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Super Smash Bros. Melee

大乱闘スマッシュブラザーズDX

Developer: HAL Laboratory Publisher: Nintendo
21 November 2001
Super Smash Bros. Melee [大乱闘スマッシュブラザーズDX] - cover art
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4.15 / 5.0
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2,363 Ratings / 2 Reviews
#68 All-time
#3 for 2001
26 Nintendo characters battle it out in hectic platform fighting.
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i suck at this shit
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someloudthunder 2021-06-28T21:36:26Z
2021-06-28T21:36:26Z
4.5
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If my reviews were any source of evidence, video games have been a substantial aspect of my life since I was a kid. I’ve reviewed many of the games that have shaped my love for the medium and have passionately explained why I adore them in great detail. All of these years later, I’m not sure there is one video game that I can confidently call my absolute favorite. After all, I’m naturally indecisive because I have the same difficulties with determining my favorites for albums and films as well. I have about 15-25 games that are close to my heart and I will emphatically rave on about them if given the chance, and the same goes for 15-25 albums and films as well. However, people in conversation prefer that the other party keep their favorites limited to only one for the sake of not rambling like a complete lunatic. Of course, this proves to be a challenge for me because I can’t just pick the one to rule them all. Whenever I have to do this, my criteria are not based on enjoyment alone, otherwise, I’d just tell the person the last new game I played that pleased me, and that changes every so often. A favorite game of mine has to resonate with me for a long while, influence the types of games I play and have a general impact on me that withstands every new game that comes my way. Overall, my favorite game with this criteria is Super Smash Bros. Melee.

Super Smash Bros. Melee may not be the game that elicits the greatest amount of joy from me, nor is it the game I am the most masterful in. Melee now has one of the most popular competitive scenes in gaming and the people who compete in these tournaments would wipe the floor with me. They’d probably show signs of skepticism if I told them that I consider Melee to be my favorite game of all time, even more so upon telling them that I mainly play Ultimate now for my Smash Bros. fix. With all of this in mind, why is Super Smash Bros. Melee the one game I champion above the rest? Because Super Smash Bros. Melee was the game that introduced me to the wonderful world of gaming. Before playing Melee, I wasn’t even slightly aware of Nintendo, its massive role in the gaming industry, or any of the history of these characters or the company as a whole (or any other game company for that matter). I first played Melee in 2003, the peak year of my Pokemon obsession. This meant that I naturally recognized all of the playable Pokemon characters and all of the Pokemon that emerge from the Pokeball items, something that caught my interest with this game. While I was completely enamored with Pokemon at the time, I didn’t correlate the franchise with its videogame roots. Pokemon was so all-encompassing that it seemed removed from the world of Nintendo, even though I was playing Pokemon Silver at the time. Give me a break, I was seven years old. As for the other characters, Fox and Falco were familiar because I had a friend who has Star Fox 64, I knew Kirby from commercials, and I vaguely recognized Donkey Kong from his horrendous cartoon series. Besides these few characters, none of the others were even remotely familiar to me, not even Mario or Link. What better way to introduce someone to all of these characters than a game that combines all of them at once? It’s ironic considering the Super Smash Bros. franchise is meant to curate Nintendo’s franchises for those who are already familiar with them, especially starting with Melee. The first Super Smash Bros. was meant as a lark to showcase a simplified fighting game with 2D platformer-Esque gameplay, incorporating recognizable characters as a selling point. The sequel had plenty to improve upon using the simplicity of the first game as a template, and the direction of Melee veered towards making the series a celebration of Nintendo’s properties.

