1) Yeah, I deleted everything on all three games to give them a fresh start from scratch each. I had a few stats in there, but nothing I was particularly attached to or that I couldn't obtain again.
2) I found the sticker factory ideal. There were some noticeably rare ones that I got from clobbering Duon over and over while farming coins for trophies--but I suspect I could've gotten them also had I spent enough time in a sticker factory.
3) Smash the control stick to make your character dash (but you already know this). Yet if you smash the control stick back and forth like that, your character will dash back and forth in place without actually moving anywhere. You can do this in Melee (in fact, it's a great way to farm for coins since the game measures how many times you dash for some reason), but it's not possible in Brawl.
4) I think the official term is "prat falling." Sometimes when you dash, instead of dashing, your character will just fall over. It thankfully almost never happens in a do-or-die situation and is fairly infrequent in general. It's mostly Melee die-hards who get worked up over it. Still, I don't see any benefit to it being put in Brawl.
So at long last, Super Smash Bros. Brawl is done! When I first played through the game in the summer of 2008, it literally took me from May to August to get everything (granted, I played it off and on back then rather than every single day). So I'm really glad I finished this one 100% in less than a month (having started on January 10).
My main goal on this one was to clear the entire challenge board without
using any Golden Hammers. In 2008, I used all five, but this time I was determined to leave all five alone and unlock them with my own effort and time.
As in Melee, I started with unlocking all characters and stages, which was notably quicker and easier this time around--in Melee, it took 1000 Vs. matches to unlock everybody, whereas in Brawl it took 450, less than half. And while in Melee the hardest stage to unlock was Final Destination (required clearing all 51 Event Matches), none were particularly challenging to obtain in Brawl. The downside was that there was no reward for clearing all the Event Matches in this game except a notice telling you as much.
I did move on to Event Matches next, which tends to be one of my favorite parts of the Smash Bros. series. There were fewer Events this time (41 in Brawl vs. 51 in Melee), but this is made up for by the fact that each Event has three difficulty levels now (Easy, Normal, Hard), and there are 21 Co-op Events if you get a second controller involved. I made sure to play no (Solo) event on Easy. I played them all on Normal, except for the ones that required a victory on Hard to unlock something. Here easily the hardest ones were the Zelda-related ones: the Dark Link battle and then using Ganondorf to defeat Link, Zelda/Sheik, and Pit. Those took try after try after try--and I still think I got lucky when I beat them.
The final event is easily the hardest of them all--even on Normal. Because it was so hard I just set it to Hard and said, "Might as well." I finally found that spamming Pikachu's down-B Thunder move (with some gratuitous down-smash thrown in) proved to be super effective. Still, even with Pika, it took many attempts to clear that one!
A good while later, I went back and cleared all the Events on Hard so that it looked all nice and pretty. A few gave me some major trouble (like the one where you have to use the Dragoon pieces to KO three Warios, as well as when you had to eliminate the Yoshis on the Pirate Ship only in the clouds--and let's not forget the godawful Hanenbow Event), but it wasn't too bad at all overall. I also sought to clear all Co-op Events, but lacking a second player, I simply went through and cleared them all on Easy by myself (I doubt I could do so on Hard without some help). The only trouble spot there was the final Event, which pits you against all thirty-five playable characters
with no recovery items or extra stocks! Once again, cheap Pikachu Thunder spam saved the day.
So then it was off to Classic and All-Star modes. This began the rather tedious sequence of clearing these modes not only with all characters but with all *variants* of those characters for those who had alter egos (i.e. Zelda, Samus, Pokemon Trainer--even though this latter only needed to clear All-Star once, thankfully). Ike was my pro for Very Hard, and Pikachu once again came through on Intense. (You don't even need to be all that skilled in Brawl--just spam Pikachu's overpowered moves. I wonder if it was as powerful in Melee? I never used Pika much in that game.)
