|Super Smash Bros.|
Merged logo for the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U versions.
|Developer(s)||HAL Laboratory, Sora Ltd., Game Arts, Bandai Namco Games|
|Genre(s)||Fighting, action, platform|
|Platform(s)||Nintendo 64, Nintendo GameCube, Wii, Nintendo 3DS, Wii U|
|Platform of origin||Nintendo 64|
|Year of inception||1999|
|First installment||Super Smash Bros. (1999)|
|Latest installment||Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (2014)|
The Super Smash Bros. universe, known as the Dairantō Smash Brothers (大乱闘スマッシュブラザーズ) in Japan, refers to the Super Smash Flash series' collection of characters, stages, items and properties, original to the Super Smash Bros. series, featured alongside the other licensed game characters and properties seen in the series. As with the official games, the universe may be considered the universe that "hosts" the Super Smash Bros. series, including the original-made properties from the Super Smash Flash series. It's symbol or emblem is immediately recognizable yet deceptively simple - a simple circle crossed by two lines.
Through 1998, second-party Nintendo developer HAL Laboratory, creator of the Kirby franchise and led by Masahiro Sakurai, developed a fighting game for the Nintendo 64 titled Super Smash Bros. The game was originally planned to be released in Japan only, and it had a small budget and a small amount of promotion attached; it was developed more as a "novelty product" rather than a high-profile heavily anticipated video game and was not expected to be a huge success. The event proved otherwise; the game was popular and successful enough in Japan after its 1999 release that it was decided to be distributed as an international release, and it garnered immense critical acclaim and sales figures abroad as well as at home. It was popular for featuring famous Nintendo characters such as Mario from the Mario series, Link from The Legend of Zelda series, and Pikachu from the phenomenally popular Pokémon franchise, and it gained high marks for its unique take on the fighting genre.
The success of Super Smash Bros. provided HAL Laboratory the incentive and financial means to develop the series' 2001 GameCube sequel, Super Smash Bros. Melee, with a larger development team and higher production values. It was released to a massive amount of glowing, positive reviews and was widely received as a vast improvement over its predecessor, with upgraded graphics and audio, refined gameplay, and a tremendous amount of new characters and content. It became the GameCube's best-selling title, with sales of 6 million copies worldwide. The depth of the game was such that in the years after Melee's initial release, the appearances of various fan-organized tournaments set in motion thriving international tournament scenes for the game, and Melee was soon officially made part of the game rosters of Major League Gaming and Evolution Championship Series.
At a pre-E3 2005 press conference, Iwata announced that the next installment of Super Smash Bros. was soon to be in development for its next console and would be a launch title that utilized the console's Wi-Fi-based online capabilities. The announcement was a surprise to Sakurai because he was not informed of Nintendo's intent to release another Smash Bros. game, and was only asked after the conference by Iwata to again serve as director; Sakurai agreed, and development of the third game began in October 2005. What followed was a development project handled by roughly 100 individuals working full-time. The game was officially showcased at the E3 2006 conference as Super Smash Bros. Brawl, but its actual dates of release early in 2008 were well over a year after the Wii console's launch
Super Smash Bros. Brawl was critically and commercially successful upon release, garnering praise for its new focus on improved single-player content, a further-expanded and better-varied cast, and one of the largest video game soundtracks in history, and became the fastest-selling game in Nintendo of America's history and a seller of over 10 million units total. However, the game also drew reviewer criticism for long loading times and a laggy online experience, and the game's multiplayer aspect was controversial among the established playerbase - the competitive circles of which had long been established around the gameplay styles of Melee - for a comparatively slower pace and scale of gravity, the removal of some advanced movement and attack mechanics, and a much heavier slant towards defensive gameplay. Most universally disliked was the game's inclusion of tripping, a non-negotiable element of randomized chance that could easily dictate the outcome of a competitive match in a manner that rewarded luck over skill. In an interview two-and-a-half years after the release of Brawl, Sakurai revealed that he himself retrospectively considered Melee to be "the sharpest game in the series."
Immediately after Sakurai employed his redesign of the Kid Icarus series' aesthetic in the 3DS title Kid Icarus: Uprising, released in March 2012, he announced the beginning of development of the fourth installment in the Smash Bros. series, which would be a joint venture between Sora and Namco Bandai Games and would be co-directed with Yoshito Higuchi (who had previously directed and produced several games in Namco's Tales series). The first showcase of the project took place at the Nintendo Direct presentation preceding E3 2013, where it was shown that the series would, for the first time, develop and release a pair of titles simultaneously for separate platforms: Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. Prior to the showcase, Sakurai indicated that the games would receive a different development approach for measuring competitive character balance, and after the showcase, Sakurai confirmed the removal of randomized tripping.
