"Melee" redirects here. For the game mode, see Versus Mode.
Super Smash Bros. Melee, known in Japan as Dairantou* Smash Brothers DX** (大乱闘 スマッシュ ブラザーズDX, Dairantō Sumasshu Burazāzu Dī Ekkusu), and often shortened to "SSBM" or "Melee", is a 2.5D fighting game for the Nintendo GameCube. It was released in late 2001 in America and Japan, shortly after GameCube's launch, and early 2002 in Europe. It is the second game in the Super Smash Bros. series, following its predecessor, Super Smash Bros. and was succeeded by Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
Like Super Smash Bros., its predecessor, Melee features gameplay unique from that of other fighting games. Compared to characters in other fighting games, Melee characters have simple movesets and lack complicated button inputs and lengthy natural combos. Instead Melee emphasizes movement and ringouts. Indeed, edge-guarding in Melee takes on much more significance than it does in most other games due to copious mid-air jumps and other methods of reaching the edge unfettered. The game has sold over seven million copies and is the best-selling GameCube game. Melee is also the first game in the series to be rated (by ESRB) T. Brawl was also rated T, making Super Smash Bros. the only game in the series to be rated E.
The opening movie of Melee was given particularly high attention by the developing team; according to Sakurai, the team wanted to create an entire, high-quality FMV sequence in the game in order to highlight the then newly-released GameCube console's graphical power in comparison to previous consoles. The development team worked in three different animations studios in Tokyo, Japan to finish the FMV opening.
In addition to pre-rendered cutscenes, the opening sequence also contains some shots of actual gameplay; continuing the trend started in the previous game, the opening also directly segues into the title screen.
An early opening has also been found; in this sequence, the clips of actual gameplay had been considerably changed.
The entire cast of Melee, excluding Sheik, Zelda's alter ego.
The character-selection screen of Super Smash Bros. Melee (which includes all 26 characters unlocked).
The cast of 25 playable characters, 26 including Zelda's alter ego Sheik, includes all twelve characters from Super Smash Bros. and thirteen newcomers. Of these, fourteen are available from the start of play (fifteen if Sheik is included), including all the "veteran" characters but Luigi and Jigglypuff.
The game features several points to be unlocked, most of which include the trophies, unlockable characters and stages. Some of them are unlocked by a special way, like achieving a certain distance on the Home-Run Contest, while others are obtained by the Lottery. For a full list, see List of unlockables (SSBM).
Melee was well-received in many quarters and is the GameCube's top-selling game. More than seven million copies of Melee were sold as of March 10, 2008. It was the fastest-selling GameCube game in Japan and sold 358,525 copies within four days of its release. In North America, it sold 250,000 copies within nine days of its release. It was the first GameCube game to sell over a million copies, an achievement reached only two months after its release.
Melee has received critical acclaim from reviewers, and has received high rankings on many gaming sites, such as GameRankings, IGN, and GameSpot. GameSpy commented in their review that "you'll have a pretty hard time finding a more enjoyable multiplayer experience on any other console". Reviewers compared the game favorably to the original Super Smash Bros., commonly due to the large amount of new content added to the sequel, with IGN's Fran Mirabella III saying it was "in an entirely different league than the N64 version". The improved graphics were also welcomed, and GameSpot said that "the character models are pleasantly full-bodied, and the quality of their textures is amazing". Planet GameCube's Mike Sklens also rated it as "one of the best sounding games ever", while GameSpot's Greg Kasavin commented that "it all sounds brilliant".
Common criticisms of gameplay included the controls' over-sensitivity and "hyper-responsiveness", with characters easily dashing and precise movements difficult to perform,, as well as the fast-paced gameplay, with Nintendo Spin's Clark Nielson stating that "Melee was too fast for its own good". Many gamers additionally criticized the game for being too similar to the original, and GameCritics.com's Caleb Hale called it "every bit as good as its Nintendo 64 predecessor. The game doesn't expand much past that point".Super Smash Bros. Melee has received many gaming awards. GameSpy chose it as Best Fighting GameCube Game in their "Best of 2001" awards, IGN's reader choice chose it as Game of the Year,, Electronic Gaming Monthly chose it as Best Multiplayer and Best GameCube Game,, and GameSpot chose Melee as the Best GameCube Game and tenth best game of the year..
