Today is the 17th anniversary of Smash Bros! The series has come a long way in it’s 17 years after first arriving in North America. I decided to look back on each iteration of the Super Smash series.
With Super Smash Bros’ release being almost two decades ago, I thought it would be fitting to take a look back on a bit of the history of the games and how they’ve held up throughout the years. Multiple sequels season this series, some loved dearly and some heartily hated, and I’m going to showcase each of them right now.
Super Smash Bros. 64
Released on April 26, 1999, for the Nintendo 64, Smash 64 was the first Smash game America experienced. Birthing such a new fighting game system into the genre, it was an odd title that many people would have hesitated to purchase. Nintendo knew people would be skeptical of Smash, so they marketed it as more of a party game than a fighting game. They made a great choice because many people who had never thought of playing a fighting game picked it up and had the time of their lives.
Featuring a star studded cast of 14 of Nintendo’s most beloved characters, and 9 iconic stages this is a classic game I can respect. Even though Smash 64 keeps shining with it’s nostalgic glow, it feels slow and less interesting playing it now. The amount of playable characters and stages is definitely impressive for the Nintendo 64’s time period, but in 2016 we’re used to way more variety, so it does get boring sometimes. Smash 64 was an amazing game and deserves recognition for paving the path for it’s successors.
Super Smash Bros. Melee
The second game of the series, is the best-selling Gamecube title called Melee. On December 3, 2001 it struck America by force and rapidly fought it’s way to the top of the charts. Melee mechanic’s differ a lot from 64’s but it still maintained the Super Smash Bros feeling. Melee took a lot of risks by trying to stray away from the party game scene, and it paid off this time. Millions of people had fun with each other with the new game modes, playing as the updated cast of fighters, and the higher graphical quality it boasted. The game looked so much cleaner and smoother than 64, and it was generally faster as well. That speed multiplied almost indefinitely in 2002 when the wavedashing technique was discovered and spawned professional Smash Bros.
Honestly, Melee is probably my favourite Smash game and I still play it regularly. It’s n amazing title that brought a lot of cool ideas and interesting people into the fighting game community. Playing this game with friends sparks a fantastic multiplayer experience that’s different every time, because it completely depends on the ability of whoever’s playing. The only game I would say perfectly balances the ratio between casual and professional, Melee is a game everyone should play if they want to have a fun time with their friends or family.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Brawl is the third and most controversial Smash game out there. It featured stunning graphics in comparison to the previous two games, but for a few reasons it was still a polarizing title. Some people were enthralled by the slightly grittier animations and found it to be a refreshing new direction from it’s cartoon predecessors, while conversely many gamers thought it was losing the spirit of Smash by veering away from it’s comedic cartoon roots. Evolving it’s gameplay using the knowledge of it’s series, Brawl was vastly different from the previous Smash games with it’s darker tones, lackadaisical physics, and new guest stars such as Solid Snake from the Metal Gear Series and Pit from Kid Icarus. Brawl may not have changed the scene of competitive gaming, but it was still a great game to play with friends.
I have a sweet spot for Brawl, because it was the first Smash game I was hyped for. Watching steadily at the edge of my seat during E3 2006, hoping to catch a glimpse of what the future was for the series I loved dearly. It wasn’t the height of the series, but I wasn’t disappointed because I got to see an awe-inspiring trailer with all of my favourite characters along with some new additions that I would learn to love later on. You might get dirty looks if you tell people you play Brawl (due to a tired competitive stigma), but it wasn’t that bad of a game. The first Smash title to introduce a solid campaign, called the Subspace Emissary, Brawl ventured to places never before seen in the series.
Super Smash Bros. Wii U/3DS
Commonly referred to as ‘Smash 4’, this title was a pleasant surprise to a majority of the Smash community. I loved Brawl, but it wasn’t the best game. It left a fowl taste in a good portion of the community’s mouths. This fowl taste made people scared and/or frustrated at whatever the next product Nintendo was going to release under the Super Smash Bros name. To the amazement of the cynic fanboys, the game was fantastic. The graphics were updated significantly and went back to their cartoon style, added new mechanics that made the game more friendly to new players, and introduced their largest cast yet (excluding DLC characters!). There are still some stingy players who don’t like the removal of some of Melee’s mechanics and stick to playing the Gamecube classic, but this game succeeded well and is currently right behind Melee in the competitive gaming scene.
Smash 4 was nice, it gave me hope for Nintendo after their questionable choices with Brawl. Playing it frequently on both Wii U and 3DS I can tell you that this is a must play if you’ve ever been thinking about getting into the series. It’s a welcoming game with an equally welcoming community. I play it a lot on the subway because It’s genuinely fun to play whenever and wherever if you have the 3DS copy. It was one of the highest grossing Wii U games, and was an admirable attempt at saving the console.
Super Smash Bros Wrap Up
Well, there you have it! A summary of all official Smash Brothers games (Some unofficial games include Project M, a community developed amalgamation of Melee and Brawl, and Super Smash Flash, a browser game with ridiculous character additions like Naruto and Goku). The series has had it’s ups and downs, but it’s still maintained the core Smash feeling in each of it’s games. Thank you for joining me in this historical and opinionated time travelling Smash Bros journey!