In the Smash Bros. series, the emphasis is not on lowering opponents health meters to zero to achieve a KO, but rather sending the opponent Out Of Bounds with strong Smash attacks that send them flying far away enough that they reach one of the stage's four borders and lose a life. Inflicting damage on opponents raises their percentage meters, and higher percentage meters mean that the opponents will fly away further when the character with that meter is attacked. Each of the available fighters aims to be unique, featuring their own move styles as well as their own collections of special moves. All fighters have the ability to double-jump, and most have a special move that constitutes a third jump, and what is often seen in standard competitive gameplay is a fighter sent flying away by an attack and trying to return to the edge of the stage with multiple jumps to avoid losing a life. With stages that come in all shapes and sizes, most of them featuring their own environmental hazards to complicate the action, and Smash items that can appear and be wielded to assist a character's game, a given entry in the Smash Bros. series is always a dramatic departure from the formula of standard fighting games. The popularity and legacy of Melee is such that regularly exploiting game physics to perform "advanced techniques" such as the Wavedash and the SHFFL is standard in top-tier competitive tournament play.
The primary reason for the immense success of the series is that it features famous characters, worlds, and properties from many other well-established video game franchises, primarily franchises created by Nintendo, interacting with each other in a grand tournament. The game characters and worlds featured thus far come from the Mario series, the Legend of Zelda series, the Metroid series, the Kirby series, the Star Fox series, the Pokémon series, the F-Zero series, the EarthBound/Mother series, the game Ice Climber, the Fire Emblem series, the series of handheld game devices under the handheld console Game & Watch, the Kid Icarus series, the Wario series, the Pikmin series, the R.O.B. peripheral, the Animal Crossing series, the Wii Fit series, the Punch-Out!! series, the Xenoblade series, the game Duck Hunt, third-party series like the Metal Gear series, the Sonic series, the Mega Man series, the PAC-MAN series, the Street Fighter series, the FINAL FANTASY series and the Bayonetta games. Just as the inclusion of so many popular franchises help the Smash Bros. series command the attention of the game community, the inclusion of obscure franchises in the series helps gain renewed attention for such franchises worldwide, as is certainly the case with the EarthBound series or the Fire Emblem series.
In the Super Smash Flash series
In Super Smash Flash
Super Smash Bros. Melee served as the base and inspiration for Super Smash Flash, it can be said it features much more than a standard universe's worth of content based on the universe introduced in the game itself, compared even to the Mario universe.
None of the following can be considered selectable "characters" but they can be considered computer opponents because that is what they are in the game's single player mode.
- Master Hand: A giant floating right-hand glove, this entity is described as the imaginary link between the real world and the Smash Bros. world and can be considered the end-all, be-all host of the series. He features a voice that is heard calling out the names of combatants on the character select screen, as well as calling the status of matches before, during, and after matches, so he can be considered the narrator of the series as well. He functions as the "final boss" of the game in that the final match of the single-player mode pits the player's character against Master Hand in a 1-on-1 duel. He fights with a variety of unique movements and motions, and instead of a percentage meter, he carries a "traditional" health meter that lowers when taking damage from opponents, and reducing it to zero will defeat him and end the game in success for the player.
- Crazy Hand: The "twin brother" of Master Hand, Crazy Hand is a left hand and is a "hidden boss" in the game. It is described as the embodiment of a child who derives pleasure from destroying his creations, as opposed to Master Hand's will to play around. In the final bout of Adventure mode, when Master Hand has had over half of his hit points depleted, Crazy Hand will erratically enter the battle and join the fight against you, making it a two-on-one battle - obviously this is much tougher. Crazy Hand is essentially a faster clone of Master Hand. Both hands do not perform attack in conjunction.
There are two multiplayer-friendly stages that follow, however, both are indeed unlockable for selection:
- Battlefield: It is the site of many stages and events such as the Multi-Man Melee competitions, and is where Fighting Silhouette Team are always fought. For its basic, standard layout, the stage is very popular.
