8 Nintendo Characters You Haven’t Considered for Smash DLC

Nintendo

Nintendo recently opened the floodgates on Super Smash Bros for Wii U and 3DS.  Not only are Mewtwo and Lucas set to appear as DLC, but there is also a page on the official Smash website to submit your own requests for characters you want to see added to the game.  There are plenty of obvious fan-favorites that are overdue for an appearance, but there are also obscure characters worth considering.  These characters haven’t appeared in any Smash game save for maybe a few trophies, but they still have plenty of potential as new fighters.  We’ll be focusing on just first-party characters owned by Nintendo with this article rather than opening it up to the entire gaming industry.  They aren’t so obscure as to be entirely ridiculous to consider; they just offer unique additions to the roster that shouldn’t be overlooked.

CaptainSyrup

8) Captain Syrup

The Mario series isn’t exactly hurting for representation (including spin-offs, it’s currently sitting at eleven fighters), but there are still some characters that could use some recognition.  One prime example is Wario’s arch-rival in thievery: Captain Syrup.  First appearing as the antagonist in Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3, Syrup is the leader of the pirate troupe known as the Black Sugar Gang.  Not only is she a rival for Wario, she could also act as an antithesis for Peach.  The idea of a Peach counterpart has been tossed around within Nintendo for years (along with Waluigi, there were plans to introduce a character named Warupichi in Mario Tennis), but they’ve never been able to settle on something.  Syrup could finally fill the void as Smash‘s resident bad girl.  Plus, the ninja-to-pirate ratio in Smash is currently 2-0 and that is unacceptable.

Sothe

7) Sothe

The Fire Emblem series has quite a few fighters on the roster already, but they’re mostly just different spins on the same swordsman type.  Given the wide range of classes that Fire Emblem has to offer, there’s little excuse for the lack of diversity.  One good example is Sothe, one of Ike’s allies in Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and a major character in Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, who would be a perfect representative for the thief class.  Being a thief, he could steal items right out his opponent’s hands in similar fashion to the Villager’s pocket ability.  He could also use a knife-based fighting style similar to Street Fighter‘s Cody and Killer Instinct‘s Maya; able to use his knife as a powerful projectile, but having to physically recover it afterward.  I do feel guilty putting Sothe on the list over Micaiah, the actual main character in Radiant Dawn, but I can’t see her light-based magic offering much to the roster.

Vaati

6) Vaati

Despite being one of Nintendo’s biggest franchises, The Legend of Zelda hasn’t had a truly fresh addition to Smash‘s roster since Melee.  Hyrule Warriors recently displayed just how much potential the series has with characters like Impa, Ghirahim, Midna, and Darunia to name a few.  Anyone of those characters would make a fine addition to Smash, but there’s one major character in the Zelda series that was bizarrely absent from Hyrule Warriors (besides Groose).  Vaati is the second most prominent villain in the Zelda series, appearing as the central antagonist in The Minish Cap, Four Swords, and Four Swords Adventures.  A powerful wind mage capable of changing his appearance, there’s no doubt that he could provide a unique playstyle to Smash.  Much like Ganondorf’s ability to take the form of a giant pig demon, Vaati takes the form of a giant bat demon for the final battle and this would obviously be his Final Smash attack.

Sukapon

5) Sukapon

Super Smash Bros isn’t the first fighting game Nintendo developed as there were two 8-bit fighting games they released for the NES and Famicom.  The first was launch title Urban Champion, which is probably too simplistic to offer much that brawlers like Mike Haggar and Axel Stone couldn’t do better.  The other was Joy Mech Fight, which was released exclusively in Japan towards the end of the Famicom’s lifespan and was a full fighter on the level of Street Fighter II despite being an 8-bit game with only two buttons and a D-pad.  The way it got around these these technical limitations was to go the Rayman route (two years before Rayman debuted) and make all of the characters limbless clusters of floating body parts.  To make that concept less creepy, all of the fighters are robots.  The main character, Sukapon, was originally designed to be a comedian, but was converted into a fighter when one of the scientists behind the line of physics-defying machines tries to take over the world (sounds like he would have plenty to discuss with Mega Man).  Sukapon makes the most sense as a legacy character for Nintendo as their one traditional fighting game character.

Rundas

4) Rundas

When it comes to adding a new Metroid character, everyone immediately looks to regular antagonist Ridley, who has been relegated to the role of boss fight due to his massive size.  The issue with Metroid is that Samus has few allies and most of the characters are large bosses that can’t work as fighters in Smash.  The only exceptions are the rivals in Metroid Prime Hunters (who’re all fine characters, but the game itself isn’t fondly remembered) and the bounty hunters introduced in Metroid Prime 3 like Rundas.  An alien with power over ice, Rundas worked alongside Samus in hunting the Phozon threat and he is the closest she has ever had to a love-interest.  With the Ice Climbers showing no sign of making a return, Rundas could offer a new spin on ice-based attacks with a freezing beam and icicle traps.  If we can’t have Ridley, Rundas is the next best choice for a new Metroid fighter.

