Batman / Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Tale That Kicked My Childhood’s Ass

 

[Some spoilers]

 

This comic book kicked my childhood in the ass, and then I immediately asked for another—please and thank you. So it works out that there are two volumes of this incredibly entertaining story. I regret that it took me so long to pick this book up, but the wait was worth it.

It is more than possible that I already played this premise out in my young mind, dropping the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Shredder, and the Foot Clan in Gotham to see how they deal with Batman’s world. It’s a simple setup, with Krang blamed for stranding them in another universe, but there isn’t much more explanation than that. I don’t think it is needed though. Keep the setup simple and let the story and characters shine through their interactions.

That doesn’t mean that these things aren’t addressed, but the minutia is lines that aren’t meant to be lingered on. Some are even played for inside jokes to longtime readers. My favorite is the reference that Gotham is just a large field where the Turtles come from. Stuff like that sets the tone for some of the fun subtle comedy while the mutant’s usual antics are hard to miss. Michelangelo does ride the robot dinosaur in the Batcave after all. Sometimes the book just needs to remind everyone that these are teenage amphibians.

Sure the characters are having fun—like Batman finally admitting how great pizza truly is—but all of that is heavily balanced by the blood and violence readers crave from some of the other comics. Side characters die, main ones will get hurt, and there are some deeper, darker themes that creep in. Several elements of the plot may seem a little ridiculous, but the stakes feel high and the dialogue commits to it. One of the first things Shredder does is screw over Penguin and comes close to killing him.

It also feels close enough to the respective continuities that this story could easily fit into the canon, even though we all know Batman will never bring it up again. This makes for a good story that embraces both franchises and finds that needed steadiness.

Certain moments generate an inner giddiness, meetings fans of both comics have always wanted to see, like Commissioner Gordon just trying to close his eyes and pretend they aren’t there because talking turtles might be his new breaking point. I personally love when Mikey freaks out over the Batmobile, and then later the Turtles have to ‘borrow’ one of the older versions of the car to get across the city.

This also gives a chance for characters to look badass, like having Shredder and Batman go toe-to-toe or letting the Turtles take on the League of Assassins. Splinter gets to tail Batman back to the Batcave, and pull off some awesome sensei lines as Leonardo and Bruce spar. Younger me would have lost his shit seeing these two go at it, and I had a particular glee for the ending of that particular confrontation. We all knew that they would fight when they first met up, like any good comic team-up book—it’s mandatory. Leo comments that Batman fights like a detective and Bruce has to respect Splinter’s teaching, so the mutual respect is awesome.

“What is truly stranger, an animal who acts like a man, or a man who acts like an animal?”—Splinter

Things get extra hairy when the mutagen becomes involved and begins mixing with Gotham’s unsavory citizens, but there are a few missed opportunities. I was hoping for Man-Bat to make an appearance and Casey Jones to get some more vigilante action on the streets, but the biggest offense is that the Turtles do run into Killer Croc and somehow don’t compare him to Leatherhead, asking if they are related or something. A lot of these things could easily be called fan service, but that would take away from how legitimately good and creative both volumes of this story are.

The first six issue set ends with a promise of more, and the creative team certainly delivers. Part two takes place on the Turtles home turf and the book feels much more like their usual content in story and aesthetics. Batman takes a bit more of a backseat at first here, being the guest in their city, while the plot allows Bane to assume the role of main antagonist. For the heroes, this is Donatello’s story, who happens to be my favorite Turtle out of the four. I thought some of the newness and excitement over a crossover would fade with the second book but was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed both volumes. I was a little sad when it was all over.

Upon first picking up the book it seemed to be quite lengthy and I was hoping for a longer story or multiple arcs, but the rest of this deluxe edition was extra content. Both volumes had excellent variant covers for each issue, sketchbook drawings, as well as notes on how the crossover was planned and produced. The first book even has another printing of the first issue, but in the form of an unfinished director’s cut. So for those readers who like the bonus features with their comics, I cannot recommend this one enough.

These stories were written by James Tynion IV and the art was done by Freddie Williams II, making me think I need a number at the end of my name to work on my childhood favorites. The writing and dialogue are well done, rarely feeling out of place as they juggle the different characters, while the art is dark and just gritty enough. There are a couple of scenes where the Turtles do look odd, like when Raphael is drawn without his mask, but that might just be me. TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman also worked on some of the variant covers, which is an excellent choice.

I am not sure if there will be any other continued stories in continuity to add more to these two volumes, but there is another take on this epic team-up. Batman/TMNT Adventures sees the animated series version of Batman encountering the 2012 cartoon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in a new tale where Gotham’s rogues wreak havoc on New York. This came to be off of the success of the first crossover, and now I feel like I have to read it too. There was also a rumor of an animated movie happening—so DC, get on that.

