With the release of Super Smash Bros. this year, a new generation of gamers were introduced to the Super Smash Bros. series. From Super Smash Bros. 64, to Melee, to Brawl, Project M, and now Sm4sh, the game series has come so far, gathering fans with each and every iteration.
However, Sm4sh is the first entry in the series with a dedicated competitive online play, and EVO (THE premier annual fighting game tournament) has included Sm4sh in their lineup of tournaments, including fighting game classics like Street Fighter and Tekken.
For all intents and purposes, Sm4sh has the most features, the best graphics, the most merchandise, and the best backing to succeed as the best entry in the series. So why isn't it?
Well it's time you found out why Super Smash Bros. Melee is not only the best entry in Smash Bros but also one of the top fighting games currently still being played today – here are my top 4 reasons why.
4. It feels the best to play
With a plethora of different techniques, intuitive and sharp movements, and a definite learning curve that allowed new players to enjoy the game as well as seasoned players to flex their wary muscles, Melee had it all (and no tripping, I'm looking at you 'Brawl').
Although Masahiro Sakurai, creator of the Smash Bros. series and other well-loved Nintendo games like Icarus Uprising and the Kirby series, has gone on record stating that he has always intended for Smash Bros to be a casual party game, and that he wanted to make it non-competitive. Despite this, elements like 'wave-dashing', techs (the act of inputting the roll command upon hitting the ground in order to get up faster, also known as an "ukemi" in traditional fighting games), and spacing, all made their way into Melee, and seasoned fighting game fanatics were thrilled to find that the game had so much depth.
Through proper use of mechanics, a well practiced player could speed up slow characters to match the speed of faster characters in the game, and this allowed for many players to play the game how they saw fit, not how the game dictated they played. As you can see in the GIF at the beginning of the section, you can see Ganondorf outrunning Sheik due to the player controlling him, who possesses and applies a great deal of techniques.
Unfortunately, after Melee, Brawl got rid of wave-dashing and other techniques that allowed for characters to speed up and, as a result, the recent games feel less responsive and sometimes even cumbersome.
3. It's One of THE HYPEST Spectator Sports to Watch
Like any good sporting event, if the crowd isn't into it, then it's a sham.
With Melee, you never need to worry about the crowd staying quiet. At any point in the match, the crowd reacts to the players' prowess, or their mistakes, or their success; cheering is an active part of the experience, and Melee exemplifies this in the best way possible: with boatloads of hype.
It's needless to say that Melee has one of the rowdiest and most outspoken fighting game communities out there, but more about the community later. In order to truly understand how great of a spectator sport this game is, I urge that you watch the video below, courtesy of GRsmash, a Youtuber that creates Melee montages.
2. It has one of the MOST devoted and passionate communities to ever bless a fighting game
Melee fans are hardcore. There's nothing else to say. These fans are dedicated, and loyal to their game and craft.
Stores don't sell GameCubes anymore? Stores don't sell CRT TVs anymore? I'll just drive mine from halfway across the country to this tournament because I know you guys need more setups. These fans are willing to surpass the odds in order to play the game they love.
In 2013, fans voted Super Smash Bros Melee to be the top game to play at EVO 2013 (the biggest fighting game tournament of the year), however, Nintendo themselves asked EVO to NOT stream Melee, and actively denied them from doing so.
Within a few hours, the story had made the front page of Reddit and the uproar caused so much controversy that Nintendo had to end up allow EVO to stream Melee. The fans had won, and Melee became the top viewed stream during that year's EVO with over 120,000 views.
1. It has allowed for one of the greatest stories in fighting games history to be told
From the very beginning, Melee has been an evolving story of drama, victory, and loss. During each era of Melee, from beginning to present, there have been top players who've risen and fallen from the scene, and new players adapting and evolving the meta in order to create a higher level of play. From the early days of Melee, when the East and West Coast had not yet known there were other players on opposing coasts, to the present where Melee is one of the biggest games to watch out for at EVO, it's history is definitely one of the greatest narratives in fighting game history.
There are players who've persevered to find their own niche in order to compete at a top level, and there are players who spend hours and hours studying frames of a single character to gain complete mastery of said character.
There is one player who people have claimed to have been born with an innate sixth sense for the game, and grasps the mechanics and intuition of it better than anyone else who is playing currently - a natural who seems to effortlessly surpass any challenge he comes across. These players are known as the Gods of Melee, and they've established themselves by consistently taking the top five slots at any major tournament.
And then there are the dangerous up and coming players who seek to dethrone and claim these titles of Gods for themselves. It's drama and struggles like these that make Melee one of the greatest fighting games of all time, and the greatest entry in Smash Bros. of all time. If you're interesting in learning more about the history of Melee, I highly recommend you watch this documentary series by East Point Pictures called The Smash Brothers, it is well worth checking out in order to gain a full appreciation of the history of Melee.
And that's it! These were my top 5 reasons Melee is the best Smash Bros. entry of all time! What do you guys think? Do you still believe the other entries are better? Whatever your thoughts are, let me know what you think below!