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July 28, 2014

Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Part 4)

This is a hexalogy, and we're barely halfway through. I recommend you go and read the first three parts here, here and here.

Showing up on a Brawl stage half-naked LIKE A BOSS.

Hello again, for a fourth time! I'm nearly done covering everything that SSBB has to offer! It's almost over, so I'll jump into what's probably the most boring part of the game: The options and the Data section. But before any of that, I must cover what's left in the Vault!

Alright, so after the Challenges, what is there left in there? Well, there's the Replays. Whenever you play a match that has taken two minutes or less, you can choose to record it. The fight will appear in this section. The battles take more space than the pictures, obviously; but let's say you accomplished something incredible during a brawl, you want to immortalize it, and pictures just aren't enough to explain, then this may be an option to consider.

Oh, but wait! You have been playing Brawl for hours, maybe days now (curse you, “Play 100 hours of brawls” challenge!), and you might be telling yourself: “Wait, I'm playing with the Ice Climbers, with Pit, even with Samus or Fox! But I never got around to playing games from their series!” Well... Complain no more, as Brawl has another handy little feature (the bajillionth, huh?) called Masterpieces. In it, you're allowed to play for many seconds – and even a few minutes – to a Nintendo game.

If you hate Mario Kart... F-Zero is not to be played.
The demos are all quite short (with the longest one giving you just five minutes of play time), but sometimes just a little test is what you need to find out if you'd like the game. Seven Masterpieces are available from the start (nine in Japan; again, they keep all the better stuff to themselves! How uncool!) and five can be unlocked through the Challenges or as you unlock characters. Also, while the Masterpieces do feature some games from lesser-known characters, it still tends to go towards the more popular franchises, like Mario or Link. Four Masterpieces feature Mario games (though Peach is the default character in the SMB2 Masterpiece). Oh, also, you need a Classic Controller or a GameCube controller for some of them.

Ooh, look at all the fancy titles! Not like those we got today...
Thought that was enough? Nope! As a final Vault surprise, you also have the Chronicle option. In there, you have a list of all video games released by Nintendo that are referenced in this game (or games that feature the heroes playable in Brawl, anyway). The list is separated by console, listing of course the more famous consoles (NES, SNES, GBA, N64, NDS, Wii), but also two of the lesser-known consoles, the Game&Watch system and the Virtual Boy! The list is empty at first, but it fills up as you unlock characters, beat Challenges, and add Trophies and Stickers to your collection. Sadly (but obviously), the list ends in 2008, before the release of Brawl.

That was all for the Vault. How am I going to write another 500 words... How... How... I know! I'll take a last look at the game through the Options and the Data Sections!

The Options section is where you go when you feel that the game as a whole should be tweaked a little. Just a quick look:
-Change the screen from 16:9 to 4:3 or the opposite. In case the characters seem to have long faces.
-Deflicker, which will make the game's entire graphics smoother and blurrier, or sharper and jagged.
-Rumble, whether or not you want the remotes to shake on critical moments.
-Controls, where you can literally play God with the game and the remotes by completely changing how each remote works. Perfect mode if you want to play a nasty, nasty, nasty trick to someone.
-Sound, which is just whether you want to increase or decrease the sound. Be careful though, increasing the music's volume will decrease the sound effects' volume, and vice versa. Kinda stupid. Shouldn't they have different options, one for the music, one for the sound?
-My Music, in which you can literally set a percentage on how frequently you want songs to play on all the stages. Seriously! So you can hear rare songs more often, or on the opposite, hear the more used song on a stage a little less often. Nice little feature.
-Last but not least, Erase Data. Just to be sure you don't screw up, the game will ask you THRICE if you're sure you want to erase all your data. No mistake there, they sure want you to be sure when you press the button! You can also delete parts like the Adventure Mode save file.

