This Massive Multiplayer Crossover
beat-em-up is the epitome of They Wasted A Perfectly Good Plot
. How? Take a bunch of famous, iconic characters and stick them in a game together. Now make the story have almost nothing to do with any of the individual characters' established canon, give most of the characters limited, inconsequential roles in the grand scheme of things, design a bunch of generic stages that again have little to do with the individual characters' universes, even only including Mooks
from one of the universes, and you have The Subspace Emissary
in a nutshell.
SSE is an ambitious idea on paper that doesn't quite work well in practice due to Masahiro Sakurai's specific style of game design, thus leading to it more resembling a Kirby
game with a Super Smash Bros
cover. Since the Kirby series' strengths lie primarily with the bosses while SSE emphasizes stages, the latter gets somewhat repetitive. A rather grating issue is that only the Super Mario Bros
series gets Mook
representation. Even Melee's Adventure mode had ReDeads and Octoroks
. In addition, the mode has a cutscene-to-gameplay ratio comparable to that of most JRPG's, which slows down the pacing considering this is an action-oriented mode, although fortunately they can be skipped.
To the mode's credit, the character interactions are amusing, even if the pairings seem random and arbitrary. It's particularly impressive how they are portrayed even without spoken dialogue, such as Pokemon Trainer and Lucas. In addition, the Gotta Catch Em All
aspect of the Trophy Stand is well-implemented and adds some nice replay value. As stated, the bosses are a strength of the Kirby
series, and this carries through here, with the Boss Battles
mode being about as fun as The Arena
from Kirby Super Star
, even though the original bosses tend to overshadow the crossover bosses in terms of challenge.
Overall, The Subspace Emissary
could have benefitted from being a joint effort by various developers as opposed to having one designer handle the project. As it stands now, it's a Massive Multiplayer Crossover
that doesn't do the individual characters justice, as the plot and gameplay seems to be able to exist without most of them.