Right off the bat – not all characters were available to play in Super Smash Bros. For Wii U. Of course, they kept the series staples – Mario, Zelda, Pikachu, and so on – but in terms of the new blood, we got to see Greninja, the Wii Fit Trainer, Mega Man, Villager, Rosalina, and Little Mac. Oh boy, did we get to see Little Mac. Each played much, much differently than I’d imagined – that’s especially true for Mega Man.
The “Blue Bomber” is a video game icon, and Nintendo drew on nearly every aspect of his rich NES ancestry to make a creative, dynamic character in their new fighter and while I didn’t have much time to get used to his unique move set, I couldn’t help but feel that it was almost too ambitious. Like any robot from the ’80s, he’s just a bit… clunky.
Now, in due time, I’m sure we’ll see some amazing technical play with Capcom’s most famous mascot, but as a new player, I can say he’s certainly not the friendliest choice. While conceptually amazing, his move set just doesn’t seem all that practical. The leaf shield takes a while to boot up, his Smash Attacks are projectiles, and most of his other attacks involve minor delays that really add up. Even the metal blades – notorious for being the most infamously powerful weapon in video game history – felt underwhelming.
While I was excited to finally play as Mega Man, I feel I just didn’t have enough time to “get” him. On the flipside – there’s Little Mac. The star of Punch-Out!!! Makes his fighting game debut in Super Smash Bros. For Wii U and Super Smash Bros. For 3DS, and it’s one hell of a debut. His size never put him at a disadvantage while I was fighting, and his successive punches landed with deadly results. We’re looking at 10-15% damage per punch, if I remember correctly. His speed makes him hard to track, and it can be chaotic in a group of four or more, but its these specialized fighters that really make the game unique.
…then there’s Greninja. He took me by surprise, and I was eager to find out whether or not my favorite amphibian ally was a Sheik clone. Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong. While Sheik is an in-your-face Ninja ala Ryu from Ninja Gaiden, Greninja takes a page out of the traditional heritage of the “Edo Ninja” archetype – get it done, make it hurt, and get out of there.
Greninja is a hit-and-run kind of character and this works on so many levels. His water shuriken only takes about two seconds to fully charge, allowing him to strike and quickly move into another attack. His strongest defenses are his best offenses – like his down special, which lets him substitute and slide into an enemy. My favorite, by far, however, is Greninja’s down A in midair – a sharp downward kick that sends him bouncing back upwards for more. Greninja is going to do some amazing things once he’s in the hands of the pros. Add 12 unique move variations, and his future becomes even brighter.
As for stages, everything looked gorgeous. I suggested playing Wily’s Castle from Mega Man II, and while I thought the Yellow Devil might be a huge pain in multiplayer – it actually made the experience much more enjoyable. In fact, it distracted people from getting a Smashball that was floating around the stage for some time. Eventually, of course, I got it, and Greninja sent the Wii Fit trainer launching into the air by kicking up a tatami mat, where in front of a full moon, executed an Omni-Slash Junichi Masuda style.
Food for thought: Every single console running Super Smash Bros. Wii U at E3 was using GameCube controllers. I understand they wanted to appeal to the competitive crowd, and it really is the best controller for the game, but I’d really like to see some play with alternative control schemes.
Spencer’s Note: I played Mega Man too. He can fire pellets as a basic attack and has a charge shot that knocks opponents back. The Crash Bombs don’t have a far blast radius and I think it’s going to take some time to figure out which of his many Robot Master powers are useful. I played Rosalina & Luna and she reminded me of a puppet controlling character since most her moves revolve send Luna in a different spot than Rosalina.