Classic N64 Review: Super Smash Bros.

Smash Bros At E3 2006 this year, Nintendo dropped a bombshell that really wasn’t unexpected (in fact it had been mentioned before). They would be creating a brand-new Super Smash Bros. game for the Nintendo Wii.

What was unexpected was that they didn’t reveal the game at their pre-E3 press conference, and that the game itself included a HUGE surprise . . . Solid Snake of Metal Gear fame would be a playable character (along with a host of others Nintendo characters, including much-requested Pit of Kid Icarus fame). Once again, the world is extremely excited and overtaken with anticipation for the 2007 release in one of Nintendo’s absolutely juggernaut franchises.

And that juggernaut all started with a little Nintendo 64 cart released in 1999. That game was the original Super Smash Bros., the first game ever to pit Nintendo’s biggest stars against each other in an extremely fun and crazy party game that won-over the hearts and minds of anyone who layed their hands upon it. But how does that game fare in this day and age, on the dawn of the newest game in the series, in a time when online play is the norm and options aplenty are expected?

N64 SmashFor the answer to that question and much more information on the original game, read my full review. And keep your eye out for information on the newest game, Super Smash Bros. Brawl (the trailer is viewable at the end), as we edge ever closer to it’s release. But for the moment, it’s time to dive into the world of N64 Smash!

Super Smash Bros. (Super Smash Brothers)
System: Nintendo 64
Also Available On: None (Wii for download highly propable)
Genre: Side-Scrolling Brawler (fighting)
Released: 1999
Players: 1 to 4 simoultaneous
Save: Cartridge, saves automatically
Developer: Hal Labs (creator of Kirby)
Publisher: Nintendo
Origin: Japan

Title Screen
Super Smash Bros. is a hectic four-player brawler for the Nintendo 64. Viewed from a side-perspective, it’s the closest thing to a fighting game that Nintendo has ever released (excluding the game’s sequel of course, Super Smash Bros. Melee on the GameCube), the game takes all of Nintendo’s most popular franchise characters and plops them into a brawl-fest extravaganza that begs to be played by anyone who owns a Nintendo 64. By the end of the Nintendo 64’s life-cycle, the game had gone on to become one of the best-selling games in the N64 library (selling over 5.55 million copies worldwide) and had kick-started a great new franchise for Nintendo. Smash Bros. had became THE reason to own a Nintendo 64 according to many people, not to mention the life of any party it was featured in.

Pikachu Lightning BoltIn the game you select from one of a multitude of classic Nintendo characters. Your choices include Mario, Donkey Kong, Link (Legend of Zelda series), Samus (Metroid series), Yoshi, Kirby, Fox (Starfox series), and Pikachu (Pokemon series), as well as four hidden characters you can unlock by fulfilling certain conditions. You then select from several Nintendo themed stages.

The goal of each battle is to rack up the other player’s percentage, shown on the bottom of the screen, and then knock them clear off of the stage. The higher a player’s percentage, the further they will fly when being hit. Since the goal is to be the last player standing or the one with the most kills in the end, much of your time with Smash is concentrated on keeping yourself from being knocked off the stage (which can happen either by falling off the platform, or being knocked so hard you hit the edges of the screen). And when you are knocked into the air, players are left frantically doing everything in their power to get back to safety and solid ground (if they are close enough to the edge their character will grab it automatically). This often results in hilarity as players go to and fro trying to knock each other out and in return making amazing “come backs” by using their moves wisely to get back onto the stage.

Every character has a bunch of moves unique to them (from Kirby’s Copy ability to Yoshi’s Egg Throwing to Samus’ Charge Beam), including moves that are designed to help the character get back onto the stage once they are flown asunder (i.e. knocked off the platform).

Donkey Kong & SamusThese moves are extremely easy to perform, and Super Smash Bros. is really designed so that anyone can play the game. You perform special moves with the B Button, and regular attacks with the A Button. Up B, Down B, and B on it’s own will each perform a different special attack. For example, with Link, Up B makes him swirl around with his sword, hitting anyone in the vicinity (known as the Spin Attack in the Zelda games), Down B takes out a Bomb that can be tossed and B will hurl Link’s Boomerang, which flies in whatever direction you throw it and then comes back to you. The Up+B move is generally the move that will help that character get back on stage.

