Archive for September, 2014

Super Smash Bros: The Smash is Back!

Posted: September 19, 2014 in Video Games

One of Nintendo’s relatively newer staples, Super Smash Bros.¬†has been unmatched by the other game producers. Taking the classic and newer characters, the game allows fanboys to go nuts over the matchups and a deep, exciting gameplay. The newest editions are slated for the WiiU and 3DS, with the latter being the sooner for release. When¬†Brawl¬†was in development, Nintendo released a website for fans to track the updates. The newest ones have the same supporting promotion.

Let’s take a look at the lineup. I also have some thoughts about other optional Final Smash attacks, just to give each character a little something new.

Returning Characters

screen-4-6This game would not be the same without its company’s mascot. Mario has a little touch up with his character design but is ultimately the same fireball-throwing plumber. The change to customizing characters can give his FLUDD a bit more power. His Smash Attack remains the Mario Finale, a fireball swirl attack that can do moderate damage and push opponents off the map.¬†New Final Smash Idea: Mario Sports Slam – Similar to other side-to-side screen blasts, Mario would shoot various sports items across the screen (e.g. soccer ball, baseball, tennis ball, volleyball, bowling, golf ball, etc.).

screen-4-5With his release in the previous game, Pit has become somewhat of a fan favorite. His quick speed and multi-faceted special moves make him quite the SSB fighter. While his Final Smash no longer includes Palutena, he now shoots off the Three Sacred Treasures. This attack can devastate the entire field.¬†Alternate Final Smash Idea: Heaven’s Warriors¬†– While Palutena may not be connected anymore, I liked the idea of the army of winged warriors flying in. The change I would make would be to make them more powerful.

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Mario’s greatest foe takes his place against the plumber and other fighters in his third appearance in the series. Although one of the slowest characters of the series, he makes up with significant power. Fire-breathing is certainly a helpful tactic, but it is really the claws and the spikes on his shell that create the challenge for opponents. His Final Smash takes him through a transformation into Giga Bowser with devastating attacks, while still vulnerable to damage.¬†New Final Smash Idea:¬†Koopa Kid Kaos¬†– Aided by his children, this attack would be a barrage of the kids attacking from all angles.

screen-4-4Often considered the official mascot of the Pokemon series, Pikachu has been a staple of the franchise since the first game. His electric attacks can be quite dangerous, particularly when he calls lighting down from above. One of the most difficult Final Smash attacks to control, Volt Tackle can both hit opponents hard while also dishing out a lot of damage. New Final Smash Idea: Thunder РAs an improved version of his regular attack, Thunder would not just bring a giant bolt of lightning down from an electrified cloud, but also several additional strikes across the field.

screen-2-8The only Star Fox member to make it to the original game, Fox has his rapid fire blaster and reflector at his side. In comparison to the other characters from the Star Fox series, he is the one with the greatest speed. His Fire Fox and Fox Illusion are definitely helpful moves to recover from the edges and deal a little additional damage. His final smash calls upon the Landmaster Tank to drop from the sky and hang around for about 18 seconds. New Final Smash Idea: Great Fox РWhile the Great Fox has been a stage in previous games, adding it as a Final Smash could be an interesting way to differentiate between the Star Fox characters. 

screen-6-6The powerful little puffball is back and a little more powered up than before. Kirby still has all of the same moves that he possessed before. He has his hammer and the ability to drop from above with the force of a stone. His iconic move is still the ability to engulf and steal an opponent’s special move. His original Final Smash turned him into a chef, but it has not been replaced by the Ultra Sword and significantly more power.¬†Alternate Final Smash Idea: Bomber Explosion¬†– As if he has eaten one of the Bomber creatures from his game, Kirby creates a devastating explosion to send opponents soaring.

screen-6-5Another original character, Samus is currently the only playable character from the Metroid series (with the exception of Zero Suit Samus as another version of the character). She is armed with missiles, ball bombs, grappling hook, screw attack, and the arm cannon. Her Final Smash is one of the most destructive of the game, with any character caught in the blast taking massive damage and likely flying off the screen. It can now be aimed. New Final Smash Idea: Dark Suit Samus РSince Zero Suit has been separated out as a specific character, Dark Suit Samus would be a power up similar to a temporary boost in abilities, granting Samus the ability to drop larger bombs and shoot more dangerous beams (including light and dark).

screen-7-7Nintendo’s other official mascot, Link is one of the most recognizable hero models there is in video games. Link is equipped with his Master Sword, bombs, arrows, and his boomerang. He is one of the more versatile fighters with his combination of distance weapons and close-range moves. The upward spin attack is both a great recovery move and dangerous close attack. His final smash is one of the more iconic and legendary of the set, the Triforce Slash. New Final Smash Idea: Skyward Strike¬†–¬†Calling on his newest partner, Fi, Link charges up his sword and sends an electrified ring of light energy toward his opponents.

screen-2-7Donkey Kong is one of the more playful of the Smash characters, as he combines power and physical range due to his long arms and area damage. Whether charging up a powerful punch or slamming the ground, he can raise an opponents damage percentage quite quickly. He is also one of the few characters that can lift heavier items and move more freely. His Final Smash is one of the more disappointing of the group, as Konga Beat is both easy to dodge and rarely does much actual damage. New Final Smash Idea: Barrel Blast РTaking advantage of his Donkey Kong Country days, Blast Barrels appear on the corners of the screen, shooting DK in all different directions until hitting an explosive barrel in the middle of the screen.

