By Josh Speer / July 12th, 2014
This was quite an interesting week for Smashing Saturdays. We got more attack details for Mii Fighter and Palutena, stage details for the 3DS version and we were even treated to Sakurai hyping the reveal of a new character next week! If that’s not enough to get you excited, then you’re in the wrong place. Nevertheless, my duty is to keep things going, so have at you!
Let’s get Smashing!
DUCK, KIRBY! This lovely screen depicts the Gunner’s Side Smash attack. Looks to have some nasty range on it, doesn’t it? Sakurai admits it has the farthest reach of any of the Side Smashes in the game, in fact, making it a great way to keep foes at bay. More and more happy about my early decision to make my Mii a Gunner.
Speaking of good decisions, Tuesday highlighted a couple of awesome attacks for my favorite new lady Brawler, Palutena! First is her Up Smash, a far-reaching pillar of pure energy. Looks like a great intercept move to keep fliers at bay. Poor Diddy Kong. But even better is her newly revealed special below, called Heavenly Light!
If you thought Palutena’s Up Smash had range, take a gander at Heavenly Light! Not only is it tall, but wide, as well! Luckily, to keep it from being broken, Sakurai made it so this attack doesn’t cause flinching. So no juggling foes to death with this lovely attack. Which is good for balance, but bad for Palutena fans…
Look carefully at Wednesday’s pic. See the Mii Fighter on the left? That helmet look familiar? It should if you ever played the great eShop game, Mii Force! This looks to confirm that Mii Fighters can wear helmets (and maybe costumes?) you unlock by playing Mii Plaza games, which is awesome! This pic also had the following details about how the Dark Emperor on the right works – “Just like in the original game, the Dark Emperor can cause status changes based on a fighter’s color. Red types generally get powered up. ” Not sure exactly how that will correlate to Smash, but my guess is you can determine it by the color of your outline in the 3DS version? Intriguing.
Thursday got all fancy with more lovely alternate costume swaps! Plus it had this precious quote by Sakurai – “The character farther in the back isn’t from the Imperial forces, and the character in the front is not the infamous drum-playing puppet in Osaka. No, Mario is actually wearing an outfit from Family Computer Golf: U.S. Course! NES Open Tournament Golf might be a more familiar title.” Imperial Forces hehe. Sakurai sure is a quirky fellow.
Watch out Luigi, Pac-Man has your number when it comes to random taunts! This one is called Namco Roulette, and cycles through random Namco characters from the 1980s. Fantastic. I wonder if you can alternate between this and his Bonus Fruit attack to keep foes on guard. Oh, and in case you were curious what some of the other Roulette characters are, look below!
But that’s not all for this week! Stay tuned for a great Character of the Week by talented writer and member of the Review Crew, Guy Rainey!
Character of the Week
GUY: If I had to list the names of the Pokémon I knew off the top of my head, it’d be a pretty short list. It mostly boils down to Pikachu, Squirtle, Ivysaur, Charzard, Snorlax, Meowth, Mew and Mewtwo. That’s it. It’s not that I haven’t played Pokémon; I have. I just don’t remember their names all that well. Though, if I were choosing a Pokémon to put in a mascot-driven fighting game, Mewtwo would be on my short list, simply because he’s had a feature film devoted to him.
So, when I learned that Mewtwo was in Melee and not in Brawl, I was confused. Why would you take someone with name recognition, and replace him with some new guy nobody’s ever heard of. Then I learned about Lucario’s hook: his attacks get stronger as he takes damage.
Now that’s a great hook for any type of game (I would love to play an action game starring Lucario, Game Freak), but, for a fighter, it’s especially interesting. This actually gives opponents an interesting choice when facing Lucario. Do you attack trying to defeat him like normal and risk getting hit by more powerful attacks, or do you wait until you have some kind of instant kill edge? This also is great game design. A good designer knows that, especially in a competitive environment, for every move one player makes, the other players should have options on how to proceed. Also, this mechanic poses an interesting question to the player. Does the player fly into the fray, taking damage so as to become more powerful, risking an untimely ring out in the process? Or does he make due with the more limited attacks you start out with? Since a ring out is more likely with high damage, it’s something to consider. This choice makes the game all the more interesting.
Of course, the best hook in the world can’t save a bad character, so it’s a good thing that Lucario has a set of interesting moves to fall back on. His moves are fun to use, if a little technical. As cool as the power mechanic is, there’s really not all that much difference between Lucario at 0%, at which his attacks are 70% effective, and Lucario at 300%, at which his attacks are 140% effective to the casual viewer. Now, at the beginning of each match, most of Lucario’s attacks will not result in KOs. Even then, the most important skill Lucario has is the Aura Sphere, his ranged attack. Like a lot of other characters, Lucario can charge it up, and store it for quick access. Especially when he’s highly damaged, so it can instakill, this will be your most useful skill.
If there’s one weakness Lucario has, it’s his Up Special. It doesn’t actually do damage, so it’s a recovery move only, and it can be blocked by people sitting on the ledge. To compensate, it can cling to walls, but that makes it very hard to use. Also, his Double Team counter isn’t particularly effective either.
However, maybe these shortcomings will be addressed in the new Smash Bros. We already know Lucario is playable, and his hook is better visually represented this time around. Still, Lucario was a great addition to the Smash Bros lineup, so I’m still looking forward to playing with him.
Heavenly LightNamco RouletteSmashing SaturdaysWeek 36