Super Smash Bros. All-Time Merit Ranking (Mr. Game & Watch and Mario covered in Issue 182!)

Manfred Von Karma

*beep* the metal detector!
Poll Committee
1. Bowser Jr.
2. Mario
3. Greninja
4. King Dedede
5. Ganondorf
 

SonicMario

Star Spirit
Oops, a little late in posting but

LAST CHANCE

Bowser Jr. will be locked in tomorrow still if nothing else pops up. (Junior is tied with Wario, but the votes for Wario are older)

Mario 56
Mr. Game & Watch 32
Wario 24
Bowser Jr. 24
Kirby 16

Donkey Kong 14
Captain Falcon 12
Little Mac 8
Fox 8
Simon Belmont 8
Toon Link 8
Mewtwo 8
Peach 8
Mega Man 8
Greninja 6
Inkling 6
Ridley 6
Zero Suit Samus 6
ROB 6
Joker 6
King Dedede 4
Cloud 4
Robin 4
Ike 4
Bayonetta 4
Wolf 4
Mii Fighters 4
Young Link 4
Kirby 2
Olimar 2
Ganondorf 2
 

SonicMario

Star Spirit
BOWSER JR'S LOCKED IN!

Now just a week left for the rest to be locked in. People seem set on making Mario #1 this time around. But there's still the option to move around 2 and 3 if people want it.

Mario 56
Mr. Game & Watch 32
Wario 24
Bowser Jr. 24
Kirby 16
 

SonicMario

Star Spirit
HALF-WEEK WARNING

No change has happened. As of this moment it's still set up to be Mario and Mr. Game and Watch in the Shroom with Wario as a non-Shroom section
 

SonicMario

Star Spirit
LAST CALL

Still no change, we're still currently set to have Wario as the final non-shroom section. With Mario and Mr. Game & Watch as the Shroom sections
 

SonicMario

Star Spirit
ALL CHARACTERS LOCKED IN!

Mario 56

Mr. Game & Watch 32
Donkey Kong 24
Bowser Jr. 24

Kirby 16

Donkey Kong shall be a non-shroom section and we'll have Mr. Game & Watch and Mario in the Shroom ^^

Next Sunday I'm actually going to start the votling a little earlier then I do normally so I can give myself a little more time for these. So apologies if the adjustment period is a ltitle wack.
 

SonicMario

Star Spirit
KIRBY

Fighter Number:
6
Fighter Group: Original 12
Franchise: Kirby
Game of Origin: Kirby’s Dream Land (Game Boy, 1992 (US/EU/JP)​

“Kirby, kirby, kirby, that’s the name you should know! Kirby, kirby, kirby, he’s the star of the show! He’s more then you think, he’s got maximum pink! Kirby kirby kirby’s the one!”

Ah yes, the iconic pink puffball himself. Most notably the director of Smash Bros. original claim to fame. The gameplay of Smash itself even borrowing plenty of aspects of Kirby games. It’s highly unlikely Smash Bros. exists in the same way without the Kirby series. That said, the bearing of a series has on the gameplay of Smash is not what’s being ranked here, as otherwise Kirby would be the only real example other then perhaps many of the Original 12 making up the different archetypes of platform fighters. This is based on the character’s history and merit to Nintendo. Though believe me when I say that Kirby’s not a slouch in that department either. Having run since the Game Boy era with plenty of games that given many Nintendo fans fond memories since. Kirby’s one of those series where you can pick almost any game and you’ll usually have something of a good time if you’re playing casually. The hard part of Kirby is almost never the main game, but 100%ing them can be where they start to kick you while you’re down.

Games like Kirby Super Star are among the many Nintendo titles that some would consider to be essential to play at least once. If there’s one thing Kirby’s had is it’s probably one of the more consistent series with every platform tending to be well-designed and fun to play. As I’ve never really seen what the Kirby fandom deemed the worst main Kirby game. I have to imagine a spin-off or two probably didn’t fit the bill at some point, and maybe the games where you use a stylus to direct a ball kirby I could imagine having it’s detractors from those who prefer a more traditional control layout. But as I mentioned, it’s hard to go wrong with a Kirby game. The series just recently released perhaps it’s most ambitious of the series yet. Having gone fully 3D, where it’s generally been at most 2.5D until Kirby and the Forgotten Land released. So Kirby might be branching out more then it ever has in the near future.

