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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Smashing in 3D - Impressions of Super Smash Brothers for Nintendo 3DS

By HEALTH - Waka Waka, Smashing Newcomers. This has roster spoilers!

There has been much debate, worry, and excitement over the latest installment of the hit series, Super Smash Brothers. Debate, as the series continues to spark animosity between the casual and pro players of the games. Worry, over the transition to handhelds; does it control well? Is it hard to see? Does this mean Sakurai can track me wherever I go? And excitement, as it is certainly a new beginning for the franchise, one which we have all been waiting for.

As someone who owns the Japanese version of the game, and have been playing it for the past couple of weeks that it's been out, I hope to allow you a little bit of insight into the game, and to hopefully help you out a little bit in cementing your decision to buy it. 

Super Smash Brothers. for Nintendo 3DS is a large game. (Let's just start with that) Exceptionally so for a handheld fighting game. With a playable roster of 49 characters, (10 more-so than Super Smash Brothers Brawl for the Nintendo Wii) and 34 stages, you can expect a lot of variety in what you'll see in every session that you play.

For starters, I'd like to go over some characters. Unfortunately, if I analyzed every character, I'd run out of space to write, (and run out of time!) so I'll just cover some characters that really stood out.

First up, is KoopaTV's favorite newcomer; Pac-Man.

A nose like Pinnochio, and a smile that belies his ravenous hunger.

Pac-Man is an oddity to the series, in that he is a third-party character. And although it may seem less of an oddity now that Sonic the Hedgehog and Mega Man also feature in the game, he is strange in that he was actually created by the company that created the game. Bandai-Namco own the rights to Pac-Man, and, as they aided Sora LTD in creating this iteration, presumably added him in as their little watermark to their company.

There has been a lot of controversy over his inclusion, but I won't address that here, as I love him, and especially love how he plays in game.

Pac-Man's attacks pay homage to various Namco Bandai franchises, including Galaga. (There are also a couple of items that are Galaga ships!) It serves as a treat to fans of the various retro games that Pac-Man hurls around on a whim, embodying a sense of nostalgia not found in many other characters.

As a slower character, Pac-Man hits very hard. His neutral B attack summons a set order of Namco Bandai franchise sprites, ending with a key from Pac-Man. They each progressively get stronger, and when you press B again, Pac-Man will throw the item at someone, dealing damage based on what you stopped on. The items however, appear more rapidly the longer you wait, and can amount to no item, and a waste of an attack. Timing is everything!

His side B attack is one of the most interesting attacks I've seen in Smash Bros. history, and allows you to summon pellets in a line, which you can maneuver in a curved line for a couple of feet, ending at a large pellet with a very powerful attack if an enemy is caught up in it. You can release before gaining the full amount of pellet line, and end it before you go further than you want to. I'd say it's equivalent in power to a low-powered smash-attack, which is very good for a recovery/movement special I'd say.

His up B allows Pac-Man to summon a trampoline, which turns him into his original form, and can be bounced on thrice by any player, doing damage when Pac-Man connects with someone in his upwards ascent. The last trampoline jump is extremely high, and quite possibly one of the stronger recovery moves in the game.

The last B attack, allows Pac-Man to drop a fire hydrant and deal damage if landing upon an enemy. It has holes that fire water streams from the top or both sides, depending on where the closest character to it is. No damage is dealt on push, but it serves as a little extra leverage in stopping recovery.

Pac-Man's Final Smash turns him into a giant version of his classic self, Waka-Wakaing away, and upon chomping enemies, turns them into ghosts from the original game! It's a wonderful Final Smash, and it's genuinely powerful.

Overall, he's a very well-rounded character, and my favorite of the new additions to the game! But that doesn't mean I didn't love some of the other characters!

My second, and last character is one that certainly took the world by surprise; Dr Mario!

No, this isn't his official art. It was DOCTORED together!

A returnee to Smash, people had expected Dr Mario to return as a costume for Mario. Of course, that would be the logical thing to do, but we all know how Sakurai thinks. Playing much the same as Mario, this doctor packs more on the offensive side than his plumbing alter-ego, and certainly was more of a deserved addition than some other clones.

Neutral B wise, you prescribe pills to players that probably don't need them. In fact, they need them so little that it deals damage to them! I prefer this attack to the fireball, as it seems to have an easier connect rate, but I'm probably just blowing hot air out.

With Dr Mario's up B attack, you can expect to get a nice Mario block jump attack. However, it's different in that no coins appear, and it feels very much like Luigi's, albeit a little less rocket based. It remains a very good recovery move, and finisher for combo juggles. A favorite of mine.

Side B remains the same, his lab coat reflecting projectiles, and sending players in a different direction if they get caught up in it. It's a weak move, but it serves its purpose. Not much else to say here except it's useful in mix-ups.

Down B is where it gets funky, and where Dr Mario shines. No more do you have to suffer F.L.U.D.D. and instead, you get that lovely spin that we all missed so much. This makes Dr Mario one of my favorite characters, and as in previous installments, if you tap B even more as you use it, you go up into the air slightly. It's extremely useful as a move to land on the ground with, and can KO at higher percentages.

Overall, Dr Mario is one of my favorite characters, and certainly one that I was beyond happy to see return, as I loved playing as him in Melee. Although, I thought it was Ridley when I unlocked him so that was a bit of a disappointment. Regardless, look forward to unlocking him later on in your Smash journey!

On the subject of stages, however, there are a number which really stick out.

Dr Wily's Castle in particular makes me especially happy, with the Yellow Devil appearing and causing carnage upon every fighter on the stage.

Another stage which sticks out is Mute City, which is a very clever stage, in which it is set in the world of the original F-Zero game for SNES, being a moving stage, and following sprites of the racers. It acts like most other F-Zero stages, but it improves upon them with a kick-ass soundtrack.

Which leads me onto my next thoughts; the OST!

Each stage on the 3DS version unfortunately holds 2 different tracks which can be forced to be chosen by either holding the R button or not holding the R button when selecting a stage. These tracks vary from being sub-par to their original versions, to being beyond a step above, and something you'd like to listen to in the gym while pumping weight!

Megaman 2's Airman Stage is a highlight to me.

You can select what music you'd like to appear in Smash Run mode, which has some tracks like the above song that don't appear in stages. (A bit pointless if you ask me!) It's a shame, considering some of the best tracks AREN'T on stages, but only in Smash Run.

Overall, it's one of the best soundtrack in a game this year, as it takes some of the best songs from the various franchises, (Live and Learn, anyone?) and turns some of them up to 11.

In conclusion, I've had a lot of fun playing Super Smash Brothers for Nintendo 3DS. It comes out in just over a day, so I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!

Health is a genuine Pac-Man lover, and needs help. Please call 911 as soon as possible.

For another one of Health's KoopaTV guest commentaries, click here. It's about Dragon Quest!
Ludwig thinks being a Pac-Man lover is crazy, and trashes Pac-Man's play style.

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