Smash Bros Character Checklist: The Metroid Series

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There are times where I don’t know what to make of the Metroid series. It wasn’t a game series I dabbled in until the age of the Nintendo Wii, when the Virtual Console came into existence and let me play all the old NES and SNES games I missed out on. I finally got a chance to play the original Metroid and the fan-favorite Super Metroid, and I liked both games a lot. But at the same time, I didn’t go crazy over Super Metroid like so many people do.

I want to say Metroid isn’t one of my favorite game series. But at the same time, I kept playing the games. I loved playing all the main console Metroid Prime titles, and I enjoyed Metroid: Other M immensely despite the game’s status of ‘worst Metroid game ever’ it tends to have. Heck, one day while I was in college I walked through a snow storm to the local game shop just to buy a Metroid II cartridge (which turns out is my favorite Metroid game), dragging my best friend along with me and torturing us both with the frigid winds. True story.

So yeah, I guess I do like Metroid a lot more than I really think I do, if that makes any sense. At the very least, I like the games enough that I really would like to see more Metorid Characters make it onto the Smash Bros roster. And let’s face it, the Metroid representation in Smash is… almost pitiful.

Bounty Hunter and Metroid heroine Samus Aran was one of the original 12 Smash Bros fighters. But for whatever reason, the number of Metroid characters on the Smash roster has only grown by one since 1999. And that second Metroid character is a second version of Samus. If you as me, it’s about darn time the Metroid series gets it’s dues and gets more characters on the fighting scene.

But who should be selected? There are a lot of iconic Metroid characters, after all. It should be someone BIG. Someone LARGE and in charge. The character they pick has to be a HUGE deal to make it into Smash! They’d have to be a GIANT among-

Yeah, the punchline is that it’s Ridley.

CharacterChecklistRidley

I KNOW, I KNOW! Some of you reading this are already rolling your eyes. The reason Ridley isn’t in Smash Bros by now is clear: he’s too big! Despite the fact that Ridley is one of the most iconic of Nintendo bad guys, he can’t be in Smash Bros because he’s just too huge of a monster.

Even series creator Masahiro Sakurai himself stated that if they put Ridley in Smash, he wouldn’t be Ridley anymore once they were done with him. He would have to be scaled down in size, he would have to have his wingspan shrunk, and he wouldn’t be able to fly around freely like the menace that he is in his home series. Instead, they turned Ridley into a Boss the the Subspace Emissary and a Stage Hazard on the Pyrosphere stage in Smash Bros for Wii U. That way, Ridley stays true to his character, and he gets to be in Smash Bros in some form. I mean, If you can’t adapt a character faithfully, then what’s the point of making them a playable fighter?

But… COME OOOOON! It’s Ridley! Who in their right mind WOULDN’T want to play as Ridley in Smash? And if this game series has taught me anything, it’s that any character can be turned into a proper playable fighter if you try hard enough. Custom mods for Smash Bros games have proved time and time again that Ridley CAN be adapted for Smash Bros into a believable playable fighter. Sure, he’s still a gigantic monster of a character. But I think that would make for an interesting dynamic: a character that’s both huge and powerful, but at the same time is a wildly easy target for everyone to hit. It could work! Please, Sakurai? PLEEEEAAASE?

Okay, in all seriousness, I do know that a playable Ridley in an official Smash title will probably never happen. But this creates a problem: if you can’t have Ridley as a Smash Bros fighter, then who CAN you have? The most well known and recognizable Metroid characters you could pair up with Samus are almost all giant monster creatures just like Ridley.

Thankfully, I think I have the perfect choice: a Metroid villain that is both iconic to the series AND is human-sized who would fit perfectly into free-for-all combat. And that character is Dark Samus!

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I do realize that having a third Samus on the Smash Bros roster sounds redundant. But Dark Samus is much more than another form of Samus: she is the reincarnation of the titular Metroid Prime, and serves as the main antagonist of the original Metroid Prime Trilogy. And with a fourth main-series Prime title coming to Nintendo Switch, it would be the perfect opportunity to bring the character back to the spotlight and make her playable in Smash Bros. She was good enough to be an Assist Trophy, so becoming a combatant is the next logical step!

The biggest question about the character would be how to differentiate her from both normal Samus and Zero Suit Samus. While regular Samus is focused more on combat strength and projectiles, Zero Suit Samus sports an emphasis on moving and attacking quickly. So how would Dark Samus operate? I envision her as a best of both worlds: quick and powerful, giving her a brutal fighting style suiting the character’s nature.

I can see her easily being an ultra violent and vicious sort of fighter. The kind of fighter who launches volleys of projectiles, shoots Phazon point-blank in her opponents faces with her grab attacks, and isn’t afraid to beat you completely senseless if you get too close to her. While a lot of Smash characters have a goofiness or a wild personality to them, it would interesting to have a character who’s one goal is to outright destroy everything in their way, not caring about much else.

But how would you balance out a completely brutal character? Again, mixing together how Samus and Zero Suit Samus function would be a good way to do it. Dark Samus would be a floaty and relatively light-weight character, making her easy to knock around. And at the same time, her attacks could be given little impact to offset a high-damage fighting style. It would make you have to work a bit for KOs. It would be a tough balancing act when it comes to designing the character, but I think it could work out overall.

And as an added bonus, Dark Samus could have an alternate costume of another ‘Evil Samus’. The villain from Metroid Fusion known as SA-X is every bit of a brutal threat as Dark Samus is, and fitting the two together as a joined Smash character would be just awesome. It would also be a great gift for long time fans of the series! I haven’t even played Metroid Fusion, and I still really want to see that happen.

