I always liked "Super Smash Brothers." The games were well-balanced and competitive, but still pretty simple to pick up and learn.
But everything changed when Meta Knight and Olimar attacked.
In any competitive game, you’d find one, if not both, of those two chosen, since they could dispatch the other 36 characters with relative ease. Did you pick Meta Kinght? Run in, smash the life out of your A button and fly away quicker than most characters could even get up.
Rinse, repeat, win.
Got Olimar? Pluck as many Pikmin out of the ground as you’re allowed, then constantly bother and barrage your opponents, juggling them between fire damage and paralysis. When they come after you, just fling your front two Pikmin at them and immediately pluck more from the earth. Wait until a Smash Ball appears, then use your conga line of plant men to reach the prize before your fellow combatants even take flight.
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Use Olimar’s space ship to decimate all enemy life forms on screen. Rinse, repeat, win. Dodge the inevitable controllers and fists headed your way in real life to punish you for exploiting Brawl's flaws.
These two characters are pretty typical of "Brawl." Everything is visually appealing and the characters' models move fluidly, but the actual game becomes frustrating when played amongst a group of competitive people.
But there is a solution: Project M, version 3.0.
What is Project M, you ask? In short, it’s a fan-developed game mod for "Super Smash Brothers: Brawl."
Project M is supposed to bring a more balanced cast of characters to the fray. That is good news for all "Brawl" players -- with luck, your favorite character will actually have a chance in competitive play. Unless you play as Ganondorf, in which case ... I’m not sure there’s any hope. Pick anyone else, please. Even Luigi.
The new mechanics and improved characters look fantastic, especially considering "Brawl" is almost six years old. There are new new stages and costumes for all of the characters, but the main focus is on gameplay tweaks, all in the pursuit of balance.
The best thing about this? You can download the mod onto an SD card and slip it into your console.
That’s it. No hacking, no workarounds, no hardware issues -- just plug and play. That will be the key, making this accessible to the masses.
Hey, I love "Super Smash," but ... not enough to rip apart a Wii to play mods. Perhaps a side-by-side comparison is in order, so we can appreciate just how big of a change the team has made.
Me? I want to see Ike power through a flurry of Meta Knight’s swipes, decking the little winged bugger in the face and smacking him off the stage.
Olimar, you’re next. Short astronaut jerk.