AlexRoivas

3) Alexandra Roivas

If you’re looking for something truly unique for the roster, you can’t get much more bizarre than good, old-fashioned eldritch horror.  Alexandra Roivas is the main protagonist in Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem, a survival-horror game released on the Gamecube and one of the few M-rated games developed by Nintendo. While investing her grandfather’s mysterious death, she discovers the Tome of Eternal Darkness and learns of a group of malevolent elder gods called the Ancients that seek to invade Earth.  While her marksmanship is clearly off the table with Nintendo’s stern refusal to include realistic guns in Smash, Alex still has plenty of magic and sword skills that could easily form a moveset.  The biggest twist she can offer is the addition of the unique insanity effects that Eternal Darkness is famous for.  These range from the level being flipped upside-down and hallucinating death to fourth-wall-breaking effects like muting your television and trying to delete your save files.  These sparks of madness could fit in perfectly with the chaotic gameplay of the Smash series.  On the other hand, they’ll never be quite as scary once Kirby and Pikachu get involved.

captain-rainbow

2) Captain Rainbow

This guy was pretty much made for Smash.  Starring in the Japan-only Wii game of the same name, Captain Rainbow is a down-and-out superhero armed with only a yo-yo who travels to a mythical island in the hopes that he can find a way to restore his former glory.  The part where things get really strange is that he isn’t the first to search the island with this goal as it is already populated with several forgotten Nintendo mascots.  Some of the characters he meets include the samurai Takamaru, minor Mario antagonist Birdo, and, most interestingly, Punch-Out!! star Little Mac who soon after made his return to the spotlight with a new game on the Wii and a playable role in Super Smash Bros for Wii U and 3DS.  If nothing else, I’d say Mac owes the captain a good word after he did his part to get the former champ back into fighting shape.

Pro_Wrestling_Star_Man

1) Star Man

Star Man, a character from Pro Wrestling on the NES, is easily the one Nintendo character with the most to offer Smash that has the least amount of people thinking about him.  Being a luchador, Star Man could bring plenty of high-flying techniques that fit Smash so well.  Think of him like a reverse Little Mac; a close-combat fighter that thrives in the air, but is more vulnerable when close to the ground.  He’d also give the roster some much-needed racial diversity as the first Mexican smasher (assuming he’s not secretly an alien under that mask or something).  If old-school oddities like Duck Hunt and R.O.B. can make it onto the roster, there’s no reason to ignore this master of the ring.

Which characters have earned your vote on the Smash Ballot?  Has anyone listed above caught your interest?  Are there any other obscure characters out there that you think warrant consideration?  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

Top 10 Characters We Want To See Added To Super Smash Brothers

Smash

With Nintendo announcing the Smash Fighter Ballot, the gates have been open for the millions of Smash fans to have their say on who they want added as DLC. Nintendo has one of the richest libraries known to gaming, so our choices are almost endless. Here are our top picks that we think will make Smash even better. As a cheeky side note, it would also give Nintendo some extra brownie points with third party developers resulting in the ultimate win-win.

Banjo and Kazooie

Before Rare moved to Microsoft and made a string of questionable decisions, they made Banjo Kazbanjo-kazooie-introooie. As one of the pioneers of 3D Collect’em Ups, Banjo Kazooie is fondly remembered by those old enough to have owned an N64. They even made a brilliant sequel Banjo Tooie, before eventually breaking our hearts with the complete abandonment of Banjo Threeie. Ignoring all that however, Banjo and Kazooie have a number of sick moves at their disposal when platforming and fighting enemies making them ideal candidates.

Conker

Ok, ok this will be the last Rare character I throw into the pot, but not only was Conker an incredibly

controversial game on release, it was also bloody brilliant. Whilst its underlining gameplay was similar to Banjo, the games felt very different and Conker himself is quite the character. Another relic from the N64, it wouldn’t hurt too much to have a bit of juvenile humor thrown into an already ludicrous title such as Smash.

Monster Hunter’s Monster Hunter

Monster Hunter is a massively popular game, and games as massive and popular as Monster Hunter should make an monster-hunter-3-ultimate-wii-u-screenshot-2appearance. Whilst having roots on Nintendo consoles, recent titles have been outstanding, arguably the best in the series being the latest iteration of the series: Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate. What makes the idea even more mouth watering is the ways they could implement such a character into the game. Having such a wide variety of weapons, you could either go the “Link Route”, essentially being able to pull weapons out on the fly to suit certain situations or go the “Mii Fighter Route” whereby you can choose a weapon pre-match to suite your style. Probably the hardest character to implement,  but certainly one of the most interesting

Simon Belmont

Castlevania is one of those iconic titles in gaming, with Simon Belmont being up there as one of the most recognizable Vampire Hunters around. Brandishing a 10ft whip of darkness-destroying-holy-righteousness, that can be swung in 8 directions and attach to ledges gives Simon incredible range, coverage and manoeuvrability. Sub-weapons such as the boomerang cross, holy water and throwing axe would make him more of a item user like Link, or Pac-man with a leathery, leathery twist. Considering what they did with Mega Man, I can only imagine how true to form Simon will be when he makes his appearance.

Ryu Hayabusa

Ryu_Hayabusa_Wallpaper_(WO3_DLC)

Wielder of the fabled Dragon Sword, and slayer of demons, Ryu is probably King of the Ninjas. Another classic from the NES and long-time fighter in Dead or Alive, Ryu would fit right in with the current cast of characters. His mastery of sword play, acrobatics and martial arts as a whole make him a deadly opponent, and with a variety of special weapons at his disposal, there would be plenty of interesting combos to pull off.

Wonder Red + Friends

Wonderful 101 was an interesting game released on the Wii U by Platinum, and whilst it got some well deserved criticism (mostly directed at the controls), Wonder Red and his 100 Wonderful friends would give a sweet spin on the classic Olimar formula. Being able to morph into whips, fists and even the mighty Valiantium Blade, this is another character with heaps of potential. Whilst having 101 characters on screen at once might be a bit much, it is certainly an idea for their Final Smash, and having a handful of main characters on screen would certainly wet anybodies appetite.

Solid Snake

A solid character from Brawl, Snake was painfully missing in the latest iteration. Whilst his inclusion in the game might MetalGear_THUMB-1414797368613cause some minor heart ache for the Phantom Pain not being a Wii U title, but Metal Gear has appeared on Nintendo Consoles, and Solid Snake is already a proven brawler. A simple addition to the game, and one that should never have left.

