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Wednesday 29/03/2017: Clockwork Tales: Of Glass and Ink

July 21, 2014

Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Part 2)

I suggest you read Part 1 before this one if you haven't.

Hello again! Welcome to the second part of Planned All Along's first anniversary review of Super Smash Brothers Brawl! Last Friday, I talked about the Solo modes... now I cover the multiplayer modes! You may have noticed that the site changed quite a bit since Friday, too...

Anyway, are you ready for this part? Well, you better be, 'cause it starts now!


The Smash series doesn't just pride itself on the Solo modes, which are fun in their own right; a lot of emphasis is put on the multiplayer aspect, what with special Brawl settings, the large selection of characters and so on. There's so many things you can do, so many ways to customize your battles, that it would take me more than two parts describing each of them. Which is why I am mostly going to go over the many different possibilities, without detailing them the best I can, or I'm still gonna be talking about this game in September.

After you select Group, you're brought to a screen with these options: “Brawl” (makes sense), “Rules”, “Special Brawl” (huh?), “Rotation”, “Tourney” and “Name”. Gonna cover it right now, “Name” is just you typing a name so that your high scores in the game really are yours. Also, just selecting “Brawl” will immediately bring you to the character selection screen, without any changes to the rules. Man! But you're forgetting the fun part in Brawl!  One of the key mechanics of Brawl is how you can bend nearly the entire system to your will! Come on, follow me to the Rules.

The first choice sets the tone: Time, Stock or Coin. If you select Time, you must then input a number of minutes; whoever has KOed his opponent the most during that time limit wins. On a Stock match, all characters have a set number of lives, and the last brawler standing wins. In Coin matches, you set the time; in the battle, all characters produce coins when they're hit (Gonna take a wild guess and say all the trophies also happen to be coin banks). At the end, whoever has the most coins wins. Gee, I knew it was expensive to be a part of Smash Bros, but that bad? ...On the other hand, that mode is practical. If they ever need cash, they just gotta bang their heads on the wall and boom, instant money! Must be useful at the Smash cafeteria!

Ooooh! Look at all that money! I want it! I want it!

Next are the Handicap, a cool feature that can be triggered on and off, and thanks to which you can set a starting percentage to all brawlers, making them already a little easier to throw out of the stage. You can also set it to Auto, which will increase/decrease the starting percentage depending on the win/loss ratio. Then, there's Damage Ratio, which will increase or decrease the amount of damage each attack does, making it either easier or harder to increase the enemies' percentage and knock them off the stage. Last but not least, there's Stage Choice, which gives you the option to always pick the stage to brawl on, or have it follow a set order, or set it to random to have a little surprise at every match.

For the ultimate chaos, only have Smash Balls, Pokéballs,
Assist trophies, the Dragoon, and the hammers!
Also, at the bottom, you have access to the Item Switch, which lets you turn on and off some items. Items are an important part of Brawl, and some can really tip the odds in your favor if you use them, or against you if your opponents use them. The biggest offenders are the Smash Ball – which it seems like the A.I. is programmed to always run after – as well as the Assist Trophies and the Pokéballs. Oh, also the Dragoon and the two types of hammers. Set only those items and trust me, the computer-controlled opponents WILL run towards those items.

To make your Brawls even more varied.
Aren't you afraid it's too much? Some of you might never
even change the settings on this screen!
It doesn't end there in the rules, either; after you successfully KO opponents in brawls 200 times, you gain access to More Rules (yes that's how it's called: “More Rules”), which let you play around even more with the features. As an example, you can set a definite amount of time for your Stock Matches (which means that the game will end not once all but one brawler have lost all their lives, but rather when the time limit ends; in which case the winner is whoever has the most remaining lives). You can also choose between toggling Team Attacks On or Off (if it's off, you cannot hurt your teammate; if it's on, well, let's say backstabbers are gonna have fun), the ability to pause the game (if no player can pause the game, it becomes impossible to Pause-Cheat; that is, pausing whenever he/she loses to stop the match. On the other hand, if one suddenly has an emergency in the middle of a match...). Finally, you can decide either to show each player's score (in Timed Matches, since there's no limit to the number of KOs you can do and it's hard to keep track of the numbers) or their damage gauge (if it disappears, it will become difficult to see how close or how far you are from getting tossed off the stage, adding a new challenge to the whole thing).