The opening of Melee before the start screen is a clear indication of this direction. I’m not entirely sure if this is due to a preserved wonderment due to nostalgia, but the opening sequence of Super Smash Bros. Melee is probably the most grandiose, bombastic intros in any video game I’ve seen. A nameless hand reaches for what looks like a plastic figure of Mario mounted to a stand and flings him up into the stratosphere, accompanied by a dynamic orchestral score. The Mario figure twinkles in mid-flight and becomes engulfed in a light that brings the figure to life. It’s sort of a series continuation of presenting the familiar characters as inanimate objects fueled by vague magic, but they are figurines on stands instead of ragdoll-like toys. The opening sequence then briefly highlights the other playable characters in more recognizable backdrops than the ones from the first game’s intro with more cinematic pacing. The opening ends with a literal bang as the narrator triumphantly announces the game. Unlike the opening of the first game, this grand opening is much more referential in terms of the characters that are represented. Link, Zelda, and Ganondorf put their hands together to highlight the triforce symbols, Samus is fighting Ridley, and Ness teleports to a city street, blowing past the Runaway Five with Mr. Saturn under his hat. Tons of recognizable Pokemon from the first two generations are present in a wide group shot and Captain Falcon boots Samurai Goroh off the Big Blue racecourse. The opening of the first game felt as if any original characters could’ve been made in the place of any familiar ones, but all of the references present here further illustrate the direction to make Smash Bros. more about the familiar characters and less about the premise of a simple fighting game. The intro is a joy to watch and even my ignorant, seven-year-old self who was mostly unfamiliar with any of the references was in awe of the magnificent scale here nonetheless.

Super Smash Bros. Melee was also a complete nightmare to develop. Creative director Masahiro Sakurai was allegedly on the verge of a mental breakdown of biblical proportions while developing this game. Considering the short period of development time between the first game and Melee, I wouldn’t blame Sakurai one bit for feeling especially distressed. He was most likely also pressured to finish Melee by a certain deadline, pressured into making Melee a launch title for the Gamecube. He failed this deadline, but only by a month. People who purchased the Gamecube at its inception had to be patient and play Luigi’s Mansion in the meantime. Because of this case of development hell, Super Smash Bros. Melee exudes a quality of being unrefined. It’s leagues better than the first game on the N64 by a stark mile, but the fighting gameplay Melee offers has always been a bit unhinged. However, this is not a point of contention with the game as Melee’s gameplay is a factor that makes it the resounding favorite for most fans of the series. The foundation that the first game presented is clear as day, but there has been a substantial amount of improvement.

Movement coinciding with the controls was stiff and restrained in the first game, and the typical N64 framerate did not help matters in this regard. In Melee, the characters generally move in such a slippery fashion that it feels as if the developers should have implemented a broken button (especially for Captain Falcon), aided by a framerate as smooth as Princess Peach’s legs. The characters are given the same bevy of moves as in the first game, but with new additions that make a world of difference. Each character has a new special move that is triggered by simultaneously moving left and right. For example, Mario whips out his cape from Super Mario World to deflect projectiles, Samus launches a missile, and Fox performs a lightning-quick dash attack. The more important addition are smash attacks, more powerful versions of standard A-button attacks that can be charged to deal more damage. Each character has the same number of smash attacks for each direction of movement and is the best finishing move to defeat an opponent. There are two types of shields, a heavy one made to defend against strong attacks and a lighter one that is more durable. There is even an air-defense move triggered by the same button as the shield which can also be used as a lift. These additions to the combat were intentional, but the competitive players of this game have discovered a plethora of more difficult moves by exploiting the game’s mechanics. Moves like the wavedash, the chain grab, and the shield break combo give the player the freedom to maximize a certain potential beyond the intended skill set. This most likely could not have been possible in a fighting game with a more polished, streamlined approach to combat. Yet, the game doesn’t alienate the casual audience that this game was intended for. I sure as hell don’t know how to execute any of the “advanced moves” but I still feel relatively adept nonetheless.

