Where do you want to brawl?
Whenever a new Super Smash Bros. is hinted at, gamers and the games media gets whipped into a frenzy over which characters should be included in the next game. We all have opinions on that and who’d we like to see. For my part, Bandana Waddle-Dee and Twintelle are my top two choices, and while I’m sure one character from ARMS is making it in, I doubt it’ll be her. But even if those two do make it in, I don’t see them taking the place of Peach and Toon Link/Young Link. They’ve been my go-to characters since Melee, and while Pit and Duck Hunt Dog have joined the ranks of characters I routinely play as, I’d be surprised if any new characters in the forthcoming Smash game will dethrone butt-busting Peach.
New characters are great, but after the exhaustive roster of the last game, I’m more interested in an equally important aspect of the series: the stages. Smash stages are easily the most creative fighting arenas in the entire genre and the Wii U/3DS iterations of the series went all out with more than 50 new stages between the two games. And there were some deep cuts in that collection, from Magicant to PAC-LAND. For the next Smash, I’m hoping one of my favorite series from Nintendo gets more love with a Sin & Punishment stage.
Developed by Treasure, Sin & Punishment is a rail shooter that debuted in Japan on the Nintendo 64. It didn’t make it out to the US until it hit the Wii Virtual Console in 2007. Two years later, we were treated to the best game purchased by the least amount of people with Sin & Punishment Star Successor. Was it ugly? Sure, but with the Wiimote pointer controls, it was also a fucking blast. The series has had some representation in Smash with Saki making an appearance as an assist trophy, but that’s it. I get the series isn’t as popular as most other Nintendo franchises, but with the processing power of the Switch, now is the perfect time to give players stage inspired by the series.
I’m thinking one of those static stages with the action backgrounds, like Lylat Cruise from Brawl. The platforms don’t change all that much, but the background is an ever-moving spectacle of space combat. Sin & Punishment is ripe to follow the same formula. You can take any level from either of the games and they’d make the perfect background for a stage like this. While the fighters do battle in the foreground, Saki and Airan — or Isa and Kachi depending on which game they pull from — shoot and slash enemies in the background. It might be super busy, but it would absolutely be awesome to watch and just get lost in. Plus, who knows, its inclusion here may convince Nintendo to give Treasure some money for a Sin & Punishment 3.
Occams Electric Toothbrush
The evolution of the Smash Bros. franchise has led to a lot of jaw-dropping moments. I remember playing the Metal Gear level and thinking what a world I was living in. It’s the kind of game where the levels are almost as celebrated and fawned over as the roster. With a new Smash in the pipeline, the mind wanders as to what could be possible. With the question of levels, I tend to go a little far outside the realm of Nintendo. While I’d love something like a River City Ransom (8-bit pixels and all) stage, I kind of homed in on what they did with Metal Gear. In that spirit, I have concluded that the level I would want to see most in the new Smash is the mansion from Resident Evil.
The mansion is one of the most iconic settings in survival horror. Even as I type this, I can wander the halls in my mind’s eye. So, imagine that main hall as a level. That front staircase and second story acting as platforms. With level shifts into the dining room or the garden and the doomed denizens wandering around acting as hazards as much as eye candy. Then the floor could cave in, dropping everyone into the lab where you come upon the Tyrant in all its glory trying to skewer Jill. The level would be almost as cinematic as it would be functional.
I’m sure there are more reasonable choices, barring a surprise announcement of Jill or Chris appearing in the game. But for me, this is what I want to see. It’s just plausible enough to happen and just fantastic enough to remain a pipe dream. But hey, it’s fun to imagine what could be and I’m excited to see what will be.
Games used to be named after places all the time. The Tower of Druga. Milon’s Secret Castle. Maniac Mansion. Castlevania, Dragon’s Lair. These fictional locales were the real headliners of their respective games and stars in their own right.
Then with Silent Hill, the “name a game after a spooky or weird place” genre seemed to peak and sputter out. Sure, we’ve seen some indie revivals of the concept since then (Thimbleweed Park and Stardew Valley immediately come to mind), but for the most part, mainstream games aren’t named after places anymore unless the name of said place has a double meaning. Animal Crossing is both a noun and a verb, depending on how you look at it. Likewise, Bowser’s Inside Story is technically named after both an environment and playable character.
It’s also a pretty great concept in its own right, and it’s a darn shame that the game hasn’t already gotten a stage in Smash. It’s certainly an iconic enough location, with plenty of potential for novelty hazards and amusing events. Rivers of fire, big punching bad shaped uvulas, undigested Super Mushrooms lying in pools of stomach acid, blocks of stool blocking your path, or maybe even a quick side trip to a womb level (as we still don’t know for sure if Bowser is a Godzilla-style egg layer or not). The list potential biological activities that may double as battleground festivities just goes on and on.
I know some of you out there would probably cry foul at the idea of Bowser fighting inside the bowels of a giant Bowser, because gee whiz, how the heck can Bowser be inside his own butt and be the butt at the same time, right? Well kids, I don’t claim to have all the answers, but this is a series that recently allowed eight Fox McCloud(s) to fight each other no problem. In Smash, anything is possible.
The Smash Bros. franchise has ventured into plenty of locales from Nintendo properties as well as those from third-party games like Midgar and Shadow Moses. That being said, as long as I can dream in a world of third-party locations I desperately want a Shovel Knight stage.
Nothing crazy, just the opening town full of all of Shovel Knight’s lively villagers while good old Strike the Earth plays. Also — if this wasn’t obvious — add Shovel Knight while we’re at it.
Given that Dark Souls is now a game that shares the same platform as Super Smash Brothers (with amiibo support, no less!), it’s fitting that I opt to ask for a fun addition like Firelink Shrine to the map rotation. I have no idea how that would fit in the way the game plays, seeing as I’ve never played Smash Bros myself, but it would be fun to think of.
New Donk City. ‘Nuff said.
These are places we want to smash in 2018. What new stages do you want to see in Smash Switch?