Super Smash Bros. 64

Release Date: Jan 21, 1999
Developer: HAL Laboratory
Director: Yusuke Amano / Tsubasa Sakaguchi

Rating: 5/5

Super Smash Bros. 64: the game that lets you beat up beloved Nintendo characters.

Nintendo characters are transported to fighting stages in the sky. Right away you can tell the incredible height of the stage and that there aren’t any barriers. Also, the stages tend to have a natural elevation to them than being a simple flat plane; in fact, there tends to be a floating platform or two over the ground of the main stage. This isn’t a traditional fighting game. The goal of the game, for the newly acquainted, is to knock characters off the stage so that they either fall into the void below or are knocked out of the far reaches of the stage (the invisible ceiling and wall barriers aka blast zones). What a scenario for Nintendo characters to find themselves in.

It’s not demented or mean-spirited though despite the sound of it. Far from it. In other fighters you would pummel your opponent till they crumble to the floor, trap them up against a wall, throw people to slam them onto the floor. Now for Smash when you throw Pikachu, for example, he’ll go soaring incredible distances through the air leaving behind a trailing trajectory of tufts of smoke. But to “power up” your throw distance you have to increase your opponent’s damage counter, and the more it increases the farther they’ll go flying. So the higher the damage of your opponent the more volatile they are when struck. On 2 stages this allows for pinball action where players can repeatedly bounce an opponent around against a wall while the crowd’s sfx erupt on every hit, but 90% of the time you’ll be worried about your position when it comes to being knocked off the stage.

So that’s quite a bit on stages. Smash’s stages are different and so the character movement is different too. In the picture above you noticed that the special move inputs are less complicated to do but also that the “assuming facing right” is gone as well. No longer tethered to face their opponent, players can wander off, which is an impossibility in KoF ’95. Smash has universal inputs for the command list, which helps accessibility and makes losing the manual less of a big deal since there aren’t any 8 directional input Super Special Moves to memorize. When you do B or Up-B the attack activates regardless of direction faced, although they’ll be aimed in the direction you are facing.

Being able to freely face left or right is important for stage recovery. This game has double jump for all characters. And the “third jump” is your characters Up B. Some characters third jump functions better for attacking than recovering, and Yoshi doesn’t have a third jump at all (he throws eggs).

This emphasis on jumping resulted in different minigames than ‘Smash the Car!’ The two single player modes that utilize platforming skills: Break the Targets and Board the Platforms! Each character gets their own uniquely designed stage for each.

Character design  – Nintendo’s ‘All Stars’ don’t need any introductions to the seasoned gamer. How they are portrayed in 2.5 D (3D models moving on a X/Y axis) is of more interest. They look like toy-like in that their bodies, particularly their joints are more block solid and shapely than the intricate defined details of clothing and hair found in other fighters. Character size range from small, medium, big; specialty from strength, technology, magic. D.K. only able to carry said large containers, Yoshi eggs, Kirby swallow & copy, Kirby’s gravity-defying piledrive throw from the heavens. Hidden Characters…

MULTIPLAYER

How can I describe hundreds of hours of playtime I got out of the Smash 64 cartridge with friends in one review?

Smash 64 is the party game and go-to fighting game for N64. Items spice things up in free-for-alls, particularly the rush of players moving from one side of the screen to the other for a freshly fallen item. Let’s take a look at them.

Smashbrositems2

Item-wise, bob-ombs coming to life, placing proximity mines, anticipating the Pokémon that will pop out of the pokéball, red shells chasing players — lots of fun.

While bashing around the Mario Brothers with items is great, the stage also has fun elements or hazards to keep an eye on: A tornado in Hyrule, a bumper ball and shifting lower stage platform in the Mushroom Kingdom, a moving barrel that hovers over the bottomless pit in DK’s stage, rising lava in Brinstar, the StarFox stage has an Arwing shooting and taking off, which is great fun to camp around by and try to get your opponent hit by lasers, or even better to throw them of the Arwing while it takes off into hyperspace. It’s a tie between the tornado and Arwing for me.

Stage hazards and items are fun but times come around when players want to go mano-e-mano with no “distractions”.

How competitive does Smash get? Moves (shield-lite, combos, recovery & edge guarding)