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There are many characters who go down in the annals of history for their infamy. Fox is constantly top tier for his speed, Jigglypuff floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee, and Pikachu has Thunder. Now, Little Mac comes along for being a grounded powerhouse, Bowser will be remembered as a revamped monster, and Mega Man may be remembered as the hero we never expected. But nobody ever mentions Diddy Kong. Of course, Diddy Kong went down in infamy amongst my friends for how brutally effecient and annoying I was with the little Kong.
Diddy Kong is the lighter and faster of the two Kongs. While he certainly struggles with kill moves, he certainly belongs in the same weight and speed class as Fox and relies on damage just like him before scoring the crucial kill. I've made a lot of enemies of my friends with the way Diddy Kong can play to win. I bet you've never thought you'd see serious keepaway in a Smash game but relentless banana peels beg to differ. Unfortunately/fortunately for everyone, while his banana peels have been toned down, Based Sakurai boosted Diddy Kong in other places to compensate. And for me, Diddy Kong's fighting style is perfectly captured by his animal instincts: annoy your opponent with a tricky fighting style until they lose their concentration and prey off their lost composure.
He doesn't give a fuck about your rules
Want to play three stock, Final Destination, no items? Well too fucking bad, you're going to see items because Diddy's got bananas. Glad to see tripping gone in Smash 4? You'll be re-acquainted with it when Diddy's concerned because you're still in for a slip and slide against him. Good at space control and approach game? Sorry pal because a banana peel on the ground means it's Diddy Kong's ground.
Diddy's banana game got limited to one banana at a time which disappears after a use but that doesn't make it any less useful. I've littered stages with bananas and tossed around opponents who couldn't stop slipping on my bananas. It doesn't change the fact that you're helpless for an astounding amount of time after a banana slip. And Diddy's increase in range and power means he only needs one banana to truly capitalize.
As you can see, bananas are both a vital part of your nutrition and a big part of your ass whooping.
He knows monkey kung fu
Animal instincts are one thing, but base combat only gets you so far. Donkey Kong is a brawler who recognizes the value of twisting your arm into a circle several times is the secret to unleashing a power strike that is multiplied by a factor of three. Or that if you spin with your arms outstretched fast enough, you'll gain horizontal midair distance. Diddy Kong does what most would expect and borrows Chinese martial arts which was already inspired by his species.
A tail flailing whip, a low leg sweep, an aerial dropkick, a body flipping leg/foot/fist attack, and even a double fist kung fu punch.
It's interesting to note that not only can you find some cool movies based around monkey kung fu (I ain't making this shit up. Try googling Iron Monkey) but Diddy Kong received more substantial buffs than simply attack X does more damage. The animators made a conscious effort to enhance Diddy's cartoonish characteristics, to the point where his body and limbs elastically stretch when used. The end result is that Diddy Kong has even more range than physically possible because he fucking knows kung fu dammit.
He has one of the best dash attacks in the game
Dash attacks are easy to use and abuse in Smash Bros. Overtime, you'll discover that a lot of the time, dash attacks are useful to punish characters in recovery lag who are farther away. Other times you use it to follow up opponents who hit the ground hard from something like a throw. The mark of a filthy, casual Smash player though is someone who runs constantly and does a dash attack simply because they were running. And these people must quickly learn that nine times out of ten, their dash attack is just plain unsafe and easy to read. Even characters as revered as Fox don't just run into their targets and dash attack. A flying kick, a slide attack, a charging headbutt, a shoulder ram, and more still are examples of attacks you'll see often and learn to block and grab.
In that nine out of ten though, Diddy Kong belongs to the one.
Diddy Kong's cartwheel, his dash attack, is one of the best. An attack Diddy Kong can use recklessly out of a top speed run to pressure his opponents. It's an attack that hits multiple times due to the fact that Diddy can use all his body parts naturally. He can use his hands like fists and feet like hands and in his cartwheel it's a four piece appendage onslaught. This attack pops people into the air, prime for an up smash or any other air attack and in fact segues perfectly into an up smash. And all of these additions are possible because this attack is so fast and lagless that its completely safe. As soon as the cartwheel stops being an active threat, Diddy Kong is free to move however he wants while his opponent is still left wondering if its safe to come out and play. This thing is impossible to punish on block and sets up so many opportunities for Diddy it might as well be renamed White America. It doesn't matter how good his opponent is and how fast they react because even if they dodge this big ass cartwheel, Diddy is nimble enough on his feet that he's always ready to leap anywhere on short notice.
I mean, they only made it stronger looking in Smash 4 by adding a ground slapping animation. Diddy Kong was playing around in Brawl. Now in Smash 4, Diddy's playing for keeps.
