I was very fond of this week’s Smash updates. Granted, nothing groundbreaking was announced, but the selection of screenshots was both diverse and compelling. It showed off more details of a newly revealed level, discusses character balance, and has the best Charizard picture thus far. Plus, as always, we have a great Character of the Week for you! Are you excited? I am!
Let’s get Smashing!
Monday started with this sharp screenshot (see what I did there?). I find it somehow fitting that Mario wields the Fire Bar and Link wields the Beam Sword. Speaking of which, Sakurai also mentioned that the “not a lightsaber” features graduated colors this time, which should look awesome in HD. Plus, he discussed how the Fire Bar becomes one fireball shorter after each swing. Sounds like a fantastic new item. But not as fantastic as the next screen!
Tuesday illustrated the new Balloon Fight!!! stage. In triumphant retro fashion, the stage loops from left to right, so you can avoid projectiles and surprise your opponents. Might make it harder to Smash people off the stage, but I’m sure that aquatic beast underneath Mario will help you dispose of your foes…
God I love this picture. Charizard continues to be a naughty Pokemon while solo, showing off his Crunch attack (I think). If I had any doubts about playing Charizard without Squirtle and Ivysaur, they are officially gone — as is poor Waddle Dee…
This screen is also glorious. Why? Cause it is a heady mixture of sexy and cute. It also had this interesting quote by Sakurai – “Yoshi’s Egg Throw now leaves a rainbow trail, and we’ve improved the pose Samus strikes when she fires the Paralyzer. Every staff member is working hard as we brush up whatever we can.” Just like I’m uncertain how walking upright is an advantage, I’m also curious how rainbow trails benefit Yoshi. Maybe they deal damage as well as deflecting projectiles? Regardless, I love seeing Sakurai and company hard at work balancing out the brawlers. Now if the release window would just hurry up and get here… But don’t be discouraged. We saved the best for last with Friday’s screen!
Though we already saw Mega Man’s Final Smash in the Direct, it’s cool seeing it up close and detailed. Mega Man will be joined by his X, EXE, Star Force and Volnutt incarnations to blast foes away — which is great. But I still wanna know exactly how the move will work. Is it a straightforward laser beam? Can it curve? Is it easily avoidable, like Mario’s lame Final Smash from Brawl (god, I hope not) ? Either way, it was a great way to round out the screens for this week of Smashing Saturdays.
But that’s not all! Stick around for a new Character of the Week by my trusty assistant editor, Tyler Lubben!
Character of the Week
TYLER: I’m sorry, what’s that? Captain Falcon, aside from being one of the fastest characters in the Smash Bros. franchise, is a strong and versatile fighter with a variety of different attacks to suit a range of situations? I guess I couldn’t hear all that over the sound of FALCON PUNCH! Seriously, I have a strange history with Capt. Falcon. I never used him as a main character, but, boy, was I excited about using him right after I unlocked him in the original N64 game. In my mind as a dumb little Tyler Jr., Falcon only had one attack: Falcon Punch. It was a risky move to use, taking a second to build up, but when it connected, man oh man, was it sweet. Plus, you know, if you keep using the move over and over, it’ll work eventually, right?
I was a little disappointed to see Falcon Punch nerfed in subsequent entries. It didn’t take quite as long for the attack to wind up, but it also just didn’t do as much damage or knock opponents quite as far. It seems the true Falcon Punch, in terms of damage and knockback power, was instead given to Ganondorf. It was then that I figured it was time for Falcon to show me his other moves. The Captain’s Falcon Kick and Falcon Knuckle were some great moves to close the distance between opponents. Plus, given my love of air grabs, I enjoyed his Falcon Dive attack, as well. And yet, despite all this, I still probably used Falcon Punch more than anything. There’s always something to be said about those slow, high-risk, high-reward attacks, even if they aren’t as great as they used to be.
Despite the fact that Nintendo has, more or less, laid the F-Zero franchise to rest, Capt. Falcon has appeared in every Smash Bros. game, and I see no reason to think he won’t crop up in the Wii U/3DS version, as well. Not that I have a problem with the generally cartoony graphics of most other Nintendo characters, but Falcon brings something to the games that, if he were gone, I think most gamers would notice. Sometimes you just want to play as a big, tough macho guy who can punch things really hard. Plus, with that outfit, he fits right in with everyone else just fine.