A great way to further celebrate Nintendo’s illustrious history is to expand the roster of playable characters. This is arguably the selling point of each Smash Bros. game, but Melee was the first one to exercise this possibility. All twelve of the characters from the first game are here along with 13 (technically 14) new characters to expand the Smash Bros. roster. There was already enough room to extend upon the selection of Nintendo characters from the first game as only offering twelve seemed rather paltry. All of the characters (except for Jigglypuff) were clear representatives of Nintendo’s staple franchises, so at least there weren’t any confusing filler characters. Melee’s directive in regards to the roster was to extend the presence of the franchises already established in the first game. Bowser and Peach were obvious choices to include from the Super Mario franchise. Ganondorf and Zelda’s inclusion extends her franchise along with her alternate persona Sheik who has a completely different moveset from Zelda. Mewtwo and Pichu are here to represent Pokemon and Falco represents Star Fox. The only new characters that represent a previously unincluded franchise are Marth and Roy from Fire Emblem. At the time, the franchise hadn’t been released outside of Japan, but Marth and Roy’s inclusion in Melee gave their series enough worldwide notoriety to garner being released in the west. Ice Climbers and Mr. Game and Watch are two obscure characters from the crevices of Nintendo’s early history, and including more of these would become a common practice in subsequent entries. 26 playable characters seem like a satisfying number without going overboard, but there are an abundant amount of filler characters here in the vein of “clone characters”. These clone characters have the same movesets as other characters, making their inclusion in the game much less impactful. Characters like Falco and Roy are understandably similar to the other characters from the same franchise, and at least they have established characters with their discernible quirks. I have no idea why Ganondorf is a heavier clone of Captain Falcon. My childhood ignorance led me to believe that Ganondorf was from the F-Zero franchise for some time because of this. The more egregious clone characters are Dr. Mario, Young Link, and Pichu due to essentially being the same as another character with no substantial, discernible characterization making them useless (especially Pichu. His quirk of hurting himself is at least loyal to the source of the Pokemon, but it is the worst quirk to have in a fighting game along with being one of the lightest characters). While many of these new characters are somewhat disappointing, unlocking them is one of the most satisfying aspects of Melee. Eleven characters can be unlocked through very specific requirements, and doing all of these (even leaving the console on for hours to unlock Mewtwo) feels very rewarding. I wish they implemented this in future Smash Bros. titles.

The same expansion tactic to highlight Nintendo’s franchises went towards the stages. Each franchise gets at least two stages with Ice Climbers and Mr. Game and Watch only getting one. Even a few of the stages from the first game are present as unlockable stages. The new stages in Melee are much more hectic and present a much more hazardous environment. Rainbow Cruise is a tour around the Super Mario 64 level it is based on platforms that fall on the player. Superflat World takes place inside of a Game and Watch which features slick, slippery oil spills and falling tools. Brinstar Depths takes place on a slab of earth positioned over a dim river of lava where a nightmarishly realistic-looking Kraid will rotate the stage in a random direction. Using the stages present here from the previous game as a reference, these stages have greatly evolved past looking like a standard series of platforms with a game’s theme adding character to them. Overall, the selection of stages present in Melee is collectively my favorites out of all of the Smash Bros. games. All of them strike a perfect blend of being relatively simple by design but offering a reserved number of stage hazards to make them much more interesting. Some of my favorites include Termina’s Great Bay, Onett, Mute City, and Corneria. I have no discrepancies with any of the stages because I feel the more hazardous levels still strike a balance between being simple and chaotic enough to the point where it’s not too overwhelming. Some people have their reservations about certain stages like Pokefloats and Icicle Mountain while some exclusively play on Final Destination with great fervor, but that’s a tangent for another time. For those who play with items, all of the familiar ones from the first game make a return except for the bouncer. Most of the new items that appear are references to the character’s franchises like the myriad of Mario-related items like the mushrooms and the shells. The warp star from Kirby will send the player upward and crash down on their opponents with great impact. New Pokemon from Gold and Silver like Scizor and Bellossom appear from the Pokeballs. The motion-sensor bomb and the new cloaking device are said to be from a “top-secret game”, but anyone who owned an N64 will recognize them they’re from Perfect Dark. Sorry, I had to veil this reveal for legal purposes just like Nintendo did.