There are some truly lackluster and disappointing crossovers in the world of comics, but I shouldn’t have let that cynicism keep me away from something I’ve wanted since I was a kid. Lesson learned. I love it when comics can make my dreams come true, but even more when it leaves me eager for the next great adventure.

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16 Movies I Wish I had Seen in 2018

I see a lot of movies each year, but I’m often impressed with just how many come out, and all the good ones I manage to miss. Now with streaming services pumping their properties out and the continued slew of good Indie pictures it’s even harder to keep up. There are so many films I wish I’d seen last year, and I’m not even going to discuss the really popular movies I missed. I know my list has a lot of horror movies on it, but sue me—I have a type.

My hope here is that someone reading this gets as excited about a few of these films as I did, and that I see all of these before 2019 is over.

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Retro Reflections: Nick Arcade

A cherished gem from my childhood, I remember looking forward to Nick Arcade on weekend afternoons. Like many kids my age, I shared the dream of journeying to Nickelodeon Studios in nearby Orlando, Florida as a contestant and vanquishing the video wizards. That unfortunately never came to pass and they eventually moved the studio out to California. Forgetting about that for a moment though, I want to bring everyone to a simpler time in the early ‘90s when a creative team made an ambitious show that seemed light-years ahead, but embraced something like Starcade that came before it.

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Top 10: Games I Played in 2018

Some fun games that will entertain many for years to come came out over the past twelve months, but those were not the only titles I played; you should see the size of my backlog after all. Here is the list of games that I played in 2018 worthy enough to be mentioned.

 

  1. Grand Theft Auto Online (PC)

Up until a few months ago I was putting some serious time into Grand Theft Auto V on the PC. Sure, I beat the game’s single-player back in 2013, but I had barely scratched the fresh new online that was offered and didn’t truly dive in until early this year. Since then it has become a completely different beast with several expansions under its belt, and the addition of nightclubs truly brought the experience close to what I had always wanted from a multiplayer GTA. I do feel players still need a dependable crew to make this truly fun, and I lucked out in finding some likeminded criminals. We shared some incredible moments together, but nothing will beat that feeling of finally conquering Doomsday after the hours we put in, standing triumphant on the observatory. I can’t recommend this game, but for the right person, it’s an awesome ride.

 

  1. Far Cry V (Xbox One)

This is a series I almost always enjoy (screw you, Primal). It isn’t ‘great’ or doing much in the name of innovating gameplay with the last few entries, but it certainly is a lot of fun, offering solid gunplay and a slew of activities to keep players busy. I like the new setting, taking the series into America, and enjoy how the world is split up amongst the family. It sticks to some of its repetitive elements from previous games without ever being too boring. I’m not sure why a character creator and personalization was needed, or if having the protagonist kidnapped that many times was good for the narrative, but none of the flaws had me wanting to put the game down. Not even the horrible driving mechanics that plague the series. Now, with New Dawn on the horizon, I may go back and play in this sandbox a bit more soon.

 

  1. WWE 2K19 (PS4)

I used to be so into these WWE games, but for some reason I lost interest starting with the 2K15 release. The newer changes sapped some of the fun out of it for me, and though I dabbled with most of the games released, none of them caused that same spark or offered up a reason to come back. I’m not even sure if I would have given this installment a chance until it was on sale had I not been given the opportunity to review it, but I am so glad that happened. WWE 2K19 took the previous few games and improved on them, tweaking the gameplay to make it faster, smoother, and more fun. They added an incredible story mode and gave a plethora of options, making it one of the best iterations to have been released in several years. Now I’m ready to make some dream matches and put real hours into delivering the smackdown!

Read the article here.

 

  1. Blade (Game Boy Color)

My reviews over any given year are mostly older titles, so it isn’t much of a surprise that one would end up on this list, even if the majority of them are not good. It is a surprise to me though that I would find a new gem on a handheld system, since I don’t play them often, but more importantly, one that is based off of a movie and its comic book source material. It is surprisingly deeper than I expected, containing multiple types of gameplay, and offers options for players of different skill levels. Blade has a visual style I loved, and more importantly it wasn’t just a watered-down version of its main console counterpart. This is an interesting title a lot of us missed, so I’m glad to have discovered it on a whim (with a little help from my Patreon surbscribers). Wesley Snipes will always be Blade.