screen-1-3Olimar may be small of stature but not weak of heart. The hero from the Pikmin series, SSB has chosen to switch up the Pikmin element of his character design with a reduction from 6 to 3 and maintaining a standard order. He still has access to all of his 5 from the previous game, but his up special has been replaced with Winged Pikmin carrying him back to safety. His Final Smash is completely unavoidable, as End of Day sends Olimar off in his ship and out of the reach of Bulborbs, just before crashing back to land. New Final Smash Idea: Pikmin Reinforcements РRather than attacking with his enemies, Olimar calls on hundreds of Pikmin to do damage before dropping Purple Pikmin from above.

screen-6-4Luigi is not the helpless brother he is commonly made out to be. In SSB Brawl, he was actually one of the most dynamic characters, particularly with his Green Missile blasting across the screen or Super Jump Punch delivering a critical hit if started against an opponent. His Final Smash previously was Negative Zone, but he now is using the Poltergust 5000 to suck up and shoot out all of his opponents. Alternate Final Smash Idea: Luigi Death Stare РCapitalizing on his infamous screenshot from Mario Kart 8, Luigi races around the screen in one of the go karts with an ability to shoot off green shells (with an occasional blue shell thrown in).

screen-7-6Peach is an interesting combination of the elements that are iconically Peach while also infusing a bit of the other Mario series elements into her moves. She pulls out Toad to repel attacks, but she can pull up vegetables to throw straight out of Super Mario 2. She is also equipped with several sports items, hitting foes with the golf club or tennis racket. Her Final Smash puts opponents to sleep with a little damage and a lot of recovery. New Final Smash Idea: POW Block РWhile this may now be an item in the game, Peach monopolizes the use of it by halting movement of any character touching the ground and tossing a giant POW block into the ground.

screen-7-5Toon Link is very much like his counterpart, but his moves have a slightly different flare. His downward sword strike attacks with force, while his spin attack traps opponents in the cyclone. His other items seem to be a little shorter range, with the hookshot being the most clearly shorter than regular Link’s version. His attacks also have the cell-shaded animations that made Wind Waker such a memorable game. He also attacks with the Triforce Slash, just with a little different animation set. New Final Smash Idea: Pirate Cannon Blast¬†– Taking a page from Snake’s Final Smash, Captain Tetra sails into the background and fires off up to 10 cannon blasts that can be aimed by the player.

screen-8-2Sonic speeds back into action with his stint on Nintendo. Mostly using a combination of his spin attacks and powerful kicks, Sonic remains a interesting combination of speed and lack of control. This is most evident in his Final Smash attack, which remains Super Sonic. When he takes in the crystals, he does immediate damage to any character near him and then just goes completely wild all over the screen.¬†New Final Smash Idea: Super Sonic v.2¬†– While including Tails or Knuckles or Robotnik would be interesting ideas, Sonic’s speed is his bread and butter. In this version, the user control is taken out of it, leaving Sonic to shoot across the screen in unpredictable directions, leaving opponents guessing how to dodge the attack.

screen-5Marth was one of the first Fire Emblem characters to appear in SSB, but his has also survived the cut with each new game. His sword is his weapon of choice, with each attack slashing through enemy defenses. Dancing Blade is one of the more challenging regular moves to use, but it creates a difficult combo to break free from. His Final Smash is also interesting, in that it is an immediate fatal blow or immediate loss of life. Missing an opponent and not running into a wall can send Marth off the screen. New Final Smash Idea: Ultimate Dancing Blade РRather than being a directional attack, this trap attack devastates at least one opponents with a barrage of blade attacks, finishing with a huge final blow.

screen-7-2As the other returning Fire Emblem character to grace the SSB screen, Ike is the fire-empowered sword fighter opposite of Marth. He is a little slower than Marth but clearly more powerful. His attacks are on par with Bowser, Donkey Kong, or King Dedede. His blade can send opponents flying off the screen at just 50% damage. His Final Smash, Great Aether, traps enemies in a whirlwind of flaming sword attacks, before slamming them into the ground and sending them flying. New Final Smash Idea: Radiant Dawn РNamed after his first appearance in a Fire Emblem game, this move would create a pillar of flames that would engulf half of the map and do significant damage to any foe trapped inside.

screen-6-2While also on the slow side for his competition, King Dedede continues to fill the role of the villainous counterpart for Kirby while being woven into a interesting storyline (at least from SSB Brawl). His hammer might seem like his big weapon, but he also has a similar inhale attack like Kirby and Super Dedede Jump. His former Final Smash was the Waddle Dee Army, but it has been replaced by the Dede-Burst, which traps enemies into multiple powerful hammer hits and a bomb for good measure. Alternate Final Smash Idea: Super Hammer РWhile the new Final Smash seems like it could improve his power in this game, the hammer could transform into a similar attack to the hammer item and player can pick up.

screen-2-5Lucario was the newest of the Pokemon to be added at the time of Brawl, since he was considered the special fan favorite at the time. His moves were similar to Mewtwo from Melee, but his power was determined by his degree of damage taken. None of his attack are particularly strong, except surprisingly his aerial downward attack. His former Final Smash of Aura Storm (which trapped enemies in seriously damaging beam of energy) has been replaced by Mega Lucario, granting him the power that he traditionally lacks. Alternate Final Smash Idea: Mega Force РUsing his psychic abilities, he ensnares an opponents and mentally slams them into the ground multiple times.

screen-6-3This princess is not one that needs saving, particularly with her possession of the three ancient spirits’ magic. Zelda no longer transforms into Sheik, but she can still shoot fire, reflect attacks, or teleport. The new downward attack is the Phantom Slash, where she calls upon an ancient shadow warrior. Her Final Smash remains the Light Arrow, which can deal immediate death to its first hit opponents and serious damage to others in-line.¬†New Final Smash Idea: Call of the Sages¬†– Bringing forth the 6 sages of the goddesses, they trap opponents in their magic and give Zelda a chance to fire a beam of light that cannot be blocked.

