ONM Remembered – #372

Saturday, July 2, 2016 at 11:00 am Comments (1)

“Arooga! Never mind those fancy fightin’ frolics. Gibbon half a chance, go for Donkey Kong and his primitive, brute strength.”

from Official Nintendo Magazine issue 78 (March 1999)
(big ups to oldgamemags.com for the scans!)

Gosh dang this review had me excited something fierce! Not since Mario Party had something got me so worked up. Even piddly little mentions of the game long before it was even considered to bring this to English shores got me gee’d up. A big stonking Nintendo crossover! And they’re all clobbering each other! If they’re all here in one game, why would I ever swap cartridges again in my life?!
Not only was this the sort of hands-on character action I wanted from a crossover event, but the preview is bursting with colourful comic book-style artwork, seemingly huge arenas, and best of all, a personality chart that determines who your ideal character is. Beat that, Quizilla!

I was gaga for Smash Bros, and I almost take the franchise for granted now despite it pressing so many of my buttons. It’s a fighting game (well kinda sorta maybe) that’s incredibly accessible and easy to learn. It’s a big dumb crossover with great attention to detail, from the player intros to the stage details to even the character profiles. It can be as skill-based or as luck-based as you want it to be, depending on the stage and item options you choose. And the engine is a great blend of combat and platforming, so much so that the bonus games are as much fun to dip into as a regular battle royale.

It’s a bloody divisive series to put it lightly, with its frothing splintered fanbase being just one aspect of it, but I’m afraid I’m one of those dopes who still has a great fondness for the games. You’re not just clarting about in karts or on a strategy board – you play as these characters, and when so many crossovers these days are as mere tokens in strategy games, be they SRPGs or tower defence, you gotta respect it when there’s a game building full movesets and playstyles around these dudes. I still haven’t got around to the fourth one, but the buzz around all the announcements was a great thrill.

Of course, I sing all these praises when I haven’t touched the games in years. I wouldn’t be surprised if I hate the game when I come back to it. For all the good times I’ve had, Smash Bros. goes through phases of being tolerable and… not so tolerable.

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