In honor of Super Smash Bros. Brawl being less than three weeks away, I thought might as well revisit the series in a retrospective look. While I already covered Super Smash Bros. Melee a long time ago when I began writing on the website, I think it is safe to say that we can look at the original game, Super Smash Bros. in a very interesting light; one that is dimmer than it's predecessor, but still bright enough to make an impact on the gamind industry.
In essense, Super Smash Bros. worked like the debut album of many fledging artists in music; it is not that polished, has songs from the bands garage days on it, very raw, but something about it is catchy and makes the band, at the very least, popular enough to create a second, usually more successful album. While this is not the case, and lighting in a bottle happens, like in Pokemon or Halo, Super Smash Bros. followes the analogy above more closely.
If you think about it, Super Smash Bros. was a shallow game. The single player campaign was beaten in literally an hour or so, going through simple fights, party fights, polygon fights and bonus stages that are easy to complete in the long run of the game. Other extras like the history of the games the fighters represent were seemingly like afterthoughts, and this was not fleshed out until we get the trophy system in Melee.Lastly, the number of fighters was a meager eight, twelve if you count the four secret characters, each having one or two representatives from their respected series.
Compared to the twenty five character in Melee, and the near forty characters in Brawl, it is clear that more is better, because it gives some degree of variety, as well as the nostalgic feel to the game that, while crude, is still captured in the Super Smash Bros. It's just fun to watch Link beat the crap out of Yoshi, or Pikachu electrifying Fox and Samus at the same time, while Mario fights Luigi. The four player matches were frantic in the early days, and in essense, the multi-player matches kept the game fun, kind of like Halo is doing now with it's own respected series.
Graphically, the game was not a breaktrhough on the N64, but it was crisp enough to have a lot of cartoony action going on at one time, as well as a lot of sprite animation in the stages. The quasi- 3d fighter method worked well, and brought life to an otherwise undertested platform of gaming. With this too, the controls were a bit wobbly, with the "smash" attacks sometimes too difficult to pull off. One good thing though was that each move and combo attack was well executed, and thanks to the simple tutorial, could be figured out. Finally, the sound of the game was a major plus. The music from each game was spot on, had a great feel of that nostalgia that you may or may not remember, and is just fun to listen too.
All in all, Super Smash Bros. was never the greatest game ever, but the celebration it does bring out, the celebration of Nintendo and it's history, as well as being a fun multi-player beat em up, is what makes it so charming. the nostalgic feel is all over the game, the celebration of Nintendos past and present is clearly presented, and the tight controls made the game fun. It was never a graphic powerhouse or a deep game, but it was a game that had heart, and I think the guys at HAL and the big N realized that, which is why they continued the franchise. At the very least, Super Smash Bros. may be a forgettable experience, but it is an experience that should be played at least once.
Final Score- B-