Isaac

Making his debut on the GBA in 2002 as the main character of Golden Sun, and also making an appearance as an Assist Trophy in Brawl, Isaac would be an interesting, if somewhat “from the left field” pick

for a character. Being the lead in an RPG, he certainly has plenty of moves at his disposal, his most prominent ability being his use of Djinns and his Master Hand-like environmental control. Nintendo are not against obscure characters considering Ness has been around since the beginning…a character who only recently saw a European release.

Bayonetta

Bayonetta is probably one of the most controversial characters in gaming history. Despite beinbayonetta2g designed as every man’s dream lady, but proportioned in such a ludicrous way you cannot help but be amused, Bayonetta is probably the strongest female protagonist in history. Add to this, she is one of Nintendo’s newest IP’s, and comes from a series of games that excels at high flying brawler action, why was Bayonetta not included in the first place. I want to see Mario get shot in the face via heel-mounted shotguns and thrown across the stage only to be eaten by a demon dragon conjured from hair. Nintendo, make it happen.

So those are our top picks for the Smash Fighter Ballot, do you agree? Who would you want to join the roster, and why? Let us know in the comments. Happy Smashing.

A New Challenger Approaches!

Super Smash

Super Smash Bro’s was the fastest selling game on the Wii U last year, even managing to trump Mario Kart 8, which is a pretty impressive feat. During todays Nintendo Direct a lot of things were announced in regards to Nintendo’s premium Brawler, the biggest being new characters. Despite Smash’s ginormous roster of characters, fans from accross the globe cried for more, and Melee Veteran Mewtwo has been on everybodies list for what seems like an eternity. Nintendo, in their infinite wisdom as granted our request and Mewtwo will be added as DLC to Smash for both Wii U and 3DS on 30th April.

lucas.0.0

But that is not all, a surprise reveal was…well…revealed. Lucas, one of the most popular characters from Brawl will be joining the crew. Much more than just a pallet swap of Nes, Lucas will bring more Earthbound/Mother action to Smash. He does not have a set in stone release date, but he should be due sometime in May. New additions to the Mii Fighter are also inbound, with a handful of classic character designs to outfit your Mii with. These range from a Link inspired tunic, to Megaman X, although my personal favorite has to be the inclusion of Protoman from the classic megaman classic games. Each costume comes in at around 90p which is a fair price for some sweet swag.

The biggest shock of the show however, was Nintendo‘s dedication to pleasing Smash fans. They are opening a “voting” service, allowing you to submit your ideas for the next Smash character to be released. I for one will be putting in a vote for Castlevania star, Simon Belmont and Nintendo’s newest IP: Bayonetta, but I am a fan of vampire killing whips are creepy hair magic. For a company who has never really “done” DLC, Nintendo are quickly becoming the best of the bunch. Hopefully this trend continues well into 2015.

Pokemon Shuffle Review

Pokemon

With Nintendo’s recent announcement that they will start venturing into mobile development, there is endless speculation as to what kinds of games they might develop in the future and how they will use (or possibly abuse) the free-to-play models that the devices are known for.  Fortunately, we already have a glimpse of how Nintendo may tackle the mobile market with Pokemon Shuffle, a free-to-play 3DS game that can best be summarized as “Candy Crush with Pokemon“.  That’s not to say that the game doesn’t have a few of its own twists on the formula; it’s just abundantly clear where the business model for this title was taken from.

Pokemon Shuffle is a your typical match-three puzzle game with a few unique mechanics.  For one, you’re matching your own team of four Pokemon that you select from your collection at the start of each stage.  Each Pokemon has a type, attack value, and special effect that can trigger when they’re matched.  Using Pokemon will earn them experience and level them up, gaining more attack power.  Pokemon won’t evolve over time and their evolutionary forms have to be caught seperately, but certain Pokemon can Mega Evolve during a stage if you have its Mega Stone and place it at the front of your team.  To start a Mega Evolution, you’ll need to fill the Mega Gauge at the side of the screen by making matches of that Pokemon.  Mega Evolution lasts for the remainder of the stage and gives that Pokemon more power and a more valuable effect.  The new and old ideas meld together well and make this a distinctly Pokemon-styled puzzler.

Now the question is how you actually add Pokemon to your collection.  Each stage in the game is represented as a battle with either a wild Pokemon or a rival trainer.  Defeating a wild Pokemon will give you a chance to capture it while trainers will challenge you with a mega evolution and reward you with the corresponding Mega Stone upon victory.  Building an optimal team for each stage requires strategy as certain Pokemon will be significantly more useful on certain stages.  There is a option to have a team automatically optimized for you, but this will only account for type advantages and attack power with no regard for effects.  The most skilled players will be able to balance out the values of various effects to truly optimize their teams on their own.  Effects do have a great deal of significance as enemy Pokemon won’t just stand around while you line up combos.  Some will occasionally disrupt your board by freezing your some of Pokemon or replacing them with stone blocks or weaker Pokemon.  Others will only allow you a scarce few turns before they flee, forcing you to chain strong combos immediately.  Many stages are genuinely difficult and will demand an optimized team to get through.  The one major issue is that there isn’t any kind of preview for the stage that you can build a strategy off of, so tactics for harder stages will have to be built through trial and error.  Also, the cascade effect is still a big factor and massive combos will result more often from luck than from tactics and the biggest chains won’t really feel earned.

