Blast from the past: ‘Super Smash Bros.’

By Rory McCarty


Contributing Reporter

The Super Smash Bros. game series is one that is almost as enjoyable for its nostalgia as it is for its gameplay.

The latest installment, “Super Smash Bros. Brawl” for the Nintendo Wii, takes those warm fuzzy feelings of classic video games and brings them to unprecedented heights. 

No other game will let you pit a team of Kirby and Sonic the Hedgehog against a team of Pikachu and Link and in a battle on a Mario Kart track.

For the uninitiated, the game series allows up to four players to control characters from classic video game franchises, primarily from Nintendo’s most popular games.

Although the Smash Bros. series has gained a vast following among hard-core gamers who compete in tournaments, it is still very much a game that anyone with an interest in video games can pick up and play.  

Gameplay is simple compared to the fully 3D, combo-heavy games that dominate the fighting-game market these days. Most attacks are done by pressing either A or B.  

There are no complex Street Fighter-esque input commands to memorize, no guard break or tension bars to monitor; one wails on the other characters until they fly off the screen.

But that’s not to say that the game isn’t substantial enough for players looking for a deeper experience.  

Anticipating your opponent’s moves is, as always, an essential part of Smash Bros. A split-second miscalculation can mean the difference between a win and a loss, especially in sudden death.

Aside from the meaty multiplayer offering, there are numerous single- player modes to keep players occupied for absurd amounts of time.  

In addition to the returning Classic, Event, Home Run, Break the Targets, and All-Star modes, there is also the new Subspace Emissary, the Smash Bros. version of a story mode.  

In Subspace Emissary, you play through a series of side scrolling levels and fight familiar bosses. At the same time, a story unfolds through cut-scenes that involve the ensemble cast fighting inter-dimensional baddies. 

The game definitely isn’t light on playable characters either. A total of 35 different characters culled from over 20 years of video game history are controllable, including, for the first time, non-Nintendo characters Solid Snake and the fantastically popular Sonic the Hedgehog.  

Players can do battle on 41 different stages that range from the familiar, such as Luigi’s Mansion, to the bizarre, like an arena inside the Nintendo DS’s Pictochat application.

And if you somehow grow tired of those 41 stages, the game includes a level editor to let players create their own stages from scratch.  

If that weren’t enough already, Nintendo has finally bitten the bullet and embraced online play.  

Although online brawls are marred by the lack of voice chat with your opponents, and lag becomes a serious issue when playing against distant opponents, the simple fact that one can play Smash Bros. with a friend across the country is remarkable.

“Super Smash Bros. Brawl” is bursting at the seams with content, and it’s now more accessible than ever. 

If you’re a fan of Smash Bros. then you probably already own this game.  

But even if you’re not big on fighting games, Brawl is frantic fun for the casual gamer as well.