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Reviewing The Best Smash Bros. Mods

Posted by Chris on July 10, 2018

Super Smash Bros. is a hit game series from Nintendo, known for establishing the platform fighter genre and its nigh unprecedented crossovers.

The original Smash Bros. for Nintendo 64 brought characters from all of Nintendo’s mainline franchises (and a few of their obscure ones) in a nigh-unprecedented gaming crossover event.

Super Smash Bros. Melee, for Nintendo GameCube, followed a few years later. It expanded the roster, had incredibly deep and technical gameplay, and became a darling for the competitive scene, a crown it carries to this day.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl is where the crossovers got truly crazy, with characters like Solid Snake and Sonic The Hedgehog making their way into Smash Bros. Adding third-party characters to Smash opened a Pandora’s Box, of sorts, one that has only gotten more and more out of control in the years sense.

In addition to adding the first third party characters, Brawl also found itself open to an international modding community, dedicated to cracking it open, improving it, adding to it and even taking away from it. While there is a non-Brawl mod on this list, most of the mods covered here are Brawl mods, as they have done the most to change the base game and have had the longest development time.

While mods are possible in the newer titles for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, they usually sum up to single-character skins or lighter gameplay modifications. These mods don’t even begin to compare to the full suite of craziness on offer in the Smash Bros. mods we’ve listed below.

Below, we’ll be covering the biggest, best Smash Bros. mods on the scene. We’ll tell you everything you need to know about each mod- what content it adds, how it changes the game, etc. With no further ado, let’s hop into it!

Everyone else

Things this mod adds:

  • Match Replays
  • Extended name entry
  • Menu music changes
  • Stage striking
  • Frozen Mode stages (stage hazards don't appear, stages don't move)
  • Widescreen toggle
  • A 1.00 and 1.02 hitlag toggle
  • Other miscellaneous tournament-centric features

20xx Tournament Edition is a mod for Super Smash Bros. Melee designed to help players train for and play in Melee tournaments.

This is actually the lightest mod we've listed here- it does nothing to change the base gameplay of Super Smash Bros. Melee. The only real gameplay-effecting behavior is the toggle between 1.00 and 1.02 hitlag, and even then that's only to switch between different releases of Melee.

20xx Tournament Edition essentially just serves as a way to streamline the Melee experience for competitive players. By enabling debug modes and other features, solo players can practice techniques like DI and L-canceling. When it comes time for an actual tournament, 20XX will boot right to the character select screen, can be configured for widescreen play, can be loaded right off of a memory card, and have tourney-centric features like stage striking and frozen mode.

If you fancy yourself a competitive Smash Bros. player, or want to train to become one, 20xx Tournament Edition is a great place to start doing that.

Watch the trailer here.

New Content

New characters:

  • Roy - Roy returns from Melee with very similar gameplay.
  • Mewtwo - Mewtwo returns from Melee with very similar gameplay.
  • Young Link - Young Link returns from Melee with very similar gameplay.
  • Pichu - Pichu returns from Melee with very similar gameplay.
  • Dr. Mario - Dr. Mario returns from Melee with very similar gameplay.

New stages:

  • Wario's Castle - A brand-new stage set in Wario's Castle.
  • Assorted Smash 64 stages - A lot of Smash 64 stages that weren't in Brawl return in Smash 2.
  • Assorted Melee stages - Some Melee stages, like Brinstar Depths, return in Smash 2.

New modes:

  • Melee Adventure Mode - An alternate take on All-Stars Mode that takes you through arenas and fights from Melee's original Adventure Mode.

Smash 2 is a Brawl mod that tries to tackle the concept of an alternate universe Smash Bros. Melee.

Well, maybe not quite that extreme. A lot of what you love and remember about Melee will feel pretty intact here, enough that you may be able to trick yourself into thinking you're playing the same game.

Smash 2 imagines what Super Smash Bros. Melee might have been like under different circumstances. While Melee is a series favorite to many, it was developed over an extremely short crunch time, a time period so short that it didn't allow for nearly as much additions as, say, Brawl, which would release for the Wii years later.

One common history point concerning Melee is the fact that Solid Snake could have gotten in. The director of the Metal Gear franchise, Hideo Kojima, is a personal friend to the director of Smash Bros., Masahiro Sakurai. When Melee was originally under development, Kojima wanted Snake to make an appearance, but Sakurai had to decline because the game was too far along in development.

The very first trailer for Smash Bros. Brawl, the following game, revealed Solid Snake as a playable character.

But if Melee had been given a little more time to brew...Snake wouldn't have been kept waiting that long. Smash 2 imagines a version of Melee that didn't need to compromise, and had a more reasonable development cycle.

Smash 2 removes some characters from Brawl, like Lucario, but all of its newcomers are either Melee veterans or characters introduced in Brawl, like Snake or Wolf. Everyone from later games has a graphical makeup to look appropriate for the era and Melee's graphical style, and even HUD elements have been changed to the point that, at a glance, you might just think this game is Melee.

If you want to have a little fun and try out an alternate universe Melee, we highly recommend Smash 2.

Watch the trailer here.

New Content

New playable characters:

  • Waluigi - This Waluigi is similar to the one seen in Legacy XP, but amped up with the rest of the cast in typical Brawl Minus craziness.
  • Pichu - Pichu becomes a god of thunder thanks to Brawl Minus' crazy mechanics.
  • Mewtwo - Mewtwo returns from Melee stronger than ever in this mod. May be an altered port from the corresponding Project M character.
  • Roy - Roy returns from Melee seeking revenge in this mod. May be an altered port from the corresponding Project M character.

New stages:

  • Final Frustration - A version of Final Destination with funny background events and random, jarring tilting. Playable as a kappa stage in Legacy XP.
  • Lavaville - A version of Smashville suspended in Norfair, including the latter's stage hazards.
  • Lavender Town - A 2D stage ported from the Smash Land Smash Bros. demake, based on the location of the same name from the Pokemon series.
  • Venus Lighthouse - A new stage made for Brawl Minus, featuring the location of the same name from Golden Sun.
  • Assorted Smash 64 stages - Smash 64 classics like Meta Crystal return in this mod.
  • Assorted Melee stages - Melee classics like Fountain of Dreams return in this mod.

Description and Review

Last but not least is the oldest Brawl mod that's still in active development, Brawl Minus.

Brawl Minus was originally developed as a parody of Brawl+, which evolved to become Project M. Where Brawl+ and Project M wanted to bring Smash Bros. Brawl closer to Melee in terms of balancing and gameplay, Minus takes the game in a completely different direction by instead choosing to amp every character up to eleven.

Seriously, Brawl Minus is nothing but craziness. Its balancing philosophy seems to be an exploration of the quote "If everyone's super, then no one is!". Instead of nerfing anyone at all, Minus just makes every character as overpowered as possible, making many modifications to the base gameplay that also makes mistakes more punishable than ever before.

Brawl Minus, like Legacy XP, also offers Waluigi! In fact, Brawl Minus added Waluigi back in 2016, before Legacy XP released its more...balanced and reasonable rendition of the character. If you want to experience Waluigi in Smash with added absurdity and ridiculous power, Brawl Minus is the place to look!

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