What's the best Super Smash Bros. of all time? As we look forward to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate on the Nintendo Switch – which we sincerely hope lives up to its name – we decided it was time to take a look at what's come before to determine where each entry sits in the ranking.
The end result is fairly obvious. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is going to have to be an absolute beast to beat that title. But we aren't going to provide any spoilers, so just read on to learn where each Super Smash Bros. sits in our ranking.
It's usually a good sign if the very first entry in a franchise sits at the bottom of the pecking order. That should be the worst it ever gets, as it suggests that the franchise has grown since. So it's by no means a slight on the excellent Super Smash Bros. that it sits at the bottom of the pile.
It might not be the strongest entry, but it kicked off the franchise in style. At the time, the idea of a fighting game without health bars was pretty revolutionary. Instead, you'd beat up an opponent to increase a percentage bar. The higher this bar, the more that player will get knocked back by an opponent's attacks. The goal is to knock your opponent out of the arena entirely.
The control scheme is also considerably less complicated than fighters such as Street Fighter or Tekken, with each character sharing the same controls. The depth comes from a weight system similar to Mario Kart, with heavier characters being more difficult to fling out of the arena than lighter characters, but lighter characters finding it easier to recover.
Include weapons and power-ups to pick up along the way, platforming elements, and the ability to play with four people in multiplayer, and you can consider Super Smash Bros. to be an incredibly revolutionary title at the time, that reinvented the fighting genre.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl is a victim of its age. It built on everything that came before it, introducing a wealth of new features like online multiplayer, third party characters, and a massive single-player mode, and allowed support for a greater range of controllers than ever before.
Unfortunately though, its successors included all of these and more. So while Brawl gets a nice big salute from us, this is the highest the poor game can climb in this list.
Super Smash Bros. for 3DS introduced the ability to customise your Smash fighters by changing their attacks and providing them with unique power-ups. That way, you can create a playstyle that works best for you. It also introduced amiibo into the mix, allowing you to train CPU characters and import them into a match with a simple tap of the amiibo on the NFC reader.
Super Smash Bros. 3DS was the same game you could get on Wii U, except you could take it on the go with you. The portable version included support for the 3DS's stereoscopic 3D, optional cel-shading for the characters, and two exclusive modes: Smash Run and StreetSmash.
If Super Smash Bros for Wii U is the same game as the 3DS Super Smash Bros., why is it higher? Well, that's simple: it included a local play mode that allows you to play with a whopping eight players for the first time ever. Oh, and the 1080p HD visuals certainly help.
On top of that, you've got three exclusive modes: Smash Tour, Special Orders, and Event Mode, support for a wealth of controllers, and the inclusion of Special Smash.
So basically, the Wii U version has way more of what we love from Super Smash Bros..
Ah, Super Smash Bros. Melee. It never got any better than you, did it? Melee nailed the formula to such an insane extent that it remains the go-to Super Smash Bros. for tournaments even today. In fact, it's the sole reason why Nintendo just can't give up on GameCube controllers, giving us those 'Melee feels' when we play any other Smash Bros. entry.
So why has Super Smash Bros. Melee remained at the top of the pile for so many years? Well, there are numerous different reasons. Fans will say it's tighter, faster and requires more skill. They'll point to it being far more entertaining to watch than its successors, down to this faster pace. They'll point towards the better balance. The truth is, it's all of those things.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has a heck of a fight on its hands to deserve the 'Ultimate' in its title.
Where does your favourite Super Smash Bros. sit in the list? Do you agree with Melee taking the ultimate trophy? Do you think Ultimate has what it takes to beat it? Let us know in the comments section below.