And that’s really all I have to say about that. I think both Ridley and Dark Samus would make fantastic entrants into Smash. But do the lovely people out there have any other Metroid character suggestions? Be sure to let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear all your ideas.

Till next time, Sparky is signing off!

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Smash Bros Character Checklist: The Zelda Series

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With all the Mario and Mario sub-series talked about and out of the way, now it’s time to move onto discussing one of Nintendo’s OTHER gigantic franchises. And aside from maybe Pokemon, I’d say the biggest non-Mario franchise Nintendo has to offer is The Legend of Zelda.

The original Zelda released in 1986 has gone down as one of the greatest games in history, leading to one of the greatest game SERIES in history. Many will still tell you The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is one of the best games ever made, and the recently released Breath of the Wild is quickly climbing to such ranks as well.

It makes sense that long-time protagonist Link was one of the original Smash Bros fighters, and has remained a series staple to this day. Joining him from his game series is the lovely Princess Zelda, the mysterious Sheik, the powerful Ganondorf, and two variations of a younger Link.

Though surprisingly, there have been no new Zelda characters introduced to Smash since Super Smash Bros Brawl on the Wii. Even though a new major console Zelda game had been released in the time between Brawls release and Smash 4’s debut, no new characters or major character changes were introduced in the new Smash Bros based on the new Zelda. The only real change to the Zelda roster was the separation of Zelda and Shiek into two characters, rather than one character who can transform between the two.

But that lack of new Zelda characters might soon change. In the Smash Switch trailer, you can very clearly see that Link has adopted his brand new look from Breath of the Wild. Some are predicting that this indicates that Link is going to get a major moveset overhaul, or that Breath of the Wild Link may be a different character entirely from the standard Smash Bros Link we all know and love.

Though personally, I don’t really think either situation is the case. There might be some move-set changes, sure. But a complete overhaul or a seperate character feels a little unlikely to me. The new costume motif is most likely just to match Link to the newest Zelda game. Though that’s not to say I don’t think there will be a new Zelda character from the new Zelda game, but… we’ll get to that in a moment.

First, I want to talk about a different character pick to represent the Zelda franchise. Another villain to go alongside Ganondorf, and another character to have the “Toon” artstyle. The Minish-turned-Wind Mage, Vaati!

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This may seem like a strange pick for some, but I know I’m not the only one who wants to see Vaati make his Smash debut. Of all the Zelda villains, Vaati is the only one to show up in multiple games aside from some incarnation of Ganon/Ganondorf. He has an entire trilogy of titles featuring him as a main antagonist known as the Four Swords Series. So while it may seem like Vaati is just another Zelda bad guy, he’s actually a pretty big deal.

Vaati’s classification as a Wind Mage helps fill the same kind of magic-user void that I want Kamek to fill. And having a character who can potentially and creatively use the power of wind as his main weapon could lead to interesting move-set choices as well. Vaati is also well known for utilizing several demon-like transformations. Just imagine the small, unassuming purple-colored mage suddenly lashing out with shadowy claws as he uses his Smash Attacks!

I could see Vaati’s Final Smash paying out like this: After transforming into his final, giant-eyeball form known as Vaati’s Wrath, he lashes out and grabs at whoever is in range. Then a cutscene triggers, and whoever is grabbed is shrunk to Minish size and is mercilessly attacked. With one final blow, any opponent who is above a certain percentage of damage is instantly KOed, similarly to how Bayonetta’s Final Smash functions.

Of course, Vaati’s chances of inclusion are pretty slim. As much as I would like him to be in the game, a new Smash character from the Zelda franchise would most likely be from the newest Zelda game. Breath of the Wild is a really big deal among gamers right now, and the game has four chosen Champions that fight alongside Link who would all make excellent Smashers. But which one would be the best to pick?

While Urbosa and Daruk would be fun to play as, I don’t see their inclusion as totally necessary, since we already have several sword-users and heavy-hitters on the Smash Roster already. And while I know for a fact that Revali is a really popular choice among fans, I have my reasons for not wanting him as a playable character (and we will get to those reasons at another time). And that leaves us with one last champion…

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It might be odd to think of the most gentle of the Champions as the one to represent the group in Smash. However, Mipha has the potential to be one of the most unique combatants in the history of the series. And it has to do with her weapon of choice: the Lightscale Trident.

In a sea of characters that use fists, feet, lasers, swords,  and super natural powers to fight, not one character uses a spear-like weapon as their main mode of attacking. The closest one would be Palutena and her staff, but she more relies on maneuvering it with telekinesis then using it physically as a long-range weapon. Mipha and her trident offer a potential fighting style to the series that we haven’t seen before, and that makes her the perfect choice to be a Smash Bros newcomer.

Though aside from fighting with a trident, what else could Mipha do? Using water to fight, similar to Greninja and Squirtle, would be suitable for a Zora of course. But Mipha is also known for her healing powers, allowing Link to channel this healing in the form of an ability called Mipha’s Grace. She could potentially use Mipha’s Grace on herself in Smash as a non-offensive Down-B special, healing a set amount of damage like she had picked up a healing item. This of course would be combined with a very long cool-down time before it could be used again, similarly to how it works in Breath of the Wild.

In fact, what if Mipha used a series of Water-based moves that all had a similar property to that? When they made contact, they would heal Mipha for a small amount of damage,  like a reverse situation of Pichu damaging itself when using its electricity moves. Combine that with the long-range potential of the Lightscale Trident, and it would make for a protective fighting style fitting of a non-aggressive character.