There really isn’t a lot of technique or skill to the moves in Smash Bros. It truly is a game that is accessible to pretty much everyone, there are no complex moves or combos to be remembered or memorized here (as in a traditional fighting game), since how you perform each characters move-set is the same. Each and every character can only perform three special moves, no less and no more. Although thankfully they are pretty much unique with each character.

Mario Bashes LinkThe crux of the gameplay and what differentiates a novice from a pro is learning how to time attacks and making sure you have a handle on the different moves that can be performed depending on whether you simply press, tilt or “tap” the control stick while hitting the A Button. When you “tap” the control stick (which means pressing it in that direction until it hits the side then letting go) it allows you to perform powerful “Smash” attacks which are moves designed to knock other players out of the arena, but outside of that there are many useful moves characters have by just using standard attacks and they will be different depending on the direction pressed, whether you are in the air or on the ground, and whether you press the button by itself or press the button while tilting the control stick. And knowing when, where and how to perform each of these moves is important, and something that will come in time the more you play the game and learn it’s intricacies.

Yoshi StageThe rest of the controls are just as simple. You can use any of the C-Buttons or up on the control stick to jump with any character, and most characters have a double-jump (there are a few exceptions. Yoshi can only jump once but he goes higher and further than most characters, Kirby floats, as you’d expect him to do, etc.). The Z Button or R Button will put a bubble around the character that acts as a shield. This will block attacks, though the shield can be broken if you hold it while another character hits you enough times. Once broken you will be stunned and unable to move for a short period, leaving you completely vulnerable to attack. The A button will pick up items, which you can drop by pressing R or throw by tapping the control stick in a direction and pressing R. And the start button allows you to pause the game, wherein you can zoom in and rotate the camera to get a better glimpse of the action. Finally, the L Button will taunt.

SliceEven though the game doesn’t initially seem to take much skill to play, there are some more advanced techniques available that you will want to learn and master. One of the most basic is rolling. You can do this by holding Z to bring up your shield and tapping the control stick left or right, this can be used to dodge attacks. Another advanced technique allows you to roll without taking damage from a fall. Do this by tapping Z just as you hit the ground after you’ve been hit by an attack.

Smash Bros. is chaotic and fun once you get four-players together who know how to play the game. The action really lights up though when you include items and level hazards into the mix. It’s oh-so-satisfying when you throw a bomb into a group of players and succeed in knocking all three of them out at the same time with one shot! Manage to do this with one of your moves and you can just imagine the boasting and “ooing & awwing” that goes on between players (as well as an in-game audience that will cheer, chant player names and make “ooo” and “ahh” sounds as players knock out others or make death-defying saves, etc.).

Many items are featured in the game and they range from clobbering items to throwing items, healing items, projectile items and power-ups.
A full list of the items will be featured below to give you a better idea of how the game works and what each item does.

Yoshi SwordContainers – Items will sometimes randomly drop out of the sky, but generally you will get them by breaking open one of these containers to reveal the items inside. Be warned that not all containers are created equal, sometimes it won’t be a container at all, but instead a bomb that will go off when the container is broken!

CrateCrate: A big crate that holds three items. Only Donkey Kong can carry this item. Can’t be thrown very far by most characters.

Barrel: Holds three items and rolls once thrown.
CapsuleCapsule: Holds only one item, makes a nice projectile item when thrown.

EggEgg: Similar to the capsule. This item generally comes onto the play field by the Pokemon Chancey who will throw them. Sometimes they will heal you, other times they will hold one item. Like the capsule it makes a good throwing item.

Clobbering Items – These are blunt items that you can use to, as it says, clobber your opponents. Most of these items are very useful and all of them can be thrown effectively, which is a very good strategy for knocking players out. Sometimes it’s better to throw the item than actually using it.

Beam SwordBeam Sword: Obviously inspired by Star Wars (in the Japanese version the sword even emits a humming sound), this is one of the best weapons. It has a long reach, which results in great throwing and an extremely damaging Smash attack.

