Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Super Smash Bros (Nintendo 64, 1999)

This game is just like The Purge. For one night a year, it's legal for Nintendo characters to murder. Time for Kirby and Pikachu to settle their long-standing feud... by bathing in each other's blood.

The intro to this game is sa-weet, and gives us some cool shots of our favorite Nintendo characters as they dish out signature attacks. I'm a Samus guy, even though Kirby was in the first game I ever owned.

He'll still always be second-place in my heart.

Character select gives us no fewer than eight characters to choose from. I wonder who the four unlockables are. Chances are that Luigi, Jigglypuff, and Captain Falcon are three of them, but the fourth is a mystery to me. Ness? Bowser?

I go with the default settings and the default character. I like the way these guys look EXACTLY the way they did in Mario 64 and Ocarina of Time.

"I'M the franchise player for this company!" screeches Link as he spin-slashes through the air.

Mario is having NONE of that shit, and launches fireballs as Link defends. Defending puts up a barrier that whittles away as you take damage, so you can't turtle indefinitely. Might be the best blocking mechanic that I've seen in a fighting game.

"The bird people"? They're called Chozo. You even lift, Nintendo?

In any case, Samus is a franchise player, one often lost in the shuffle even though her game series is fourth-place in notoriety out of Nintendo's first-party franchises (Behind Mario, Zelda, and Pokemon). Samus didn't even get an N64 game. Then again, maybe that extra time allowed them to make Metroid Prime even better. She didn't get a Wii U game either!

Samus looks about as good as a three-dimensional 90's Samus can look. When you pause the game, it zooms in on a character and lets you look at them from any vantage point you want. Unfortunately for all the 'pervs out there, Zero Suit Samus isn't in this game.

 Samus comes equipped with a charged-shot that does a lot of damage and can be stored once fully charged. That's my go-to move for a lot of this, but I also like that her upward-jump special is the Screw Attack. It's overpowered in Super Metroid and it's overpowered here.

Next against eighteen Yoshis. Wait, what? Seriously?

"How many police are out there?"

 "Uh...all of them, I think."

What follows is a Royal Rumble for the ages, as Samus repeatedly knocks Yoshis off of the battlefield with regular attacks. Eighteen ring-outs (and one extinct race) later, I move on.

Samus demonstrates the fully-charged shot as she takes on Fox McCloud (no relation to Highlander). Not sure how I feel about this charged shot, because it doesn't really look like any of her beams from her own games. I mean, it might look a little like her regular charged-up Power Beam, but that one is yellow. How about the wave and ice beams instead?

Her downward attack is to roll into a ball and lay bombs. Awesome, but it's as difficult to hit with in one-on-one matches as you'd expect.

Next up... TAG TEAM MATCH, PLAYA! Looks like Luigi has been doing some ganjaweed, mon... No wonder he dresses in green.

This is a fun match. The game in general is a lot of fun, but I don't like the pits. It's way too easy to get knocked off to your death, which might be the main reason why I've never really gotten into this series.

Various powerups and weapons drop from the sky as you fight, like this... laser sword? Bad-ass!

I like the way this battle is transpiring on a sky-island with its own gravity. You can see Toadstool's Castle far below.

Samus gets to live out the dream of condescending parents worldwide as she murders Pikachu. NO MORE POKEMON, KIDS.

The Pikachu fight was the shortest in the game for me, as I ring-outted him with my second or third attack and won.

Next up I get two allies as I take on Super Oozaru Donkey Kong. Whoa.

Super Oozaru Donkey Kong has ten times the power level of regular Donkey Kong. This was actually the most fun fight in the game for me. The chaotic gameplay lends itself really well to a bunch of characters wailing on a large foe.

Now my childhood EXPLODES as Samus and Kirby do battle. What I'm wondering is how I never cared about this game as a kid. Seems like it'd be right in my wheelhouse. I was never really an N64 kid, though. I started with Super NES in 1994 and went with Playstations after that.

MIRROR MATCH! At first I thought this was Gravity Suit Samus, but it isn't purple enough.

Behold! We are evenly matched!

Metal Mario is basically a boss fight. He's overpowered as hell.