screen-2-3Though technically still Zelda, Sheik is a separate playable character now. She does not have access to her magical abilities. Instead, she capitalizes on speed and physical attacks to take out opponents. In an odd move, she has 2 move changes. Her first is the loss of the chain and replacing it with burst grenades. The second is to replace her transformation with an upward flip kick. While these moves have changed, she still also possesses the Light Arrow, with the damage caused by the arrow being slightly stronger than the one shot by her other form. New Final Smash Idea: Smoke & Mirrors РIn multiple bursts of smoke, Sheik flies throughout the middle part of the screen, ending with a devastating high kick as strong as a baseball bat.

screen-6Diddy Kong is an interesting partner from the Donkey King series, as his moves were created to be a bit different than his uncle. He is smaller, fasters, and uses more trickery to battle his foes. The peanut gun can also be used as a recovery device by picking up the dropped peanuts, or he can toss bananas to make the surface a little more difficult to deal with. He is still armed with his rocket barrels, which serve him with his Final Smash. The Rocket Barrel Barrage makes him a little too hot to handle and able to fire off explosive peanut shots. New Final Smash Idea: Kong Double Trouble РCalling on his girlfriend Dixie, the two monkeys whip around the field at faster than the average player can handle.

screen-2-4Zero Suit Samus, like Sheik, has now developed her own option as a separate playable character. Though without the arm cannon and bombs, she is armed with her blaster and now jet boots to scoot across the platforms. The blaster is more of a paralyzer, but the boots give her a little extra power and range with jumping. Her original Final Smash let her put the Power Suit back on, but now she has a chance to pilot her gunship and take out opponents similar to Snake’s helicopter ride/grenade launcher. ¬†Alternate Final Smash Idea: Space Pirate Scramble¬†– As the alarms go off and the Samus takes cover, Space Pirates take over the map and begin to fire on all who remain.

screen-3-2No Baby Mario on his back, or full size one for that matter. Yoshi has also survived all iterations of the series and continues to bring his egg-throwing antics to the fight. He has the ability to roll up and speed across the platforms or connect on his most powerful attack of his airborne waddle kick. He can also use his tongue to pull in opponents and either shoot them back out or trap them briefly in a giant egg. His Super Dragon Final Smash was an interesting invention that combined wings for flight with fireballs and fire streams as he soars across the battle. New Final Smash Idea: Egg Chain Attack РStocking up on eggs floating behind him, Yoshi begins to toss more powerful eggs horizontally across the screen until throwing a final giant egg to explode in the middle of the screen.

screen-4-2Sir Meta Knight has the similar fighting ability of Pit, with a slight bit more speed and a little less power. This dark fighter wields a sword with most of the attacks being multiple slashes. He can also sprout wings and glide from great distances or drill spin through the air. He also can counter moves using the Dimensional Cape. The Final Smash is similar to this attack, but much more powerful. Galaxia Darkness is a close range attack that does serious damage. New Final Smash Idea: Galaxia Cyclone РSummoning a pillar of wind from a slash of his sword, enemies caught in the pillar will be thrown off of the top of the screen.

screen-7-3The Pokemon Trainer is no more. In his stead, Charizard has now been unleashed and is ready to battle on his own. While the Rock Smash returns as the down special move, Flare Blitz gets added as the sideways attack. Fire moves now do a little damage to Charizard when he damages an enemy with them. Similar to Lucario and Yoshi, his Final Smash attack is a mega-evolution that involves a combination of flying across the screen and shooting fire. Alternate Final Smash Idea: Fire Blast РUnlike the SSB Brawl version that was part of the Triple Finish, Fire Blast would be a fire attack that takes up half of the screen in a fiery five-point star.

screen-2-2Captain Falcon remains the only representative from the F-Zero series, but he has also seamlessly transitioned between each version of the game. He is one of the fastest characters, zipping across the screen with his quick feet and fire-charged kicks and uppercuts. His Falcon Punch is still one of the most dangerous power moves in the game. The Blue Falcon was a stage before it became a Final Smash, but he continues to use his racer to knock opponents off of the map. New Final Smash Idea: Fire Falcon РTaking the form of a phoenix, Captain Falcon flies into the background and can be aimed to shoot through the foreground and take out anyone in his path.

 

New Arrivals

screen-2Lucina is similar to Marth in a lot of ways. She is essentially a clone version, like Roy from SSB Melee (minus the fire element), possessing the same move set and Final Smash. The most significant difference between the characters is in the sword. Marth has his strongest point at the tip, where Lucina’s sword strength is relatively even across the entire blade. She first appeared in Fire Emblem: Awakening in 2013. Critical Hit has the same upside and downside as with Marth’s version. New Final Smash Idea: Parallel Falchion¬†– While it is difficult to distinguish a different attack for Lucina, her special blade can get powered up for a mega strike similar to Kirby’s new Ultra Sword.

screen-3-3Definitely one of the strangest additions since Mr. Game & Watch, the Wii Fit Trainer can come in both the male and female versions. All of their attacks are based off of fitness moves and positions, including yoga poses, hula hoop, header, deep breathing, and stretches. The yoga poses include Sun Salutation and variations with Pushing and Concentrate. The Final Smash attack is very similar to Mario’s. Wii Fit shoots out colorful shadow images of the trainer in different yoga and stretching poses.¬†Alternate Final Smash Idea:¬†Balance Board Tilt¬†– Breaking free of the traditional fitness moves, the trainer takes the board out and uses it to tilt the screen to cause characters to slide right off the map.

