Smash Bros Character Checklist: The Kid Icarus Series

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Kid Icarus is a franchise that has its origins in the early days of Nintendo’s game consoles. It was released along side legendary names like Zelda and Metroid. The original NES title is one of the most classic games for the system, with one of the strangest reverse difficulty curves of any game I’ve ever played. The game begins wildly difficult, but then gets much easier as it goes on. It’s amazing what one or two power ups can help out with!

The game was popular enough to score a sequel on the Gameboy. But unlike Zelda and Metroid, the series faded into obscurity after that, barely receiving any form of mention from Nintendo for years to come. That is until series protagonist Pit became one of the first new fighters announced for Super Smash Bros Brawl.

While the character most likely came off as obscure for some, Pit’s place in Brawl seemed to help revitalize interest in the series. Eventually, the third Kid Icarus game came into existence over 20 years after the second. That third game was Kid Icarus: Uprising, interestingly developed by the Smash Bros creator himself, Masahiro Sakurai.

Uprising happens to be one of my favorite games on the 3DS. It added a whole new level of action and personality to the world and characters that the previous games were incapable of portraying. It’s an utterly fantastic experience, and I highly recommend it for anyone who hasn’t had the opportunity to play it! Though I guess me gushing over how much I love Uprising isn’t what you’re here for, right? We’re here to talk about Smash!

Sakurai’s next major outing after Uprising was Super Smash Bros for 3DS and Wii U, and the Kid Icarus characters followed him to the new games. Goddess of Light Palutena became a playable fighter, and Pit received an Echo Fighter in the form of Dark Pit. But as far as Smash Bros Ultimate goes, there’s no new Kid Icarus fighters in the base game.

As far as who could be added to Smash, a lot of people are behind the inclusion of Medusa. She is, after all, the original villain of the original game, and could become either an original fighter or an Echo of Palutena. Personally, I was a big supporter of adding Magnus to the roster in Smash 4, even though he ended up as an assist trophy in that game. He is noticeably absent from his assist duties in Smash Ultimate, however. Perhaps this means he could be heading our way in the form of DLC? It’s something to be considered.

But I’m not going to be talking about either of these potential fighters. While they would both be great choices, and I would be excited to see either of them enter the fray, I thought of a Kid Icarus character that would make an even better addition!

It’s the God of Death himself, the villainous (and incredibly goofy) THANATOS!

CharacterChecklistThanatos

In the original Kid Icarus, Thanatos was nothing more than a throw-away enemy, portrayed as a big snake that took part in the final battle with Medusa. But in Uprising, he was re-imagined into the shape-shifting, genie-like form you see in the picture above (even though he was still a minor villain, in the grand scheme of things).

And yup, you read that correctly: He’s a shape-shifter. As in he can turn into whatever he wants. In the Kid Icarus games, he’s taken the form of the above mentioned snake, a bat, a sword, and a… foot? Yeah, a giant foot. And that’s just a few examples of Thanatos’ strength. Considering he can take the form of anything he desires, that can lead to limitless potential for a Smash Bros moveset!

He could take the form of other Kid Icarus villains and monsters in order to use their attacks, or change his limbs and body into any number of different weapons and objects. There’s really no end to how creative they could be when coming up with a fighting style for him. He’s a character that you could basically do whatever you want with, and no matter how goofy you make his attacks, it would fit his eccentric personality perfectly. Thanatos truly provides a chance to make a unique fighter like no other!

For his Final Smash, why not have him change into his original incarnation: a giant serpent that takes a bite out of the opposition! And seeing that he is the God of Death, it would make sense for this to potentially lead to a instant KO.

True, trying to find a satisfying way to make a character that can become ANYTHING might be trickier than it sounds. There’s so many directions you could take the character, it could be challenging to find the perfect balance of making him creative, fun to play as, and not overpowered. But all the same, I think he would be a perfect, unexpected entrant in the Smash series! Thanatos may not be a major threat in the Kid Icarus games themselves, but he certainly has the potential to become a fantastic Smash Bros combatant!