3^8... 3*3*3*3*3*3*3*3... HOLYCRUD.
You think that's enough? Bwah hahahahaha! No, Hell no, that's not enough! What, you thought Brawl had only that to offer? Think again! The other mode, Special Brawl, lets you play even MORE with the settings. As an example, it can make everyone start at 300% or at 150 HP (AKA Stamina Mode), have something on their heads (like the flower or the bunny ears), start giant or tiny... There's eight different Special Brawl categories, each with two settings and the possibility to turn it Off, which leaves about... 6561 possible Special Brawls. Even more than that, if you include the types of brawls (Time, Stock, Coin), and all the ways you can change the rules... It probably reaches over a million. I tell you, this is crazy.

But of course, the crazy doesn't stop there! Oh no, wait. Yes, it does stop there. The other modes in this section are Rotation and Tourney. You select Rotation whenever there's more than four players wanting to have fun on the same console, and at least two won't play the first match; you can set the number of “spectators” and then the game will tell you when to give the remote to someone else. You select whether it's the winners or the losers who swap out, and then you set other rules and all the participants' names. After that, the ones to brawl are selected randomly among the players, and whenever one swaps out, another player selected randomly enters the brawl.

32? But Melee had 64! Curse you!
Last but not least is the Tourney Mode, which you can play alone; you select a character, and then you have to fight against many opponents in a Tourney that welcomes 4 to 32 opponents. When you win a brawl, you move on to the next step, and so on until the last battle. When it's not your turn to brawl and there's a match between computer opponents, you have the option to watch the battle or skip it. Simple enough. The only problem with Tourney Mode is that once it really starts, there is no way to go back to the regular game. You have to let it play and wait, by skipping all the fights. Which is kind of annoying, as they should have given the option of quitting at any moment. Come to think of it, they should have given the option of playing this in Single Player Mode, with rewards as trophies and stickers if you make it to the end. That would be pretty darn awesome, actually.

As you can see, the development team really tried to think of every possible way a brawl could be played, and tried to include it in this game. There was quite a lot to explain. I think I'm just gonna sit down and enjoy myself some Adventure Mode now.

The Subspace Emissary Episode Two: Brawl of the Clones


"Oooook! Eeek! Giant dwagon, you no eat the wittle
Diddy monkey, wouldya?"
Continuing where we left off in this series, we are now at the Lake, where Diddy Kong sees the crashed Arwing. Also, the water resonates and Rayquaza comes out! Yes! I don't have him yet in my Pokémon White dex! Time to catch him! Or, alternately: Rayquaza? What are you doing in the Smash world? The weather in the Pokémon universe will be all screwed up! You damn well know your lackeys Groudon and Kyogre suck! They're always fighting! Rayquaza blows the Arwing up and then rams into Diddy and monkeynaps him, but Fox comes out of the wreckage and frees Diddy! After showing the full extent of his badassery, Fox invites Diddy to help him defeat Rayquaza. After the Legendary Pokémon is defeated, the StarFox character leaves, but Diddy grabs him and tries to explain the situation. The Awing pilot leaves again... So Diddy grabs him again and DRAGS HIM ALONG. ...I love when the game does the comedy for me.

Though Fox doesn't seem too annoyed. Just a little. Diddy, at
least give him a chance to get up!

During the following level, Diddy and Fox have to battle an evil version of Bowser (boy isn't that a pleonasm). Once it's beaten, it dissipates into purple particles. The real Bowser appears and tries to “trophize” the two with a Dark Cannon, so Fox grabs Diddy and runs away.

"Now it's MY turn to drag you along! Like it or not!"

Whoever built that statue is insane! ...Then again, Porky
IS insane, if the third Mother game is anything to go by.
Next we see young Lucas in the Ruined Zoo getting ambushed by Primids... until the Pig King statue appears! ...Oh God, it's even uglier than the name lets out. It chases Lucas! It's unstoppable! Lucas runs away from it for a while, but he trips... and is saved in extremis by Ness, who uses a PK Thunder on the statue. The PK kid then uses a PK Flash... which defeats the statue. Somehow. Hey, I'm just retelling what happened, I didn't make that up! Inside the statue was hidden... Porky, in his arachno-machine! ...I... I feel too lazy to look for the real name on the Earthbound Wiki.