screen-2-6The two big new names from SSB Brawl were Snake and Sonic. Joining the roster for this new game is Mega Man, and fans of the series could not be more excited. Having originated on the NES, Mega Man is accompanied by his robo-dog Rush and a host of different power ups from his games. He can call upon the Leaf Shield, Crash Bomber, and Metal Blade. Of course, Mega Man still has his Mega Buster. When he shoots off the Black Hole Bomb, the Final Smash is starting. Calling in all of the different versions of his character from the original to Battle Network, the combined blast sends opponents sailing. Alternate Final Smash Idea: Zero Blade РTrading places, Zero jumps in and traps opponents in a series of blasts before swinging down the blade to finish them off.

screen-8-3Another interesting addition to the team is the Villager from Animal Crossing. Having options to choose from both the male and female versions, the attack combinations are not purely within the Animal Crossing universe and tend to be a little more creative than other characters. Able to hide items in their pocket or grow a tree to chop down on opponents, the Villager employs these types of tactics to confuse and sneak attack. The Final Smash is the Dream Home, where Nooks jump in to surround opponents in a house and then blow it up. Alternate Final Smash Idea: Mr. Resetti РWhile his Assist Trophy blocked visibility on the screen in the past, this new version would quickly spout off a flurry of word bubbles that explode when touched.

screen-1-2Adding a new Mario-based character to the lineup, Rosalina and Luma make for an interesting new pairing similar to the Ice Climbers. While the damage only matters to Rosalina, she can be greatly hindered if she loses touch with Luma. Using elements from Mario Galaxy, Luma can be a projectile or she can shoot off Star Bits. She may be the character with the greatest learning curve, but also with potentially the greatest upside. Her Final Smash calls upon a Power Star that shoots stars in multiple directions before finally finishing off with a bang. Alternate Final Smash Idea: Mario Planet Meteor РCalling upon the Mario Planet, she guides it to smash into the field and explode.

screen-7-4No longer an Assist Trophy, Little Mac is now ready for the fight. He clearly stands noticeably shorter than the other human character, but he packs quite a punch. In many ways, his style of fighting for the game is very similar to Balrog from Street Fighter but a bit more agile. He loses a bit of his effectiveness on levels that shift and lack borders, but he can excel when he works on a flat land. His Final Smash is similar to Bowser’s as Giga Mac can just go haywire on all near him.¬†Alternate Final Smash Idea: Punching Bag¬†– Trapping opponents in range of the ringing of the bell, the camera drops behind Little Mac as he goes rapid fire and ends with a full uppercut.

screen-1Pokemon was always going to get a new entry into the series, as older ones also rotate out. Greninja is an interesting combination of speed and water-based attacks, with the shiftiness of a ninja. Having the ability to somewhat replace the loss of Squirtle from the lineup, Hydro Pump returns as a comeback move, while Greninja adds Shadow Sneak to jet from one spot to another and throw Water Shurikens as projectiles. The Final Smash is a devastating multi-hit trap attack called Mysterious Ninja. Alternate Final Smash Idea: Mega Evolution – Similar to a few of the other Pokemon, Greninja levels up his attacks and smash potential for a short period of time.

screen-7Taking advantage of a new place to use the Mii characters, there are now three versions of Mii Fighters. The Mii Brawler is similar to Little Mac in their fighting style, focusing on the use of punches and kicks. Mii Gunners have arm cannons and can fire an array of fire and laser blasts. The Mii Swordfighters are an interesting combination of the other sword-wielding characters, with an interesting combination of power and speed. The Final Smashes for each of these characters are Ultimate Final Rush (Brawler’s attack similar to Ike’s Great Aether), Full Throttle (Gunner’s triple laser similar to Samus’s Final Smash), and Final Edge (Swordfighter’s projectile slash attack similar to Mario’s Finale).¬†Alternate Final Smash Idea: Mii Your Enemy¬†– Trapping opponents close by, Mii does a digital makeover to turn opponents into Mii versions of themselves, keeping them frozen for up to 10 seconds after the attack finishes.

screen-8Palutena has detached herself from Pit and is ready to fight for herself. She is a powerful warrior who has the ability to dramatically affect her speed and range by manipulating her stats. She is armed with her staff and can create energy beams out of nowhere. Her Final Smash may be the one that appears to be the most devastating. Trapping opponents in a Black Hole, she follows up the attack with a Mega Laser, sending her foes flying off the screen. Alternate Final Smash Idea: Palutena’s Army¬†– Just because Pit is no longer using them does not mean that Palutena does not have to. She calls upon her winged army to attack from all angles to clear the skies.

screen-4-3The other significant classic character added to this lineup is Pac-Man. Although the character model is not specifically based off the original Pac-Man, he still has moves that pay tribute to the classic design and to the Namco library of games. The ghosts do appear when doing basic smash attacks, but the combination of Namco appearances include 8-bit fruit attacks, the Galaxian Flagship, and fire hydrants that can shoot water, blast fire, or explode. It would not be Pac-Man without a Final Smash that pays tribute to Super Pac-Man. Characters eaten by the giant version of Pac-Man briefly turn into disembodied eyes and get knocked back or blown away.¬†Alternate Final Smash Idea: Ghost Attack¬†– Inky, Blinky, Pinky, and Clyde appear and begin to chase Pac-Man around the screen, doing critical damage when they hit Pac-Man’s opponents.

