Donkey Kong's reptilian foe, King K Rool, is coming to Super Smash Bros Ultimate for the Nintendo Switch. K Rool's rivalry with Donkey Kong has never been friendly on any level (I blame the ancient inborn struggle reptiles and mammals have staged against each other for millennia), but the king crocodilian seems seriously poised to shred DK in Smash Ultimate.
King K Rool was introduced as the bad guy for the SNES' 1994 hit Donkey Kong Country. Subsequent appearances happened in Donkey Kong Country 2, Donkey Kong Country 3, Donkey Kong 64, and (sigh) the Donkey Kong Country cartoon. K Rool has traditionally been presented as a bit of a goof whose favored attacks include hurling his crown at foes, or shooting a blunderbuss at them (while wearing an appropriate pirate costume, of course). He appears much more serious in Smash, though; a hulking, sneering beast who's unafraid to rip into his foes.
When all else fails, K Rool resorts to his Final Smash: Firing a doomsday cannon (specifically, the Blast-o-Matic cannon Donkey Kong 64) at whatever's bothering him. It's a bit like firing an automatic weapon at a fly, yeah, but K Rool's always had a flair for drama.
K Rool's admittedly a surprise addition. While the rumor mill fed us hints about Simon Belmont coming to Smash, K Rool stole up out of nowhere. No wonder King Deedeedee punks out Donkey Kong and Diddy in K Rool's reveal trailer—and no wonder the simians' eyes pop out of their heads hard enough to break through glass when the real deal shows up. Good night Donkey Kong's eyesight.
King K Rool
The Basics: Some of K Rool's move roster recalls the attacks he performed in the Donkey Kong Country games. He can throw his crown and fire his blunderbuss (which can shoot cannonballs diagonally), giving him two effective projectile attacks. But K Rool's greatest strength appears to be his natural defenses, most notably his tremendous belly—which is crowned with an outie bellybutton despite his reptilian physiology, but never mind that, I guess. K Rool isn't shy about throwing his weight around, and if properly used, that belly he's so proud of can even counter his opponent's projectiles.
Otherwise, K Rool makes good use of his claws and teeth. He also has access to his boxing gloves, which he swung around at the end of Donkey Kong 64. All in all, K Rool appears to be another solid fighter who sacrifices agility for power. His closest relative might be Bowser. Alligators prey on turtles in the wild, but when the Smash Ultimate roster is loaded with filthy mammals, reptiles gotta stick together.
Most Notable Move: Though K Rool shares some similarities with Bowser, I predict that blunderbuss of his will take opponents by surprise. Its shots are slow, but that diagonal trajectory looks like it's going to be a pain in the rear. Plus, K Rool can suck up the cannonballs he spends and shoot them out again.
All this blunderbuss trickery is a nice callback to the K Rool fight in Donkey Kong Country 2. K Rool's weapon doesn't fire straight there, either; much of the final battle involves jumping over cannonballs and deadly gas clouds that move across the screen in crazy patterns.
Best Reference: Smash Ultimate's brass remix of Donkey Kong Country's famous Gangplank Galleon theme is smokin'. There's even a rap portion, which is likely a tribute to the infamous DK Rap that kicks off Donkey Kong 64. The DK Rap's composer, Grant Kirkhope, apologized for his crimes years ago, but the DK Rap still haunts him—and now it has offspring. Smash director Masahiro Sakurai won't say it out loud, but if his soul isn't allowed to rest, nobody's soul is allowed to rest.
Will Nadia Main Him? I…don't know at this point. I'll give Krooly a try, but I don't know how readily I'll latch onto him. Yes, I've already professed my love for heavier, slower Smash characters, but I still feel like Bowser will remain as my go-to heavy while newcomer Simon Belmont will be my semi-heavy versatile fighter.
That said, I'm in love with how vicious K Rool looks and moves in Smash Ultimate, and I'm glad about his inclusion. I always regarded K Rool as a goof thanks to his repeated failures in the Donkey Kong Country games, but his reveal trailer serves as a reminder for what he actually is: A heavily-armored foe bristling with natural weapons. K Rool might finally get a chance to live up to his "cruel" surname. Crocs rule.
If you're as excited for the new Smash game as we are, you're going to want to check out our guides to Super Smash Bros Ultimate before the game comes out in December.
Check out our other profiles for Super Smash Bros Ultimate's new fighters, too: