Super Smash Brothers, available for the Nintendo 64, is a single and multiplayer game. The single player mode is essentially included to unlock the levels for multiplayer and to serve as training for the multiplayer games. Admittedly, the single player mode can be useful for honing one's skills before taking them to the multiplayer arena.
Nintendo includes 12 characters to control. The game includes a lot of obvious Nintendo icons, like Mario, Luigi, Link, Yoshi, and Samus Aran, the star of Metroid, it also includes a few more obscure references. Ness, a character from Earthbound, an RPG made for SNES and Captain Falcon, the lead character from F-Zero are also included. To gain the right to play as these characters, the player is required to complete some task in the single-player mode to unlock the character. But single-player is not where this game shines. This game's multiplayer mode will blow you away. As a party game, it's practically second to none, especially when players are well-versed as to the moves for each character in the game.
Most players choose a character, which they play with mostly exclusively. Each character has a ton of moves, and once the players learn them, they can be pretty dangerous. In general, each player has a number of damaging moves, and a few moves which are knockouts, throwing their opponents from the board. Ness, for example, has a vicious baseball bat attack, and Yoshi has a nasty headbutt. Games are played on a board, a floating set of platforms which vary in dimension and form. The goal, in all variants of the game, is to kill your opponents, and to not let them kill you. Different attack moves cause different amounts of damage to the victim. Smaller attacks (direction + A), such as kicks and punches, do small amounts of damage. Other more damaging moves (direction + B), such as Captain Falcon's Falcon Punch, Yoshi's headbutt, and Luigi's uppercut deal far more damage, and are more useful as killing moves. Grabs (right trigger) are also good as killing moves, as they can throw the victim some distance.
Damage is measured as a percentage, which is rather strange. Supposedly, a character at 100% is easy to kill, but it has not been unknown for a character to be killed at far less, due to error, or to clever strategy by the attacker. It is possible for a character to go over 100%, and as they go higher, killing moves will throw them farther and faster, making it more likely that they will be killed.
Each board can kill a character in a few different ways. In almost all boards, Samus's Metroid board being the exception, falling off the sides or bottom of the board will result in a death, and in all boards, going too high above the board will also result in a death. Boards also feature unique hazards, which deal their own damage, and which are good to watch out for. The Starfox board has a ship which arbitrarily strolls across, lasering unsuspecting players. The Pokemon board has a door, which releases Pokemon, who blast the players that aren't paying attention.
The game also features a host of items, which can deal damage, heal, or otherwise aid the players. Proximity mines, Pokeballs, baseball bats, magic wands, lightsabers, crates, barrels, Maxim Tomatos (which heal the character who gets them) and a multitude of other items fall from the sky at a user-determined rate, which adds a definite spin to the strategy of the game. Simply pick up weapons with A, and use them with the same button. Or use the right trigger to throw them at your opponent.
There are a few variants available for multiplayer games, which each have very different strategies associated with them. In the first variant, Stock games, each player has an arbitrary number of lives, 1-99. When the player has died that number of times, say, 5 times, they are out. The last player standing is the winner of the match.
The second variant is a Time match. In this version, the game is played for an arbitrary number of minutes, and all players play the full number of minutes. At the end, the player with the highest number of points wins the game. Points are calculated as Kills minus Deaths. For example, if a player had 4 kills, but died 5 times, his score at the end would be -1. By this scoring method, a player with only 1 kill, but 1 death, would beat the player who killed 4, but died 5 times. Some players are annoyed by the fact that even with more kills, they lost, while other players consider that complaint to be idle whining, and ask them to please shut up.
In either Stock or Time matches, this game is incredible. The game becomes incredibly competitive, as players learn the moves of their characters, and strategy forms on how to win the games. Conveniently, the game includes a taunt command (left trigger), to anger your opponents. This game can be very psychological. Also, it's crazily intense. So stop reading this, because it's over, find an N64, and play.