Story is nonexistent as the game focuses simply on the “gotta catch ’em all” motto of the franchise.  Even the rival trainers you meet are represented as black silhouettes of characters from the main line of games.  It’s a bizarre decision that only reduces the game’s personality as opposed to what it might of had if it they’d just directly ported art assets.  There’s also little sense of exploration as the campaign follows a strictly linear path from start to end save for the unlockable expert stages.  The only facets of personality that the game has come from the adorably minimalistic artstyle and the somewhat bland musical score.  The intended tone is best set by the Mega Evolution theme, which is less like an elevating point for an intense battle and more akin to the goofiest carnival music you’ve ever heard.  Pokemon Shuffle is structured like a casino machine and it’s not ashamed to embrace that with its aesthetics.

The most vital factor to consider a free-to-play game is the business model and, fortunately, Pokemon Shuffle handles it quite well.  Spending real money will get you virtual jewels, which can then be exchanged for hearts or coins or can be used to keep going on a stage that you’re about to fail.  Hearts are needed to play stages while coins can be exchanged for consumable power-ups or Great Balls that are twice as effective at catching wild Pokemon as the default Pokeballs that you have an unlimited supply of.  Both hearts and coins can be acquired without having to spend jewels as a heart will automatically be given to you every thirty minutes if you have any less than five.  Coins are even easier to get as you’ll receive some every time you win a stage and when you check in online daily.  Even jewels can be acquired without spending anything as they’ll be awarded the first time you defeat a trainer and during special events.  These are rare, but it’s the sentiment of generosity that helps make the game more enjoyable.  There are also regular free content updates and daily challenges that provide plenty of replayability.  You’re bound to feel the paywall hit whenever you run out of hearts, but Pokemon Shuffle is as generous as it can be while still expecting to make a profit.   Given that cosmetic items like those seen in League of Legends and Team Fortress 2 can’t work in a game like this, the business model couldn’t be much kinder to consumers outside of just making the game outright free.

Pokemon Shuffle works best as a bonus game for the 3DS that players can turn to in-between rounds of full games and makes for good bit of variety.  It’s certainly worth downloading; just don’t let it nickel-and-dime you too much.

VgamerZz_1

Final Score: 7/10

6 Game Characters that had Unexpected Reactions

Game

Sometimes, you just can’t predict how people are going to react to something.  Game developers create a character with the expectation that players will have one reaction only for them to go the opposite route.  For example, look at Teemo from League of Legends (pictured above).  He was obviously designed to serve as an adorable mascot character for the game.  While he’s had his share of success with that, many know him better as the single most frustrating assassin character in the game and has garnered the apt nickname of “The Devil Himself”.  This list will be looking at six characters that had similar reactions that must have caught their designers by surprise and looking into why they received the responses they did.

great fairy

6) The Great Fairy (The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time)

With her long hair, heavy makeup, and distinctly un-Nintendo attire, there is only one thing that comes to mind when thinking of the Great Fairy: NIGHTMARE FUEL!  Early 3D games were a time where the uncanny valley ran rampant and character models would often just look off.  I’m guessing the reason that survival horror games had such a renaissance during this period is because it was the best time to make something look disturbing.  Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask generally used this to their advantage with truly horrifying models and animations for their enemies.  However, when the team tried to design a character with the opposite intent, the result was the most unsettling monstrosity in the entirety of either games.  Not helping matters is the fact that she lets out a blood-chilling banshee wail every time she appears.  Hyrule Warriors recently tried to update her appearance (pictured above), but the damage has already been done for many and she shall always remain a living nightmare.

silver_the_hedgehog

5) Silver the Hedgehog (Sonic ’06)

I honestly feel bad for Silver.  In any other circumstances, his telekinetic powers could have been revolutionary and he might have warranted his own spin-off series.  Instead, he made his debut in one of the most infamous games in the Sonic franchise and became the poster-boy for most of the game’s problems.  His post-apocalyptic time-travel backstory remains one of the greatest examples of a narrative trying far too hard and yet not nearly hard enough.  What truly sealed his fate as one of the most hated characters in the series was how much Sonic ’06 failed to deliver on the concept of his telekinetic powers.  This resulted in some of the worst controls in a game already built off of terrible controls.  Well, the telekinetic powers do get a chance to shine, but it’s at the worst possible time with the incredibly cheap boss fights you have against Silver.  Sega has kept him around and has tried to make him a mainstay of the cast, but the damage has already been done and IT’S NO USE!

VillagerSSB

4) Villager (Super Smash Bros for Wii U)

The Villager from Animal Crossing was originally considered to be playable in Super Smash Bros Brawl, but he was dropped early on because the idea of seeing such a cheerful and carefree character getting involved in a fight just seemed too ridiculous.  Cue his inclusion in the latest installments on Wii U and 3DS and everyone immediately labels him as a crazed axe-murderer.  People took one look into his lifeless, doll-like eyes and saw nothing but the soul of a bloodthirsty monster.  Maybe he just wasn’t included in Brawl because the developers feared the unholy terror that they were bound to unleash.

aliensoneal

3) O’Neal (Aliens: Colonial Marines)

Everyone hates escort missions.  We can accept when we fail due to our own mistakes, but failing a level simply because the friendly AI that you’re stuck baby-sitting did something stupid is the worst punch in the gut that a game can give you.  Everything from Daikatana to Epic Mickey 2 has been largely undone by the inclusion of these digital parasites that call themselves your friends.  I could have filled this list with frustrating computer companions that only prove to be a greater threat than any actual enemy, but I’ve decided to focus specifically on O’Neal from Aliens: Colonial Marines.