Super Smash Bros. Melee also offers a great deal of variety that the previous game did not. If the player ever gets tired of fighting timed or stock matches, Melee offers an eclectic choice of different modes. Coin matches where the objective is to grab the most coins and a performance mode that scores one’s varied movesets while fighting are positioned alongside the standard modes, but I’ve always found these two to be kind of pointless. “Special Melee” on the other hand gives the player plenty of options to make Melee completely bonkers. There’s a stamina mode where the percentage meter goes down instead of up (which I’m not sure why this doesn’t take the place of coin match), sudden death mode which puts the player on pins and needles, giant and tiny mode that plays with size, lighting and slo-mo mode that play with speed, and a fixed camera that lets the player see the game from a different perspective. There are however some useless modes like an invisible mode and single-button mode, but there are plenty of options here so the player never has to play them. Tournament mode can have up to 64 combatants competing for the top spot, and I wish this mode made a return for the Smash Bros. games with online capabilities.

Super Smash Bros. Melee also offers a smattering of single-player options, most of which are required to unlock most of everything in the game. The standard classic mode makes a return and is designed almost exactly like it was in the previous game. The only deviation is the debut of Crazy Hand, the more erratic version of Master Hand with a different moveset. Both of them acting together can be hectic, but the player has to meet certain requirements to fight Crazy Hand alongside Master Hand anyways. The new Adventure Mode is the more consistent, but less meat and potatoes version of classic mode. Adventure mode offers sections that are designed like levels in a 2D platformer and are based on the source material levels from Nintendo franchises. The player will stomp on Goombas and Koopas on a Mario-centric level, navigate through a dungeon filled with Like-Likes, Redeads, and Octorocks akin to Zelda, escape Brinstar on the verge of explosion, and run across F-Zero’s Big Blue racecourse while avoiding the racers. Other than these four levels, the rest of this mode is Classic mode with a more consistent trajectory. The mode has a lot of unfulfilled potentials. The end of Adventure Mode caps off with a fight against Giga Bowser, a new, intimidating version of Bowser that debuts in this game. Like with Crazy Hand, certain requirements need to be fulfilled and they can be fairly difficult to meet. Without fighting Giga Bowser, Adventure Mode feels rather anticlimactic. The new All-Star mode pits the player against all 25 characters, progressively fighting more than one at a time as they move forward. The player also has to do this without dying, giving them a serene place of respite with three heart containers in between matches. All-Star is quite difficult, and not a mode that I play often. Mini-games like Target Test make a return and each character has their unique levels, a definite improvement from the first game. The Home-Run contest features an indestructible sandbag to use the home run bat to launch the wide-eyed sack as far as possible. In my experience, this game is only enjoyable with certain characters. Multi-man Melee features modes based on fighting the wireframes from the Adventure mode. I’m content with any of these modes besides Cruel Melee which is intended to troll the player.

The most interesting single-player mode that Melee offers is Event Match, curated fights based on a plethora of conditions. There are a whopping 51 of them and completing them all feels in tandem with completing the game in a narrative sense. Some of the events coincide with themes based on the characters like Mario keeping Peach away Bowser, Link fighting Dark Link and Ganondorf, and Captain Falcon running on Big Blue at a lightning-fast pace. Some recurring events involve fighting on top of an unlockable trophy and fighting a series of characters under a time limit every tenth event. The events get progressively harder with some of the later events serving as the hardest challenges Melee offers. The last event is a fight against the Ganondorf, Mewtwo, and Giga Bowser, the villainous characters of Super Smash Bros Melee with their AI cranked to eleven with only three lives to spare. This event match is the penultimate fight in the game and I like everyone else cheesed this with Jigglypuff’s rest move. With this strategy, I still had to contend with both Ganondorf and Mewtwo, and the victory I eventually came to was still by the skin of my teeth. After managing this, a triumphant music track was unlocked and I felt incredibly satisfied with myself.

