The fable of the tortoise and the hare: Gamers, does this sound familiar?
Even though Nintendo started first, everyone's eyes were on Sony and Microsoft. The Wii U was mocked by "hardcore" gamers, loudly decrying that there would be absolutely no way Nintendo could "survive" their latest "folly." The focus turned to the other two in the big three, who just with a simple rumor bounded off down the race course.
But after its reveal, Sony stopped to take a nap, leaving the gaming audience to focus their attention on Microsoft, who just completely decided to head off in a completely different direction. And now that we are near E3, Microsoft is realizing the tide has turned against them. Sony realizes they may have stayed too quiet, and all of a sudden Nintendo's closer to the goal than any of them.
Slow and steady has been Nintendo's motto; this is not uncommon for them. Most Nintendo consoles do not blast out of the games, taking a little steam to build up. But all Nintendo has to do is drop a couple of key terms and people are back on their side. And in the leading month to E3, Nintendo has thrown around names like Earthbound, Mario, Luigi, Donkey Kong, Link, Zelda, and Animal Crossing, and most recently it said words every Nintendo owner loves to hear: Super Smash Bros.
The Mario Machine is making that final push to the finish line, and all of a sudden, others are realizing that they've been prepared for this moment. Slow and steady wins the race.
The Super Smash Bros. franchise started on N64, moved to the GameCube with Melee, onto the Wii with Brawl, and now they're preparing to reveal their Wii U iteration. Like other crossover fighting franchises, just as important as the fighting moves and locales—if not more so—are the characters. Who would show their face to reign supreme in the Nintendo Universe? Some are fan favorites, like Mario and Princess Peach; others have earned their share of the cold shoulder. (Come on, who really uses Olimar?)
As soon as it was announced the topic of speculation was who's new in the next Super Smash Bros. Allow me to make a few suggestions.
Bub & Bob
Game: Bubble Bobble Projectile Attack: Bubbles Final Smash: Hurry!
Let's start by talking about a character (or characters) that most people hate right off the bat: the Ice Climbers. I, however, love them, and I'm not afraid to admit it. The Ice Climbers have unique techniques, and truly operate as one (even though it's a cheap save to sacrifice Nana to save Popo's blue-clad butt). Many people get irritated if they lose to them, which makes me love them even more.
However, even the best Ice Climbers player might get tripped up against Bub and Bob, the two dinosaurs from the retro favorite Bubble Bobble. Working similarly to the Ice Climbers, Bub and Bob would function as one character—when one jumps so would the other. When one does a standard attack, so does the other. The two together would be able to use their bubbles in the same manner as the game: encapsulate opponents to deliver more powerful damage via a jump or a tail whip. Special moves could produce Thunder or Fire bubbles. One dinosaur could even produce a Water bubble that can blast the opponent at a high force.
The final smash is a throwback to the original NES game, wherein players who take too long not only had to “Hurry!” to complete the room but now had the added challenge of avoiding Baron von Blubba. Get a final smash ball and Baron von Blubba will be summoned, moving horizontally and vertically increasingly faster until at least one foe meets instant death.
Game: Pokémon Red & Blue Projectile Attack: None Final Smash: Varies
Pokémon have had their fair share of face time in Smash Bros. Pikachu, of course, gets his big yellow face up in there, but we've also seen Pichu, Mewtwo, Lucario, Jigglypuff, and Ivysaur, Squirtle and Charizard via the Pokémon Trainer (who is Ash Ketchum, I don't care how much anyone argues otherwise). So introducing new Pokémon wouldn't be too far of a stretch.
If Nintendo wanted to shake it up a bit, they could add in Ditto, the Normal-type Pokémon from Pokémon Red & Blue that's anything but normal. Ditto, in its regular, gooey, gelatinous form, would kind of suck. It would be slow and not really capable of attacking much. But once he is able to grab an opponent, he would, as the creature is prone to doing, transform itself into that opponent. All of a sudden in your fray, you would have two Peaches, two Nesses, two R.O.B.s, etc. Ditto would have a pink glow about it to tell it apart from the real character, and would carry the same skill set as that character (final smash and all).