He's a goddamn monkey
Monkeys are nature's gift to humanity, both literally and realistically. Man is descended from apes and apes are an inspiration to us all. They are hilarious to watch, gifted acrobats, in control of amazing beastly strength, and are free from judgment to throw their feces as both a form of dictating dominance and as a site gag. Diddy Kong doesn't stop there though because ordinary monkeys use their fur to cover up. But Diddy wears a shirt, a baseball cap, and still doesn't wear pants. He asserts his superiority by appropriating our clothing, wearing a stylish hat, and still proclaims his primal origins by not wearing pants. Plus, he has complex machinery and weapons made out of jungle compost and barrels. He made a gun out of wood and peanuts while also creating a jetpack made of barrels and god knows how much flammable fuels. Tom Hanks wouldn't be able to do that if he had his entire life with luxury on a tropical island. Hell, I don't think most engineers can do that because they'd need trivial materials like metal and hazard suits.
He's a goddamn monkey. Every human on the cast owes their evolution to the Kongs and Diddy still one ups them by being their evolutionary link and wearing a hat. Bowser didn't descend from him but he's a cold blooded lizard who'd fall asleep in a refrigerator. Motherfucker, Diddy Kong has both warm blood and fur. Step up your goddamn game.
Remember back when the Villager was first announced for Smash? How everyone characterized his wall eyed stare and unmoving smile as a suburban, homicidal maniac who’d use garden tools to menace your neighborhood? Despite the give and take of projecting your homemaking insanity on a small person who is regularly depicted as having an outstanding debt to a raccoon (or tanuki if you want to be real, brah), Villager is quite the dark horse when it comes to, you know, actually fighting in Smash Bros. and not 4koma comics about wanton murder.
Villager is good, whether you want to acknowledge it or not (you damn Fox elitists). Yup, I’m no competitive Smash player but I do have an extensive taste for fighting games. It doesn’t matter how much you deny it, your favorite dash attack might be unsafe on block (or shield?) but maybe you just think shields or grabs are cheap, you filthy casual. So from one filthy casual to another, here’s how I play Villager from the demo, which is pretty much the final build of the included characters.
At a glance, Villager is a character with high risk/high reward smash attacks, an arsenal of unconventional projectiles and zoning game, unmatched recovery, and is generally very versatile when it comes to the ledge. Villager is slow on both the ground and in the air but is actually fairly heavy for a character his size. Villager shines best when he plays defense over the ledge. The problem is getting his opponents off the stage because his options to knock his opponents around are limited. Fsmash is slow, Ftilt is just ok, and his grab speed is slow. But enterprising Villagers will find his toolset makes him less a villager and more an ornery farmer/settler, always trying to keep damn pests of his property with extreme prejudice.
Home & Garden and Assault & Battery Channel
You might be the kind of person who uses forward smash all willy nilly because it’s usually powerful and has range, right? Well stop because Villager’s Fsmash has all the power of dropping a bowling ball on someone’s foot and that’s not even exaggeration. Villager whips out a bowling ball, tries to put it on an imaginary shelf, and drops it right in front of them, doing easily 20% and enough knockback to send regular weight class characters flying off to the blast zone.
But carrying a bowling ball is heavy and slow going, so you can’t use it whenever you want. It does however fall beneath you if you use it over a ledge, so it can surprise people beneath you, including people trying to recover from beneath the ledge line. Ftilt is a swing of his umbrella, which has reasonable hitstun but no dependable KO potential and unsafe on block. So most neutral game will use Utilt, Dtilt, rapid jabs, and his aerials. His dash attack is also notable for a really weird hit box, letting him land in front of a shield, behind a shield, or not even physically touch it, letting the pot you drop do the damage instead
Most of the time your air-to-ground attacks will be the Nair and Dair, an all round body spin and variable below turnip smash (the number of turnips and damage is random). Most of the time, you’ll be piling up damage with more minor attacks and by launching his Lloid Rocket (side B) until you have enough to work with to aim for a throw. While his net for scoring throws is slow, Lloid has a ramp up to its acceleration, meaning you can pull it out and run behind it, making for easy approach and an easy way to try to read your opponent and grab them. Throwing them up is worthless since Villager’s up KO potential is random due to his random turnip aerials. Down throw, like any down throw, is worth using at lower percentages for damage and combos. The meat of Villager’s time will be spent on forward and a slightly stronger back throw, where Villager can hopefully throw them off and start edge guarding.
Look at all these big ass trees
Congratulations on knocking your inferior opponent off the screen. Now for the Villager, there is no such thing as a passive edge guarding game. It’s time we discuss Villager’s aerials and his ability to either carry to the blast zone or gimp.
Villager has the luxury of relying on two different method of edge guarding: carrying with his side air attacks or planting a big ass tree and chopping it down.