screen-3Robin, one of the additions from Fire Emblem, is an interesting collection of sword fighting similar to his/her peers but with additional elements of magic. With both a male and female version, Robin starts with a tome in hand and can use it to shoot lightning, fire, wind, or dark magic. The tome can get used up, but Robin turns to the bronze sword to continue the fight. The Final Smash pulls Fire Emblem partner Chrom onto the stage to Pair-Up against opponents all trapped opponents. Alternate Final Smash Idea: Avatar Switch Up РTaking advantage of the multiple versions of Robin from the game, transformations across the various classes create a barrage of elemental attacks.

screen-4Pulling from another new series, Shulk from Xenogears brings his vision abilities to the fight. Armed with the blade, Monado, his attacks are focused on blade swipes and shifty movements to dodge and counter. The main tactic Shulk uses is Monado Arts, which allows him to change his stats based on the needs of the fight. This can affect his defense, speed, mobility, or strength. His Final Smash attack is the Chain Attack, where he calls upon Dunban and Riki from Xenogears to join in a barrage of sword slices and a final slice by Shulk. Alternate Final Smash Idea: Reversal РInstead of changing his own stats, he uses Monado Arts to change all of the stats of the opponents, making them temporarily slower, weaker, and most helpless.

Additional Pending New Arrivals

While the game is just a couple of weeks away from release on the 3DS, there are still some characters that have been leaked but not officially posted to the website. These characters continue to expand the collection of ones to grace this series.

BowserJrHeader_zps1de15a2fBowser Jr. РThis one was a bit of a surprise, but many Mario-based games have begun to add wither Bowser Jr. or the Koopalings. This character addition actually does both, as the alternate skins on the character select allow for the selection of any of the Koopalings. This character design uses the Junior Clown Car and includes Mecha Koopas, a cannon, drills, and the ability to turn into a kart. As a Final Smash, Bowser Jr. can call upon Shadow Mario (from Mario Sunshine) to block out the screen with paint and attack in the background. Alternate Final Smash Idea: Mega Clown Car РTaking advantage of the Clown Car, it grows in size and begins to drop giant cannonballs onto unsuspecting enemies below.

Dark Pit¬†–¬†While Dark Pit is not inherently evil, his presence in the game gives a clone-like element to the SSB Brawl addition. Dark Pit’s moves are much like his counterpart with a few small exceptions. His special dash attack is Electroshock Arm, giving a little extra boost to the power of the hit. His shield also protects both sides versus a stronger shield on one side. Dark Pit Staff serves as his Final Smash, very similar to the Final Smash attacks of both Zelda and Sheik.¬†Alternate Final Smash Idea: Shattered Mirror¬†Since his appearance was granted by the existence of a magical mirror, he traps opponents in a large mirror before shattering is and exploding them off of the map.

Dr. Mario – Returning after taking a hiatus since SSB Melee, he is mostly a clone of the regular Mario with a little nostalgia. Instead of fireballs, he shoots Megavitamins. Instead of using a cape to counter projectiles and attacks, he flashes his doctor’s coat and a sheet. Instead of using the F.L.U.D.D., he has the Dr. Tornado attack. Even the Final Smash is basically similar with a new coating. Dr. Finale is a barrage of Megavitamins that he hurls across the screen.¬†Alternate Final Smash Idea: Virus Overload¬†– A red, blue, and yellow virus appear on the screen and attach to his enemies. Dr. Mario then tosses a stream of Megavitamins to knock off the virus and slam the enemy off-screen.

Duck Hunt – Probably the most exciting of the new additions to the game, the Duck Hunt dog and a duck jump into the fight. While the dog is considered one of the most annoying characters in video game history, he is now a playable character and can be turned more into a hero. The duck is a significant contributor to this team and stays connected with the dog (think Banjo-Kazooie). An unseen gunman assists from off-screen. The Final Smash is Gunfight, which is similar to Mega Man’s Final Smash with its special cutscene.¬†Alternate Final Smash Idea:¬†Mad Dog¬†– Embracing the laughing dog element, the Duck Hunt dog laughs to insanity and gains invulnerability, strength, and speed for a short period of time.

Falco_Lombardi_Super_Smash_Bros_Wii_UFalco¬†– While the game has had a pattern of adding a Star Fox character with each version, it appears that only Falco¬†will join Fox in this new game. He still has a lot of the same moves, with slight variations off of Fox’s. His blaster is not rapid fire but briefly stuns his opponents. His Reflector gets projected forward rather than simply surrounding him. Similarly, his Landmaster tank Final Smash has all the same moves as Fox’s except for a slightly stronger set of attacks and shorter presence on the field.¬†New¬†Final Smash Idea: Arwing Assault¬†– Rather than jumping into the Landmaster, Falco jumps into his Arwing, flies into the background, aims an attack toward the foreground, and is joined by Slippy and Pepper to mount a trio flyby through the screen.

Ganondorf¬†– While¬†considered the slowest of the characters, he is also clearly one of the strongest. Returning with a couple of other holdouts, his key is his power. The Warlock Punch is stronger than Captain Falcon’s and sends foes flying further. His forward¬†special attack can be modified to be covered in flames rather than dark magic. His Wizard’s Foot can be a great downward or horizontal attack. His Final Smash is Beast Ganon, which immobilizes all opponents in front of him before charging them off of the screen.¬†New Final Smash Idea: Warlock Punch¬†– Jumping into the air, he torpedoes toward the ground and creates a shockwave, damaging character closer to the point of impact at greater strength than on the periphery.

Jigglypuff РWhile not officially announced on the site, Jigglypuff has been in every version of the game to date. It would be a little strange to be without the pink puffball. Her attacks remain the same from Melee and Brawl, particularly her Rest attack. If timed correctly, the attack is an instant smash off the map. If done incorrectly, she is completely vulnerable. Her Final Smash continues to be Puff Up, which causes her to expand to massive sizes and knock out opponents at the moment of deflation. New Final Smash Idea: Prank & Puff РTaking an element from the Pokemon TV show, Jigglypuff sings the opponents to sleep, pulls out a black marker, defaces her opponents, and quickly puffs up and pops.