So whaddya think of my choice? Is Thanatos the perfect Kid Icarus entrant, or would you rather have a more notable character make an appearance? Be sure to let me know through a comment or two! I’d love to hear what you think.

But for now, that’s all from me. Sparky is signing off for now! I’ll catch you later.

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The 64 Showcase: Hey You, Pikachu! and Super Smash Bros.

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It just occurred to me that I never made a post here for the last 64 Showcase I did, and I’ve posted another one since! So here’s a double feature: one for the new Pokemon, and one for the new Smash Bros!

Hope you enjoy! Sparky is signing off for now!

Smash Bros Character Checklist: The Fire Emblem Series

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By this point, all of the characters in Super Smash Bros Ultimate have been revealed. With a staggering 76 playable characters from across multiple game franchises, game genres, and game companies, this latest entry in the Smash Bros series is shaping up to be one of the best games ever. Not just one of the best games in the series, not just one of the best games on the Switch, and not just one of the best games from Nintendo. But one of the best games PERIOD.

Of course, the roller coaster ride of guessing who’s going to be in the game had to stop somewhere. And unfortunately I still have a few character wishes that have been left in the dust. But even though every character in the base game has been revealed, there is a silver lining: six DLC characters are currently in development, and only one of them has been revealed. That means there are still five mystery characters on the way, and the Character Checklist must continue!

And as we continue, we’re going to discuss the Fire Emblem franchise. The tactical RPG series has humble roots, remaining unknown to most gamers until Super Smash Bros Melee on the Gamecube. The games were exclusive to Japan for the longest time. But Melee brought protagonists Marth and Roy around the world and introduced Nintendo fans everywhere to the series.

From that point onward, Fire Emblem games began to see worldwide release (partly thanks to Melee, and partly thanks to the then recent success of the similar Wars series). The games continued to see representation in Smash Bros as well, with Ike being added to the third game, Super Smash Bros Brawl.

But while the series retained some popularity, it wasn’t nearly as successful as the likes of Mario, Zelda, and Pokemon. In fact, sales were poor enough that Fire Emblem as a whole was on the verge of being permanently retired at one point. The future was very uncertain for the franchise.

But then Fire Emblem Awakening happened.

Awakening was massively successful, and what was once meant to potentially be the final game in the series ended up reviving it. It’s the only Fire Emblem game to have more the one character representing it in Smash: echo fighters Lucina and Chrom hail from Awakening, as does the master tactician Robin.

Add in Fire Emblem Fates protagonist Corrin, and the series went from having a measly two characters representing it to SEVEN by Smash Ultimate. To put that into perspective, Nintendo giants Mario and Pokemon have nine and ten representatives respectively. And with the Zelda series only having six playable characters, Fire Emblem takes third place in number of characters on the Ultimate roster. Talk about a massive popularity boost!

It’s to the point that some Smash fans are getting sick of the number of Fire Emblem characters being included in Smash. And it’s understandable, to some degree: all of them are sword wielding fighters, a majority of them have a counter attack Down-B Special, and four of the seven share a base play style. They could be seen as unoriginal, throw-away character choices, with Robin and Corrin being the most unique out of the bunch.

So I wanted to think of a character that could be a another unique addition: a fighter with a lot of variety, that could make both Fire Emblem fans and Smash Bros fans happy. And honestly, it wasn’t easy. I only have three finished Fire Emblem games under my belt, so my experience with the series is slim. But I think I’ve come up with a good one!

It’s the Fire Emblem series’ one true recurring character, ANNA!

CharacterChecklistAnna.png

Most Fire Emblem games have a unique cast of characters, with the exception of direct sequels and remakes. There really isn’t a consistent line up of heroes and villains like with Mario or Metroid. But Anna is a special case: she’s appeared in nearly every Fire Emblem title. Or at least, one of them has. Because as it turns out, there’s more than one! A whole crew of nearly identical sisters all with the same name. Having so many version of her to choose from makes a great opportunity for multiple costume choices!

