Super Smash Bros. Melee is a staple in many gamers’ collections. There is so much action and thrilling excitement in the game. It takes Nintendo’s best characters and pits them against each other in epic battles. Melee has received universal critical acclaim and is the GameCube’s best-selling game to date. One of the things I like about it is that people of all ages can play it and pick it up quickly. It is one of my favorite video games, and in this spotlight article I will highlight the aspects of the game and go over some of my favorite characters to use in battle.
Melee features numerous characters from the Nintendo video game franchise, including Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, and Mario. The stages on which the characters battle take their design and music from different video games that were released by Nintendo. The goal of the game is to knock your opponents beyond the stage and off the screen. In typical fighting games, the person who inflicts the most damage who has the most amount of health left is the victor, but that is not the case in this game. Even if you have 200% damage done to you, you can still knock a player that has 75% off the screen and win. If you have a higher damage percent value, it will be easier to knock you off the stage; however, using careful strategy, you are able to decimate someone with less damage done to them. Also, unlike fighting games like Mortal Kombat, you don’t have to memorize button combinations to pull off a difficult combo, with just a press of one button and the movement of the joystick; you can pull off a move.
While fighting on the stage, if you have the option turned on, items related to the Nintendo franchise will fall onto the stage. They have all sorts of different purposes. Some items like the hammer or fire flower can inflict damage, the Maxim Tomato and the Heart Container can heal your player and take percentage points off your damage count. When you first play Melee, there are 15 characters to choose from, however, there are 11 more characters that you can unlock. There are also 29 stages (including unlocked) that you can play on as well. I will talk about how to unlock certain characters and stages later in this article. Also, along with Classic and multiplayer mode, there is the addition of Adventure mode and All-Star mode. In Adventure mode, you will have to progress through numerous stages that in order to move on. You are able to choose the character you want, the difficulty, and the number of stock (lives) that you get. So, you can make it easy or hard on yourself. In All-Star mode, you battle against every player in the game and damage is accumulated after every battle, and there are limited healing items. There is also a Tournament mode where you can set up brackets and see who the last player is standing after every battle. A Special Melee mode is available as well, and it introduces special changes to a battle (for example, all the characters are giant or all of the characters fight in slow motion).
Throughout the whole game, you can collect trophies. You can get them when you unlock certain characters and stages, through winning events and single player matches, and much more. There are 293 in total. The trophies themselves represent certain characters and different elements from the Nintendo franchise, some are very well-known, and others are more obscure. The gallery and collection options allow you to view said trophies. In the Trophy Lottery, you can spend coins (which are collected through gameplay) to attempt to win new trophies. The more coins you spend, the higher of a chance of getting a new trophy.
In Classic Mode you will battle against computer opponents in multiple stages one by one until you get to the final boss, which is the Master Hand. Once you defeat Classic Mode with a certain character, you will win that character’s trophy. If you lose all your stock, you can continue, but you will get points deducted from your total overall score. Adventure Mode consists of multiple stages. The goal is to travel through each stage and world and get to the end. There are also numerous special Melee battles that you will have to engage in as well. Trophies show up in a lot of the stages, so you can just pick them up as items and they will be added to your collection. All-Star Mode, which is unlockable later in the game, pits you against every unlocked player in the game. You will have to battle each character one by one, with limited healthy recovery items in between battles. The character you use only has 1 stock, so strategy comes into play because you shouldn’t waste the recovery items. Use them wisely. In the final stage, 25 Mr. Game and Watches will come and battle you. Once you defeat them, you will defeat All-Star mode and receive a trophy.
Event matches consist of a certain scenario and a special task or objective that you have to complete in battle. There are 51 event matches in total. For example, one of the event matches, “Spare Change” requires you to battle against a Captain Falcon in a coin match. Another event, “Triforce Gathering,” has you battle as Link against Ganandorf. Luckily, you have Zelda as a partner to help. After defeating Ganandorf in this event match, he will show up as a challenger in a separate match. Upon defeating him again, you will unlock him as a character.
In VS mode, up to 4 human players can play, or it can be set up so you can battle against computer players. You can fight in a free-for-all style or in teams. Each computer player has an adjustable difficulty level that you are able to set with 1 being super easy and 9 being super hard. There are different modes in which you can play in multi-player mode. In Stock Mode, you are able to set the number of lives each person gets. Whoever is the last player standing with the most lives left wins. Coin Mode awards coins to a player when they hit or inflict damage on an enemy or knock them off the stage and screen. Whoever has the most coins at the end of the battle wins. There is also an option to choose which items are able to show up in battle.