“Ryan,” you protest, “that is some bull-stinky. Ditto would be like a lock-in win on every fight!” O ho, my friend, not quite. Though there would be some major upsides to selecting Ditto, there would be significant downsides to this proposed addition to balance out. In addition to being quite vulnerable to attack in its regular form, once it changes form, it would not revert back until it dies. So a Ditto couldn't jump between Samus, Wario, and Snake willy-nilly. Also, Ditto wouldn't be able to use any form-changing abilities. Notably here I'm referring to Zelda/Sheik, though other possibilities could exist. Once Ditto replicates Zelda or Sheik, it cannot transfer back and forth like the real characters. And woe, the Ditto that replicates another Ditto, for that player is stuck until their untimely death.
Not such an easy choice now, is it?
Game: Earthworm Jim Projectile Attack: Ray gun Final Smash: Cow
Jim's not a stranger to the fighting arena. The earthworm with a really super supersuit was a playable fighter in N64 claymation fighter ClayFighter 63 1/3. Jim's projectile would of course be his famous ray gun, but unlike other characters with guns or lasers, holding down Jim's projectile button would cause it to shoot faster but not any stronger. And if Jim gets knocked off the platform, he can float back to the fracas via his backpack-traveling friend, Snott.
Jim's final smash features a cow falling on a good portion of the screen. As if one would expect anything else from Earthworm Jim. (Gaaaaaaa-roovy!)
Game: Punch-Out!! Projectile Attack: None Final Smash: Reunited
King Hippo, one of the most recognizable opponents from the Punch-Out!! series, would fight a lot like Wario does, but with no projectile options. Famous for dropping his trunks when phased, his trunks would parachute up and act as his save. But the interesting thing to note here is the final smash.
King Hippo is the opponent of Little Mac, yes? (SPOILER ALERT: I mention him next.) And one of Pit's antagonists from the original Kid Icarus was the Eggplant Wizard, yes? Now where have we seen those two before together?
With a tip of the cap to the classic Saturday morning cartoon Captain N: The Game Master, during King Hippo's final smash, he would move to one side of the screen while Eggplant Wizard showed up on the other side. Eggplant Wizard would fire magic beams in horizontal patterns while King Hippo punched them back arcing back over to the other side, resulting in a cacophony of magic bolts criss-crossing the screen. A struck enemy would find his or her self a delightful shade of purple while being launched off the screen.
Reunited, and it feels so good.
Mac is no stranger to fighting, obviously, being the reigning WVBA champion. However, he was first introduced to the Smash Bros. series as an assist trophy in Brawl. Ladies and gentlemen, Mac is ready to RUMBLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLE!
Being a boxer, Mac will have strong punches, but no kicks or projectiles. Similarly, his save won't be spectacular—a Star Uppercut will launch him upward similar to Link's spin move. But his attacks will be stronger than others. Holding down the attack button will cause Mac to wind up his punch, earning a Star; similar to Donkey Kong's Kong Punch, Mac's Star Punch could be capable of a one-hitter quitter.
Mac's final smash, Super Punch Out, acts in a similar manner to Snake, where Mac comes back into an angle as if to face the fight scene perpendicularly, reflecting the fight setup in the arcade Punch-Out!! games. Mac would be able to punch three times, with a hit either severely damaging or knocking the opponent off the stage.
Game: Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars Projectile Attack: Frog Staff Final Smash: But I Wanna Be a Frog!
Mallow looks like Kirby. There, I said it, and I'm not sorry. But damnit, he's just so cute and loveable, and Super Mario RPG is such a great game, we need someone from the series in there! Mallow, like Kirby, can inflate and fly, since he is in fact a cloud and not a tadpole, and can also fire lightning bolts from his Frog Staff.
However, Mallow gets really upset when he's reminded he's not a frog, and his final smash features the poor guy bawling his eyes out, forcing other characters to swim for their lives, and when the drain on the screen is “pulled,” forcing characters to avoid the whirlpool that would take them down the drain.
