I’m nearly finished with Super Smash Brother Brawl’s Subspace Emissary mode and the adventure keeps going. My initial drive to finish Subspace Emissary came from the desire to unlock more characters, but now the story mode has grown on me. Super Smash Brothers Brawl doesn’t have tear jerking moments or an unnecessarily complicated narrative to dissect. The narrative is far from an epic, but elegance in simplicity suits Brawl perfectly. A few plot twists were enough to entice my curiosity about how the mashup up will end. Instead of doing a newcomer exhibition, I dragged a friend on my quest to beat Brawl’s adventure mode.
A second player can jump in at anytime (* with a remote already synchronized to the Wii update: yes, you can use a Gamecube controller too) by pressing the + button on the remote. After a two second delay the other player takes whatever character the next life represents and jumps into the action. However, the screen does not zoom out to show both players on the screen. A sluggish second player is represented by a bubble icon and arrow pointing to where he/she is. It’s annoying, but there is an advantage to being the second player. If your friend falls off a cliff they don’t die, they magically teleport where the first player is by way of a blue flash. However, there is a loop in the system, which can result in “scrolling deaths.” While I was sprinting past enemies, I cruelly left my friend in the dust with the Subspace Army blocking his path. Usually, he would teleport forward past all of the danger, but if an enemy happened to scratch him while off screen it’s counted as a death. The system in Brawl is designed to not punish the second player if they fall out of bounds, but if an enemy knocks them off they lose a life. Dashing forward doesn’t erase enemies or halt their attacks on a stray second player. Brawl counts any off-screen attacks as a ring out regardless of how much life the second player has, which results an instant death.
Both players share lives/characters in co-op Subspace Emissary, but all of the weight rests on the shoulders of the first player. If there are no more lives in stock and the first player dies, both players have to restart from a continue point. Fortunately, continue points aren’t too far away and in this sense Super Smash Brothers Brawl is quite forgiving. Considering how forgiving Brawl is to the second player I suppose Subspace Emissary could be a good introduction for a first time gamer. Take note: Subspace Emissary co-op can be used as the foot in the door method to initiate a non-gamer girlfriend or boyfriend to join hours of and hours of time sucking Brawl. And co-op play is always available. Let’s say Kirby is alone on a certain stage. If you choose that level it starts with two Kirbys instead of one.
Speaking of time consumption the quest ramps up with backtracking in the last 30% of the game. You stop picking missions from a stage select screen and start filling up the map pictured below. This is just a partial look at the world beyond the void. The final map is bigger than this sample.