Donkey Kong HammerHammer: It’s the Hammer made famous in the original arcade Donkey Kong! Once picked up you will start swinging it up and down automatically. You can only jump once while holding it and will fall straight down (meaning to your death if you happen to fall off the platform). An extremely cheap weapon that’s hard to defend against. Generally players will avoid anyone who picks up this weapon. The Hammer comes complete with the classic Donkey Kong ditty.

Home Run BatHome Run Bat: Taken from EarthBound, this is one of the best weapons. Besides making a great throwing weapon, if you do a smash attack with it the weapon can knock the player clear off the stage in one shot, no matter how high or low their percentage is.

Paper FanPaper Fan: An extremely weak yet effective weapon. It’s best use is that it can be swung quickly and will easily break shields. Although it can’t be thrown far, it’s wild when thrown and thus effective.

Projectile Items – As it says, these are items that shoot something out, allowing you to hit players who are further away. Generally a projectile will stretch across the entire screen when used (exception being the Fire Flower).

Ray GunRaygun: This gun contains a certain amount of shots that will run out once depleted. The Raygun is extremely useful as it’s shot will go across the entire screen. In addition, it can be used to juggle an opponent if your shots are timed right. Get it down and you can even juggle a player across the entire screen to their doom!

Fire FlowerFire Flower: The classic Super Mario Bros. power-up returns here and works much like Bowser’s fire attack in Super Mario 64. Once the item is picked up pressing A will release breaths of fire. The fire will slowly get smaller the more you continuously use it until it eventually runs out. Regardless, the item does a ton of damage if you can’t escape it’s burn.

Star RodStar Rod: This item from the Kirby series will hurl stars across the screen when the player does a Smash Attack. Outside that it also makes a damaging clobbering item and contains good throwing range.

Power-Ups – These items heal you or give you some other beneficial effect such as invincibility. Always race to pick these items up, you don’t want your opponents to get the benefit!

Maximum TomatoMaxim Tomato: This tomato will heal 100% percentage points off of your meter.

Heart ContainerHeart Container: This Legend of Zelda standby will completely heal you! Very helpful.

StarStar: This classic Super Mario Bros. item will make you invincible for a short period of time. Comes complete with the classic Mario ditty.

Throwing Items – As it says, these items are great for throwing. The land mine is a awesome item for laying traps. Keep in mind that thrown items will bounce off of certain walls in the environment.

Motion Sensor Bomb ArtMotion Sensor Bomb: This mine will stick to any surface you throw it at. Anyone who steps near will be blown away! Great for setting up traps and good, chaotic fun especially when combined with other weapons.

Bob-OmbBob-Omb: The classic Mario series enemy makes an appearence here as one of the best weapons in the game. The explosive power of Bob-Ombs is always fun and always deadly, although they can be deadly to you too if you do not get out of it’s blast radius (which goes for all explosives).

Bob-Omb ArtIf you don’t pick this weapon up in time it will get up and start walking around the stage until it eventually flashes and explodes.
BumperBumper: The bumper is an extremely fun weapon. Once thrown the item will lay wherever it lands, and any players that hit it will, naturally, be bumped off of it.

Bumper ArtGet several bumpers together in one area for some really chaotic fun! The higher a player’s percentage the further they will be bumped!

Red ShellRed Shell: This classic Super Mario Kart item will move across whatever platform it lands on, knocking any characters it comes into contact with into the air.

Green Shell ArtCan be very damaging and dangerous, avoid at all costs if it’s on a platform. It is weaker however than the Green Shell.

Green ShellGreen Shell: Also from Super Mario Kart, the Green Shell will only move in one direction wherever thrown, but does much more damage than the Red Shell if it makes contact with a player.

PokeballPokeball: Last, but definitely, definitely not least is the Pokeball. Thanks to the genius of Nintendos’ franchise characters, Pokemon make a significant contribution to Super Smash Bros. and are embedded in every aspect of the game.