As Mipha would be representing the other Hyrule Champions as well, it would make sense for her other Special Moves to channel their strengths. Her Neutral-B would be Daruk’s Protection, creating a barrier that could absorb a few hits before breaking. Her Up-B would of course be Revali’s Gale, giving her a massive amount of recovery potential. And her Side-B would be Urbosa’s Fury, summoning lighting in front of her and striking her opponents. Of course, these special moves hold a lot of potential power to them. To balance them out, they would have the same kind of cool-down period needed to recharge them like the above-mentioned Mipha’s Grace Down-B. Her specials would work similarly to Robin’s in that way: you would need to use them strategically and sparingly, otherwise you won’t have them at all when you need them the most.

And what else could her Final Smash be other than summoning a giant attack from the Divine Beasts? It would be way to fitting a choice NOT to make it her strongest attack.

And with that, I think that covers it for my Zelda character picks. I know neither of my choices are the most popular ones, but I think they would make for unique and original fighters befitting the Smash Bros roster.

What do you think of my picks? Do you think Vaati and Mipha would make excellent Smash combatants, or do would you rather have another Zelda character make their way to the game? Be sure to comment what you think! I’d love to hear about the cool ideas you guys can come up with.

For now though, that’s all from me. Sparky is signing off!

Smash Bros Character Checklist: The Wario Series

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Wario is quite the character, isn’t he? He has a surprisingly large amount of personality and character development. He’s greedy, he’s gross, he’s nasty, he’s bizarre, he’s a hero, he’s a villain…  I can’t think of a Mario series character that has as much put into them as Wario!

Wario just seems like a character that Nintendo developers can have fun with, and do whatever they want with him. And that goes for his games too: the Wario Land and Warioware series’ are filled with strangely fantastic scenarios and characters. And since there are so many characters, that makes it the perfect game franchise to pick from for a Super Smash Bros roster!

Personally, I was always more of a fan of Wario Land than of Warioware. Wario Land 4 was one of the first Game Boy Advanced games I ever owned, and it still makes me a bit sad that the series has gone quiet since the release of Wario Land: Shake It in 2008. I’d love for the game series to return, and I think including a character from the games in Smash Bros would be the perfect opportunity to renew interest in the Wario Land series.

But what character would I pick? Well, the best choice would be the recurring villain Captain Syrup!

CharacterChecklistCaptainSyrup

Coming up with a moveset for Captain Syrup may seem tricky. She doesn’t do a lot of fighting herself in the Wario Land games, after all. But what if that could tie into her gimmick as a character? She could summon in members of her pirate crew, the Black Sugar Gang, or even just use their tools and weapons for her own.

She could use the spears of a Pirate Goom, the mace of Guragura, the knives of Gaugau,  the harpoons of Goboten, and the boomerangs of DANGEROUS DUCK! Her Up-B special could summon in Bobo to help her fly and recover. And of course she could also use standard pirate gimmicks, like a cutlass and explosives, to fight as well. Having a large amount of tricks and tools at her disposal would be more than fitting for a pirate captain!

Her Final Smash is her most obvious moveset choice: summoning in the Genie from the final boss fight of the first Wario Land. It would be the perfect throwback for fans of the classic Wario games, myself included.

Now, to be fair, I realize including Captain Syrup as a playable character is a long shot. She isn’t exactly one of the classic Nintendo villains, and her relevance to the Wario series is pretty slim now-a-days. Like I said, there hasn’t been a Wario Land game since 2008. So I feel like Captain Syrup’s inclusion will have to remain a dream of mine for now… though it would be awesome to have a playable pirate character in Smash!

A character from the Warioware series is a much more likely inclusion. But what character to choose? Mona and Ashley are really popular choices, and Kat and Ana would make an awesome duo-character. But I don’t think I would go for any of them as my personal pick.

My choice for a Warioware character is the disco-dancing dude, Jimmy T.!

CharacterChecklistJimmyt

Just think about it: a Smash Bros character whose entire moveset is based around dancing! How cool would that be?! It may seem like a stretch to some, I know. But to me, the best part of any Smash Bros game is taking a character you wouldn’t expect to be in a fighting game, and then putting them in a fighting game! Captain Falcon, Mr. Game & Watch, R.O.B., Wii Fit Trainer… the list of unexpected entrants has only grown over the years. And Jimmy T. would fit right in with them!

A character who dances to fight would open up a lot of creative freedom when building a moveset for them. Not to mention Jimmy has shown off a fondness for aerobics and skiing. He’s clearly  fit enough to take place in a physical fight, but admittedly, giving the character some projectile options might be a bit tricky.

His Final Smash would be the best part, though: trapping the competition with the power of music, and forcing them all to dance with him! It could end up working similarly to Peach’s Final Smash, forcing a stage-wide dance off to break out. Or it could trigger a rhythm mini game (or should I say Micro Game?) similar to Donkey Kong’s bongos. Either way, it would be both awesome and hilarious to see, and a perfect fit for the goofyness the Wario series is known for.

And one last note for Jimmy T. is that he should definitely have a costume referencing Jimmy P.! I mean, it’s obvious, isn’t it?

