ericz's Super Smash Brothers (N64)
| [February 9, 2008 05:04:23 AM]
By now I should be used to how absorbing Super Smash Bros. is once you get wrapped up in it, but it still surprises me. It's simply addicting to get good at a certain character's skills (I still prefer Link). It can also be fun to explore a wide range of characters.
The game creates a highly competitive atmosphere. But despite the "battle arena" goal, the different levels can give the game different moods. For example, I find that it's almost hard to take the game seriously when played in the Kirby level. This isn't a bad ting--I just think that particular level gives the game a sillier, lighter mood. On the other hand, when we play the Starfox level, things can get intense outside the TV screen. Maybe it's because each level has it's own music, which really sets the tone of that particular round. The point is, the freedom that players are given to customize each game round (by their choices of characters and level) makes Super Smash Bros. super fun.
Super Smash Bros. employs emergent gameplay more than progressive, and consequently the level design is not the most important aspect of this game's design. In fact, the levels are all small, 2-D floating platforms. But they don't need to be large, because the fun emergent in this game comes from the actions that the players can take.
A key element in Super Smash Bros. is that, depending on which character each player picks, they will each have a different set of actions possible using the same controllers and the same possible buttons. Players build a repertoire of skills as they learn combo moves and unique button sequences for their character. Each player requires a slightly varied fighting style (Kirby may spend a lot of time in the air and pounding other players, while Link will probably stay more on the ground and fight with his sword or other weapons.)
Another key aspect in the design is the limited number of lives. With a small number of times that players can die, it keeps the games to a relatively short time-span (with the exception of the occasional seemingly endless battle between two or more really experienced players, which can actually be drawn out a long time). This, along with the fact that there is always action on some part of the screen, leads to a fast-paced gameplay. Although some may argue that it interrupts flow in the game, I like this fast-paced system. It means that, even if you are eliminated from a round quickly, it will not be long before you can play again with a clean slate in the next round. Nintendo was smart to design a game that caters so perfectly to audiences with short attention spans.
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| [February 9, 2008 05:02:18 AM]
Although Super Smash Bros. for the N64 can be played in single player story mode, I only played in multiplayer battle mode. The goal of this battle arena style fighting game is to outlive all other players. Each player picks a character to play as, and each character has its own qualities (attacks, defenses, and special powers) that may help the player to defeat the other players. Each player is given a set and equal number of lives, and once the player has died (by either falling off the edge of the platform or taking too much damage from other players) enough times, they are removed from the battle. The last remaining player wins the match.
This game really keeps players engaged, and it does this mainly by the large repertoire of skills that the players can possibly build up. Once you've played as a certain character for a couple rounds, you can get proficient at that character's special moves, which boosts the fun of the gameplay experience to a higher level. I found I do well playing as Link, but it's also fun to try out all the different characters' moves.
The falling items also present lots of cool gameplay. Key to this is the variety of items that fall from the sky. Some are better to pick up than others, but a lot depends on player style--I like to pick up Pokeballs, because the monster that comes out is a surprise every time, but other players may not waste their time on them. If an unquestionably desirable object falls (like the hammer, for instance), many players will run for it. The game tends to get much more exciting than one may expect at these moments.
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