Super Smash Bros. Brawl, known in Japan as Dairantō Smash Brothers X (大乱闘スマッシュブラザーズＸ, Dairantō Sumasshu Burazāzu Ekkusu, lit. “Great Melee Smash Brothers X“), is the third installment in the Super Smash Bros. series of crossover fighting games, developed by an ad hoc development team consisting of Sora, Game Arts and staff from other developers and published by Nintendo for the Wii video game console. Brawl was announced at a pre-E3 2005 press conference by Nintendo president and Chief Executive Officer Satoru Iwata. Masahiro Sakurai, director of the previous two games in the series, assumed the role of director for the third installment at the request of Iwata. Game development began in October 2005 with a creative team that included members from several Nintendo and third party development teams. After delays due to development problems, the game was finally released on January 31, 2008 in Japan, March 9, 2008 in North America, June 26, 2008 in Australia and June 27, 2008 in Europe.
The number of playable characters that players can control in Brawl has grown from that in Super Smash Bros. Melee; Brawl is the first game in the series to expand past Nintendo characters and allow players to control third-party characters. Like its predecessors, the object of Brawl is to knock an opponent off the screen. It is a departure from traditional fighting games, notably in its simplified move commands and emphasis on ring outs over knockouts. It includes a more extensive single-player mode than its predecessors, known as The Subspace Emissary (SSE). This mode is a plot-driven, side-scrolling beat ‘em up featuring computer-generated cut scenes and playable characters from the game. Brawl also supports multiplayer battles with up to four combatants, and is the first game of its franchise to feature online battles via the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. The game can also be uniquely played on four controllers, which include the Classic Controller, GameCube Controller, Wii Remote and Nunchuk and Wii remote, simultaneously.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl received critically positive reviews, with critics praising the game’s entertainment value, despite issues relating to Brawl‘s loading times. The game’s musical score, which was composed through a collaboration among 38 renowned video game composers, was lauded for its representation of different generations in gaming history. It received an aggregate review score of 93% on Metacritic and 92.6% on Game Rankings. Brawl was ranked “Fighting Game of the Year” of 2008 by the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. It has sold a total of 8.43 million copies worldwide as of March 2009, and it is the eighth best-selling Wii game.
Following its predecessors, Brawl uses a battle system unlike that of typical fighting games. Players can choose from a large selection of characters, each attempting to knock their opponents off the screen as they fight on various stages. The characters in “Brawl” include most of the same ones as the predecessors, such as the well-known Mario and Pikachu. Instead of using traditional health bars that start at 100% and lose value, Brawl characters start the game with 0%; the value rises as they take damage and may rise over 100% to a maximum of 999%. As a character’s percentage increases, the character flies further back when hit. When a character is knocked beyond a stage’s boundary and disappears from the screen, the character loses either a life, a point, or coins, depending on the mode of play. Brawl includes a function which allows players to create profiles with personalized button configurations for each control method along with their chosen username.
The characters in “Brawl” fight each other using a variety of attacks, that give the player a wider selection than the predecessors. Players execute each move by pressing a button in conjunction with a tilt of the control stick or a press of the D-pad, depending on the mode of control. In addition to basic attacks, characters have access to more powerful moves, known as smash attacks. Each character has four unique moves, which often cause effects besides damage to an opponent. Brawl introduces the ability to perform character-specific super attacks, referred to as “Final Smash” moves. Significantly more powerful than regular attacks, these moves have a wide variety of effects that range from nearly unavoidable blasts to temporary transformations. Final Smash moves can be performed by destroying a Smash Ball; a colorful, glowing, orb-like item bearing the Smash Bros. logo that floats around each stage every so often depending on the selection of items that were set before the start of the match.
Characters can use items ranging from projectiles to melee weapons; each has a different effect on the characters around it. Although many items have returned from previous Super Smash Bros. games, new ones have been introduced as well. Some returning items have changed appearance and function. Two varieties of items, Assist Trophies and Poké Balls, temporarily summon guest characters and Pokémon, respectively, that generally aid the summoner. They cannot be controlled by players and are usually invincible.
