In just a few short months Nintendo will be releasing the fifth installment in the “Super Smash Bros.” series. “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” is set to hit shelves 7 Dec., a month and a half short of the 20-year anniversary of the first “Smash” that was released on 21 Jan. 1999. A few days ago, Nintendo gave us a lot more information on “Ultimate” in their newest Direct.
The Direct opened with one of the best character introduction videos I have ever seen. It starts outside a dark castle in the middle of a thunderstorm. A hooded figure opens the giant doors to a stone corridor leading deep into the darkness. A familiar scream sounds in the distance. Luigi’s in trouble! He appears to be trying to fight off mummies, Medusa and even Death with just the gear from the “Luigi’s Mansion” series. It obviously isn’t going well, and Death, in fact, kills the unsuspecting plumber! But don’t worry, Nintendo has since confirmed that he is okay.
As Death is holding Luigi’s soul in his hand, he is caught in the face with the Morning Star on the end of a chain whip. Many fans could guess at this point who the hooded figure was, but we still held our breath as the hooded cloak is thrown off to reveal Simon Belmont of the beloved “Castlevania”! As the video continues they show him battling with other characters, and as he fights Dracula (who is a boss in the game) another character intervenes. It’s Simon’s descendent, Richter! The echo fighter of Simon, Richter’s moveset is the same, but he has his own unique look, voice and animations. Simon’s impressive moveset is lead off by his iconic holy whip, which, even though it’s slow and leaves him vulnerable to attack, has the longest average reach of any fighter. His other special attacks include his axe, cross, holy water and uppercut. His final smash is called grand cross, which locks an opponent in a coffin that is then sent flying off-screen.
Along with Simon and Richter, “Castlevania” is also giving us the new map Dracula’s Castle. “The darkest stage in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate,” it has candlesticks that will spawn an item when hit. Many monsters from the Castlevania series will also appear on the stage; such as Medusa, Mummy, the Creature and Flea Man, Death, Carmilla, Werewolf and Dracula of course. There’s also a mystery monster they only showed a shadow of, but if you want to know who it is most likely going to be click here. This stage has also brought with it 34 new and classic music tracks.
They also introduced two new echo fighters from other game series as well. The first is Chrom from the “Fire Emblem” series, who is the echo of Roy. The second is Dark Samus, and if you don’t know who they’re the echo of you probably shouldn’t waste your time reading this.
Besides Dracula’s Castle, they also showed us the new stage New Donk City from “Super Mario: Odyssey.” With this pair of new stages, the returning stages they have announced so far, and the other pair of new stages they announced at E3, Great Plateau and Moray Towers, that brings the total to 103 stages. To put that into perspective, “Super Smash Bros for the Wii U” has the next highest amount of stages at a whopping 56, just over half of what will be in “Ultimate.” All stages can have up to 8-player battles, and will be available at launch, no need to unlock them this time.
Something completely unique to “Ultimate” is called stage morph. You can now choose to have the stage change in the middle of your battle, either after a specific amount of time you pick or at a random moment in the battle.
At this point it’s obvious Nintendo has decided to put as much content in “Ultimate” as they can, and that includes music. They have brought back My Music, which allows players to select specific tracks for each stage. Tracks are also no longer tied to each stage, but organized by each series. And, as Masahiro Sakurai says, the total number of music tracks “is also ultimate.” There are now over 800 music tracks to pick from.
Some of the other options have changed, with some of them being quite interesting. Sudden death has now become more intense, as the screen slowly closes in on the stage making it much easier to fly off as time goes on. There is also the option to add Final Smash Meter in any battle. Final Smash Meter will add a gauge under each character’s name that once filled the player can use a Final Smash that isn’t quite as powerful as the original, but adds an additional danger to the game.
Three new battle modes are being added as well. The first is Squad Strike, which is a 5 vs. 5 or 3 vs. 3 elimination-style battle. Each player will use three or five consecutive fighters in one battle, or multiple players can take turns for each fight. If you have a large group of players than you need to try the Ultimate Cup Tourney. Choose how many players and CPU characters you want to play, up to 32, and the game will automatically structure a tournament bracket. For the third new mode they have added Smashdown. After each battle in this mode every character that has been played will no longer be available, which means you won’t be able to just spam Falcon Kick. Training Mode has been upgraded with grid squares and launch distance indicators. Classic Mode brings back the single player mode in which players battle against a series of fighters.
Some new items, Pokémon, assist trophies and bosses were shown as well. In a series first Rathalos from the “Monster Hunter” series has been added as both a boss and an assist trophy. The new menu was shown as well and there is a mysterious game mode that they have blurred out. Only time will tell what it might be.
Of course, Nintendo wouldn’t end a direct like this without a little surprise. As Masahiro Sakurai was saying goodbye there were loud footstep and the screen shook with every boom. We are shown Donkey and Diddy Kong hanging out watching TV at their treehouse, and when they hear the giant footsteps they peer out the window in panic. A giant shadow appears that looks like King K. Rool! But it’s just King Dedede playing a joke. He laughs hysterically at his own wittiness, but he doesn’t get the last laugh as King K. Rool smacks him into next week! Donkey Kong’s arch nemesis has joined the already impressive lineup, bringing the total number of playable characters to 67, not including the six echo fighters!
Nintendo only has a couple mentioned on their website, but in the video we see a lot of King K. Rool’s moves. We first see his blunderbuss that can fire cannonballs at opponents, and it also appears to pull an opponent into itself and fire them at another fighter. He can slam other fighters with his golden belly, which is probably a counter attack, and has a heavy stomp attack. He has a flying pack on his back to help him move his substantial weight. One of his grab attacks has him grab a fighter, jump into the air and slam the fighter down on his shoulders. His punch brings out a fist in a boxing glove and his crown can be thrown like a boomerang. His final smash looks like a laser canon coming out of the mouth of a giant crocodile hideout.
If you’re a longtime fan of the series like myself, I’m sure you’re just as excited for all this content to be in one “Smash” game! If you haven’t tried any of the series yet, this will be the one to get. It’s almost overwhelming what they have already shown us, and with the release still four months away we can safely assume more will be revealed soon.