Pikachu strikesPikachu is a playable character, obviously one of Nintendo’s biggest stars, and there is naturally a Pokemon stage as well, which features random Pokemon that will come out of a door to attack you. But the biggest contribution to Super Smash Bros. from the Pokemon series is most definitely the Pokeball as an item. In the Pokemon games the Pokeball is used to capture Pokemon, and in Smash Bros. it likewise will release random Pokemon when a Pokeball is thrown onto a flat surface, where they will pop-up and proceed to attack or do whatever special move they are famous for. The Pokemon attacks are all very cool and most of them are extremely damaging.

There are many Pokemon in the game, and below is each one and what attack it does when used. Naturally, when a Pokeball is released onto the play field, every player will scramble to get their hands on it, knowing that it has the potential to do some major damage and possibly turn the tide of battle in their favor. More than one Pokeball can be on the stage at once, and when that happens LOOK OUT, some majorly chaotic action is about to take place! Run for cover!

SnorlaxSnorlax: One of the best Pokemon, Snorlax will fly into the sky, then come back down 3 times bigger than when he flew up, Body Slamming any player foolish enough to get in Snorlax’s path, knocking them away.

MeowthMeowth: Probably the least liked Pokemon in the game, Meowth will appear and do his Pay Day attack, which will shoot coins in four directions whilst he stays in place. Very easy to avoid.

StarmieStarmie: A great Pokemon though somewhat easy to avoid, Starmie will use his Swift attack, flying to the nearest player and shooting stars across the screen.

BlastoiseBlastoise: This Pokemon will appear and shoot heavy blasts, via his Hydropump attack, that can easily knock players off the stage. However, Blastoise himself will move back with each shot, often times leading to himself falling off a ledge. Regardless you don’t want to get in the way of his shots.

CharizardCharizard: Uses his Flamethrower attack, this awesome Pokemon will appear and blow fire in both directions, similar to the Fire Flower but much quicker.

ClefairyClefairy: This Pokemon will use it’s “Metronome” attack which mimics that of other Pokemon. So it will randomly do any of the attacks listed here on this page.

KoffingKoffing: Koffing will use Poison Gas which amounts to shooting puffs of smoke out from wherever he is positioned. The puffs don’t reach very far but if you do get caught they will juggle you for a while.

BeedrillBeedrill: Easily one of the best Pokemon you can get, Beedrill will fly across the screen, then come back bringing a host of other Beedrill who will continue to fly across the screen using their Pin Needle attack. Any player that gets hit by one of the Beedrill will get knocked straight up in the air. Extremely damaging and very dangerous for any player with a high percentage.

OnyxOnyx: This awesome Rock Snake Pokemon will fly up into the air from where he was released and proceed to do his Rock Fall attack, which, true to it’s name, will drop rocks from above, damaging any player’s below.

ChanceyChancey: This friendly Pokemon will appear and throw out eggs in both directions. Generally the eggs contain items, but sometimes they will heal you instead. And on rare occasion, the Eggs will sometimes hold explosives.

GoldeenGoldeen: This Pokemon is completely useless. Once released it will do it’s “Splash” move, which is just that, it will simply splash around like a fish out of water, which does no damage. Though it can fuel a player’s rage for getting such a useful Pokemon!

HitmonleeHitmonlee: Probably one of the best Pokemon you can get, Hitmonlee is true to his fighting type and will kick any player in his path with his High Jump Kick, for massive damage. For reasons unbeknownst to anyone, Hitmonless’s cry sounds suspiciously like that of “Psyduck” . . . why does he say Psyduck? Maybe Psyduck was originally supposed to be in the game? The world may never know. This Pokemon is hidden until you unlock all the secret characters. Once unlocked Mew will appear at random and is very rare. Unfortunately he will not do any attacks, but if you do manage to get him during the single player game he will add a few thousand points to your score.

There are several aspects of Super Smash Bros. that make the game unique (including it’s credits screen, which has the name’s of everyone on the team flying by, wherein you can shoot the name to select and read information about it in the top, pause the action or even press start to have it zoom by. They update this for Melee).

Credit ScreenIt’s style of play was very original for the time and even today it’s style of gameplay inspires other games that follow in it’s wake. And one of those reasons has to do with the items, they really mix up the battles and make it very fun. Thankfully, you’ll eventually unlock a feature that allows you to turn items on and off, and set the frequency. This can add some mad fun to the game. For example, you can set the only items to come on to be Pokeballs and Bob-Ombs, and set the Frequency to very high. You don’t know what chaos is until you get four-players battling each other with that set-up!

