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.
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:
You asshole! It said "Don't Move"!
Warioware! Who doesn't love this stage? This particular arena is based off of the Warioware micro game franchise which stars none other than Wario. It's goofy, it's quirky, and it's fun. All of these things make the leap into smash bros perfectly. It includes around 10 different micro games that it switches to during the match, and they're all straight out of a Warioware game. None of their art styles match and they all last about 10 seconds, which again is true to the series. Nintendo did an absolutely fantastic job with this one.
The basic stage layout is a large center platform flanked on each side by two platforms. The platforms directly above the stage are quite large, able to accommodate 2 characters, while the platforms above those are significantly smaller; about the size of one character. Once a minute or so, it seems quite random, the stage will shift to a mini-game straight out of Warioware. The gimmick here is the micro games themselves. Many of them require you to dodge various projectiles, such as cars from the sides, raining arrows from the background, or giant feet from above. Others require you to chisel statues, pop party-poppers, taunt, or even stay completely still. There is a pretty good variety here, and if performed these tasks can be very lucrative. The can award health bonuses, giant mushrooms, or stars; though at times it seems like you are getting nothing. Your bonus is random, so two people can both pass the challenge and get completely different rewards.
This stage is one of the most fun and unique in the entire game. If you believe that there is beauty in chaos, you will be deeply satisfied by this arena. Everything is almost completely random, from the shifting into the games to the perks they give, nothing will ever be the same twice. Two people could both taunt and get a benefit, yet more often than not one person will get a star and another will get a mild heal. This may not sound like fun, but when you're in that power position you'll be having a blast. And everyone is equal in the eyes of these games, so you'll surely luck out every once in a while. Some of the funniest moments come from the "Don't Move" phase of the stage. People are rewarded for staying completely still for somewhere under 10 seconds. No matter if they are attacked or the one doing the attacking, if a person does anything they'll forfeit the bonus. This can lead to complete standstills where one jerk just messes it up for everyone. But it sure is fun to be that jerk.
Songs of Choice:
Warioware Inc., Warioware Inc. Medley, Mona Pizza's Song
Yep. That's it. Glad to get this out of the way.
It's Final Destination. It was originally in Melee, and now it's back with a graphical overhaul. As opposed to be a plain Octagon shaped platform, it's now a rectangle. This makes no difference in the way it performs, it's the same as ever. The background sends you flying through space and time, and overall looks pretty damned good.
It is hard to say anything bad about this stage, let alone anything at all. IIt's just a rectangle. The only thing that could be considered tricky is that it is quite easy to get caught under the stage, the sides seemed to be lipped upwards. Characters with wall cling can latch on under the stage, and characters with glide can pass under it fairly easily. That's about it.
I can't hate on this stage in good conscience. It may be plain, it may be the lifeblood of the 'lovely' tournament scene, and it may be boring at times; despite all that, it's a friggin treat to play on. I love it. It's balanced, it's a good size, it looks nice, and it's fun. It's not the best in any way, but it's fun as hell as long as you don't play it every damned time. Music is kinda bleh, though.
Songs of Choice:
Final Destination, Credits (Super Smash Bros), Opening (Super Smash Bros Melee)
So I guess I can't swim in that water...
This stage is hands-down the most representative of it series in the entire game. I may claim another stage to capture the flavor of it's series well, but understand this here and now: this stage is in an entirely different league. It is literally the game Elekctroplankton, but it has brawl characters fighting in it. It looks identical, the entirety of Electroplankton's gameplay is literally in it, and the sound design is nearly identical as well. The rest of my critique my be nothing but negative, but from a presentation standpoint this stage is flawless. I love this stage in that respect. With that in mind, the rest of this will physically pain me to write...
I think we can all agree that this stage is shit. The level is compromised of one major section of platforms on the right, a small group of platforms on the top left, and a lone, slanted platform on the bottom part of the left side of the screen. The platforms are leaves on branches coming from the top and bottom of the screen, and their composition can be viewed in the screenshot (I tried but can not accurately explain how they are grouped together). So basically there is a tree on the right, and a smaller tree on the top left. The gimmick in this stage is that when the leaves are hit, they change their color and angle. The color has no real bearing on anything besides the Hanenbow (groups of purple tadpoles with yellow tails). These little creatures bounce off of the leaves and make sound. Although this is a direct translation of Electroplankton gameplay, it really doesn't matter from Brawl
gameplay standpoint. Still cool though. The reason this stage is so odd to fight on is that besides this scattered collection of small platforms, the rest of the screen is a bottomless pit. If you fall into the "water", you're dead.
They stage is just torture to play on. There are no good places to make a stand, most of the platforms are quite far away from one another, and there is no ground to land on if you fall. My friends completely refuse to play on this stage, and despite the fact that I like Electroplankton, I whole-heartedly understand why. It's just poorly constructed, awkward, and generally a fight against gravity rather than your opponents. It is also a prime camping map, people can easily jump across the stage during a four man brawl and just shoot at the other combatants for quite a while. Especially characters like Snake that have controlled projectiles. I hate to say it, but avoid this map at all costs unless you're a devout fan of the DS game.
Songs of Choice:
This stage contains no music, only the sounds created by the stage itself (which can still be cool)
So concludes part four of my critique. I put a lot of work in to it, and I hope you all enjoyed reading it. I can has friends now plz? 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.
All screens courtesy of the Smash Dojo.