Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Super Smash Brothers Brawl Stages

With Smash Brothers out for the 3DS in Japan and coming soon in the US, naturally my anticipation is piqued.  What better way, I thought, to take out this pent-up anticipation than by playing a little Smash Brothers Brawl?  I've been playing a little, having a great time, but something stuck in the back of my head.

A lot of the stages are kind of bad.

So, as a timely follow-up to my hard-hitting review of the Brawl characters, I figured I'd sit down, take a look, and figure out how I feel about the playable stages on offer in Brawl.

Bridge of Eldin

Let's get this out of the way immediately.  Any stage that's grounded on one or either side -- where the stage extends all the way to the out of bounds zone with no bottomless pits -- is automatically that much less interesting to me.  The first Smash Brothers established a game where the fights take place on these floating platforms, and the main danger lies in falling off of the stage.  The Up+B move is often called the "recovery" move because it's used to return to the stage after falling off.  Remove that danger, and it's that much easier to recover from any attack.

Bridge of Eldin is duller than most grounded levels because there aren't even any platforms or anything.  It's basically just Final Destination with no pits.  Yeah, every now and then a pit gets blown in the middle of the stage, but that's not as much of a hazard as the sides.

Final Destination and Battlefield

I don't really have a problem with these two levels.  In fact, I think it's great that, unlike in Melee, these levels are unlocked from the start.  What bothers me is the kind of players who only want to play on the no-frills levels, as if Smash Brothers is only worthwhile when you take away the things that make it Smash Brothers.  But I guess it's all right, because I'm not good enough to play with those kinds of players anyway.

Castle Siege

A transforming level!  First, a castletop that's too tiny.  Next, a grounded level.  And finally, a Final Destination platform.  Three boring levels in one!


There are four levels in the original Donkey Kong arcade game, and every one of them would make an interesting Smash Brothers stage except 75m.  The vast majority of the level is too open and disjointed to really get a good fight going, except for the very top level, which has too many overpowered stage hazards to really be viable.  All of the fights I have on this level sort of naturally gravitate to the long platforms on the right-hand side, which were added specifically for this game.  Ugh.

Flat Zone 2

I love Game & Watch, and I loved the original Flat Zone, but this one's too annoying to fight on for the Oil Panic and Lion configurations.  The stage hazards are so much stronger than your opponents that they detract from the actual point of the fight.

Mario Brothers

It's an interesting concept.  Use the basic Smash Brothers mechanics to play the original Mario Brothers.  There's just two problems: 1) When I put in Smash Brothers, I want to play Smash Brothers. 2) I never, ever want to play Mario Brothers.

Mario Circuit

Not a bad concept, but in practice?  Move to the top platforms, wait for the Shy Guys to drive past.  Move to the bottom of the screen, wait for the Shy Guys to drive past.  Repeat.

Mushroomy Kingdom

I've always kind of had this thought at the back of my head, but I felt it was somehow impolite to say it out loud: I hate seeing World 1-1 as a desert wasteland.  8-Bit style would've been cool.  An updated New Super Mario style would've been cool.  But seeing any part of the Mushroom Kingdom decimated by the ravages of passing time is just awful.

Beyond that, there's just the simple matter of cool concept, not a lot of fun to play.  The blocks and obstacles make it much more difficult to launch your opponents, particularly in the World 1-2 variation. Too bad, because it's otherwise a really cool idea.

New Pork City

You know what's wrong with this one.


I normally like the Metroid lava levels, and this one's cool for having the lava come from lots of different directions, but I dunno.  The basic platform configuration is just so boring to me.

Pokemon Stadium 2

Not a bad stage in its own right.  I loved the original Pokemon Stadium stage, and this is a decent sequel.  The trouble is... the original Pokemon Stadium stage is also here.  I would have rather seen a new stage with a different concept or the Pokefloats stage return to represent Melee.  Or even the Saffron City stage from the original Smash Brothers, I liked that one.  We don't need two stadiums, that's my point.

Shadow Moses Island

Not only a grounded stage with no pits, but you have to destroy the walls on either side of the stage before you can launch your opponents that way.  Ha ha, no thanks.

Wario Ware Inc.

This is a great concept, and it's almost a great stage.  I love the Wario Ware games, and stopping from time to time to play a microgame just tickles me.  The problem is, I would have preferred it if the microgames were purely environmental hazards.  If I get hit by the giant slamming foot from above, my opponent does not also need to be rewarded with ten seconds of invulnerability.  So sad.

Rumble Falls

I liked Infinite Glacier well enough in Melee, but Rumble Falls doesn't do it for me.  Maybe I'm biased against anything Donkey Kong-themed.  Maybe it's the one-hit-KO spike traps.

So thirteen stages that I really don't care for.  Are there any good ones?


Love the concept.  Nice-sized playing field.  Interesting environmental hazards that don't overstay their welcome.  Thumbs-up.

Delfino Plaza

Again, nice sized playing field.  Even if most of the locations around the Plaza are grounded, the level does occasionally lift off and require you to deal with midair combat for a bit.


Showing my Animal Crossing bias, but this is sort of my go-to for a no-frills battle.  I love seeing the town change at different times of day, and catching a K.K. Slider concert is always a treat.

Luigi's Mansion

Nice setting, nice platform placement, nice big stage.  The inside/outside effect is kind of cool, and the destructible terrain gives it a little variety.


Cute concept, and it actually works as a playing field.

Port Town Aero Dive

White City was one of my favorite stages from Melee, and this is a great sequel.  It's a lot of the same sort of concept, but with some interesting new configurations to the rest stops.

Spear Pillar

I keep forgetting how nice this level is until it pops up in a random choice.  The environmental hazards are cool, and the stage has some nooks to explore.


A nice alternative to Battlefield.  Interesting platform placement.  The semi-destructible terrain doesn't much affect my strategy though.

The Rest

There's a lot of "eh" here.  A lot of the other stages are grounded (Green Hill Zone), feel too small (Summit), or are just kind of there (Yoshi's Island).

Well, writing this up killed about an hour.  Still a few more weeks until October 3rd, eh?


Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?