This review is taken from a series of reviews I did a couple of years ago concerning the fighters available for the N64.
If there is one thing that Nintendo has accomplished, it is, establishing likable familiar video game characters. Those characters are what has charted the pathway of Nintendo’s success as a video game company. Seemingly Nintendo has built their hardware around the games hosting these characters. Each and everyone of those franchises has their fan base that eagerly waits for the next big game with their beloved characters. It was pure genius on someone’s part to take those characters, group them all together, and place them into a fighting game. You have an instant seller.
Yes I purchased the Japanese version. It was a lot cheaper than the US one.
Odd, I have had a difficult time getting into this fighter. One of the hindrances has been, I do not find it as appealing as the previous fighters. Maybe it is just me, but I enjoy these characters in their original gaming environment. Another hindrance has been the difficulty I am finding in learning to control my fighter. The control does not seem as tight as I am accustom to, nor find in other fighters. Maybe it is just the button configuration. Maybe there is an awkwardness in using the characters in a way that I am not familiar. I want to control Samus Aran. But I am becoming frustrated. At first I thought it was the controller, but no, even after changing out controllers I am still having what seems like a slight hesitation, or slugishness, even a floatiness. Maybe some of this is just the N64 controller itself. I end up feeling that I am getting a lot of “cheap shots” from my opponent. That rubs my fur the wrong way when I sit down to a game and this hits me in the face. (No pun intended.) Yes I know this is a beloved Nintendo fan’s dream game which has become a franchise in and of itself. But it just suddenly struck me that maybe this is not a game for everyone. I went into this thinking that it was, ……. surprise. It is fan based, but I see this game as one for the younger Nintendo audience, Family time, or a multiplayer party game. And I think that this is the target audience, and the intent, in the game design. I am not finding it satisfying as a single player experience. But, as in every other game, the key to success is learning to become one with your fighter.
The graphics and stage designs are only as Nintendo can put together, awesome and excellent. The character animations are a joy. In each stage you have different platforms, at different heights, to fight from as well as ringouts to deal with. The stages are familiar as the concepts are taken from each fighter’s own games. The welcome powerups add to the fast pace chaotic fighting. You get a percentage marked against you, and increases, as you are hit. All of this, as a whole, adds to the depth of the gameplay. Making it a deeper game than it might first appear. This is a 2D fighter in a pseudo 3D environment.
This is a game that I personally did not find intuitive in the game’s controls. I think I went into it with expectations that this was just another fighting game with familiar controls. You really have to set back and strip away all of that from your thinking, especially if you are a fighting game fan. Nintendo does its best to maintain each character’s familiar signature moves. This changes the feel of the game as a traditional fighter. And pulling off some of the moves can prove to be difficult in the fast paced gameplay. It becomes a game in which you “learn to play” in order to succeed. And that is not a bad thing. Your approach is the same as with any other new game. You learn how to play it to get the most out of the experience. As a gamer, we do this without thinking all the time. It has a built in tutorial showing you how to play.
Due to the nature of this game in its party design, and gameplay, it became a system seller. No other fighter offers a better simultaneous four player experience on this system. (It almost borderlines Bomberman status in my book.) And largely in part, because of the draw of familiar, and popular, characters from the Nintendo universe it has been another one of those instant Nintendo successes.
I did finally find my fighter and I had fun with this game. Please don’t interpret my review as being negative. I approached this from the perspective of a fan of the fighting genre. Personally I think that if this game had been introduced in the arcades during the 90’s this would have been up there with the best. I rate this game as “system seller.” This game goes to the top of my list of N64 fighters. And that is mainly due to the multiplayer madness.
Mario dressed as Wario with a light saber in the Star Fox stage, priceless.