DAR Games: Super Smash Bros. Series

By @Peagle05

We’re 3 weeks out from the release of one of the biggest games of the year in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for Nintendo Switch. While the rest of the world (read: me when I get a chance to) has been throwing all sorts of music to the new trailer, I wanted to take the time to not only preview the new game, but look back at how we got here with a series that probably never should have worked.

*Super Smash Bros. (N64)

-The OG, the game with the incredibly classic commercial with guys in costumes of the various Nintendo characters beating the crap out of each other, this was the beginning. Oddly enough, looking back at the game, it’s amazing that there’s been such longevity in the series considering that the formula by and large has been left unchanged. I mean this was a Japan only release initially. The game did so well, Nintendo almost had no choice but to give it a shot all over the world. Yeah, the moment to moment fighting has changed over the years with the advent of the competitive scene, counting frames and other strategies, but the overall package? It’s single player, multiplayer, and time trial like events and side games. I mean I remember sinking HOURS into Break The Targets and trying to get the angle and timing just right on Link’s boomerang throw. Thankfully there were only 12 characters in the game. 8 to start and the last four were unlockable through different means. And I remember vividly being introduced to Samus through this game. (I was only 8 when it dropped in America) but I truly believe you can trace the respective resurgences of not only the Metroid franchise, but the Star Fox franchise to this game. Because of that, the OG SSB may not be the best of the series, but it can be argued that it is the most important.

*Super Smash Bros. Melee (GameCube)

-This is the one that brought SSB to the top of the world. The best selling game on the GameCube and one of the best games on this system and of that generation, Melee changed the way the game was played competitively. It was no longer JUST a party game, people really got after it and it opened up a whole new level of play for this style of game. The series was already different for how it approached fighting games, where the goal essentially was to get a ring out by increasing a damage counter rather than depleting a damage bar, but now there was strategy to it, along with shielding and dodging becoming much more viable techniques and made matches much more visually impressive. The level design begged its most hardcore players to learn every ledge, every platform just to get the slightest advantage and the increase in characters from 12 to 26, allowed for a greater range of play styles. Melee was also iconic for a different reason, thanks to the folks at Electronic Gaming Monthly (easily my favorite gaming mag of my childhood, I miss the mag days. SHOE THE GAWD), as they made the April Fools Joke in gaming even bigger with a section in their April issue that said that Sonic and Tails could be unlocked in the game by getting 20 KOs in the Cruel Melee mode AND beating Sonic and Tails when they appear. Now for those of you that don’t know, Cruel Melee was by far the TOUGHEST challenge in the entire game. It was wave after wave of wireframe characters with incredible strength, they could take you out with 1-2 hits. The playing field was relatively evened by making them easy to knock out as well, but it was a lot. A. LOT. I can’t tell you how many hours I sunk into that mode trying to unlock that damn hedgehog and fox. All I know is Donkey Kong was the best character to do it with and I’d slap the middle of the stage and hope for the best. I’ve never reached 20 KOs to this day, but best believe there will come a day where I do. But that joke paved the way for more elaborate April Fools jokes like IGN’s incredible Zelda movie trailer. So given what the game has done in the competitive scene in addition to gaming culture, I’d personally say it’s the most important of the series.

*Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii)

-Brawl is kind of the red headed stepchild of the series. A lot of people (read: comp players) didn’t like the tweaks made to the fighting system and some reviewers were beginning to wonder if the series had started to become too stagnant. It was still a top seller and well reviewed, but it was apparent that the game was getting by on reputation and that good old Nintendo name. I’d love to say how much I loved the game but truthfully, I don’t even remember much about playing it outside of the single player mode cutscenes and Sonic finally being added. It wasn’t a bad game at all, hell it was great, but the Wii just wasn’t the right console for this game, at least not based on how Nintendo was approaching the Wii at that time.

*Super Smash Bros. for Wii U/3DS

-Yeah, that was the title. It was an attempt to find a middle ground for the series between Melee’s faster pace and Brawl’s slower pace. And truthfully, it worked. It really did. It sold 5 million copies on the Wii U. The game was great, it gave us Final Smashes, which changed the way multiplayer was run completely. I’ll never be able to go back to a day where I don’t see that ball and everyone on the stage immediately goes after it, it’s beautiful chaos. The Wii U survived the standard 5 year console cycle and I gotta believe this game was the main reason for it because it felt like the system just went away when it was time to go away, which is sad because I feel like SSB found its balance with this game, it just wasn’t enough to overcome Nintendo’s fumbling of the system itself. The 3DS version was what we had asked for since the original DS came out and we saw that at minimum, we could get N64 quality graphics on a handheld. It just took forever to get Smash Bros on a handheld. It was the same game essentially, though it had a couple different modes and the graphical style was changed to help visibility, but overall, it was a very solid version of the game.

*Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (Switch)

-So now here we are at the present, with a new and what I’d have to believe last Smash Bros. game. I mean where do you go after “Ultimate”? The game packs EVERY character in the series’ history with even more new characters packed in plus DLC. It boasts a new “Adventure Mode” style single player mode titled World of Light. I fully expect this to be the quintessential Smash Bros game and the one that challenges Melee for the top spot. I think this is the right time and the right system for this franchise to really make its mark on gaming all over again when it releases on December 7th. Besides, It’s almost Black Friday...no better time to pick up your Switch, find me online and catch this fade. Link and I will be waiting.



Popular Posts