Super Smash Bros. Review
Remember that awesome Super Smash Bros. TV commercial where Mario trips Yoshi? That moment alone was enough to convince me to try this game. So, the next time I was at the video rental store, I just had to grab Super Smash Bros. I took the game home, plopped it into my Nintendo 64, and got lost in one of the most fun, and addictive games I’ve ever played – keep in mind, I haven’t discovered my love for Tetris yet. That same month, I ventured out and purchased a copy for my collection.
As a concept, putting a bunch of Nintendo’s marquee mascots in a brawling environment is pure brilliance; however, there isn’t much of a story to support this crossover. The only reason you are given actually happens before the title screen appears. Master Hand picks two characters from a kid’s toy bin, creates a battle arena, and then makes them fight. Eight of Nintendo’s most famous characters star in this game: Mario, Pikachu, Link, Yoshi, Donkey Kong, Samus, Fox, and Kirby.
Not only does the appeal for a game like Super Smash Bros. originate from its use of Nintendo characters, but also in its simplicity. It’s definitely not a traditional fighter by any means; Nintendo and Hal stripped Super Smash Bros. down to just two major attack buttons. Also, instead of giving characters a health meter, the objective is to damage you opponent until they are weak enough to be launched from the stage.
The A button is used for standard attacks, and can be matched with any direction to create a basic attack. The B button, however, is used for special attacks, of which each character has three unique moves. You can perform special attacks by pressing B, B+Up, and B+Down. Of course, these special moves are largely based on moves and power-ups from the characters’ respective games. However, there are still smash attacks, grab attacks, and air attacks at your disposal.
Smash attacks are activated by literally “smashing” the analog stick in any direction, in combination with the A button. These moves are devastating and serve as a means to smash your opponent out of the arena; grabbing and throwing your opponent can also be useful for launching them into orbit. Of course, there are also air attacks, grabbing the ledge, and dodging techniques, but I won’t be covering every nuance in this review.
Super Smash Bros. is definitely a dream title for Nintendo fans, because it is fan service at its finest. Speaking of fan service, there are stages based on the Mushroom Kingdom, Donkey Kong Country, Dream Land, Hyrule, etc. These stages all have unique obstacles, and playing on them all is part of the Super Smash Bros. experience. Super Smash Bros. supports up to four players, so the stages can feel crowded, and mayhem usually ensues. Adding to the mayhem are item drops, featuring a variety of items from major Nintendo franchises. Pick up a Super Star and gain invincibility, grab a Bob-omb and launch it before it explodes in your hands, or throw a Poké Ball to summon one of many Pokémon programmed into the game. It’s fast and chaotic, which ultimately spells fun for everyone.
There aren’t many modes in Super Smash Bros., though this is something that is remedied in future iterations. The main mode is simply called the 1P Game, which is an arcade style tournament that challenges you to beat every character, including Master Hand. VS Mode is where the four player mayhem begins. You can choose your rules in this mode, which can be either stock or timed matches, or team variations of those same rules. This is largely considered the main draw for Super Smash Bros., and I have to agree. Countless nights were spent enjoying this game, alongside GoldenEye 007, of course.
It’s hard to criticize a game’s graphics from 1999, but Super Smash Bros. holds up quite well thanks to intelligent design. With that being said, the characters are noticeably blocky, and there are a few instances of cardboard cutouts, which looked weird then, and even weirder now. Sound wise, Super Smash Bros. knocks it out of the park by bringing popular theme songs from each respective franchise.
5/5 D-Pads: Super Smash Bros. isn’t just a great game, it’s a masterpiece. It has a fun 1-player arcade mode, and an absolutely brilliant VS Mode that supports four players. Super Smash Bros. also has extreme replay value, mostly because of its VS Mode, but there is a small list of unlockables, including four awesome Nintendo characters. If you have a Nintendo 64, you owe it to yourself to add this game to your collection, if only for weekend drinking sessions.