Does this trailer look familiar? You may have seen it back in the summer of 1999. That was the year “Super Smash Bros.” was first released on the Nintendo 64. Originally only intended for release in Japan, the little-promoted and small-budgeted title quickly found success in Nintendo’s home country before a worldwide release that, after 15 years and two sequels, has seen nearly 25 million games sold worldwide.
If you’ve been paying attention, whether you follow games or not, you may have witnessed a serious uptick in social media about a new “Super Smash Bros.” game midway through last week. For several years now, Nintendo has been bypassing the traditional press briefings by streaming announcements online directly to the consumers. On Tuesday last week, Nintendo aired one of these “Nintendo Directs,” with a specific focus on a brand new “Super Smash Bros.” game scheduled to be released later this year for the Nintendo Wii U and Nintendo 3DS. It was first discussed at E3 2011 and first revealed at E3 this past year. Allow me now to give you the run down on everything you need to know about “Super Smash Bros.” for Wii U and 3DS.
Tuesday’s Nintendo Direct opened with the announcement that the 3DS version will be released this summer while the Wii U will not be released until winter. While there’s nothing more specific to go off of, it’s likely 3DS will be released late in summer while the Wii U version will arrive just in time for the holiday season.
Most of the characters you know and love are back: Mario, Link, Samus, Pikachu, Fox, Donkey Kong, Kirby, Bowser, Luigi, Peach, Yoshi, Zelda, Marth, Pit, Lucario, Sonic, Toon Link, Diddy Kong, King Dedede and Olimar.
Some slower characters like Bowser are now more agile than they were in previous titles. Many of the characters have redesigns, like Yoshi, who now stands up straight instead of hunched over like a real dinosaur. Lucario has gotten a bit of a power boost; all of his attacks get even more powerful as his damage percentage increases. Most of Pit’s attacks have been changed to better reflect his new incarnation in his newest game, “Kid Icarus Uprising.” Olimar’s Up+B move has been turned into a much better recovery move, letting three pink Pikmin fly him to safety. Zelda has a new Down+B move that throws forward a phantom knight that can be used for offensive or defensive purposes; in exchange, she can no longer transform into Sheik.
Several characters have new final smashes, as well. Instead of cooking opponents in a pot, Kirby now pulls out the giant Ultra Sword and slices opponents apart. Pit makes use of his game’s three sacred treasures and lights the entire screen up in a firestorm of energy beams. Lucario mega-evolves, powering up all of his normal moves to full strength. Finally, Samus’ final smash may look the same, but at the end, unlike in “Super Smash Bros. Brawl,” she does not lose her power suit and turn into Zero-Suit Samus.
Based off of the end of the last two paragraphs, you may be thinking that Sheik and Zero-Suit Samus will no longer be available options. That’s not the case. Zero-Suit Samus and Sheik will instead be their own independent characters, with upgraded abilities and new moves to match. One other fighter has received the same treatment. Instead of switching between Squirtle and Ivysaur at the behest of the Pokémon trainer, Charizard now also takes up his own roster spot, with new attacks and a final smash that will bring out his mega-evolution from Pokémon X.
There are many classic characters that are, as of yet, unannounced. Original “Smash Bros.” fighters like Jigglypuff, Ness and Captain Falcon have not been seen anywhere. The latter two haven’t had games in a long while now, though Captain Falcon, at this point, may as well be known for his role in “Smash Bros.” and his iconic “Falcon Punch!”
Every new “Smash Bros.” game has gotten a wide array of new characters to choose from. This one is no different, as one of the most iconic old NES characters joins the fray.
That’s right, ladies and gents, you will now be able to play as Mega Man. This is big. Newer gamers or those unfamiliar with “the Blue Bomber “may not realize it, but Mega Man is one of the biggest franchises in the history of video games, spanning more than 25 years and holding more than 100 individual games. The four different incarnations of Mega Man that will be showing up alongside the original whenever you pull out your final smash in the new game.
Sakurai is a bit of a jokester, and sometimes he’ll pull out all the stops in making a new game. Besides spending excess time with every announcement to troll fans, he’s added two surprising new characters into the mix. The first is the “Wii Fit” trainer. Yes, this is serious. “Wii Fit” trainer has several different models for use, allowing players to play as either the male or female version. All their moves will be based off of different yoga techniques from the game. It’s weird, but it looks like it could work.
The other hilarious entrant into the new “Super Smash Bros.” is The Villager from “Animal Crossing.” His attacks include dropping bowling balls on enemies, growing and then cutting down trees, digging pitfalls, tripping, dropping a flowerpot and attaching balloons to his helmet and flying around Balloon Fighter-style. Upon his appearance, he immediately became beloved by fans, and his happy stare and delightful smile quickly garnered him the reputation of being an unredeemable, murderous psychopath.
From the new Pokémon games comes a starter Pokémon, Greninja. The frog ninja looks more agile than much of the competition. Finally, from the Super Mario Galaxy games (and continuously making more and more appearances in different Mario titles) is Rosalina. She seems to be an interesting mashup between Ice Climbers and Olimar.
Lastly is the playable character from the NES classic “Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!!,” Little Mac. Little Mac is a boxer, and all of his moves are fairly similar in that they all involve punching, even his special moves. His moves are powerful, but being an on-the-ground boxer, his aerial moves aren’t very dangerous. He also has a power meter, which fills up as he lands hits and gets hit. When fully charged, Little Mac can use his one-shot move, the K.O. Uppercut, which instantly gets a kill on an opponent when it lands.
