It’s time for dramatic latin anthems, third party characters, and a tale of epic proportions – Super Smash Bros. Brawl turns 15 years old today, a beloved and important entry in the Super Smash Bros. series that pushed the franchise to new heights.
Big features that Brawl added included an expansive, story driven single-player mode called Subspace Emissary, which to this day remains a one-of-a-kind experience in the series, combining cutscenes, side-scrolling adventure, and classic Smash battles into a truly memorable time that blew my 11 year-old mind. It was also the first game in the series to add third party characters, namely Snake from Metal Gear Solid and Sonic from Sonic the Hedgehog. Sonic in particular was a big deal and landmark in Nintendo-Sega relations, even if Snake technically broke the mold first. Other character debuts like Zero Suit Samus, Meta Knight, and Olimar would go on to be beloved mainstays of the franchise – though Brawl was also the first game to not bring back certain characters from the previous installment (substituting Toon Link for Young Link and doing away with Pichu, Dr. Mario, Roy, and Mewtwo).
Brawl brought other quirks, like Stickers (a version of trophies that sort of preceded trophies), and Boss Battles with traditional health meters as opposed to typical Smash setups. It was the first Smash title with a “Challenge Board” via which you could unlock various things by completing challenges The competitive Smash community found Brawl to be a generally disappointing followup to Melee due to factors like a floatier feel and the removal of a lot of technical maneuvers, but the game did build its own following of competitive players as well.
Brawl will always be a cherished title for me in particular, as it was (and continues to be) the only game I was ever excited enough to go to a midnight release for. I have fond memories of playing it all throughout the following week (which serendipitously was spring break) and enthusing about character additions and moments from Subspace Emissary. Make sure to let us know if you have any Brawl memories yourself – we’d love to hear them.
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