Nintendo designs fighting game for its Wii console

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SummaryFans have waited more than six years for "Brawl", the third in the "Smash Bros." series that began in 1999.

Do you have childhood memories of having G.I. Joe fight Luke Skywalker, or throwing Superman into battle against the Bionic Man?

Nintendo is giving its fans a similar feeling this week with "Super Smash Bros. Brawl", a fighting game for its Wii console that pits dozens of its cherished characters against each other in frenetic free-for-alls.

Fans have waited more than six years for "Brawl", the third in the "Smash Bros." series that began in 1999 and has been the only place where Mario can hurt Pikachu.

"This game is the only time Nintendo worlds are allowed to collide," said Nate Bihldorff, a localization producer for the U.S. version of the game.

"They actually came up with a really elegant solution to how those universes intersect. Imagine a kid playing with all his toys, and visualize the different action figures crashing together," Bihldorff said.

The game has vaulted to the top of the charts, garnering a score of 96 on Metacritic, which collates reviews from dozens of Web sites and publications.

At its core, "Brawl" is a fast-paced action game that rewards quick reflexes but does not demand memorizing complicated attack sequences as found in more sophisticated fighters like "Virtua Fighter".

"They brought together all these classic iconic characters that so many gamers hold so dear. They mix that with a really fun, easy-playing game that's easy for anyone to get into," said Greg Ford, managing editor of gaming magazine EGM.

"It's one of those games where you'll play a lot at first, and when you have friends over and put it in, you'll probably get sucked in for hours. It's a really good value.

"Brawl" is also Nintendo's opening salvo in a three-game barrage the Japanese company is counting on to sustain sales momentum of the wildly popular Wii.

"We'll have a good supply of Wii systems to support the 'Smash' launch. We're expecting system sales to continue to be brisk, especially with 'Smash' in the market," Nintendo of America spokesman Marc Franklin said in an e-mail.

Next month sees the debut of racing title "Mario Kart Wii" and May will mark the release of "Wii Fit", a physical exercise program that uses a pressure-sensing board as a controller.

Those games are partly aimed at drawing in new customers who normally wouldn't bother playing games, but "Brawl" is squarely targeted at those who plainly know the difference between Pokemon and Pikmin.

"'Smash' will thrill core gamers," Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime

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