Review (Sort of): Super Smash Bros.
An otherwise solid SEGA game is marred by bad online and patently insane references.
“The world looks mighty good to me, ’cause SEGA games are all I see… Whatever it is I think I see- becomes a SEGA game to me!”
The wait is finally over, and SEGA’s celebration of their decades-long heritage is finally here. Yep, Super Smash Bros. has finally arrived for both 3DS and Wii U. All of the great game modes and multiplayer action you expected are here in both versions, but I’m not going to sugar-coat it, SEGA made some really odd decisions when putting these two packages together. How does it ultimately stack up? Let’s find out!
Welcome to the Fantasy Zo- Where’s the Fantasy Zone?
Yes, the controls are tight (although the online really chugs), there are tons of music options, and graphically, both versions push their respective platforms to the limit. You punch and kick your way to victory across several different modes (including a new Sonic Shuffle-inspired board game called “Smash Tour” in the Wii U version), but let’s face it, the reason why most of us play Smash Bros. games is to experience the glorious mash-ups of SEGA characters and franchises. Unfortunately, SEGA Nerds, this is where SEGA really let us down.
Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s really cool that SEGA included games from third party partners like Capcom’s Mega Man of Mega Man 8 (Saturn) and Mega Man the Wily Wars (Mega Drive) fame, and Namco’s Pac-Man from both the Game Gear classic and the Genesis Pac-Man 2. However, SEGA’s own roster is really quite puzzling.
Missing in Action
Of course Sonic is present and accounted for, as is his trademark Green Hill Zone-esque stage. But who else is there? Alex Kidd? Hatsune Miku? NiGHTS? Ulala from Space Channel 5? Bayonetta? Joe Musashi from Shinobi? Blaaaaaze Fiiiieeelding from Streets of Rage? How about other Sonic the Hedgehog characters like Tails or Knuckles?
The answer is “No” on ALL counts, my friends. It really is a shocking turn of events, I know.
So which SEGA characters did make the cut? Well, there’s that guy Captain Falcon from SEGA’s F-Zero AX arcade game. There’s R.O.B., who also appeared in F-Zero as a background fixture the Port Town stage.
SEGA also chose to include Mario, Yoshi, and the rest of the “Special Olympics” half of the Sonic & Mario at the Olympic Games series. I’ve always felt it was cool on SEGA’s part to be politically correct enough to let Mario and his short-bus-riding pals compete in Sonic’s big leagues, but it does feel weird punching Luigi around when he clearly suffers from some serious form of Down syndrome.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t even tell you what SEGA games the other characters hail from, which is really frustrating. For those of you who played Project X Zone, a game littered with several Japan-only characters, I suspect something similar might have happened with Smash Bros. As far as I can tell, Wii Fit Trainer is somehow associated with Rez, Wonderdog must have starred in a Japan-only sequel involving duck hunting, Jigglypuff is some kind of bloated chao, and is Diddy Kong supposed to be the kiwi-flinging monkey from Alex Kidd in Miracle World? Did the Japanese version of Psycho Fox have a laser and go by Star Fox?
Who knows? Who cares? I’m one of the biggest SEGA fans in the world, and I gotta tell ya’, if I don’t know who these characters are, then they must not be anyone that anybody out there cares about. Don’t even get me started on that Ness character, who is such a bland and heartless design that he could almost literally come from any random game ever, ever.
You can collect trophies in the game, and there are a few pieces of SEGA love there that I recognize. Knuckles at least got his own trophy (along with other more obscure Sonic characters like Jet the Hawk and the Deadly Six from Sonic: Lost World). Heck, even Rayman from Ubisoft’s Saturn and Dreamcast titles got a trophy. Like I said, crazy obscure stuff.
Where is the love, SEGA? Why did you ignore so much of your rich heritage for what seems like a Triple-A inside joke? It’s like the whole game is a big, $60 Family Guy gag, except nobody gets the joke. Well, I, for one, ain’t laughing, you soulless bastards. For a SEGA fan though, this is just really disappointing, and we SEGA fans deserved to be so much more.
Just know what you’re getting into before you spend your hard-earned sixty bucks. There are no Golden Axe or Virtua Fighter characters (Seriously, a SEGA fighting game without Virtua Fighter characters? WTF?). No Panzer Dragoon or Skies of Arcadia-themed stages. No Space Harrier or Hatsune Miku tunes. No pedicopter or speed shoe power-ups. Not even an Opa-Opa trophy or a single reference to Shenmue, either (of course). It’s pretty darn sad.
What a waste
If you buy SEGA’s Super Smash Bros. on either system, you will probably enjoy it. It’s well-made, balanced, fast and fun (other than the wonky online experience). But for something that was designed to be chock-full of SEGA fan service, it’s source material is just plain too obscure. Let’s hope that SEGA updates the game with decent characters and stages through DLC and that they throw out these garbage characters in the next iteration of the series. At least it’s pretty easy to make a Mii fighter that looks like Alex Kidd…
So what about all of you out there in SEGA Nerd-land? What would you like to see in SEGA’s next Super Smash Bros. installment?
+ Looks and sounds pretty
+ Fun multiplayer
+ Several control options
– The online lags like crazy
– Who picked this character roster?
– Obscure references nobody will understand or care about
– Olimar sucks & Zero Suit Samus is oversexualized. There, I said it.
***If you didn’t get it already, this whole thing was a big, overly drawn-out joke.