Developer(s) – HAL Laboratory
Publisher(s) – Nintendo
Director(s) – Masahiro Sakurai
Producer(s) – Hiroaki Suga, Satoru Iwata, Kenji Miki & Shigeru Miyamoto
PEGI – 7
Released in 1999, following a long and lucrative development cycle, Super Smash Bros went on to become one of the most beloved games on the Nintendo 64 selling the best part of 5 million copies after other fighting games old poorly on the system and later spawned into one of the company’s flagship franchises that today acts as one of Nintendo’s biggest system-selling series’ upon release. However, the original game had far more humble origins and as such, started out as an idea that would later be built upon to an astronomical extent. It’s a very enjoyable game considered a classic by many Nintendo fans.
Graphics – 7/10
The game takes place among various different stages based on beloved Nintendo franchises such as Donkey Kong, Super Mario, Star Fox, and The Legend of Zelda. Namely, with some of the lesser-known franchises at the time, which were EarthBound, F-Zero, and Metroid, it’s impressive how the developers envisioned how these series’ would look in 3D despite the lack of source material at the time compared to the more well-known Nintendo series’ that was much more established, but besides which, every stage and every character looked brilliant for the time and hardware available, and it was all complete with the iconic opening cinematic that has since become synonymous with the franchise.
Gameplay – 7/10
Super Smash Bros was the fighting game that every Nintendo fan growing had long dreamed up since the game was ever created, featuring a selection of some of Nintendo’s most beloved characters hashing out with fists, iconic weapons, and other weapons or objects that can be used to the player’s advantage. In terms of the core gameplay, there was a great deal to keep players coming back for more, and continuing to do so even over 30 years on. Although the variety in gameplay would be improved upon massively (with it actually being shocking how few unlockables there are in the original game compared to future entries in the series), the first game offers more than enough incentive to last for hours upon hours.
Controls – 9/10
For a completely new franchise, the game’s control scheme works out well enough. There are only a few minor nitpicks I have about it such as the need to use the C-buttons for things like jumping, whereas later entries in the series would go on to improve on this. It’s kind of like the transition between Goldeneye and Perfect Dark in that respect, which is part of the reason why I ended up enjoying later Super Smash Bros games far more than the first, but for the most part, the controls are fine.
Originality – 7/10
What made this game as original as it is is not the general concept of including Nintendo characters in a fighting game, because at the time it seemed like an obvious idea that Nintendo had astonishingly not undertaken themselves before Masahiro Sakurai showed them the initial demo he had worked on in secret. But what made this game truly stand out among other fighting titles is the way in which it plays out; not with health meters that need to be depleted, but rather a health meter that needs to be racked up to a high enough percentage that the opposition can be knocked out of the stage itself. It was a really unique idea and it’s a system that has been adopted and modified by several other developers throughout the years. It would’ve been more influential if original ideas like the final smash moves were implemented (which wouldn’t be until Super Smash Bros Brawl), but on its own merits, it turned a niche gaming genre on the Nintendo 64 into a beloved one.
Overall, the original Super Smash Bros has remained, and always will remain, a classic game with a lot to play for. Other Smash Bros games would come along and blow this game out of the water in my opinion, but the original game was certainly a more than adequate starting point.