Now, that should wrap up the Wario series… but we’re forgetting about someone, aren’t we? One character that absolutely needs to be in Smash, and has to be discussed. Maybe it’s Dr. Crygor? Or are you expecting me to mention Orbulon? Perhaps 9-Volt or 18-Volt? WELL

CharacterChecklistWaluigi

As I mention at the end of my first entry of the Smash Bros Character Checklist, Waluigi could count as a Smash participant for the Wario franchise. But at the same time, he would be a good fit for the main Mario series as well. The character falls into a strange gray-area of who he could represent in the Smash series. Because even though he’s always paired with Wario in the Mario series, Waluigi has NEVER actually appeared in a Wario game.

But I feel like having him partnered with Wario as usual would be the best course of action. Either way though, Waluigi NEEDS to be in Smash! And I know I’m not the only one who feels the same way. The character has been on my wishlist for years now, and I think it’s finally time Walugi gets his chance to fight, and be promoted from Assist Trophy status.

Waluigi’s lanky build wouldn’t give him a ton of power, but I imagine his long limbs would give him wildly superior melee range, speedy running, and fantastic jumping abilities. Not to mention the character has just as much athletic prowess as any other Mario series character, sporting talents in Tennis, Golf, Baseball, and Soccer, just to name a few examples. In fact, could an arsenal of tools and sports equipment fit Waluigi’s playstyle?

Waluigi comes across as a man who isn’t afraid of pulling off a dirty trick or two. He already runs around with his Tennis racket when he’s summoned in as an Assist Trophy, so having an arsenal of bats, golf clubs, and soccer balls to get some surprise hits in wouldn’t be too unusual. Waluigi also has a fondness for plants, being paired with Piranha Plants and able to use thorny vines to protect himself. And did I mention he throws eggplants at people?

Plus, he can toss bombs, form mini tornadoes around himself, swim through the air, and he’s the main antagonist of Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix! Waluigi is a character of so many bizarre talents that not having him as an equally bizarre Smash Bros fighter should be considered a crime. They could even take the opportunity to give Waluigi a unique Biker outfit in Smash so he matches Wario. WE NEED WALUIGI!

Anyway, I think that wraps things up for now. I didn’t expect to have much to say about the Wario series characters when I started this series, but I ended up picking three characters for it! It goes to show that you can find the most interesting Smash character picks in unexpected places.

But I’ve rambled on a bit long, I think. Thank you for reading! Be sure to let me know what you think of my character picks. Until next time, Sparky is signing off for now!

Smash Bros Character Checklist: The Yoshi Series

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If you were to ask me who my favorite video game character was, it would be Yoshi. Without a doubt in my mind, the green dinosaur who doubles as transportation for small babies and large plumbers would be my number one choice. Ever since the days Yoshi’s Story and picking him as my character in every Mario game imaginable, he has been my favorite.

So naturally, Yoshi has been my main fighter in almost every Smash Bros game (I say “almost” because the original Smash 64 introduced me to Kirby, and I was obsessed with playing as him back then). Sure, I love playing as the likes of Mega Man and Lucas, with the occasional play session with Falco and Dark Pit. But Yoshi is always my first choice, and probably my best character as a result.

Though because of this, it’s always disappointed me that Yoshi has been the only representative for his game series for FIVE Smash Bros games. But I guess that’s for a good reason: who else do you need to represent Yoshi besides Yoshi? Who else COULD you get to represent his side-series of platformers?

My thoughts have occasionally wandered over to the Baby Mario Brothers. Teaming up Baby Mario and Baby Luigi as an Ice Climbers-like duo character is an idea I’ve heard tossed around from time to time. And admittedly, it COULD work. The Baby brothers have shown in the past that they can put up a fight in Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time. But something about putting a couple babies in a fight against adults and fighters several times their size feels… wrong.

So if not the babies, then who? The Yoshi series doesn’t exactly have a large cast of characters to pick from. Well, how about the series’ main villain? No, not Baby Bowser! We already have a tiny Bowser as a fighter. I mean the REAL main villain!

I’m talking about the Koopa Troop’s number one sorcerer, Kamek!

CharacterChecklistKamek

Yeah, I know, a few of you might be scratching your heads at this pick. Kamek? A Nintendo All-Star deserving of a spot in the Smash Bros roster? Well, he IS the primary antagonist in the Yoshi’s Island series, and a prominent secondary antagonist in several other Super Mario games. He is one of the Nintendo bad guys, and I think he would fit in well alongside the other Smash fighters.

Plus, my desire for Kamek as a playable character stems from another source. In a sea of Smash characters who fight with their fists, swords, and lots of tools and tech, there’s a surprising lack of fighters who use some sort of super natural power as their primary form of combat (not including Pokemon, of course). Sure, most characters have some form of super power in one or two of their moves. But Smash Bros needs a fighter who’s all about using MAGIC! And Kamek would be a perfect fit for that spot.

Magikoopas are capable of using a huge variety of magic spells, after all. They can teleport, shoot fire, create clones of themselves, heal wounds… all sorts of neat things you could draw from for a Smash Bros moveset! And Kamek has proven himself to be stronger than the average Magikoopa on numerous occasions. He can use his magic to power up even basic Mario and Yoshi enemies into giant bosses, and he even has a broom he can fly around on! Isn’t that cool?

I even came up with a neat property for a Neutral-B Special move for him. The standard Magikoopa magic spell (you know, the one that looks like a bunch of shapes?) not only can deal damage to an enemy, but is capable of transforming objects into enemies. So what if it could do the same thing to items and projectiles in Smash Bros? You could transform a bomb, missile, or banana peel flying at you into a Goomba or Koopa that would then get in your opponent’s way! It would make for in interesting way to fend off enemy attacks, other than the standard Down-B Reflector or Counter move.