While she was a non-playable character for a very long time, starting with Fire Emblem Awakening she became a recruitable unit for battle. She’s even since become one of the main characters in the story of Fire Emblem Heroes, commanding the Order of Heroes. Needless to say, she’s an important character in modern Fire Emblem, and also significant to the history of the series. She would make a perfect addition to the Smash Roster, and would no doubt please Fire Emblem fans with her inclusion.

But what would make her a good fighter? What would set her apart from the other Fire Emblem characters in Smash? For me, it all comes down to her weapons. Sure Anna has fought with a sword like so many other Fire Emblem representatives. But having multiple incarnations of the character means she’s used a multitude of tools as well. Anna has been shown to use a staves, bows, and an axes too. If you were to combine all of these weapons together, it would give you a jack-of-all-trades sort of fighter that would be completely unique to every other Fire Emblem character in Smash.

I imagine she would end up being an energetic fighter of many different talents, and I would love to see what the Smash team could come up with for that style of combat. And the best part would be her Final Smash: summoning in all her sisters from across the Fire Emblem series to deliver a massive beat down! That would be awesome to see.

So what do you think of my suggestion? Would Anna make a good addition to Smash, or would you rather see someone else take to the battlefield? Or maybe you would like Fire Emblem to make some room for other franchises? Let me know in a comment!

Till next time, Sparky is signing off! Here’s looking forward to finally playing Smash Ultimate soon!

The 64 Showcase: Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue

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The newest 64 Showcase is here, this time featuring something a little more obscure! Power Rangers has always been a favorite show from my childhood, and this year marks the 25th anniversary of the franchise! So why not celebrate by playing the series’ only game on the Nintendo 64?

How does the game hold up, you ask? Well… you’ll just have to watch and see! This one’s a two part video, so there’s lots to enjoy!

Let me know what you think of the video, and the 64 Showcase in general! And be sure to check in on my YouTube for future video updates!

Until next time, Sparky is signing off!

Mega Man – A Casual Playthrough

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With the recent release of Mega Man 11, I’m in a bit of a Mega Man mood! So we’re gonna play the very first classic Mega Man game in celebration! Check it out!

Be sure to keep an eye on my YouTube channel for updates! The whole game will be posted soon. So subscribe, if you would like too!

For the moment though, Sparky is signing off! Happy watching!

The Good, The Bad, and the Online Subscription Service (Nintendo Switch Online Discussion)

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I’m going to start this out by making something very clear: I don’t play games online very often. I much prefer single player gaming experiences, and when it comes to multiplayer, I like sitting on a couch with friends and family face to face. The only game I play online regularly is Team Fortress 2, and I only sporadically play other games online with friends, or jump into a random Mario Kart games on rare occasions. So maybe I’m not the BEST person to be talking about this subject. But regardless, let’s discuss Nintendo Switch Online.

For those of you out of the loop, Nintendo Switch Online is the Big N’s new online subscription service for their smash hit hybrid console, the Switch (as if the name wasn’t obvious enough). For a measly 20 dollars a year, it allows you access to free games, exclusive special offers, save-data backups, and of course online multiplayer for your favorite Nintendo games. Sounds like a good deal, right?

Well, not everyone is happy with the introduction of this new service. Especially considering the fact that the Switch’s online multiplayer has been free to access for well over a year up until this point.

Back in March of 2017, the plan was to have Nintendo Switch Online launch the same year as its home console. Online play would be free for a few months, and then it would be swapped out for the paid subscription. But then the launch of the service was delayed to an unknown date. And as it turns out, it wasn’t ready for the public use for a full year’s time.

During the delay, the Switch became wildly popular and a best seller, having sold almost twenty million units since launch and surpassing it’s predecessor’s lifetime sales by six million. Needless to say, it’s built up quite the player base in a short amount of time. And large majority of those players enjoy playing games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, ARMS, and Splatoon 2 online with other Switch owners.