Hyrule Castle TornadoThe stages also do their part in making each battle unique. Each stage has it’s own layout, and every stage has a “level hazard”, whether it’s a tornado on the Hyrule Castle level (which will swing characters around and fling them up if they get caught in it), which will appear and disappear at different spots at random, or the rising acid on the Metroid level, it all succeeds in adding just that much more chaoticness to the action.

The most compelling part of Super Smash Bros. is obviously it’s four-player free-for-all mode, which lets four players battle it out or lets you set computer controlled opponents if there are not enough human players available.

Character SelectYou select characters by moving your corresponding “chip” (round icon with your player number on it) to a character and pressing the A Button. Pressing B will de-select a character, moving the “chip” back into your “hand”, wherein you can select a different character. You can switch between four different colored outfits by pressing the corresponding C Buttons (Up, down, left or right). Two players can’t be the same color. In the right corner of the player’s selected character field is the option to turn that “HMN” (human) player into a “CPU” (computer-controlled) player, which also allows you to select the CPU’s difficulty at the bottom. Along the top of the character select screen is an option to switch between “Free-for-All” and “Team” modes at the top left, and the middle bar lets you change the number of lives (stock) or if you are playing Time, change the time limit. On the top right is the back button.

Pikachu VictoryUnfortunately, the game doesn’t have too much in the way of options though. Included in the multiplayer are four-player free-for-alls, where every player is against each other, as well as Team Battle, where players are on teams. Both of these modes can be played in either Stock or Time. Stock gives each player “lives” (The number of lives that everyone starts out with can be changed from 1 to 99) , and when they are depleted then that player is out of the match. The remaining player left standing wins. After a match the stats for the match are shown on a victory results screen, which displays the KO’s (Knock-Outs) and TKO’s (Times Knocked Out), points awarded and the place of each player (1, 2, 3 or 4) with the winner doing a victory dance and the other players standing in the background clapping.

Screenshot Time is exactly that, you set a time limit, and when it’s up, the player with the most KO’s wins. Also included though is a team-mode. This allows players to be on teams, differentiated by color, where they share lives and/or score. Other options can be tweaked within the menu, such as friendly fire, handicap, level select and damage percentage (the lower the number the less characters will fly when being hit. Turn this all the way up for some chaotic fun).

Mode Select ScreenThere is also plenty of versus stat data available, found under VS Record in the Data option. Here you can view detailed battle data that includes very detailed specifics, down to specifics on each character, such as how many total KO’s, Self Destructs (killing themselves) and TKOs (Times the character was knocked out by other players) each character has, as well as win% (each characters share of total KO’s), total play time with that character, Use% (this particular character’s share of the total play time percentage), and Avg. (average number of opponents in vs. battles).

Samus FiresAlso kept are info on the characters overall ranking in comparison to others in the game (1st, 2nd, 3rd), the characters share of total play time, and that characters total damage they’ve given out, and total damage they’ve recieved. You can even view a chart that pits each character against each other and gives detailed statistics, these include the total share of KO’s between the two characters (win%), number of times the character has KO’d the other one (KOs), number of times the other character knocked off this one (KO’d), and Avg. (the average number of opponents in match with these characters).

These statistics lose some meaning however when you realize that names and profiles for players aren’t kept. Therefore the statistics are only totals and general specifics on the character, it doesn’t keep track of say how many times a certain player has KO’s a certain character (unlike in it’s sequel, Super Smash Bros. Melee, which has much more detailed statistics if you can believe it). However it is fun to look at these numbers and the detailed statistics are definitely welcome.

