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10/13/2014 00:53:05 •••

Super Smash Bros Brawl: The Subspace Emissary

This Massive Multiplayer Crossover beat-em-up is the epitome of They Wasted A Perfectly Good Plot. How? Take a bunch of famous, iconic characters and stick them in a game together. Now make the story have almost nothing to do with any of the individual characters' established canon, give most of the characters limited, inconsequential roles in the grand scheme of things, design a bunch of generic stages that again have little to do with the individual characters' universes, even only including Mooks from one of the universes, and you have The Subspace Emissary in a nutshell.

SSE is an ambitious idea on paper that doesn't quite work well in practice due to Masahiro Sakurai's specific style of game design, thus leading to it more resembling a Kirby game with a Super Smash Bros cover. Since the Kirby series' strengths lie primarily with the bosses while SSE emphasizes stages, the latter gets somewhat repetitive. A rather grating issue is that only the Super Mario Bros series gets Mook representation. Even Melee's Adventure mode had ReDeads and Octoroks. In addition, the mode has a cutscene-to-gameplay ratio comparable to that of most JRPG's, which slows down the pacing considering this is an action-oriented mode, although fortunately they can be skipped.

To the mode's credit, the character interactions are amusing, even if the pairings seem random and arbitrary. It's particularly impressive how they are portrayed even without spoken dialogue, such as Pokemon Trainer and Lucas. In addition, the Gotta Catch Em All aspect of the Trophy Stand is well-implemented and adds some nice replay value. As stated, the bosses are a strength of the Kirby series, and this carries through here, with the Boss Battles mode being about as fun as The Arena from Kirby Super Star, even though the original bosses tend to overshadow the crossover bosses in terms of challenge.

Overall, The Subspace Emissary could have benefitted from being a joint effort by various developers as opposed to having one designer handle the project. As it stands now, it's a Massive Multiplayer Crossover that doesn't do the individual characters justice, as the plot and gameplay seems to be able to exist without most of them.

05/10/2010 00:00:00

...What about the multi-player mode?

06/03/2010 00:00:00

Nobody really cares about the Subspace Emissary. Everyone plays for the Multiplayer.

06/05/2010 00:00:00

Reviews on this site can focus on one part of a work instead of the whole thing.

06/05/2010 00:00:00

The multiplayer is already elaborated on by so many people (sometimes violently), and besides, I wished to elaborate primarily on this mode due to what I felt was wasted potential.

06/06/2010 00:00:00

I did not phrase my question correctly.

It should have said "What about SSE's Co-op mode?"

06/06/2010 00:00:00

Ah, that. It's mostly a feature so that the second person doesn't get condemned to merely watching the action. It's essentially Kirby Super Star's Helpers translated to this game, and it does work nicely. Better be careful how you pick your mates, though, unless you really want someone to take the blame that badly.

06/07/2010 00:00:00

Actually, I think Subspace Emissary had Zelda mooks as well as Mario ones.

06/07/2010 00:00:00

No, it doesn't. There's a bunch of Waddle Dee in one cutscene but that's about it.

06/09/2010 00:00:00

I'm 100% certain that there's Koopas, Goombas and Bullet Bills.

08/06/2010 00:00:00

My problem is that the style of gameplay in the Smash Bros series just doesn't translate to this adventure mode. The jumping mechanics/abilities are vastly different from character to character, and the fighting doesn't quite work when fighing regular mooks. The game is at its best in fights with regular characters, but this mode doesn't really cut it.

08/29/2011 00:00:00

Of course, there are those of us who like it anyways.

10/13/2014 00:00:00

Well, good thing the 3DS game has a vastly superior Smash Run, which does have all the memorable mooks.

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