Grab some friends and slap each other in the face. Can friend-slapping carry an entire Nintendo game?
There is no story to really speak of, but it seems that the premise is that a kid is playing with his toys. Your characters are the toys and the player is the kid. Smash Brothers is all about the gameplay and it's strong in that aspect. You play on a 2D plane and fight the other characters on the stage. Each character fights in a different manner and each has their own special moves. Your goal in the game is to send your enemies flying off screen or off the stage. As you attack your enemies, their damage gauge builds up and the higher their damage, which is shown as a percentage, the farther they go flying.
Every now and then, items will drop from the sky for you to use. Each item is taken from a Nintendo game and each serves a purpose in combat. The items add a sense of unpredictability to the matches and adapting to what is going on is fulfilling. Each character's moves and abilities are taken straight from their games and it basically displays some of Nintendo's history in a visual form.
Each character is balanced well and all are fun to use, even if some are harder to use than others. There is a single-player mode which is just a set gauntlet against all of the characters and it's in this mode where you fight the boss character, Master Hand, and where you unlock the secret characters; of which there are four. This game if focused on playing with your friends, however. There are two game types to play, time and stock, and each can be played in teams. Time is what it is; a timed-battle, where stock is a fight to the death with set lives. Both are incredibly fun and even though it lacks modes the game's playability and uniqueness keeps you coming back.
The audio is great, seeing as it's all music taken from the games the characters come from. The Legend of Zelda theme, the Metroid theme, the Mario theme, all are fantastic still and all the characters sound great. The sound effects all start to sound the same but it's still great on the ears, even if 99% of the music is from other games.
The visuals are rather lacking. This game released late into the Nintendo 64 life-cycle and the character models look kinda bad. Ocarina of Time looks better than this game and it's much better looking, despite how much that game had to render and how little this game has to render. Most of the items and effects are just 2D sprites, which is fine for the N64, but there is no reason Mario should look worse than how he looks in Super Mario 64. The one good thing is that the framerate is pretty solid, which is rare for a Nintendo 64 game.
- Fantastic gameplay
- Variety of characters
- Lots of things taken from Nintendo's history
- Stages and abilities are straight from the games
- Great with friends...or enemies
- Framerate is pretty solid
- Unlockable characters
- Great music
- Lacking in single player content
- Visuals are pretty bad
- Very few game modes; just Single-player, Time and Stock
- Can get repetitive
- Music is 99% reused from their home games
Overall, if you can gather up some friends, get ready for a great time. If not, you'll only be playing for a little bit before moving on to Melee. Actually, go play Melee anyway if you can. While Super Smash Brothers is a good game, it's severely lacking and is clearly more of an experiment than a full game. Beneath the fun gameplay is a lackluster package, of course the gameplay carries the torch here.