The fighting game genre is arguably the best genre of gaming for multiplayer. If you were a gamer growing up, and you and your friends got into an argument, wanted to settle a score, or just wanted to have a good time beating the crap out of each other, more often than not, you’d settle it in a fighting game. Fighting games have been around for a long time, with many different classics being made over the years. One of the most famous fighting game series started in 1999, with Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo 64. Super Smash Bros. is a fighting game that stars Nintendo’s most famous characters. This game was a smash hit, pun intended. For the first time ever in gaming, you could beat up Samus from the Metroid series with Link from the Legend Of Zelda series. You could team up Ness from EarthBound and Fox from Star Fox and have them take on the Mario Bros. in a team battle. There have been four other Super Smash Bros. games released since this title, but how has the original held up?
The gameplay of the Super Smash Bros. franchise has remained the same throughout the entire series, with physics and speed changed slightly in each game. There are two main game modes, single player and multiplayer. In single player the player fights each character and then the master hand, while in multiplayer you duke it out with your friends. The goal of the game is to attack your opponent enough until he is weak enough to get thrown off the stage, defeating him. At the bottom of the screen are icons representing the characters, small pictures of their heads, resembling their life count, and a percentage. When hit, the percentage goes up, meaning they will be knocked back more. This means the more they are hit, the further they’ll be knocked back, essentially making a pseudo health bar. A character with 300% is more likely to be knocked off the stage than somebody with 40%. There are two main types of attacks, physical and special attacks. Physical attacks are your standard punches and kicks, while special attacks are usually the character’s signature items(Link’s Boomerang, Mario’s Fireballs, Samus’s Missiles), and maybe a physical attack that shoots the character upwards. This upward attack helps the character get back on the stage if they’re in danger of falling. There are also grapples, where you can grab and throw your counterpart across the stage. Finally, there are several different items that can be used in battle. There are several items that are signatures of the video game franchises represented by Super Smash Bros.(Kirby’s Star Rod, the Pokeball, the Bob-Omb), but there are also items created just for the game. The gameplay is pretty fluid, but has a few flaws. Throwing players is very powerful in this game, making it one of the easier ways to defeat your counterpart, but it’s a little too powerful. In the later games this is fixed. One of the other main problems is that there are only 12 characters to play as. These characters are Link from the Legend Of Zelda series, Samus from the Metroid series, Donkey Kong, the Mario Bros., Ness from the Mother series, Captain Falcon from the F-Zero series, Fox McCloud from the Star Fox series, Yoshi from the Mario series, Pikachu and Jigglypuff from Pokemon, and and Kirby from the Kirby’s Dreamland series. This is also fixed in the later games, but it’s easy to get bored of Super Smash Bros. after only a few hours unless you’re a competitive player. Speaking of competitive players, Super Smash Bros. is one of the most competitive fighting games of all time, with this game and the others still be played at tournaments today, with thousands of people watching. It’s truly amazing how one game series can be so popular, but the Smash Bros. series deserves it. With a few very small hiccups aside, the gameplay of Super Smash Bros. has aged well.
The graphics of Super Smash Bros. don’t look amazing, but are passable for the time. Like most N64 games, the character models are jaggy, but that’s to be expected. The stage designs all look very nice, however, with Mushroom Kingdom, Kongo Jungle, and Saffron City standing out as my favorites. I’ll give the graphics a pass, since besides the character models, while nothing special, they don’t look bad.
The controls of Super Smash Bros. were briefly mentioned beforehand, but I’ll go over them in more detail. The controls are fine for the most part. Each player has six main physical attacks, and three special attacks. When tilting the analog stick in a certain direction, either sideways, up, down, or not tilting at all, and then pressing the A or B button, a different physical or special attack is used. When tilting and pressing A at the same time, you can do a more powerful physical attack, which is usually the type of attack used to deal the final blow to your counterpart. The controls of Super Smash Bros. are solid, but can sometimes feel a bit clunky. This is also fixed later on, but it’s very easy to get used to them here. The controls of Super Smash Bros are very solid.
The music of Super Smash Bros. is fantastic. Each stage has its own unique theme, and the soundtrack of the game is beloved by many gamers. Almost every track in the game has either been remixed or ported to the later games in the series, and for good reason. I have no qualms with the soundtrack at all, and still enjoy hearing it today.
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 64 was a great attempt at creating a unique fighting game, and is still very popular today. The game sold very well when it was first released, and is by no means a rare game, but still fetches high prices at conventions and in online auctions. With great gameplay and music, and with passable controls and graphics, Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo 64 has aged very well.