HERE COMES… More new challengers, I guess.
And we’re back! An extra special welcome to all of you who are returning readers from the previous article, which, as of the last time I checked, was about… 4 people. 3 of those views might have been from me anxiously checking for the social validation I so desperately crave. If that’s accurate, well then welcome, lone reader! We’ll have such fun together!
So we got the original cast of 8 fighters out of the way last article. Logically speaking, that means we’ll be moving on to the hidden unlockable fighters in Smash 64, so that we can wash our hands of it forever. Unless you’re a competitive 64 player, in which case you are totally welcome to cling to that fevered dream of the past, when Fox had a spacing game and when Pikachu reigned supreme. I won’t judge at all.
Without further ado, here’s the final 4! Plus some bonus stuff at the end!
The Final 4
Oh geez, Luigi. Poor, sweet Luigi. He’s not… bad, really. He’s just… unnecessary. And the worst character in Smash 64. Don’t get me wrong, they made him way, waaaaaay better later on, but holy hell, does he suck here. A slower, floatier Mario, he’s basically only notable for being the first clone character in the franchise. For those of you not in the know, a clone character is what happens when a fighting game needs to pad out its roster, and so basically puts a fresh coat of paint on an already existing character. Now, this can be good or bad. Ken from Street Fighter, for instance, is notable for being a clone character who shines as a unique fighter as well, due to the fact that while his basic move set is the same as Ryu’s, he has different shortcomings and advantages, as well as unique normal attacks. Wolf is another great example of a clone character, being essentially a slightly more aggressive version of Fox. Now, a bad example of a clone is someone like, say Bone Claw Wolverine from MvC2, but that’s a story for when I need to pad out another article. The point is, Luigi is the first in a line of clones in the Smash franchise, but here, he has none of the charm that he would have in later games, and he’s hampered by really, reaaallly shitty physics. Like, the worst.
On a positive note, he has some of the best recovery in the game, because, you know, Luigi’s whole deal is that he jumps higher than Mario. And, despite generally lacking both unique moves and kill options, his up special has a variation that puts it slightly over Mario’s in terms of combat viability. In essence, if you perform the move at just the right distance and positioning (pretty much right up against the enemy), the punch in his Super Jump Punch lights on fire and has way higher launching power and damage, allowing you to secure kills. If you can get in that close, that is. Which, in this game, is not quite likely for poor little Weegee. Truly, he does not deserve this fate.
Fun fact: If you spell Weegee on a Ouija board, absolutely nothing happens. Spooky!
Holy shit. HOLY SHIT. You guys have no idea how much I love Captain Falcon. Oh my god. Look at that glorious son of a bitch up there. This isn’t even like, work for him. He saw an unsanctioned magical fight club on his way to future race and be a bounty hunter, and he just pulled over and started beating the shit out of people with the fire demons stored within his soul. Or something. I have no idea why he’s constantly bursting into flames, and I don’t care. It’s too cool. He has a gun on him, and he refuses to use it in this fight because he wants a real challenge. Is it weird that a grown-ass future man showed up to beat the crap out of other, more recognizable mascots? Trick question, it doesn’t matter, because Captain Falcon’s word is LAW. I switched to this guy as my main when I started actually learning how to play Smash, and it legitimately changed my life. Before I played Captain Falcon, I was but a boy. Now, Danger Zone constantly plays on a loop in my head, and most razors shatter against my jaw when I try to shave. CAPTAIN FALCON IS SO COOL THAT JUST BEING EXPOSED TO HIM MAKES YOU COOLER.
He’s fast. He’s strong. Giant, shrieking hell birds erupt from his knuckles when he punches you. He says cool shit like “Hyesssss” and “Show me ya moves”. Perhaps more importantly than any other characteristic of his, he can rock an ascot. You can chain his up air into various combos depending on when you hit the opponent with it, he’s got great range, and he’s Captain god damn Falcon. Do you know what that means? That means that either his last name is Falcon, or he is the Captain of an army of Falcons, and I CANNOT DECIDE WHICH IS COOLER
He has no projectiles though, so he can get spaced fairly easily. I mean, he’s absolutely radical, but he ain’t perfect. His recovery isn’t fantastic either. I’m going to stop thinking about his negatives and put my rose-colored glasses back on now.
