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The science of Super Smash Bros. Melee [Tribute]

Rating: 3 votes, 5.00 average.
Super Smash Bros. for the N64, despite its low budget of production managed to become quite a huge success: so much that years later, in 2001-2002, was the reason why one of the games with the greatest production values I have seen (so much that it is still considered better than its successor Brawl by some) was made. Yes- I am talking about Super Smash Brothers Melee.

Unlike its predecessor, which was made solely around the concept of having known faces of Nintendo duke it out, Melee was made around the concept of creating one of the best fighting games. The graphics, whose definition is still good nowdays is the first proof of it. I mean, just look:

These were made ten years ago. Yes. Ten goddamned years ago, and they are still worthy of praise, given they were made in the early stages of the Gamecube, in comparison to how Brawl was released a couple years later after the Wii came out.

And now onwards to the part that really matters. The science of SSBM. Let us start with general considerations focused towards the most important part of the game, the multiplayer mode.

Even though there were a few clones here and there in basic terms of moveset to fill the roster, each character has a very distinctive type of fighting and affinities against each other and with the scenarios. How do they manage that? Through one of the greatest physics systems around and lots of thought. Rather than using real life as a basis, they made a brand new one from zero, and that's not the end of it. Each character has its own speed of movement, its own ranges of combat, its own resistance, its own way to fare in close quarters on ground and on air, its own way to recover from sidefalls.

Some characters like Captain Falcon or Marth could be very well classified as Hunters due to their speed, which allows them to close in, avoiding the enemy projectiles and strike due to their massive attacking power; others like Fox or Sheik are experts in speed in both ground and air, not dishing much damage with each blow but so many they are unstoppable, the Jacks of all trades such as Dr. Mario or Samus who are overall great, yet require great adaptability from the player and a good scenario to prove their worth and Specialists like the Ice Climbers, Peach or Zelda, who tend to rely in their unique gimmicks to attain victory. There's also the Faggot tier for characters like Mewtwo, Pichu or Bowser who simply cannot be used (at least not in the way developers intended to, that is, without wavedash or other similar trickery)

It doesn't end with the characters. No, it does not. Items, while in two player mode aren't fun due to how they unbalance the gameplay, when playing with four players they are a necessary asset due to how they can change the whole situation. There are two best ways to play Melee: you can fight like gentlemen in 2 player mode, or you can opt to toss away your monocle and top hat and go wild in 4 player mode. You know, you gather a few friends, order a pizza, bring some drinks and let the fun start. However, although in a certain way it's madness, it still manages to be fun. You know that when a Falcon Punch connects right into your face it wasn't because of a random thing in the game, but due to your own incompetence. When a rival dodges a bob-omb and you do not it's because you lacked skill and reflexes. In a certain sense, the simple yet highly refined mechanics (to a point where you'd think it's the work of an almost paranoid person) which might seem are what allow for Melee to be fun in every single way.

Now, onwards to 1 player mode. Although not the focus, they added a few things to make it more interesting. First of all, the events, which forced you to do stuff in a certain way, managed to be a good source of entertainment. There were also the trophies, which provided images and text about the history of Nintendo up to that point, and the classic mode and adventure mode for practice, as well as the later unlockable All-Star Mode, which provided for a source of entertainment when calling friends wasn't a viable alternative.

All in all, the principles behind Super Smash Bros. Melee is what should be applied to most games. Through sheer hard work and effort, making sure not to leave a single thing dragging behind, very few ideas not put into practice and exploited as much as possible, and above all else the desire to make a good game it became a masterpiece even nowdays.

With this I'm off. Until next mission,
Tags: Videogames


  1. Neir's Avatar
  2. Laith's Avatar
    I still like Brawl more but I'll admit that Melee was so much fun when we managed to get 4 controllers together. Aah, the good old times.
  3. Optimus's Avatar
    Eh, Brawl is still an awesome game, but the leap from Melee to Brawl wasn't as huge as the one between the N64 and the GC smash, hence why in my opinion deserves a bit more credit.
  4. Raven2785's Avatar
    Agreed, melee is amazing and it's amazing thanks to Nintendo's obsession with making sure their games are polished to a mirror sheen. Nintendo fans are always complaining that they don't get their Marios and Zeldas fast enough for their liking but it's precisely because of that that every single game from Nintendo tends to be one of the most memorable games of their respective console generations.
  5. Crying_Vegeta's Avatar
    I played the fuck out of melee and maybe an hour of brawl even though i own it.