| Summary: After the initial 45 minutes of playing Super Smash Brothers for the Nintendo 64 console, I felt that the objective and story of the game were quite clear. The evil villain of the game is a giant white hand (probably a little kid's hand) and you are his toy. The characters in the game are all characters from other well-known video games such as: Donkey Kong, Kirby, Link, Pikachu, Mario, Starfox, etc. The player chooses one of these characters and is pitted against the other remaining characters in a series of typically one vs. one levels where the player must defeat the oposing toy character. The game is designed to be a first person fighting game and each character has a unique fighting style and compliment of weaponry. The objective is to defeat all of these characters and advance through the rank of toys and eventually fight the white hand super-villain child who is controlling you and forcing you to fight against the other toys. Once defeated, the villain hand drops the player and you become free as the liberator of all the other toys. There is a campaign option as well as a fantastic multi-player option, which allows you to fight up to 3 of your friends at the same time.|
Gameplay: The first person fighting format of the game drew me in immediately because this is one of my favorite genres of games. I was playing with the character kirby who I grew up playing with as a kid. The option of choosing your character amongst a list of classics is an excellent idea because it allows the player to have immediate familiarity and also a nostalgic connection. My emotional state while playing the game was energized. This was partially due to the soundtracks that play in the background. Each level has a unique soundtrack that provides up-beat and fast paced music to accompany the fight. My excitement stems from the objective of the game to defeat the other players in combat. I am naturally competitive and the assortment of combinations and special weaponry adds a lot to the gameplay.
The characters in the game were well picked from the classic videogames growing up. The player can choose his character based on either fighting styles and how well he can compete with their abilities, or because of the nostalgia he feels for mario and others growing up. The characters all have a unique style and some are easier to fight with than others (I am good with Kirby, but sucked with mario for instance). The game's story is simple but effective. The narrative progression is that the player is pitted against other toys because he is forced to by the white hand of his master. As he progresses further, he faces harder levels, more toys, etc. and eventuially earns the right to fight the big boss, the white hand.
The gameplay was excellent!!! The first person combat game is nothing new, but super smash brothers adds a unique twist to this style. The expansive levels allow the character to explore the scene while fighting and looking for objects to fight with simultaneously. These objects drop from the sky and gives the level a very gladiator-like feel where someone is watching the charaxcters fight to the death. The game has excellent flow and progression and is interesting to play so far. This flow is achieved by a clear narrative progression and a clear objective. This allows the player to progress without confusion or hisitation like one would find in a complicated puzzle game. It seems fairly easy because I have gotten pretty far already in the game and I think it is mainly designed for the multiplayer setting.
Gameplay of Second 45 Minute Session: My emotional state while playing the game in this second period was more frustrated than excited. My frustration stems from an inability to advance past a certain villain in the game: metal mario. I was still engaged in the game and the prospect of defeating the antagonists was still alluring, but the increase in difficulty is substancial. After an easy beginning it gets a lot harder half-way through. This is a good feature because it makes the game more fun to play because it is a struggle, but still led to my frustration. The characters in the game get substancially better as the game progresses. The levels increase in difficulty as a result of the villains you fight. The traditional characters are slightly tweeked, such as metal mario and enormous Donkey Kong who you must fight with other allied toys to defeat. Tag-team matches are introduced against Mario and Luigi are the characters feel more connected and less disjointed because of this.
The narrative progression is about the same as the first 45 minute session. There do not appear to be any treasures or rewards for your victories. The character is not rewarded with better weaponry or agility, he is merely allowed to fight the next villain. The narrative progression still works because of the variety of villain you encounter while playing. The player will never fight the same character twice and this makes up for the lack of rewards and treasures in the game. The narrative progression's simplicity is appreciated in a combat game because it is the fighting and not the story that in paramount. The gameplay is still excellent!!! There are no power-ups or treasures, but the more one fights, the more combinations and special moves are revealed. This makes the player a better fighter and of course, there are always special objects that fall from the sky and allow you to fight with fire, or a baseball bat, etc and add an unknown element to the fight. The game is fun to play because of the variation in fighting styles that each character possesses. The game requires strategy and skill, as opposed to random luck, in order to determine that outcome of success or failure. The size of the levels allows the player to fight with a strategy of how to use the space in order to knock the other villain off the screne. The game is interesting and fun to play because the player wants to master all the moves with all the characters.
The social interactions that take place during the game make the game a success. It is a combat game, so of course a healthy amount of competition exists between the players in the multi-player setting. Trashtalking will happen sometimes, but for the most part you get players on the edge of their seats, with eyes glued to the screen. The life count can be set ahead of time and so can the weaponry which makes the fight "fairer." The goal is the same as in the campaign, but the reward shifts to a social reward of being the best player in the room. The player can team up against a single good player or fight alongside a friend against computer bots. The flow is sensational for this setting because of the atmosphere of competition that is established by the gameplay. There is no money to buy objects, no star-power, just fighting. The simplicity of the narrative and simultaneous complexity of the characters and fighting styles is what makes the game a great success.
Design: The design elements of this game, which make it an innovative game are the levels. The levels borrow images and backdrops from all the other major video-games which the characters in the game stem from. That is to say, that Starfox fights behind his own ship. Mario fight in mario-land, etc. The levels have an appropriate feel to them for this reason. Another design element is the weapon selections that appear on the screen. They seem to be generated randomly which can componsate for another player's skill. A bad player with a good weapon has a unique advantage. It keeps the game interesting because it is a combination of luck, random occurence and skill. This keeps the discrepency between players' abilities relatively stable. The levels are varied to be expansive and large, with few boundaries, ranging to small levels where it is easy to fall off the edge and lose a life in your fight. The game provides challenges by introducing different character villains each level. You never fight the same person twice. This means that the player must vary his fighting style to adapt to his opponents constantly. This keeps the narrative and objective steady, while giving variation to the game and keeping it interesting. The game creates conflict by placing another character in the screen who wants to kill you.
The game makes excellent use of space in the game world. There are jumping abilities that players can use to reach nearly the top of every level. This ability to move vertically and horizontally maximize the gamespace in the game world. There are also objects you can enter and exit from to teleport you in certain levels and specific elements of the background that come alive and can kill you in some circumstances (starfox's ship). The tone of the gameworld is fairly well-drawn but pixalated because you are meant to feel like you are in a video game. The white hand is making the characters fight against each other and it is meant to feel "cartooney" rather than realistic. The tone is established in this way and works well. The game does a good job of fostering social interactions because of the multi-player feature. This game gives me ideas concerning villain variation that I plan on implementing in my own game project. The more varied the villains are the more engrossed I feel the player will be. I did not respond really to the game's reward structure because advancing through the levels was reward enough. Fighting harder bosses each level makes it fun though and is a good enough reward. A great game and one of my favorites now for the N64 console!
This entry has been edited 10 times. It was last edited on Feb 8th, 2008 at 22:18:24.
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