In addition to the standard multiplayer mode, Brawl features other multiplayer modes and options in Group mode. Special Melee, from the previous game, returns as Special Brawl. In this mode, players are able to battle in matches using special rules for a greater level of customization. Whereas previously standard options such as “Giant Melee” or “Invisible Melee” were limited to one feature per match, players may now select multiple options for a single match. Another returning game type, Tourney mode (formerly Tournament mode), enables players to create an elimination-based tournament, where up to 32 players can play, with a large number of game-controlled or human-controlled opponents. A “Rotation” feature has been introduced in Brawl, which allows up to sixteen players to compete in sequence by switching out winners or losers after each round.
Like its predecessors, Super Smash Bros. Brawl includes various modes of play from the previous game designed for a single player. Classic mode, as the name implies, is a classical approach to the game, in which players fight individual characters in a selected order. Each match features an arena or opponent from a particular series, such as The Legend of Zelda or Pokémon. Several matches have a unique battle condition, such as a metal opponent or a two-on-two team battle. Similar to Classic mode are All Star mode and Boss Battles, where the player has only one life to defeat all of the playable characters and bosses, respectively.
Brawl features Events, which are matches with predetermined battle conditions such as defeating opponents within a time limit or reaching a specific goal. New to single-player mode, each of the 62 Events has three difficulty levels, with a distinct high score recorded for each. In addition to the normal set of 41 Events played with a single player, a smaller set of 21 two-player Events is included.
Stadium mode is a collection of objective-oriented minigames, or small games within the game. Returning from the two previous games is the “Target Smash!” minigame, in which the player must break ten targets as quickly as possible. Additionally, items scattered across the stage are available for use. In the Home-Run Contest, the player must beat Sandbag to inflict as much damage as possible in 10 seconds, then strike it with a Home-Run Bat. Updated from Melee, all Stadium mode minigames feature cooperative or competitive multiplayer.
Adventure Mode: The Subspace Emissary
Super Smash Bros. Brawl features a new Adventure mode titled “The Subspace Emissary” (SSE). This mode features unique character storylines and numerous side-scrolling levels and bosses to fight, as well as cut scenes explaining the plot. SSE introduces a group of antagonists called the Subspace Army, who are led by the Ancient Minister. Some of these enemy characters appeared in previous Nintendo video games, such as Petey Piranha from the Mario series and a squadron of R.O.B.s based on classic Nintendo hardware. SSE boasts a number of original enemies, such as the Roader, a robotic unicycle; the Bytan, a one-eyed, ball-like creature which can replicate itself if left alone; and the Primid, enemies that fight with a variety of weapons. Though the game is primarily played as a single-player mode, cooperative multiplayer is available. This mode features a mechanism which strengthens the selected character’s abilities. They are in the form of collectible stickers that can be applied to the base of the player’s character trophies.
Unlike other game modes, SSE has a team system for the characters, with a limited choice of characters at the beginning of the mode. Others join the team as the game progresses, while some characters may leave the team temporarily. Most characters start off with their own teams, but the teams merge occasionally until they become a unified team by the end of the game. In cooperative multi-player, once one player loses a life, an ally can take his or her place until the number of lives run out. If there are no lives left and player one is defeated, the game ends.
The game’s director, Masahiro Sakurai, said that this mode would be more “fleshed out” than the single-player modes in previous Smash Bros. titles. Shigeru Miyamoto has explained that Sakurai always wanted to have a deep single-player game, but he wanted Sakurai to focus more on the multiplayer aspects in the previous titles since there were already many single-player games of this kind. Both were possible with the development time allotted for Brawl. To construct a plotline for the mode, Sakurai enlisted the help of Kazushige Nojima, a scenario writer known for his work on the Final Fantasy series.
The mode begins as Mario and Kirby face each other on a stadium located in the Smash Bros. world. The Ancient Minister and his Subspace Army arrive on The Halberd Airship and detonate a Subspace Bomb, which transports the stadium into Subspace, an alternate dimension where the Subspace Army resides. The Ancient Minister’s advance prompts the heroes to progressively team up and attempt to repel the enemy, while villains harvest the power of the allied characters by converting them into trophies.