The former takes a bit of practice to get down. The attack itself is not instant and it has a disjointed hit box. The slingshot itself is the sweetspot but it releases a limited projectile that still has a bit of knockback. Villager has the option to either sweetspot the attack and try to knock his victim back further into the blast zone or space themselves for safety to carry or simply gimp. Nair is an easier attack to hit with as well but lacks the range and sheer power of the side airs. The idea is for the Villager to be aggressive with edgeguarding because Balloon Trip lets Villager recover from just about any situation. It takes a fine tuned hand to gimp him since popping his balloons will gimp him but hitting the Villager directly simply refreshes their recovery like any other. But that example is for whenever Villager must recover. On edgeguarding, Villager can be as reckless as they want to generally carry their opponent offscreen because Balloon Trip makes anything possible.
The latter is potentially the only real way to use his down B, Timber. Depending on how far you knockback your opponent, Villager has just enough time to plant a sapling, water it, and chop it down. The tree is a huge, falling projectile that takes up a surprising amount of space. Even when simply standing it has a hitbox that lets it absorb projectiles for defense. But obviously, its biggest use is edgeguarding, and depending on how well your opponent recovers, the tree is a serious threat. Sometimes even if an air dodge is attempted, the sheer size and slowness of the fall can sometimes catch them. The size also lets it hit opponents who come a bit from up high but obviously the worst case scenario for recoverers is coming from below since obviously this tree obeys gravity and will absolutely decimate anyone desperate enough to spend their recovery from below the ledge.
Sometimes it’s worth planting the sapling and watering it beforehand and keeping in mind which direction you want to knock your opponent away. Saving time by prepping the steps isn’t a bad idea but the sapling and tree do disappear after a while.
The new mayor is Earth
The only move left to mention is Pocket, his neutral B. Compared to Timber, Pocket is more character specific but certainly has increased utility with items on. It’s still basically a reflector though; capable of taking a projectile, storing it, and sending it back with a damage multiplier.
Villager will probably struggle against speedy characters since Villager’s own speed is pretty bad. Fortunately, speed doesn’t equal power and so far it seems his recovery can trump any gimping attempt, meaning he needs to be straight KO’d for a point. Even if Fox can spam lasers or Pit firing directed arrows, Villager’s air mobility with Balloon Trip lets him maneuver into blind spots safely. Characters with good air mobility like Jigglypuff though can probably deal with Villager’s edgeguarding strategy. It remains to be seen how Villager will fare against the entire cast but for now, Villager is a great character with a versatile battle plan.
I was one of the fated chosen who reached platinum status with Club Nintendo. I’ve pretty much been playing the Smash 3DS demo non-stop, just trying to get Mega Man right and playing its two minute stock matches during breaks at work. I also saw some analysis videos but those largely confirm my suspicions and opinions. It’s been a successful demo, giving me only five characters and effectively two stages (Battlefield with items and Omega Battlefield, basically Final Destination). Here’s how I feel about how the game feels and its five characters. It’s agreed upon by many players that this build represents the final build of how the game will ship.
If I had to summarize everything into one bullet, it’d be that Smash 4 represents a compromise between Melee and Brawl’s design philosophies. Not quite as slow and pondering as Brawl, but not quite as blistering and fast as Melee.
Edge hogging is impossible and it’s an improvement to overall match pacing. The lack of edge hogging promotes more offensive tactics rather than passive defense. Since someone with decent recovery can and will make it, defenders are encouraged to jump off for preventive measures.
Ledge grabbing is not as lenient as it was in Brawl but not as strict as Melee. The distance before you grab the ledge has been reduced compared to Brawl. Characters also no longer magnetically home in on the ledge when they get close, which gives them the safety of invincibility frames. Now, you need to space your recovery move so that you can latch on safely. If you’re too close, you’ll actually overshoot and subject yourself to counterattacks.
I might actually play mostly in 3D as the 3D effect actually gives it a nicer look. The FPS might be getting a bump while 3D is on, which is weird since the 3D made Pokemon XY FPS chug.
Having the Omega stage choice be a simple button toggle on the stage select is rather convenient. I’d imagine it’ll eliminate the need to drill into the item select screen to fiddle with the options. Set your favorite items and frequencies and whenever you get an impromptu challenge to your honor, just keep going and toggle the Omega stage.
Mario is overall more agile with a general increase to all facets of his speed. Footspeed, air speed, and attack speed all have an extra bit of pep. I know we call him a fat Italian but the guy works out for a living.
FLUDD’s range received a massive increase. Like, it has no business reaching as far as it does. If your opponent has bad recovery, this thing is viable. At the very least it stalls them in the air and leaves them vulnerable.
Back air is Mario’s best and fastest move. Comes out quick, plenty of knockback, and little to no recovery lag, even if you land with it. It’s not a kill move but it definitely helps throw people of the stage.