My experience with the Kirby games has mostly been on the casual side. I’ve played some of the earlier games for sure but I’m not one that awaits the next Kirby game. My best memories from Kirby outside of Smash Bros. probably comes from Kirby Air Ride. A pretty fun racing game where I would play the City Trial mode for hours.

In Smash, Kirby has a similarity with Mario that he’s one of the characters recommended for beginner players. As Kirby’s moveset is designed to be a sort of easy mode for Smash players given Kirby has one of the best recoveries with the multiple jumps. That comes with the cost of being quite light and outside of SSB64 where he’s up there with Pikachu for best character in the game, not really a heavy-favorite when it comes to tier-rankings. Kirby can still be dangerous in the right hands though, it is probably unwise to underestimate a foe that can copy off your neutral attack and potentially use it against you better then you do. And for the move spammers, the Down+B of Kirby turning to stone (And sometimes other things such as a thwomp) can be annoying if you don’t know how to deal with it.

Though obviously the most notable thing about Kirby is his design. He’s perhaps one of the easiest characters to draw decently well, only needing to draw a pink circle with oval hands, feet, and an infectious smile. Perhaps the only Smash character that’s easier would be Pac-Man if you count his retro appearance as simply a circle with a triangle cut out of it. I imagine that’s all by design, a lot of what Kirby is from design. Simple, easy enough for people both young and old enjoy. And control a cute lil’ pink guy that has the capabilities to destroy the gods of his universe. Cause seriously, some of the bosses that Kirby’s faced over the years? They can be terrifying and/or downright huge.

_____________________________________________________________________________

Kirby’s certainly a Nintendo icon with a long-running franchise beloved to this day. I think that’s enough to put Kirby above Luigi and a great majority of characters in the roster. I however can’t say Kirby is exactly Link-levels. Kirby games generally get high praise whenever they come out, but Legend of Zelda tends to have all of the gaming community’s eyes on the next game. It’s hard to beat the legacy of Legend of Zelda, and I say that as someone who’d probably rather play a Kirby game then a Zelda one myself. I think it’s a fair assessment to put Kirby as the star of his own franchise that continues to get a regular assortment of games over some of the secondary characters even a legendary secondary character like Luigi. But Kirby is probably in no way entrenched into Nintendo on Link’s level.

1. Link
2. Kirby
3. Luigi
4. Bowser
5. Pac-Man
6. Diddy Kong
7. Banjo & Kazooie
8. King K. Rool
9. Sonic the Hedgehog
10. Rosalina & Luma
11. Snake
12. Shulk
13. Pit
14. Ness
15. Jigglypuff
16. Duck Hunt
17. Steve
18. Lucas
19. Mythra
20. Min Min
21. Byleth
22. Wii Fit Trainer
23. Chrom
24. Dr. Mario
25. Dark Pit
26. Piranha Plant
 

SonicMario

Star Spirit
BOWSER JR.

Fighter Number: 58
Fighter Group: Smash 4 Veterans
Franchise: Mario
Game of Origin: Super Mario Sunshine (Nintendo Gamecube, 2002 (US/EU/JP)​

During the speculation phase for Smash 4. There was obviously going to be a heavy speculation on who the next Mario-related character was going to make the game. When Smash 4 speculation was reaching a peak, speculators settled on 4 possibilities: Toad, Waluigi, Bowser Jr. and Paper Mario. There was some behind Geno at the time too though I think for Smash 4 it shrank in comparison to Brawl. Geno support came back with a roar for Ultimate thanks mostly to Square Enix actually getting involved with the series, plus the fact he was one of the last Mii costumes. Suffice to say, Geno fans would be in for a very slow reckoning. Though this section isn’t about Geno.

