The Best Way To Control 'Smash Bros. Brawl' -- Wiimote, GCN, SNES And More Controllers Tested [UPDATED]

Best Way Controlsmash Bros

Never mind all the options. I now know the best way to control ' Super Smash Bros. Brawl. '

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Back in June of last year Masahiro Sakurai announced that there would be four separate ways to control the game.

That should have made every gamer happy, but it begged the question - which was the right one for me? Hopefully I can offer some help.

One of the biggest concerns about 'Super Smash Bros. Brawl' coming out on the Wii was the control set-up. The Wii basically throws everything you know about controls out the window. But precision and accuracy are as vital to the 'Smash Bros.' franchise as punching and kicking, and if they didn’t translate well to the newest edition, there was no way it would be successful. Hopefully one of Nintendo's four different control schemes could float our boats.

That being said, there are no motion controls. That's really the best thing I can say about the controller combination situation. While it might have been cool to simulate Peach actually punching Mario in the face with your own hands, it just doesn’t make sense for the speed of this game.

In order to help everyone out I put each controller through its paces, and hopefully my experience will offer you some guidance when you finally get your hands on the game this Sunday.

I used each controller combination to (attempt to) run through Classic Mode and here are my findings:

Wii Remote and Nunchuck

(Controls: A: Attack, B: Special, C: Jump, Z: Shield, Thumbstick + A: Smash)

After playing ' Wii Sports' boxing it seems like this two-handed control scheme would be perfect for a fighting game. However, without motion controls it doesn't translate too well.

The punch, kick, block and smash attacks were all fairly easy to pull off using this controller set. However, it seemed like whenever I held down the A button it was like I was pressing turbo. I rapidly started punching over and over again.

I also had a tough time pulling off a double-jump using the thumbstick, which, is a vital part of 'Smash Bros.' and had detrimental effects to my performance.

I was left feeling like this was the 'cheapest' control scheme, and while it may be great for beginners, it's wholly unnatural for seasoned veterans. Lastly, at no point in the game do you use a pointer for anything, even at certain instances in the game where it would seem 100% natural (I'll leave those spoilers out), and that basically blew my mind, invalidating this control scheme.

CORRECTION : A few readers noted something I had overlooked. There are motion controls for the Nunchuk/Wiimote combination, but they aren't set as the default. You can place you smash attacks on the Wii Remote shake, but you have to manually turn them on via the controller configuration menu (this is mentioned in small print on the controller description page of the manual). However, it doesn't help the scheme much. It's very likely that you'll end up focusing more on shaking the controller to perform your smashes (which you can't charge when shaking) instead of trying to land all your attacks. I tried it, and it has not convinced me to change my rankings.

Wii Remote Sideways

(Controls: A: Taunt, B:Shield, 1: Special, 2: Attack, 1 + 2: Smash)

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The easiest control scheme to pick-up and play is also surprisingly good. The 'Smash Bros.' team managed to optimize what was a seven-button, dual analog Gamecube controller down to four button experience.

The punch and kick end up on the 1 and 2 buttons, with smash attacks being 1 + 2 in you desired direction. Simple and easy. While the D-pad may be a bit small for most adult thumbs, it is something that is really easy to look past simply based on the convenience of this controller. There's no extra cords, nothing to plug in, and no additional purchases - it just works.

Gamecube Controller

(Controls: X, Y: Jump, A: Attack, B: Special, C Stick: Smash)

Otherwise known as 'Old Faithful.' If you were really into 'Melee' there really shouldn't be any other choice than the GameCube controller… and a Wavebird at that.

It's pretty much just as you remember it, and once you get your hands on the game, it'll feel like 2001 all over again. No matter how you look at it, this control scheme is one of the best, simply because there is room to map everything to its own button.

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However, if you are new to the 'Smash' scene, and perhaps new to video games altogether (this is for all you first-time console-owners out there), you may have some problems. First of all, you might not be able to find one in stores. It's not impossible, but it won't be as easy as just grabbing your Wii controller.

Also, if the Wii is the first time you have played video games in years (or ever), you may be a bit intimidated by the number of buttons you're dealing with. It's easy to overcome, it just takes some time.

Classic Controller ( Watch a demonstration by our own Stephen Totilo )

(Controls: x, y: Jump, a: Special, b: Attack, Right Analog: Smash)

I had high hopes for the Classic Controller. It's basically the bastard child of the SNES and Gamecube controllers, so it should work really well. For the most part it does.

The analog sticks on every Nintendo-produced controller have always seemed loose and that holds very true for the Classic Controller. Also, while the layout does work well, it still bothers me that the Classic Controller needs to be tethered to the Wii remote. It just feels like, after using the other controls, this one seems okay, but doesn’t really optimize play too much. While it isn't the ideal candidate, it is basically comparable to the GameCube controller.

At least it works.

NES Controller

My highest hopes have been dashed. I was hoping that, using the RetroZone RetroPort (a controller converter that plugs in via the Gamecube controller port) that I would be able to play 'Smash' using an NES controller - the product of some kind of twisted nostalgia gone wrong. Alas, it didn’t work.

While I was able to plug in the controller and navigate around the menus easily, I was not able to map any movement to the 'GameCube' (read RetroZone-enabled NES controller's) D-pad. Even with the program's high level of controller customization, you can't place movement on the D-pad. You can map jump, but that's it. I'm pretty sure I just died a little inside.

Another problem with an NES controller is that you really only have two buttons to work with, and, unlike the Wii Remote turned sideways, you can't map moves to combo buttons on the GameCube's A and B buttons. That, combined with the fact that only the GameCube's C-stick is allowed to house smash moves, that means no smash attacks for the NES controller.

Only use this controller if you're up for the ultimate challenge, where you can't even move your character around the stage. You can only jump.

SNES Controller

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Sadly, the SNES controller has the same problems as the NES controller. It does afford you the option to map more moves to the X, Y, L, and R, buttons, but none of them help you move. It's odd that the game doesn’t allow you to switch the movement off the thumbstick, onto the D-pad. Also, one other little oddity in terms of controller customization is that you can't un-assign buttons, meaning that every button is going to do something, no matter what. Weird.

So, what is the best option? Here are my official MTV Multilayer 'Super Smash Bros. Brawl' controller rankings:

  1. Wii Controller Turned Sideways
  2. GameCube Controller
  3. Classic Controller
  4. Wii Remote With Nunchuck
  5. SNES
  6. NES