Read the article here:

 

  1. Smash Bros. Ultimate (Switch)

As a huge fan of the previous games, especially the N64 and Gamecube versions, I knew exactly what I was getting with this and it did not disappoint. This title tries to live up to that last word in its name, having every character, tons of stages, and so much to do, feeling like the Ultimate Smash experience. The long road to unlocking each of the seventy plus characters has been an amazingly fun time and World of Light may not have been everything some people wanted, but it is challenging and enjoyable. The new spirit system took me a bit to get used to, but it gets players more involved. Smash is still the best game to break out when friends are over and I see myself putting a lot of time into this title for years to come. I actually cannot wait to play as that Piranha Plant.

Read the article here:

 

  1. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (Switch)

I often find myself in need of a really good shooter to improve my quality of life and this one came at a good time. I’ve played many iterations of Wolfenstein over the years, but The New Order was so refreshing and made Nazi killing great again. I was worried about how they would follow that up, but this concern turned out to be unfounded, as The New Colossus delivered in so many ways. Just when I thought things couldn’t get crazier and I had killed everyone, the developers surprised me yet again, including one of the most American endings in a game ever. I played this on the Switch for a review, focusing on how the port performed. The big selling point for some here though is that The New Colossus is now a portable killing spree, for those it doesn’t make motion sick. The game was quite the experience all together and only had a few flaws. I can’t wait to run through it again on my PC, dual wielding freedom at the highest settings possible.

Read the article here:

 

  1. Red Dead Redemption 2 (PS4)

We walked a long road from the previous installment of this series, and now Rockstar is sending players on a prequel adventure to show how it all started. It is no surprise the game sold so well, being highly anticipated, in a niche genre (good Westerns), and from a studio that rarely disappoints the masses, but it is nice to see something live up to the hype. There is a wonderful new protagonist, a large map with a ton to do, and a sandbox that will keep players returning (not to mention the online). The world is immersive and designed to make players take their time with the story. I had some issues with Red Dead Redemption 2 for sure, which you can read about, but none of that slowed me down in wanting to complete the adventure, slowly paced or not. RDR2 made the top of a lot lists this year and for good reasons. Just because something has a few flaws or annoyances doesn’t mean it isn’t a masterpiece, but eye of the beholder and all that.

Read the article here:

 

  1. The Guy Game (Xbox)

I know what this looks like. It’s hard to imagine this game making the list, especially ranked this high, but I’m basing this off of the games I finally gave some real time to in 2018 and actually enjoyed. I loved my hours put in with The Guy Game, and not just because of the hot topless ladies. It helps, sure, but I’m actually a fan of trivia games. Don’t misread that as me being good at them, I just enjoy the genre a lot. So finding a moderately good trivia game on the original Xbox, with boobs, which is like an early 2000s time capsule? Perfect. What makes this game work more is that I played it with friends over, and that it isn’t just about getting the question right, but guessing if the ‘hottie’ knows the answer too. I might suggest getting the DLC for this one to improve the experience, and by that of course I mean alcohol.

Read the article here:

 

 

  1. God of War (PS4)

I played the first God of War game when it came out and started the second, but never finished it and for some reason couldn’t get into the third. I know, everyone else loved it, but there was something that kept me from getting back into the deicide. I heard that this new version of the game was much different, but due to my past experiences I was going to let it pass until it was cheaper, but thankfully a friend leant me his copy, and I am so thankful for that. Much like how Resident Evil 4 and the new Tomb Raider series changed their franchises and revitalized the games, I had a similar feeling with God of War, Dad of Boy, or whatever other fun names people came up with for it. The mechanics underwent a huge overhaul and the appearance was bright and colorful, while the story leaves the Greek gods and Kratos of old behind in so many ways. The story pulled me in later on and the axe combat felt right with puzzles that didn’t annoy me, creating a fresh experience with one of PlayStation’s best characters. Boy!

 

  1. Spider-Man (PS4)

It is tough being Spider-Man, but I was up for the challenge. Ol’ web-head has been the star of so many games, several of them quite good, but I’ll admit some skepticism when a new title is announced. Something told me that Insomniac would take care of my hero though, that after a game like Sunset Overdrive, I could at least trust them with the gameplay. After that first trailer though, I had almost no worries, and I am so glad this happened. Spider-Man is at the top of this list because it is the one I had the most fun with throughout the year. There were so many times I didn’t want to put the controller down or couldn’t wait to get back into that world. The team did an excellent job with their version of New York city, using new and old characters, and a great story. The web slinging and combat were both easy to learn, but experience made me a master, with fun gadgets, decent skill trees, and those slick costumes. The team made almost everything fun, with even the side quests not being annoying, except for maybe a couple of those timed challenge missions. I know this game is amazing though because as soon as I finished, I wanted to immediately start new game plus mode. This is also one of the first titles in forever that I have eagerly awaited its downloadable content. The three-act epilogue has been a fun icing on a great cake. Insomniac, take your time and make a great sequel, because this is my super hero game for a while to come. This is the adventure I recommend for everyone to play this year. With great spider powers comes spectacular fun!