There was also Stadium mode. Target Smash and Home-Run Contest were much more friendly this time around, which was a godsend because those could get damned annoying in Melee. For Home-Run Contest, I employed the same Ganondorf strategy as in the previous game to unlock the challenge for the longest single-character distance. (Oddly, this is the only strategy that I can remember that works exactly the same from one game to the other.) After that, it was just a matter of getting 1000+ ft. with each character. And unlike in Melee, there is a protective barrier over the platform so you can hit the Sandbag around a lot more.
Target Smash was also made a lot easier, but unfortunately creativity was sacrificed in the process. See, there are only 5 levels of targets to deal with in this game, but that eliminates the neatness of exploring a target stage specifically tailored to each and every character. But for the Brawl versions, it was pretty neat trying to figure out the best strategies on each stage for each character--which got really hairy on Level 4, as there were two hard-to-reach targets suspended over bottomless pits in that one, which presented a definite challenge for a few characters.
As for the timed challenges, Fox was the man in Level 1, using his Laser blast to take care of a few higher targets (esp. that one on the other side of the tiny-gapped wall). For the remaining four levels, it was all Sonic. I got Level 2 on my first try with him. Level 3 presents the most unforgiving time limit of them all, and that was the hardest to succeed with. Level 4 wasn't so bad once I got the pattern and timing of the moving platforms down. Level 5 took some doing, because even though the time limit is more generous, it's still too easy to mess up irreparably and even SD on that stage.
Then we come to Multi-Man Brawl. The 10-Man Brawl is so easy there are no rewards associated with it, ditto for 3-Minute Brawl. If you're capable of winning the 100-Man Brawl even once, with any character, you can then use that character to rack up 100 KOs in Endless Brawl to unlock that challenge. But 15-Minute Brawl is far more daunting. For that I used Jigglypuff, intended to float under the stage until time ran out. The problem with this is that all you have to do is mess up the jump sequence once, and Jiggly SDs, making you have to start all over again. Thankfully I got a Fan early on, so I used that to rapidly tap A repeatedly, which kept the Alloys (even when there were five of them!) away from me all at once. I won, but my fingers were numb afterward!
Cruel Brawl is exactly what it says on the tin. It's downright cruel! You have to KO 10 Alloys this time, and there's no Roy to save the day. So I use Kirby. Hang off a ledge, then float backward, then come back under the stage and use Up-B to recover back to the ledge. The Alloys will follow you, and some will either SD out there or get spiked into the pit by Kirby's Up-B move. It's very tricky, and normall you're going to SD yourself or get roundhouse kicked by an Alloy before you can eliminate 10. But this was my most successful method.
Then there's 100-Man Brawl. Oh dear gods. This wasn't so bad in Melee because you only had to win it once. But in Brawl, there's a trophy (Blue Alloy) that's only obtainable via two methods: using a Golden Hammer or clearing 100-Man Brawl with all characters. The Golden Hammer was out of the question for me on this run (though you'd better believe I used it back in '08!), so that left this little horror. I cleared it for the first time using DK and his Ground Slap easily enough. But for the 3:30 time limit, I called Pikachu for that--I'm telling you, Pikachu is sick in this game!
But doing this with every character was a nightmare. It always starts out easy, but unlike in Melee, you have to face a playable character at the milestones of 75 KOs left, 50, 25, and the last one (who is always a clone of your character). Unlike Alloys, these fighters can shield, use special attacks, projectiles, and (worst of all) items. Then the Alloys become more aggressive the further you go, until there are 25 left, and they're pounding you. At around 10 left, it pretty much becomes Cruel Brawl with how viciously they come after you, get past your defenses, and edgehog like mad. If you're lucky enough (and don't be fooled--this mode is based a lot on luck) to make it to the end, then you'll reach the final character. It'll still be weak like all the others and can be OHKO'd with a powerful attack. But normally you're at 200% damage yourself and can also be KO'd just as easily. This last character can do everything you can do, so it's a true test of nerve.
Anyway, the best strategies were getting a Beamsword (for some serious long-range F-smashes) and especially a Fan. With a Fan, you could hop onto either the right or left platform, throw it up, and all spawning Alloys would die immediately as the Fan would bounce between Alloys. No spawning Alloys? Then just up-tilt or up-smash the approaching Alloys into the Fan. This got me through so many tough spots. Also go for every Poke Ball and Assist Trophy--and do NOT let a Smash character get either one! And lacking any items, the best attack to spam is normally the up-tilt. Maybe the up-smash if you're using a character who's really quick about it, with no lag.
