Friday, October 3, 2014

Top Ten Super Smash Bros. Series Stages

Such alliteration for a top ten list! Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, the first of a duo of Smash games being released, has launched in North America and Europe. While not every place in the world has the game yet, the majority seems to, so what a perfect way to celebrate the next generation of Smash with a top ten list talking about my favorite stages of the series! By no means is this an objective list by any stretch of the imagination. This is merely a selection of my personal favorites, so take a deep breath, stop sulking over the loss of the Ice Climbers, and get ready for some Super Smash Bros. stage action!

10) Rumble Falls - Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii)

Right off the bat with my list you will notice I couldn't care less about whether a Smash stage is banned in the competitive field or not. I'm no competitive player, and I never will be. Of course, if you are, that's fantastic, and may your skills always be improving!

With that out of the way, Rumble Falls is a bongo drum-bashing salute to Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat. It has an obvious similarity to Icicle Mountain from Super Smash Bros. Melee in that it scrolls upward. However, unlike Icicle Mountain, Rumble Falls only moves upward and not downward intermittently.

At times during a brawl, the stage can speed up, requiring combatants to forget about fighting and focus on jumping up on the plethora of platforms, 'else they lose pace with the screen and get K.O.'d. Rumble Falls presents players with the aforementioned platforms, as well as ladders, buttons to activate traps, and dangerous thorns and spikes that will cause for a painful experience to an unobservant fighter.

9) Delfino Plaza - Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii)

If you don't have the time to fully invest in a session of Super Mario Sunshine, you can take a tour of the game's hub, Delfino Plaza, within Super Smash Bros. Brawl instead! This stage transports players around the tropical town via a propeller-propelled (is that redundant?) platform, dropping them in various locations. Each spot has its own set of natural platforms, landmarks, and features to them to keep fights interesting. Past Smash Bros. games would have battle participants sink line a stone in the ocean waters, but in Brawl, players were able to tread water for a limited time. It wasn't certain death this time around to go for a little swim. Delfino Plaza not only serves as a fascinating and fun stage to fight on, but it gives me good memories of Super Mario Sunshine in the process.

8) Brinstar Depths - Super Smash Bros. Melee (GCN)

Are you looking for an innovative stage? Then why not give Brinstar Depths a spin? To be truthful, the giant, green, lava-loving monster Kraid will give the battleground a spin regardless. Brinstar Depths is an unlockable level with Super Smash Bros. Melee and features a giant meteor as the primary floor to battle on. During fights, Kraid will emerge from the lava and interact with the platform, rotating it some-odd degrees. This makes fights all the more interesting, not knowing when Kraid will arise and which direction the battleground will turn.

7) Temple - Super Smash Bros. Melee (GCN)

Temple, based on the Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, was the largest stage in series history. That was until Super Smash Bros. Brawl's New Pork City came along (and soon-to-be Super Smash Bros. for Wii U's Palutena's Temple). Temple features various venues in its large exterior to participate in pugilistic and special attack contests in. It has a top level and a lower level. The latter can result in prolonged battles, as the stage geometry is made up so characters cannot be K.O.'d so easily, even when they are at high damage percentages. Meanwhile, the top offers great vantage points, especially for ranged fighters. It's all too easy to play cat and mouse with players, a reason why this stage is understandably banned from tournament play. I happen to like it because of the varying geography, locations to fight in and on, and the aesthetics.

6) Great Bay - Super Smash Bros. Melee (GCN)

Let's keep The Legend of Zelda as a theme going here with my second of three Zelda stage picks. Great Bay is based off of Majora's Mask, and it rests in the middle of the ocean waters, just off the main coast of the area. It features three distinct platforms, the main one at the highest point contains the Marine Laboratory. The lower platforms, one on each side of the main platform, are much smaller in size, perfect for easy K.O.'s if you're into that sort of thing. The battles here are mighty interesting! Occasionally a turtle enters the arena, making for a makeshift island for combatants to battle on, even housing a pair of palm trees for some elevation excitement. Great Bay is an enjoyable level from one of the most cherished titles in The Legend of Zelda franchise.