Down throw is your best bet to quickly pile on damage early on. Bounce them off the ground and give them a few up tilts and they’ll be pushing 50% in no time.
Mario overall has received more subtle buffs compared to the other two veterans in the demo. Its small but its noticeable when you reflect on how Mario worked before.
Hands down, this is the de facto version of Link. You know how Street Fighters say vanilla Sagat was the best Sagat in Street Fighter? Well, Smash 4 Link is the best Link by a landslide.
Link’s overall speed has been increased, similarly to Mario.
The damage to boomerang and bomb have increased. Arrow charges faster in exchange for reduced damage.
Down air spikes opponents if you hit on its starting frames. This is immensely satisfying provided you actually hit and don’t miss and plummet to your doom like a tool.
Back air is stronger and reaches further. Good alternative to using his slower forward air.
Recovery is way better. The distance his aerial spin attack travels is much better, not to mention its finisher hit has more knockback. Tether grapple is also improved, which is something across the board for all characters with tether grapples.
Dash attack actually has kill potential. Its way better and you should use it.
Up smash has better horizontal hitbox.
Link isn’t the butt of jokes amongst pros anymore. This Link has taken all his complaints and just fixed all of them. I’m excited to see how her performs at higher levels because I think he’s going to do better than he ever has.
Skull Bash goes FAR. I mean, if you miss, you’ll probably fly off the screen. Not enough to make it risky but enough for everyone to notice.
Up tilt and up air are annoying jugglers. Fast ways to do more and more damage.
Back air is by far my favorite thing about Pikachu now. On defense, hitting someone with this multi-hit spin move will drag them along helplessly before being launched backward. At best, you can score knockouts by using this in the no man’s zone. At worst, you’ll drag them down to a point of no return where you can still recover with a double jump and an angled quick attack.
Changes to Pikachu aren’t very dramatic, but a buff to a few moves of his really make a difference.
Described by Zero as Jigglypuff with projectiles. Both side airs shoot a slingshot. The slingshot itself is the brunt of the hit box while the pellet is slightly weaker but has a great range. Simply jump off and carry your opponent to oblivion with these bad boys.
Speaking of defense, Villager has unmatched recovery. They removed gliding but Villager’s balloon trip pretty much lets him fly from off screen all the way to the other ledge of Battlefield. He’s like Metaknight from Brawl in the sense that he can recover from pretty much anything short of being knocked all the way out.
Forward smash (bowling ball) is ridiculously strong. It has no range but it certainly compensates. You will not believe the knockback on this attack.
Up and down air have a lot of active frames. There’s no need to time these attacks. Throw them out and watch your opponent slam into your radishes.
Keep in mind that Villager’s pocket move double damage and knockback. Play with items on and try pocketing those big crates for laughs.
The true purpose of Villager’s timber (down B) is for edge guarding. Keep a sapling planted on the edges and if your opponent recovers from a downward angle, they’ll be saying hello with a whole lotta wood.
Villager will be interesting to see in play. Villager exemplifies the changes to the edge grabbing mechanics with his jumping slingshot carries and tree guarding. Why wait to see your opponent fall down when you can get out there, expedite the process, and just fly back.
Megs has tons of projectiles, almost none of them are very good at aggressive play. I’m afraid effective Mega Man play might exemplify Brawl’s design philosophy but time will tell if there’s anything to discover.
Crash bomber is very underwhelming. It disappears on contact with shields and keeping it up blocks damage.
Metal blade is versatile but slow. Even Link’s bombs are faster.
You can’t multitask with leaf shield. Once it comes on, you can only shoot it out. You can however grabs with it, adding damage with or without a pummeling.
Crash bomber and metal blade together can take up a lot of space.
Megs is built from the ground up differently with the lack of a true side tilt. He just walks and shoots.
His uncharged buster shots have uneven hitstun. A regular problem for players with too much muscle memory is to walk forward and forget they shoot buster lemons rather than have an actual tilt. This leads to them walking right into a grab due to how little the shots do.
Forward air has a good hitbox but poor knockback. Back air however has great knockback but a difficult and narrow hitbox.
Down air is a meteor smash projectile. You can meteor people from a comfortable distance and it doesn’t have any complicated hit boxes.
Slide is probably a better options for Megs at neutral than moving and shooting. Up tilt also has surprising knockback.
Best kill move is down smash but has brutal recovery frames. You can try punishing rolls with it but this thing is high risk/high reward. Do not use at low percentages because that’s how long its recovery is.
Up air (tornado shot) is good at carrying opponents into the sky box. It’s small hit box makes it hard to connect unless your close.
Out of all five, I have a lot of trouble scoring kills with Megs. With limited kill moves, Mega Man struggle to fight in any conventional way. People interested in fighting with Mega Man will need a deep understanding of his moves and how they all work in tandem.