Super Smash Bros. Melee is a 2-D 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.
Like Super Smash Bros., its predecessor, Super Smash Bros. Melee features gameplay unique from that of other fighting games. Compared to characters in other fighting games, Super Smash Bros. Melee characters have simple movesets, lack complicated button inputs and lengthy natural combos. In contrast, however, the game greatly emphasizes movement and ringouts. Indeed, edge-guarding in this title 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.
Like its predecessor, Super Smash Bros. Melee differs from traditional fighting games in that inflicting the most damage does not guarantee victory. Instead, opposing players must force their opponents beyond the boundaries of the stage. Most attacks inflict damage and can, if enough damage is dealt, knock back the enemy. Each character's health is measured by a meter that represents the damage received as a percentage. The higher the percentage value, the farther the player gets knocked back, and the easier they are to knock off the stage. Unlike other games of the same genre, in which moves are entered by button-input combinations, most moves in Super Smash Bros. Melee can be accessed via one-button presses and a joystick direction.
During battles, items related to Nintendo games or merchandise fall onto the game field. These items have purposes ranging from inflicting damage on the opponent to restoring health to the player. Additionally, most stages have a theme relating to a Nintendo franchise or a specific Nintendo game and are interactive to the player. Although the stages are rendered in three dimensions, players can only move on a two-dimensional plane. Not all stages are available immediately; some stages must be "unlocked" by achieving particular requirements.
Single-player mode provides the player with a variety of side-scrolling fighting challenges. The applicable modes range from the "Classic mode", which involves the player battling against opponents in multiple stages until he or she reaches the boss character, to the "Home Run Contest", which is a minigame involving the player trying to launch a sandbag as far as possible with a Home Run Bat. Some of these modes are personalized for the character; for example, the "Target Test" sets out a specialized area for a character in which they aim to destroy ten targets in the least amount of time they can. These areas may include references to that particular character's past and legacy. Melee introduced "Adventure mode", which takes the player to several predefined universes of characters in the Nintendo franchise. "All-Star mode" is an unlockable feature of the game, requiring the player to defeat every character in the game while having health supplements between battles. If the player's character losses a single life, he/she will receive an immediate game over.
In the multiplayer mode, up to four players or computer controlled characters may fight, either in a free-for-all or in teams. The CPU characters' AI difficulty is ranked from one to nine in ascending order of difficulty. There are five ways in which the victor can be determined, depending on the game type. The traditional mode is "Stock mode", a solo or team-based battle in which the last player to lose their lives wins, but this can be changed to less conventional modes like "Coin mode", which rewards the richest player as the victor; they must collect coins created by hitting enemies and try not to lose them by falling off the stage. Other options are available, updating from Super Smash Bros., such as determining the number and type of items that appear during the battle.
|Main article: Trophy (Super Smash Bros. series)#Super Smash Bros. Melee|
Trophies (known as "Figures" in the Japanese version) of various Nintendo characters and objects can be collected throughout the game. These trophies include figures of playable characters, accessories, and items associated with them as well as secondary characters not otherwise included in the game. The trophies range from the well-known to the obscure, and even characters or elements that were only released in Japan. Some of the trophies include a description of the particular subject and detail the year and the game in which the subject first appeared. Each playable character has three unique trophies. The trophies gained from beating Classic Mode usually tell about the character and his/her role in his/her respective game franchise, and the trophy itself looks different from the character's Super Smash Bros. Melee model. The trophies gained from the Adventure and All-Star Modes tell about the moves of the character and his/her strengths and weaknesses. Super Smash Bros. had a similar system of plush dolls (Biographies); however, it only included the 12 playable characters. One more trophy is in the Japanese version of the game.
Super Smash Bros. Melee features 26 characters, 14 more than its predecessor. Fifteen are available initially, with the other characters requiring the completion of specific tasks to become available. Every character featured in the game derives from a popular Nintendo franchise. All characters have a symbol that appears behind their damage meter during a fight; this symbol represents what series they belong to, such as a Triforce symbol behind Link's damage meter and a Poké Ball behind Pokémon species. Some characters represent popular franchises while others were less-known at the time of the release—Marth and Roy represent the Fire Emblem series, which had never been released in the West at the time. The characters' appearance in Super Smash Bros. Melee led to a rise in the popularity of the series. References are made throughout the game to the relationship between characters of the same universe; in one of the events from "Event mode", Mario must defeat his enemy Bowser to rescue Princess Peach. Furthermore, each character has recognizable moves from their original series, such as Samus' firearms from the Metroid series and Link's arsenal of weapons from The Legend of Zelda.
The only playable Kirby character in this game is Kirby himself.
- Captain Falcon
- Donkey Kong
- Fox McCloud
- Ice Climbers
- Samus Aran
- Dr. Mario
- Mr. Game & Watch
- Young Link
There are eighteen starter stages and eleven more which can be unlocked.
- Fountain of Dreams
- Great Bay
- Green Greens**
- Icicle Mountain
- Jungle Japes**
- Kongo Jungle
- Mushroom Kingdom
- Mute City
- Pokémon Stadium**
- Princess Peach's Castle
- Rainbow Cruise**
- Yoshi's Island**
- Yoshi's Story
- Big Blue**
- Brinstar Depths
- Dream Land 64
- Final Destination**
- Flat Zone
- Kongo Jungle 64
- Mushroom Kingdom II
- Poké Floats
- Yoshi's Island 64
- ** = Stages that return in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
- The music that plays for the All-Star Rest Area is from Kirby Super Star and its remake. In turn, this music comes from a segment of Float Islands's theme in Kirby's Dream Land and its SNES remake.
- The opening theme of Super Smash Bros. Melee contains a segment of Butter Building's music from Kirby's Adventure.
- Like Super Smash Bros., King Dedede was intended to be a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Melee. However, he would make his debut as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.