The worst nightmare of all: Being trapped in a monstrous
machine for all eternity. But here, Porky controls the machine,
somehow. Even though it seems like he's sleeping.

The two defeat Porky, but Wario shows up again and zaps Ness with the Dark Cannon! Wario grabs the Ness trophy and Lucas runs away. He bumps into Pokémon Trainer, who shows him another group of Primids. The trainer releases his Squirtle, and helps Lucas going through the ruined zoo. At the end, Pokémon Trainer is about to leave, but Lucas joins him, Another unlikely team, awesome!

A giant X made of light.
Foreshadowing?
Not so far from there, on the Battlefield Fortress, Marth sees two R.O.B.s setting off another Subspace Bomb. The Ancient Minister is there too, with another Subspace Bomb. Did I mention he has a freaking army of Primids with him? Marth goes goes from his castle and goes into an epic battle against this army of darkness. Reference intended. Marth arrives at the entrance and sees the destruction, but is attacked by Meta Knight! Before they can fight further, they're ambushed by MOAR PRIMIDS... and decide to team up. Well, that wasn't long. The two travel a field and a mine while battling hordes of Primids and other undesirable enemies (I fucking HATE Buckots), until they reach the Ancient Minister. They're unable to stop it, but, surprise! IKE appears! In a badass move, he separates the Subspace Bomb and the Minister, and then the three swordsmen prepare for another swarm of monsters. Sadly, the Ancient Minister has escaped. Ah, damn you!

Back-to-back, two swordsmen facing an army.
One of the many forms of badassery.
Hey, it rhymed!

Woooooooooo hoo hooo hooooeeeeeeyyyy...
(That's the Goofy scream, BTW)
And now we see everyone's favorite plumber! ...Luigi. I meant Luigi. He meets Waddle Dees and acts like a coward (and he shouldn't, I mean, Waddle Dees are the Goombas of the Kirby universe). The plumber is attacked by King Dedede from behind and turned into a trophy. Oh noes! Mamma mia... Dedede hides, and Wario arrives on a machine, which he uses to travel around with the trophies of Ness and Peach. Ah, you bastard! Wario stops to pick up Luigi's trophy, but get attacked by a horde of Waddle Dees. Dedede STEALS Wario's car in the meantime, along with the Luigi trophy, and speeds away, with a pissed Wario jumping in place out of anger. ...What an idiot, he has a bike, he can pull it out of nowhere, he could chase after his “trophies”!

"Come back here! If I could pull my hog out, I'd chase
after you! But for some reason I can't right now, so I'm just
gonna jump in place and wave my arms like a moron, like
comedy characters do when they're angry!"

Link sure loves making dramatic poses while
wielding the Master Sword.
In the Forest, we see Link pull the Master Sword out of the stone... and then walk past Yoshi. The Halberd arrives! Meta Knight, you bast- Oh wait, he is with the good guys now. But then, who's controlling the Halberd??? I'm confused. And I saw some damn confusing things recently, but I'm still confused. Anyway, the flying machine drops more Shadow Bugs and Link and Yoshi find themselves having to fight more enemies. Despite their best efforts, they cannot chase after the Halberd...

"I knew you shouldn't have stopped to eat a few Koopa
Troopas!" "Yoshi..." "No, we're not stopping for ice cream!"

Each time I see something like this, I ask myself:
Why did nobody think of it before?
Okay, that was a really nasty thought.
Much farther away, Samus, in Zero Suit form, enters a research facility. (The camera takes its sweet time showing us all of her curves, which implies that the cameraman is a pervert. Fanservice, everyone!) She doesn't find her armor just yet. What she finds, however, is a Pikachu used as battery by the facility. Ah, they're such bastards! I just realized I used that word three times in three paragraphs... Anyway, Samus frees Pikachu, and the two get ambushed by R.O.B.s. Let's see the two kick some ass! Although, considering the level's length, it's such a large facility... I can't believe they used a Pikachu to power it up! A Raichu would have been better! Anyway, Samus finds her robotic armor at the end.

"Pika-pi-chu-pichu-ka-pi?"
"Aren't you a cute little rodent. As long as you're useful
to me..."