So now, after a year and a half of free online for all, that access to the world of internet gaming is being locked behind a pay wall. And people are understandably angry. Splatoon 2 players have been hit especially hard by this, because all of the games events and a majority of people’s playtime with the title takes place in its online environment. Sure, there IS solo gameplay content, but the entire purpose behind the series is to be Nintendo’s take on a multiplayer shooter. And through all this, the previous entry in the series is still free to play online on the Wii U.

Considering how long the service was delayed for, the higher ups at Nintendo had a long time to think about how Switch Online should be handled and how their players would react to the change. But they stuck to their original plan, and now have to deal with the angry backlash. The services’ overview trailer on YouTube reflects this anger, with the reactions to it being astoundingly negative. And players have every right to be negative and angry about the change.

But at the same time, it’s surprising to me just HOW upset people are. Reactions vary between mild annoyance to being absolutely LIVID over the change. They’re acting like Nintendo sent armed infantry to their homes and threatened to kill their parents, friends, and pets if they didn’t hand over twenty bucks.

And that’s the kicker here: twenty dollars a year. People are getting their panties in a twist over what a minimum wage job pays in under two hours. Is it really worth vowing a vendetta against Nintendo for such a small amount of money?

Let’s put this into focus for a second, and compare Nintendo Switch Online to the other leading console’s similar services. For the Xbox One, you have Xbox Live Gold for $59.99 a year. For the Playstation 4, you have Playstation Plus for the same price and the same period of time. All three services offer similar features and similar payment options, with the main differences being that Live Gold and PSPlus are more expensive and have been around for much longer. And yet players have put up with those services for years now. Comparatively, the twenty dollars a year for Switch Online is wildly affordable.

Though I guess the biggest difference between the three gaming giants and their online play is that Nintendo’s online access has ALWAYS been free up until this point. The Wii and the DS had free online play until the service was discontinued, and the 3DS and Wii U still have free online even though the Switch doesn’t. This a big change for die-hard Nintendo fans who have had that freedom of play for a very long time. And having that freedom being taken away is frustrating to say the least.

During the year long delay of it’s launch, Nintendo should have reevaluated Switch Online and what they wanted to accomplish with it. In my opinion, what should have been done is keep basic online play free, while adding Switch Online as an option for a premium service. Switch Online would have provided users with save data back ups, free games, special offers, and extra features to ENHANCE online play, like the use of their phone app for voice chat and unique game features for Switch Online users. (Discussion of the app is another barrel of monkeys that we can talk about, but we’re going to leave it alone for now.)

The Switch Online launch and the reaction to it is a giant mess, to say the least. There are about a hundred ways Nintendo could have gone about creating and introducing the service that wouldn’t strip away features of the console and make their loyal players angry. But I guess my point through all this is that it really isn’t that big of a deal. Shelling out twenty dollars for a year’s subscription won’t break your bank account. And if you don’t have a job or are too young to get one, asking your parent or guardian for an advance in your allowance shouldn’t be too difficult, right?

And even if you don’t have the extra money, there’s still plenty to enjoy about the Nintendo Switch. Considering the system’s portability and ease of play with other Switch owners, the online component to the system is more of a bonus feature, in my opinion. Am I happy that I have to pay for it now? No, not really. But I’m not ANGRY about it either. If anything, I’m excited to see what the fledgling service has to offer and what will be added to it in the future.

Heck, the twenty Nintendo Entertainment System games the service launches with would cost you a hundred bucks if you bought them individually from any other systems’ online stores. And there’s only going to be more games added as time goes on. In no time at all, I’m sure we’ll have a whole slew of classic games with added online play to enjoy. Just imagine getting Nintendo 64 games with online play some day… I like the sound of that!

If you’re upset over the change with Switch Online, that’s okay. You have every right not to like it and be angry. But at the same time, you shouldn’t let your hate blind you to what the service can bring to players. What it offers at the moment may be on the slim side, and it may even feel like a downgrade in some respects. But give it some time, and give it a chance to grow and change for the better. I mean, it’s not like we haven’t known this was coming since the Switch launched. I figured a year and a half would be enough time to prepare for it.