Game: Earthbound Projectile Attack: PSI spells Final Smash: Pray
Through all this, I've been trying to avoid the argument to “swap character X for new character Y.” But I'm going to do it here: Keep Ness, but dump Lucas for Paula from Earthbound (Mother 2). Her skill set would almost be identical to Lucas, but swapping a close-range frying pan for a longer-range yo-yo and PK Freeze switching for PK Fire, and putting a cute bob hairdoo on it would instantly add to the commotion the most adorable psychic in Twoson.
The final smash, Pray, would be similar to the Pray command in Earthbound, in that it's random. You might KO one opponent, or all opponents, or all characters including Paula. On the flipside, it could heal all players, or just some, or completely restore them to 0% damage. And it might just cause uncontrollable crying.
Game: Super Mario Galaxy Projectile Attack: Mini-Stars Final Smash: Star Storm
In all fairness, if odds were being taken, this is the character that would have the best odds. The watcher of the cosmos, Rosalina has been slowly seeping into the Mario continuity more and more, with appearances in Super Mario Galaxy and Mario Kart Wii and 7. Rosalina would be a stronger version of Peach, with the same ability to float, and even the same shield, using a Luma instead of Toad. However, her Mini-Star attack would be more like Sheik's throwing daggers, with the power building up to throwing five or more in an arc.
Do we need another Peach? Probably not. But do we need more female characters? With the current batch of females in Brawl amounting to Peach, Zelda, and Samus Aran (and if you want to be really technical, Nana and Jigglypuff), more female characters would not hurt one bit.
Star Storm, Rosalina's final smash, would be an asteroid shower. Simple, no nonsense. It would be similar to Pit's final smash without killing innocent protectors of Petaluna.
Game: Castlevania Projectile Attack: Holy Water Final Smash: What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse
The man of legend in the vampire-vanquishing dynasty, Simon Belmont's adventures in Castlevania and Castlevania II: Simon's Quest lend themselves to being a brawler. He brings to the table a long-range weapon in his whip, which can be used for attacking as well grabs and save moves, and several potential projectiles. This also brings in the potential for having a Dracula assist trophy.
His final smash takes off on that point that everyone who played Castlevania II hated, when night fell and an anonymous voice declares the fact that it is a “horrible night to have a curse.” The screen would go very dark (blue or purple shading) and zombie hands would lunge at players from the floors of the stage, forcing players to stay in the air as much as possible. Characters like Kirby and MetaKnight could fly for a bit but would then have the challenge of getting back in the air as quickly as possible. More grounded characters, like Bowser, may not fare so well.
Game: Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Projectile Attack: Tools Final Smash: Fixed in a Jif!
To be honest, I didn't quite see the point in including Sonic in Brawl, but according to Wikipedia it was the most commonly requested third-party character from Japanese Smash Bros fans. Go figure. I suppose it was representative of the Nintendo vs. SEGA rivalry of the '90s, and I can appreciate that at least. So it should figure that if the fans wanted Sonic, they probably would like a big dose of Miles “Tails” Prower as well.
Building off Tails' reputation as a master mechanic despite being only 8, Tails' projectile choice would be various tools, such as wrenches, pliers, and even screwdrivers. Tails' moveset would be similar to Sonic's, though not as fast or strong. Tails, however, does have the ability to fly for significant amounts of time (though he does have to land on occasion) and features a final smash that is not likely to kill him, as Sonic's does. Upon breaking the final smash ball, Tails would use it as the battery pack to a Dr. Robotnik lookalike robot that marches across the screen, instantly killing any character not in their defensive bubble.
Additional side benefit: You can pit Tails against Luigi, Diddy Kong, and Falco and have a challenge called “Super Smash Sidekicks.” Find out who the number one Number Two is!
Game: Animal Crossing Projectile Attack: Bells Final Smash: The Ultimate Nag
OK. To be honest, I didn't really think this one through. I just know he deserves to get his butt-whooped. Don't lie, you'd take a shot at him too if you could.