Ranking the Super Smash Bros. Games

super smash bros 4Last week, Nintendo gave the gaming world a gift by revealing new information on the highly anticipated Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. During a Nintendo Direct presentation solely dedicated to the upcoming sixth installment of the series, the video game conglomerate revealed a slew of juicy details, including a roster of over 70 characters (King K-Rool!), a collection of over 100 stages, and a playlist of over 800 songs from classic games. Needless to say, this got me and many other gamers across the world hyped.

During this moment of excitement, all I wanted to do was pull out my Wii U and fire up my copy of SSB4. That is until I remembered that I sold my Wii U and all of the games I had for it when I bought my Switch. So to quell my Smash Bros. cravings, I started reminiscing on all of the fond memories I’ve had with the series, which eventually led me to create this list. Let’s get started, shall we? Here are my favorite Super Smash Bros. games ranked from least awesome to most awesome!

  1. Super Smash Bros. for 3DS

super smash bros 3dsTo be fair, this is the version I’ve spent the least amount of time playing, so take this low ranking with a grain of salt. While I applaud the move to take Smash Bros. mobile, the execution just isn’t there. The buttons and analogue sticks on the 3DS are too small for the chaotic, fast-paced action. Time and time again, I paid the price because the controls prevented me from executing a dodge roll or smash attack; and my hands aren’t that big. Also, the multiplayer is nearly unplayable because of lag. The prospect of smashing online on the go thrilled me, but severe connectivity issues quickly put a damper on that.

On the bright side, this portable Smash offers just as expansive of a roster and stage selection as its Wii U counterpart. Equally impressive are the visuals. While not as crisp as more recent installments, it pushes the capabilities of the 3DS to the fullest. Because of the hardware limitations of the handheld, Super Smash Bros. for 3DS leverages cel shading to create colorful, vibrant visuals that don’t tank the framerate. All in all, it serves its purpose of allowing you to get some smashing in when out and about, but when it comes down to brass tax, I would never choose to play it over any of the other installments.

  1. Super Smash Bros. (N64)

super smash bros 64Many people, primarily dude bros, will tell you this is the best Smash Bros. game. I’ll argue until I’m blue in the face that it’s far from it, and I have done so many times. Frankly, it hasn’t aged well. The graphics are super shitty and blocky, the character roster is laughably limited, and it’s WAY too easy to edge kill. Kirby is overpowered, Link’s up B is a joke, and there is no air dodge. At the time, it was fantastic, but now that there are better, more polished installments, the only reason I can fathom anyone playing this game is to satisfy a nostalgia boner.

Now that I’ve gotten the bad off my chest, let’s go through the good. Although I just shit all over this classic, I still do love it because without it, none of the better games that came after it would exist. It broke ground in the gaming industry, presenting a new type of party fighting game that anyone could pick up and play – hardcores and casuals alike. It introduced bold, new ideas and allowed us to kick the crap out of each other with our favorite video game characters. So while I’ll play most other Smash Brothers games over Super Smash Bros. 64, I respect and appreciate it for paving the way.

  1. Super Smash Bros. Brawl

super smash bros brawlI spent far too much time playing Super Smash Bros. Brawl in high school. From its deeply satisfying Subspace Emissary story mode to its highly addicting stadium games, this installment is chock full of excellent content. With an astounding 43 characters, including newcomers like Solid Snake, Toon Link, and King Dedede, it offered the most expansive character roster at the time. Additionally, it upped the total of stages from 10 to 41, delivering 31 new arenas to brawl on.

On top of all of that good stuff, some major gameplay tweaks were made to appeal to a wider audience. In comparison to Melee, Brawl is a bit slower – falling speed of characters is reduced, dashing doesn’t increase forward momentum in midair as much, meteor cancelling requires slightly longer wait times, etc. Additionally, the characters don’t move in the opposite direction when aerial dodging, presenting more options in the air, but making wavedashing impossible. While some of these changes irked hardcore Melee players, it made the game more appealing to casuals who are just trying to have fun.

  1. Super Smash Bros Wii U

super smash bros for wii uEssentially a more polished version of Brawl, Super Smash Bros. Wii U introduces some awesome new features, including 8-Player Smash, Smash Tour, and character creation and customization. Additionally, it massively improves online play, offering a fairly smooth gaming experience that’s mostly free of issues (I would be lying if I said I never lagged out or was dropped from a game). I also love that it offers a choice between playing ranked (For Glory) and for fun, presenting multiplayer options for hardcore and casual players.

In addition to upgrading the visuals and adding new characters, Super Smash Bros. Wii U made some gameplay tweaks that helped it reach a perfect middle ground between Brawl and Melee. Character speed is slightly faster and mobility is more flexible than in Brawl, allowing players to pivot for the first time since Melee and Smash 64. Other tweaks, such as the toning down of hitstun cancelling and the removal of chain grab attacks also make it much less frustrating than previous installments.

  1. Super Smash Bros Melee

super smash bros meleeCan you believe that it has been 17 years since this masterpiece graced our Nintendo GameCubes. A massive improvement on Super Smash Bros. 64, Melee set the standard for the rest of the installments in the series. Think about it: No Smash game did a better job improving on its predecessor in every way than Melee. In addition to significantly increasing the number of characters and stages, it introduced new techniques, such as wavedashing, side B attacks, teching, smash attack charging, and sidestep and air dodging.

Somehow the graphics still hold up, even to today’s standards. Considering how long ago it was made, the visuals are astonishing. Greater detail in textures make for smooth, polished characters and stages, which is a major step up from the lumpy art style of Super Smash Bros. 64. In terms of gameplay, many consider it to be the version that requires the most skill, which is why it still has such an intricate and well-established competitive scene nearly two decades after its release. In fact, most people I play with still prefer to use the GameCube controller because they believe it is the most optimal.

It’s because of Melee that Super Smash Bros. is revered as one of the best fighting game series of all time. It is pick of the litter, the crème de la crème, and the best of the best. There aren’t enough superlatives or idioms to help me express how much I love this game. However, I’m hopeful that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will take its place in my heart when it hits shelves this December. For now, I’ll try to keep my expectations at bay.

Are you a Super Smash Bros fan? If so, how would you rank the series? If not, which fighting game series do you think is better? Share your opinions in the comment section below!

9 thoughts on “Ranking the Super Smash Bros. Games

  1. I get the feeling my ranked list would look very similar. I wanted to like Brawl, but even at the time, I realized it was a step down from Melee. It’ll be interesting to see how Ultimate factors into the list.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great List! I couldn’t so a SSB rankings because I’ve only played 64, Melee and Brawl but I love your list and reasoning. Thanks for sharing! Out of the 3 I would rank Melee number 1, 64 number 2 and Brawl 3rd.

    -Luna 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I may. My co-workers want me to get the game so that will probably happen. I still haven’t purchased a Switch yet, but this month or next month I will because I want to play the new Mario Party lol.

        Liked by 1 person

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