Super Smash Bros. (ニンテンドーオールスター！大乱闘スマッシュブラザーズ, Nintendo All-Star! Great Fray Smash Brothers) is a crossover fighting game developed by HAL Laboratory, who were also responsible for the Kirby and Mother intellectual properties, and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo 64 console.
It was first released in Japan on January 21, 1999, and released on April 26, 1999 in North America, followed by Australia in 1999 then on November 19, 1999 in Europe.
Players are able to choose from up to twelve characters from various games in Nintendo's history, such as Mario, Pikachu, Link, and Kirby.
Super Smash Bros. was the first game in the Super Smash Bros. series. It was followed by the very successful Super Smash Bros. Melee for the Nintendo GameCube and Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Wii. Super Smash Bros. has sold over 4.89 million copies.
Super Smash Bros. uses a battle system different from usual fighting games. Choosing from a variety of characters, two to four players fight on various stages, while trying to knock their opponents off the stage. Instead of using health bars like other fighting games, the game features percentage meters to indicate the character's vitality.
At the beginning of the match, the meters start at zero percent. As the characters take damage, the percentage meter goes up, causing the characters to fly farther back each time when hit. When a character is knocked off the stage, they lose either a life or a point depending on the mode of play. The characters can attack each other with a variety of different fighting moves. Each character can perform an array of attacks when prompted with the press of a button in conjunction with a tilt of an analog stick. In addition to basic attacks, characters have access to more powerful attacks as well as three special character-specific moves.
There are nine playable stages. The stages are three-dimensional arenas (although players only move in two dimensions) that are mostly based on levels from the represented series of the game. They range from floating platforms to stationary land stages. Each stage has a boundary that cannot be passed, or the character will be knocked out, thus losing a life and counting as a "fall" against that player. The characters can make use of a variety of items, ranging from projectiles, melee weapons and health.
The nine playable stages in Super Smash Bros. are Peach's Castle (Super Mario Bros.), Congo Jungle (Donkey Kong), Hyrule Castle (The Legend of Zelda), Planet Zebes (Metroid), Mushroom Kingdom (Super Mario Bros.), Yoshi's Island (Yoshi, a spin-off of Super Mario Bros.), Dream Land (Kirby), Sector Z (Star Fox) and Saffron City (Pokémon). The Mushroom Kingdom stage is the only stage not unlocked from the beginning.
Although the player can choose from five difficulty levels, the game's single-player mode, 1P Game, always follows the same series of opponents. 1P Game also features two character specific bonus stages, and one non-character specific bonus stage. Also included in the game is a training mode, where a player can practice their skills in any of the playable stages against any of the unlocked characters, and practice areas for each of the character-specialized Break the Targets and Board the Platforms stages. 1P Game ends when the boss character is defeated, although if certain requirements have been met, the player may fight a bonus character after the staff roll. If victorious against this bonus character, the character is unlocked and is then available for play only if defeated.
In the multiplayer mode, Versus mode, up to four people can play with the specific rules of each match predetermined by the players. In "Time Battles," each player can be knocked out an infinite number of times. When the predetermined fight-time is up, scores are determined by subtracting a player's falls from their knock-outs, and a winner is determined.
If there is a tie, the contenders are returned to the fighting stage in a "Sudden Death" battle with 300% damage each, which means players are easily knocked out, so as to quickly determine the winner. In "Stock Battles," each player can be knocked out a fixed amount of times, and there is no time limit. The winner is the last player standing.
Team Battles of the stock and time modes are also selectable. These have the same rules as the above modes, but players instead choose their teams and teammates work cooperatively to win the match. When the match is over, knock-out totals are added up for each member of a team and taken as a whole, and then a winning team is declared. All of the matches listed above can be played against the computer AI also.
There are twelve playable characters in Super Smash Bros., all drawn from games developed by Nintendo. Eight characters are available at the beginning of the game, while the other four can be unlocked by achieving certain goals within the game. All characters are designated a symbol that is used for identifying them throughout the fight. The symbols are indicative of the franchise that each character is from, a system that continued throughout the Super Smash Bros. games. For example, all Super Mario Bros. characters have a Mushroom symbol, while all characters from Pokémon have a Poké Ball symbol.
The twelve playable characters in Super Smash Bros. are Luigi and Mario (Super Mario Bros.), DK (Donkey Kong), Link (The Legend of Zelda), Samus (Metroid), C. Falcon (F-Zero), Ness (Mother), Yoshi (Yoshi, a spin-off of Super Mario Bros.), Kirby (Kirby), Fox (Star Fox), Pikachu and Jigglypuff (Pokémon). The aforementioned four characters who must be unlocked by achieving certain goals within the game are Luigi, C. Falcon, Ness and Jigglypuff.
Super Smash Bros. was developed by HAL Laboratory, a Nintendo second-party developer, during 1998. It began life as a prototype created by Masahiro Sakurai and Satoru Iwata in their spare time titled Dragon King: The Fighting Game, and originally featured no Nintendo characters. However, Sakurai hit on the idea of including fighters from different Nintendo franchises in order to provide "atmosphere" which he felt was necessary for a home console fighting game, and his idea was approved. The game had a small budget and little promotion, and was originally a Japan-only release, but its huge success saw the game released worldwide.
The promotional artwork is done in the style of a comic book, and the characters were portrayed as dolls that come to life to fight. This presentational style has since been omitted in the sequels, opting instead for a more serious art style (such as using in-game models for the characters in place of hand-drawn art) and replacing the dolls with trophies.
Super Smash Bros. has received mostly positive reviews. GameSpot called it "extremely simple to learn" and praised the game's music, calling it "amazing." Many praised the game for its multiplayer mode, with IGN calling the mode "the game's main selling point" and Game Critic saying in its 1999 review, "it's the most original fighting game on the market and possibly the best multiplayer game on any system."
The game has been very popular and has quickly become a Player's Choice title. In Japan, 1.4 million copies have been sold and 2.3 million have been sold in the U.S.
- Ness being fought in Dream Land when unlocking him was an indirect reference to Magicant in Earthbound, and to a lesser extent, the location of the same name in Earthbound Beginnings (at the time known only as Mother).
- Ness's ending screen featured multiple references to Earthbound:
- The Runaway Five were seen complimenting the player.
- Fourside being attacked by saucers resembled the opening scene for the game.
- Ness's pose in the artwork alongside the other three heroes referenced their stock artwork for the game.