I am gonna be really, painfully honest with you – this week’s Smash reveals were probably the most mundane ever. Which isn’t to say they were all boring, just that they tended towards the technical end of things rather than introducing drastically new features or characters. This was especially noticeable after the Ike reveal last week. But I promise I will do my darndest to make things interesting and compelling with my random narrative. Pinky swear. Plus, I have a great new Most Wanted Brawler to captivate you all at the very end! So let’s approach this week with enthusiasm!
Let’s get Smashing!
Monday opened up with this study in contrasts. Although Dedede makes everything better (much like the Kool-Aid Man), he was not the focus of the picture. Nor was Wii Fit Trainer. Take a look below them. Sakurai is using this pic to illustrate the way the revival platforms visually indicate when they are about to disappear. They now fluctuate from yellow to red to warn you when they’re about to disappear and cause you to plummet to the stage. Nifty. Now you’ll no longer have to guess when your foe will join the fray (except maybe Kirby).
Then there was Tuesday, which was a bit of a nightmare for yours truly. Before I get into that, however, let me apologize for my Ike coverage last week. I honestly had forgotten how differently he played from Marth, and I should have refreshed my memory before ranting about clone characters. That said, I still hate the idea of anyone with a Counter move using a Pilotwings rocket belt to increase their aerial superiority. I mean, sure, Marth and Ike have great game on the ground, but not so much in the air… at least, until now. God help all those projectile spamming characters out there that I like…
Wednesday had another strange yet entertaining technical reveal. Take a quick look. See what’s happening? That steam rising from Yoshi and Sheik? No, it’s not time to take them off the countertop. Instead, this effect indicates when a Brawler is seriously damaged and ready for the kill. Guess this means it will be harder to hide how damaged I am as Princess Peach. Just another tweak sure to make the game more fast paced and competitive.
Sniff. Can you smell that? It’s the smell of roast plumber! Yes, Ike’s volcanic Eruption attack is back and scary as ever. I’ll let Sakurai fill you in on the small details – “You can charge up Ike’s Eruption attack by holding the button down, but remember to release it right before it fully charges to avoid recoil damage. Let go of the button at the moment the sword shines!” Note to self: run from shining Ike. Check.
Remember when I said this week was really technical? Yeah, I wasn’t joking. Friday’s screen illustrates how the bottom screen of the 3DS will display the damage and character line up. But there’s a bit more to it than that, as Sakurai also had a follow up screen. Let’s see what he said – “Here’s a first look at the bottom-screen display for the Nintendo 3DS. Your name will appear in the area above the accumulated damage. And if you tap one of the fighter displays…!”
“…You can highlight that fighter on your screen. This is useful when you want to get back at a particular opponent. You can also highlight yourself if you need to keep better track of where you are. This is a great benefit to having your own individual screen.” Looks like Sakurai really has thought of all those little details we’re sure to obsess over once the game releases, which is hopefully soon.
Stick around for a great Most Wanted Brawler by Guy Rainey!
Most Wanted Brawler
GUY: If you are even remotely aware of the Professor Layton games, you may question my choice. After all, Professor Hershel Layton is a gentlemen first and foremost, and a professor of archaeology. You’d think that the only war zone he’d enter is one covered by the sands of time, to be dug up and explored.
Sure, he’s an out of left field choice, but I think he has potential. After all, we have seen him perform feats of physical daring, and we’ve also seen that he is a master of a particular sport: fencing. “There enough sword-wielding combatants already,” you may say. True, there are quite a few swordsmen in Smash Bros, but I would argue that fencing is a whole different style of sword than we’ve previously seen. A fencing sword is light-weight and would require finesse in actual combat, something that a gentlemen like Layton has in spades. So, I envision him being a fast, light-weight character.
His Smash is easy: the Slot Machine Gun. The video will show you why (if you didn’t already know).
His Up Smash is also straightforward. In The Azran Legacy, Layton builds a hang-glider from a pterodactyl skeleton. This would represent his craftiness and his archaeological background.
The Forward Smash is more of a stretch, but in the animated movie, Layton fights Descole with a pipe. Why have a pipe when he’s already got a sword? Well, in my concept, the sword wouldn’t do much damage, since fencing swords are pretty flimsy. While a fencing sword may be useful for racking on the damage, it doesn’t have the stability needed to actually send the opponents off the stage. That’s what the pipe is for. It wouldn’t have the range or speed of Layton’s main weapon; rather, it would be a close-up power weapon, not unlike Peach’s Forward Smash.
The Down Smash is the biggest stretch, but bear with me. In Inazuma Eleven, Layton heads a soccer team. So, why not, for the Down Special, Layton kicks a soccer ball (or, I guess a football to a British gentleman)? The player would be able to charge this attack by holding the button. Only want to flinch an opponent a few feet away? A simple press will do it. A longer charge could send the ball across the stage, giving Layton a long range attack, though since it’s a Down Smash, it wouldn’t have a good way to really aim it. More likely, it would have a fixed arc.
For his Final Smash, I’ll also pull from the movie. In the movie, Layton MacGyvers together a flying machine. It doesn’t fly very well though; mostly it jumps around like a grasshopper. But that’s actually interesting from a game design perspective, since the machine would jump around, and all the other players would try to dodge.
Oh, and to those who may mention that Layton is technically a third-party character, let me remind you that seven of his eight video games are Nintendo-exclusive. Yes, Layton Brothers and Layton 7 have branched out to mobile devices, but Layton was not — and probably will not — be the star of those games, if he appears at all. Plus, all of his Nintendo appearances were localized by Nintendo. The professor is linked to Nintendo handhelds in a way that few other characters are. And I’d like to see that heritage represented in Smash Bros., if only to give me one more way to play as Professor Layton.