Samus dishes out a blast that barely fazes T-1000 Mario as I futilly try to knock him off the platform. This is just like the end of Terminator 2!

Metal Mario tut-tuts our heroine as he nonshalantly saunters over. Damn you, T-1000!

After I scrape past that fight, I'm face to face with another Rumble-style fight. Who the hell are these guys?

They attack three at a time, and you have to go through thirty of them to win. It looks like they might be untextured polygon models of the game's cast.

Smash attacks are the way to go, and I rely on the Screw Attack to take out several at once. Did I mention that it's OP?

The final boss is this giant, groping hand. Good thing Samus is covered in armor!

Master Hand fondles about in the air as the fight gets underway.

"By God, the titties" says Master Hand. I do not like this hand.

I lose because he has a number of attacks that knock you WAY off the platform, farther than I can recover from.

Blocking is a good way to avoid a lot of Master Hand's attacks. So is this the hand of a programmer? Sort of a nefarious Game Master type character?

Ring outed AGAIN. This went on for a good 40 minutes. Yeah, I expect to hear that Master Hand is an easy fight, but for whatever reason I failed really hard at this point.

Samus fires at Master Hand.

"Was it gun? I will show you how" says Master Hand before firing back.

Another ring out loss far out in the distant expanse.

And I finally win, after many tries. When it finally happened, it caught me by surprise.

After that, Samus turns into an action figure on someone's desk.

I probably would have found this to be a melancholy moment had I played this in '99. Back then, the time that had passed since Super Metroid in 1994 felt like an eternity. I know that when I played Chrono Cross in 2000, it felt like I had completely grown up in the five-year span since Chrono Trigger. Course, now in 2017, 2012 feels like yesterday. Back then, though...

This game (and series) really seems like a love letter from Nintendo to their fans. Pretty cool stuff.

After the credits roll, A NEW CHALLENGER APPEARS!

Renegade breast implant Jigglypuff proceeds to defeat me, and I get bounced back to the title screen. Presumably I could have added Jigglypuff to the selectable roster had I won.

That concludes my look at the original Super Smash Bros, but while I'm at it I'm going to finally get around to trying out the sequels. The whole premise is really cool, but these games seem more chaotic than strategic (at least on the surface) and the ring-outs can get pretty annoying. Still, there's something very compelling about this series.


  1. Smash Bros is also a good place to play as Samus while wishing this generation of games had a Metroid. Sadly, we're there again...

    Actually, a great many fighting games have a turtle meter, and most of the time if it breaks you're completely vulnerable and dazed for a moment. That's been around since the PS1 era or so. I love how the block in Smash is right out of Kirby Super Star.

    You're not kidding, Luigi looks completely stoned.

    I generally play as Kirby the rare times I play Smash Bros, he's got a lot of moves from Kirby Super Star. Though should I play the upcoming one he'll likely be outed as that game has both Mega Man and Shulk.

  2. Never thought about how a lot of these models come right from their games. That's pretty cool.
    This'll be even more fun to watch now that I've seen Conan Smash.
    The fights against tons of dudes are something I'm less used to because 99% of my time playing this game is in VS mode. That's when you realize how brilliant the responsive controls are.
    Luigi's fireball patterns do some kinda druggy now that you mention it.
    I never play as Mario or Luigi in these games, I've realized.
    You can't tell in 1P mode, but Pikachu is the best character. Super fast and hits hard. The other top character is Kirby, since the Kirby maker made this game too.
    Team Polygon is pretty creepy. But not as creepy as the Hand, which represents the kid playing with these toys in his room. One of the better fighting game bosses IMHO, because it breaks the pattern of previous battles so much.
    Cool to see the newer games...which I have never played.
    I love that Nintendo has so -many- great 1st-party franchises.

    1. I need to check out Conan Smash. Mario and Luigi always go neglected for me in Mario Kart... or did. I played as them quite a bit in the later games during my recent stints with them.

      Interesting that Master Hand is the kid playing with the figures, rather than my earlier guesses of a programmer's hand and The Invisible Hand Of The Free Market.

  3. forget about melee and Brawl when this game came out it was THE SHIT.

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