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Brawl Stages: The Good, The Bad, and The Meh. Pt.1

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 beginning of a magically journey:

Shadow Moses Island

Ah, Solid Snake's own little slice of heaven.

Flavor: From the bleak, modern architecture to the killer Metal Gears, this captures the essence of the franchise very well. This walled prison of a level is straight of the 1998 classic, Metal Gear:Solid. Everything is recreated beautifully, down to lovely weather and grin-inducing spotlight, complete with everyone's favorite "!" when a character is caught within the beam. The Ray makes an appearance as an homage to Sons of Liberty, as does the Rex from the first installment, and even the Gekkos from Guns of the Patriots show up (albeit rarely), so the series is represented well overall. Hell, Snake even has humorous Codec conversations to Otacon, the Colonel, and Mei Ling about his opponents, what more could you want?

Functionality: This stage lends itself to a unique form of brawling. It's basic two tiered design is flanked with a large tower on each side, making getting thrown off to the side impossible. These can be broken, but chances are for the first minute or so, a brutal cage-like match will occur. And trust me, the shit will be beaten out of you thoroughly before your first stock is gone. You could be juggled off the top, but it is a certainty are those walls are coming down at some point, allowing characters to be batted off into oblivion. Or course the walls magically grow back after a short period of time, but what fun would it be if they didn't? Overall, this gimmick works well.

Fun: It's a good un'. From racking up damage by bouncing people off of the towers to hiding down on the ground level and annoying the people above you with aerials, this stage just works. Although this is technically the worst of the best, this stage is no slouch.

Song of Choice: Yell "Dead Cell"

Spear Pillar

Palkia, you asshole.

Flavor: It's a Pokemon Stage, alright. Melodramatic? Check. Legendary guys in the background giggling in amusement as you fight to appease them? Check. Pretty okay in every possible way? Check. Seriously though, this is the stage in Diamond/Pearl where you fight and hope to catch Dialga/Palkia. In the games, these jerk god-pokemon are stopped by a trio of others that nullify their power so that they can be dealt with by your trainer, yet those pokemon don't exist on the stage itself. If they do, I'm unaware of it, because they have no visible effect. But another legendary, Cresselia, does (though I have never seen it). So the top part of this stage is a shrine for Dialga/Palkia, and the bottom part is a cave representing Mt. Coronet, the mountain that you have to climb to get to them. Fair enough. I could be wrong, but that's how I see it.

Functionality: This stage is basically two tiers that a separated by an impassible floor. The top tier has two small uneven platforms that add a little bit more variety to combat. It can be destroyed (by the legendary pokemon) to an extent to open up the bottom area a little bit more, but that's about it. Simple, right? NO. Either Dialga or Palkia will randomly be chosen to appear on the stage whenever you select it; quite frankly, they fuck it all up. Dialga isn't so bad, he shoots some laser beams, throws psychic boomerangs at people, and roars and tilts the stage a bit. Not too bad. Then there's Palkia. What an asshole. He'll slow down time, he'll flip the stage, he'll mess with your controls. He's a nightmare.

Fun: When Dialga is around, things aren't too bad. His beam can clear the bottom floor out or just open it up, both of which discourage camping. Well done sir. Then there's Palkia. He will fuck your day. No one will have a good time with him around. Up is down, black is white, rape is consentual, ect. It's just a bad scene. This stage is a 50/50 for fun, so it caps off the bottom section of the 'okay' stages.

Song of Choice: Victory Road

The Summit

Hey, it's a fish... WHAT THE FUCK I WAS AT 0%.

Flavor: I like this stage. A lot. It's pretty much a beautiful version of the NES classic, and then is goes and changes completely by way of the summit itself breaking off of the mountain and sliding down in to the ocean. There's not much to say; there's ice, it can be climbed, it looks like an update of the actual games. It even has the egg plants from the original. It's awesome.

Functionality: So the stage itself is pretty much just two tiers (again) with platforms acting as a way to get to the top. There is a divider in through the center in the middle level of the stage, so only the top and bottom are really suitable for beating ass. There's a regenerating piece of ice that can be broken towards the bottom of the stage that can be broken as well as a platform on the other side of the divider than can be made to drop down, so that opens it up a bit. The first part of the stage is pretty standard, the stage is as I explained it. When the summit starts to slide down the mountain, the wind pushes your character up and back, so the gravity is quite a bit different. Once you hit the ocean, the stage is back to normal. Or so it seems. The bottom level is submerged in water, leaving you open to instant-kill giant fish. So in other words, stay off the bottom or else.

Fun: I like this level quite a bit, there's a reason it's the best of the 'bad'. However, it's just not very much fun to play on. The center divider breaks up the action too much, the gravity as you're sliding down the mountain side makes being juggled an inevitability, and the bastard fish is a pain whenever it shows up. All of these things make this a stage one that elicits groans from everyone playing whenever this show up as a random selection. It's an interesting stage, and that's about it.

Song of Choice: Balloon Trip


So concludes the first part of my hopefully long-running series of blogs. 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!

All screens courtesy of the Smash Dojo.
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About FlatTopJesusone of us since 3:17 AM on 06.11.2007

I'm Mike, I'm from San Diego. I'm in no way new to Destructoid, I'm a just a long time lurker, first time poster. So on the topic it hand; I've been gaming for 17 years and this is the first time I've been to a site where everyone doesn't seem to be full of shit. That's pretty neat. I'm into most genres, though I'm a big fan of Fighting, Racing, and Action/Adventure. That's pretty vague, so here's a small list of my favorite games to give you a better idea:

Phantom Dust
Kotor 2
F-Zero GX
Street Fighter IV
Fallout 2
As well as the givens like RE4, Ocarina of Time, Bioshock, blah blah blah

Anyways, I'm starting to ramble, so in summation: What's up? Nice to meet you all, and hope to see you on XBL. If anything, here's my contribution to Dtoid:

XBL: AquaticPants

Currently Playing:
Street Fighter IV
Street Fighter IV
Street Fighter IV

Xbox LIVE:AquaticPants


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