The final new mode Melee implements to further highlight Nintendo’s history is the Trophy Mode. Many people find this mode distracting and or useless, but I adore it. Throughout the game, the player will unlock these figurines based on familiar properties from the represented franchises. Playing through Classic, Adventure, and All-Star mode will unlock character trophies while some trophies are earned through certain conditions. Most of the other trophies are purchased by feeding coins to a slot machine, and a random trophy will appear. The more coins the player offers, the better likelihood of receiving a new trophy. These trophies are displayed with detailed descriptions like the character bios in the first game. There are 290 trophies in total which include playable characters, items, and characters from Nintendo franchises with represented characters. Some of the trophies are even from Nintendo franchises that are not represented in Melee like Pit from Kid Icarus, Balloon Fighter, Japanese exclusive games, and upcoming titles like Pikmin and Animal Crossing. Trophy mode feels like a curated museum, a place to absorb knowledge about Nintendo’s illustrious history and the games they’ve made. Adding new characters is one thing, but the trophies feel more like Nintendo celebrating themselves and the work they’ve done.

After Masahiro Sakurai’s dedication to the point of exhaustion, he released Melee on the new Nintendo system with crossed fingers, hyperventilating at the fact that he just screwed the Smash Bros. series due to running out of time. He knew that even though he worked as diligently as he could, the finished product would be rushed which would disappoint gamers everywhere. However, Super Smash Bros. Melee turned out to be a beautiful accident, up there with the advent of penicillin and the microwave. There are obvious instances where the game is rushed which include some of the single-player modes, but the unrefined gameplay Melee offered was unintentionally a godsend. It was so revolutionary that it still resonates with players today with Melee, a 20-year-old game at this point, being one of the most played video games today. Its endearing mistakes have proved to be for its benefit. Meanwhile, the features that Sakurai intended are such an improvement over the first game that it’s like graduating from riding a tricycle to trying to jump a canyon with a motorcycle. It made Super Smash Bros. on the N64 irrelevant. Melee had so much more to offer and was more than just the novel idea of pitting Nintendo characters against each other. Melee solidified Super Smash Bros. as a legitimate franchise removed from all the ones it represents. It all the while was a celebration that proved why Nintendo has been the king of gaming for so long. While other games personally give me a surge of sweet nostalgia and resonate with me years later, none of them were or are as impactful as Melee was. It simultaneously introduced me to a fluid game that was tons of fun and the world of gaming in general, something I can only credit Super Smash Bros. Melee for doing.
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Erockthestrange 2017-07-21T18:53:01Z
2017-07-21T18:53:01Z
10.0
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As of publishing this review, Super Smash Bros. Melee is exactly 20 years old today. No, I will not be consistently publishing a review for every video game milestone, but I had to for this one. Happy Birthday, Melee!
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Best game ever
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Hibouhibouhibou 2021-07-16T17:11:32Z
2021-07-16T17:11:32Z
5.0
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The biggest flash-in-the-pan fighting game ever released. It's so funny how more people played the sequels to this game, but those very sequels never truly grasped at the insane amount of depth Melee has.

Highly recommend finding a GameCube and a CRT television just to play this game.
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MoaM 2021-07-02T11:20:44Z
2021-07-02T11:20:44Z
4.5
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What Put Smash On The Map
If Super Smash Bros. gave us the blueprint... Then Super Smash Bros. Melee was when the franchise got meat on its bones.

Super Smash Bros. Melee is easily one of the most important games in history, as it changed fighting games as we know them forever.

Development for Melee began back in late 1999. Masahiro Sakurai describes his experience developing Melee as destructive. He practically had zero rest, no days off, and anxiety of failure for 13 months of development. He stated that he felt pressured to deliver the best sequel to Smash 64 as that was an experimental game.

But despite the rushed development and lack of rest, the game came out spectacular and released around the time the GameCube launched onto the market. And the game is really good. It's the reason many even bought the GameCube, to begin with.

Smash Melee is a lot more technical than its predecessor, and a lot faster. Smash Melee definitely has the biggest learning curve out of all the games. It introduced a 4th special, directional air dodging, and many more mechanics we all know and love.

It has spectacular graphics (for the time), music, and probably the best opening out of all of them.

