By the time this post has gone up, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will have finally launched and we’ll all no doubt be obsessively playing it so we can stop worrying about stumbling across spoilers online. But I’m not here to write about Ultimate; I’m here to write about Masahiro Sakurai’s first attempt to quit this series – Super Smash Bros. Brawl, which Sakurai described at the time would be his magnum opus.
While nowadays, Brawl is considered to be the weird middle child of the series, I still love the game to pieces, partly out of nostalgia but also because it was the series’ first step into becoming the giant celebratory crossover that it’s now considered to be, with an (at the time) impressive roster of characters, loads of cool stages, a tonne of collectables to obtain and challenges to complete, a solid single-player story mode and a stellar soundtrack.
Brawl was the first entry to put some real effort into its music. Sure, Melee had some good tunes of its own but Brawl knocked it out of the park. There was as much care into crafting its library of remixed classics and original tunes as there was with the core game. I genuinely think it was because of this game that I developed such an appreciation and love for videogame music at all. So I just want to quickly show off one of my favourite pieces from the game, and it’s actually one of its original tracks.
This was a tune that became an instant favourite of mine; I would replay the boss fights it accompanied just to hear it again. It uses guitars fantastically to make it feel super energetic, it veers slightly between uplifting and threatening to highlight the potential back-and-forth between the player and the boss and, best of all, it’s a remix of the game’s main theme, which is very slow-paced and grandiose.
Aside from re-using the leitmotif (which is always amazing, no matter what game), I love how they managed to take something that wouldn’t sound out of place in a fancy opera and turn it into this epic rock track. It’d be like doing a metal cover of a Les Miserables song or something (which I’m sure probably exists).
What else can I say? It’s an awesome piece of music that I wish I could play with every boss fight in the game. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to play more Ultimate.