Despite having so much to offer, it’s possible you have grown weary of Smash Bros. Brawl but can’t wait for the next installment on the Wii U. Fear not, the good people over at Project M have you covered! Releasing version 3 of their amazing soft modification to Brawl in December, there’s quite a lot to offer and all you need is a 2GB SD card. Making use of the hole in Smash Bros. that allows you to load corrupt custom map files, you can load Project M which overrides characters, maps, and gameplay files to have a more balanced game with new features. It’s pretty amazing all that they’ve done considering that the game itself isn’t installed to the Wii, but all loaded into memory.
Project M is geared towards giving you an experience like Melee, with tweaks to blocking, smashing, and various other things that an average Smash Bros. fan wouldn’t pick up. What you will notice right off the bat is the return of Mew Two and Roy from Melee. Also, they brought back a lot of maps from the N64 and GameCube era, as well as some brand new levels like a Castlevania stage and a Skyloft stage from Skyward Sword. The level looks polished as if it was a part of the original game. A lot of the characters have been tweaked, too. For example, Snake’s NIKITA missile attack has been replaced with a tranquilizer dart which puts enemies to sleep. His running smash attack now uses a knife rather than his shoulder attack. Pokémon Trainer is gone and instead you fight with one of the three Pokémon with a new B-Down move, replacing the “Pokémon swap” move that the Trainer had. Zero Suit Samus and Sheik are now individually selectable. The curry mode that nobody used has been replaced with a Turbo/Slow mode a la Street Fighter 2: Turbo.
There are also some new character clothes to choose from. While many of them are just palette swaps, some are much more involved than that. Mario now has a few Dr. Mario outfits, and they actually change his play style. You’ll see the return of the Dr. Mario pills, and actually have different behavior and sounds, just like in Melee. So, for all intents and purposes, Dr. Mario is a returning character, too. All version of Mario have also had the FLUDD B-Down special removed, replaced with the tornado move from Melee.
Does it feel like a completely new game? No, not really, but the tweaked graphics, maps, and new/modified characters, and new music certainly breathes a lot of life back in to the game. And also, the great ease of installing it certainly makes it worth a try! I played a different Brawl mod a couple of years ago called Brawl+, which was a major pain to install as it required an internet connection and a modded Wii. It also didn’t introduce new characters, maps, or music. Project M, on the other hand, has different mod packages for modded and non-modded systems. You’ll be up and playing in minutes. The downside is that you may find that some of your maps have been replaced with the new maps they’ve added. It seems that they did their best to remove the less popular maps, such as the auto-scrolling maps, but you may find one you like better. Perhaps in the future the team will give you a means of letting you pick and chose which maps you want, but I think they’re limited by how the game operates and system limitations.
For detailed list of what’s different from the main game and how to install, please refer to the Project M website.