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This article is about the first Super Smash Keyboards game. For the franchise as a whole, see Super Smash Keyboards.

          Super Smash Keyboards, known in Japan as Drillimation All Star: Super Smash Keyboards (ドリメーションオールスター:大乱闘スマッシュキーボード Dorimēshon Ōru Sutā: Dairantō Sumasshu Kībōdo?, lit. Drillimation All Star: Great Fray Smash Keyboards) is a 1992 fighting game developed by Drillimation Studios and published by Namco. It is the first installment in the Super Smash Keyboards series.

Originally started off as the fourth game in the Angry German Kid series, the game focuses on the young hacker Leopold Slikk who must save Earth from Keel Sark, with their confrontation ending the tournament known as Super Smash Keyboards. It introduced many of the series' aspects, such as a simplified control scheme that would later be used in the spin-off series Super Smash Bros., and bloody finishing moves.

The game received critical acclaim upon release and became a best-seller, being ported to almost every home console and computer. The game remains one of the most important games in the history of fighting games, spawning numerous sequels and spin-offs, starting with Super Smash Keyboards 2 in 1994, and an Academy Award-winning anime film Super Smash Keyboards: Rising of the Advent God Fist in 1995. However, it generated controversy in North America for its depiction of blood using The Drillimation Series as the norm, resulting in the founding of the Entertainment Software Rating Board.

Blurb

"So real, it's gonna hurt so bad!"
- Official attention grabber

The Drillimation world has collided into a tournament of strength and skill! Choose your favorite character from the show, complete with their trademark moves, and venture out to conquer the Super Smash Keyboards tournament! Either way, this is a best-of-three no-bar fight to the finish that will keep you coming back to the arcade for more.

  • Plunge into battle with your favorite Drillimation characters. We've got Susumu, Wataru, Leopold, Konata, Miyuki, Akira, Taizo, Ataru, plus four hidden characters!
  • Every character uses their signature moves much like in the show!
  • Grab your opponent and watch them sail out of the arena!

Gameplay

Super Smash Keyboards is a fighting game where players compete in one-on-one matches. Players punch, kick, and use a series of magical and supernatural attacks to drain their opponent's health, and the first to drain it completely wins the round, and the player must win two out of three rounds to win a match. Each round is timed, and if time runs out when both fighters still have health, the fighter with more health wins.

The game uses a simplified fighting system, with one button mainly using physical moves while special moves uses another. This is the first fighting game to use a block button.

In the single-player mode, the player faces all eight playable characters, including their own at the end before they face Eguri Hatakeyama and Keel Sark at the end. Between every three matches, there is a minigame break, with the first one testing the player if they can break ten targets within 90 seconds, the second being boarding a series of platforms in order, and the last being the player to see if they can race to the finish within 90 seconds.

Controls

Action Arcade SNES GEN PC
Move Joystick SNES Pad D-Pad Arrow Keys/WASD
Attack Attack Button 16px-SNES A.svg A Z/2 on numpad
Strong Attack Joystick + Attack SNES Pad+16px-SNES A.svg D-Pad + A Arrow Keys/WASD + Z/2 on numpad
Special Special Button 16px-SNES B.svg B X/6 on numpad
Strong Special Joystick + Special SNES Pad+16px-SNES B.svg D-Pad + B Arrow Keys/WASD + X/6 on numpad
Shield Shield Button 16px-SNES X.svg C Button Shift/4 on numpad
Smash Attack Attack + Special 16px-SNES A.svg+16px-SNES B.svg A + B Z/2 + X/6
Grab Attack + Shield 16px-SNES A.svg+16px-SNES X.svg A + C Z/2 + Shift/4

Development

Super Smash Keyboards began development in 1990 as the fourth installment in the Angry German Kid series, simply titled Angry German Kid 4. Super Smash Keyboards was developed by a team of four at Drillimation Studios, with Masahiro Sakurai serving as lead director and designer, while Hiroshi Takajima and Kagami Yoshimizu served as a graphic designer, and Takajima's son, Susumu Takajima, handling programming. The original iteration of the game had a simple design as Susumu Takajima was a beginner programmer in Driller Engine 2, the engine the game ran on.

The game was planned to use cel-animated sprites, but felt a platforming game wouldn't work, as the cel sprites were 48x64 pixels. Masahiro Sakurai, creator of Kirby ultimately decided that a fighting game using the sprite's sizes could work well. At this stage, the game was titled Angry German Kid: The Fighting Game (キーボードクラッシャー:ザ・ファイティング・ゲーム Kībōdo Kurasshā: Za Faitingu Gēmu?, lit. Keyboard Crusher: The Fighting Game). Alongside Leopold Slikk, Susumu Hori and Taizo Hori were programmed into the game by Susumu Takajima. As a result, the game's name was changed to The Drillimation Series: The Fighting Game (ザ・ドリメーション・シリーズ:ザ・ファイティング・ゲーム Za Dorimēshon Shirīzu: Za Faitingu Gēmu?)

The game took eight months to develop. The original name was kept for six of those months, as no other members could come up with a name they didn't agree on. Possible names included Kumate (熊手 lit. Bear's Hand?), Smash Attack (スマッシュ攻撃 Sumasshu Kōgeki?), after one of the game's attacks, Deathblow (死の一撃 Shi no Ichigeki?), and even Fatality (致死 Chishi?), after the series' trademark finishing move.

The name Super Smash Keyboards finally prevailed after Susumu Takajima had the English phrase Super Smash, and Keyboard, after Leopold Slikk's trademark weapon, the keyboard. He asked Sakurai to call the game Super Smash Keyboards.

The fatalities came from an idea that Susumu Takajima had that he wanted the player to brutally finish the opponent at the end of a match. The fatalities were originally meant to be used by the game's final boss, Keel Sark, where he would take out a sword and behead his opponent. Hiroshi Takajima ultimately rejected that and chose to have the fatalities be used by the player. Anna Hottenmeyer was originally going to be a playable fighter in the arcade version but was put aside for Akira Kogami. Anna was eventually put in the home console version of the game.

Behind the Scenes

  • Because of the game's violent nature, this is the first Drillimation game to be rated Teen by the ESRB.
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