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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

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Women’s spring soccer comes to an end this weekend
Lily GouinApril 19, 2024

‘Smash Bros’ reigns as best fighter

When it was first released in 1998, “Super Smash Bros.” sounded like a terrible idea. The game seemed simple enough: Choose a fighter, pick a stage and try to smash your opponents off the stage to score points. But the list of fighters wasn’t your typical “Mortal Kombat” combatants, they were all Nintendo mascots. It seemed odd watching Yoshi and Kirby, two beloved characters, fight to the death. Many thought the game would be a total disaster, but as always, Nintendo knew what it was doing.

Since 1998, “Smash Bros.” has become one of Nintendo’s highest-selling franchises, aided by 2001’s “Super Smash Bros. Melee.” The latest, “Super Smash Bros. Brawl” is out on Wii, and without a doubt, “Brawl” is the best entry in the series.

The gameplay remains largely unchanged from previous versions. It’s still fast, intense and addicting, except this time there are more characters and stages.

“Brawl” lets up to four people battle at a time in a nearly flawless setup. Even with the frenetic pacing, the game still runs smooth and controls perfectly. The stages are some of the most creative I’ve ever seen. There’s a lot of fun to be had just by interacting with each of the levels’ unique abilities. As far as characters, they’re all well-balanced fighters, although some obviously stand out. Newcomer Ike from the “Fire Emblem” series will become a quick favorite, while old characters like Yoshi remain the game’s unofficial punching bag.

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Since it’s on Wii, many were concerned about how you would play. Fortunately, Nintendo isn’t forcing motion-sensing. There are four different controller options: a Gamecube controller, a Wii-remote, a Wii-remote and nun-chuck combination and the Classic controller. On top of that, you can edit the button layout for any control scheme. Each method works great and ensures anyone will be able to pick up and play.

As always, there are tons of secrets to unlock. There are hidden characters and a handful of stages, some old and some new. For dedicated players, it shouldn’t take much time to unlock them all. However, there are hundreds of other items to collect that will keep those looking for a 100 percent completion busy. There are music, stickers and trophies to unlock, all from old Nintendo games. For the casual fan these won’t matter, but for any die-hard Nintendo geek, they are a must.

For the first time in franchise history, you can play online, but it’s a mixed bag. There are two ways you can play: with friends or against anyone. In order to play against a friend, you and your friend have to trade Brawl friend’s codes. This is a 12-digit number unique to each copy of “Brawl.” Once both of you enter each other’s codes you can play online. It’s a lot of fun, despite the annoyance of using the 12-digit code.

It’s when playing against random opponents where “Brawl” shows a weakness. It might take as long as five minutes to get into a match, if you get in one at all. And then there’s lag, which is persistent in every match. It’s not enough to kill the experience, but it’s frustrating. And then there are the random disconnects, which will suddenly freeze the game for a few minutes before kicking you back out to the main menu. When it works, it’s fun. Unfortunately, it rarely does.

Despite the weak online gameplay, “Brawl” is the best in the series. If you’re a fan, waste no more time and get your copy immediately. If you’ve never played before and are curious to see what all the hype is about, I highly recommend giving this game a try. It’s fast and fun and will keep you playing for months, if not years, to come.

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