If you don’t think Melee is the best Super Smash Bros., you’re simply wrong. The graphics are fantastic, the controls are superb, and the character list is at its peak in the franchise.
But what I think truly sets Melee apart from the other Super Smash Bros. games is the amount of stages you can select to battle on. Not only is it the volume of stages, but almost all of them are extraordinary in detail.
They move and shift, background objects interfere, and there’s a multitude of ways to die when you fall off the stage.
So without further ado, let’s dive into the top ten!
This list begins with Onett, which is just an adorable little place. You can jump on roofs, buildings, and a streamer. Aside from the cars below, this is a pretty tame stage to fight at.
9. Jungle Japes
Similar to Kong Jungle in Nintendo 64, this stage has better graphics. But the fun remains the same – three small platforms, rapids below, and a setting sun. You had to have some good defensive strategies here.
8. Kongo Jungle
Another Kong stage! One wrong move here, and it’s tough to recover. It was lethal. The rushing water, barrels, and that one rock that might be able to save you…
Battles here never lasted long.
7. Mushroom Kingdom
The nostalgia of the old Mario games make this stage just so happy and pleasant. The music and the cartoon background really made it feel comfortable and like you were playing in a memory.
Additionally, it was really fun to stand on the platform and see how far you could fall down before you had to jump back up.
6. Great Bay
“Is the moon getting closer?” I asked my older brother the first time we played this stage. We kept saying no, no we didn’t think so… Okay maybe…. YIKES.
Probably my favorite part about Great Bay is just watching the giants push the moon far back into the sky. Tingle floating up and down on the red balloon while you KO your opponents is another nice touch, too.
5. Mute City
Get on the platform, off the platform. Fight on the road. Avoid the cars.
At Mute City, the actual stage itself is almost as threatening as the opponents themselves. It’s fast, fun, and just an all around fantastic place.
4. Pokémon Stadium
At first, this seems like a pretty basic stage. It’s fun, but just a flat, basic platform. Your initial assumptions are soon proven wrong, as the stage shifts and morphs into a variety of terrains – grass, rock, fire, and water.
Though it may seem like a challenge, the evolving stage makes it fun. Plus, the jumbotron in the background makes it really seem like a true stadium full of fans.
Fighting atop a flying battleship doesn’t seem like the smartest idea, but it sure makes for a great stage on Melee. Corneria might be a small stage, but it doesn’t lack in excitement. You can brawl it out to the left of the screen on top of the ship, or you can go down belong the wing and really, really slaughter your opponent. Once you did enough damage on the top of the ship and your opponent retreated, you’d follow them down and really kill them.
The music is great, the background is bright, and it’s just a blast.
When I first started playing Melee, Brinstar terrified me. I begged my brothers not to pick the stage. Once the fear of the darkness, music, and acid wore off, I realized how much fun it really was.
You have the elements to work with – earthquakes, rising acid, and a morphing stage if the fleshy parts were destroyed. Not only did you have to focus on your enemies, but you had to stay on your toes.
1. Hyrule Temple
Simply, simply the best. But not such a simple stage. The beauty of Hyrule Temple is how vast it is. You have so much freedom here to run so many places, jump on so many ledges, and even hide in the bottom part of the map.
From the bottom of the map, you can float three to four levels. Or, you can run across the entire stage from left to right for what seems like a mile.
I would say I selected Temple about 80 percent of the time. This stage, I truly believe, embodies what is most fun about Melee; just the freedom and options it allowed.
Battles here tended to take some time, as you could run and hide almost anywhere. Or, if you were on the brink of death, you could duke it out at the bottom until one of you died.
About the Author: Kelcey McClung is a freelance reporter who has been featured in a variety of publications. She loves Star Wars, Animal Crossing, and almost every PlayStation game ever made. If you think you’ve completed all the park objectives in Roller Coaster Tycoon more times than she has, she’ll take you up on that bet.