Picture Zelda here instead.
Alternately: Peach! Did the Shadow Queen capture you again?
And now we're back to Kirby and Zelda... but Bowser appears and zaps Zelda with a Dark Cannon! Ah, you bast- Er... You... … … ...you meanie! The Shadow Bugs cover her trophy and turn into a clone of her, which then goes to look for Link and Yoshi to zap them too. But she's stopped by Pit, and the Cannon gets cut in half! Phew, I'm glad to know that those things can be destroyed. Mario and the angel battle against Shadow Zelda and defeat her... But afterwards, Link and Yoshi show up, and since Link thinks they've harmed the real Zelda, he attacks them! Mario and Pit defeat Link and Yoshi, turning them intro trophies... but Dedede comes in piloting Wario's car-thing and steals the trophies! But, twist number five in less than three minutes, Kirby is in there too, not as a trophy, and surprises Dedede! I keep writing exclamation marks today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"Mamma mia! There's Peach on this car!"
"Um... Mario..."
"I have to save-a the Princess!"
"Mario! Your brother's there too!"
"Oh! Oh, yes... and save-a my bro too. Yes. My bro.
How could I even forget him?"
"Guys,did any of you even notice the third trophy?"

Wow, Link chose the path to awesomeness this time.
He looks more awesome here than in the previous pic!
Kirby revives Link and Yoshi, and the Hylian shoots the car. After what it's five heroes (Mario, Pit, Yoshi, Link and Kirby) chasing after Dedede! They find the car stopped in front of a cave, and venture inside. It leads to a stone castle with a pretty mean face on it... Meanwhile, Bowser receives orders from a ginger who's talking to him from inside the Halberd. ...Gonna throw it out there, I never thought a character like this one would someday get used to technology. Way to spit on famous characters, Nintendo! (That sentence was a joke, BTW.) In case you haven't guessed by now, here are the clues: Villain, human, ginger, gray skin, looks like an evil wizard from a faraway land... Gerudo... What, you haven't guessed? It's Ganon-freaking-dorf, dammit! Don't tell me this plot has also been Ganonized...


AH, COME ON!

Pokémon Trainer has a Water-Type Pokémon with him...
And a Psychic-type human too!
And now, we meet again with Lucas and the Trainer. They're chasing Charizard, because apparently, the Trainer has lost two of his allies, hence why he could only use Squirtle earlier. All I know is that this never happened to me in the Pokémon series! Still, the two reach the entrance to the ruins, where Wario is waiting. This time, Lucas stands up for himself – nice little bit of character development – and engages battle. Wario, you will suffer and we will ALL be very happy once you're down! Wario gets trophized, but to Lucas' discouragement, Ness is nowhere to be found... Pokémon Trainer reassures him.

That Gaul-ish nose is a perfect place for a decoration.
Have you ever noticed Mario and Luigi's noses remind of
the Gaul characters' ones in the Asterix and Obelix comics?
And now, we see King Dedede in his headquarters. He has carefully placed the trophies of Luigi, Ness and Peach. He takes brooches from his coat and places them on the characters. (Of note, even though Luigi has a lot of places where the brooch could be placed, the penguin puts it on the plumber's nose. Poor Luigi, even in trophy form he never gets any freaking respect...) But the place starts crumbling down, courtesy of Bowser and his minions! Oh crap! Dedede gets knocked out cold – ironic for a penguin – by the falling debris. Bowser looks around, finds Peach's trophy... and leaves with it.

Wait, he can use his Koopa Clown Car here? Hasn't Mario
proven in SMW that this thing sucked?
Mario, Link, Pit, Yoshi and Kiby arrive in Dedede's castle, and travel through a cave filled with traps. They manage to reach Bowser, and Mario reaches to attack him, but Bowser – as the evil one he is – uses the Peach trophy as a shield. ACK! Bowser avoids Pit's arrow, but Peach's trophy loses the Dedede brooch! Aw, man! Bowser falls off the cliff but flies back up in his Koopa Clown Car. ...Wait, he has it in the Smash world? I thought he had forgotten it in Super Mario World or something. While Bowser flies away to the Halberd, Kirby finds the brooch. During that time, the Ancient Minister detonates another Subspace Bomb near the castle. And then we see Ganondorf receiving orders from... MASTER HAND???

I WANT YOU
to be part of the Subspace Army!
I'm Uncle Sam's hand! Didn't you notice the glove?

I guess this will be continued in the next part...