Remember last article, where I said I hated one of the characters from Smash 64? Well, here he is. Ness is… well, I have a tricky relationship with Ness. See, I adore Earthbound and the Mother games with all my heart, but good lord, do I despise him in Smash. He’s just one of those characters that I can never seem to master, but regularly get destroyed by when I go up against him. I just… I just can’t figure it out. I think the worst part is that I know that he’s at least a decent character, and I can recognize that he has all kinds of great stuff going for him, but for some reason, I just cannot comprehend playing as him. Real cool that the rest of the main party from Earthbound show up in his end photo though. Makes me all warm and fuzzy.
Anyways, Ness is… well, he’s something. He’s got a unique double jump, like Yoshi’s, though his focuses on achieving greater height than sustaining a position in the air. All of his special moves rely on some more technical play, requiring manual aim and remote piloting and all sorts of weirdness. His up special, for instance, only acts as a recovery move if you use it while falling and steer it into yourself, turning yourself into a projectile, which you have to have aimed in a good location. He’s kinda complicated, in short. He does great damage and has a ton of metagame viability due to his airgame, he can absorb enemy projectiles and turn them into health, and he’s got some good projectiles of his own.
Interestingly, he started high on the original tier lists, and then slowly slid his way down in the rankings as time went on. I guess more people just figured out how to deal with him. Apparently Japanese competitive players have kept him at a pretty high tier though, so who even knows anything about anything anymore.
Jigglypuff is situated firmly in the middle of the Smash 64 competitive tier list, providing Jigglypuff mains with an inconspicuous position from which to advance the machinations of their dark lord. It is said that if one stares into Jigglypuff’s eyes, only the void stares back.
On a less Lovecraft-y note, Jigglypuff is pretty deserving of that middle spot, as it (Pokémon weren’t gendered at this point in time) has a pretty solid balance between positive and negative attributes. For instance, it shares a lot of benefits with Kirby, in that it’s low knockback on attacks can be abused to chain longer combos and that it has insane amounts of double jumps. It also, like Kirby, has some serious disjoint on a lot of its attacks. Plus, it can sing to put other fighters to sleep, and all of its other specials have great utility. It’s neutral special, for instance, can be used to shred through shields, while its down special is essentially an instant kill if used at a decent damage percentage. All of these moves can be punished rather easily, however, and having Jigglypuff’s up special be Sing means that it has no recovery move, forcing the player to rely on double jumps.
Being a tiny little bastard, Jigglypuff is somewhat hard to combo effectively, though it gets launched quickly. However, this makes Jigglypuff really light, meaning that its really easy to juggle it. Seemingly to make up for being about as sturdy as one of my middle school woodshop projects, Jigglypuff has the largest shield in the game. Unfortunately, that doesn’t quite save it on the defensive level, so you should still play it safe.
Figured that since this was a shorter article than last time, I could throw in some extra content. So, here’s some brief stuff about the NPCs of 64.
Literally exactly what you would expect. Is basically a miniboss.
Again, just what you would expect. He appears as the penultimate boss of the single player mode, and is effectively just Mario, but much heavier and much, much more resilient. Interestingly, he can be controlled through some debug mode trickery, if you’re into that.
GAH! What the hell!
Ok, so they don’t look like much more than an amorphous, evil god in that picture, but they actually just mimic the appearance of other fighters, and assault you in great numbers towards the end of the single player mode. Not much else to them.
The final boss of Smash, Master Hand is… probably God in the Nintendo-verse. He has a suite of unique moves, takes a serious beating, and is generally pretty darn neat. Funnily enough, he is also playable through debug mode, so go nuts with that if you’d like.
That’s it for Smash 64! Next time around, we dive into the legendary fitegame that is Melee!