Sunday, July 5, 2015

My Super Smash Bros. for Wii U/3DS DLC Wishlist Finale: Characters!

And so we round off the column with everyone's favorite part about Smash Bros.: the fighters.

I've more than proven my ravenous love for Smash Bros. on the blog, so it may surprise you to learn that I'm quite conservative when it comes to character wishlists. Smash is, after all, largely a gathering of Nintendo's finest; so for all their charm, the likes of Slippy Toad and Master Belch can't very well join the fray, can they?

Indeed, I often tailor my character wishlists to what I expect. For example, I knew Sakurai would have to change his mind on Animal Crossing's Villager character following his/her absence in Brawl, what with a) Animal Crossing's ever-lasting relevance and popularity and b) how the character's moveset practically invents itself. The Villager was easily my most wanted character prior to Smash 4's reveal, and so I was quite pleased to see him make the cut (he's actually my favorite newcomer to play as!). Little Mac from Punch-Out!! and Palutena from Kid Icarus: Uprising also fit this criteria I set for myself.

Of course, this doesn't mean that a) I end up being wrong and b) I lose myself to hype for unreasonable characters. The best example of the former revolves around the great debate surrounding who'd be the inevitable Fire Emblem: Awakening character: Chrom or the avatar Robin. While there was no denying Robin would provide the more interesting moveset, I figured Chrom would make the cut since he was plastered all over Awakening's promotional material; namely, the game's boxart. He wasn't a character I necessarily wanted, but simply expected. As we've long since known, Robin made it in instead, and honestly, I couldn't have been happier to be wrong.

And in regards to the latter...well, my friends and I joked around the idea of Duck Hunt Dog for years. You can imagine our unbridled joy when he was leaked.

So in short, no, you won't be seeing any Ridleys or Waluigis on this list. No characters that obviously render themselves invalid as per Sakurai's current reasoning, and no characters already featured as Assist Trophies. And speaking of Sakurai, he's recently stated only a couple more characters will get in, so I've decided to only focus on four--well, technically five-- characters.

Just to make things interesting, why don't we start with an unlikely candidate?


Here's an example of a character I don't expect to ever join the Smash roster, yet would love to see anyway. Chibi-Robo is something of an unsung Nintendo character; indeed, his titles are so niche that two of them never left Japan. This isn't a knock against the series' quality (why else would I include him?), but Chibi-Robo!'s lack of financial success is no secret. Poor little robot.
So why pick him over all the other obscure Nntendo heroes? Because regardless of the above, Nintendo and Skip Ltd. still keep making Chibi-Robo! games. But why? The games never sold exceptionally well in any region (anyone else remember when Nintendo randomly made Chibi-Robo!: Park Patrol a Wal-Mart exclusive for America?), and it's niche fanbase was never as vocal as, say, EarthBound.
The answer becomes apparent when analyzing the purpose of the pack-in amiibo coming alongside Chibi-Robo!: Zip Lash. While initially bizarre, it's clear that Nintendo still recognizes mascot potential in the adorable robot, and remain committed to raising Chibi-Robo out of his niche status (hence why Zip Lash and its 2D design was even made in the first place).

Maybe a spot in the Smash roster could be just what Chibi-Robo needs. Like the Villager, his moveset practically makes itself, and guaranteed to be wonderfully charming and creative and all that. If I didn't paint enough doom and gloom for him, though, he unfortunately has a lot in his way. His relative lack of popularity might render him more suited as an Assist Trophy, and then there's the issue of his potential size problem. Granted, there is the case of the similarly-sized Olimar, but the entire purpose of Chibi-Robo's character is to constantly enforce how only he can accomplish what he does thanks to his diminutive size. Even the thought of scaling him to even the smallest of Smash's cast does come across as unnatural...

But if such a risk is possible, I'd be all for it. Who knows how many voted for him in the DLC ballot?


While (wrongly) often accused of being a Fox clone thanks to his Landmaster Final Smash, the way Wolf  was designed in Brawl was nothing less than a miracle. Immediately the character's concept does come across as something of just a scary-looking Fox clone, yet he plays entirely differently thanks to his claw attacks and blade-equipped Blaster. Three Star Fox characters may have been overkill, but Wolf emerged as an incredibly cool character that was easily my favorite Star Fox character to play in the entirety of Smash.

As does pretty much everybody, I peg Wolf firmly in my "want and expected" camp. It was a shame Wolf didn't make the initial cut, but with the advent of Star Fox Zero, the timing's simply perfect for his arrival. With Lucas being virtually identical to his Brawl appearance, it shouldn't be a problem retaining this highly-requested character as is.

