By Josh Speer / September 20th, 2014
I have to get something off my chest. I love that Mega Man is playable in the new Smash Bros, but I’m beyond irritated by a recurring pattern I keep hearing, which goes as follows: “Mega Man is too hard to play well in Smash!” Now, as many of you likely haven’t had the chance to play Smash Bros extensively yet, you’re probably thinking I’m talking crap, but let me clarify. I have now played the new Smash Bros not once, but on four separate occasions. Once on the 3DS demo at PAX Prime, once on the Wii U demo at PAX Prime, once on a friend’s copy of the Platinum Club Nintendo early demo and a few times on the public demo. So, I’m not just talking out of my ass, or being a complete fanboy. Let’s go into why I feel this way.
The first kernel for this opinion blossomed as I watched the Smash Bros Invitational at E3 earlier this year. I noticed Mega Man was constantly playing defense and solely using his close quarters attacks – his Top Spin, his Flame Sword, his Super Arm throws – but not his long distance attacks. And that wouldn’t be a problem if not for the fact that Mega Man is kind of known for his projectiles as much as his diversity. Take it from me, Mega Man has a LOT of projectile attacks at his disposal in Smash. Like, enough projectiles to make Samus’s arsenal look meager by comparison. The question for me then became – why aren’t people using those projectiles? Hell, why weren’t they even using his Buster to pew-pew opponents? The answer that came to me was they A) weren’t familiar enough with the Blue Bomber or B) feared his projectiles would just be avoided or deflected. The latter is a reasonable, if faulty, conclusion. Having played as lots of previous projectile enthusiasts in Smash, such as Ness, Peach and Yoshi, I learned one very valuable lesson: hit foes with enough crap, and they can’t block everything. Even hitting them with less crap, but with irregular timing, often does the trick.
Having said that, I do have one clarification. Though I found the majority of Mega Man’s projectiles to be intuitive and easy to use, such was not the case with his Metal Blades. Everything else came out fast and hard, but the timing for the Metal Blades require some practice. Which really isn’t a problem, since I think they are primarily used to disrupt a foe’s momentum. But the rest of his vast arsenal was super easy to use. The up tilt Air Shooter was especially fun to surprise foes with, as were the adhesive Crash Bombs, the Leaf Shield and even the basic pew-pew (not the charged version, just the basic stuff). Having established that Mega Man has a great and effective projectile arsenal, let’s move on to the other stuff.
Mega Man’s recovery is faster and easier to use than Sonic’s, albeit with less vertical lift. And his Up Smash (Spark Shock) is utterly devastating and easy to connect with. Though I complain about his close quarters attacks, they are useful just so long as you mix and match them with his projectiles. His Flame Sword is great for edge guarding, as is his Slash Claw. Even better, besides having his Top Spin to rush foes with, Mega Man also has his trusty Slide attack at his disposal! So, he’s versatile, fast, powerful and fun to play. Was there anything else that makes me excited to main Mega Man in a couple of weeks?
Ah yes, silly me. His Custom Moves also look incredible! Plus, they are great touchstones to classic Mega Man games. Though we have only had Beat and Plant Barrier confirmed for now, I eagerly anticipate seeing the Blue Bomber’s other cool Custom Moves. Might he have access to the sinister Skull Barrier? Or perhaps Clown Man’s Thunder Claw? How about Quick Boomerangs? There are literally dozens upon dozens of options at his potential disposal, so it will be fun to see which ones make the cut.
So, there you have it. I am beyond excited that Mega Man is in Smash Bros, and look forward to truly mastering the plucky blue robot in the months to come. I hope my opinion is taken as just that, and not the final word on the matter. I’m sure I will learn many more things about Mega Man very soon. However, don’t forget – Mega Man is a jack of all trades, and should be used as such. Don’t shelve his many unique moves and just focus on the easy ones. Mega Man is sure to be a contender once Smash Bros releases in just a few more weeks!
Super Smash Bros for 3DS and Wii U are available for pre-order on Amazon:
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