HAMMER TIME Peach handles Bowser herself for a change in Brawl.
Photograph: Nintendo of America Inc.,HAMMER TIME Peach handles Bowser herself for a change in Brawl.
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Super Smash Bros. Brawl

5 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

Featuring more guest appearances than an entire season of The Love Boat, the latest installment in Nintendo’s successful series features a near-comprehensive roster of beloved characters from the big N—Mario, Zelda, Link, Pikachu, Wario, Star Fox, etc.—along with several who-invited-you surprises (Sonic the Hedgehog and Metal Gear commando Solid Snake, to name two). While Nintendo has glossed up the proceedings quite a bit for the Wii, adding online play and create-your-own-level modes (both firsts for the series), it wisely hasn’t tinkered with the trademark over-the-top pugilistic gameplay. The object remains the same: pound the Stove Top Stuffing out of your opponent(s) by any means necessary, using kicks, punches and special moves. Solo gamers will find a meatier single-player experience this time around, though the story mode (the easiest way to unlock hidden characters) is frustratingly nonsensical. But the real draws, as usual, are the multitiered, hyperkinetic four-player battle royals. If you’re over 14 or aren’t a Nintendo fanboy, check your cynicism at the door.

—Scott Jones

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