Have a brawl with 'Super Smash Bros.' on Wii

Ever wanted to see who would win in a fight between Nintendo's Mario and Sega's Sonic? Now you can in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, a cartoon fighting game for the Nintendo Wii.

As with the previous games in this popular series — 1999's Super Smash Bros. on the Nintendo 64 and 2001's Super Smash Bros. Melee on the Nintendo GameCube — this new Wii brawler lets you duke it out with and against popular Nintendo mascots such as Mario, Link, Pikachu, Donkey Kong, Bowser, Wario and Zero Suit Samus, each with their own unique moves, abilities and special power attacks.

But the latest version — which sold more than 1.4 million units in the U.S. in the first week after its launch March 9 — also lets you fight against characters from other popular video games including Solid Snake from Konami's Metal Gear Solid and Sonic from Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog, as well as other Nintendo favorites such as Ike (from Fire Emblem ), Wolf (from Star Fox ), Diddy Kong (from Donkey Kong Country ) and Meta Knight (from the Kirby games).

Having all of these familiar and beloved characters in one game is a treat, not to mention it's fun to unlock all the fighters by winning matches — as not everyone is available right from the get-go.

Depending on the mode you select, the game plays out as follows: You and a friend can select which character you'd like to play as and then pick a desired venue from the nearly two dozen choices. It's a last man — or beast — standing scenario, as you will fight, jump and block until one character falls off the edge of the screen. At the end of the round a winner is declared. That's the gist of it, but the many moves you can execute per character keeps things fun and frantic — and with lots of colorful eye candy, too.

Special moves include Yoshi's Super Dragon Smash (where the little green dinosaur can shoot fireballs), Wario's nasty Gas Attack (which releases deadly fumes out of his buttocks) and Diddy Kong's Rocketbarrel Barrage (where the monkey takes flight and shoots peanuts out of dual wooden pistols).

Also new to the series is online play, so you can play against friends on another Wii in another city. It works surprisingly well, especially considering the somewhat choppy Internet connectivity in Mario Strikers Charged. Plus, there's a lengthy story-driven adventure mode called "The Subspace Emissary," which is essentially a full game.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl is also fully customizable, allowing you to tweak everything from the character's special powers, weapons and moves to the musical score to how the game is controlled (whether you prefer Wii Remote, Wii Remote and Nunchuk, Classic Controller or the GameCube controller).

This eagerly anticipated Wii game is great fun for those new to the franchise or long-standing followers. Its pick-up-and-play accessibility also makes it perfect for players of all ages — that is, if you don't mind the cartoon violence and somewhat crude humor, such as Wario passing gas. In a word, Super Smash Bros. Brawl is a blast.

Contact Saltzman at gnstech@gns.gannett.com.

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