|ESRB Rating: Everyone
Surprisingly, its not fighting or platform game fans that will feel most at home with Super Smash Brothers.
Instead, it's Bomberman fans who will appreciate this rambunctious cart the most (with its
lively multiplayer battles). The lack of depth will hurt older gamers the most, but 'party'
modes will attract groups of players for mindless fun and the cute, non-threatening style is
sure to please younger gamers. All in all, Super Smash Brothers is like Miller Lite, "tastes great, less
Stubborn as they are, Nintendo just would not deliver the hardcore fighter that fans
of the genre demanded for the Nintendo 64. They fell back to their corporate policy of
making games that were fun to play for the entire family. Instead of a hardcore brawler,
Nintendo produced a hybrid. A game that plays as much like a platform title as it does a
fighting game. The mixing of genres was not the only risk taken with the game. Nintendo
avoided using the generic cast of muscle-bound men and women or mutants and animals and
instead went in a totally different direction. In Super Smash Brothers, you get to
control any of your favorite mascots from the Nintendo game library. The object of the
game is simple: pummel your opponents and knock them off the stage until you're the only
Visually and aurally, Super Smash Brothers is very well done. All the requisite squeals and catch phrases
we associate with each mascot are here; from Mario's "Hoo Hoo!" to the strangely serene
lullaby of Jiggly Puff. The music, generally from game levels of our favorite oldies, is
catchy and offers a welcome sense of nostalgia. Stages are simply designed and detailed;
certainly recognized from their respective games, they lack the flash and depth that would
really make them stand out. The fighters themselves are rendered with a very low polygon
count, giving them a primitive, angular look. This could be a turn-off to some players,
but after you start playing, youll quickly realize that none of that matters.
From the start of the game until the end, everyone gets hit hard and often. It's normal
to be taking on more than one character at a time so youll have to have quick reflexes and
fighters that respond quickly. The creators obviously had this in mind because it shows in
the attention paid to the control of the characters. Even during the most furious exchanges,
punches, kicks, spin attacks, or you name it are executed without any lag. Control is pretty
intuitive with most moves (consisting of one or two-button combinations). This makes it easier
to get into the game and really speeds things up. It's amazing how fast everything is and it
should be noted that it wouldn't have been possible if the game was endowed with more complex
graphics and sound.
Super Smash Brothers, however, is not without its faults. At no point during a game should you have to stop
the action to ask the following: " Am I winning?" or "Am I still in the game?" Characters are
constantly flying off-screen and even though the game zooms out to keep all the characters
on-screen, it's not always enough. Sometimes you are off-screen and not sure if you've been
knocked off the stage or are just standing off in a corner where you can't be seen. The other
problem is the scoring system. During such fast-paced action, if someone wants to check his
status, a simple and obvious scoring system is crucially necessary. It's ridiculous that
the number of times you and your opponents are thrown off-stage are not tallied for you and
on-screen so you to see. To check on your health, you must look to the bottom of the screen and
decipher a percentage score; meanwhile the action continues
and you stand to lose serious ground while doing so. In fact you have no real idea how you
fared until the very end when the winner is declared.
Super Smash Brothers was a great idea by Nintendo that has obvious appeal. Who wouldn't want
to see Samus battle Mario or Link take on Kirby? Pitting marketable properties against each
other is not new, but the way Nintendo went about it is certainly fresh. Super Smash Brothers is the first
multiplayer fighting game on the market that allows all the fighters and the action -- no matter how
hectic -- to be remain on screen at once. And yes, the fast pace sheds light on some of the flaws inherent
when dealing with this type of a game. It's very plausible that you will lose your character's
whereabouts in the inevitable pileup of mascots. There is little in the way of strategy and the
single player mode is pretty boring. And yet I still enjoyed the game. Why? Because once a buddy or
two or three show up and the trash talking begins, the flaws become less apparent. It'll never be
confused with Street Fighter or Tekken, but then again it was never meant to.
Nevertheless, its the most original fighting game on the market and possibly the best multiplayer
game on any system.
- Published July 5, 1999
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