For many, the release of Nintendo’s latest blockbuster game Super Smash Bros.
Brawl on March 9 was the perfect end to Spring Break. Chester Kwan looks
back at the Smash Bros. brand from its first launch over eight years ago.
The Initial Smash
With the release of the first Super Smash Bros., I was skeptical yet intrigued
as an avid fighting game fan back in the day. It featured basic
four-player bouts determined by knocking your opponents out of the arena
rather than knocking them out cold. Graphically, it was on par with other
games on the system, but that didn’t stop the game thanks to its charm
and ideal of letting fans live out their dreams of finding out whether Mario
or Link was the better character. Little did I know that this game laid the
foundations for what would become one of the most acclaimed multiplayer
game series in its generation.
In typical Nintendo fashion, every console should have their own Mario,
Zelda, Strikers and, well, the list goes on. Obviously, the next installment
coming to the GameCube system was Super Smash Bros. Melee, bringing
with it a host of additional features that knocked the original Smash Bros.
out with 999% damage. This installment featured a true single player
mode where you chose a fighter and ventured around stages based on
various Nintendo worlds.
It also featured a host of extras such as various histories of Nintendo
in the form of “trophies.” A staple in most home conversions of fighting
games, it also offered challenges where you
may have had to run from one end of the stage
to the other, or fight an über-powerful opponent
with a severe handicap. Other features included
Homerun Brawl (where you tried to knock a giant
sandbag as far as you can) and Multi-Man
Melee (where you fought up to a hundred opponents
with only one life).
It’s A Brawler!
Knowing the insane popularity of the series,
and the phrase ‘third time’s the charm,’ Nintendo
pulled no punches for the latest Super
Smash Bros. Brawl. Metal Gear Solid series Game
designer Hideo Kojima begged to have Solid
Snake included, despite knowing that Smash is
meant as a Nintendo-only game. Smashbros.com revealed that Sonic the Hedgehog had been
invited, maybe giving closure for Nintendo and
Sega fanboys from the NES and Genesis era as
to who is the better character. The list of composers
include many veterans who composed
music for other games, including the man behind
the famed Final Fantasy theme song.
The Adventure Mode has been blown up into
its own little epic known as The Subspace Emissary.
The overall feel of this mode is akin to the
classic beat-‘em-up brawlers such as Final Fight
or Streets of Rage. Since this is a relatively plot-heavy
feature, you are limited to only characters
who appear in the various chapters. There is also a King of Fighters
feel to the game, because in some segments, you have no need to select
your characters. You can simply put them in the order you want to use
them in the event that one of them is knocked out.
A little has been taken out of Brawl, such as a few characters and stages,
but overall, you gain a lot. You even have the option of taking pictures
and posting them on the in-game Bulletin Board. There is also a simple
program floating around the Internet that can convert the pictures you
took in Brawl into JPEG image files, allowing the gamer to show off interesting
shots taken in the game.
The major elements added to the game are the “Final Smash,” Super
Combo or Desperation Move, as well as the Assist Trophies (which are
like Pokéballs, but with other Nintendo characters like Punch Out’s Little
Mac). Control-wise, Brawl is one of the few games which does not use the
Wii sensor bar, so it plays very traditionally. There are also four different
control types: the Wiimote (either alone or with an attachment), the Classic
Controller, or the GameCube controller, all of which work very well.
Other elements include online play and a stage creator.
Overall, is the game good? I can simply say this: it’s Smash and it’s fun.
The basic formula and gameplay is consistent throughout the series, so
newcomers can pick it up easily. It’s the best one in the series, as long as
one of your favorite Melee characters wasn’t excluded.