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Super Smash Bros. Brawl - WII - Preview

E for All 2007 Preview

Every console has “the game.” The game everyone wants but no one can have because it has yet to be released. Xbox 360 fans just got theirs – Halo 3. And in February 2008, Nintendo Wii fans will get theirs – Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Join us as we take you on our first hands-on impressions.

Remotely Smashing

Smash Bros. Brawl will use several different control schemes when it’s released this February. You’ll be able to use the Wii Classic Controller, a nunchuck/Wii remote combo, and (reportedly) old GameCube controllers. At E for All, however, Nintendo stuck with the single-remote control style which has you hold the remote like an NES controller.

The results are effective and certainly fun. If you’ve played the series before (which is pretty much guaranteed), the game won’t feel that different from the rest. The jumpy, pound-each-other-into-the-air gameplay is back. Mario, Luigi, Ike, Peach, Samus, Fox, Pikachu, Bowser, Diddy Kong, Donkey Kong, Pit, and Meta Knight were on the playable roster (more will be featured in the final game, including Metal Gear’s Solid Snake). However, most of them have been seen and controlled before. The most exciting character inclusion was Sonic, whose spin-based moves have been added to the game for more action/adventure-style fighting.

As this is the first time Sonic and Mario go head-to-head in a fighting game, it’s interesting to see that both the plumber and the blue hedgehog are about the same size. Sonic looks great running on Wii hardware. His spin attack, done automatically by pressing the 1 button, is a great way to quickly launch an opponent into the air. His other, weaker attack is executed with the 2 button, which can also be used to pick up items. 

New power-up attacks give your character the ultimate edge in combat. I wasn’t able to snag one during either of my two games, but one of my opponents did. He was controlling Fox, who is best known for his space-y adventures in Star Fox. His power-up calls upon his ship, which flies onto the screen and annihilates everyone around him.

Very Worldly

Brawl is instantly more dynamic than its predecessors. Nintendo has learned a lot from Namco, Midway, and other fighting game champions, who use multi-tiered and/or multi-area worlds to immerse the players deeper into the game. Though there have not been any multi-tiered stages thus far, the majority of Brawl’s stages are either enormous in scope (the backgrounds are several times the size of Melee’s backgrounds), feature color, seasonal and day/night changes, or feature several different worlds that flash in and out as the clock ticks down.

It’s an amazing sight – the Fire Emblem level is gorgeous. First you’re fighting outside the castle, battling on pillars and other medieval structures. Next you’re inside, tearing down statues (which hold up platforms – opponents that are on the platform when it falls will take damage).

The Yoshi’s Island stage is a colorful, semi-surreal mix of over-the-top shapes and larger-than-life characters and backdrops. One of them, a large-mouthed chain chomper-type creature, is a threat to any player who dears touch it. While the Fire Emblem stage changed with entirely new worlds, this one changes in appearance while keeping players in the same area. The backgrounds are drenched in more beauty than your eyes will ever be able to take in. Add to that the plethora of special effects – like realistic-looking fire from the flower power-up, which functions like a flamethrower – and you’ve got one of the most visually appealing Wii games yet.

More to Smash

The finished version of Brawl will offer dozens of characters, at least 11 different stages (likely more), online play, multiple control types, and an endless number of reasons to never put down the controller. We’ll be keeping our eyes fixated on this one from now till its February release, so stay tuned.

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