They’ve raced go-karts, they’ve partied hearty, they’ve guided us through RPGs, they’ve hopped, skipped, jumped and scrolled along countless platforms, parapets and palisades. In short, these fluffy fat-heads from the most popular of Nintendo games have found every which way to earn a place in everybody’s video game library.
Of course, they’ve never really fought each other before; not like this. This is a whole new approach for PlumberBoy and his pals. Sadly, Super Smash Bros., while exciting in concept, is nothing more than a blatant suck on the wallets of the fans of the fluff of the fat-heads. This is too obvious, too plain a poorly implemented ploy to scam consumers by hiding a cheap and paltry game behind the so-called "demand" for more Mario.
Super Smash Bros. only vaguely resembles a fighter by today’s standards, it’s 2D. A 2D fighter on the N64. In 1999.
But hey! It’s a new way to play with Mario! Even that zany Pikachu thing from Pokemon gets a chance to put up its dukes and fight like a plumber. And look! There's Fox McCloud from StarFox! There’s Link of legendary Zelda fame, there’s Yoshi and Kirby and Donkey Kong and Auntie Emm and Toto too!
A cute and cuddly 2D fighter, to be sure. And way too easy.
Adding insult to wet-spaghetti injury, Nintendo went out of their way to make this game way too easy. They’re bragging about it.
You see, while there are 12 fat-heads to play with, four of which are hidden characters like Luigi or Captain Falcon (from StarFox), the control configuration is of the one-button-fits all variety. That is to say, the same button-combos work the same magic for each and every character. Nintendo says this "convenient system allows you to switch easily between characters without having to get the hang of basic moves all over again." That’s a load of crap.
It’s Nintendo’s clever way of covering for the sloth at HAL Laboratories, the developers who appear to be too lazy to add any kind of depth to an already desperately shallow game.
Sure, each character has its own special power (easily invoked), Mario collects that power-star thing and chucks his fireballs; Fox McCloud fires a laser gun and powers-up with a light-sabre (the only redeeming element in the game) and, of course, Yoshi licks people and makes ‘em eggs.
And yes, there are loads of modes. Loads of power-ups and bonus levels and hidden gems and secret treats and special surprises and Toto too. Wouldn’t be a Nintendo game without ‘em. The nobody-does-it-better multi player mode is there too, like that’s what it’s really all about. However, there’s no way I’m going to ask three friends over just to see if this is the secret of Smash’s success; I want to keep what few friends I have. I’ll not ask them to endure this pap with me.
Funny, Nintendo doesn’t even refer to this game as a "fighter," they call it an "action" title. You don’t KO your opponents, after all, you merely whittle down their hit points then perform what would otherwise be a "fatality" by booting them off the platform. Ok then, an Action title. Even so they are being very generous with the term "action."
After all, it’s still a 2D game, a non scrolling, multi-player platformer, if not a fighter. And it’s poor. Granted, this would have been spectacular on the old NES, even quaint for the SNES, but come on! This is the N64 where I can fly an X-Wing and dogfight with Tie-fighters; where I can use stealth and treachery and cap bad-guys in the back of the head in Goldeneye 007; hunt dinosaurs with a rocket launcher, cross check Pavel Bure ‘til he’s out for the season; body slam Hulk Hogan for using mascara in his beard...
Fair enough, this is suppose to be an "everyone" title, but "everyone" should expect more on the N64, I don’t care how old you are. Just because you’re eight years old doesn’t mean you should have to suffer a dud like Smash and it’s low res happy-happy-joy-joy version of fighting. Even though it appears to be a culmination of many fantastic Nintendo games, it simply isn’t even close to resembling anything remotely good.
The arenas cover most of the environments from each character’s respective backgrounds; Kirby's Dream Land, Pokemon’s Saffron City, Zelda's Hyrule, Metroid’s Planet Zebes, etc. Basically, a cheap lift from old titles including the 8-bit pixilated landscapes from the NES games. This is suppose to have that "cool!" or "how quaint" effect, or "boy, does that ever take me back." Don’t be brainwashed, kids. It’s a rip-off to be taken at face value.
The funny thing is, Super Smash Bros. is doing quite well on both the rental and the sales charts in spite of my disapproval. I assumed "everyone" could perceive Super Smash Bros. as a cheap cannibalisation of games and characters who’s days of glory are long past...
And, while I recently praised Nintendo for at least showing the gumption of utilising the franchise mandate in a fairly fresh way by having their tired-old, same-old characters jump from genre to genre, now I can only praise them for a very good marketing department (and all in one, long, run-on sentence, too!).
How they managed to convince so many people that this Smash crap is what "everyone" has been asking for all along is beyond me.
This might very well be the pinnacle achievement for Nintendo. Convincing gamers that a fluffy-kiddie, cutesy-wutesy character called Jigglypuff (another conniption causing character from Pokemon) can kick butt with the best of ‘em by singing its opponents to sleep is no small feat. Still, it’s a feat that stinks.