And his Final Smash would be best part of all: sending his opponents into another arena where they are promptly destroyed by a giant Baby Bowser. It would be amazing and glorious!

Yeah, I know Kamek making a playable appearance in Smash Bros is a long shot. He has a LOT of other more likely character picks to contend with. But maybe the good folks developing Smash Bros for Switch have decided to give the Yoshi series and Magic-wielding characters a bigger part in the next game. Who knows, it could happen!

So what do you think of my pick? Do you think Kamek would make an interesting fighter, or should he remain a side-villain? And if not Kamek, who would make a good Yoshi series representative? I’d love to hear what you want to see in the next Smash!

That’s all for the Smash Bros Character Checklist for the time being, though. I’ll see you in the next post! Sparky is signing off for now.

Smash Bros Character Checklist: The Donkey Kong Series

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You could say that Nintendo owes a lot of their success to a gorilla. If not for the original Donkey Kong arcade game in 1981, the world today might not have the Super Mario series. And if there were no Mario, Nintendo might not be the household name that it is.

Of course Donkey Kong himself has had plenty of his own adventures without the plumber’s help. Even though he’s a regular cast member of Mario spin-off titles such as Mario Kart and Mario Party, DK has a well recognized game series of his own. They take the form of several arcade and Game & Watch outings in the 1980s, and the beloved Donkey Kong Country series that began in the 1990s.

Since he has his place at the origins of Nintendo’s video game empire, it’s no surprise Donkey Kong was one of the characters picked to be in the original Super Smash Bros. He and his little buddy Diddy are now mainstays of the series. But surprisingly, they’re the sole representatives of the Donkey Kong games, even though the series has a rich supply of characters to choose from.

Dixie Kong was intended to be a playable character in Super Smash Bros Brawl, and was meant to be teamed up with Diddy Kong like in her game of origin. However, that idea didn’t pan out, and Dixie has remained on the sidelines to this day. That being said, there’s always hope for her to make an official appearance as a playable character in Smash, and she has plenty of support behind her. However, my choice for a playable Donkey Kong character is someone a bit more… villainous!

Who’s the meanest, greenest crocodile you’ve ever had to face in a series of brutal Super Nintendo games? Why, King K. Rool, of course!

CharacterChecklistKRool

The cry for the King of Kremlings to be playable in Super Smash Bros is a strong one. I know I’m not the only one who would love to see him make an appearance on the roster. We got at least a LITTLE close when he was turned into a wearable costume for the Mii Brawler character. But as the main antagonist of the Donkey Kong series, K. Rool absolutely deserves a full playable spot in the next Smash Bros.

While heavy-weight, brutally powerful characters sporting fangs and claws are no stranger to the Smash Bros roster, K. Rool has a lot of points of inspiration for his moveset that could set him apart from the likes of Bowser and Charizard. He’s used plenty of projectile weapons before (including his own crown, which behaves like a boomerang for whatever reason), giving him some potential long-range options that other big characters lack.

King K. Rool has fondness for different personas as well. In several of the games he’s made an appearance in, he’s taken on different names and likenesses, and he changes the way he fights accordingly. In Donkey Kong Country 2, he took up the guise of Kaptain K. Rool, wielding a giant blunderbuss. In Donkey Kong Country 3, he became Baron K. Roolenstein, sporting a helicopter pack for easy maneuverability. And in Donkey Kong 64, he was heavyweight-champ King Krusha K. Rool, emphasizing his brute strength. Any one of these disguises can be used as inspiration for K. Rool’s moveset (as well as inspiration for alternate costumes, perhaps?).

Throughout all of his games, King K. Rool has shown himself of strong, durable, agile, smart, and wildly creative, leading to all kinds of potential for him in a Super Smash Bros games. They only issue with including him is that in more recent games like Donkey Kong Country Returns and Tropical Freeze, he’s been set aside for other villains to take his place. It’s been about 10 years since he’s had a starring roll in a Nintendo game, the most recent of which is Mario Super Sluggers. But even though he’s not as prominent of a Nintendo villain as he once was, I’d say it’s high time he made a comeback! Here’s hoping he finally shows up again in the next Smash!

So what do you think of my pick? Do you think K. Rool deserves a shot at Smash glory, or are other Donkey Kong characters more worthy of the spot? Let me know what you think!

But for now, I’d say that’s all for me. Thanks a lot for reading, and be sure to be on the lookout for the next entry in my Smash Bros Character Checklist! This is is Sparky, signing off!

Smash Bros Character Checklist: The Mario Series

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I. Freaking. Love. Super Smash Bros. Ever since I first saw that glorious commercial for the original game on Nintendo 64, I knew I was in for something amazing. To this day, Super Smash Bros remains my favorite video game series, and each game just keeps getting better.

To many gamer’s surprise, Nintendo announced the return of the series on the Nintendo Switch almost out of nowhere the other day. Everyone knew it was going to happen at some point, but I don’t think anyone expected an announcement for a Smash Bros game to happen before E3. The trailer was just a small teaser, and didn’t tell us much, aside from the addition of the Splatoon Inklings to the character roster. But regardless, it was enough to get the hype train rolling once more, and get everyone speculating about who’s going to make the cut in Nintendo’s next huge crossover fighting game.