O’Neal is your typical giant teddy bear-type of character; he’s big and gruff, but has a heart of gold underneath.  He’s supposed to be the best friend you could ask for when facing done ravenous xenomorphs.  There’s just one problem: he’s in Aliens: Colonial Marines, a game so historically awful that Sega and Gearbox were actually taken to court for daring to release it on the unsuspecting masses.  O’Neal follows suit with being horrible at everything he does.  Worse aim than a Star Wars stormtrooper?  Check.  Standing in narrow hallways for no reason other than to block your path from critical objectives?  Check.  The worst part is that you can’t even turn him off by having a second player like in most other games that stick you with an AI partner.  Even in co-op, O’Neal will still insist on being the third-wheel and getting in the way of both players.  Don’t you ever wish you could turn on friendly fire and knock the stupid out of these guys?  Well…

dinobaby

2) Dino Baby (Conker’s Bad Fur Day)

While escort missions are notoriously hard to get right, good ones aren’t entirely unheard of.  For example, look at the section of Conker’s Bad Fur Day that has you escorting an adorable newborn dinosaur.  Not only is he invulnerable to damage, but he’s actually more capable in a fight than the character you’re playing as.  While Conker’s frying pan has a long wind-up and only stuns enemies, the dino baby can easily gobble up anything that comes near it.  Yeah, he gets stuck on corners every now and then and generally slows you down, but that’s a small price to pay for essentially playing on godmode.  If anything, he’s escorting you.  Actually, can we just ditch the drunken squirrel and play as this champion instead?

Alas, it seems Rareware underestimated their own abilities and expected people to react to the dino baby the same way they do to most escort characters.  At the end of the level, you are forced to lead your superior onto a sacrificial alter and watch him meet a gruesome end in order for you to progress.  It’s the one point where the game’s dark sense of humor actually goes too far.  Whenever I think of the cruel choice that this game forced me to make, I feel a little less bad about the fact that Rareware is now doomed to make Kinect minigames for the rest of eternity and license out their IPs to more capable developers (like the people who made the Battleship shooter).

foxy

1) Foxy (Five Nights at Freddy’s)

You can never truly anticipate how people will respond to fear.  Some flee while others fight, and others still merely embrace their fate.  And then you have the truly bizarre reactions that can best be described as an extreme form of denial.  Nothing may be a better showcase for this than the Five Nights at Freddy’s series.  Foxy from Five Nights at Freddy’s is your biggest threat in the game as he’s the only  one that doesn’t rely on catching you off-guard in order to get you.  He can charge directly into your office and attack faster than you can react.  The only way to keep him at bay is to constantly check your cameras and make sure he stays behind his curtain, which makes you vulnerable to all of the other haunted animatronics.  If it wasn’t for this one threat, each night wouldn’t nearly be as difficult as they are.

Strangely enough, Foxy has become one of the most popular, if not the most popular, characters in the series.  Several fans of the series, rather than recognize Foxy as the menace that he truly is, have crafted theories that Foxy is actually a good guy whose just checking in on you if you don’t check in on him for too long and that you just die from shock rather than him attacking you.  There is also a plethora of fan art out there that I dare not link you to nor attempt to describe.  To each their own, but you’d think people wouldn’t be drawn toward a screeching serial killer en masse.

What other characters had public responses that surprised you?  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.  Depending on the response we get, your suggestions may be featured on a follow-up article in the future.  Until then, keep your eyes peeled for that Villager.  I don’t trust that guy.

Meet the Cast of Code Name S.T.E.A.M.

S.T.E.A.M.

Code Name S.T.E.A.M., the new strategy game from the studio behind the Fire Emblem games, is set to release on March 13th with a cast of characters pulled from every corner of classic American fiction taking on an alien invasion.  As its release on the Nintendo 3DS draws near, let’s look at all of the announced characters that you can recruit for your squad and not only examine their roles in the game, but also the famous stories that they originate from.  The only ones I’m leaving out are Abraham Lincoln and the Fire Emblem characters as I’m fairly certain you’re already familiar with the great emancipator while Marth and friends are merely making cameo appearances.

Henry Fleming

The main character in the Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane, Henry Fleming acts as the field leader of the team and is the most prominent character in the game’s marketing.  A fictional soldier serving in the American Civil War, Henry fled in fear during his first battle, but gained the courage to return to the battlefield and stood his ground even when he was left without a weapon.  As a member of S.T.E.A.M., Henry is a balanced fighter with the assault fire of his Eagle Rifle.  Whatever the mission, Henry is sure to be a valuable addition to the team.

John Henry

A famous American folk hero, John Henry is known as the man that fought the machine to prove the value of good old-fashion sweat and tears in the face of automated assembly.  As a member of S.T.E.A.M., John has embraced the machine for the greater good and takes on the alien menace as a powerful assault character.  Armed with a hammer and a supply of grenades, he can burst through crowds of enemies with ease.

Lion

One of Dorothy’s companions in L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz, the Lion is a fearsome beast with his share of self-esteem issues.  However, given that he’s dropped the ‘Cowardly’ part from his name, it looks like he’s already found his courage and will have no problem facing down the alien threat.  In fact, Lion will be able to tank damage and leap directly into the fray with his Lion Launcher ability.  Also, looks like he didn’t step out of Oz to aid S.T.E.A.M. on his own.

Scarecrow

Another hero from The Wizard of Oz, the Scarecrow provides area control with his supply of pumpkin-based landmines and health pick-ups.  The Scarecrow has been given a Halloween-style makeover and bears more of a resemblance to fellow Oz denizen Jack Pumpkinhead than his own classic depiction.  He’s never been the sharpest tool in the shed, but he was able to rule as the new king of Oz for a short time following the events of the first novel.  Given that both the Scarecrow and the Lion are in S.T.E.A.M.’s ranks, its a safe bet that the Tin Man will join in on the action as well.

Tom Sawyer

I’m not sure why S.T.E.A.M. would ever arm up a child and send him into battle with savage extraterrestrials, but I probably shouldn’t be surprised given how frequently kids are used to pilot giant robots in this exact situation.  The titular character from Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, he is street-smart trickster known for manipulating people into getting what he wants.  That cunning carries over into his appearance as a member of S.T.E.A.M. as he is fairly weak in direct combat, but he can stun enemies with his Punch Gun and can scatter mines across the battlefield.

