Review: Super Smash Bros

A Nintendo-flavoured grudge match?  It’s on like Donkey Kong!

The crossover beat ’em up is, without a doubt, my favourite video game concept ever. Smash takes multiple well loved Nintendo characters out of their respective games, drops them onto a battlefield, and has them fight each other!

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Starfox vs The Legend of Zelda – Because reasons!

There’s very little explanation as to why Pikachu’s suddenly got it in for Super Metroid’s Samus, but as the Thunderbolts rain down and blaster fire echoes through grounds of Princess Peach’s castle, I have to grin. This is magic in a bottle. It’s the ultimate piece of fan service, and I’ve not even started on the multiplayer yet!

To fill you in on the history, Super Smash Bros was released in January 1999. Originally it was a Japan-only title, but after selling over a million copies Nintendo decided to take it worldwide. Developed by HAL Laboratory, and created by Massahiro Sakurai on a relatively small budget. The general idea is to inflict enough damage on your opponent to send them flying off the stage. Smash Bros features 8 characters to choose from the start, with a further four unlockable. This sets up some unforgettable (and some downright weird) dream matches!

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Missing from pic: Captain Falcon from F-Zero, Luigi, Ness from Earthbound and… JIGGLYPUFF!  Got some work to do on my Everdrive cart!

All by myself

You can play single player, called Adventure mode, where the goal is to beat each stage, get the highest score possible on bonus rounds and hopefully unlock new characters. To unlock each one you have to challenge them and beat them in combat, and there’s no worse feeling than getting up to this fight and losing!  Different stages of Adventure also feature different objectives, from standard battles to a tense race to the top of a stage, to endurance matches against multiple, smaller foes. Throw in fun bonus stages, and there’s plenty of variety here!

More fun with friends!

This…. this is what made Super Smash Bros an instant classic, and turned an idea into the mammoth franchise we know and love today! (The latest version, Smash Ultimate just come out on the Switch, I’ve not played it but I’m informed it’s amazing.) Thanks to the N64’s 4 controller ports, you can play with up to 3 friends without any multi-tap nonsense.

You can have choose between solo or team battles, determine the rules of each match, and since the camera zooms in and out to cover all the action, there’s no splitscreen play!  The action is fast and frantic, each character having their own individual strengths, weaknesses and special moves. There’s also a wealth of powerups dropped into games at random, using one to send your foe soaring off into the horizon may actually cost you real life friendships!

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Super Smash Bros is an all-time classic and you’ll be hard-pushed to find anyone who doesn’t have fond memories of playing this with friends, either as kids growing up, teenagers playing after school, or even adults when their kids had gone to bed. It’s pick up and play perfection, with a slick presentation, simple controls and a mean difficulty curve. An essential title for every ’64 owner’s library!

Coming up next – more adventures from Mario 64!

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