For those of you who don’t know, Super Smash Bros. is a fighting/party game series published by Nintendo, in which the likes of Mario, Pikachu, Link, Kirby, and many of Nintendo’s other intellectual properties get the opportunity to engage in fierce, and at times comical, battles. However, this isn’t your typical fighting game.
No. 1: The Mechanics
Whether you’re a veteran competitive Melee player, or just casually played Brawl on your friend’s Wii that one time, one thing remains constant across all the Smash games; characters don’t have health bars, but instead can get knocked off of the screen. Your goal is to knock the other player off screen. For a fighting game, this single detail changes the way players must approach the combat. Now, instead of being confined between two walls, characters have as much freedom in the vertical space as they do the horizontal, leading to bouts that are as much about knocking your foe away as they are about fighting against the forces that compel you to move off screen. In short, there is a different form of complexity added to the game-play when one must avoid being knocked down or away.
No. 2: The Variety and Characters
The Smash Bros. series sets itself apart from other fighting games, not only with its mechanics, but also providing the player with a number of various ways in which to play the game. You can make it extremely chaotic with wild items and stages, with up to eight people on the Wii U game, Smash 4. Alternatively, if you’d like the game to be more skill based, you can opt to instead have one V one matches where it comes down to each player’s understanding and execution of their character. Beyond the versus modes, there is also a fair amount of single player content in each Smash game, like the event matches which place the player in precarious battles with unique win conditions. If you’d rather see how far you can hit a sandbag with a baseball bat though, you can do that too. There is really a way to play the game for players of any demographic and skill level to enjoy.
Moreover, the character roster gets more expansive with each new game, even extending to other companies, Like Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog, or Namco’s PAC-MAN. It’s always exiting to see so much of the characters’ personalities shine through their movements and gestures, like in the facial expressions of King Dedede for instance. As opposed to just being models rigged to move in a certain way, the characters in these games really do feel like they have a life to them. It’s difficult not to appreciate all the effort that goes into making each character be representative of the games they come from. There are the obvious things like Mario and Luigi’s jumping prowess, or a Pokémon’s attack moves, but also more specific references, like how each move in Mega Man’s move set comes from a specific robot master in one of the Mega Man games. All in all, the sheer attention to detail that these games have is certainly something to be applauded.
No. 3: The Stages and Music
If the absolutely huge roster of fighters isn’t enough to capture your attention, there are an even greater number of stages that have appeared throughout the Smash Bros. games on which the battles take place. From the simple and viable arrangements of platforms, to crazy and hectic environments, some that even scroll or host boss characters, these games are home to enough stages to compliment the variety in its game modes. And for the most part, they are actual locations from across Nintendo’s vast library of games. Being able to jump from the Mushroom Kingdom to a Pokémon Stadium, and then visit the land of Hyrule, is just another one of the aspects of Smash Bros. that really pleases fans both young and old. If you can think of a popular Nintendo game from the past 30 years, chances are it gets represented here in some way, shape, or form. And competitive players needn’t fear. Every stage in Smash 4 has an “Omega” variant which boils it down to a single platform, while maintaining its aesthetic and music; this way, much more of the game’s content can be taken in.
Speaking of music, each stage also functions as a collection of soundtracks from the game it’s based on, meaning that there is an absolutely massive amount of music to enjoy, in the form of both original soundtracks and remixes. How many songs are there you ask? Well, Smash 4 has a whopping total of 437 songs, not counting those on the DLC stages. If you were to package this entire soundtrack onto one disc and sell it, the resulting music CD would be more expensive than the game itself!
You can find out much more about the competitive side to Smash Bros., and other fighting games as well, by visiting Vanier’s very own Videogame Club, which will be opening very soon. If you enjoy videogames, you should consider stopping by.
Written By: BeNjamyn Upshaw-Ruffner