Tiger Lily

Including a minor character from Peter Pan while no other characters from the story have been announced is a bit of an odd move.  Than again, S.T.E.A.M. has been built up as an all-American team while Peter Pan is a British tale and Tiger Lily is simply one of the most famous Native American characters in fiction.  On the other hand, the action of the game is primarily set in Britain and we haven’t seen all of the playable characters yet, so Tiger may have a few friends waiting just around the corner.  As a squadmate, Tiger is the team medic with abilities focused on healing teammates.

Queequeg

I bet you weren’t expecting a whale-hunting cannibal to show up on this list.  Well, Queequeg is exactly that.  One of the main characters in Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, Queequeg is the most fearsome member of a crew trained to slay giants of the deep.  Still, he does have a softer side to him as he quickly became good friends with main character Ishmael.  Apparently, Codename S.T.E.A.M. will represent this side of him by arming him with a supply of explosive, clockwork penguins.  That would certainly have given Moby Dick a different tone, but I can see Melville dedicating about ten pages to explain exactly how it works.

Randolph Carter

If you thought the cast couldn’t get any stranger than a cannibal wielding penguin-shaped explosives, how about someone straight out of Lovecraftian horror?  Randolph Carter is a recurring character in the works of H.P. Lovecraft and often considered an avatar for Lovecraft himself.  Given that the villainous aliens take a good deal of inspiration from Lovecraftian monsters, Randolph is certainly the kind of expert that S.T.E.A.M. would want.  He is a utility character with the ability to bait enemies with his Unspeakable Lure and protect teammates with his Eldrich Shield.  Just don’t ask where he got the meat for that lure; it’s unspeakable for a reason.

The Fox

The female sniper Fox is easily the most mysterious of the current cast with no clear literary inspiration.  As such, the following is purely speculation.  For one, there is an official screenshot of her standing in front of what appears to be a Mexican flag or at least an alternate universe version of it for the game’s stylized take on the world.  Now consider that the Spanish word for fox is ‘zorro’ and it’s a fairly safe bet that she is here to represent the famous swashbuckler Zorro, who was one of the major inspirations for comic book hero Batman.  The only problems with this idea is that she isn’t referred to as Zorro while every other character is directly named after their inspiration and the fact that she is a she while Zorro has always been male.  It’s probable that Nintendo and Intelligent Systems are concerned about copyright disputes surrounding the character and opted to create the Fox as a tribute to Zorro rather than try to use the original.

Califia

The most recent character revealed in the official sing-along trailer (yes, that is a thing and this game is quite weird in case you haven’t already noticed), Califia is a pagan warrior queen of the fictional Island of California and the namesake of the actual state of California.  She joins S.T.E.A.M. armed with a powerful rocket launcher that can blaze down groups of enemies with massive damage.  Unfortunately, there’s currently no sign of the griffins that she and her exclusively female army were known to ride into battle.  We can still hope.

That’s all of the playable characters that have been announced so far.  Given the diversity that we have seen, there is almost no limit on the characters that we could see join the roster.  Who do you hope to see added to the line-up?  Personally, given the concept of figures of classic American fiction battling monstrous aliens, nobody seems more appropriate than pulp sci-fi original John Carter of Mars.  After the infamous Disney film, he could certainly use some good press.

5 Reasons Why Super Smash Bros Is Amazing

Super Smash

Nintendo‘s Smash series has spanned 4 generations, starting on the N64 as a way of combining Nintendo’s biggest names and allowing them to duke it out in an all or nothing deathmatch. Of course, with such a strong premise, the series is immensely popular. No other game has so many legends in 1 place (we don’t talk about Sony’s attempt…). Where else can you have Sonic, Sega’s super fast mascot, go toe-to-toe with Samus Aran, the legendary Metroid hunter? Here are 5 reasons why Super Smash Bros is amazing.

5) Massive Roster

Lets be blunt, Smash has a massive roster falling just shy of 50 characters. Its size, and scope is only matched by its diversity. Every character in Smash 4 feels unique, and adds its own set of challenges to the mix. Having so many characters, with the vast majority of them being unlocked from the get go, allows you to experience something new and different every time you load it up. Of course, this is not taking into considering the expansive stage selection, all of which having an “Omega” version for a true test of skill.

4) Accessibility

The beauty of Smash is that literally anyone can pick it up, and have a good time. With only 2 attack buttons, a shield and a grab you can learn the basics in about 5 seconds. That is the level of accessibility Molyneux wanted for Fable…done right, and done much, much earlier. Despite the simplicity, you feel fully in control of your avatar, every move is responsive and lightning fast. With every controller imaginable supported, and every button, and stick, completely rebindable, you have PC level of control optimization, so Smashing always feels comfortable.

3) Content

Fighting games are notorious for having very little content. You have you arcade mode, a team mode of some sort, some online functionality and usually, that is all you get. Like its predecessors, Smash 4 is full of unlockables, collectables, secrets and crammed with stuff to do. On top of your basic 4 man smash, you have Arcade, Event, All Star, 8 Man Smash, Conquest, Smash Tour, Ranked, and Unranked Online play, Master Orders, Crazy Orders and full Amiibo support. There is also a Level Editor, a music area where you can make your own playlists from unlocked tracks, which contains some of the best music in gaming, and a trophy room where you can get trivia on some of the most obscure things from Nintendo’s past. Oh, and an incredibly difficult Challenge List pushing you to your absolute limit if you want to complete all of them. In short, there are hundreds of hours of game.

