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Our Super Smash Bros. Mains for 3DS
Super Smash Bros. is a rousing success on handhelds this fall. While we save room for the main course on the Wii U next month, we just can’t stop fighting the good fight on 3DS. Leviathyn writers Tim Gruver and Patrick Lowe take a look at just why Nintendo’s all-star fighters have never been better days:
First appearance: Super Mario Bros. (1985)
For whatever reason, I gravitated towards the long reigning princess of the Mushroom Kingdom after a few weeks with the game, and I haven’t looked back. Peach is capable of playing a variety of different approaches very well. Pulling out vegetables, using them to control range, and getting that occasional lucky Bob-omb is a great way of using Peach from a longer range, but she can get on the inside and punish other characters well.
Her smash attacks aren’t incredibly powerful, but all of the tools in her forward smash have good effects, and the fact that they come out in a set order allow you to utilize them all to the best of their ability. Add in a really useful down-tilt that offers some vertical launch and a wealth of options coming out of that setup, Peach is easily my favorite character to use now. I love surprises.
First appearance: Earthbound
I like Earthbound way too much to have not given Ness a try when I first got the game, despite the fact that I’ve been disappointed in Ness since the original Super Smash Bros. It’s about time, but I finally feel like Ness is a capable character. With the ability to control range with both PK Fire and PK Thunder, Ness can be hard to get at, and when an opponent gets close, Ness can certainly use any of his smash attacks to quell that situation in a hurry. Of course, Ness still has some unfortunate handicaps.
His recovery’s still hindered by a reliance on PK Thunder when you’ve expended your second jump, and I find it difficult to accurately direct the move with the Nintendo 3DS Circle Pad. And because of Ness’s high reliance on projectiles, characters who can absorb them or reflect them can be difficult to deal with.
First appearance: Fire Emblem Ankoku Ryu to Hikari no Tsurgi (1990)
I still find that Marth is the best Fire Emblem character in Super Smash Bros. He’s still fast, his sword has good range in many of his attacks, whether it’s the swing of his forward smash, the quick jab of his down-tilt, or even his neutral special move.
As always, Marth will hurt his opponent the most when using the tip of his sword, and to be honest, most of his game is set up around attacking at the tip of his range, meaning you’ll likely be taking advantage of the extra power the tip of his sword will offer.
He can sometimes have a problem getting back to the ledge after a long launch, but it’s not too hard to recover with Marth in most cases. And of course, Marth plays in well with the counter heavy game Smash 4 presents.
Honorable Mention: Shulk
First appearance: Xenoblade Chronicles (2011)
It’s Shulk time! I like Shulk – he was the first character I decided to check out in Smash 4, and he has some interesting attributes, mostly in his neutral special, the Monado Arts. Since you’re able to actively change Shulk’s parameters in the midst of battle, you can play a very adaptive game. Getting beat up? Switch on the Shield and try to rework your strategy while keeping yourself safe. Or you can turn on the Smash power and go for the big hit.
It’s really up to the player how exactly you’ll take advantage of the Monado Arts, so Shulk is capable of fitting a variety of different play styles. His Monado isn’t your typical sword, with less swinging and more long, straight attacks, so you’ll have to get used to that. I like Shulk enough that I’ve considered going back to him in the future, but for now, he’s on the cusp.
#1: Little Mac
First appearance: Punch-Out!! (1984)
Little Mac might very well be my favorite old-school fighter behind MegaMan. Smash Bros seems to have done him justice too– his move set’s entirely original and carries a much bigger weight in the arena than you’d think. A close-range fighter in practice, Mac’s Jolt Haymaker special move covers a lot of ground to dodge projectile attacks and is sure to make short work of ranged baddies.
Leveling up his power meter can take ages at times, but when it is, Mac’s KO Uppercut is supreme. Don’t use that KO Uppercut right away, because everyone expect you to. Use it when they’re distracted or trying to get back on stage after being knocked off. Little Mac’s all about moving forward, so powerful, land-based punches are more his speed and emphasize a play style where you need to dip in and out quickly.
His Forward Smash has super armor absorbing attacks and dishing out blows, but when in doubt, his Forward Tilt should be your go-to attack when not using special moves or Smash Attacks. You can even mash A to launch a barrage of close-range jabs at your opponent if you’re in trouble. As logic would dictate, Little Mac’s almost useless punching air when flung sky-high. The key? Smash your opponents point-blank to pieces the minute the word “FIGHT!” blurts onto screen.
Fly like a butterfly and sting like a bee and Little Mac is a master at keeping the advantage as long as he keeps up his fists of fury confusing the enemy. His final smash, Giga Mac, is still a bit lacking, but the amount of thought gone into the rest of his moves makes up for it. That’s a mighty big punch from such the little guy.
#2: Toon Link
First appearance (The Legend of Zelda: The Windwaker, 2003)
At a glance, Link and Toon Link might play like clones, but it’s Link’s tinier half that has the edge in my book. Faster and even stronger than his classic iteration, Toon Link’s balanced in every sense of the word between ranged and melee combat, and even the former gives him a boomerang that comes back. That said, the high-learning curve that comes with timing Toon Link’s Spin Attack is his Achilles heel, but its more tactile use on land or in the air is what turns the tides.
If that weren’t enough, Link’s Up Tilt allows for relatively easy combos that lead into his Up Smash, Spin Attack or aerial Spin Attack. Granted, Link’s throw is a little slow, but it does have good range and a comparably better recovery than his classic self, albeit imperfect. Link’s projectile attacks are probably on par with Fox’s in versatility; arrows, bombs, and hookshots cover your steady approach that can make Link from a hero into a God in the arena.
#3: The Villager
First appearance: Animal Crossing (2001)
Animal Crossing is just about the easiest game to pick up and play. So be it that The Villager should play with the same mentality. Slow yet menacing, he throws around quite a bit of power once you start to really dig into his move set and abilities.
For novices, one of the Villager’s best talent is the fact that he can catch projectile attacks and “pocket” them as his special move. How cool is that? Biding your time on the far side of the stage throwing back people’s junk makes for the best laught-out loud trolling I’ve played a part in and while it almost sets the Villager up for being overpowered, it’s the guiltiest onstage pleasure.
The Villager’s Lloid Rocket move deserves special note. Great for recovery, it also works well to get out of a sticky situation or just make some room around you. You can shoot it like a rocket or ride it like one before you can catch yourself with his Balloon Trip move overs a great deal of vertical distance, and both balloons have to be popped to stop it. There’s probably a lot more to stop Villager. Period.
Honorable Mention: Duck Hunt Dog
First appearance: Duck Hunt (1984)
No, this isn’t a joke. After finding out that the characters from Duck Hunt would be playable, I also felt the same way. Fear not, for the Duck Hunt Duo are made of pure awesomeness.
Featuring the infamous laughing Dog from Duck Hunt, as well as a titular Duck, the two work in a strange tandem unlike anything I’ve seen yet. If there was a way for me to best describe their teamwork, it would be “Banjo-Kazooie.” The Dog attacks at close range with the stupidest faces I’ve seen all year, while the Duck is used for recovering the two. The two of them work brilliantly with a totally fresh and original move set, that looks tricky to master – but devastating once accomplished.
Beautiful touches like the Wild Gunman amidst their hilariously 8-bit Wild West showdown final smash is absolutely insane and the Duck Hunt Duo’s easily one of the most inspired characters in the Smash Bros universe. Their designs are great and they each overflow with character and expression. Besides, who doesn’t want to smack that Dog for laughing at you?
Who our your Smash Bros. mains? Tell us in the comments below!