A critique on every Smash Bros. stage ever

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Oct 8, 2012
Silent Hill
I wanted to start this topic all day so I just figured let's try. I'm going to do an in-depth analysis on every single Smash Bros. stage since the original, leading up to the 3DS/WiiU one, talking about my personal feelings towards it and touching up on how they could be better, hipothetically.

Let's start, of course, with Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo 64, the original classic. The very first Smash Bros. was pretty much a budget game in comparison to its successors. The game counted only 9 stages, one of which unlockable, quite low considering Melee bumped it up to almost three times the number. The original Smash Bros. also lacked an official "standard stage", which is used from Melee onwards to basically introduce the mechanics to newcomers to the franchise. Even though almost all stages where renditions of the most recent titlte in their respective franchise, even the original Smash Bros. introduced the idea of the game being an homage to both new and old with the stage Mushroom Kingdom. All in all, even considering the low total number of options, I think Smash Bros. 64 was pretty well balanced in regards to different style of the environment, and dispostion of platforms regarding its stages. Many ideas and mechanics became staple to the entire franchise, and the stages themselves are usually remembered quite fondly by the players, with most of them reappearing in later installments.
To be fair, Melee was my very first Smash Bros. game, so I don't have that feeling of nostalgia towards 64, even though I played it extensively too once I became bored of the others, just out of curiosity.
Let's start looking at the stages of the game:

Peach's Castle (Super Mario 64)
Probably, the first time you booted up Smash Bros. 64, this was the stage you'd pick straight away for your battle debut. This was the series' introduction to possibly millions of Smash Bros. players today, and to be honest, Nintendo should've used something else. The stage theoretically plays on top of the princess' castle, but in actuality, the castle can be seen far away in the background, while the playable platforms are in fact floating in the air, hundreds of meters high up in the clouds. It's not going to be the last time Smash Bros. chooses to put in the background the actual landscape from a certain franchise, and then do whatever the hell they want with the playable part.
So sure, the place is recognizable. If you had Smash Bros. 64, chances were you had Mario 64 too, so you'd see that the landscape, even if done from the start up, is similar in every detail to its counterpart. So what is that bridge at the center? Why are those two platforms randomly floating in the air? Why is the bumper, which never appeared in Mario 64, an hazard, especially considering it's also an item? Smash Bros. 64's iteration of the castle suffers from this because it takes away the feeling of awe realizing you're fighting Pikachu in a place that appeared in Mario 64.
It looks kind of fake, probably the most random stage in the game, and from the most important franchise, arguably, represented in the game, the only one with Pokémon to get not one single fighter, but two!
Not only that, but even in regards to the gameplay the stage status as an "introduction" to the mechanics is pretty baffling. The first stage, and you get weird models to walk through (the bridge), annoying hazards (the bumper), moving platforms to left and right, and the stage itself is surprisingly quite big making escapes fairly easy.
The stage also is the first example of a staple in the Smash Bros. series. I'm talking about Sakurai's habit of using the most recognizable place of a game as the representation in Smash Bros. Peach's Castle is apparently so iconic to his eyes (understandably so), that it came back in the sequel, revisited.
By the way, Mario gets another stage anyway which is miles better.
Peach's Castle, surprising to me at least, actually returned in Smash Bros. 3DS and WiiU. Especially for the WiiU version, this was kind of unneeded to me not only because the stage looks kind of ugly and has aged terribly, but because the game itself is full of Mario stages.
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