Mr. Game & Watch РAs one of the more variable, odd characters from SSB Brawl, Mr. Game & Watch has been leaked to return and was featured briefly in one of the promotional videos. His moves are a little odd, but they can be very effective. Judge is a move that allows him to strike with random success and strength (with 9 being as strong as a home run bat). His Oil Panic allows him to collect projectiles and toss them back as an oil slick. His Final Smash is a giant Octopus, which can move around the screen and attack with the tentacles. New Final Smash Idea: Crazy Chef РSince Kirby lost his Chef Kirby Final Smash, Mr Game & Watch could pick up the slack and pan-fry his opponents and send them flying.

tumblr_inline_msrlmpDUMx1qz4rgp.psdNess РAnother original character that is definitely expected to rejoin the cast, Ness is the only surviving member of the Earthbound team. He uses some psychic abilities to attack his opponents, or pulls out a baseball bat or yo-yo to inflict damage. PK Freeze can be a useful attack to throw off opponents, but PK Thunder has an ability to do serious damage when trying to recover from off of the ledge. PK Starstorm is his Final Smash that calls shooting stars to fall from the sky. New Final Smash Idea: UFO РWhile PK Starstorm is one of the more devastating attacks from Brawl since it is stage-wide, UFO would pull in a feeling of Space Invaders and trap characters in the tractor beam before firing a powerful laser down at them.

R.O.B.¬†– Introduced in SSB Brawl, R.O.B. was a character that was represented as both playable and one of the main sets of enemies throughout the Subspace Emissary. His large size can be a disadvantage, but he also has a number of great projectiles and one of the best off-screen recovery abilities of any character. His iconic status as the potential savior of the Nintendo franchise, he has established himself as a SSB staple very quickly as well. His Final Smash was Diffusion Beam, but it has changed to a giant laser cannon that does significant damage.¬†Alternate Final Smash Idea: Malfunction¬†–¬†R.O.B. overheats and builds up to a mega explosion.

Missing in Action

Besides the characters that we have come to appreciate, there are some notable names that are missing. While quick reactions may focus on wondering how Nintendo could leave out Lucas or Ice Climbers, the WiiU does have the benefit of a more comprehensive online network and the ability to create downloadable content. With that said, here are some considerations for the missing characters.

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Roy РWith Fire Emblem being very well represented in this upcoming edition of SSB, it is highly unlikely that Roy would make a return. If he did, his model would likely be something in-between Marth and Ike, with a combination of slightly faster sword attacks and elements of flames. Rather than being a clone, he would be a merger or a middle ground. Possible Final Smash Idea: Flame Aether РWith his similarities to Ike, he would have a mirrored Final Smash with more slashes and a slightly weaker final slam.

Pichu¬†– It has been said that Pichu from SSB Melee evolved into Pikachu from SSB Brawl, which could explain his lack of a return. Pichu was simply a clone of Pikachu with the ability to hurt himself when using electric attacks. It is unlikely that he would even be downloadable later on, but you never know.¬†Possible Final Smash Idea: Volt Tackle¬†– While Pikachu has Volt Tackle and flies across the screen in a ball of electricity, Pichu’s could be more like a grounded version of Super Sonic with electricity shooting off of his charged body.

Mewtwo РProbably the character that the most fans want to see returned to the series, Mewtwo used a combination of psychic and physical attacks to beat up against his enemies. He could charge up and shoot out a Shadow Ball or disorient enemies with Disable. He also had the ability to Teleport and has all of his physical attacks charged up with shadow elements. Possible Final Smash Idea: Psychic РWhile it may be a simple name, it is not a simple attack. As a trapping attack, enemies caught in his psychic hold are thrown around the map until a charged up Shadow Ball finishes them off.

Pokemon Trainer¬†– Since Charizard was pulled out of the mix, the Pokemon Trainer fell off the character list. It was an interesting setup to have a character that was actually three characters in one, with Squirtle and Ivysaur making up the trio. It was clear that Charizard was a little slower but had a better combination of range and power. Squirtle’s speed was an attempt to make up for his lack of power, and Ivysaur fell into the middle across all qualities.¬†New Final Smash Idea: Master¬†Pokeball – Similar to the regular Pokeball item, the trainer would be able to throw out a Master Ball and have a legendary or mega-evolution version of a Pokemon pop out with a devastating attack (e.g. Ho-oh with Flame Pillar or Rayquaza with Dragon Rage).

Snake РAs the surprise from the SSB Brawl cast, Snake had originally been discussed early in the development of the SSB series. His combination of the rocket launcher and grenades made him the most realistic of the characters on the roster. He was a little unwieldy as far as the variable speed of his moves, but his Final Smash was one of the most fun with launching grenades from the foreground. New Final Smash Idea: Fly By РSimilar to his original Final Smash, Snake would take to the chopper but simply fly horizontally across the screen and drop a series of smoke bombs in one direction and grenades in the other.

Ice Climbers РThe 3DS was apparently not able to handle the design of the Ice Climbers (although Rosalina & Luma seemed to work out). They ended up hitting the chopping block, even though they appeared to be a staple since SSB Melee. Their ice-based moves were not particularly strong, but the hammers certainly had the ability to crush their foes. Their Final Smash had the ability to do a lot of damage but not actually smash them off of the screen with the Iceberg. New Final Smash Idea: Condor Attack РCalling on the Condor from the top of the mountain, it swoops down toward enemies and can grab one and fly off screen with it.