2) Online

As I mentioned, there is Online in Smash 4. Unlike Brawl however, Nintendo has really stepped up their game, and we finally have a proper online suite in order to play Smash against people from around the world. Whether you want to play intense 1v1 matches in an all or nothing ranked mode, play team modes or just go for the classic free for all, Smash Online has you covered. It has taken long enough!

1) Depth

Smash may be one of the most easy to learn games on the market, but it is also one of the hardest to master. It is a common misconception that Smash is casual, simple and button mashy, however this is not the case. Since Melee Smash has had a massive following in the Pro scene, with tournaments all over the world, and with the dawn of E-Sports, you can see the amazing things people can do with only 2 buttons. This is the real reason Smash has stayed so popular over the years, and why people beg for sequels. The games simplicity is a ruse, a cunning disguise, something to hide the truth, and that is that Super Smash Brothers is a hardcore fighter that requires incredible reflexes, planning and skill to come out ahead. To put it plainly, it is one of the most satisfying experiences in gaming. Well played Nintendo, you had us all fooled.

The Supply and Demand of Amiibos

Amiibos

Nintendo’s line of near-field communication figures, amiibo, has consistently been making headlines since their debut late last year for their ability to sell out in the blink of an eye.  Even the upcoming Super Mario line of amiibos set to release next month sold out on preorders the same day they were made available.  That’s pretty impressive considering that they are essentially reissues of the most common amiibos from the Super Smash Bros line with less dynamic poses (with the exception of the Super Mario line exclusive Toad).  This has made them the new hot-ticket item in a speculator boom as people rush to pick up the rarest amiibos and then resell them to desperate collectors at absurdly inflated prices.  Many might think that amiibos will have their value increase over time like rare comic books and are a lucrative investment for the future.  However, the truth is quite the opposite and consumers should exert much more caution in the business of buying and selling these figures at the moment.

Let’s look over one of the most famous speculator booms in modern history, the comic book boom of the mid-eighties and early nineties, and consider what it tells us about the ongoing amiibo boom.  The comic book speculator boom started when copies of classic comics, such as Superman’s debut appearance in Action Comics #1, began going for absurdly high prices.  Stories of people getting thousands, sometimes millions, of dollars for comics that they bought for nickels as children became commonplace and hopeful investors flocked to comic shops expecting to one day see the same kind of return for popular titles.

What people were neglecting with this boom was the vast difference in the market between the time those old titles sold and the present.  No one ever expected Superman or his peers to evolve into landmark American icons and the comics they debuted in were only seen as simple children’s books in their time.  Copies of these books were left to grow tattered and destroyed over time as their stars slowly grew more and more in notoriety.  They became rare and valuable because no one expected them to become valuable.  The comics released during the speculator boom, on the other hand, were so widely produced and preserved that their value never went up.  This isn’t the only case of a sudden boom and bust, either.  Baseball cards, Beanie Babies, and all manner of mass-produced collectibles have ultimately collapsed in on themselves after having a large rush for them.

The amiibo boom is bound to burst just like the comic boom did before it.  It’s all just a matter of supplies catching up with demand.  Nintendo has been slow to release more copies of rare amiibos, but that’s only because it takes time to negotiate a new manufacturing deal even when the assembly lines for the figures are already set up.  It’s not like Nintendo just has a room full of 3D printers and can produce more figures whenever it strikes their fancy.  It will take time, but it will happen.  Before this year ends, the amiibo sections in stores will go from barren wastelands to overstocked shelves like their predecessors, Skylanders and Disney Infinity, did.

Conversely, if you are one of the lucky few to have gotten your hands on one of the bizarre defect amiibos that have popped up, that is something worth hanging on to.  Defect figures like the double-cannon Samus and the legless Peach have higher value because they were never meant to be made.  As such, they will never see additional production and will always be one-of-a-kind.  Just remember to keep them mint in their boxes as that is a vital to their value.  Not only does that increase their rarity, but it also eliminates suspicions that you just tampered with the figure yourself.  Limited edition items, like the Majora’s Mask 3D Collector’s Edition, also go by a different set of rules.  These are made with the intention of only having a limited run and are less likely to see further production.  It’s not impossible for more Skull Kid statues, but you shouldn’t hold your breath over it.

The amiibo figures are designed for mass production and the amount of demand that they have been seeing early on is going to result in more being put on the market.  Nintendo has already stated in an official financial briefing that they are planning to address the scarcity of certain amiibos.  If there is a rare amiibo that you’re interested in getting, just wait for the supplies to replenish and pick it up at a reasonable price.  If you already have a rare amiibo and are willing to part with it, now is the time to sell while the iron is still hot.  Just remember to see these toys for what really they are and don’t get too wrapped up in the current rush.

VGamerZ’s GameZ of 2015: #5- Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

Monster Hunter 4

Monster Hunter

There’s a school of thought that mobile gaming can’t do big, complex games. The most popular are quick, simple and outrageously addictive little vignettes like Flight Control, Angry Birds, Flappy Bird and their ilk. By extension, handheld consoles’ titles aren’t a patch on their big ol’ tv-powered brothers. Apparently.

This is to be expected, of course, what with technical limitations and such. Still, the humble 3DS has been doing some impressive things recently. Smash Bros. was quite the package, and now here comes a truly vast game for the system: Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate.

Franchise fans will remember the last title, which hit the handheld and Wii U simultaneously. This time, it’s 3DS exclusive, and one of the system’s most anticipated releases for some time. Let’s take a look.

Monster Hunter, for the uninitiated, is an action RPG (well, technically) from Capcom. It casts you as a greenhorn ‘Hunter,’ a sort of mercenary charged with eradicating the big ol’ angry creatures that roam the world and threaten settlements. It’s all very action-centric, and we’re using the term RPG in the loosest sense. Loose enough to drop right off and roll under the sofa, at that.

