For a blog called the Subspace Emissary, it seems a little silly that I haven’t done a post on the game that it comes from. I have already talked about the difference between Tekken and Soul Calibur, Namco’s pair of fighting games, but I have to admit, neither of them is my real favourite. As you may have guessed, my favourite is the inestimable Super Smash Brothers Brawl. It remains true to the basic formula of the fighting genre – choose your character, choose a level, fight. However, there are a number of innovations which make Smash Brothers unique amongst games.
The damage system, where the more damage you take the further you get flung back with every strike, is certainly uncommon. I don’t know of any other fighting game which has the same damage system as Smash Brothers, and with the number of healing items that can be obtained during a fight, it means that there is a serious advantage to playing characters who can recover well from being kicked off of the map. Kirby and ROB make excellent choices for this.
The items themselves make sure that every character, and every player, has a solid chance for victory. Jigglypuff may not be the most impressive character in the game, but if it gets a Homerun Bat in its hand, that ball of fluff becomes an absolute menace. There are healing items, traps, weapons, bonuses and assists which if used well, make any character a real threat. The items make references from across the Nintendo catalog, from Pokeballs to Bob-ombs. However, it is worth saying that while there are some characters which have been shown to be more effective than others, overall there are very few characters that could be said to be completely useless.
The Smash Brothers series is in its 3rd instalment now, and it has only improved over time. The levels have multiplied, gotten more complicated and come in all shapes and sizes. The cast of playable characters has increased almost exponentially, now including even non-Nintendo characters like Snake and Sonic. The graphics as well are truly outstanding. Mario has never looked better. The combat system however, has remained almost identical through the whole series, and the simplicity of the technique list has ensured that the game becomes far more about the skill with which you use them rather than how many techniques and combos that you can remember. I think this makes the game easier to pick up and that adds to how fantastic a party game it is.
|To be fair, not the best boss ever designed, but he looks fantastic|
More than any of the improvements and additions to the Brawl instalment, I think that the main adventure mode, the Subspace Emissary (there it is!) is the most impressive. Comprised of a long train of complex side-scrolling levels, mixed with puzzles and battles, the Subspace Emissary tells the story of how the various characters unite to stop a massive threat to the world they live in. You eventually play as pretty much every character in the game, so it is a great showcase for them. The cut scenes as well, make the game very special. Some of them are just fantastic. On top of that, it can be played co-op. Smart thinking.
The number of different modes of play available for single player, combined with an even further expanded and improved multiplayer, make Super Smash Brothers Brawl a triumph for Nintendo. No matter what you want to do – challenge yourself on boss mode or Allstar Mode, have an entertaining adventure on Subspace Emissary, or just have fun with your friends on either co-op adventure or the standard brawl, Super Smash Brothers Brawl is always the right game for you.