With over ten thousand fans already signed up for the upcoming Super Smash Flash 2 online versus mode, it is not surprising that the folks at McLeod Gaming are really proud of their latest game. Of course, the final version of SSF2 is still in the works, and the only things fans can do is to wait and to play the already awesome SSF2 demo. So, the big question for today is: what is the SSF2 demo all about? Well the good thing is that unlike most pre-conceived notions of what constitutes for a game "demo", v0.9 of SSF2 is more like an early build of the game than a sampler piece, which is a great thing. Read on to find out what makes this demo a cut above the rest.
Animation is Everything
The visual trademark of the Super Smash Flash series is that the game reinvents the Super Smash Bros. fighting game from 3D into 2D. And considering the fact that the video game icons bashing each other out in Smash were most originally in 2D, the switch from polygon models to the character sprites is not all that hard. This means that the developers had accurate sources to base off content from. Of course, there was still plenty of skill shown when it came to creating 2D character art for other characters.
Still, the biggest thing to consider with 2D artwork is not the character details -but how well it all animates. McLeod's super smash flash 2 showcases plenty of animated content, from the backgrounds, to the glorious opening intro, to the insane amount of character animations during combat. This game is visually impressive, and when you see the amount of detail given to the various neutral character stances to the stage-wide smash ball super moves, it is easy to see where plenty of the developer's efforts went.
A Full Fighting Game
The animations certainly took plenty of work, but the gameplay balance and combat system probably took the largest bulk of the effort. Creating a game is one thing, but a fighting game is a whole other species. In this genre, it is not just about getting a character from point A to point B, it is about being able to choose any character on the roster and feel as if none of the choices in the select screen are ‘better'.
Creating a sense of balance between characters is something that even large game companies struggle with. Of course, this is not to say that SSF2 is a perfectly balanced game in that regard, but it is obvious that the developers still try to make the effort.
Movelists are, of course, the biggest thing for the players. And each character in SSF2 is armed with his/her/its' set of own moves and features -very few characters actually feel or even play the same way (unless they come from the same series and share similar traits). This means that whether you play as Fox, Mario, or as Naruto, each experience will be completely different from the last.
Special moves come in a wide range of types, some are instant and allow you to damage enemies directly. Others, such as charge moves allow you to build up the skill and do plenty of damage afterwards. There are even a few unique ones, such as Bomberman's bombs which explode when the player presses a detonation switch. This makes for some very interesting gameplay and the nods to the various abilities of the characters (we like that bit with Megaman being able to change weapons with a ‘mini-menu' in the middle of combat).
Plenty to Play
Version 0.9 is indeed a "demo" but unlike other game demonstration give players a limited volume of characters and a minimal amount of stages, Super Smash Flash 2 gives as many as it can. Right off the bat, you can play as any of the unlocked characters (well over a dozen iconic gaming and anime characters to choose from) , and there are several game available such as versus, training, and even a few event matches (though that is still heavily in construction.
The combat in the game is smooth, fast, and responsive - a big improvement on the first one which you can find here: supersmashflashonline.com. This is critical for any game that features fast paced combat. While we are still seeking a good third party controller that works well with this game (a keyboard is not an appropriate input device for fighting games), we are pleased to say that fighting enemies in a 4-way battle as iconic 16-bit style gaming heroes is nothing short of addictively fun.
The AI opponents are designed to keep players on their toes, which is good for those who are playing the demo as part of preparing for the online multiplayer feature of the game. Here's to hoping that the developers are able to create good lobbies for matchups that connect players with those of not only equal skill, but also of compatible network latency.
Overall, we highly recommend trying out the demo of SSF2, it is fun, engaging, and an amazing flash game -and just the sheer fact of knowing that it will get even better with the release of the final version makes it all the more exciting to play.