because the lag is so bad.

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Crimson Fang said:

SSB4 Hopeful: And Earl, don't forget Earl! XD.

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Nintendoof said:

Great review.

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Googolmario said:

The problem involved in creating your own character is animations and moves. The stage builder does not have these problems, because the stage does not have to jump, do final smashes, or special moves. For Nintendo to implement something like this would take months, maybe years. Maybe if they let you play as your mii, and all moves are the same for every mii, it might be possible, but I'm sure that's not what Wii Freak was looking for.

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Diddy Kong Lover said:

Meta Knight's isn't next to useless, it's one of the more powerful smashes.

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Crimson Fang said:

Kupo nuts should be food in this game. It's universally recognized.

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Wiipaw said:

Kupo nuts? That's strike one for being "universally recognised".

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Singapore meh said:

Smash bros not been ripped off yet? Ever heard of onimusha blade warriors! For the review, nice description of SSE, exactly my thoughts, but as for the characters, everybody's really unfair to brawl. They forget just how many new characters were already revealed before the game was released(11 before, 3 after). And Sakurai DID get rid of clones. Lucas and Ness' specials play completely different, as well as their smashes and dash attacks. Ganondorf and Captain Falcon have similar specials, but all other attacks are completely different in speed power and animation. Fox, Falco and Wolf also play completely different from each other, with unique smashes, pretty major changes in specials( boomerang reflector, wolf's side-b), and none of their a-attacks are the same. And Lucario is in no way even similar to mewtwo except for 1 special, everything else is different.

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Plaugefiend said:

I hear ya Singapore meh, The characters aren't truly clones.

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SuperGanon64 said:

I disagree with the review. The announcer is awesome! I love how he says EVERYTHING.

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Wii Freak said:

The online is very good in this game.

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falconV said:

The game is awesome. I just wish my internet connection would stop getting interrupted.

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Crimson Fang said:

Fine, Wiipaw. How about Kentucky Fried Chocobo? Yum.

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Wiipaw said:

Now, not to diminish brawl's awesomeness, but it would have been awesome to have a 8 person brawl with 4 people using gamecube controllers and 4 people using either of the four other control schemes (they're all comected to the Wii remote some way). Weren't there 8 characters on screen at once in the multi man brawls? But then again, only 2 were controlled by humans.

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Ultigonio said:

The voice acting for Fox, Falco, and Wolf are stereotypical? How, though? Besides, they seem excellent for the characters themselves. Seriously. The voice acting in this game seems pretty good. I'm glad Meta Knight doesn't have his anime voice actor. However, I do agree with you that Pit's voice is just.. no. It's unfitting for him, and the Japanese voice (as with Sonic) is better.

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shadowboy178 said:

I just recently learned that the game's director and creator, Masahiro Sakurai, play the English voice for the character King Dedede.

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Wiipaw said:

Speaking of which, shadowboy, who in the hell did the voice of miis in mario kart Wii! It sounds like he was mocking my own voice. Remember, it was my mii.

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Son Ninja said:

Although I love this game, I am a bit disappointed that they didn't include more characters from the F-Zero series. I know Samurai Goroth is a good assist trophy. It would've being nice to add a new playable villain like Black Shadow or that Zoda dude or maybe a female character like Jody to the game. The Smash Bros. Series is in need of new female characters and Zero Suit Samus is not enough.

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me said:

I kind of think this game was a bit disappointing. I loved all of the new characters but they should have brought back ALL of the old ones. They also missed out on great characters like megaman, skull kid, and zero. The stages were cool but got old quickly. The stage builder disappointed me too. You could only make tiny stages and ran out of room. You only had three backgrounds and not that many stage parts. This game was still great and I recommend it, but it could have used a bit more work.

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chaos said:

I am getting this game today, I live in Europe! Hopefully Nintendo has fixed the voice problems for the European version.

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