Well, Steve, I suspect you may have wondered if I'd given up on the whole "blogging" thing. Not so, it was more a
combination of having a good chunk of my time watching and commenting upon The Time Tunnel, combined with my recent
purchase of a Wii. Years ago, the game that prompted me to buy an N64 was Super Smash Brothers. Some time after
that, the game that prompted me to buy a GameCube was Super Smash Brothers Melée. So, I imagine that it will come as
no surprise that the game that prompted me to buy a Wii was Super Smash Brothers Brawl.
I first heard about the game when I saw a TV commercial for the N64 game which involved a bunch of of folks dressed in
costumes of Nintendo characters prancing along to "Happy Together" and then turning on one another and beating the crap
out of each other. This immediately caught my attention. Some friends of mine had the game and I went and played it with
them. The gyst of the game was that characters from various Nintendo game series (Super Mario Brothers, Star Fox, Kirby, Pokémon, F-Zero, The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Yoshi's Island, Donkey Kong and EarthBound) would battle one another in various arenas. In the original game, there was an implication that the characters were "toys" being made to fight, the way a young kid might have his action
figures "fight" one another. Defeated characters were seen being returned to a "toybox" by a disembodied hand.
From two to four people could play, or a single person could play against one or more computer-controlled characters. The
characters would battle in various stages based on the different games they were derived from. The winner was the players
who scored the largest number of knock-outs within a set time limit. A "knock-out" was scored by hitting or throwing an
opposing player so hard that they flew so far off the screen that they couldn't return. Each character had a damage meter
that started at 0%. When a character took hits, their damage percentage would increase. The higher a character's damage
percentage, the easier it was to KO them. In addition to the other players, the stages themselves often presented hazards -
various traps of one kind or another might catch out the unwary player. Finally, various more or less helpful items -
weapons, shields, traps, health restoratives - would drop at random from above, to be grabbed used by which ever player got
to them first.
The game also had a single-player "Adventure Mode", in which the player's chosen character would battle their way through a
series of pre-set matches, finally battling "Master Hand", the large disembodied hand mentioned above. The later versions of
the game included increasingly improved graphics, a wider range of stages and items, and additional characters from various
other series - Ice Climbers, Fire Emblem, Mr. Game & Watch, Pikmin, Kid Icarus, and even two non-Nintendo "guest" characters, Solid Snake from Metal Gear Solid and Sonic the Hedgehog.
The latest version of the game has a "Story Mode" called "The Subspace Emissary", in which the various heroes (and some
villains) of the Nintendoverse find their world undeer attack by a mysterious enemy from subspace. i enjoyed this alot. As you
might suspect, I really enjoy the concept of characters from very different ficitonal milieux interacting with one
Several characters have appeared in all three versions of the game. They include:
Mario: The mushroom-stomping erstwhile plumber is sort of a baseline character for the game, with a balanced mixture
of strength and speed, and close-in and ranged attacks.
Luigi: Mario's baby brother has a similar move-set to his brother, tweaked just enough to keep him from being a
Pikachu: The best-known of the Pokémon is quick and agile, and has a number of powerful ranged attacks. Conversely, it
is extremely lightweight, and relatively easy to KO.
Jigglypuff: The balloon Pokémon doesn't have alot of strong attacks, but can send opponents to sleep with its "Sing"
Donkey Kong: Mario's erstwhile adversary has no ranged attacks, but has some devastating close-in attacks. It's quite
heavy, making it difficult to KO.
Link: The hero of The Legend of Zelda games has a good mixture of close-in and ranged attacks. He is, however,
just a touch on the slow side.
Kirby: The air-riding pink puffball swings a mean mallet, and has the ability to temporarily copy a power, ability or
weapon from his opponent. However, he is physically light-weight and thus is easier to KO.
Fox McCloud: An anthropomorphic fox/space hero, the star of the Star Fox, though not too strong physically, is
extremely quick and has a good mixture of ranged and close-in attacks.
Captain Falcon: The race driver/bounty hunter star of the F-Zero games is strong and fairly quick. His "Falcon
Punch" is absurdly powerful, but takes time to set up.
Samus Aran: Another bounty hunter, the heroine of Metroid games has a number of powerful ranged attacks.
Yoshi: This dinosaur frined of Mario's is one that I've always had trouble playing well.
Ness: A young boy with various psychic powers, this hero of the little-known EarthBound games is another
character I've had trouble learning to play well.
So there you have it, a potted description of a game I can spend hours playing - and have. It's not as violent as most fighting games - there's no blood, and nobody gets killed. The violence might be a bit much for sensitive little kids, but by and large it's a harmless, fun game.
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