And finally, at last, the very final mode to end it all. Data contains three options:
-Movies, in which you can watch all the cutscenes from the Subspace Emissary (a useful feature for people like me who like to riff on that kind of thing), and even some promotional videos like the reveals of Sonic and Snake's addition to the Brawl roster, and the trailers.
-Records, which, well, lists your records. If you like numbers, this is the place for you. It can also help you keep track of which character you've used most, the number of KOs you've achieved, the number of times you've beaten each mode, and so on. There's Group Records, Brawl Records, and even notices, in case you want to re-read the witty comments the game makes whenever you unlock something or a significant event happens.
-And finally, Sound Test, in which you can listen to every single sound effect (the characters' voices, the sound of their attacks, the sound made by the objects) and song used in the game. That means 258 songs! This is a fun mode if you are looking for music to add to your collection and feel for some video game music. It's nice, very nice.

Oh, there was also the Wi-Fi Connection section, but since it's been closed last May 20th... Well, I have no reason to cover that part.

Well, I guess this is all I had to say this time. Tune in for Part 5 this Friday, but don't leave just yet! No, you gotta stay around for...

The Subspace Emissary Episode 4: New Heroes

(and therefore new hopes)

Guys, don't battle in front of the kids!
Further away, the Great Fox (yes, I looked up the name) is battling the Halberd near a glacial peak. Five heroes (Meta Knight, Ike, Marth, Lucas and Pokémon Trainer) see this; they also see the Ice Climbers going up the peak. Meta Knight goes up as well. They reach the top, where they find none other than Lucario. The Pokémon challenges Meta Knight to a match! Whoever won, he revives the other after the match. Huh, guess defeat really means friendship in this game. But, oh no! The Halberd has... grabbed the Great Fox and slams it into the glacial peak! Lucario and Meta Knight manage to climb aboard the Halberd, but the Ice Climbers fall down the cliff. Re-oh no!

That' the closest to spaceship love we'll ever get.

Things aren't much better down there as the other four are attacked by a pack of Primids! But, oh surprise! Mario, Pit, Link, Yoshi and Kirby arrive to help! They help in defeating the mini-army. Wow, that was a quick level.

"Super, more brawlers are coming to help us!"
"No, they're helping US. You are not a brawler. You let
your animals do all the work."

By the way, Snake, don't forget that exclamation mark at Tapper's.
Meanwhile, inside the Battleship Halberd, a familiar box gets lifted, revealing Solid Snake. The soldier speeds through the place and hides when he sees Meta Knight and Lucario zoom by. Of course, Lucario sees through this rather lame camouflage – I mean, Snake's box is one-of-a-kind, so anyone who sees the box can tell who's beneath it! I'd have chosen a more common kind of box, like, I don't know, the kind you use when moving. You know, “this side up”, “fragile” and all that. But before a battle begins, Lucario sees a group of Primids approaching. Sheesh, they've really become a menace!

Oh hey, Puppet Zelda from Twilight Princess! ....Wait...
The three make their way through the ship until they reach a room containing cages with the two Princesses. Shadow Bugs appear again and create shadow clones of them. Oh, damn! Still, the two shadow clones are defeated. Meta Knight frees the princesses from their cages and the two are revived from their trophy form. As he leaves, Snake tells them to stay there. As if! Snake, I'll let you know that if they're in Smash, it's because they can kick as much ass as you, maybe even more. So don't act like they aren't gonna be useful.

Snake, Snake, Snake... Clearly you don't know these gals.

This scene doesn't need funny comments. It's already funny.
Of course the princesses don't stay there. They go around the Halberd, defeating enemies on the way. See? They're very good at asskicking! They reach the top of the ship, where Fox in his Arwing (wait, wasn't it destroyed early on?) destroys the main cannons on the battleship. Thinking of him as an enemy, Sheik takes Fox down, and before they can battle, they're interrupted by Peach, who offers them tea. Well, thanks! I'm more of the soft drink kind, but hey, I'll take anything given to me by a girl!

