This week on Zero Punctuation, Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
Mmmehhhh...I really haven't been looking forward to this. Last week I accidentally left my copy of this game in a friends' console, and I was genuinely pleased. It meant I could review Condemned 2 instead, a game I actually had some interest in. But there comes a time when we all must pay the piper and eat shit waffles. I don't even know why I'm reviewing this game. Oh wait, yes I do, because you dipshits wouldn't stop crying about it!
So I was able to defy the ghettoization of Australian gamers and acquire an import copy of the game thanks to the charity of some guys at GAMETRADERS ROBINA. Which you should probably visit, because GAMETRADERS ROBINA is your one-stop shop for games and the trading thereof. In Robina.
Now, I am fully aware that SSBB is primarily a multiplayer game, and that I can't get away with my usual routine of only playing the single player and attempting weakly to rationalize my fear and disgust of other human beings. So this time, I took this game - which was incidentally sent to me by GAMETRADERS ROBINA - over to MY FRIEND GUY'S HOUSE, to try it out with a bunch of other man children with no prior understanding or interest in Smash Bros. to see how it held up. And the result: a resounding, "Ehh..."
I've never liked most fighting games, because I argue there's got to be something wrong with a game in which you can spend fifteen years practicing and learning every slightest nuance and still lose to someone randomly smashing buttons. At our grouping, for example, since maybe just under one of us had been boring enough to read the manual, our death matches could probably been faithfully recreated by hurling the controllers down a flight of stairs. But even if we had all had gotten our Ph.Ds in WaveBird bitch-slapping, the fights descended easily into incomprehensible clusterfucks. The characters are so small and the camera zooms out so far and most of the attacks are such particle effect maelstroms, that they might as well just obscure all the action with billowing dust clouds like in The Beano.
But maybe I'm approaching this the wrong way. Maybe this isn't a game intended to be played seriously. Perhaps I should just be embracing the spectacle. And I must confess, engineering a scenario in which Mario can brutally beat the stupid out of Princess Peach while the crowd screams for blood is very satisfying. And it would be pretty sweet to watch Solid Snake get Sonic the Hedgehog into an armlock and slit his throat. Oh wait, we can't, can we? Because those characters aren't unlocked straight away. I hate it when multiplayer games do this. You bring a hot new unreleased title to a party and you're the toast of the evening, until you discover that half the fucking content has to be unlocked in single player, and then the toast of the evening becomes a damp square of cold mush. I mean, I know video game developers are all hopeless social rejects, but surely they've at least gone to one party in their life, even if it involved pass-the-parcel.
Get this: if you want to be playing as everyone's favourite azure attention-deficit woodland mammal, you have to play for ten cunt-gargling hours?! Well, we didn't have ten vagina-swilling hours, Nintendo. We had one vodka-fuelled evening, most of which we probably wouldn't even remember the following morning. Considering, lest we forget, how prominently Snake and Sonic featured in the fucking hype, there really needs to be a law against this sort of thing. Preferably one of those maritime laws that lead to someone getting tied to a mast and flogged.
But I suppose if you're hosting the party and have time to prepare, you could always embrace your pathetic friendlessness and go through the single player campaign, which a surprising amount of work has gone into actually. It's a side scrolling action platform extrrrrravaganza, with pre-rendered cinematics up the arse, that play like visualizations of the top ten most sickening Nintendo fan fiction circle jerks. And it goes on for bloody hours, mainly because they pull the old bullshit of making you go through all the levels twice. And considering that they're already pretty fucking samey, it deserves some kind of prize for services to pointless repetition. Fuck Solid Snake, they should let you unlock Bill Murray.
Of course, the problem with playing it alone is that when you finally do get your mates around, suddenly you've turned into "that guy". Don't pretend you don't know what I mean. "That guy" who's so much better then everyone else at the game because he plays it on his own, the loser. Suddenly, you're not in it for fun anymore, and the ghoulish grins of your uncoordinated friends fill you with contempt. Soon you seek out other "that guy"s for the sake of a decent challenge. And then you're lost. You're a fanboy. Congratulations, line up for your free t-shirt and cat ears. Actually, that doesn't happen so much with Smash Bros. Brawl, because as we've already established, there's only so good you can get at slapping your palm against the controller like a circus seal.
As I've said time and again, Nintendo is a company that does altogether too much wanking off of its old franchises. That might be fine while the Wii is riding high, but all it will take is a few more Virtual Boys and they'll wank the whole company away. Some of it gets really obscure too. Who the fuck is Marth, and why is unlocking him considered a reward? Oh and thanks Nintendo for putting in a character from Mother 3, a game you're never going to fucking release outside Japan, despite the fact that I can fucking guarantee that more people will play it then Mario Kart Eleventy Billion: The Next Generation.
But really, reviewing Smash Bros. Brawl is pointless. Chances are, you already know if you like it. There's a simple test: When the name "Nintendo Wii" was first revealed, did you ever seriously try to defend it on an Internet forum? If yes, you will enjoy this game whatever its faults, and you might as well start spamming my email address with hatred right now, you miserable fanboy twat.
- Clearly a glutton for punishment: Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw
- Not much point in writing anything here this week, everyone's already fucked off to their favourite Nintendo forum to talk about how I'm not a 'real' reviewer
- Please don't bother telling me who Marth is I have long since ceased to care