Any gamer who was with vVv Gaming back in 2010 should remember the only year in which Major League Gaming had Super Smash Bros Brawl on the Pro Circuit. Smashers like Mew2King, Lee Martin, MikeHAZE, even our first ever Brawl team vVv Sunshine (dmbrandon and Shadow), represented our organization with dominance in Nintendo's first-party all-star fighter.
Two years later, however, while vVv has moved onto different genres and games, the Smash scene has continued to grow – just this past January we had Apex 2012, the largest Smash event ever, and the future holds many more tournaments, including the upcoming NY/NJ regional SKTAR, ex-vVv member MikeHAZE's E4 series finale and much more. There are certainly more tournaments to be won for Brawl's top players.
And, thanks to the Project M Back Room (PMBR) team, they're may be more games to play, as well.
Project M (not to be mistaken for the project name for Metroid: Other M) is an upcoming Super Smash Bros Brawl mod that is currently in public beta. The mod's 2.0 demo has garnered a lot of attention, even IGN has covered the mod in articles and videos since the latest demo release has surfaced. With a familiar look, but being almost a completely different Smash game than the Brawl edition it is based on, Project M has drawn tons of fans, not only competitive Smashers but casual and other non-competitive players, as well. The mod has made its way through tournaments, college dorms, livings room, and much more.
But, what exactly is Project M?
Well, first and foremost, look! The original Final Destination!
On the surface, it's what you'd expect from a mod – a tweaked version of 2008's Super Smash Bros Brawl. However, the deeper you get into this mod, the more you'll realize that this is no ordinary mod, but rather a complete re-imagining of an entire game.
Unlike other Brawl mods, like Brawl- or Balanced Brawl, which looked to keep the main concepts of Brawl intact while making minor tweaks, Project M's goal is to completely reinvent the game by “Melee-fying” it. Essentially, it's a hardcore mix of the best of Brawl and the best of it's predecessor, Super Smash Bros Melee.
This means that a ton of glitches and tricks that makes Melee still a strong competitive title today, ranging from L-Canceling to Wavedashing and everything in between, are back after having been removed from the original version of Brawl. The universally-hated tripping mechanic has been removed, as have other minor changes that made their way into Brawl. But, if you're still a big Brawl monster, don't worry – all of your favorite Brawl characters will be playable in the final release.
Speaking of the characters, many have gotten quite the face-lift. To create more exciting fights and give the entire roster better and more balanced options, many characters have had moves changed, added, and removed that distinctly make them stand out from both their Melee and Brawl counterparts. Some characters underwent minor changes, like ROB, who only had a couple of moves tweaked like his Up-B and Up-Air. But other characters, like Lucario, have been completely re-done. Lucario specifically has become an entirely new character, losing his Aura abilities but gaining the ability to cancel moves and use a special “spirit bomb” attack, even getting new uppercut and hurricane kick moves.
While Lucario now feels more like a Street Fighter character, other characters like Wario have been changed to better reflect the games they originate from. Wario has gained new charging attacks that take some notes from his Wario Land days, while Donkey Kong's dash attack has been changed to a new rolling move like his basic attack from Donkey Kong Country. Essentially every single character has had some sort of move set or otherwise play style change to give them a new way to fight their enemies.
Project M's stage list is also quite the sight for sore eyes – while some of Brawl's maps have been replaced by more balanced additions, older stages have also joined the fray, like Smash 64's Hyrule Castle and Saffron City, even Metal Mario's boss stage from Smash 64's 1-Player mode. Smash veterans will love being able to visit the locales of Yoshi's Story, Kongo Jungle, Fountain of Dreams, and many other timeless stages once again.
The classic stage Fountain of Dreams returns!
The best part about Project M, however, is that it's a ton of fun. Brawl, in its roughly four year lifespan, has become notoriously slow or coined as a boring, uncompetitive game compared to Melee or other fighting games. Project M is none of those things, thankfully – with every character getting new tricks up their sleeves and a ton of options to boot, every fight has become so much more exciting, both for the players and spectators at large.
For the few times I've gotten my hands on the 2.0 demo, I have found my lost passion for competitive Smash. Though I'll probably never get back into competitive play for the series (unless Smash 4 impresses me), Project M will certainly be routinely played for years to come, especially when the final release hits the internet. The game is not only a lot of fun, but much more satisfying, as well. Characters feel like they have more power and even the worst of characters from Brawl, like Ganondorf, do not create the feeling of helplessness. You almost cannot go wrong with whatever character you pick.
Interested in joining the fray? All you need is a Wii, some controllers and friends, and an SD card. To learn how to download, install, and play the latest version of Project M, click the following link:
Even if you're not the biggest Smash fan, if you have access to a Wii, it's worth a try. The game is fast-paced, extremely enjoyable, and practically addictive (thank god for responsibilities or I'd still be playing it right now!). Get some friends, or even throw in some computer fighters, and settle down for an extremely refreshing re-invention of the Smash series. Project M is right now one of the best showings the Smash franchise has to offer, even if it's only a mod in beta.