Topping the character roster from Super Smash Bros for 3DS and Super Smash Bros for Wii U will be no easy task. The duo of games, collectively known as Smash 4, had a huge 58 character roster, with 8 additional fighters being represented as alternate costumes for existing characters. Smash Bros for Switch promises to be gigantic, and everyone has their own thoughts on who’s going to be joining the fray. And of course, that includes me.

So I’m starting off what I’m calling the Smash Bros Character Checklist, where I talk about characters I would like to see join the battle! I’m going to be going through the existing represented Nintendo games, series by series, and discussing who I think from that series would make a good addition to the cast. These aren’t going to be detailed analyses of what the character’s complete move-sets would be or anything; just my general thoughts on what the characters would play like, and why I think they should be included in the game. And starting us off, of course, is the Mario series.

Now, the main series Mario titles already have plenty of representation in the Smash Bros titles. There’s Mario and his Doctor counterpart, his brother Luigi, the lovely Princess Peach, and Mario Galaxy’s Rosalina. We also can’t forget the big baddie Bowser and his son, Bowser Jr. If you count the fact that the seven Koopalings also serve as Bowser Jr’s alternate costumes, that brings the total Mario characters up to fourteen. I think most agree that the Mario series has plenty of representation at this point, so adding more characters almost seems a bit silly.

But… there’s someone missing, isn’t there? A main series Mario character, often playable in games, that isn’t among the other main characters? Why, it’s Toad of course! It seems strange to have every other Mario character under the sun, and not include one of the longest running characters in the series as a Smash fighter. Though there is the small problem that Toad serves as one of Princess Peach’s special moves. So why not make the playable Toad a different Toad? Make it… Captain Toad!

CharacterChecklistCaptainToad

Starting off as a minor supporting roll in Super Mario Galaxy, Captain Toad and the Toad Brigade grew into characters of their own. The sometimes cowardly treasure hunter is now a mainstay of the series, with his own title game that’s soon going to be re-released on the Nintendo Switch. He would be a perfect fit to represent his Toad brethren in a new Smash Bros!

Like other playable Toads before him, I envision Captain Toad as a quick character with a good deal of strength behind his attacks. Though he would most likely sport the poor jumping ability of other Toads as well. Considering he doesn’t have a jump button at all in his game, maybe he should invest in a smaller backpack for his Smash Bros debut?

He would be a lot like Little Mac in a way. But in order to differentiate him from the small-stature boxer, Captain Toad would sport an arsenal of tools from his treasure hunting expeditions. He would have his pickaxe handy for Smash Attacks, and he could even borrow Princess Peach’s vegetable-picking attack for his Down-B Special (perhaps he could occasionally unearth heavy treasures, instead of vegetables, in order to deal extra damage?). The Captain could even make use of his headlamp for a Neutral-B Special, charging the light up to temporarily blind his opponents.

His alternate costumes would be easy to come up with: give him colors representing the other members of the Toad Brigade! He could even have an alternate costume that turns him into Toadette, similar to the gender-swapped costumes of Robin, Corrin, and Wii Fit Trainer. That way you could have another character added to the game, without taking up a spot in the character roster. Plus it would add to the number of female characters in the game as a whole.

Overall, I think Captain Toad would be the perfect choice to fill in what feels like a large hole in the cast of Mario characters represented in Super Smash Bros. He can be a modern AND classic Nintendo character rolled into one! Here’s hoping the development team feels the same way as I do. I’d love to see him make it in!

So what does everyone else think of my choice? Would Captain Toad make a good Mario representative, or do you have another character in mind? I hear that Paper Mario is a popular choice, and there’s always characters like Princess Daisy and Waluigi (though would Waluigi count as a Wario series character? That’s something to think about…). Either way, tell me what you think! I’d love to hear fellow Smash-Fan’s thoughts on the matter!

I’m planning to continue the Smash Bros Character Checklist in the future, so be sure to look out for posts on other characters and franchises I think would be a perfect fit for Super Smash Bros!  Until then, keep on playing! Sparky is signing off for now.

Wii U Wonderland

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Whenever I think about the Wii U, it makes me sad. Not because of it being a bad system by any means, but because no one wanted the poor thing! Over a lifespan of approximately five years, the Wii U sold just under 14 million units, the worst of any Nintendo hardware (minus the Virtual Boy, which apparently sold so poorly it’s not even listed on the above linked page).

It’s really a shame too, because over the time I’ve owned it, I’ve gotten a lot of enjoyment out of my Wii U. When they released the bundle that came with The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, I HAD to have it. To this date, that’s still my favorite 3D Zelda game, after all.

But that leads to an interesting discussion: software for the system. You know, games. It’s a common criticism of the Wii U that it lacks games to play, especially from third party developers. Heck, the main game I wanted a Wii U for at first was a re-release of a Gamecube game made ten years prior. It took a long time for the Wii U to build up a unique game library of any kind. And with the release of the system’s version of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, that’s pretty much it for the Wii U. Most of Nintendo’s efforts will no doubt be poured into the Nintendo Switch from this point on.

Overtime, some companies that have released exclusive games for the Wii U have gradually brought said games over to other systems. Heck, even Nintendo themselves have been doing this. Both Yoshi’s Woolly World and Super Mario Maker have gotten handheld versions on the 3DS, and Mario Kart 8 is getting a Deluxe Edition with new content on the Switch come April. But there’s still a little treasure trove of games for the system that most have not discovered. Yes, our topic of discussion today is games that are 100% exclusive (as of this post) to the Wii U! I’m gonna list of a few of them off that I feel were the best of the bunch, and give a quick opinion on them. This isn’t necessarily a top-ten list or anything like that: just a few quick blurbs on great games that a majority of gamers have missed out on.

