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New 'Smash Bros.' Is Even Better Than Expected

  The Super Smash Bros. series has always been one of my favorites. When the original came out for the Nintendo 64 in 1999, I discovered it at Blockbuster Video and rented it at least a dozen times. Thirteen years ago, I stood outside a Gamestop all night in line to get Super Smash Brothers Melee for the then newly released Nintendo Gamecube, and I played it with three of my friends until after the sun came up.

I grew up with these games, and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to see them as anything other than perfect. That said, I have high standards for this franchise.

Now that you can buy most games for download on almost all systems, I didn’t have to sit outside waiting for the clock to tick over to midnight to get my copy of the new Smash Brothers for the Nintendo 3DS. Instead, I bought the game online at home, and 10 minutes later it was ready to play.

Smash Bros. is not a traditional fighting game. Up to four players can battle at once, choosing from Nintendo’s wide pantheon of characters. Instead of trying to hit your opponents enough that they run out of health, your goal is to launch them off the screen. At first, the characters are heavy and can easily stay planted on the ground, but each attack they endure makes them fly back a little further. Eventually even the smallest assault sends them flying.

Smash Bros. for the 3DS immediately surprised me. Traditionally, the version of a game for a portable console has been lesser - cut features and a shorter story to serve as an appetizer before the main dish of its home console counterpart. But here we have what I never thought would be possible: pure, unadulterated Smash Bros. The game plays as smoothly as it ever did on consoles, and manages to have even more characters join in the fight.

I’ve found almost nothing to criticize about this game, other than the fact that having four systems and four copies of the game to play four-player matchups is far more expensive than buying some extra controllers for a console. But for that, I can be patient: a new Smash Bros. game is coming out for the Wii U on November 21.

Samuel McConnell is a games enthusiast who has been playing games in one form or another since 1991. He was born in northern Maine but quickly transplanted to Wichita.