Fan Game Showcase – Project M
Just can’t wait until the next Smash Bros. comes out? Well this week’s Fan Game Showcase will hold you over until Mario and Mega Man duke it out later this year. It’s Project M, a re-envisioning of Smash Bros. Brawl that is currently the most accepted version of Brawl on the pro fighting game circuit.
The original idea behind Project M was simple--take Smash Bros. Brawl and make it more like Smash Bros. Melee, its Gamecube incarnation that spawned the pro Smash community. Gameplay elements like random tripping would be taken out, while L canceling, Melee-style air-dodging, wave-dashing and more would be added back in. Characters would be rebalanced to play more like their Melee counterparts, and overall the game would be more fun to play for Melee veterans.
At least, that’s how the project started. However, as the Brawl hacking community got better and better a picking apart this beloved Nintendo fighting game, the project evolved. The design team soon started working on rebalancing the game to be more even. Stages were changed and rebalanced to create fewer random deaths. Characters were tweaked in order to compress the game’s tier list.
But that wasn’t enough. Soon, characters were given complete overhauls. The Pokemon Trainer’s Pokemon were all split into individual characters and given brand new moves and gimmicks, like Ivysaur’s healing and solar beam. Lucario gained the ability to cancel his attacks like a Capcom-style fighting game character. Sonic’s normals changed quite a bit and could now be done out of a spin dash. Lucas’ special moves have completely changed to set him apart from Ness. Heck, even well-established clones like Link and Young Link got completely new move-sets.
Soon, this wasn’t just looking like a slight tweak to Brawl; it was looking like a brand new Smash game all together. Stages like Dracula’s Castle were added to the game, along with new music. Options like “input butter assist” were included to help newbie players work on their combo timing. Items like the turbo flower were added, allowing every character to cancel their moves Lucario style. Perhaps the team’s greatest achievement was adding Mewtwo and Roy back into the game, along with brand new character models and art, and they didn’t even have to take out any other character to do so. This, along with the changes to Pokemon Trainer, inflated the Project M roster to a whopping 41 characters.
There are a whole bunch of other additions to Project M that just make the Brawl experience more fun. For example, the Stage Select screen labels which stages are considered fair and not for tournament play, and actually allows players to ban certain stages that they don’t want to play without going into a separate option menu. Normal Brawl introduced an input lag of 0-3 frames whenever a button was pushed, making move timing inaccurate and random. Project M removes that lag in order to make the game control better. Did we mention that random tripping was taken out? We did? Well it’s worth stating again because that mechanic was horrible.
Of course, many players have been trigger-shy about loading up Smash mods like this because it involves modding their Wii. However, that is not the case with Project M. It plays just fine on an unmodded Wii or even a Wii U. The only thing you have to give up in order to make the mod work, is your ability to play custom stages. Trust us, it’s worth it.
For more information on Project M as well as instructions on how to download and install it, check out the official Project M website. You will need to have an official copy of Smash Bros. Brawl in order to play it, as well as an SD card for your Wii or Wii U. Other than that, the game is free to download and play.