Paper Mario at least managed to get a stage. But it came to a shock when we got Rosalina as our new Mario character instead of Toad, Waluigi, or Bowser Jr. As much as Rosalina is a popular character, she doesn’t quite have the entrenched merit as the 4 aforementioned characters for different reasons. Unfortunately for both Toad and Waluigi fans, they’d turn out not to be playable in either Smash 4 or Ultimate later on. Though we weren’t left alone with just Rosalina, as we did arguably get our more classic Mario character via Bowser Jr. Now Bowser Jr. is kind of in that weird area where he’s old enough be considered classic. His debut was about 2 decades ago. Though while that age of his debut automatically puts him above Rosalina he’s just not exactly the iconic Mario status of the others. It may not even help really that Sunshine’s sort of the black sheep of the 3D Mario games. Not that I think Sunshine is a bad game, but while it does have a strong following. It doesn’t feel as strong as the community that surrounds Super Mario 64, the two Galaxy games, or even the more recent Odyssey.

After Sunshine, Bowser Jr. was added to many Spin-off games on the gamecube. Mario Golf, Mario Kart, Mario Tennis, Mario Baseball, etc.. It seems the only part of the series he didn’t find his way in yet (at the time) was Mario Party where they still went with the Koopa Kid up until Mario Party DS where Bowser Jr. took their place. In 2006, Junior made his next most major appearance that probably still shapes his portrayal today via the debut of the New Super Mario Bros. series. In NSMB, Bowser Jr. is a miniboss you meet on the way to defeat Bowser. Very much akin to the Koopalings who at the time were still in a large absence. He’d also appear in more Spin-Offs, getting a pretty catchy Surf-like theme in Strikers Charged before he reappears yet again as a miniboss in the first Super Mario Galaxy game. While he certainly didn’t need any more appearances after Galaxy to entrench him as a regular. It helped more to include him in Mario Kart Wii, the Mario and Sonic games, and more NSMB games.

If Junior had gotten in Smash by himself. He might have had a rather so-so sort of merit that clearly isn’t on the level of the Mario characters that have existed since the 80s though still decent since he is still a regular in Nintendo’s flagship franchise. Though Junior may be a rare case of their merit being increased by their style of moveset and/or their alts. Because while Bowser Jr. is the main character, his roots for his moveset start with what he’s riding. The Koopa Clown Car that first appeared in Super Mario World, and Junior did not come alone. As all 7 of the other Koopalings make up all of Junior’s alts. The Koopalings for a time had a great hiatus where it seemed they had been replaced by Bowser Jr. pretty much. They are naturally older then Bowser Jr. having appeared since Super Mario Bros. 3 so if they were a separate character (At least, altogether anyway. I’m not sure as individuals they’d have more). They’d probably have more merit then Junior does. However, I’m not counting alts as characters. But they do work together to sort of make a conglomerate merit between the two. I wouldn’t say Bowser Jr. and the Koopalings are of legendary merit as most of the other regulars of the Mario cast. But combining the history of the Koopalings and the past 2 decades with Bowser Jr. should still give him a commendable spot.

_____________________________________________________________________________

I feel that Bowser Jr. should certainly be above Rosalina for sure. Though less then Sonic the Hedgehog despite the Koopalings history in the series. Bowser Jr. debuted at around the same time Sega was putting games on Nintendo consoles. And while the Koopalings are older then Sonic, their appearance as simply minibosses don’t put them up to snuff compared to the titular character of a franchise that once rivaled Mario in business.

1. Link
2. Kirby
3. Luigi
4. Bowser
5. Pac-Man
6. Diddy Kong
7. Banjo & Kazooie
8. King K. Rool
9. Sonic the Hedgehog
10. Bowser Jr.
11. Rosalina & Luma
12. Snake
13. Shulk
14. Pit
15. Ness
16. Jigglypuff
17. Duck Hunt
18. Steve
19. Lucas
20. Mythra
21. Min Min
22. Byleth
23. Wii Fit Trainer
24. Chrom
25. Dr. Mario
26. Dark Pit
27. Piranha Plant
 

SonicMario

Star Spirit
Oh, I'm a little late with this. But I'm going to go ahead and open up voting for June's issue. Donkey Kong's section will be coming up within the next few days. And Mario & Mr. Game and Watch are ready for the Shroom on Saturdday. As it stands it looks like Little Mac would be next if nothing happens by the Sunday after the Shroom. But there are 8 characters with 8 points so it's very malleable at the moment.

