Nintendo has overwhelmed our gamer senses once again. During Nintendo Direct, Masahiro Sakurai delivered new information about Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Within seconds, heads of Castlevania fans were spinning! By the end, Donkey Kong fans were no doubt pounding the ground in excitement! Here is a breakdown of what we learned.
Nintendo Direct opened up with a cinematic to introduce an amazing new character who has more than earned a spot on the roster: Simon Belmont. Not only will we see Simon, but Richter Belmont as well, and they are echo fighters of each other. Simon features his Holy Whip, with moves that include the Cross, Axe, and Holy Water, as well as Richter’s Uppercut and dash attack. Lastly, his Final Smash is called Grand Cross. The excitement does not stop there. Dracula’s Castle is the featured stage for Castlevania, and appearances will be made by, but are not limited to, Carmilla, Death, and Medusa. Dracula will appear as a boss, but the conditions to make him appear are unknown. Alucard has not been forgotten, and will appear as a resilient Assist Trophy who wil fight by your side for a set amount of time, or until he is knocked out. Music is a big part of this series, and so we will also have the choice of 34 different tracks for this stage. At this point, two other fighters were introduced: Chrom as an echo fighter of Roy plus Ike’s signature Up B ether attack, and Dark Samus as an echo fighter of Samus. That appears to be all the new challengers for now.
The total number of available stages seems to be final. Nintendo Direct featured returning stages like Brinstar Depths and Gamer, as well as a new stage for New Donk City Hall from Mario Odyssey, blasting the original song that is easily stuck on repeat in my head. There will be a total of 103 stages, but if you count that all of them include their regular battlefield mode and omega mode, there are actually over 300. As a bonus, all stages are available from the beginning, and if you’re looking to make things more interesting, or less depending on your perspective, stage hazards can be turned off. One more feature involving stages is a new Stage Morph option. The player can choose two stages, and part way through the match the arena will transform from one to the other!
Ever wanted to take your favorite video game soundtrack on the go with you? How about your favorite music from every series featured in Super Smash Bros Ultimate? Now, you can. More than 800 tracks are featured, almost 900 if you include the game’s audio too, and you can listen to them all in Sound Test mode. Just plug in those headphones and turn off the handheld screen to listen to your favorite tracks anywhere. All of them are organized by series, or miscellaneous, making it easy to go in and take advantage of the new Playlist feature. Make a set list for that upcoming workout or one to simply chill and relax with friends. Briefly seen in the video from Nintendo Direct was a Voices option in the Sounds menu. Could we get to play the voices of our favorite characters whenever we want? Now that should be interesting.
Multiplayer has been renovated, and in a great way. Instead of picking every rule to set up a match, Rulesets can be made to simplify the process. Stamina Mode, one of my favorites, is now a standard rule. Once the rules are set, stage selection occurs, and then you choose a fighter, which gives every player the opportunity to pick a character with an advantage in the selected stage. As if Sudden Death isn’t stressful enough with knowing you could be KOed at the flick of your opponent’s finger, the edges of the screen will start to burn and the camera gradually zooms in for a stronger sense of urgency. Final Smash will no longer be limited to the one that breaks the Smash Ball. FS Meter, or Final Smash Meter, is a rule option in multiplayer. If selected, a gauge fills during battle that can be activated once full, or at any time, to use the fighter’s signature move, but no two Final Smashes can occur at the same time.
A few new Smash modes have been added, so we’ll break those down next. First introduced was Squad Strike, a 5-on-5 or 3-on-3 fighter elimination match. This can be played as single or local multiplayer, since we know Nintendo has a big focus on people playing games together under one roof. A refurbished Tourney mode has been included with up to 32 players. Lastly, a Smash Mode called Smashdown, the one that terrifies me the most. After a match, the fighter that was used becomes unavailable. This opens the door for a bit of strategy to turn the odds in your favor.
In addition to Alucard as an Assist Trophy, we can look forward to seeing Knuckles, Chef Kawasaki, and the Moon from Majora’s Mask, to name a few. A few Pokémon being added to those ever helpful Poké Balls are Abra, Ditto, Vulpix, and then some. Not only were we given glimpses into what the new Assist Trophies and Pokémon will do, we also saw the Main Menu, which includes Smash, Online, Vault, Games and More, and a mysterious green one that was blurred out. Story Mode, anyone? Let us hope. The Main Menu will take us to the returning Classic Mode, and each fighter has their own set series of characters to battle on set stages. Training Mode has also been enhanced with a grid to measure distance and trajectory of special attacks, and fighter knock back, while factoring in the fighter’s weight.
The information offered in Nintendo Direct for Super Smash Bros Ultimate was overwhelming for fans of the series. I can barely contain myself still thinking back on all the details that were revealed. However, Nintendo left us with a parting scene: King K Rool putting the stomp on Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong. One can only imagine the screaming of the fans as King K Rool’s image was then added to the roster of all the playable characters. Yet, the wait continues. Four more months before the release date of December 7th, 2018 and Masahiro Sakurai certainly has us all on the edge of our seats.