Back from the dead (well the N64 at least) Super Smash Bros. Brawl bounces on to the Nintendo Wii complete with classic controller support and online play, but should you bother? We get beating up to find out.
For those not aware of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the best way to describe it is as the Royal Rumble of the Nintendo gaming world.
As with previous instalments, the goal of Super Smash Bros. Brawl is simple, battle other characters in the game’s numerous levels, inflicting as much damage as possible and finally propelling opponents off the screen to score points. The last man standing wins.
You get to play one of 35 characters (14 of which you have to unlock) in a series of battles up to 4 players at a time hoping to be crowned the best fighter in town.
To do so it's a case of slapping your buttons as quickly and violently as possible (there is no motion sensor support here) and we have to admit at first we didn't really have a clue what was going on.
Each arena is based on a scene from the characters included so there is a Metal Gear Solid inspired arena, a couple from Super Mario Bros., and even some from Metroid Prime. Arenas vary, so some move while others are stationary and most have platforms to jump from and to. All are 2D.
Getting into the action is fairly easy, press a couple of buttons, select your character and away you go. In-game and it’s not so easy. Once we worked out that three of the buttons on the classic controller are for jumping we started to get to grips with it. There are two attack moves, a defence and grab move, as well as the usual array of combos to learn and master, however for the most part it is still one of those games that you find yourself staring at the screen with not a clue of what is actually going on as the action carries on regardless around you.
Characters range from Mario to Kirby, Metal Gear Solid to Sonic, and as you might expect each character has different skills and strengths. Completing the Classic solo game opens up more characters and arenas. Doing so is fairly easy, complete 11 levels, beat the bad guy (well bad giant hand actually) and move on to the next character.
In an attempt to give you some longevity there are five different difficulty levels, and you can also chose how many lives you start with.
Beyond the battle arenas there is also a story mode that is your basic platform game. Called The Subspace Emissary, it revolves around the invasion of a Subspace Army of formless enemies led by the evil Ancient Minister.
It will appeal if you're into Super Mario Bros., but it doesn't have anywhere near the same level of excitement or depth as say Super Paper Mario.
Trying to offer something new and exciting on the Wii, Nintendo has added online play to the different areas of the game. You'll be able to now battle randoms or friends online either in cooperative teams, or alone as individual fighters. You are also able to take and share photos and replays although why you would want to is beyond us.
You can't say there isn't plenty to Super Smash Bros. Brawl, with 35 characters to learn and complete, plus the platform game element, plus the online play you can expect plenty of gaming ahead.
However, the trouble is that the gaming, for us anyway, wasn't really that exciting, wasn't really that cutting edge, and the graphics are shockingly poor.
Hardcore Nintendo fans will love it of course.