There are numerous moves you can make that determine how well a character performs in battle. With the control stick, the more you tilt it, the faster you character will move. Be careful with that because there are fast characters in the game like Fox and Falco, so you don’t want to overdo it. Tilting the control stick in either the left or right direction will make a character dash. You are able to perform a jump by moving the control stick in an upwards direction and pressing the X or Y button. Most characters are also able to perform a special jump by tilting the control stick up and pressing the B button. If your character falls off the stage and is close enough to the edge, they are able to grab it and hang on. You can perform a jump to get back onto the stage or by pressing the A button you can climb up and attack. Also, only one character at a time is able to hang off the edge, so if you and an enemy are knocked off the stage and you grab the edge first, the enemy (unless he jumps back on the stage) will fall and lose a life.
Regular attacks are performed by tilting the control stick in a given direction and pressing the A button. If the A button is repeatedly pressed, you are able to perform an attack combo. A attacks can also be performed in the air. One of my favorite airborne attacks is Yoshi’s down A, which is performed, obviously, by tilting the control stick in the downward direction and pressing A. Yoshi’s down A is also incredibly useful in the Home Run contest as well. A attacks aren’t incredibly strong, but if you know how to use them correctly, they can help out a lot.
A smash attack can be performed by tapping the control stick and pressing the A button at the same time. There are 3 kinds of smash attacks: Up Smash, Down Smash, and Forward Smash, obviously corresponding to the direction you move the control stick. Smash attacks can knock opponents around easily and are quite powerful. When playing in multiplayer, a character can move the C stick up, down, or forward to do smash attacks as well. If you hold the Z button while doing this, the smash attack will charge up.
Each character also has different B button moves. They are performed by tilting the control stick and pressing B. A lot of these attacks are different and vary from character to character. B button attacks vary a lot in power, some are weak and some can be quite powerful. Other B attacks, like Peach’s, can are defense, rather than offensive and do not inflict damage. Like I described before, tilting the control stick up and pressing B can also enable a character to jump.
Knowing how to recover and how to defend yourself is a huge part of Melee. Like I described before, cliffhanging is an option, just again, be wary when 2 people fly off the stage and are trying to grab the edge at the same time. By pressing the L or R button, a shield is created and can block certain attacks and counter others. When someone breaks the shield, you will be stunned for a few seconds and vulnerable to attack. Once you are done using the shield, it will charge up until the next time it is used. If you hold down the L or R button and then tilt the control stick in either the left or right direction, you can roll, and your character will be invulnerable to attacks. Also, holding the L and R buttons and tilting the control stick down will enable you to dodge attacks. Using the L and R buttons and control stick, dodging in the air is possible as well. Going up to an opponent and pressing the Z button will let you seize and grab them. Pressing the A button while grabbing a character will let you punch them. Moving the control stick and releasing the Z button will cause the grabbed opponent to be thrown.
Items (if used) can turn the whole tide of a battle around if you know how to use them correctly. To pick up and use an item, you usually just have to press the A button. When done using an item, press the Z button. Items can be used to either attack or inflict damage on an opponent, cause a status effect or change, or to recover health. One of my favorite damage inducing items is the Hammer (from the Donkey Kong arcade game). Any player in the path of the hammer will get hit, and it causes massive amounts of damage and can easily KO opponents. I like to use it when a player’s damage percentage is already high so I can just finish the job. I also like to throw Bob-ombs at players as they cause lots of damage as well. Freezies can come in handy as well, because when they come into contact with a player, it will freeze them, and that’s when I like to use one of my Smash moves to finish the player off and send them off the stage. The Poké Ball is definitely one of my favorite items to use as well. Upon throwing one, a random Pokémon will be summoned. Many of them have high powered attacks, so this is definitely an item you should watch out for. The summoned Pokémon usually doesn’t damage the person who released it, and they stay on the stage anywhere from 5 to 30 seconds. Be sure to keep a look out for Heart Containers, Food, and Maxim Tomatoes, as they can heal your character and take off damage percent points.
