Fight! Debtating Super Smash Bros. Melee + Ultimate

Header image for the article Fight! Debtating Super Smash Bros. Melee + Ultimate Credit: FSU PUBLICATIONS AND COMMUNICATIONS DEPARTMENT

Super Smash Bros. is a Japanese series of crossover fighting games published by Nintendo and features characters from various Nintendo franchises. The goal is to knock your opponents off the stage and increase their damage. The first Super Smash Bros. game was released in 1999 for the Nintendo 64, but the series gained more attention with the release of Super Smash Bros.: Melee in 2001 for the GameCube.

Now once Super Smash Bros.: Ultimate was released in 2018, a popular debate has arisen regarding which game is the superior Smash Bros. iteration. Melee has been loved for its fast-paced combos, fluid movement and high skill range, whereas Ultimate has been loved for not being as strict as Melee.

Ultimate also makes it unclear whether someone will actually lose their stock. From a visual perspective, Melee is so fun to watch because the visuals were ahead of its time. Plus, when someone got knocked out, their character would look like it hit the television screen and slid down it before officially dying.

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Although there are 17 years between the two games, each is a worthy contender for the title of best Super Smash Bros. game. One could say that Ultimate is the superior game because of how up-to-date it is with today’s current gaming trends. But one could also argue that the added elements can take away from the gaming experience.

When it comes to Melee, players find that there are more opportunities for fighting when it comes to combos, hits run, and edgegaurds when you choose to move your character and what combinations you use.

Strong moves in Melee give you more rewards and weak moves give you less. For your opponent, that means that they will take more damage. One advantage of that is that more damage can be done with weaker moves.

With Ultimate, sometimes the moves you make have no rewards because some characters are stronger than others. So it is easier for people to feel like they have more control over the battle when their opponent is playing a weaker skillset character.

Now both games do take a lot of concentration and focus when it comes to a battle. If you slam a button in Melee, like you do in Ultimate, there is no buffer there to baby you. This means that in Melee, there are opportunities to be more precise and purposeful or you could get stuck in your movement. But once you get everything down, it feels a lot faster.

Second-year broadcast-television and film production student, Ben Languille has competed in several Fanshawe Esports events. He has plenty of experience with both Melee and Ultimate.

“I’d say the prominent difference is the scenes themselves,” said Languille. “Melee as a community has been going for years and as a game has widely changed within that span. If you take a look at Melee in 2021 vs. 2008 you will notice a massive difference in both speed and play overall. Melee is a very competitive game with a really chill community, Ultimate is very new but much more casual on a whole level.”

As someone who has played both games, I can see where each side of the argument stands on which game people like to play more. When it comes to Melee, I found that people play it more for the competitive aspect, whereas, with Ultimate, people play it more for the entertainment.

Melee is a lot faster overall because it has zero input buffer, but it is also very ratchety to people who don’t play because of the old hardware and specs,” added Languille. “Ultimate has two input buffers and has better specs overall, looks sexier and is smoother…. but overall, slower.”

Esports competitor and second-year Fanshawe student, Greg Church suggested that both games have their benefits, but praised the overall speed and performance of Melee.

“On a technical level with the controls, it [Melee] directly translates your input unlike Ultimate which has a three millisecond delay from pressing the button to the action happening,” said Church. “Whereas Ultimate has more content (characters, levels, modes), better graphics, and allows for more players (eight rather than four). All the moves have more flare and oomph.”

For now, the debate of which Super Smash Bros. game is superior rages on, but one thing’s for sure: you and your friends will have a great time playing either Melee or Ultimate.