By Josh Speer / May 10th, 2014
This was a very weird week. It had some noteworthy screens and reveals (including one really cool one that completely caught me by surprise), and it also had some that were rather bland. However, being the optimist that I am, I will focus on the best aspects of even the dullest pictures! Plus, we have another Character of the Week to spice things up for you all.
Enough blabbing! Let’s get Smashing!
At first glance, Monday’s screen was nothing special. It shows us a stage we have already seen plenty of in previous weeks. Luckily, Sakurai’s quote clarified why this is special – “You can get up on the lights of this special ring. It’s a perfect secret hiding place. And you can attack the lights and have them fall to the ground! That makes things dark. The lights are way up high, but even Little Mac can get up there by jumping off the ropes.” MUCH better. I love that this won’t just be another flat stage. The advent of the destructible lighting fixture makes this really different and hectic – just as I like it!
Tuesday also initially seems like a throwaway, with a couple of exceptions. First, anything with Mega Man characters is instantly better. Second, this ridiculous quote by Sakurai – “Members of the Enemies That Love to Hide Association, here are Octorok and Met. Calmly grab them while they’re ducking.” Seriously, how random can you get? Then again, I feel this sort of mentality is a large part of what makes Smash Bros. the great series it is. So Sakurai can be as odd as he wants.
I’m sure Wednesday’s post made many of you sad. It shows Wonder Red as a trophy (not even an Assist Trophy) and not as a playable character. In my circles, there has been rampant speculation one of the many Wonderful 100 would be playable in the new Smash, and this might seem to quash those hopes. But keep this in mind: In previous games, even playable characters had various trophies. Plus, in his quote Sakurai doesn’t explicitly say Wonder Red is ONLY a trophy. So we’ll just have to wait and see.
Now this screen was worth the wait. Bullet Bill is finally an item in the new Smash Bros! But what makes it even better is that you don’t just throw him at foes. That would be too simple. No, instead they take a page from Mario Kart and have you transform into a giant Bullet Bill and crash into your opponents! Sounds fun to me.
Lastly, can you guess what Friday’s screen heralds? That viewpoint can only mean one thing – the return of the legendary Air Ride machine, the Dragoon! I’m sure there will be a mixed reaction to this, since the hectic weapon was often useless against seasoned Brawlers. Then again, it was fun to fight for all the pieces. To further complicate things, in the 3DS version, the Dragoon will be controlled via gyroscopic controls. Yay? I would be more worried if Sakurai hadn’t already proven how well he can handle such controls in Kirby Triple Deluxe. So it might work better than we think.
But that’s not all! Stick around for a great Character of the Week by Guy Rainey!
Character of the Week
GUY: Ah, the Pokemon Trainer. This three-in-one character was the prefect tribute to the Pokemon Red/Green/Blue games, and has a lot of options for the player to play with. Now that Smash Bros is moving away from transforming characters, let’s give a salute to the most interesting original character from Brawl.
I’ve always liked the idea behind the Pokemon Trainer. I’m a sucker for transforming characters, because I like to be a jack-of-all-trades type of player. I like to try a little bit of everything, and end up mastering nothing (that usually gets me into trouble). So, the Pokemon Trainer really appealed to me, because that’s essentially what the character is: a combination of the three basic character archetypes.
First up, we have Squirtile, the starter Water-type Pokemon. Squirtle is the most mobile of the three Pokemon, and he has the best air game. He’s the representative of the small and mobile, but weak and short ranged characters. Kirby, Jigglypuff and Sonic all fit into this paradigm.
Second, we have Ivysaur, the first evolution of the starter Grass-type Pokemon Bulbasaur. Ivysaur doesn’t have the mobility of Squirtle or the raw power of Charizard, but he has one thing that the other two don’t: range. Ivysaur uses his vines for many of his attacks, giving him a greater range than the other two. Otherwise he’s the middle of the road character, much like Mario.
Finally, we have Charizard, the final evolution of the starter Fire-type Pokemon Charmander. Charizard may have wings, but he doesn’t use them well, so unlike Kirby, Pit, etc. you’ll actually need that Up Special a lot of the time. He’s slow, doesn’t have a good air game, and a big target to boot, but he is the most powerful character of the three Pokemon, bar none. Charizard is the representative of the giant, slow, powerful character archetype, like Bowser, King Dedede, and Ganondorf.
The big strength and appeal of playing as the Pokemon Trainer is all the switching you can do. Need a character with more speed, raw power, or range? Switch out. The Trainer even spouts lines lifted right from the Pokemon games when you switch. However, the usefulness of this is kneecapped by the necessity of the controls. You must cycle through the Pokemon in a fixed order, so even if Squirtle would be really useful in your situation, if you have Ivysaur out, you’re probably going to be out of luck. Plus, balance becomes an issue when you have a character that is essentially every basic character type you have. Potentially, the Pokemon Trainer could exploit any weakness the other characters might have.
That’s probably why Smash Bros has moved away from transforming characters, now that a team with competitive fighting game experience has taken over (plus with the advent of online play, they may have found that players tended to chose one form over another, negating the whole point). And if you were only going to take one character from the mix, Charizard’s gotta be the one, thanks to the anime. Well, I can still play Brawl to get my Pokemon Trainer fix. I salute you, Pokemon Trainer, and I’m sorry to see you go.
Bullet BillDragoonPokemon TrainerSmashing SaturdaysSuper Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DSWonder Red