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Which company will have a better E3?


Game Profile
Game Arts
GENRE: Fighting
PLAYERS:   1-4
March 09, 2008

Mario vs Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem!

Super Smash Bros.

Super Smash Bros. Melee

Super Smash Bros.

 Written by Patrick Mulhern  on February 25, 2008

GDC 08 Hands-On Preview: "Along with the prettiness comes epic stages."

On Friday morning I managed to spend a solid thirty minutes playing Super Smash Bros. Brawl and since you had to give up the controller after each round, this amounted to around an hour standing in line and waiting my turn. The gentlemen running my station had the match set on 5-minute time limits and even though I prefer stock, a time limit is the best for showing off the game and keeping things fair. The first thing I noticed about the title while standing there was how everything looks more crisp, sharper and just more pleasing to the eye overall. No, SSBB is no graphical masterpiece, but you should definitely see a noticeable increase in graphics from its GameCube predecessor. Oh and even with everything going on, I never saw a noticable drop in the framerate.

Along with the prettiness comes epic stages. We played Solid Snake's stage probably about five times while I was standing around and it is interesting to note that for a large portion of the battle, the stage is enclosed. On the other hand the Pikmin-based stage, which was played probably four times, has tons of pitfalls, as half the stage is a pit unless a hungry Spotty Bulorb comes by. Yes you can land on him, but try not to land in his mouth, as he will quickly try to eat you. The other half of this stage is hardly any better, as it is constantly being flushed with rushing rainwater, causing your avatar to go tumbling down the slope to his certain doom. What I am trying to get at is that the level designers really brought their best stuff when creating the levels. Not only are they full of precarious situations but they have many references to the game they are based on. Solid Snake's stage has Metal Gear breaking through the back wall of the level and interacting with the battle, while the Pikmin stage comes complete with Spotty Bulorb and even the Pikmin tokens which can be used as throwable weapons.

Anyone who has been following the Smash Dojo knows that a ton of characters are coming to Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Sadly there was just no way that I could play that many characters and see anything else at the convention. In Super Smash Bros. Melee I enjoyed playing as Roy and Marth but they didn't make the cut in the Wii edition, so I went with their Fire Emblem brethren Ike. Ike feels much slower than Roy or Marth, but at the same time, far more powerful. I felt like I was taking a beating half the time but my health was generally at a pretty low percentage (this is a good thing for those unfamiliar with the franchise) while just a few hits from my sword-based attacks and Link would be getting above 60%. Naturally Ike's Up+Attack move was quite devastating and has a good chance at KOing even semi-weak opponents. I did not get a chance to play as Meta Knight but I did play against him and I can't wait to take him for a spin. He appears to be a fast fighter like Kirby, with high impact moves. I also saw him deliver his final smash move two different times. Meta Knight's final smash causes the screen to go black and then slashes his opponent with a hard sword attack before sending him flying.

I think most people worry about the control scheme of SSBB more than anything and I am happy to say that everything is fine. Initially, I played on the Wiimote and although holding it sideways for play is unusual I was easily able to play the game, well if you call third place 'playing' but that is beside the point. After playing two rounds using the Wiimote I managed to get a pair of battles in with the Classic Controller. Since this is a fighting game, the Classic Controller (or perhaps the GameCube controller) feels way more natural to me. Although the Wiimote is certainly usable I will probably be charging up extra batteries to use in my Wavebird (darn it, I guess I will have to buy two more to keep the Wii completely wireless).

Final Thoughts
My pre-order has been in for a few weeks now and after playing the game I know I made the right move in doing so and am even more pumped up for its launch on March 9th. If I was you, I would first get a haircut and then definitely get that $5 pre-order down ASAP because I believe a large portion of Wii owners will be grabbing this day-one, especially all those hardcore Wii owners who complain that there is nothing for them. From the early impression it seems that Famitsu's 50/50 rating is on the mark.

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