The worst characters for this mode are Captain Falcon, Bowser, and especially
Ganondorf. Oh god, Ganondorf. Sure he's powerful--but all his moves are too slow to make use of his power! He's the only character with no real up-tilt, so that removes that crutch. His smash attacks have way too much lag. Thankfully his neutral A attack can almost KO in one hit on its own. But yeah, for him, I had to rely heavily on items--and luck. He was the last character I beat it with. Oh how sweet it was to finally win that damned trophy!
Even though I saved all Events on Hard and the Blue Alloy trophy almost toward the end, I still had a sizeable chunk of the game completed before I even started The Subspace Emissary. This time around, Smash Bros. introduced an Adventure Mode that tried to have its own plot and become its own action platformer game on its own!
I made the dubious decision to run through the entire mode...on Intense. As the default difficulty level for each stage. This was one of the things I'd failed to do in '08--get the notice for clearing all stages of SSE on Intense. (I had managed to achieve it on every stage except one...) The first thing you notice about SSE is that the enemies deal absolutely insane knockback. And I mean nearly every single enemy, including the tiny Mites! And SSE on Intense was harder than Classic and All-Star on Intense, I think because of this.
Most of the stages weren't too bad because each time you enter a door, it's a new checkpoint from which to continue if you run out of stocks. Also, every time you trigger a cutscene (except once >_>), it automatically replenished all your health and stocks! So the hardest stages were the longest ones with the fewest door checkpoints. One of the worst offenders here was The Battlefield Fortress, which featured long stretch after long stretch of nothing but harsh enemy battles. (Some say this is rather appropriate for a Fire Emblem themed stage.) Other stages that were rage inducing were because of the forced battles they had. Early on in the game, at the end of Sea of Clouds is a forced battle with two
Greaps! (Those unfair enemies that swing their ultra-powerful sickles around.) The Subspace Bomb Factory II was even worse about this because of the huge melee battle with 50 enemies midway through, punctuated with two Armanks! That was a serious test right there and took me many tries to get past.
The worst stage of all, however--and the one that I couldn't get past on Intense in '08--is Entrance to Subspace. It is one straightshot to the end, with no doors (i.e. no continues or checkpoints). And it is chock full of forced battles against the very hardest enemies in the game: Floows, Metal Primids and Fire Primids, Armanks, Armanks with Giant Primids, Greaps with Giant Primids...the works. Needless to say, this one stage took me a while. But thanks to a team of Fox (whose Up-B is crucial for eliminating the Floows in the beginning), Pikachu (Kirby could work too), Donkey Kong, and Ike, I somehow made it to the end. And how excited I was to see that one door too! My hands were literally shaking afterward.
After that, it was smooth sailing through the other two Subspace stages and finally The Great Maze. The Great Maze is long and challenging, but it's filled with doors and Save Points everywhere--and no forced battles (except the special battles behind the smoking doors obviously). The only real trouble spot I ran into was accidentally reaching the Galleom battle with a team not prepared to take him on. It took me forever and tons of retries because I was too stubborn to backtrack and switch out my "getting through areas fast" team with my "beat the crap out of bosses" team (usually consisting of Charizard and DK). Tabuu himself went down without too much trouble.
Oh, and did I mention I made it all the way through The Subspace Emissary on Intense with no stickers also? =D
I gained 100% on my SSE file too, but I had to go back and revisit some stages for that. When I did that after clearing a stage, I would just switch the difficulty back to Easy so as to breeze through the stage very quickly and get that one golden box or trophy or whatever I missed before--after all, I'd already gotten that Intense logo on that stage already, haha.
Now to unlock all the movies for SSE required at least a second run through the mode. Like hell was I going to do another Intense run through this game! So just as my first file was all Intense, I would make a second one that was all Easy. It certainly made this side-scrolling platformer far more enjoyable just cruising my way through like a bulldozer through whipped cream.