Many of the items in the game, while functioning the same, have gotten cool redesigns. There’s the X-Bomb, which explodes across the screen in either an X or + form. There’s the fire bar, from Mario, which allows the player to pick up the normally unmovable item and smash the opponent with it. The Steel Diver gun models a handgun after a ship from a submarine-simulation game and can fire torpedoes across the stage.
There’s the beetle from “The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword” that will grab your enemies and pull them into the air. The beehive from “Animal Crossing” will unleash a swarm of bees upon your enemies. The bombchu, also from “Legend of Zelda,” races across the ground and explode when it reaches a target. The ore club from “Kid Icarus Uprising” hits with power and, if charged, can create small tornadoes. The boomerang from “Super Mario 3D Land” will, well, work like a boomerang. Alongside these, there will be a whole bunch of other new items from a multitude of different Nintendo properties.
Since the very first “Super Smash Bros.” game, players have been able to pick up Pokéballs and throw them to gain the power of the different monsters inside. The new “Smash” introduces the Master Ball, the most powerful Pokéball, that will only contain legendary Pokémon. Such monsters include Mew, Entei, Suicune, Lugia, Latios, Latias, Kyogre, Deoxys, Dialga, Palkia, Giratina, Darkrai, Arceus, Victini, Kyurem, Keldeo, Meloetta and Xerneas.
Many of the Master Ball monsters are returning from past games; other returners are Meowth, Electrode, Goldeen, Staryu, Snorlax, Togepi, Bellossom, Gardevoir and Metagross. Newcomers include Eevee, Snivy, Oshawott, Zoroark, Chespin, Fennekin, Spewpa, Gogoat, Swirlix, Inkay and Dedenne. Every pocket monster has its own ability and powers and will do something different to assist you, at least as long as you use it well enough and the Pokémon in the ball isn’t Goldeen.
Assist Trophies first appeared in “Super Smash Bros. Brawl,” and essentially work the same way as Pokéballs, except they will pull characters to assist you from all sorts of different franchises. Known assist trophies at this point, among many others, include a Chain Chomp from “Super Mario Bros. 3,” Dark Samus from the “Metroid Prime” series, Elec Man from the original “Mega Man,” Isabelle from “Animal Crossing: New Leaf,” Midna and Skull Kid from “The Legend of Zelda” and Waluigi, from anything that is not his own game.
Between the two games, there will be notable differences. The 3DS and Wii U will receive exclusive stages based on titles that appear on handhelds and consoles, respectively. Stages on the 3DS range from a “Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks” stage atop a train; to the “Living Room” stage; to “Arena Ferox” from “Fire Emblem Awakening,” which changes forms throughout the battle much like the “Pokémon Stadium” stages did in past games; to “Reset Bomb Field” taking place on the battlements of a castle as the nuke-reminiscent Reset Bomb from “Kid Icarus Uprising” explodes off on the battlefield in the distance.
Stages that appear in both games, such as the classics “Battlefield” and “Final Destination,” appear the same on both systems but will have major aesthetic differences. The Wii U’s stages include a “Super Mario Galaxy” stage, a simple boxing ring from the “Punch Out!!” series, “Pyrosphere” from “Metroid: Other M” and “Dr. Wily’s Castle” from the “Mega Man” series.
In the recent Nintendo Direct, Sakurai said that some stages will feature bosses that can damage and be defeated by the players. One example he showed was the Yellow Devil from “Mega Man,” who forms together from multiple little yellow blobs and can be defeated by attacking its single eye, causing a massive explosion in the process. Another boss Sakurai hinted could appear is Ridley, the most commonly fought antagonist in the “Metroid” series. But this is speculation.
New Game Modes and Customization
Sakurai hasn’t given much information about different game modes. During the direct though, he did reveal a few. The first is a 3DS-exclusive online mode called “Smash Run.” In Smash Run, up to four players are given five minutes to run around a large arena to defeat enemies and gain collectibles that will increase the power of statistics like speed, jumping and attack power. At the end of the five minutes, the players will all come together on the same stage and duke it out, each with their own increased stats. How much of an advantage you’ll have over your opponent’s depends on how much better you play during those first five minutes. Sakurai compared it to the “City Trial” mode in “Kirby’s Air Ride,” a racing-type game he also directed that released for the Nintendo GameCube in 2003.
Online play itself has been revamped and will offer two modes. The first, called “For Fun,” is basic “Smash Bros.,” with every stage randomly chosen (except Final Destination), all items on and only wins recorded. The latter, called “For Glory,” is a much more competitive field. All items are off, and the only stage you can play on is Final Destination. However, to keep things fresh, Sakurai has said that most stages will have a Final Destination form, which essentially means the aesthetics of different stages will be used alongside a simple, flat stage.
In “For Glory,” all matches are rated and players are ranked by what Sakurai calls a “Global Smash Power.” GSP is a number that every player will have alongside them, and it will show how many players you are better than. So if you’re better than 300,000 players, your GSP will be 300,000.
Local play will also include a multitude of customization options. For local and online play with friends, the special B moves will all be customizable. Details of how this will work aren’t yet known, but if you would like to see what Sakurai has said on the topic, as well as a whole bunch of other juicy information, be sure to check out last Tuesday’s Nintendo Direct for yourself.
There will be more and more information coming out about the game coming up to each of the game’s releases, especially around E3 in June. If you would like to stay updated on the game, check out the official “Smash Bros.” site where Sakurai posts a new image from the game every day.