Super Smash Bros. 3DS: A classic revitalized

By Alessandro Arena-DeRosa

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(Super Smash Bros./MCT)

(Super Smash Bros./MCT)

Super Smash Bros., Nintendo’s cross-franchise and fast-paced fighting game series, has become a household name since its original release on the Nintendo 64 back in 1999. Since then, the game has had four iterations, each adding fighters, items, maps and challenges for players to dive into.

Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo 3DS is no exception in this trend, and is quite possibly the best game in the series.

While the game lacks the iconic intro sequences the Smash series is accustomed to, it hits the ground running with an opening 39-fighter roster ready to battle and an additional 12 that can be unlocked. While there is a great deal of similarity between some characters (like Lucina and Marth’s near-identical move sets), most play in varied and interesting ways while still maintaining the easy-to-pick-up feel that made the series so popular.

Characters such as Duckhunt Dog and Pac Man may seem like odd additions, but the Wii-Fit Trainer, Little Mac, Mega Man and the Villager are welcome and interesting additions to the roster. Some will be disappointed to hear that the much beloved Ice Climbers and the memorable Mew-Two don’t make an appearance on the game’s roster, although Nintendo has hinted at selling them as downloadable content.

Maps are also an integral part of any Smash game, and Super Smash Bros. 3DS delivers a fairly varied palette. There are some returning classics from the series, including Brinstar Depths and, of course, Corneria, but not as many as I would have liked to see. Many of the new maps make up for this such as the Mega Man inspired Dr. Willy’s Fortress, which include clever stage hazards and even a boss character that occasionally appears.

Nintendo also caters to the tournament scene by allowing players to fight on Ultimate versions of each stage, which are essentially flat and standardized versions of each stage with the background color and flavor to avoid the tedium of a Final Destination layout. The tournament scene also seems to have had an impact on the combat, which now has a heavier and weighted feel. Games play faster and quicker and moves hit harder than they did in Brawl, instead resembling how the game played in Melee.

Playing as a single player, the game ditches the story-based Subspace Emissary campaign mode from Brawl in favor of a more traditional “Classic Mode” where the player chooses a fighter and battles through a series of matches of increasing difficulty, and finally challenges the Master Hand.

Other single player modes include the nostalgic Homerun Contest and the new Angry Bird-esc Target Smash to keep the player occupied. These are paired with the return of the challenge board, which encourages players to try all of the game’s many elements. In fact, for a game based around multiplayer fighting, it maintains a surprisingly strong single-player element that can entertain a player for hours.

The game adds a new customization feature where you can modify the moves of current fighters and even create your own fighter based off your Miis. It’s a clever and effective way to add more depth to an already complex yet easy to play game. This is coupled with the 3DS exclusive Smash Run mode where players battle around an enormous map for five minutes, gaining skills, items and ability boosts, culminating in a final battle using all they’ve acquired. Of the few times I’ve played this with friends it’s been a uniquely entertaining experience.

The game is rich with clean and updated graphics, which look surprisingly polished on the 3DS or the intuitive online play feature. There is also more customizability in match rules and the way maps are selected. To complete this great mashup of games, the soundtrack is full of clever remixes and nostalgic nods at the many franchises Nintendo combines.

Super Smash Bros. 3DS is a game that combines everything players have loved about the series, while building on top of it. Its return to a slower, more weighted combat system and the small tweaks made to every character are a testament to the games improvements, not to mention the additional maps, fighters and customizations. If you’ve never enjoyed the series or find brawlers or a lack of story to be boring, stay away, as this game is more of the same. However, if more of the same sounds good to you, especially if you have friends who play, this is not a game you want to miss.

Alessandro Arena-DeRosa can be reached at [email protected]