All 12 characters from the first game is back with a few new inclusions. New Characters being Dr. Mario, Bowser, Peach, Ganondorf, Falco, Ice Climbers, Zelda/Sheik, Young Link, Pichu, Mewtwo, Mr. Game & Watch, Marth, and Roy. 26 characters in all. Also plenty of new stages to screw around in

There's fun side content such as event mode, Adventure Mode (WHERE YOU FIGHT GIGA BOWSER AT THE END), Classic Mode makes its return, and Break The Target is even better. I also appreciate how every character requires a certain milestone to be met to unlock. Some are really strange like for Luigi.

Playing this game with items is great but I'd recommend turning them off for this.

Super Smash Bros. Melee is a timeless game. Hugely because of the highly competitive esport Smash community that still plays the game regularly and keeps the game and its legacy living. Now I'm not as competitively good at Melee compared to Ultimate but thanks to that community, we have great mechanics like wave-dashing and even wobbling (because it's funny)

Super Smash Bros. Melee stands the test of time as a timeless game with mechanics and gameplay that no other Smash to date has been able to replicate

"No Items... Fox Only... Final Destination"
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khaledo 2021-06-17T00:32:36Z
2021-06-17T00:32:36Z
3.0
29
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Catalog

Bladonski 大乱闘スマッシュブラザーズDX 2022-07-03T08:48:24Z
2022-07-03T08:48:24Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
okglory 大乱闘スマッシュブラザーズDX 2022-07-02T23:40:20Z
2022-07-02T23:40:20Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
tdstr 大乱闘スマッシュブラザーズDX 2022-07-02T23:33:37Z
2022-07-02T23:33:37Z
3.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
ho7mes 大乱闘スマッシュブラザーズDX 2022-07-02T22:04:12Z
2022-07-02T22:04:12Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
feor 大乱闘スマッシュブラザーズDX 2022-07-01T19:41:55Z
2022-07-01T19:41:55Z
3.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Abelton 大乱闘スマッシュブラザーズDX 2022-07-01T01:02:15Z
2022-07-01T01:02:15Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Ca_Game 大乱闘スマッシュブラザーズDX 2022-06-30T21:21:32Z
2022-06-30T21:21:32Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
wizardcud 大乱闘スマッシュブラザーズDX 2022-06-30T04:23:18Z
2022-06-30T04:23:18Z
9.8 /10
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
twinkiemachine 大乱闘スマッシュブラザーズDX 2022-06-30T01:43:53Z
2022-06-30T01:43:53Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
dpitts387 Super Smash Bros. Melee 2022-06-29T04:29:51Z
Gamecube • US
2022-06-29T04:29:51Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
saltysurprise 大乱闘スマッシュブラザーズDX 2022-06-26T17:42:25Z
2022-06-26T17:42:25Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
venpts 大乱闘スマッシュブラザーズDX 2022-06-25T09:06:13Z
2022-06-25T09:06:13Z
3.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Player modes
1-64 players
Media
1x Disc
Multiplayer modes
Deathmatch / FFA, Team play
Multiplayer options
Hotseat, Local
Franchises
Also known as
  • Super Smash Bros. Melee
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  • Previous comments (101) Loading...
  • ruth1120 2022-05-23 07:45:12.820961+00
    shoutouts to jmook [2]
    reply
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  • thepowersthatflumber 2022-05-27 10:27:29.42194+00
    shoutouts to jmook [3]
    reply
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  • Henricch 2022-05-27 12:13:27.372259+00
    this game sucks balls...9/10
    reply
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  • Azel 2022-05-27 18:26:04.875452+00
    shoutouts to jmook [4]
    reply
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  • Cynet 2022-05-31 00:20:17.801154+00
    HAPPY FEET

    WOMBO COMBO
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  • deadass 2022-06-04 19:08:22.11187+00
    ok but jmook really got me switchin to sheik she is so much fun wtf
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  • moonisharp 2022-06-26 06:00:22.401005+00
    Overrated af. Smash ultimate is better and far more balanced, there’s only like 5 viable characters in this game
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