Format reviewed: Nintendo 64
Developer: HAL Laboratory
Submitted by: alex glaister
Super Smash Bros. differs from traditional fighting games in that inflicting the most damage does not guarantee victory. Instead, opposing players must force their opponents beyond the boundaries of the stage. Most attacks inflict damage and can, if enough damage is dealt, knock back the enemy. Each character's health is measured by a meter that represents the damage received as a percentage. The higher the percentage value, the farther the player gets knocked back, and the easier they are to knock off the stage. Unlike other games of the same genre, most moves can be accessed via one-button presses and a joystick direction.
During battles, items related to Nintendo games or merchandise fall onto the game field. These items have purposes ranging from inflicting damage on the opponent to restoring health to the player. Additionally, most stages have a theme relating to a Nintendo franchise or a specific Nintendo game and are interactive to the player. Although the stages are rendered in three dimensions, players can only move on a two-dimensional plane. Not all stages are available immediately; one stage must be “unlocked” by achieving particular requirements.
Although the player can choose from five difficulty levels, the game's single-player mode always follows the same series of opponents. This game mode is called Classic Mode in subsequent sequels. The player will choose one unlocked character, and fight against a series of characters in a specific order, attempting to defeat them with only a limited amount of lives.
There are three more modes of play. The “Break the Targets” minigame as well as the “Board the Platforms” minigame are two of the remaining single-player games. The objective of the mingames is to break each target or board each platform, respectively. The goal must be achieved without falling off each character-specific stage. The last one is the “Training Mode” section, where the player can choose any of the available characters and to choose the opponent, as well as any stage.