Here, as promised, is the eighth portion (including my review and bonus character) of my in-depth Super Smash Bros. Brawl critique for Rorschach’s contest.
After writing this all out, I realized it is way too long for a single post. I’ll 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 second row of the final roster, two at a time. So, if you haven’t finished unlocking the entire roster, or have been living under a fucking rock for a couple months, don’t read any further. There may be a surprise or two mentioned herein. I’ll 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.
I have very mixed feelings about Luigi, as a character. Back when I played the original Mario Bros. titles I always saw Mario and Luigi as equals. They were two brothers who decided together to take on an evil force in their little magical world, however bizarre that world was or was becoming. Over the years, though, Luigi has been changed from Mario’s equal to Mario’s quasi-deranged sibling. So, my beef with Luigi in Brawl sorta stems from my dislike for how Nintendo has molded the character over the years. That’s not Smash’s fault, though, but it still plays a part in how I believe Luigi could have been represented better within the game.
Knowing how weirdly Luigi is represented in other Mario titles recently, I find it odd that he is actually the more straight-forward Mario Brother in Brawl. He is a straight-laced, punches, kicks, and uppercuts kind of guy (with a head-ramming missile move thrown in for good measure). Mario, on the other hand, his seemingly more “regular” mushroom eating galaxy saving brother, is presented with capes and water jet packs in his arsenal. This strikes me as strange. Now, I know Mario uses those moves because they make appearances in his older titles, but seeing as Mario is often people’s gateway into the world of Nintendo, it’s odd that Luigi is a better more straight forward fighter in the title Nintendo likely wants you to buy the most (just because it screams how awesome they are everywhere you go within the game).
For this reason, I think Mario should basically be given back his original straight forward moveset (like in the original Smash) and Luigi, the weird one, should have the quirky moves. Luigi should be given all kinds of off the wall weapons and peripherals from past titles where he often only makes guest appearances (such as the sports titles). He could have his vacuum pack from his Mansion title, a golf club from Mario Golf, a tennis racket, even a Kart to ride on sorta like Wario’s motorcycle move. Since Luigi has clearly taken a backseat to Mario, that should be embraced. His moveset should pretty much be a highlight reel of all the alternative titles he has become a player in.
Luigi's Mansion is the one title Luigi starred in by himself, he should have a move representing that feat and not just a stage.
As such, his uppercut and rocket head ram should stay intact. Those just make much sense and they have become fan favorites. The fact he sorta passes out after uppercutting is just great. As are his awkward taunts. Also, his Final Smash is… just weird. I don’t think anyone really knows where it came from but Luigi’s dance party move is the only truly weird move they gave him this time around. If they can’t come up with anything better from his Mansion title, then I guess it can stay. I don’t like it, but just seeing how bizarre it is fits the character he has (so sadly) become.
Luigi = Win (‘cause I prefer his straight forward moveset to Mario’s) but also Fail (for misrepresenting who Luigi is nowadays) / Win (if they change the movesets). I think if they swap the Bros. movesets and make Luigi the one with the weird moves, they’d stay more true to both characters and both would be better for it. Diddy Kong
This may come as a surprise, since I am a professed heavy lover, but I like playing as Diddy Kong. He’s quick, agile, and quirky enough to warrant his inclusion in Brawl. I was a little worried he’s handle poorly or be too quick but I believe he strikes a good balance as a fighter for a monkey wearing a baseball cap. I thought there was only room for one Kong in Smash, but I was wrong.
Dude claps with his feet. 'Nuff said.
Some have compared Diddy’s moves to freestyle mixed martial arts and I think that’s a good comparison. Running around the stages and beating people with your tail and feet is just manic and fun and has a certain rhythm/flow to it that no other fighter really has. Diddy is kind of a hit and run sorta fighter, able to dodge and move quickly. For that uniqueness I give him credit. He does what he does well.
That being said, I do dislike his Down+B banana move. I think the banana, as an item, is pretty lame. The fact slipping on the ground happens randomly is lame enough, I don’t need a character propagating lameness in my Smash. I understand the banana is an item now and certain characters have “semi-exclusive” access to certain items through their movesets, but that doesn’t mean I have to embrace that fact.
I’d rather see Diddy get a helping hand from Rambi, the rhino from the Country series. Diddy riding Rambi across the stage like Wario (and the proposed Luigi Kart move) would give Diddy a solid strong move that could be balanced with how fast Rambi travels, or perhaps by whom he rides. Perhaps the move could call a random animal from the Country series like Expresso the ostrich or the marlin, Enguarde (who would flop on the ground and be a dud move, like Goldeen), or any of the other Country animals, for that matter. Whichever would provide the most balance and make most sense. Cameos like that are always welcome in Smash and it would be a nice nod to the fans.
If there is one thing this game needs, it's more rhinos.
For the record, I think Diddy’s FS is pretty good. I was worried it would be either too lame or too overpowered, but the fact it’s hard to control balances out the potential power it has. I think it’s a great nod to the barrel blast games, which inspired it, and should definitely stay in the game.
Diddy Kong = Win. He’s simply fun to play as. I never thought I’d like another DK character because of how much I love the original big brawler himself, but Diddy is a fine representative who offers a wholly original moveset from DK and who is legitimately fun to play as. He’s earned his stay.
Thanks for reading. Come back tomorrow for my critiques of Zelda and Pit!
Or read my review of the game!
Or, if you need to catch up on old critiques try these:
Mario and DK Link and Samus Kirby and Fox Pikachu and Marth Mr Game & Watch
And my bonus characters who should have made the roster:
Thanks for reading!