There aren’t many of the usual genre trappings to be had here. Sure, there’s a little hub town, prattling NPCs to talk to and item and equipment shops, but as far a plotting goes… there’s slim to bupkus. Between quests to murderise things, you’re really just in the hub to stock up on hunting equipment and upgrade weapons or armour.

For Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, little has changed in this regard. You’ll spend your time grinding up the ranks and building your HR (Hunter Rank), which is the key to accessing the bigger and claw-ier missions. To succeed there, of course, you’ll need more powerful weaponry and more resilient armour, which you can craft by defeating the monsters already available. And so the circle of Monster Hunter life continues.

Missions take place in large habitats, with ten or 10 or so zones. You’ll have to stalk your prey between zones, marking them with paintballs when they fly away and other little intricacies. They’ll limp away when they’ve sustained too much damage, stagger from too many hits on a weak point, and otherwise act like the wild animals/bosses they are. This is a hunt, after all.

Monster Hunter 4 B

The core combat is the name of the game, and Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate brings only slight tweaks to a winning formula. The real-time arcade combat is as slow-paced and deliberate as it ever was, emphasising positioning and timing over anything else. Button mashing will get you killed in moments. The beauty of these games is in correctly predicting where your foe will be and nailing them with a fully charged Great Sword hit, or getting in that final Roundslash to power up your Longsword as the monster staggers.

There’s a wide range of weapon classes, each of which makes a huge difference to how you approach a fight. The fast and mobile Sword and Shield is a combo weapon, letting you apply lots of elemental or status hits quickly (the paralyse or poison effectively, in the latter case), while the devastating blunt damage of the hefty Hammer can KO monsters with powerful hits to the head. Whereupon it is left immobile for a while and ripe for a beating. There are also ranged weapons, in the form of the Bow and the Light and Heavy Bowguns. Gunners are a different type of hunter entirely, requiring a separate set of armour to their melee (blademaster in Monster Hunter terms) allies. In exchange for being able to attack from a safe(er) distance, their equipment has only half the defense by default.

Monster Hunter, in all its forms, is a huge undertaking. Fans of grinding for rare drops and the like will take to it like nobody’s business. Crafting a particular monster’s armour set or weapon upgrade can take many battles with it, and demands dedication. It’s the kind of game where simply deciding to learn a new weapon class can grant you weeks of playtime.

For veterans of the series, there are some rather nifty new mechanics and additions here. The first of which is mounting. During combat, you’ll find opportunities to perform jumping attacks on the enemy. Doing this correctly will allow you to land on its back and attack away, filling the mounting gauge. Doing so before the monster throws you off will result in a long stagger animation as it falls, allowing for ample free hits.

There’s also (whisper it) a tentative attempt at adding a little more story this time around. Your hunter joins a travelling caravan at the beginning of Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, and will move with them through various hub worlds; attempting to solve the mystery of an artifact held by the leader. It’s nothing big and complex, but it’s step beyond anything the series has tried in that area before.

Which sums up the new installment perfectly. As always, Capcom’s flagship hunting game is a daunting franchise for new players to get into. It may ease you in with tutorial missions, showing the basics of gathering and simple weapon controls, but then you’re face to face with the Great Jaggi and getting your face chewed on (well, sometimes). New players certainly have a lot to take in, and this release is really no more noobie-friendly. If you couldn’t get into Monster Hunter before, this one will do nothing to change your mind.

For me, it’s always been a series that you either invest hundreds of hours into or you don’t click with at all. The former camp will delight in the two new weapons, the tweaked ‘vertical’ element to battles, and the first portable release with true online functionality. A Western release has been long-awaited, and for many it’s a game of the year contender now it’s here.

VGamerZ’s GameZ of 2015: #3- Majora’s Mask 3D

Majora’s

Remember Operation Moonfall? It’s like whichever Disney movie it was once told me: if you want something enough, your heart is pure and you really, really whine about it on the Internet, your dreams can come true.

Moonfall, for the uninitiated, was a petition to bring The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask to the 3DS; a spangly Ocarina-style remake. It received extensive support, unlike the usual ‘outlaw peanuts and make my cat president of Australia’ sort of petition you see online. Nintendo, never one to eschew the chance to rake in some cashtacular, caught on.

Majora’s Mask 3D arrives February 13, and is going to be an insta-buy for many gamers. Several of whom will be curious souls who have never played before. In contrast to the blockbuster smash that was Ocarina of Time, this one is relatively obscure; as close to cult status as an entry in such a series can get (Wand of Gamelon and that other CD-i ballache notwithstanding, because they’re crap).

Majora’s Mask is set months after the events of Ocarina. Link is searching for his lost fairy, Navi ‘Hey, Listen’ the Fairy, when he encounters the mysterious Skull Kid. The little masked miscreant leads him through a door into the land of Termina, where the moon is set to crash into the world in three days. This apocalypse-flavoured situation requires a hero, so it’s quite convenient that one has just wandered by.

Majora's Mask 3D 2

That’s the setup in a nutshell. Beyond that, Zelda veterans know the drill: dungeons to cruise through, keys and new items to find in them, bosses to beat, sidequests to try out along the way. It all sounds quite conventional, but there’s no doubt that this one’s reputation as the black sheep of the family is justified.

It’s unusually dark in tone, for one. From the apocalyptic storyline to the Shadow Temple vibe that runs throughout, there’s something distinctly more adult about this installment. It’s telling that the game isn’t set in the familiar land of Hyrule; this was intended to be an experimental and curious franchise entry. It certainly achieved that goal.

Yet, crucially, it’s still built on the same great foundation its predecessor established. More free-roaming Zelda on that spangly new 3D backdrop, which should really be all you need to know. I wouldn’t often rate a remake this highly, but The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D is definitely among my most anticipated releases of the year.