Stage Clear - Points AwardedUnfortunately, the game doesn’t have a whole lot going for it single-player-wise. The main mode of play for single-player has you battling in match after match to reach the Final Destination (where you will naturally face off against the game’s unique boss). At the end of each match you will be awarded (or punished) points depending on certain battle conditions. For example, you will be awarded points if you successfully hit a character each time you attack without missing (No Miss times the # of successive hits), you will lose points if you do the same move over and over again (Cheap Shot), and you will be rewarded for doing your taunt as the match ends (Taunt). There are many other conditions that will award you points, some quite obscure and it can be fun to discover new ones or try and get a certain condition that awards you highly (the name’s of the conditions you’ve met will be displayed on the screen so you can try and figure out what it was that gave it to you).

Giant Donkey KongDuring single-player you can select the difficulty level (very easy, easy, normal, hard and very hard) as well as the number of lives, between 1 and 5. Most of these matches have you facing off against the other characters in the game, such as Link, Samus and Fox. Others though pit you against a unique, altered character (such as “Giant Donkey Kong”) or a team of characters (Such as Yoshi Team, which has you facing off against easily beaten Yoshi’s of all colors, or Kirby Team, which has you fighting multiple Kirby’s each with the power of another character in the game). Most disappointingly however, once you beat the game your reward is simply an artistic picture of your character. The game really has no story to speak of though so it’s not completely unexpected.

Kirby ProfileThere is however a really cool gallery mode, for lack of a better term, under the Data option if you select Characters. Here you can read a profile of each and every character you unlock in the game, complete with an in-game character model on the left who will do random moves and actions, as well as details on popular appearences (games the character has appeared in), data on their special moves and overall background text on the character. These are fun to read and give you some insight into the famous Nintendo icons.

Mario & PikachuThankfully, the game has quite a bit to unlock (all of which can be cleared under Backup Clear in the Options menu, including specific achievements relating to unlocked characters [newcomers], high scores, saved bonus stage times, versus records, prize data and an option to erase all saved data), including a music test, some additional game options, a secret stage, and coolest of all, four additional characters. You unlock them by fulfilling certain requirements within the game (such as beating the game with any character on any difficulty), wherein you’ll have a match against that character, earning them to play as if you can manage to defeat them. These hidden options are also where the other two single-player modes come into play.

Race to the FinishDuring the main single-player portion of the game, in between battles, you will play three mini-games. The first one is “Board the Platforms“, the second is “Break the Targets” and third is “Race to the Finish“. Race to the finish simply has you trying to reach the finish line while avoiding hazards in the way that include other characters (in “polygon” form).

The first two mini-games though are also available in separate modes where you can play them freely with any characters you have unlocked. The record times are saved and the goal is to keep playing them to try and beat your best time. These games also factor in to unlocking secrets.

Board the PlatformsThe first mini-game, Board the Platforms, has you going through different maze-style environments, using the same side-scrolling perspective as the regular game. Various obstacles are in your way and the goal is, as the title says, to try to jump onto each platform in the stage. By pausing the game you can see a layout of the level, showing you where each platform is. However just cause you can see a platform doesn’t mean you’ll know how to get to it, and therein lies the fun. As well as playing them over again to beat your previous record times, and the times that other people may have set on the stages.

Just as fun, or maybe more so, is Break the Targets. The style of the game is similar to Board the Platforms, in that you make your way through a layout trying to break each target with one of your moves, and there are various moving platforms and other obstacles to make things more difficult, and causing you to try and figure out how to reach certain targets. The first time you play these games is especially fun since you have to figure out how to get each one. Break the Targets is neat cause you can use any of the characters moves to break the target, and therefore there are multiple ways to get each one, which means that trying different combinations will often times result in an improved record time.

Boom!Both of these mini-games are great fun and provide a lot of incentive to keep playing the game, not only to unlock the rest of the secrets, but also to beat your previous time and set hard-to-beat records for your friends to try. Unfortunately, unlike in the sequel to this game, there are no player profiles available, as well as no name-entry, so you won’t be able to tell who set the record. Certainly disappointing.

There is also a Training Mode available for the game under Single Player. This allows you to see the damage attacks give off, lets you keep track of combos and lets you mess around with speed settings for slow games or faster paced games. You can also set the status of the computer player (Stand, Walk, Evade, Jump or Attack) as well as make items appear. Obviously training is good for letting you learn the player’s moves and get a feel for how the game works.