The Ancient Minister is revealed as a subordinate to Ganondorf, Bowser, and Wario who are under orders from Master Hand to draw the world into Subspace. The Ancient Minister’s true identity is found to be that of the Master R.O.B. unit, who rebels against his superiors to join the allied characters. The allied heroes enter Subspace, where they find that R.O.B., Ganondorf, Bowser, Wario, and even Master Hand were all being manipulated by a higher being, known only as Tabuu. Tabuu releases a power blast which transforms all the protagonists into trophies; although a select few (Luigi, Kirby, and Ness) are revived by brooches that were attached to them by King Dedede earlier in the story. They work together to revive the other characters scattered across Subspace and make their way through a great maze where Tabuu is located. Following an ambush on Tabuu by Sonic the Hedgehog, the allies ultimately defeat Tabuu and save the Smash Bros. universe.
Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection
Brawl allows players to play against distant opponents via the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. Online multiplayer games can be played either with registered friends or with randomly selected participants. Additionally, players can converse with up to four phrases that are preset by the player, which appear as speech bubbles when activated. These names and phrases are not displayed in random-player matches. The Spectator mode allows players to watch matches being played between other players, and bet on the outcome using coins earned within the game. The winner of the match earns a jackpot of coins.
Snapshots may be taken during battles or in certain other modes, which can later be sent to friends or submitted to Nintendo. Video replay footage can be captured in specific game modes, including Brawl and Target Smash! modes, and sent to friends in the same manner. Snapshots, custom stages and replays can be submitted to Nintendo’s “Smash Service” for a chance to get the content featured and updated on all Smash Service-enabled Wii consoles. Since Brawl‘s launch, the Smash Service has updated the game’s Vault with one user submitted snapshot, custom stage and replay data chosen by Nintendo every day; each new update overwrites the previous. The user can choose to not receive updates from the service through the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection options menu. After June 30, 2009, the Smash Service stopped accepting content from its users. However, the Vault will still be updated with content, with the exception of replay data, as of August 1, 2009.
Returning from Melee are trophies, statuettes of video game characters and objects that give brief histories or descriptions of their subjects, such as Mario and Link, or other characters and items that appear in their respective series. A minigame, the Coin Launcher, replaces the lottery machine from Melee as the primary method of obtaining trophies. The Coin Launcher is a machine that uses coins as projectiles to shoot trophies and counter incoming dangers such as missiles. Coins can also be used to bet on the victor of online battles via Spectator mode. Trophies unavailable in Coin Launcher mode are obtained by using an item called the Trophy Stand on weakened enemy characters and bosses within The Subspace Emissary. Trophies obtained in this manner may contain information on the backstory of the Subspace Emissary.
In addition to trophies, players can now collect stickers of video game artwork. Players can place stickers and trophies onto virtual backgrounds and record snapshots, which can be sent to other players via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. Stickers can be applied to characters to power up their abilities during the Subspace Emissary.
Other stickers or trophies which cannot be collected through the Coin Launcher minigame, Subspace Emissary, or Vs. matches can be unlocked from the Challenges menu, an interactive display which catalogs unlocked features and items in gridded windows. Once a window has been broken and its contents are unlocked, horizontally adjacent windows display the conditions necessary to unlock them.
Brawl contains demo versions of several Nintendo games, named “Masterpieces”, which were originally released for older consoles and feature characters playable in Brawl. These games use Virtual Console technology to emulate older hardware and have time constraints ranging from thirty seconds to five minutes. Some use save data to allow the player to play a certain scenario or level. Along with Masterpieces comes the inclusion of the Chronicles section, a library of previous Nintendo games which lists games either made or published by Nintendo on all of its consoles. New games appear when certain characters, trophies or stickers related to the game are unlocked.
|Developer(s)||Ad hoc development team
Sora, Game Arts
|Series||Super Smash Bros.|
|Aspect ratio||4:3, 16:9|
|Release date(s)||JP January 31, 2008
NA March 9, 2008
AUS June 26, 2008
EU June 27, 2008
|Mode(s)||Single-player, multiplayer, online multiplayer|
|Media||Wii Optical Disc (dual-layer)|
|Input methods||Wii Remote, Nunchuk, Gamepad|