Super Smash Bros Melee Review
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro The Meta
Melee could be thought of as having two phases: the "neutral game" and "punish game." The neutral game is key, being where players poke and prod, attempting to safely secure an opening. This can be nigh on impossible against good players who implement crouch canceling and other techniques. Melees neutral game is complex, fast, and precise: comparing melee to other fighters is like comparing go to chess due to the emphasis of options in play. Once a hit has been successfully landed, the punish game begins.
The punish game is all about maximizing damage and potentially killing the oponent using techniques such as weak hits, chain grabs, tech traps, and ledgeguarding. The metagame in SSBM is extremely advanced because of its age, and deep because of its design. Players commonly use conditioning, deceptive movement, and advanced shield techniques to lure players into unsafe situations and potentially secure a stock, as one mistake may lead to death. With multiple shields, different types of dodge, and DI; melee is intense and satisfying for both aggressor and defender
Melee has a 0 frame input buffer. This means inputs only register on that frame, forcing players to have perfect input timing even for techniques with 1-2 frame input windows. Additionally, many techniques require minute analog stick tilts (eg: shield dropping), which again must be input within potentially small windows. Some techniques require subframe precision. Small adjustments in positioning ("micro" spacing) alter input windows and often changes which options are available to each player. By using ambiguous spacing and timing, the whole game becomes one big mixup.
Pro Reading your opponent is key
"Reading" includes "soft reads" or reactions (eg: reading di from drift or tech chasing), as well as "hard reads," where you must correctly predict and then commit to an option before your opponent to cover said option
The short hop fast fall L-cancel is an advanced technique used to jump and perform an aerial from the ground. It has been removed in later games in the series, but is still able to be used in Melee.
Pro Wave dashing
Pro High APM
Top players reach over 300 Actions Per Minute (APM), not including di. Competitive players routinely play at 200+.
Commands are not input at a steady rate, but instead take on a stoccato pattern with periods of high intensity (eg: mashing, dash dancing, most shield pressure) and moments of respite.
Pro DI/SDI/Shield DI
Directional Influence (DI) and Smash DI (SDI) add much depth to the game through mindgames, traps, and reading of your opponents inputs; as well as allowing players to escape or otherwise modify their oponents combos, and even survive otherwise deadly moves. Shield DI allows players to make adjustments to their positioning and alter the timing of their opponents moves. When combined with light shielding, Shield DI becomes more significant, adding greatly to the neutral game. DI makes every combo different and makes getting hit an active process, making the "punish game" active on both sides. DI forces players to constantly make split-second decisions and reactions.
Pro Requires frame perfect inputs at 60 fps
Pro Strong community
15 years old, still going strong.
This is a 15 year old Gamecube game. While there is an active online community, and there are emulators etc, you need a Gamecube and CRT display in order to properly experience the game. A strong local community is all but necessary, as there is some lag online (minimum 7 frames) and melee is ridiculously precise. In addition to the console and tv, you need a Gamecube controller. While Nintendo is again selling these, controllers often break due to the high intensity of play. Even if you use an emulator, normal controllers are needed for tournament play.