Not much else to say, really. It's possible they may bring back his secret convos in the Lylat Cruise stage, although considering the homogenized Palutena's Guidances for DLC characters, I doubt new ones will be created for Orbital Gate Assault (considering the quality of the voices there, thank god). Hearing British Wolf in Smash would be pretty cool, though.

A Donkey Kong Character

Donkey Kong definitely got gypped when it came to representation. The new Jungle Hijinx stage is pretty amazing as are the new arrangements, but the series doesn't have it's own 3DS stage and the abundance of DK Island Swing remixes and rips are rather...yeah. No new character, either. Considering just how amazing Donkey Kong Country Returns was, it definitely feels like an oversight.
Dixie Kong and King K. Rool have all been very popular picks for the ballot, but who to pick between the two? Dixie Kong's appearance in Tropical Freeze renders her far more relevant, and her infamous ponytail should make for a fun moveset. But while Sakurai could work his Wolf magic on her, her similar body shape to Diddy Kong doesn't make her nearly as interesting as K. Rool would be. Many fans have toyed with the idea of the fiendish crocodile unleashing attacks and weapons from all three of his Super Nintendo appearances.

This is a tricky one. Ideally, K. Rool is the one I would want, but Dixie Kong's definitely a character I would expect. And while both are very popular picks for the Ballot (particularly K. Rool), they might not be interesting enough to catch Sakurai's eye. It's anyone's guess as to who'll be culled from the ballot, but at the very least, I imagine Dixie's relevance gives her the advantage.

Not that I care too much over who gets picked in that situation, really. Donkey Kong definitely deserves at least one more character, and either candidate would bring plenty to the Smash table.

And now, for my most wanted character.

The announcement of Solid Snake's appearance in Brawl remains unrivaled in shock. What was already in the running for "best game announcement ever" suddenly shot into the stratosphere with roaring success. Many Smash Bros. fans had already dreamed of potential third party candidates to enter the fray following Melee, but for the first non-Nintendo candidate to be the Soldier of Fortune himself--a character whose home series features bloody violence and adult humor of all sorts-- shook the gaming world.

It's something that should never have worked on any level, and yet it did spectacularly. Metal Gear's self-referential, tongue-in-cheek humor worked hand-in-hand with Smash Bros.'s own brand of the same theme, and so Snake fit in like a charm. No guns or knives were on his person, but his arsenal of explosives and CQC skills added a level of hilarious realism to the fray (there's nothing quite like snapping Pikachu's neck in a chokehold).

For all the love bestowed to Mega Man, Pac-Man and Ryu in Smash 4, Snake's treatment in Brawl remains my favorite out of Smash's third-party characters. The character brought such a hefty air of levelness and maturity that somehow fit so naturally within the realm of Smash. The blend of comedy and heartfelt dialogue from the codecs on the Shadow Moses Island stage is a huge testament to this; witnessing Snake and his team move from taking not-so-subtle jabs at Nintendo/Metal Gear Solid tropes to sharing sincere conversations on the likes of Lucas, Olimar and the Ice Climbers as the Snake Eater theme plays in the background was a thing of beauty. As was hearing the powerful Calling to the Night vocal theme play once in a blue moon (self-imposed thanks to My Music) as King Dedede, Luigi, Snake and Ness duel on Snake's stage, or giggling at the ol' timey-styled arrangement of Theme of Tara played triumphantly during Snake's late appearance in The Subspace Emissary...I could go on.

All within the context of a free-for-all party game, no less. What a shame we probably won't be seeing that again anytime soon.

As if Konami's recent meltdown isn't evidence enough, Snake is not a likely candidate to join Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS. With Hideo Kojima just about ready to abandon ship, David Hayter out of omission, and the character of Colonel Roy Campbell--who was present in Snake's codecs--retired due to the death of legendary JP voice actor Chikao Otsuka, it's unlikely Konami considers bringing back Snake as a top priority. Furthermore, Snake was a big reason Brawl earned the T rating it did, and I imagine Nintendo and co. aren't interested in raising Smash 4's favorable E10+ rating.

But I can still dream. If just about everyone else in the Smash fanbase can lose themselves to DLC character hype, I suppose I can permit myself to wish for Snake's ill chances at returning to be redeemed. 

Snake...had a hard life, and that's why I voted for him.


And so ends the column that lasted way longer than it should have. Sorry about that! Hoping I can live up to my promise of game review after game review for this month!

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