5) Yoshi's Island - Super Smash Bros. Melee (GCN)

For suckers of Super Mario World, the Yoshi's Island stage in Super Smash Bros. Melee probably holds a close place near your nostalgic hearts. However, that's not my only reason for choosing the stage as my number five pick. No, the design of the stage itself is something special, featuring two slopes on either side of the main battle area. One on the left is a warp pipe which is supported by two miniature pipes, and the other side houses a hill that can K.O. a player if they stray too far to the right. In the middle of battleground is a collection of blocks that when hit, spin around, no longer enabling players to stand on them. This means the pit in the middle can be wide open for foolhardy players to fall into. Yoshi's Island sports a unique aesthetic and exciting design, making it one of my faves.

4) Saffron City - Super Smash Bros. (N64)

Just like I'm a lover of city-based courses in the kart racing games, I love city-based stages in the Super Smash Bros. series. Saffron City from the original Nintendo 64 Super Smash Bros. is a favorite of mine due to its battles that take place on various building tops, such as the infamous Silph Corporation from the very first Pokemon series of games, which makes up the largest amount of real estate in the stage. Many times Pokemon will exit the rooftop door to make a quick cameo appearance, as well as causing all sorts of trouble for battle participants. Saffron City is an always busy metropolis that makes for an almost always interesting battleground for Smash all-stars to fight in.

3) Hyrule Castle - Super Smash Bros. (N64)

The third and final Legend of Zelda stage representative on my list, Hyrule Castle is also from the original Super Smash Bros. It is a rather expansive stage that takes place on the rooftop of the titular castle and comes with multiple elevations to keep battles entertaining. For instance, the middle part of the castle features a tower of three platforms each. Who knows what their original purpose is. Perhaps that's how Zelda escapes unnoticed for a night of binge drinking? Regardless, there's also areas to the left and right of the middle tower, which also house their own interesting geometry, such as the sloped roof on the left and the right has something similar to a gazebo, fresh with its own window. During battles winds can strongly blow on the rooftop, spawning small whirlwinds that can damage unbeknownst fighters and make for a bad hair day to boot.

2) Corneria - Super Smash Bros. Melee (GCN)

A battle aboard the Great Fox amid a flight through the Cornerian countryside and capital city? Where do I sign up? Oh, I just have to select the stage-- no signing required? Corneria in Super Smash Bros. Melee takes the Sector Z stage of the original Super Smash Bros., makes it smaller, and of course, takes it out of the loneliness of space to make a stage with less chances to run away and more options to participate in some grand fights. Arwings fly down a fire alongside the Great Fox, and the Great Fox itself can charge its two powerful laser beams to blast anyone foolish enough to fall in front of it. It seems that Corneria is such a popular stage that the development team of the Smash games couldn't help but include it in not one Smash sequel, Brawl, but two, the Nintendo 3DS game.

1) Onett - Super Smash Bros. Melee (GCN)

My number one favorite Super Smash Bros. stage as of Super Smash Bros. Brawl is Melee's Onett stage, the first representative stage of the EarthBound series. Its wide array of bright colors, multitude of fascinating geometry, and stage gimmicks make for exciting battles. Three major buildings make up the battlefield, with the middle being but a couple of awnings that will fall apart when enough weight has been exerted onto them. The left and right buildings are are shorter, but each possess their own quirks like slanted rooftops. The right building contains a power line over it that can be traversed on. The last main attraction to Onett is the intermittent traffic that can make battles in the street very painful for an unlucky bystander. Cars occasionally pass through the usually bare streets, causing some smashing damage to anyone caught in its path. This all adds up to a stage that is without a doubt my favorite, Onett.

Honorable Mentions:

Mushroom Kingdom - Super Smash Bros. (N64)
Princess Peach's Castle - Super Smash Bros. Melee (GCN)
Rainbow Cruise - Super Smash Bros. Melee (GCN)
Kongo Jungle - Super Smash Bros. Melee (GCN)
Mute City - Super Smash Bros. Melee (GCN)
Port Town: Aero Dive - Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii)
Frigate Orpheon - Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii)
Pirate Ship - Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii)
Mario Circuit - Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii)
Skyworld - Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii)
Smashville - Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii)

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