Even after unlocking all movies and gaining a 100% complete file (which I did twice), I wasn't done with it yet! Then I had to go and use a Trophy Stand to capture every single enemy and boss in the game. I'd already done that to a number of enemies just by playing through those first two times. Afterward I had to go after the rest. Naturally, The Great Maze is the most ideal place for getting those common enemies. By far the hardest were Gamyga and especially Armank (who wasn't in The Great Maze, frustratingly enough--I had to go to The Wilds for that one).
But then there were the bosses to trophify. Petey Piranha was easy, and I got him on my first try. Porky, Rayquaza, and Duon weren't too much trouble since they appeared so early in their respective stages. Galleom did too (at The Ruined Hall), but for some reason I had to wait an insanely long time just for a Trophy Stand to drop, even though I was fighting him on Intense. (Trophy Stands drop more frequently the higher the difficulty setting.) He was easy once I got it. Tabuu was naturally very challenging to trophify--but he was nothing compared to the Ridleys!
Except the Ridleys, all bosses can be faced without too much stage crawling. But those two only appear at the end of very long stages. I went after Ridley first. He's easier and does more attacks over the stage itself, even though his default position is unfortunately over the pit. It took some tries, but I got his trophy. The absolute juggernaut, though, was Meta Ridley--who appears at the end of The Subspace Bomb Factory II (one of the longest, hardest stages in the entire game), has a 2-minute time limit during his battle, and he hangs farther and farther out from the platform the less and less health he has. There are only a handful of attacks that bring him back within range of an effective Trophy Stand throw. It seriously took me over 20 tries to get him--including some 5 or 6 repeated treks through that horrendous stage of his! I had the absolute worst luck with this. One time, when he was near death, a Bob-omb appeared. I quickly grabbed and threw it away--and Meta Ridley dove far out of his way directly on it, suiciding himself! It was more a relief than a joy when I finally got that damned trophy.
Even though hisak will hate me forever for saying this, I think I'm one of the few people who actually enjoyed The Subspace Emissary. Granted, the enemies are vastly overpowered (and not just on Intense either) compred to regular Smash characters. And it's rather repetitive, but I think it's fun to play through all the stages with such different locales: the sky, a ghetto, green fields, orange deserts, in caves, on mountaintops, and in the dark world of Subspace. And while the story is not exactly a deep or tightly plotted narrative, it has a lot of neat moments and tends to do justice to most of the characters. (Though I do think the Kirby characters took up too much of the limelight unnecessarily.) And there are different ways to play it--you use significantly different strategies on Intense than on Easy, such that it almost becomes a different game. And going back to gain 100% completion or to trophify enemies changes things up even more.
Beating SSE unlocks Boss Battles! I thought this was the most fun mode in Stadium. For some reason, I'm really
good at this mode. Seriously, ask anyone what the hardest achievement in Brawl is, and almost everyone will tell you Boss Battles on Intense (because no continues are allowed, unlike all other modes on Intense). I beat it on my first try. Well, on this go-round, that is. It took me about five tries in '08.
But yeah, Fox is beast
in Boss Battles. He can hang back and just pelt away at the boss's health with his laser. But he can also get up close and personal with his powerful aerials. He's got excellent speed and jumping height to dodge attacks, and his Reflector is positively devastating to Duon and Meta Ridley. His only Achilles' heel is to Rayquaza, against whom Laser fire does almost nothing at all--and who's almost too fast even for Fox. Then for Tabuu, it's just about dodging everything and using aerials when you can. For the dreaded Off-Waves, just mash down and shield at the same time three times in a row. There is a proper timing to it, but once you get the hang of it, the timing's really not that hard. Tabuu only had time to do one Off-Wave attack before I defeated him in Boss Battles on my Intense run.
But yeah, I shocked myself by going all the way through this on Intense on my first attempt
. I did the same on Very Hard, Hard, and Normal. The only times I died were with two or three of the characters while just trying to clear it on Easy with everyone--normally through carelessness at that.