Nintendo Switch Online is most likely not going anywhere, so it’s something we’ll have to get used too. I already have my first year of service payed for, so I’m going to try and enjoy it. And I hope you do as well!

Until next time, keep gaming, my friends! Be sure to let me know your thoughts on the matter, and if what I have to say on the subject makes any sense. But for now, Sparky is signing off!

Smash Bros Character Checklist: The F-Zero Series

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Unfortunately, we must once again talk about what could have been, rather than what could be. Because much like my Star Fox character pick, my F-Zero pick was de-confirmed almost immediately upon Smash Ultimate’s official reveal at E3. It’s almost appropriate, considering the poor unfortunate soul that is the F-Zero series.

While I’m not the hugest fan of the high-speed futuristic racing titles, I would be crazy not to admit how much fun F-Zero is. My favorite is F-Zero X, and it’s one of the most impressive racing games of its era. The amount of speed and action that they made the Nintendo 64 produce from that little game cartridge is an amazing feat. But regardless of how impressive its games might be, it hasn’t prevented the series from falling on very hard times.

The most recent full release in the series is F-Zero Climax, and Japan-only title for the Game Boy Advance. The game was released in 2004, and the series has been on a fourteen year hiatus since then. Fans are always eager to hear from Nintendo about a new F-Zero game, but aside from appearances in Nintendo Land and Mario Kart 8, there is only silence coming from the Big N on the status of the series.

As if to reflect this, to this day Captain Falcon remains the only representative of his home series in Smash Bros, despite being one of the original twelve characters in the first Smash game. And its odd too, considering the absolutely HUGE cast of characters F-Zero has to pick from. F-Zero X alone had a roster of 30 racers and vehicles, and the number only grew from there.

But this leads to the question of who to pick for Smash Bros. Much like the Captain himself, there’s very little reference material to go off of when it would come to building a Smash moveset for an F-Zero racer. After all, most of the action they experience takes place behind the wheel of a vehicle. They would more or less have to be an original character to Smash, and it would take a lot of work to build a play style for them. But honestly, I thought of the perfect one!

One of the original F-Zero pilots from the SNES, it’s the one and only Samurai Goroh!

CharacterChecklistGoroh

But like I said, this is a discussion of what could have been. Goroh has been an Assist Trophy in every Smash game since the concept was introduced. And unfortunately, Smash Ultimate is no different. It’s really a shame too, because I think he could make for a unique character.

Of course, sword-wielding fighters are no strangers to the Smash series. Some even argue that there are too many of them, and adding Goroh to the mix would only make people angry. But you could easily add a twist to the character that would make him vastly different from every other sword user.

When summoned as an Assist in Smash, Samurai Goroh will run and jump around, haphazardly swinging his sword at anyone and anything. And THAT is what would make him a great playable fighter. While most sword users in Smash sport elements of skill, technique, and grace with their movesets, making Goroh completely wild and angry, or even a little silly and clumsy, would be a perfect way to make him his own character.

Just imagine something like King Dedede, a character that sports both brute strength and several goofy elements to his play style and animations. Now take away his hammer and give him a katana, and you’re all set! You’ve got a fantastic concept for a sword-wielding fighter that doesn’t blend into a cast filled with Links and Fire Emblem characters with Down-B Counters.

Sadly though, the day that we might see Goroh get promoted from an Assist Trophy to a playable character will have to be some other time in the future, continuing the trend of abusing F-Zero. And you know what the worst part of all this? I meant to post this BEFORE I posted the Earthbound Character Checklist, and I forgot. Even I’M being mean to F-Zero! It was completely unintentional, I swear!

Well, before any die-hard F-Zero lovers come at with torches and pitchforks, I’m gonna skedaddle. Be sure to let me know what you think of my idea! Sparky is signing off for now!