Here, as promised, is the second portion of my in-depth Super Smash Bros. Brawl critique for Rorschachís contest.
After writing this all out, I realized it is way too long for a single post. Iíll break it down into two characters at a time and release them over the course of the week so you can read who you like at your own leisure.
The following will detail my impressions and thoughts of every character in the top row of the final roster, two at a time. So, if you havenít finished unlocking the entire roster, or have been living under a fucking rock for a couple months, donít read any further. There may be a surprise or two mentioned herein. Iíll also offer up one or two suggestions for additional characters that I feel should have made the roster or deserve a spot in the next iteration. Enjoy.
The tried and true stalwart of all things Nintendo related for close to three decades, Mario undoubtedly makes another appearance in a non-Mario-related gameÖ I mean, another returning visit to the roster. A series veteran from day one on the N64, OF COURSE Mario makes it back. However, he has been tweaked.
Mario was never my favorite character in videogames, period. He was even less of my favorite fighter in any of the Smash games. He just plain sucks, in my opinion. I hate the noise his uppercut makes as it knocks coins out, I donít find any of his moves all that powerful (youíll find Iím a big fan of the heavy characters), or useful, for that matter.
The only redeeming maneuver he had in his arsenal was the ďMario TornadoĒ (his original Down+B attack) wherein he spun like a, you guessed it, tornado and did some decent damage. Unfortunately, that move was taken out in favor of his water pack from Mario Sunshine. Bad decision. I still donít get how to fucking use the damn thing. I know Down+B puts it on his back but I can never get the damn thing to fire, let alone be worthwhile. This change/omission makes even less sense due to the fact spinning to attack enemies is a PROMINENT maneuver used throughout his latest console adventure, Super Mario Galaxy. The fact the game pays no fan service to the latest title is shameful and goes to show just how isolated this team must have been from the rest of Nintendoís staff.
**Side note: The fact the game, as a whole, pays no fan service to any title less than 2 or 3 years old (save for Twilight Princess) is odd to me. Every reference I see is to older games. This game must have been made in a vacuum-sealed vault. I may be wrong (as I have yet to unlock every trophy and sticker) but just from my observations it seems to be true AND odd.**
His only good quality now is that he has his cape that flips hit opponents backwards. Let me tell ya, playing challenge 41 and having Mario flip you around as you are about to land on the edge miraculously is really annoying. Itís the only true merit in his entire arsenal.
His Final Smash sucks, too. I donít get why Mario would have a mega huge Street Fighter-esque flame attack. If it ever made sense for a character to get really big and stomp around the stage, it would be Mario. He does it in almost every game heís in. Itís a core mechanic of The New Super Mario Bros. game on the DS. Giant fireballs arenít.
Mario = Fail. Give him back his Mario Tornado and tweak his FS and maybe heíll be worth my time. As it stands, heís just not. Donkey Kong
Dk has always been one of my core favorites in the Smash series. Despite the joy of beating people senseless with a giant ape, I feel he simply plays well AND he plays exactly like I would imagine a giant ape would play like i.e. he hits hard and has really powerful attacks, although heís pretty slow.
I havenít noticed too many changes to DKís moveset (foregoing exact damage tweaks) at all. He plays just as I remember him playing on the N64 and the GameCube, which is a good thing. He was the first fighter I tried when I fired up Brawl because I knew how he handled and knew that if they messed up DK, there would be no hope for the rest of the cast. Luckily I was not disappointed.
The only complaint I have is that his grab move doesnít seem to extend as far as I recall. Maybe itís me, but in general I feel as though grabs are MUCH harder to pull off in this version of Smash, which is a shame. The throw animations are often very humorous. So, maybe itís not DKís fault but the gameísÖ or maybe itís entirely my own.
**Edit: I forgot to mention I have always loved DK's Up+B attack. For a heavy hitter he has quite a useful recovery move that gets him out of a lot of tough situations, whether they be clearing an area around him, or getting back to the stage. This has been a stalwart aspect of his play style that I'm really glad they didn't nerf this time around.**
Damn... it would REALLY suck to get hit off THAT stage
As far as his FS goes, I think they did all they could with DK. Considering his biggest gaming hits since the core SNES ďCountryĒ days was the Jungle Beat series, I fully expected that aspect of his background to make it into Brawl. The only other alternative would have been for him to ride the Rhino from ďCountryĒ or blast across the screen in a series of barrels that appeared and if you got hit by DK you got blown off the stage. HmmÖ actuallyÖ the barrel-blasting would have been cool. Considering they made their way into the SSE mode, Iím kinda upset that his FS doesnít utilize them. Damn it, I just depressed myself.
DK = Win. The ONLY way to make him better would be to use rocket barrels for his FS. Otherwise, heís awesome as always.
Thanks for reading. Come back tomorrow for my critiques of Link and Samus!
And if you're bored, read my review of the entire game!