Once everything else was accomplished, that left only the random trophies and stickers remaining! So I beat up Duon repeatedly on Intense in SSE to gain coins fast for the Coin Launcher. I would keep going back and forth. When I was down to needing only one trophy, I farmed up to 9999 coins just to be sure
--and I saw that final trophy (Black Shadow from the F-Zero series) only 100 or 200 coins in, ha.
So that left only the stickers then--and thus the Stickers trophy. When gaining 99 stickers via Coin Launcher started failing me, I returned to my tried and true sticker factory. I'd made a particularly effective one too: Obviously you'll want to create one on the small stage template. Make sure all three conveyor belts (not including the bottom one you'll be standing on) are the largest available--it means they'll go faster. Then set a Special Brawl to fast and heavy, a timed match of about 12 minutes, then choose Bowser and just let his very powerful neutral A combo rip into those Sandbags (which should be the only item and set on high)--which also lets you pick up any stickers that come by. This was also most effective for farming CDs earlier in the game as well.
The nicest thing about this method was that it involved the use of only one button. So I could do this on the Wii Remote, go over to my laptop, and browse the internet while using one thumb to repeatedly press A (or "2" on the Wii Remote, I guess). Some hours--and a thumb somewhat numb to feeling--later, I had all 700 stickers, all trophies, and a fully complete challenges board! And with all five Golden Hammers intact this time.
So yeah, I like Brawl. A lot. I think it's probably my favorite game on the Wii (topping Metroid Prime 3 and perhaps even Skyward Sword). There's just so much to do in this game that its one problem seems to be that there's almost too much
content. The game does go a bit overboard with challenges that require you to beat various modes with all 35 characters. I'm genuinely concerned about such challenges in the next Smash Bros. game, requiring you to beat 7-10 different modes with perhaps 50 different characters each!
But yes, I love Brawl. The presentation is just astounding. I don't hear many talk about this, but the visuals are stunning--easily the best graphics on the Wii, better than Corruption, Other M, Skyward Sword, the Mario Galaxy games, etc. In SSE, you can see the background seemlessly transitioning from idyllic outdoors to an underground setting complete with glowing mushrooms in the background. Each regular stage is so beautifully rendered. And the soundtrack is practically a wet dream. There are 258 tracks, and that's just what's in the Sound Test! Each franchise has a plethora of their best music to choose from. Zelda especially got the works on this one. The only songs that I think were really missing here were "Lower Norfair" from Super Metroid and "Crystal Cave" from Yoshi's Island (also, "Ballad of the Wind Fish" from Link's Awakening, but that's actually in the game's code). Other than that, the soundtrack is near perfect.
Melee improved on the original in nearly every way, and I feel that Brawl did the same to Melee. There are many rabid Melee fanboys who hate Brawl, but most of the complaints against Brawl stem from SSE (which I actually liked) or the competitive scene, which admittedly is better in Melee. But since I don't care about competitive play, I prefer Brawl. I also find the controls in Brawl much smoother than in Melee, but that might be because Brawl was my first real Smash Bros. game.
Take item grabbing, for example. In Brawl, you can grab them on the go--in midair or while dashing. In Melee, you can't (or at least I never could figure out how). If you pressed A while dashing or in the air, your character would simply attack the item instead of picking it up. Little things like that make Brawl "feel" better to me.
Also, consider how Brawl exploded Melee in terms of visuals, soundtrack, immersion, challenges, trophies, extras--just everything! I liked Melee a lot, but I loved Brawl. So my ranking of the series is very straightforward:
1. Super Smash Bros. Brawl
2. Super Smash Bros. Melee
3. Super Smash Bros.
So that leaves only the games of the future--which is a long ways off. We know there's going to be a fourth (and fifth?) Smash Bros. game on both the 3DS and Wii U. But Sakurai's team hasn't even begun development yet because they're finishing off Kid Icarus: Uprising first. So given how long Brawl took, we could easily be looking at 2014 or later for the next Smash Bros. game. It's a shame how quick and short this thread was because it looks like it'll be a while before there are any updates from this corner!
But until then, I eagerly anticipate watching the DOJO with everyone else.