While Melee mainly follows the same formula introduced in the original game by retaining most elements, several differences exist between the two games. The following list, while not all-inclusive, notes several of the changes. Note that this list does not include obvious changes, such as a different button scheme/controller and Melee-only characters and items.
The general pacing of the game has been increased; freeze frames have been reduced, KOs off the top blast line finish sooner, and characters move faster in general (especially vertically).
Hitboxes now use spheres and tubes instead of cubes.
Damage is now dealt and tracked with decimal numbers instead of integers, making moves of any damage equally vulnerable to staleness.
Stale-move negation has been redesigned; moves now feature a gradual drop in power if used repeatedly instead of a single large drop in power when used once, and using a move less frequently but still often gives less of a penalty then using the move the same number of times consecutively.
Weight values have been made less drastic; characters heavier than Mario are lighter, while characters lighter than Mario are heavier.
The amount of hitstun a character suffers has been decreased. being reduced from .46 to .4.
Smash attacks can now be charged for extra damage and knockback. Most smash attacks have received a power decrease to balance this out.
Meteor smashes can now be cancelled (with a loud swishing sound and the character glowing briefly white while doing so), though certain moves "fall through the cracks" and cannot be. Moves that can meteor smash are also generally much slower in all aspects.
Characters now have a side special move, bringing the total number of special moves per character to 4. Some veterans gain a new move for their side special, while others (like Link and Jigglypuff) gain a new neutral special, with their old one becoming the side special.
Characters now have a unique animation for running grabs, which is generally slower and farther reaching than their standing/walking grab.
Jump-canceled grabs are implemented. These are similar to dash grabs, but are faster, have bigger hitboxes, and depends on how high or low/fast or slow the character's traction/dash speed is.
Grabs can now be escaped should the grabber wait too long before throwing, with the time until escaping dependent on the grabbed character's damage (the more damage they have, the longer they can be held).
Characters now have an up throw and a down throw in addition to a pummel. Some veterans have had throws reassigned (for example, Kirby and Jigglypuff's old forward throws are now their up throws, Captain Falcon`s old forward throw is now his down throw, and they gained new forward throws; Kirby`s flips in the air and slams his foe on the ground, Jigglypuff`s involve it puffing up slightly on its opponent, and Captain Falcon punches his enemy forward with, oddly, two barely noticeable hits).
Throws are additionally weaker in general, with less damage and knockback, and most throws are now meant to start combos instead of being KO moves. This, combined with the introduction of up and down throws, introduces many more chain throws, especially since throws deal the same amount knockback to characters regardless of weight (as a result, all up throws are completely dependent on the character`s falling speed and gravity).
Certain characters can now use their extended grab in midair to wall grapple.
Melee is widely known for its large and intricate tournament scene. The generally accepted birth of the tournament scene was caused by the creation of the Tournament Go series. Recently, the tournament scene has been bolstered by grand-scale tournaments such as the MLG series.
The community has constructed a set of standard tournament rules to regulate tournament play. All matches are played with timedstock (usually four lives and eight minutes), with items turned off and restrictions on legal stages. These regulations are enacted to ensure that gameplay at the highest level remains fair and interesting.
Super Smash Bros. Melee marks the first playable appearance on the Nintendo GameCube for 25 out of the 26 playable characters. The only character who had been playable on the GameCube beforehand was Luigi in Luigi's Mansion.
This also marked the first playable appearance of Sheik, Ganondorf, and Roy in any series, as well as Roy's first appearance in any game.
Despite there being 5 "?"-marked character boxes initially, there are a total of 11 unlockable characters, with the ones not marked by a "?" being clones. Given that Melee directly identifies these characters as clones by how they're presented on the selection screen, this raises interesting questions about how they were treated by the development team.
Oddly enough, when Luigi becomes unlocked, he takes his place beside Mario and bumps Pikachu down into a "?" box. Pikachu being sandwiched in the Mario section in the first place appears to have been done so the bottom-row placement of the "?" boxes is aesthetically pleasing without having to move anything else around.