Monday, March 25, 2013

Fantasy Smash Bros.: Marill

Marill, sometimes incorrectly (but lovingly) referred to as Pikablu, was one of the first Generation II Pokémon to be shown prior to the games' release in 1999. He was also one of the Pokémon to appear in Melee out of a Pokéball, where he would perform the attack Tackle on opponents. I have redesignated this role to Poliwag, whose body type is very similar to Marill's. Marill also has the distinction of being the middle member of the most boringly named evolutionary lineage in the franchise, growing out of an Azurill and evolving into an Azumarill.

Not only was Marill one of the original posterboys for the Generation II games, but it showed up during the Orange Islands arc of the anime as the mascot Pokémon of Ash's new companion, Tracey Sketchit. While neither Marill nor Tracey were members of the primary cast for very long, Tracey's Marill does have the title of the only primary trainer Pokémon to lay an egg.

In addition to all this, I always had a special fondness for Pikablu and have wanted him to join the ranks of the Smash stars since before Melee was released, and I can even remember the feeling of disappointment as I flipped through the pages of my official strategy guide and found that Marill had been relegated to the overlooked slot of weak and pathetic Pokéball summon.

The Attacks

B + Up: Aqua Jet - Encasing himself like a liquid torpedo, Marill propels himself in pretty much any direction and pushes away all enemies in his path.

B Neutral: Bubble - Marill takes a deep breath then lets it all out with a barrage of beautiful, boucing bubbles. The bubbles will pop once they travel too far from Marill, and they don't deal much damage or knock-back. However, they can be aimed much like the fire blasts of Bowser and Charizard. Additionally, the bubbles are good defensively, as they can halt items and most projectiles. Unfortunately Marill can only blow bubbles for so long before he tires out.

B + Side: Covet - Somewhat uncharacteristic of the shy water-mouse, Marill hops up and slams into enemies. Though the attack is light and causes flinching as opposed to knock-back, it has a second function which opponents might find more annoying: it steals their items. The only exceptions to this rule are items which are no longer physically held by the player, such as Starmen.

B + Down: Defense Curl - When the going gets rough, the meek get curling. Marill rolls in the air and spins into a blur of solid blue, which can easily deflect any and all projectile attacks. Only the strongest of physical moves can damage the pipsquirt in this state.

Final Smash: Rain Dance - When Marill grabs the Smash Ball, the kiddy gloves are off! Normally Marill is a weaker player, but after performing the Rain Dance it starts to pour, and Marill loves his showers. Not only does the monsoon flood the stage and make it slippery for all other characters, but it invigorates Marill, doubling his attack strength and nearly tripling the amount of knock-back his attacks do. Combine this with the lowered traction and the inability to grab ledges (as they become rushing waterfalls) and you've got a dangerous situation for the few seconds before the storm clears.

The Stats

Size - 3/10
Weight - 2/10
Strength - 2/10
Speed - 8/10
Jump - 3/10

Size - Marill is recorded in the Pokédex as being one-foot four-inches, the exact same height as Pikachu. Super Smash Bros. uses a less distinct system of height, however, and in Melee Marill was absolutely tiny. He's been scaled up a bit, to about the height of Kirby and Jigglypuff, to play a more competitive game with the veterans.

Weight - According to the Pokédex, Marill ways a whopping eighteen pounds! Unfortunately that doesn't translate very well when your opponents are half-ton turtles and gorillas.

Strength - Marill's small size and lightweight contribute to it fitting quite comfortably in the "Powderpuff" class of fighters. Its attacks are typically light and do more in the way of causing enemies to flinch than to be knocked back.

Speed - Making up for its *ahem* shortcomings, Marill is a speedy little guy. This makes it a good idea to Covet items away from enemies and head for the hills, where you can take them out from afar.

Jump - Marill isn't exactly built for maneuvering on the land. While it might make up for this by being fast, it can't jump very high at all. Reaching higher platforms might prove to be a challenge for the little guy.

A Closer Look - While on the outset it would seem that Marill is almost certainly doomed in any competition without items, there are a few other things which need to be considered. Most importantly is the fact that while Marill's stats might be somewhat lacking he makes up for it in two ways. First and most notably, Marill's best stat in the Pokémon games is its Defense stat. This translates into Smash to make the game a little more balanced in Marill's favor by automatically cushioning the attacks against him: by a full 50%! Every attack done to Marill does half as much damage as it would against any other player. That ought to even things out a little bit!

Additionally, while Marill's attacks are typically light and fluffy, the Pokémon has brought out the big guns with its signature ability, Huge Power. This ability will sometimes activate when Marill is attacking, and will make his attacks deal twice as much damage and twice as much knock-back. A pretty sweet situation, all things considered.

The Color Palettes

Basic Palette - The primary palette is blue with a white belly. This color scheme is also used for when Marill is used on the Blue Team.

Pink Palette - This palette is inspired by an early concept artwork for Marill. This is also used when Marill is on the Red Team.

Green Palette - This palette is actually Shiny Marill. This is used when Marill is also on the Green Team.

Yellow Palette - This palette is inspired by Azumarill's shiny colors. It is also inspired by the nickname "Pikablu."

White Palette - This palette is a reversal of the basic color scheme, because it looks cool. It also has a more icy tone, which is appropriate since Marill can learn some ice attacks.

Multi-Color Palette - Inspired by a beach ball, which could have been one of Marill's inspirations.

The Victory Theme

Marill shares his victory theme with every other Pokémon character.

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