Nintendo Treats Its Third-Party Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Guests like Royalty, and It's Great

Nintendo Treats Its Third-Party Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Guests like Royalty, and It's Great

When you're invited to Smash, you can count on being treated right (until someone kicks your teeth in).

Every time a new Super Smash Bros. game emerges, I'm amazed at the level of detail Nintendo, Bandai-Namco, and Sora Ltd. puts into its third-party guests. The invites keep going out, but the care that goes into each character's move set and modelling is never less than meticulous.

Even the Smash Bros. series' long-term visitors continue to have interesting modifications added to their character that reflect their nature in their origin games. In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for the Switch, Sonic the Hedgehog takes damage when he falls into water. In his own games, Sonic's movement is hindered by water, and sometimes touching the life-sustaining liquid just kills him more efficiently than a vat of acid. Smash Bros. Ultimate's implementation of Sonic's hydrophobia is just one example of how Smash's developers have fun with the third-party characters that drop in.

Like Sonic, Mega Man was another big-deal third-party reveal for Super Smash Bros. When I re-watch the Blue Bombers E3 2014 Smash trailer, I'm still amazed at touches like Mega Man's eyes fizzling to life like tiny computer monitors. Look at how his arm cannon configuration morphs for every weapon he uses, too. Mega Man's reveal was exactly what fans needed at the time; in 2014, Capcom seemed disinterested in acknowledging Mega Man's existence, let alone pouring effort into refining his looks or movements.

Nintendo doesn't slack off once introductions are done, either. I appreciate how the toes of Mega Man's boots are clearly segmented for ease of movement in the reveal trailer for Ridley (oh, and Smash Bros. Ultimate is a showcase for some of the best Mega Man remixes ever written, of course).

Sonic and Mega Man are "Wow!" reveals as far as Smash Bros. third-party roster goes, but as I said last week, Cloud still takes my number-one spot for stunning Smash Bros. reveals. And, like Mega Man, his debut trailer is still a hoot to watch. It's only three minutes long, but it's stuffed full of references, including jabs at lesser-known traits (Cloud's tendency to suffer motion sickness) and a joke I only just picked up on now (the stare-down between Ike and Cloud at the end of the trailer, followed by Cloud's use of the Omnislash Final Smash / Limit Break is a shout-out to the very end of Final Fantasy VII's fight with Sephiroth. No shirtless Ike, though). There's also a shot of Zelda holding a flower while kneeling over Cloud's "dead" body, a joke about Aeris' death that continues between Cloud and Zelda in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. As we all know by now, the Smash series loves its jokes. The darker, the better.

Simon and Richter Belmont are two of the best things about Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and both vampire hunters came to the fray well-prepared with top-notch modeling, stunning music remixes, and references to past games big and small. When Simon or Richter hit an opponent with their whip, you hear the same 8-bit impact sound you heard when you killed bats and mermen on the NES. Did you notice?

But what's the point of having anything related to Castlevania in your game if Dracula isn't going to show up and throw wine glasses around the joint? What's the point? I don't know. What is a ma—

[Rattle of machine gun fire]

The Smash Bros. series doesn't cynically drop a third-party character into its ranks and call it a day. Every new inductee is meticulously-handled, sometimes with more care than their parent companies offer them. All that work, all that effort, and the series' staff still finds time to pay light-hearted tribute to the characters they're trusted with. It's no wonder we want to see literally everyone in Smash.

It's also no wonder I'm stoked to see what Nintendo accomplishes with Persona 5's Joker. If his Final Smash summons Morgana to put all the contenders to sleep, I'll absolutely lose my mind.

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Nadia Oxford

Staff Writer

Nadia has been writing about games for so long, only the wind and the rain (or the digital facsimiles thereof) remember her true name. She's written for Nerve, About.com, Gamepro, IGN, 1UP, PlayStation Official Magazine, and other sites and magazines that sling words about video games. She co-hosts the Axe of the Blood God podcast, where she mostly screams about Dragon Quest.

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