If there's one thing Nintendo fans (select GamesRadar editors included) can't get enough of, it's more Nintendo. Its reliable stable of characters has been glued into multiple generations of gamers and nothing revels in this quite like the free-for-all, fighting madness of Super Smash Bros. Melee.
From beginning to unreachable end this is one giant tribute to Nintendo and its fans. The four-player battles feature the company's biggest stars from Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda and plenty of lesser titles duking it out on recognizable backdrops saturated with vintage sound effects and music. This mode alone will melt your fingers into the controller. The GameCube's been out for years and this remains one of its biggest draws, for crying out loud. You shouldn't need convincing at this point. Just believe the hype and soak up everything that's good about Nintendo crammed into one title.
Let's say you're not the biggest Nintendo fan. There's still an undeniably fun fighter here. Each character has a unique set of moves, but they all correspond to the same button commands. Pikachu's lightning bolt is done the same way Link's sword uppercut is and so on. There's hardly a learning curve at all and once you experience a four way battle littered with explosions and power-ups there's no turning back. It's an immediately enjoyable game even for people who have no clue how to play fighting games.
Beyond this, there's a one player adventure that takes you through the world of Nintendo, filled with even more in-jokes and shameless nostalgia. The crazy thing is, the versus mode fighting mechanics are done so well that they easily transfer into this side scrolling, platforming design. It's like getting an entirely different game for free.
Beating these throwback levels unlocks all kinds of fanboy schwag like even more mascot fighters and fully viewable character trophies. These informative idols spill the beans on characters' first appearance, historical significance and other irrelevant tidbits. But for fans all that data makes Melee the GameCube's tent pole release. Securing all these trophies, plus hidden characters and battlegrounds, will appeal on some level to even the staunchest anti-Nintendo gamer.
It looks great, sounds even better and offers limitless gameplay opportunity. Whether you're going it alone or decked out with friends this will always, always be near your system. When Smash Bros. goes online, and it will, be ready for traffic that even Halo will have to respect.