Though first, I’d like to say that I won’t be talking about a a few games. Specifically, Star Fox Zero, Xenoblade Chronicles X, and Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE. But this is mostly because I haven’t had a chance to play them (though the Star Fox Zero demo was a lot of fun). I’m also not gonna talk about Super Smash Bros for Wii U, because it technically does have a (more well put together) sister game on 3DS with the same character roster. But without further ado, let’s get into the games I AM going to talk about!

Nintendo Land (released November 18th, 2012)
This was a Wii U launch title, and originally packed with the system when it was first released (though I got my copy of the game mostly because it came with a Luigi-themed Wii Remote). There isn’t much depth to the game: it’s a series of mini-games designed to show off what the Wii U can do, like how Wii Sports introduced players to the Wii’s capabilities  But it does its job pretty well, featuring a bunch of really fun single-player and multi-player minigames, all wrapped up in the theme of a Nintendo-themed Amusement Park. It’s a lot of fun for challenging yourself and playing with your friends!

Bayonetta 2 (released September 20th, 2014)
Fans of the original Bayonetta were not too happy when they heard the sequel was coming exclusively to Nintendo’s system. Especially when it didn’t originally release on a Nintendo console to begin with! But what some don’t realize is that the game wouldn’t have existed at all without Nintendo’s help, giving us both a sequel and a port of the first game on Wii U. There’s a lot of intense action, crazy fighting, and (of course) the signature sexiness the title character is known for. Plus, all this Bayonetta exclusivity led to the character being in Super Smash Bros! Bayonetta is basically one of the Nintendo girls at this point, and I’m really hoping for Bayonetta 3 on the Switch to be announced at E3 this year.

The Wonderful 101 (released August 23rd, 2013)
This game from Platinum Games (the makers of the above-mentioned Bayonetta) is an interesting title. It’s a beat-em-up style of video game, mixing Super Sentai/Power Rangers with… Pikmin? Yeah, there’s no better way to describe it! You control up to 100 characters as a big group, and unite together to to attack and defend against an alien threat. It’s honestly one of the most unique video games I’ve played in years. The game itself can be a bit frustrating to get the hang of playing, but it is BEGGING to get a sequel on the Switch. It would be a perfect chance to iron out the kinks of the game, and to expand on a really fun concept and story.

Pikmin 3 (released July 13th, 2013)
Speaking of Pikmin, the third entry in the series was originally meant to be released near the launch of the Wii U, but was delayed until a few months later. It’s a shame, too, because I think it would have really helped the Wii U’s initial sales; this game is a fantastic entry in what has become one of my favorite Nintendo franchises. It has the traditional Pikmin tropes of gathering an army of tiny creatures, using them to gather a bunch of items and help insure your survival on a hostile alien planet. It feels like this game offers a good balance between the gameplay of Pikmin 1 and 2, and adds a bunch of unique and new mechanics and creatures as well. It’s legitimately one of my favorite Wii U games overall. Now if only we could get a bit more info on Pikmin 4 and the 3DS game…

Splatoon (released May 28th, 2015)
I’m relatively new to the Spaltoon scene: I bought the game so I could be ready to play the Switch sequel once it comes out. But even after only playing a short while, I already love it. It’s Nintendo’s take on an online shooter game. But instead of fighting with bullets or lasers, you fight with ink. And instead of being soldiers or mercenaries, you play as squids (or are they kids?) known as Inklings. Matches are quick and intense, and it’s easy to just sit down and play round after round, experimenting with dozens of different weapon and equipment combinations. And if you want to take a break from online madness, there’s a single player campaign and one-on-one multiplayer with friends in front of your TV, too! Here’s hoping the sequel is just as awesome.

New Super Mario Bros U (released November 18th, 2012)
and New Super Luigi U (released as DLC and on disc, 2013)
Now you can’t have a Nintendo system without a Mario game or two, can you? The New Super Mario series has some small complaints surrounding it; that being that all four (or five, if you count the above mentioned DLC) are all basically the same, shoveled out games. But I’d argue against that. Admittedly, each game plays fairly identically, adding 3D Mario game mechanics to a 2D sidescroller setting. Mario U is no different, but the game sports several visuals and power ups with a unique feel to them. I mean, a Flying Squirell power up? Carrying around baby Yoshis that spit bubbles and turn into balloons? Add in the chaos of four player cooperative play, and you’re bound to have a fun time with this game. Plus, there’s New Super Luigi U, which was both made as an add-on to the original game and an individual game of its own. With Luigi in the starring roll, the levels have been turned into 100-second time trials to truly test your Mario skills.

Super Mario 3D World (released Novemeber 21st, 2013) 
Doing the opposite of the New Mario series, this game’s predecessor (Super Mario 3D Land for the 3DS) took the play-style of a 2D Mario sidescroller and put it into a 3D environment. Then this game came along and… well, threw everything else Mario related into the mix. It plays like 3D Land, it has the four player Co-op of New Mario, and it has the character selection of Super Mario Bros 2, complete with all of their unique attributes. Plus, it adds new power-ups like the Cat Bell and the Double Cherry, and it has a heavy focus on collecting objects through the levels (similar to 3D Mario games before it), which leads to unlocking one of the hardest end-game bonus levels I’ve ever completed. For real, this game is like a Mario fan’s dream come true, and is another one of my absolute favorites for the system. Oh, and did I mention it included some separate, puzzle-like levels starring a certain treasure-hungry Toad? That level style even got its own spin off game, which would be released as…

