Sunday, March 16, 2008
Pixelated Memories : Super Smash Bros
The release of Super Smash Bros. Brawl this week for Nintendo's Wii brought on a whiff of nostalgia for me. The previous iterations of Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo GameCube and Nintendo 64 nearly destroyed my college transcript, while they forged deep friendships among roommates, as deep as those found in the heart of war. OK, that's a bit strong, but it has been a more than six-year wait since the previous version. Here's a look at the new one:
Blame smoking for Super Smash Bros. Brawl issues
It’s undisputable that smoking is hazardous to one’s health, but who could have expected that the smoke from cigarettes could also be harmful to a videogame system?
Super Smash Bros. Brawl was released last Sunday, and will likely be one of Nintendo’s biggest Wii titles for 2008. Several of those who purchased the game found that their Wii consoles had issues reading the disc, preventing it from running.
According to the Boston Herald, second-hand cigarette smoke could be one of the culprits for giving the Wii trouble in reading the disc. Super Smash Bros. Brawl is the biggest Wii game yet, and requires dual-layer DVD media in order to contain all the data. The slightest bit of smoke residue on the optical
Welcome Back, Gamers
The Super Smash Bros. series has always been a bit of a homecoming for gamers who have grown up on Nintendo's releases. The characters are pulled from major franchises of the past 25 or so years, such as Donkey Kong, Metroid and the Legend of Zelda. Brawl features even more favorites. As the game progresses, you collect dozens of "trophies" of characters from the history of Nintendo.
A Simple Concept
For beginners, Brawl is wonderfully simple. You pummel your opponents until they are weak enough to be flung from the stage. Last man -- or beast -- standing is the winner. Unlike other fighting games that bear a panoply of buttons or attack combinations, Brawl has only three basics: attack, jump and block.
Don't Fight Alone
While the core of the Smash Bros. series has been multiplayer, this version features a new single-player game called The Subspace Emissary. In short, it's boring. While it does introduce you to all of the game's characters, Emissary is a monotonous side-scroller and the game changes little after even several hours of play.
Now Playing: Brawl Unplugged
One of the new, lauded features is online play, a staple for other popular franchises such as Halo for Xbox 360. But it didn't work. I tried several times over several days and got the same error message. Online, I saw other players claimed similar trouble. Nintendo says the problem is caused by too many players putting "a strain on the pipeline" but that online performance has been improving every day.
The Bottom Line
The challenge with franchises is to tweak a game enough to attract buyers without alienating longtime fans. Brawl plays that balance well -- the new characters and weapons add dimensions to the play while Nintendo hasn't messed with the basic formula. However, the problems in playing online and the lack of a way to share content outside the Wii platform taint an otherwise enjoyable title.