Wario 16
Captain Falcon 12
Fox 8
Joker 8
Little Mac 8

Mega Man 8
Simon Belmont 8
Toon Link 8
Mewtwo 8
Peach 8
Greninja 6
Inkling 6
Ridley 6
Zero Suit Samus 6
ROB 4
King Dedede 4
Cloud 4
Robin 4
Ike 4
Bayonetta 4
Wolf 4
Mii Fighters 4
Young Link 4
Olimar 4
Ganondorf 2
 
Last edited:

winstein

Justice is not limited, it is a universal quality
  1. Captain Falcon
  2. Mii Fighters
  3. Peach
  4. Inkling
  5. Sora

Also, why is Kirby on the list even though Kirby's already written?

Thank you for reading.
 

SonicMario

Star Spirit
DONKEY KONG

Fighter Number:
2
Fighter Group: Original 12
Franchise: Donkey Kong
Game of Origin: Donkey Kong (Arcade, 1981 (US/JP), 1986* (EU)​

*On NES

"DK! Donkey Kong! He’s the leader of the bunch, you know him well. He’s finally back, to kick some tail! His coconut gun, can fire in spurts. If he shoots ya, it’s gonna hurt! He’s bigger, faster, and stronger too! He’s the first member of the DK Crew!"


Besides Mario himself, Donkey Kong goes way back and stands out on his own as an iconic character that outshines other spun-off Mario franchises like the Yoshi and Wario games. Though the odd thing is while he technically debuted in the same game as Mario did with the self-titled Donkey Kong. We have this odd thing where apparently there’s word from a 1994 magazine straight from Nintendo that the Donkey Kong from the arcade game was actually a younger Cranky Kong. The problem of course, is with relying on official word we also have Miyamoto’s word from a little while ago that Mario is currently only 25. While maybe you can say it’s because Gorllia’s don’t live as long as humans (Average lifespan is 40 as opposed to 70-80). We don’t even know if Mario’s world goes by the same real world logic. For the sake of simplicity, I’m going to count that Donkey Kong’s legacy began with the arcade game establishing an age and base merit just for the name.

Even if you’re fully behind the Cranky was the original Kong lore. I’m going to combine the merit of having been in the arcade game with the Donkey Kong Country series. Maybe if Cranky Kong himself were a playable character in Smash, then I may have had to debate it more internally. However, just to clarify. I think I would still rank the current Donkey Kong above the older Kong. I feel like being the protagonist of their own series and a common character in Mario spin-offs would still earn our current DK over the old kong that caused some trouble for Mario (And Stanley the Bugman) in the past before retiring off to nag our current Donkey Kong and his pals before getting back in the action in Tropical Freeze as a playable character.

Back to talking Donkey Kong, having established that I’ll be combining the history of the arcade game plus the Donkey Kong spin-off series naturally gives Donkey Kong a supreme place in the rankings. The Donkey Kong Country games feels like they actually sort of stand on their own compared to how Yoshi and Wario still feel pretty Mario-based. Like while Donkey Kong is considered to be in the same universe as the Mario gang, the Donkey Kong games feels the most like it’s own thing. (Even if WarioWare kind of has that vibe given we never see Diamond City outside of those games). Perhaps that’s just an advantage to Donkey Kong having some popular platfomers on the SNES. Even if the odd thing about the Donkey Kong classic trilogy, is that the titular character is only playable in the first game. In the sequel and the 3rd game, it’s instead two younger kongs trying to save him after he’s been captured by K. Rool. A little crazy when you think about it. Imagine if Sonic 2 starred Tails and Amy, and Sonic 3 starred Amy and Knuckles. Though it shouldn’t knock off Donkey Kong’s merit just for that, as there’s more game in the series and to make up for the lack of being playable in DKC2 and 3. There is Donkey Kong fully playable in both Donkey Kong Country Returns and Tropical Freeze after all

My personal experience with Donkey Kong is mostly relegated to the Mario spin-offs I have already mentioned he often appears in. He was a playable character in the Mario Party games until the 5th one, though have returned to the series since Mario Party 10 allowing him to make his grand return to a popular Mario Party game when Superstars came out. In the Mario Party games that he was not in, his job was being the opposite of the Bowser space. The kind of space you want to land on cause he could potentially give you free stars, coins, or other things that may assist you. Outside of Mario Party, DK’s generally been the other choice for a heavy other then Bowser. In Smash he’s pretty much the franchise’s OG heavy being the only one of the Original 12 with that kind of bulk.