BrawlingSo how does this game, released in 1999, hold-up nowadays? While the game is most definitely dated, particularly in the graphics department but also in the music department (the music is excellent, no doubt, but mainly because the majority of the level themes in the game are literally the tunes ripped straight from the game in the series. So how can you deny the Zelda theme or the Donkey Kong Country theme?), where the music is as basic as the original tunes (very few are updated), what hurts the game most is probably the graphics. The game is very, very simple and about as basic as you get. Link for example has very few facial details, and actually the viewpoint is such that you can rarely even see his face, much less the details (the camera is generally pulled further out than in), and once it does get in close it’s obvious how much detail the game lacks. Link’s character model for instance is much, much, much less detailed than in Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Having said that, the graphics don’t hamper gameplay at all in that sense, and once you start playing you won’t even notice, especially since the backgrounds and level details are generally better and moving animations in certain levels will keep you from focusing on the low poly count of the characters.

Smash Bros. does however contain LOADS of slowdown. Fortunately, the slowdown doesn’t seem to really hamper the gameplay as much as you’d think, actually it somewhat seems to actually make the game better! Particularly when there’s lots of explosions (which tend to slow the game down), the slowdown only seems to accentuate the “boom” factor and make the effects pack more punch. Actually, “punch”, for lack of a better term, is one area where this game seems to excel when compared to it’s sequel, Super Smash Bros. Melee. Quite simply, the sound effects seem to have more punch in this game, especially the explosions. They really sound punishing and huge, and like-wise other effects, such as a shot from the Raygun, are loud and overwhelming, making the weapon feel very powerful. And in that sense Melee almost seems subdued in comparison.

Pokemon StageAnd while we are on the subject of comparisons, there are many aspects of this game that will be noticeably different to anyone who has only played Super Smash Bros. Melee. First off, while the characters aren’t necessarily balanced as well as in Melee, in the original game many of the characters actually seem to be more useful. IMHO, characters like Ness and Kirby in particular seem to pack a lot more damage in this game than in Melee. Maybe you need more skill to actually hold your own with those characters in Melee, but I seem hard-pressed to find out where they actually improved the characters in Melee (these in particular) when compared to the original. In the original I can use every character just fine, whereas in Melee there are certain characters that seem to be at a major disadvantage. And that is one area where I think the original Smash excels. It is simply more accessible and it’s very easy to use any character in the game. Another disappointing spot is noticing how some moves have narrowly become completely ineffective in Melee. Links boomerang for example is very useful in the original. And overall it just feels like many characters lost their “luster” in Melee. Ness for example seems much better in this game, particularly his yo-yo moves.

The hilarious Super Smash Bros commercial!

It’s also disappointing to see how the explosions and other sound-effects were subdued in Melee, as well as the ineffectiveness of most Pokemon in Melee. In this game, Pokemon are very useful and seem to cause more damage (or players get hit by them more often). In Melee it’s almost rare to see players actually attacked by Pokemon, who are generally easily avoided. Particularly Snorlax seems nearly useless in Melee, wherein he is to be feared in the original.

PausedTurning the tables however, going from Melee to the original game will be very hard for people who never played it. Super Smash Bros. is simply SOO basic in comparison. Hardly any one-player options, very few vs. match options, and just a total lack of game modes and particularly, a huge lack in skill and technique. When you first go to play the original Smash after playing Melee, many things will strike you. You’ll find yourself trying to do in-air and ground dodges, and especially you’ll find yourself trying to charge up your attacks, which don’t exist in this original game. Moves just go . . . it’s a very strange feeling at first and might be hard to get used too. It’s amazing how simply taking away charge attacks changes the gameplay so much. In the original there is much less skill involved since timing attacks isn’t as prevalent since there is no delay (which happens when you charge) between attacks. It makes a ton of difference in how the game plays.

The bottom line is, if you have never played the original Melee and come into this original game without ever having played it, then you will most likely be disappointed and totally taken aback by the simplicity of it all. If you however got into the game with the right mind set, knowing how basic it is and the lack of options, etc. then you can still have a grand ol’ time.

