It’s been almost seven months since we last saw Super Smash Land, Dan Fornace’s Game Boy-inspired PC demake of Nintendo’s beloved fighting franchise. Clearly it was time very well spent, as the game has now ballooned to a whopping six character, eleven stage behemoth. The final release features a classic arcade mode, four-player multiplayer, and a Polygon Team style Endless Mode, complete with support for online leaderboards.
But the best news of all is that you can exclusively download the full version right here, right now.
To celebrate the release, we caught up with the man behind Smash Land, Dan Fornace, to ask him a few questions about the game. Check the interview after the jump.
PG:Hey, Dan. Thanks for taking the time to talk with us. Why’d you settle on the final roster that you did?
DF: Well, since the game’s inception, I knew I wanted a small roster. When I first started out, I wanted to do four characters and eight stages and get the game done quickly. But after translating the four starters into their Game Boy versions, I really wanted to take a stab at my own movesets.
The big addition that Super Smash Land brings to the series is Mega Man. I wanted him to be a good fit on the Game Boy, so I needed to make a classic Mega Man. I played through the first three NES games, gathering up and testing all the powers to create a moveset that I hope appeals to his old fans. As for the other character that fills out the roster, maybe she’s a bit of a curveball… but hey, I had a blast making her moveset!
PG: What character took the longest to design and balance?
DF: Great question! Designing was probably the classic Megaman as I mentioned. I was never a big fan, so it was a lot of fun (and challenge) to play through those old games.
As far as balancing goes, it would have to be Kirby. Since his addition as the second character in the engine (right after Mario), Kirby has gone in and out of being overpowered and underpowered, but never truly balanced. His mobility is so good, and his light weight is a huge crutch. Near the end of development he was sitting in underpowered by a bit, so I made some conservative buffs and I hope he sits up strong with the rest of the characters.
PG:How important was it to make sure the game felt like Smash? Were there any specific steps you took to make sure that avid Smash players would feel right at home?
DF:So, Smash Land has an interesting take in the series. I wanted a Smash feel without so many of the things that make Smash feel like Smash (shields, dodges, items, two attack buttons, etc.). What I tried to do was take what appealed to me from the series – spacing and character knowledge – and amplify them in a way that still felt fun.
Simplifying all attacks into one button was definitely a fun challenge. I added crouch cancelling after some feedback from Smashboards, and it really helps make the game more strategic. Crouch cancelling makes it so you can duck right before getting hit to reduce knockback time and angle.
I even brought Smash Land to a national Brawl Tournament called CoT5 ran by ChiboSempai.There I was able to get feedback directly from some of the best players in the game and it greatly helped me make final balancing touches.
PG: Now that you’ve wrapped up SSL, do you have any plans for future games?
DF: Well, I’m glad to say that I’ve gotten a job at a AAA game company doing game design. I’d like to think that this project and the publicity it has gotten was a huge factor in my offer.
I’m not sure what I’ll have time to work on, as I may go off the Internet radar for a while. I can say that I have lots of ideas floating around in my head, and this is not the last platform fighter I’ll be working on!
PG: Thanks again for talking with us. Anything you’d like to tell your fans before you go?
DF: If you have that dream game idea in your head, don’t just sit around talking about. Go online and figure out a way you can do it. Smaller is better! The Game Boy is a 160×144 screen, and this project still took me many hours of labor to get to feel right.
I’d also like to thank inversephase (my music and sfx guy) and flashygoodness (my other music guy), Matt Duffy (my web guy), Dac (my publicity guy), Piki Geek (my favorite gaming outlet), and Smashboards (my testers).
Wait, you made it all the way down here and you still haven’t downloaded the game yet? Seriously? Grab it and go play!