There are many stages on which to battle on and engage in combat. One of my favorites is the Hyrule Temple, which is the largest stage in the game. There are a lot of platforms and places to run from your opponent, so if you battle on this level, it may take longer than some other stages. One of my LEAST favorite stages is the Infinite Glacier: Icicle Mountain. It scrolls vertically, so as you battle your opponents, you have to keep up and make sure you don’t fall out of frame. This is a very easy level to lose a life on because of that. Kanto: Pokémon Stadium is an awesome stage. There is a flat surface with 2 small platforms on both sides. About every 30 seconds, the stage will transform into either a Fire, Water, Rock, or Grass type oriented stage with new platforms and a new set-up. One thing I like to do is play a multiplayer battle on Pokémon Stadium with my friends, set Pokéballs as the only item that can be used, and just let loose and annihilate people.
Many stages have to be unlocked, so they are unavailable at first. One of them is Planet Zebes: Brinstar Depths. You are on a large mass with two other platforms surrounding it. Every so often, the mass, and the platforms, rotate. You have to have excellent timing and technique on this stage. It is actually possible to get stuck on one of the platforms on the bottom, so until it rotates, you are basically stuck there. Characters that can float like Kirby do well on this level because they are able to get themselves out of a bad spot and can easily move around. F-Zero Grand Prix: Big Blue is a pretty annoying level. You use various platforms and F-Zero Racers to move around and battle on. The level itself moves rapidly, and if you fall onto the track, you will quickly be swept away and lose a life. Being extremely careful with your movements is key here. You don’t want to make a small mistake and lose a life. One of my favorite unlockable stages is Final Destination. It is just a flat surface, so it is easy to move around on. It is great for more inexperienced players. If you are playing with a bunch of friends, this is a good stage to play on as it isn’t broken or favored towards any character.
My top 3 favorite characters that I like to use in battle are Bowser, Yoshi, and Dr. Mario. Bowser’s immense size inhibits him from moving around the stage quickly, so he is sluggish. However, his large size makes his attacks hit harder, so I love to spam smash attacks when I play as Bowser. His Down B move (Bowser Bomb) is awesome, but it takes more time to execute than Yoshi’s. I like to also spam his Fire Breath attack as well when players are stuck on the edge or just camping somewhere.
I love Yoshi’s jumping abilities. While he can’t jump or fly as high as Kirby and Jigglypuff, he can still get himself out of tight spots better than most of the other characters in the game. He is also a pretty swift and fast character, but not to the point that Fox and Falco are. His Aerial Down A attack is amazing and it deals a lot of damage over a short period of time. I really like his Egg Roll attack as well. If you hold the B button while you do the egg roll, Yoshi rolls faster and inflicts more damage. I like to spam this attack a lot. His Up B attack, Egg Throw, is pretty awesome as well. Again, like Bowser’s Fire Breath, this is a good attack to spam if players are in one area, stuck on the edge of the stage, or camping. His Yoshi Bomb attack is basically the same as Bowser’s, except that Yoshi is lighter in size and weight, so it doesn’t inflict as much damage as Bowser’s. He does move faster when he executes it though.
My main character that I play in Melee is Dr. Mario. He is by far my favorite. You are able to unlock him by either playing 100 VS matches or completing Classic or Adventure Mode as Mario without having to use a continue. Although Dr. Mario has basically the same moveset as regular Mario, I find that Dr. Mario hits a bit harder. I LOVE to use his Down Smash attack as it inflicts a ton of damage and if the opponent has a high damage percentage, can knock them off the stage and screen. His Back Throw attack is awesome as well. It is one of the strongest in the game and can knock an opponent back easily. His B attack, MegaVitamins, is similar to Mario’s fireballs, but Dr. Mario’s hit harder. They are harder to dodge, so if you are trying to approach a Dr. Mario or are just camping in a certain spot, watch out. Dr. Mario’s Up B attack is one of my favorites in the game. It causes a moderate amount of damage, but if you spam it and use it correctly, you can cause a lot of damage over a short period of time and can KO opponents easily. Dr. Mario’s Down B attack, Dr. Mario Tornado, is amazing as well. It causes more damage than Mario’s and can knock the opponent back. Dr. Mario’s highly damaging attacks compared to his size makes him one of my favorites.
I love to play Melee with my friends as it boots the competitive spirit within me. Everyone from little kids to senior citizens can play this game. I have made a lot of friends through this game and it’s just an amazing game all around. It was a pleasure doing this article for you guys and sharing my love for Melee. Thank you for reading. See you later gamers.