Princess CastleThe game is in all honesty just as fun as Melee, the only problem is that it gets tiring twice as fast since there simply is not as much to see or to do as in Melee, and less skill involved. The extra punch that items, particularly explosions and Pokemon, have in this game adds a lot that will be noticeable going straight from Melee, and in many ways makes this original game more chaotic than it’s more defined and complex sequel, which to some players will mean it’s more fun. And don’t even think about getting this game if you do not have four people to play it with, as the single player is extremely lacking and unless you are a huge Smash Bros. fan then you won’t get much out of it.

Super Smash Bros. is a tremendously fun game. Though ideally it should mainly be played when you have four human players battling along. Despite the lack of options, there is enough here to satisfy your appetite for some hardcore Nintendo butt-kicking.

Graphics – 7.5
Very basic, very low-poly count characters, rough edges, major slowdown, crappy ending screen pictures (Thanks a lot Nintendo!) and not much detail to be found anywhere. Regardless, once you get battling you won’t even notice.

Music & Sound – 8.0
Classic Nintendo themes, for everyone from Mario to Pokemon to Metroid to Starfox . . . this line-up simply can’t be beat. How can you argue with a classic? So the music is great by default, outside of the classic medleys though, there isn’t much in the way of new music. The announcer voices and cheers can sometimes be, but the sound effects, especially the explosions, are excellent, possibly even better than in Melee, packing more of a punch. You won’t get any remixes here however.

Presentation – 9.0
From the character intro’s when each character comes to battle (something I miss from Melee, they could’ve done some really cool ones!) to the whole “kid playing with Nintendo stuffed animals” theme to the the way the celebration screen folds up into a paper airplane and flies away at the end of a vs. match to the unique character select screen, there isn’t much here to complain about. Presentation is all good and manages to spark the game up some and make it seem lively and fun. It also does some interesting things that haven’t really been seen before, such as the ending credits screen. Which actually makes watching the credits fun!

Ingenuity: 9.5
For it’s time, and even today, the Super Smash Bros. series is one of a kind. You honestly can’t beat a game that has all of Nintendo’s most popular characters beating the crap out of each other in an all out brawl, and no one has done it better than Nintendo, who only continues to improve the series with each release. This game is original and unique no matter how you slice it. And a game other companies will strive to match.

Replay Value: 8.5
If you have four-players then this game can keep you going for years. The fun never seems to run dry. However single-player wise the game is lacking. Without player profiles you can’t see who has done what or set what record, and within a matter of days it’s possible to have unlocked everything in the game. Regardless the game recieves props for keeping the gameplay fun to the best of it’s ability, and when it’s fun, it’s FUN. You’ll definitely be playing it for a while. Although, especially if you are coming in from Melee, it can get old quickly due to the simplicity.

Should I buy the game on Wii?

Wii Console & ControllerFor those not in the know, Nintendo is banking on the fact that you will be able to download games from Nintendo’s entire classic system library on the Nintendo Wii (for a small fee), through what they are labeling the “Virtual Console“. This includes games for the NES, SNES & N64 platforms, as well as Sega Genesis and Turbografx-16 games, and possibly more publishers will follow in the future. The Wii console is also backwards compatible, meaning you can play GameCube games on the system, effectively making it every Nintendo console in one.

So is Super Smash Bros. for N64 a worthwhile download for your money? This really depends on what you are looking for. If Nintendo makes the game online-enabled, and you enjoy four-player fun, then by all means, go for it! If it is not made online-enabled, and you do not have four people available to play the game with, then I would only suggest to buy the game if you know you will have four people to play with on occasion. Else-wise, the game really is only going to satisfy people who are already fans of Super Smash Bros. or who are big Nintendo fans and want to see what all the fuss was about when the original Super Smash Bros. hit.

For anyone else, I would suggest buying Super Smash Bros. Melee over going the extra mile to purchase the original game. If the game is made-cheap though, and especially if Nintendo makes this original internet-less game online-enabled, then I would definitely suggest purchasing it. For all it’s basic-ness it is still a fun game and you will get some enjoyment out of it even in the face of much more advanced games, including the sequel to Super Smash Bros. Melee, Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Regardless, nothing can ever replace and original, and that’s what this game is.