Captain Toad’s Treasure Tracker (released November 13th, 2014)
As mentioned, Captain Toad started as separate character of sorts in 3D World, with his own unique levels that were more about puzzle solving rather than traditional Mario platforming. In fact, there is no platforming: Captain Toad can’t jump! You needed to use your wits to get through every maze-like level with all the loot they had to offer in tow. And the concept was so intriguing, that he got his own spin-off game full of levels just like them! They’re as charming as they are fun to play, and it’s really rewarding to figure out how to get all the treasure, finish all the challenges in them, and get to the end of the game. It even pays homage to its origins, and has levels lifted right from the main game of 3D World as bonus stages (though they’re modified so Captain Toad can traverse them). I’m really hoping the idea gets used more than twice though: it would be great to see a Treasure Tracker 2 on the Switch!

Paper Mario Color Splash (released October 7th, 2016)
If you would ask me what my favorite RPG was, I would probably answer the original Paper Mario on Nintendo 64. I love that game to death, and it had some really great follow-ups as well. The 3DS game, Paper Mario Sticker Star, however, was one of the most basic, disappointing experiences of any game I’ve ever played. So when I saw the new Wii U Paper Mario was following more in Sticker Star’s footsteps than anything, I wasn’t exactly thrilled. But to my surprise, Paper Mario Color Splash does a great job at bringing the series back to the creative and fun routes of its origins. It still has a lot of Sticker Stars problems, unfortunately, but Color Splash was a legitimately clever and enjoyable experience overall. It definitely has its place among the Wii U library, and doesn’t deserve to be dismissed and overlooked as much as I feel like it has been.

Game & Wario (released March 28th, 2013)
Like Nintendo Land, Game & Wario is less one big game and more a collection of mini-games, built to show off the Wii U and its controller in different ways. Combine that with the quirkiness and colorful cast of the WarioWare series, and you’re bound to have a fun time. There are a lot of multiplayer options, too: a favorite among my family is the game called Sketch, which uses the Wii U Gamepad to draw pictures in a Pictionary-like competition. But there’s also skiing, bowling, designing robots, pirates, photography, puzzles, and (of course) some classic WarioWare Mircrogames. It’s just a big grab bag of all kinds of goofy games, and I love it a ton.

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (released February 14th, 2014)
Do you love 2D platformers that just kick your ass forever? Well, if you do, then you should play Tropical Freeze. The Donkey Kong Country series is known for this sort of thing, and the Wii U entry certainly doesn’t disappoint. Though unlike Donkey Kong Country 2, I actually managed to beat this one. That’s mostly because this game absolutely LOVES giving you extra lives, bananas that give you extra lives, and coins which you use to buy extra lives. So it’s a difficult game, but… not really? It’s essentially built to keep you playing. Though that’s not saying anything against the game: it has a ton of creative energy and cool ideas put into its level design. Where something like New Super Mario Bros can be fairly standard and similar all the way through, Tropical Freeze keeps throwing new stuff at you to keep you interested. So even though the game keeps you playing, you WANT to keep playing it to see what it does next. It’s pretty awesome!

Mario Party 10 (released March 12th, 2015)
Mario Party 10 is one of the latest in the long running series, spanning four generations of Nintendo home consoles and handhelds. It adopts the majority of its gameplay from Mario Party 9, which changed up the formula most had become accustomed to. All the characters move together in a vehicle, speeding up gameplay and forcing players to adjust their play styles. Understandably, not everyone likes it as well as the classic gameplay. But Mario Party 10 also amiibo party, which used Mario-series amiibo figures to play a more simplified, original-style Mario Party game. Plus, there’s Bowser Party, which is a five player game mode where one player takes the role of the King of Koopas himself, in order to thwart four heroes from reaching the goal and winning. And I’m not gonna lie, Bowser Party is almost worth getting the game alone. Can I say the game as a whole is as good as the Nintendo 64 classics? Probably not. But it’s definitely worth playing if you’re a fan of the series.

Animal Crossing amiibo Festival (released November 15th, 2015)
Not everyone is into this game. In fact, I’d go as far to say it’s almost universally despised among Animal Crossing fans. But amiibo Festival fits pretty well into the franchise. Animal Crossing is a very casual experience: it’s all about you moving to a new town and just… living your life! It’s all very calm and very relaxing, and amiibo Festival reflects that kind of tone. It’s like a game of Mario Party, minus the minigames. You just sit back, make your way around the game board, and observe the events that take place as you try to finish with the most money and Happy Points. That being said, there IS strategy to playing: the options available to you as you go around the board really can make or break your victory. Though there is a lot left to chance, and it might not be eventful enough for some to enjoy it. I totally get why you might not want to play it, but that doesn’t mean it deserves to be hated, you know?

And with that, that about wraps up my thoughts on the exclusives I’ve managed to play. And this is only talking about the games released on disc: there are plenty of exclusive virtual games to find on the eShop as well. The Wii U didn’t seem to have much to play on it on the surface, but you really just needed to look a little closer. It’s my opinion that a lot of fans missed out on some really good games over the past few years. And that’s including the non-exclusives, too; games like Pokken Tournament, NES Remix, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, Sonic Lost World, and the HD Zelda titles have all made the Wii U well worth its asking price. It’s just unfortunate that not everyone thought the same way.

If you can some day, I would recommend at least picking up a used Wii U to experience some of these titles. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed! Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna continue to improve my Splatoon game. Sparky is signing off for now!