Duon has like a split personality; half of him is a knife nut,
the second half is a trigger happy. Both sides are equally
annoying in battle, however.
Meanwhile, Snake, Lucario and Meta Knight reach the command room, which contains a half-dozen Mr. Game&Watches. Oh hey, retro video games! They all get kicked out of the room, down to the bridge where Peach, Fox and Sheik are. The 2D characters turn into a giant robot – Duon! – and attack the heroes. Luckily, the three in the control room also jump down to help in taking that robot down – and even Falco comes in to help! Duon is a mighty creation (It has a lot of Hit Points, so it is a pain to defeat, not to mention that it has a LOT of different attacks, of which many are hard to avoid), but it is defeated eventually. The Duon turns back into Shadow Bugs, which reveal the trophy of Mr. Game&Watch. Peach revives G&W, and hands him her umbrella. Man, Peach is such a nice gal! Forget all the jokes about her being cruel, she really is a sweetheart! Anyway, Meta Knight pilots his Battleship Halberd towards the floating island, AKA the Subspace Bomb Factory. ...The two levels I hate the most.

How can he even hold it if he's 2D? Does he fold his hand?

Whoa, that's quite an army he got there.
Okay, the first Subspace Bomb Factory level is alright, but the second is a marathon level and has some of the cruelest tricks in the entire mode: Swarms of enemies, moving camera, floating bombs, endless pits, and I forget some. Pikachu and Samus are fleeing the factory! They search for a way out and finally find one, until they see the Ancient Minister in front of an army of R.O.B.s and a large number of Subspace Bombs. They get ready to attack, but when the Minister seems regretful again, they decide not to...

Robots, listen to the giant man in red!
Or he'll turn into a pig and smash you into oblivion!
The platform has reached the factory, so Captain Falcon, Olimar and the Kongs make their way through this place infested with enemies. And DAMN. Is it HARD. After a painful run through the fire and the flames (but still they carry on), the group smashes a wall and winds up in the same room where Samus and Pikachu are... with the Ancient Minister. A hologram of Ganondorf appears to order the R.O.B.s to detonate all the bombs, but the Ancient Minister interferes. Wait, Ganondorf using a hologram? That's... weird. On the other hand, I think the Zelda series is getting closer and closer to progress, what with the train in Spirit Tracks and all... But a hologram? That's still too sci-fi for the Zelda series, let alone Ganondorf! In a dozen years, Link will be using Hyrulebook and send his thoughts on Ooccootter.

I, don't, want, to set the world, on, fire...
Just an Ancient Minister...
The Gerudo uses a device so that all the R.O.B.s bypass the Minister and still ready the bombs for detonation. Ack! The Minister still tries to interfere but Ganondorf commands the R.O.B.s to gang up on him and shoot him repeatedly with lasers. DEFINITELY NOT COOL! The R.O.B.s ready the bombs... The heroes are unable to do anything (just use a Smash on the R.O.B.s, you morons!), and as if that wasn't enough, Ganondorf sends wave after wave of enemies. Oh, crap. The Ancient Minister breaks his disguise, revealing himself as a R.O.B. all along (I KNEW IT! Though to be fair, the Internet told me long before I owned the game, so of course I knew), and the group battle the swarm of enemies. Despite that battle, it's impossible to do anything (wow, guess the R.O.B.s are completely indestructible... Wait a second! How can they be indestructible if I have defeated over thirty of them before reaching this place? Wait...

Picture from Level 30 Psychiatry. Just in case you cannot
read what's written on the pic: THIS NOT SENSE MAKES!

