Simon Belmont, the Castlevania series' most respected vampire hunter, received his official invitation to the Super Smash Bros Ultimate roster last week. He's an exciting addition because he defines "old school Nintendo nostalgia" as well as Mario and Link.
No, Simon Belmont isn't a first-party Nintendo property, but at the height of the NES' popularity, he may as well have been. Growing up, Mr Belmont's 8-bit adventures were invariably stacked up next to my friends' systems with the likes of Mario and Mega Man. Everyone I knew had a Castlevania game, most commonly Simon's Quest—a rough but ambitious adventure game whose title puts the lead man's name in lights. Castlevania and Castlevania III made us fans of platforming, but Castlevania II made us fans of Simon.
In fact, Simon's name was so tightly interwoven with Nintendo's back in the day that it earned him a role in Captain N's Saturday morning cartoon show. Granted, his goggles, bomber jacket, weird hair, and Galamoth-sized ego baffled me to the point I believed he was another character entirely, and not the same Simon Belmont I was already developing a small crush on. I never claimed to be a smart kid.
The Belmonts 'presence in Super Smash Bros Ultimate goes beyond Simon, however, and it's not all about NES nostalgia. Simon's distant successor and the star of Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, Richter Belmont, is also coming on board as an echo fighter. Though his moves are nearly identical to Simon's, his place in the Castlevania canon is quite different. He'll get a profile of his own in our New Challenger Spotlight series.
The Basics: As you might expect, Simon's main attack is his whip, the Vampire Killer (guard yourself, Metaknight—we all know what you're about). Simon's whip-crack is a bit slow, and the wind-up leaves him vulnerable to attacks. However, Simon's reach is unmatched, and it has quite a punch. Simon can also move the whip freely, a la Super Castlevania IV. Don't touch it! You'll get hurt!
Simon's sub-weapons—the Axe, the Cross, and Holy Water—are also used in combat, and move in ways familiar to Castlevania fans. The Axe flies in a slow arc, the Cross flies across the screen and back again, and the Holy Water burns the ground wherever its thrown. Hey, remember when Nintendo's censorship forced the Cross and Holy Water to become a "boomerang" and "fire bomb" respectively? I guess we're way beyond that. Let's throw the Church's sacred implements of salvation at Pikachu, kids!
Most Notable Move: Simon's uppercut looks as devastating as it sounds. The move is actually borrowed from Richter, but as the video of Simon's move gallery points out, the two share most of their moveset. That's what family is all about.
Best Reference: The new Castlevania stage, which takes place in Dracula's castle, is an homage to the series' lengthy history. When an attack hits one of the candlesticks glowing around the stage, an item pops out—a tribute to the candle-whipping mechanic that goes way, way back to the very first game. Bosses from the first Castlevania game also appear as obstacles, like the iconic (and accursed) duo of Frankenstein's monster and Igor. "Newer" bosses from Rondo of Blood / Symphony of the Night, such as the Werewolf and Handsome Dracula™, share the vampire king's real estate as well.
The Belmonts' introduction video also gives us a glimpse of a silhouette that almost certainly belongs to Kid Dracula. Speaking of, Dracula's half-breed son, Alucard, is in Super Smash Bros Ultimate as a new Assist Trophy. I hope he catches a glimpse of his bubbly younger self and grows even paler.
Will Nadia Main Him? It's a strong possibility. I'm fond of slower, heavier characters that pack a lot of power in Smash. It's usually an open invitation to get my ass kicked, but I'm addicted to the sensation of throwing my weight around. Simon's movements seem to be a little chunk-chunk-chunk (another shout-out to his 8-bit roots), and I'm OK with that. Plus, I love melee characters with long reach—characters that wield whips are a perfect example. Pile that on top of the fact Simon is an important part of my gaming history and we've got the makings of a fighter who's angling to be my Smash bestie, whether they know it or not.
Also, Simon and Richter play like nobody else on the roster, barring each other. They're unique additions next to Ridley, who—as Kat points out—is stuffed into a niche already occupied by Bowser and other fighters.
Give Simon and / or Richter a try for yourself when they arrive on the Switch in December. You can also check out our Super Smash Bros Ultimate guides. Go on. Do it.