Monday, June 24, 2013

5 Third-Party Characters Who Should Join the Brawl!

It's been a while since I've let loose my Super Smash Bros. for Wii U wish list (last time it was F-Zero). That bums me out, because I've been wanting to get around to this one for a while. Damn Life keeps getting in my way! Anyways, I've finally got a good writing day, and I'm inking all over it. Are you ready? Here's my top five third-party characters for the next Super Smash Bros.!

5. Frogger

Frogger is one of the Golden Age gladiators that entered the gaming arena before consoles were even a speck on the radar. While he might have once been the talk of the town, even garnering enough acclaim to star in a segment of the Saturday Supercade show, Frogger's been kind of out of sorts the past couple of decades. While his colleagues, Pac-Man, Mario, and Bomberman have all continued to grace gaming platforms everywhere (and even Q*Bert has recently found a place in the Hollywood limelight), Frogger's been hopping in the shadows. He's starred in a number of titles over the years and gone through a major design overhaul, but non of his sequels have quite taken off the way the original did. Regardless, when I think of video game superstars, he climbs right into the top ten, and most people have played some version of the original Frogger since it's been ported to most every system. Like with Pac-Man, Frogger's redesign takes a little getting used to, but it's not so bad once you give it a bit. And, little known fact, this ample amphibian is a member of Konami's pantheon, meaning he chills with Solid Snake between foiling Swampy's schemes. This connection, as well as Super Smash Bros. U's emphasis on classic character revival, makes me want to see Long-Tongue's debut just a little more.

4. Crash Bandicoot

Once upon a time Crash Bandicoot was the face of Sony's PlayStation. Born and bred as a rival to Mario and Sonic, Crash led the PlayStation (along with his ally, Spyro the Dragon) on a successful crusade to the tippy top of the marketplace. That history's all come crashing down in recent years, though, with the brazen bandicoot making the voyage for cleaner shores, including Mario's own personal swimming pool. Crash is as important and relevant to gaming as Pac-Man and Mario are, and his absence from PlayStation All-Star Battle Royale came as an incredible shock. It would be pretty darn sweet to see Nintendo scoop this one right out from beneath Sony's nose, and he really wouldn't stand out at all. Crash is one of the few third-party characters that would feel right at home with the rest of the Smash SuperStars.

3. Bomberman

Like Frogger, Bomberman is a classic all-star with some unlikely connections: actually, the same exact one! While Bomber's games might be developed and published by Hudson Soft (a company which is already intimately linked with Nintendo), they're actually a child company to Metal Gear Solid's Konami. This connection has shown in the past, with Bomberman coming up against Snake in a previous Smashclone known as DreamMix TV World Fighters way back in 2003. Not only that, but this guy has also matched wits with the egomanic Wario in one of the earliest gaming crossovers: Wario Blast: Featuring Bomberman! for the great gray Game Boy. Of all third-party characters, Bomberman is one of the few to actually deserve a chance at the Smash awards... but there's two others who might take a little priority over the rumble-ready robot.


I admit that KOS-MOS' inclusion on this list is partially due to my insatiable appetite for out of place characters, but it's also partially due to her not being out of place one little bit once you think about the connections she has. First of all, her trilogy of PS2 RPGs is held in pretty high regard by fans of multiple genres (both JRPG fans and SciFi fans get pretty into it), and the first two titles were completely remade for the Nintendo DS in Japan. These titles are part of the long reaching Xeno RPG series, which began with Xenogears, became Xenosaga, and after Nintendo's acquisition of Monolith Soft became... Xenoblade Chronicles, break out success for the Nintendo Wii. Not only does KOS-MOS' franchise have a direct relation to one of Nintendo's own, but her trilogy is actually owned by Namco, who, I might remind you, is attached to the Smash U project. Bamco is also a huge fan of giving her cameos wherever possible, and she's rumbled with pretty much all of their line up at one point or another. KOS-MOS also provides the opportunity for a lot of flashy techniques, what with her ability to summon outrageously large plasma cannons. Really, this is one character I'd pay just a little bit extra to see throwing down with the rest of the crew.

1. Pac-Man

At one time Pac-Man managed to save the gaming industry, something Mario would due when the market began to grow again stale. This launched the probable pizza into instant stardom, and he became the first video game character to star in his very own half-hour program. While he fell by the wayside as gaming evolved, and went through a new change almost every decade, Pac's been there through it all and he's given nearly every genre a chance. From the arcade classic to Tetris knockoffs to point-and-click adventures, Pac-Man's a really well-rounded hero. Oh, and did I mention that he's Namco's mascot and Mega Man's perpetual rival? I didn't? Well I have now! If any third-party character deserves to join the ranks of Nintendo's finest, it's this guy. And if I were confident about anything regarding this new pair of punch-parties, it's that Pac-Man will most certainly be there to prove that some things never go out of style.