- Final Destination: The flat, featureless platform is where many single-player boss encounters take place, and it is also among the most popular stages for use in Versus mode. It floats in a green-outlined space that it's apparently, the place between dimensions.
A large proportion of the game's items are original to the game itself:
- Home-Run Bat: This bludgeoning item is the most potentially deadly offensive measure in the game; while normally featuring unremarkable power with standard attacks, a Smash attack with the Bat carries so much knockback that it often causes a One-Hit KO to the target, regardless of how healthy the opponent is.
- Fan: The polar opposite to the Home-Run Bat, the Fan is weak enough that picking it up may be considered a handicap. While it can attack extremely quickly, it does tiny damage and offers no knockback, so it is not considered a helpful item to many players, but if used correctly the Fan low knockback used continuous can weaken the opponent.
- Motion-Sensor Bomb: The bomb from GoldenEye 007; when thrown, it works as a projectile giving considerable damage to opponents, later the bomb sticks on the ground and when any player steps on it, it will automatically explode.
- Saber: A powerful energy sword, this bludgeoning weapon carries sound effects similar to a Lightsaber in the Star Wars movie franchise in the Japanese version of the game, but it was changed for the U.S. release, possibly to avoid copyright trouble.
In Super Smash Flash 2
Now, Super Smash Bros. Brawl is the main base of Super Smash Flash 2, with a lot of features coming from that game.
- Sandbag: Sandbag was first introduced in Home-Run Contest in Super Smash Bros. Melee and has been a reoccurring element in the Super Smash Bros. series since then. Absent from the original Super Smash Flash, it makes an appearance in the reboot, Super Smash Flash 2, filling similar roles. Most of its attacks consist of strong headbutts and kicks.
- Battlefield: The earliest stage revealed for this game is a redesigned version of the Battlefield stage from Brawl, with natural and architectural elements. The stage floats in the middle of a forest, instead of above a forest.
- Final Destination: Like Battlefield, Final Destination has been visually redesigned. Unlike in the previous game, Final Destination and Battlefield are both starter stages.
- Metal Cavern: A stage from Super Smash Bros. originally reserved for the 1-P game and appearing in SSF2 in the same the same fashion, with a metallic opponent fighting the player in Classic mode on this stage, while also being playable in multiplayer. The stage itself is simple and small, consisting only of an uneven main platform and a single pass-through platform. Unlike Battlefield and Final Destination, the stage's design is based directly off of its original appearance in official Smash games.
- Waiting Room: A stage based on the Online Practice Stage from Super Smash Bros. Brawl, but with a complete redesign. Like in Brawl, the stage is used to practice before a match online, but the stage is also available in standard multiplayer matches. Mechanically, the stage is almost identical to Final Destination.
- Assist Trophy: A special trophy that, when grabbed, brings a random helper into the battle for a short period of time. While technically a Smash Bros. item, its main purpose is to summon characters from various other Nintendo franchises.
- Beam Sword: Returns from SSF now under its actual name as opposed to Saber. Although it cannot longer be held indefinitely as before, but the item does not vanishes after many uses.
- Bumper: The classic bumping item from the original Super Smash Bros. makes a return appearance with the same functionality and the added function of being able to be placed in midair like SSF's Flipper.
- Capsule: This pill-shaped item contains a single item inside. It can be thrown as a fast projectile.
- Fan: Returns from SSF, almost unaltered. Its regular hit deals 2% of damage and no knockback, but it can be used consecutive times trapping the opponents to accumulate their damage, a side smash can shatter shields, and a thrown fan sends an opponent vertically.
- Firework: A new and original item that can be thrown for high damage, if it hit a wall it will explode and split into multiple fireworks, up to nine, that will eventually explode.
- Food: A new item that randomly spawns as tiny health-replenishers. There are 27 varieties of food in the game, and they restore usually around 2% damage per item.
- Home-Run Bat: Returns from SSF, although it no longer can be held indefinitely as before, but the item does not vanishes after many uses.
- Motion-Sensor Bomb: Returns from SSF, almost unaltered. Now the bomb, after being set, can be triggered by other means (not only by passing players) such as projectiles or thrown items.
- Ray Gun: This simplistic gun item can shoot up to 15 rays of light that damages the opponents and once it is out of ammo, the only thing that can be done is to throw it to hit other opponents.
- Smash Ball: Probably the most important item in the game, the Smash Ball can be picked up by a character when it is destroyed, and that character will be able to perform a spectacular move unique to that character called a Final Smash.