Wolf РThis Star Fox character dropping breaks the cycle of adding one per game. Rather than adding a fourth, the game will drop back to two. It is likely that he will be saved as a downloadable character, but his claws and blaster are out for now. His moves were more angled than Fox and Falco, but they tended to be a little stronger. His Final Smash followed the same format as the other two, just a little shorter and stronger. New Final Smash Idea: Star Wolf Rivals РCalling upon Leon and Panther, the three jump into their Wolfens and shoot the stage in a series of flybys.

Lucas¬†– Likely the biggest surprise for being left off, it was originally identified that Lucas was supposed to be the starring Earthbound character over Ness. He seems to be more of a favorite over Ness, mostly due to his electrified attacks over the use of the yo-yo. PK Starstorm was similar to Ness’s attack, but his tended to angle toward the middle a little more than Ness.¬†New Final Smash Attack: PK Flash¬†– Similar in concept to Luigi’s Negative Zone, PK Flash would cause other opponents to suffer a combination of ailments (e.g. slowness, dizziness, sleep, and stumbling).

Characters I Would Like to See in the Game

Downloadable characters will be a part of this new game, but who else could make a surprise appearance? Here is a brief list of some of my preferred options.

  • Sabin (FFVI): Mostly a physical fighter like Little Mac, he would be able to use his Blitz abilities. Final Smash: Bum Rush
  • King K. Rool (Donkey Kong): Armed with his cannon, he would help provide an antagonist like Bowser and King Dedede. Final Smash: Hyper Cannon
  • Kamek (Mario): Bring another magical character to the table, he could create Mario-based enemies to appear on-screen or strike directly with matin. Final Smash: Mega Kamek
  • Toad (Mario): Finally breaking free from Peach, Toad gets a chance to use moves gained from power ups in New Super Mario Bros. Final Smash: Toad’s Turnpike
  • Birdo (Mario): He (yes, he) can shoot eggs out of his snout and move around similarly to Yoshi. Final Smash: Mega Egg
  • Bomberman (Bomberman): Clearly his main weapon is bombs, but he has the ability to use them in creative ways. Final Smash: Bomb Bombardment
  • Waddle Dee (Kirby): Wearing a bandana, Waddle Dee can shoot lasers from his eye and uses a spear to attack enemies. Final Smash: Waddle Dee Wave
  • Proto Man (Mega Man): Though confused because of his programming, he possesses an interesting combination of special moves. Final Smash: Bass Swap
  • Krystal (Star Fox): Adding another female character, she would be equipped with the staff from Star Fox Adventures and able to shoot energy shots from the end. Final Smash: Dino Stampede
  • Earthworm Jim (Earthworm Jim): Between the blaster and the ability to whip his worm body around, this would be another reintroduction of a classic game character.¬†Final Smash: Cow Launcher
  • Geno (Super Mario RPG): Shooting stars and buckshot would be just the start of adapting this character to the SSB universe.¬†Final Smash: Geno Flash
  • Tails (Sonic): Not as fast as his blue partner, Tails would use his multiple tails and a slight bit of speed to turn into a fighter.¬†Final Smash: Hyper Tails
  • Banjo-Kazooie (Banjo-Kazooie): While Rare would make this one difficult, the duo would make for an interesting game mechanic similar to what has been designed for Duck Hunt.¬†Final Smash: Mumbo’s Magic
  • Chrono (Chrono Trigger): Taking another stab at trying to get a Square character, Chrono would fall in-line with the other sword fighting characters while adding a new series. Final Smash: Luminaire

The 2014 season is already underway and excitement is around every corner. Upsets have already presented themselves and key matchups have been the marquee of the early weeks. Giants have fallen and scandal has risen. It is going to be an exciting fall and I am more than excited to get going. I am going to be reporting on both the NFL and college football, focusing mostly on Washington and the University of Maryland, but I have plenty of love for the rest of the leagues.

Start of the Season

ncaa-football-maryland-south-florida1-590x900For the Maryland Terrapins, the start of the B1G career has begun. While other olympic sports are also engaging in their campaigns in the new conference, the football team has started its slate against an FCS school (JMU) and AAC opponent South Florida. The first game was a bit of a blowout, which is to be expected against a lower conference school. The defense was operating on all cylinders, but the offense still had some work to do. Senior QB CJ Brown was not a accurate as his previous performances have shown. He overthrew his receivers on nearly half of his passes, but he found a way to complete a few necessary and important connections. The running game also looked solid, but competition against an FBS opponent was needed to truly get a sense of the total offense.

The second game was another story. Although it turned out to be another victory, the offense was again rather shaky. When teams turn the ball over, they reduce their chances of winning. One turnover is not impossible to overcome, but each successive one makes it significantly more difficult. Maryland had 6 over the course of the game, including a combination of fumbles and interceptions. Accuracy continues to be a concern for Brown, but the running backs also need to be more prepared for ball control. As for the defense, they produced another impressive showing. The line held South Florida in check for most of the game and reduce the bulk of their offense to relatively short runs for their talented runningback. On the slate for this week is West Virginia in a rivalry game from College Park.

redskins-texans-footballjpeg-0cbd1_c0-321-3000-2069_s561x327In the NFL, Washington has proven nothing through their first entry into the regular season, other than a name change to the Washington Football Club would match their decent soccer score of 6 points against a formerly 2-14 team from 2013. The preseason had left so much to question, with RGIII having a modest and forgetful showing for the now healthy third-year quarterback. The Texans had bombed¬†through the majority of the 2013 season. There was hope for them that they would be able to put the mediocrity of Schaub’s unusual struggles behind them and boast the powerful defense they were know to possess. Against Washington, they did just that in Week 1. JJ Watt and Brooks Reed lived in the Washington backfield, giving RGIII no time to make decision and forcing him to dump the ball off before many of the offensive plays could develop. While he avoided mistakes (except for his costly third quarter fumble), he was unable to do anything spectacular and seemed way too cautious to use his legs to make plays. Morris and Helu continued to represent a strong Washington running game but both failed to put up any points at the end of a couple of solid runs and drives. Garcon, Jackson, and Paul all had respectable numbers (save for Paul’s extremely costly fumble after solid yards after a reception), but the loss of Reed took a more dynamic receiver out of the lineup.

