Thursday, 20 March 2014

So Smashin'...

I watched this documentary about the pro scene in Smash Brothers Melee last night. In fact there are 9 episodes and I ended up watching them all in a row! I'm kinda obsessive like that. I didn't realise that there was such a history with the game, but I remember watching Evo 2013 where it was featured as a "guest" game next to the usual Street Fighters etc...

Smash Bro's Melee differs in other fighting games as it is first and foremost, a "party" game. Anyone can pick it up and play, and enjoy the complete craziness going on. The most common phrase that I hear when people play this game is "Where the hell am I??"! The game can have 4 players all fighting it out on a [kinda] 2D stage. Each player has a % number, and the higher that number is the more prone to being hit further you are. Once you get hit or fall off the stage you lose a life, or in this game called a stock. What is great about this game is that Nintendo has integrated a ton of characters from other games here. There is Zelda, Link, Mario, Luigi, various Pokemon like Pikachu, and Jigglypuff, Kirby, Fox and Falco, Dr Mario, Donkey King to say the least!

I really love this kinda thing, something starting out as a party game and then turning into something else. I remember that I used to play this game with my friends back in London, and how we would all have our own preferences on different characters. I used Kirby because he could jump 5 times, had a bunch of moves which were funny, could "eat" other characters and steal their powers or more hilariously was to eat them then jump off the ledge and spit them out! All in all, he was super cute!

Gameplay screen! % above 100 are very prone to being KO'd off the screen.
I remember watching this at Evo 2013. It was a "guest" fighting game added in, of which they had to fight for their game to be there by having a charity fundraiser vs another game, which managed to raise an insane $95k! Just shows how generous we can be when its something we really care about.

Pro games are 1v1, and contain a lot of advanced techniques that have developed over time. I don't fully understand all of them to be honest but here's the gist of some techniques used;

Wavedashing - This is a way of manipulating the character to slide around faster then usual, in order to dodge attacks or adjust your positioning.
Directional Influence (DI) - Pressing a directional button when getting hit to avoid flying off the screen faster then normal.
Chain Throwing - Repeatedly throwing your opponent in the air multiple times.
Jump Cancelling - In this game all the characters can double jump (Jigglypuff and Kirby can jump 5 times). It can be useful to cancel the 2nd jump a lot of the times, when you want to change your positioning or adjust to your opponent's moves.
Dash Dodging - Involves running towards your opponent and then back dodging when they try to hit you, making them vulnerable once they miss.

More advanced stuff here.

One of the things that I really like about the game is that having your characters fall off the edge really adds to the strategy of the game. Its not just about combos, and then once you have a lead being defensive. But that element adds more strategies to how you can fight your way back into the game when behind. Things like having combos ending with a downsmash whilst in the air KO'ing your opponent off the edge, or staying by a ledge to make your opponent unable to get back on the stage (known as Ledge Hogging) are some other elements that are unique to this game.

I've heard that they will be introducing Smash Brothers Melee again at MLG Anahiem, so next to Starcraft I can wait to watch this!