As I close off this section, I think it’s fair to talk about Rareware for a bit. While Rareware didn’t own Donkey Kong (Which was a misconception that an exec at Microsoft initially thought was the case, thinking they had taken Donkey Kong from Nintendo) it’s fair to say they should get a lot of credit for Donkey Kong’s legacy today. His appearance to this day is still carried over from the design from Donkey Kong Country. And those titles are still among the most beloved 2D platformers in Nintendo’s history. Without the Rareware games, it might have actually been possible that Donkey Kong would not have hit the success he currently enjoys. As while yes, both Mario and Donkey Kong debuted in the same game together. It’s Mario who took charge and became the face of Nintendo. If the DKC trilogy had never been made. There’s a chance Donkey Kong might have fell in a bit of obscurity. Maybe there’s a slight chance Donkey Kong Jr. might have at least made more occasional appearances given he was in Super Mario Kart. And another sort of crossroads related to the Mario Kart franchise came with Mario Kart 64, when Kamek was once planned to be in the game. Before he was replaced with Donkey Kong. (Perhaps to the chagrin of Kamek fans such as our own Critic Corner director, given Kamek’s rarely had major playable appearances since). From Mario Kart 64 and onwards, Donkey Kong has been a mainstay in the Mario spin-offs. It certainly wouldn’t have been possible without the work Rareware put into the Donkey Kong franchise in the 90s. At this point of my sections we had already gotten to Diddy, K. Rool, and Banjo. So we’re now closing off Rareware’s legacy in the Smash bros. roster with the titular character they helped make into (or at least maintain his status as) a Nintendo legend. It’s because of Rareware, that “you know him well” was an appropriate lyric in the DK Rap.

_____________________________________________________________________________

Combining both the legacy of the Donkey Kong arcade game, the Donkey Kong Country series, and the many Mario games he’s appeared in I think is enough for him to get above Kirby in our list. However, I feel Donkey Kong’s still less then Link on our scale of merit. Even if it might be a bit cheating that I consider Link covered through all his incarnations. When it’s probably true that if I considered Links different characters, and the current Link we have in BOTW the only one in consideration. Then many characters would outrank the current Link. But regardless Link is the main character of what I’d consider to be the closest to be a 2nd flagship for Nintendo. While Donkey Kong’s still at least a little tied up to the Mario series, regardless if it does mean it drags him into a high spot no matter what, it also limits him compared to Link. However, I doubt DK drops down further then the Top 5 by the end of all this.

1. Link
2. Donkey Kong
3. Kirby
4. Luigi
5. Bowser
6. Pac-Man
7. Diddy Kong
8. Banjo & Kazooie
9. King K. Rool
10. Sonic the Hedgehog
11. Bowser Jr.
12. Rosalina & Luma
13. Snake
14. Shulk
15. Pit
16. Ness
17. Jigglypuff
18. Duck Hunt
19. Steve
20. Lucas
21. Mythra
22. Min Min
23. Byleth
24. Wii Fit Trainer
25. Chrom
26. Dr. Mario
27. Dark Pit
28. Piranha Plant
 

SonicMario

Star Spirit
HALF WEEK WARNING

As of currently Toon Link is slated to be #5 should nothing happen by Sunday.

Wario 36
Olimar 30
Inkling 20
Peach 18
Toon Link 14

ROB 14
Captain Falcon 12
Mewtwo 12
Ridley 12
Simon Belmont 10
King Dedede 10
Mii Fighters 10
Little Mac 8
Mega Man 8
Joker 6
Greninja 6
Zero Suit Samus 6
Ice Climbers 6
Ike 4
Bayonetta 4
Robin 4
Wolf 2
Fox 2
Ganondorf 2
Sora 2
Villager 2
 

SonicMario

Star Spirit
TOON LINK IS LOCKED IN!

Peach is slated to be #4 for this batch now on the next Sunday

Wario 36
Olimar 30
Inkling 20
Peach 18
Toon Link 14
 
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