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FlatTopJesus avatar 3:56 PM on 04.15.2008  (server time)
Brawl Stages: The Good, The Bad, and The Meh. Pt.2

Oh Super Smash Bros Brawl. What an entrancing effect you have on people, throwing people into rabid debate about every single aspect of the game, even stealing time and friendships from innocent people. Well that is just nonsense; the internet needs of a voice of reason/martyr, and I have to try my best.

*DISCLAIMER* I will discuss all of the non-Melee stages in the game, so if you're worried about spoilers read no further. But who are you kidding, you already know everything that would every be considered secret about this game.

The following are my opinions on the Good, the Bad, and the Average stages of brawl. This is in no way tourneyfag material; each stage is critiqued on flavor, functionality, and fun (The 3 F's, perhaps?). However, their final ranking is almost completely dependent on how much fun I had while playing this with a large group of friends, drunk and sober alike. Final Destination will not be named as the definitive stage, I promise you that. I will be counting up from the worst of the best, the worst of the average, and counting down from the best of the worst. The superior stages, and the absolute worst, will be revealed over time, or at least that's the idea. Without further ado, here is the next set of stages:

Luigi's Mansion

"Oh no, you broke-a my fucking mansion!" - Luigi

Flavor: That's Luigi's Mansion, alright. This stage hails from the game, you guessed it, Luigi's Mansion! Exciting, I know. Anyways, this recreation is completely faithful to the game, at least in an aesthetic sense. The outside of the mansion is identical, where as the inside is faithful, but from what I recall the game contained more than four rooms. Yep, that's about all I can say about it. Oh, except that this house is full of ghosts. How terrifying.

Functionality: Ah, this is where the beauty of this stage lies. There are 3 level, the first of which has two small platforms to help you hop up to the middle, as the middle floor can not be passed through except for a center platform. There are also small platforms that appear off of the edge to the side of the mansion, which can your escape at times. The whole gimmick here is that if you destroy a pillar that holds the platforms together, a fourth of the mansion will be left in ruins. The whole mansion can be decimated, leaving you with a flat, large platform. Good stuff, but only so because the mansion's ghost residents will arbitrarily rebuild the entire thing if it is torn down completely. There's lots of variety, lots of places to hide, and you can break stuff. Just fantastic.

Fun: You can break stuff! What more to you people want? Seriously though, this stage is plenty of fun. It's pretty standard, nothing can jump out and kill you, no one can complain about it being cheap, it's a fair, balanced stage. The whole mansion smashing dynamic also plays out well, it can happen when you're just fighting, which is cool, or when you deliberately do it to further one of your own wacky strategies. Plus the support beams stop projectiles, take that projectile whores!

Songs of Choice: Tetris: Type A, Airship Theme, and Luigi's Mansion Theme. It may seem like a cop-out, but they're all good and unique.

Lylat Cruise

Oooh, Ahhhh, alright I'm bored.

Flavor: This stage takes place on top of a (completely original) craft called the Pleiades as it makes its way through the Lylat system from none other than Star Fox. You pass through a huge battle, asteroid belts, and the craft even goes through the atmosphere into a planet, showing the a serene view of a world. This stage is visually stunning, from the massive dogfights to traveling through an armada of huge crafts, everything looks amazing. It represents the Star Fox series well, and if anything is considerablely cooler than the franchise has been since Star Fox 64.

Functionality: Once you take away the visual polish, this stage is very basic. And not in a good, Battlefield sort of way. The base of the ship serves as one large platform while 3 wing-like structures serve as floating platforms above it. The sides curve off in an odd way, but other than that this stage is as basic as it gets. The layout should work well, but it just doesn't perform as well as something far more simple such as Yoshi's Island. The platforms as oddly spaced and seem a little too short, and as much as that sounds like nit-picking the stage is just weird as hell to play on. It's okay, and that's about it. Still, it works, and if you like Star Fox it's your only new option.

Fun: Like I've previously stated; technically, nothing is wrong with this stage. It's basic, it works, and it's pretty. But that beauty comes at a cost, this is easily the most visually confusing stage in the game. It's often hard to focus on the fight at hand because of the background, which is anything but good. However, once you can get past that, this stage is rock solid, if only a little bland. (Side note: there is some great music to be had here.)

Songs of Choice: Space Armada, Coneria, Main Theme (Star Fox 64), Break Through the Ice


Oh... that doesn't look good. How do I get in the capsule?!

Flavor: Ah, Super Metroid. A prime example of 2-D gaming, this game has a special place in many gamers hearts, worldwide. It only makes sense that it would be represented in Brawl, and Norfair is what we get. The magma caves deep in the Planet Zebes are home to Ridley's lair, and lots of lava. Not a lot to go on, but if you look at the stage and the area of the game side by side, the stage is a fair representation. This place is full of hazards, as is the stage. When it boils down to it, however, this stage is very minimalistic in it's presentation; there is lava, there are platforms. That's it, and that's all there needs to be.

Functionality: This stage is comprised of 5 small platforms in a wide "V" formation. There's not a lot of space to run around, and chances are you're just going to be jumping all over the place. On the good side, all the platforms besides the bottom one can be passed through, so you aren't going to bump your head trying to get back and get screwed out of a life. Hoorah for that. The gimmick here is the lava waves. They come from the sides in the form of huge walls that hurt you badly when you're thrown in to them. These are arbitrary and fairly common, so expect to see a lot of them. The lava can also rise from the bottom, making it so you can cheat death at the cost of health, which is cool and all, but we've all seen it before in Melee. And then there's the Giant, stage raping lava tide that moves from the background in to the foreground, causing severe harm and most likely death to all that get caught under it. When this happens, you can theoretically get into a capsule that appears and be spared.

Fun: Both Metroid stages seem to have the "If you don't know what you're doing you're probably going to get screwed" mentality, though I think this one is worse in that respect. The platforms are really too broken up, most of the battling takes place in the air while slower characters get the shaft when it comes to ground space. There's just not a lot of place to rest, and while it keeps the battle frantic, I don't think it's especially fun. The whole lava wave thing is what kills it. The battle for the capsule generally ends with all the combatants getting burned, and if you haven't played the stage it'd be tough to figure out that you have to hit the blue doors to even get it to open, despite the fact that it looks like it can easily be jumped into from the top. Most of the group I play didn't figure that out until maybe our 6th brawl on that stage. Sound like fun to you?

Songs of Choice: Marionation Gear, Main Theme (Metroid) (besides that dumb-ass talking in the beginning)


So concludes part two of BS: tG, tB, atM (Oh that's so catchy...). I put a lot of work in to it, and I hope you all enjoyed reading it. So you've heard me ramble on about these stages, what are your opinions? Stay tuned, your most revered and detested stages could be in the next installment! Also, if you aren't reading this, you ought to be. But chances are if you're a fan of this game you already are.

Part 1

All screens courtesy of the Smash Dojo.

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