The imbalanced offense was unfortunately matched by the struggling special teams that have received a poor reputation amongst the rest of the league. Extra points are supposed to be automatic, but Kai Forbath was blocked following Young’s 1-yard rushing touchdown by JJ Watt getting his hand up in the middle of the defense. The bad times continued when rookie Tress Way’s punt was blocked and returned by rookie Alfred Blue, accounting for one of Houston’s two scores.

The defense was certainly a much brighter highlight for the team. Fitzpatrick was able to score a huge 76-yard touchdown to Hopkins, but he was kept in check for most of the rest of the game. Andre Johnson and Arian Foster can always be expected to pick up significant yardage but were also held scoreless. Field position was the name of the game for most of the first three quarters, and Washington was winning the battle for the most part. If the offense can catch up to the play of the defense, the team may have a chance to compete in the NFC East. Next up, Washington takes on Jacksonville at home at FedEx Field.

Top Performances Around College and the NFL

  • kenny-hillJohnny who?? Texas A&M picked up where they left off with their high-scoring offense against a highly ranked South Carolina team. Hill surpassed Manziel’s highest yardage college game in his first start. Did I mention this was on the road? Oh, and they won in Week 2 with a score of 73-3.
  • They may have lost the game, but Navy put up a fight that caught a lot of attention. Winning 7-6 at the half, the Buckeyes finally opened up the offense and sent the Midshipmen packing.
  • USC is officially back, holding their Week 1 opponent scoreless and snagging a quality win over conference rival Stanford in the closing moments of the game.
  • LSU may have started their matchup with Wisconsin down by 17, but the Tigers were more than ready to mount an impressive comeback.
  • Baylor continues to outscore opponents by impressively high numbers. 45-0 versus SMU and 70-6 versus Northwestern State.
  • Oregon took advantage of an early-season marquee matchup with Michigan State to prove they are ready for a title run.

 

  • rlhvamjvpiaryqyuls2cSuper Bowl contenders faired well in Week 1 and proved why they are to be feared again. The Seahawks embarrassed the Packers in a complete trashing from Seattle, while the Broncos made the Colts look completely overmatched in the first half (forcing Indy to attempt a comeback in the second half).
  • Megatron may be the strongest and most talented player in the NFL, particularly with 146-yard and 2 touchdown performance.
  • The Florida air was not the only thing on fire on Sunday. The Dolphins surprised the favored Patriots with a rushing attack that reenergized the career for Moreno.

Not So Top Plays in Football

  • ap356029960854South Carolina would like to forget that it played in Week 1, as they are all but eliminated from contention for a national title. Originally ranked 9th, they traded places with Texas A&M and struggled to put away East Carolina with any authority.
  • Michigan would like to forget that they played in Week 2. Their series with Notre Dame is coming to an end and they dropped their final matchup 31-0. The rest of the B1G could have breathed a sigh of relief except that Michigan State and Ohio State joined Michigan in the loss column. Losing to decent opponents, all three schools have opened up the competition in the conference for anyone to step up to take it all.
  • Washington State would like to figure out how to get their running game going, as Mike Leach’s team has failed to break 22 yards per game.
  • UMass is still trying to figure out why they moved from the FCS to the FBS. Sure, a chance for more national attention is great, but amassing only 1 win per season since their league transition has left them struggling to justify their readiness. 0-2 is not a great start for 2014.
  • FAU is¬†back to where they started last season at 0-2. Teams that start with Florida and include a second part that starts with a vowel do not seem to fair well in recent years.

 

  • NFL: Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh SteelersNo-no for Romo. While the fantasy-popular QB can put up yardage and points, he also added 3 first half interceptions to his stats on Sunday. Potentially another long season for Cowboys fans.
  • One brother was strong, the other fell far short. Eli struggled all game to connect with his receivers for significant yardage and added a pair of picks to his very poor first 2014 outing.
  • Jacksonville was looking to post the upset of the week with their 17-point lead over the Eagles, and then they collapsed. Failing to score after halftime, they also gave up 34 points and made Foles from looking embarrassing to providing a solid performance with 2 scores and 322 yards.
  • Manziel has been the talk of the preseason and has appeared to be the eventual leader of the Browns, but he was given no snaps in a losing effort to Pittsburgh. Hoyer gave a lackluster performance but never lost his chance to try to finish.
  • The most significant hit of the week was actually delivered by Antonio Brown to the face of Spencer Lanning while trying to hurdle during a return. Brown is now the meme of the week.
  • The Ravens are the team of controversy as their performance left little to be desired, but Ray Rice’s removal from the roster has left Baltimore fans feeling lost, frustrated, and angry.
  • On that same point, the organization has much to answer to for their level of knowledge of Rice’s incident and Roger Goodell is seriously under fire with the continued controversy over league rules for suspensions and degree of awareness of the severity of incidents.

This upcoming weekend boasts a number of solid matchups at both levels of the game, particularly the SEC battle of Georgia vs. South Carolina. I will be watching to see if Maryland can repeat their success over West Virginia from last season in their commemorative military uniforms. Go Terps!

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