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"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 3-D on a 2-D plane 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..
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 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.
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 includng 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, including all the "veteran" characters bar 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 in Melee.
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.
Changes from the original
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).
Attack physics 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 is approximately half as important to the knockback characters receive; the lighter characters from SSB sustain less knockback (Jigglypuff and Kirby are examples of this). The heavier characters from SSB sustain more knockback (Donkey Kong is an example of this as well).
The amount of hitstun a character suffers has been slightly decreased. Reduced from .5 to .46.
Smash attacks can now be charged for extra damage and knockback. Most smash attacks have received a power decrease to balance this out (Captain Falcon, Pikachu, and Jigglypuff are the only characters to have at least one or two smash attacks' power increased; Falcon is the only character to have all three smash attacks' power increased).
Meteor smashes can now be cancelled, though certain moves "fall through the cracks" and cannot be. Most meteor smashes now take longer to execute.
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 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 further-reaching than their standing/walking grab.
Jump-canceled grabs are implemented. These are similar to dash grabs, but are faster, has bigger hitboxes, and depends on how high or low the character's traction is.
Grabs can now be escaped should the grabber wait too long before throwing, depending on the victim's damage.
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, and they gained new forward throws).
Throws are weaker in general, with less damage and knockback. This introduces many chain throws.
Certain characters can now use their extended grab in midair and 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 Japanese box art
Super Smash Bros. Melee European box art
25 out of the 26 playable characters in this game made their first playable appearance on the GameCube via Super Smash Bros. Melee. 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.
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.