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Brawl Stages: The Good, The Bad, and The Meh. Pt.3

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:

Distant Planet

God damn it Pikmin is great.

Flavor: This stage is so well done I can't even believe it. It's straight out of either Pikmin title, all of the elements are there. From the Onions (the ships used by the pikmin themselves) randomly landing on the leafy platforms to the constantly growing pellets (little pikmin tokens) that can be used as projectiles, this stage nails it. It's set in an overgrown earth environment complete with trash (treasure!) in the background, complete with rain leaves that react to your weight. There's even a giant Bulborb that would like nothing more than to devour you and then go about his business. If you couldn't tell, I love this stage.

Functionality: This is an odd one to describe in print, so use the screen as reference if you get confused. The main feature of this game is a central, large leaf used as a platform. On top of this, there are 3 more leaves that that rest above this platform, each of which will react to your weight and potentially leave you open to get smashed from below. To the left side of the screen is a dirt slope that descends from the downward and under the central leaf. The camera will pan out to reveal a giant Bulborb (strawberry monster) that waits for combatants to jump on top of it, falling in to it's trap. Although it can be used as a platform, this is not advised for long periods of time. It will occasionally open in its mouth, which if landed in is a death sentence. Once every few minutes there is rain that makes the slope on the side impossible to stand on, and it helps speed things up when people are off to the side. It's an interesting, asymmetrical stage.

Fun: This stage is unique and while that doesn't necessarily translate to fun, in this case it does. While it's interesting mechanics would be enough to put it in the upper echelon of stages, this is fundamentally solid stage that will never disappoint. Being a huge fan of Pikmin, it's hard to say anything bad about this stage, but if there was anything it'd be the color palette. Many people I have played with complain that the foreground doesn't stand out enough in comparison to the background, and that could potentially cause a lot of confusion. Still, I urge you to play on this stage more often if you don't already do so regularly.

Songs of Choice:Stage Clear/Title (Pikmin), Title (Big Brain Academy), Environmental Sounds

Frigate Orpheon

Hm, I wonder what's with the alarm.

Flavor: It's the frigate where the beginning of your journey in the Metroid Prime series begins. More specifically, it's the first boss fight you encounter with the parasite queen, who happens to be hanging out in the background. This whole stage keeps with the theme well, as you had to jump from platform to platform to kill the queen, and the stage is basically 3 platforms. It's simple, clean, and accurate. At the very worst, it's faithful, and at best, it's pretty damned cool. However, it's beyond me know how anyone could argue against the style.

Functionality: Like I stated, it's pretty much just 3 platforms, one of which is fairly large while the others (one above the large platform and one off to the side) are on the smaller side. The platform off to the side moves up and down, so not all of the fighting will take place on an equal battlefield. The gimmick with this one is that an alarm will sound, and within a few seconds the entire stage will flip upside down. If you're standing on the floor when this happens, you're trapped directly under the stage and as good as dead unless you're Pit or something. If you jump up, you'll be fine. It works well, but I know that everyone got killed or at least freaked out the first time they encountered it. So once you can get past that, it's a well balanced stage that suits smaller brawls well.

Fun: This one is questionable. While Prime fans will enjoy this one, many more inexperienced players will hate all that stage-flip nonsense. Once everyone understands what's going on, it's generally a good time. The moving platform keeps things varied, while it's small size keeps people from camping. Always a good thing. Plus it's just pretty.

Songs of Choice: Vs. Ridley, Multiplayer (Metroid Prime 2)

Pokemon Staduim 2

Bad stage, I choose you!

Flavor: It's a pokemon stadium. It changes mid-match to accommodate different types of pokemon, but then again we've seen this done better in the first pokemon stadium. There is an/a air, electric, ground, and ice type battlefield, all of which are equally uninspired. It's definitely pokemon though, each type of the stage is inhabited by a few creatures of the same type, and that's pretty cool. So I can't fault it for being an inaccurate depiction or anything like that. I guess that counts for something.

Functionality: This one is a doozy. I'll break it up into the 4 different unique battleground, not counting the basic stage (which is awesome and doesn't need to be talked about), to make it easier to digest.

ICE: This is probably the best of the bunch. It builds upon the stadium's one basic platform with 2 icy platforms slanting inwards, but other than that it takes no liberties with the stage. The whole thing is made out of ice, so obviously everything is slippery. This isn't a bad thing, it can actually be quite fun.

GROUND: The stage is split in to two but a large dirt mound in the center. On the left, there is a solitary platform about the size of the dirt mound, and on the right there is a very small tower comprised of two platforms. Nothing special or especially terrible about this.

AIR: This one just flat our sucks. There is nothing, just a flat platform that comes along with every variant of the stage. The gimmick is the fact that there are constantly fans blowing you upward, so everyone jumps considerably higher and falls at a ridiculously slow rate. Seems decent enough, but this is an annoyance at best. You will be juggled until the stage changes back to normal.

ELECTRIC: This one is just odd. The middle is completely normal, it has two platforms slightly above it, with the higher of the two being smaller. To the left, there is another small platform, while on the right there is nothing. The gimmick here is that the left and right sides have treadmills that attempt to carry you off the edge. None can outright kill you, but they don't really add any fun or serve much a purpose at all, it just 'mixes it up' in an annoying way.

Fun: This stage fucking sucks. Pardon my language, but it pains me to see the 'sequel' to such an awesome stage get messed up so badly. The foundation is there, but they just don't do anything cool with it. Granted, the choices of electricity, ground, air, and ice themed stages seems uninspired, but there was little that could be done with such bottom of the barrel pokemon types as it is. I'm not saying that I could think up anything better, but these lackluster parts just add up to an awful stage. If you do like one of its parts, chances are that you would be better suited to play on a different stage with similar construction, as you only get to play on each part for about a minute before having it changed back. It's just boring, and the head-scratching choices they made do nothing to better it. Well hey, at least Dugtrio is in it. Just play on the first pokemon stadium instead, you won't regret it.

Songs of Choice: Pokemon Main Theme, Pokemon Gym/Evolution, Wild Pokemon Battle! (Ruby/Sapphire)


So concludes part three of my critique. 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
Part 2

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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