Thursday, November 6, 2014

Super Smash Bros Retrospective

15 days. It's just 15 days until one of the most anticipated games of the year is released. Yes, people may fall in love with Farcry 4 or Dragon Age: Inqusition but for my money, I'll be spending all of my time playing the new Smash Bros. Super Smash Bros. is a series that has existed for 15 years and with only three games under its belt, it has become one of the most popular and successful fighting game franchises of all time. So in these 15 days, I'm going to look back at every game in the series leading up to my review of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. And don't worry, I'll count the 3DS version in my review since they're pretty much the same game. Let's get this hype train rolling!!!

The original Super Smash Bros. was unlike any other game released at the time. The Nintendo 64 really didn't have fighting games, with most fighting games appearing on the Playstation. Even then, the 5th generation of consoles only really contributed the Tekken series to the genre. Fighting games really fell at the wayside for about a good five years, but Smash really took things up a notch so to speak.

This was the first time a major franchise was created for the sole purpose of being a cross over. Never before was there a game where you can have Mario, Link, Pikachu, and Kirby all beat the crap out of each other. A concept like that blew gamers minds! Not only that, but the series introduced people to other franchsies that no one ever heard of. Back when I was a kid, I never heard of Samus, Fox, Captain Falcon, or Ness. I just knew your standard Nintendo characters. But this game allowed for the best of Nintendo to duke it out to the death.

But how exactly do you play Smash? Well, you choose one of 12 characters (Luigi, Jigglypuff, Ness, and Captain Falcon need to be unlocked), and you can do one of two things with them. You can either play a solo game where you go through a setlist of fighters and challenges, or you can play multiplayer with your friends. The Nintendo 64 was designed with multiplayer in mind, so this game wanted to bring home a sense of frantic fun you can enjoy with your friends.

Once your character is chosen, you get placed on a 2D stage where you can run, jump, and dodge your enemy attacks. You can do light attacks with the A button, heavy attacks with the B button, and you can change the move depending on which direction the joystick is facing. The goal is simply to kill your enemies by knocking them off the stage. The more damage they take, the easier it is for them to go flying.

If we're looking at the original Smash Bros. from a modern perspective, it's pretty barren and doesn't have much features. It's really easy to unlock characters and even easier to beat the campaign. The campaign will take you MAYBE half an hour to beat, though the various difficulty settings make things a bit more interesting. There's also a target challenge designed for each character as well as a platform mode where you have to land on every platform to win. Besides that, there wasn't much for anyone to do in the game. So why then do I still go back to play it all of the time?

Personally, I think it's because it is the simplest and easiest game in the series to pick up and play. The later entries are incredibly chaotic and strategies are easy to form which makes it easier to beat up new players. In the original game, while you could make some pretty tricky strategies, everyone was on equal footing. There were no smash balls, few stage hazards, and most moves were simple enough so that the only real choice you had was trying to figure out character weights, sizes, and jumping capabilities. It came down to the technical aspects that made every character feel balanced. There was not a single over powered character in the bunch, but at the same time, there was no single characters that would dominate every match. It came down to some skill, but it never complicated the formula besides that.

That's why I still bring out Super Smash Bros. for fun. It's simple enough that anyone can pick up and enjoy it, but complex enough so experts can get some decent mileage out of it. But it wouldn't be until the next game in the series, Melee, for the series to create its own unique identity.

Join us in 5 days when we talk about Super Smash Bros. Melee!

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