"You know this is a video game because I'd be a lot more
realistic in a film! ...Oh God, I'm so meta."
AAAAAAAAAAACK!) ...Anyway, the heroes have to find a way out, and FAST! The group descends a couple floors and then falls down, for a LONG moment... but Captain Falcon calls his Falcon Flyer and the whole group lands on it. Hurray! Sadly, if you thought that was over... you're wrong. Ridley, in an upgraded form – Meta Ridley – shows up! You'd think with a name like this, Meta Ridley would just crack puns and jokes about how he's in a video game at the moment, but no. It's not THAT kind of “meta”. The giant alien attacks the Flyer, and the heroes have to defeat him! But they have only TWO MINUTES to do so! Holy crap!

This is one hard fight, as Meta Ridley keeps flying in and out of the screen to prepare his attacks! Also, he always stays close to the ship but hardly ever on the ship, which makes it hard as Hell to catch him with a Trophy Stand! Anyway, once Ridley is defeated – or caught if you were VERY lucky – the Falcon Flyer escapes in the nick of time, as the giant explosion causes the entire island to disappear into Subspace. The Falcon Flyer and the Halberd go get the others who were still in the canyon. Now, almost everyone is there! That's awesome.

From the large ball of Subspace, a HUGE gunship appears. Holy crud! This thing makes the Death Star's cannon look puny! ...Are you compensating for something, Ganondorf? The cannon creates other subspace rifts wherever it shoots. Ah, so that's what Ganondorf wanted to do by causing all the bombs to go off in the factory: Bring out his great destroyer! Ganondorf, you magnificent bastard, I really hope you get the rug pulled under your feet for once, instead of being the one to pull the rug under your underlings! I will stop playing if this plot has truly been Ganonized!

Come on, rise to shine! ...Rise. Why does this cannon
keep reminding me of naughty puns?

Now THAT'S what I call a thorough destruction!
Think Meta Knight will be able to repair this thing?
Seeing the Halberd come, Ganondorf orders the cannon to shoot, and it DEMOLISHES the battleship. Holy. Freaking. Goddamn. Crap. But the heroes still have all their smaller flying machines, so they still head towards the cannon! Heck, now they're much harder to hit! Awesome! Plus, Kirby arrives on the Dragoon and SLICES THE GIANT CANNON IN HALF. I bet at that moment, Ganondorf felt like he got neutered. The Gerudo and Bowser head back into Subspace. All of the heroes' ships enter Subspace as well.

The Dragoon is some cutting-edge technology.
Ask any of the brawlers.

Still, even if it should have hurt during landing,
all the characters seem to do fine. For now...

Wait, a puppeteer controlling a hand? God, more meta imagery.
Next we see almost the whole cast into Subspace. They head right, battling enemies along the way. During that time, Ganondorf turns on Bowser and trophizes him. The wizard greets Master Hand again until he notices something odd. He then sees them. The strings. The hand is being controlled, like a puppet, by strings... manipulated by none other than evil Dr. Manhattan, TRONman himself, Tabuu.

Fear the mighty wings.
How did he get that ability? Nobody knows.
Ganondorf attacks Tabuu but gets pushed back. While falling, he still slices some of the energy strings attached to Master Hand. Ack, is that BLOOD on Master Hand's fingers? I thought it was just a glove! Oh my... All the heroes arrive on the scene. But Tabuu shows his beautiful wings... and ZAPS EVERYONE there. All the heroes are turned back into trophies. As if this wasn't enough, Tabuu collects all the pieces of lands taken by the Subspace Bombs and hides behind an amalgam of all these worlds.

Wen you return to the level selection screen, there is no level left. It's all gone. You have no access to the Stickers option. When you save, there is absolutely NO ONE on your save file. Everyone's dead... everything is gone... EVERYTHING. HAS. VANISHED. THERE IS NOTHING LEFT. This... this is the darkest moment in all of Nintendo.

No... no comment. I'm just... I'm not able to make a joke about this.
It would either be unfunny, evil black comedy, or you'd hate me.
Consider this moment the one that made me speechless...
And leave it at that. No joke here. At all. Impossible.

Tune... tune in... for... for... for Part... Part 5... Urgh...