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Just Cause 4 (PC) – A Less Than Revolutionary Revolution

I haven’t overthrown a dictatorship or blown anything up while jumping from a moving plane since part two, so the series that makes the most out of its ridiculous physics is back to do what it does best and entertain. Now, Just Cause 4 drops players in the fictional South American country of Solis, an impressive and developed region that is being held captive by its rulers via malicious weather machines.

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RETRO REFLECTIONS: LEGACY OF KAIN: SOUL REAVER

The Legacy of Kain series has a devoted fan base for sure, but I have only dabbled in its other titles outside of Soul Reaver. For many, this game is the standout of the series. It is remembered more prominently than others, for better or worse. I remember my experiences with it back on the PlayStation fondly, but revisiting some titles often shows more cracks and blemishes. With that in mind, I have decided to review the Dreamcast version this go around.

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Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Fighter Select

Too many people ask the silly question of, “why do we fight?” I am much more interested in who we choose to fight as. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate presents players with a plethora of options in that manner, various fighting styles, looks, and some people just like to be able to whoop up on others as a cute little Pokemon or a Piranha Plant.

With the new installment right around the corner, I asked for a little help to go over some of our preferred warriors, giving insight into that question the character select screen presents. Whether it is a classic go-to from previous games or a new wildcard, here is who makes the cut.

 

 

BugDoctor

 

 

Mega Man

The day Mega Man was revealed for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U was a very good day. I’d always thought he would fit well in the series and had wanted him on the roster since Melee. But it was Brawl that introduced the possibility of third party character inclusion with Snake and Sonic, which gave me further hope for the Blue Bomber to enter the fray. Finally, he joined the roster for Smash Bros 3DS and Wii U with perhaps one of the most hype character reveals created, which I may have watched on repeat for a large portion of the day. Mega Man’s moveset is composed almost entirely of powers from classic Mega Man titles. He’s a very effective zoner, with buster pellets used as a wall to keep enemies at bay, and more situational projectiles such as Metal Blade and Crash Bomber for mix-ups and setups,, giving him a versatile toolkit.

Mega Man’s movement and weight feel nearly identical to the original games, which is particularly impressive. He’s a unique character who plays unlike any of the rest; using Mega Man feels like playing him straight off of the NES. He fares pretty well in the meta game for Smash Wii U as well, hovering in the high mid-tier range, though some matchups give him a lot of trouble. Players can only zone out opponents for so long, and when they get close, Capcom’s mascot is easy to combo, so using Mega Man effectively means being patient and observant of your opponent’s habits. That being said, I find him the most fun character to use in the most recent game, and I did my best to represent him competitively as a result. I’m looking forward to seeing how he has changed in Ultimate!

 

 

Samus

Metroid has always been my favorite Nintendo franchise, partly due to its science fiction nature and because of the engaging exploration and platforming that revved the engines on the now-popular Metroidvania genre. As soon as I saw that Samus Aran was in the original Super Smash Bros., I immediately knew who my character was going to be. Samus was my main back on the N64 and Melee. Although I didn’t use her as much in the following entries, she’s always the first character I try when a new Smash Bros. releases.

Sakurai has always done a great job representing Nintendo’s diverse cast through their moves and aesthetics, and although Samus isn’t as agile in Smash Bros. as she is in the Metroid series, a lot of her iconic abilities are retained well, such as her Charge Shot and Morph Ball Bombs. Seeing these in action in a fighting game has always been cool to me, but the smaller touches really bring the character to life. For instance, her forward smash shows her arm cannon’s missile bay opening as she does a strong forward punch, even in the original title. The thrusters on the back of her suit activate when she jumps or boosts forward with a dash attack. It’s neat to see such small details. Unfortunately, Samus is rarely considered a top or even high tier character, with Melee being her best showing. That being said, she has great projectile mix-ups, solid mind games (simply by keeping a charged shot loaded so the opponent is afraid and guessing), and a lot of hard-hitting attacks to finish opponents with, making her consistently fun to use.

 

Mike Levy

 

 

Fox McLoud

Picking Fox McCloud as your main in Smash Bros tends to get a lot of varied reactions depending on the version being played. In the original Nintendo 64 release in 1999, as well as 2001’s Gamecube follow-up, players will typically deal with a lot of snide comments about Fox being cheap or overused. Whereas the Brawl and Smash Bros. Wii U entries typically bolster players to become overly cocky when it comes to defeating the cosmic-based vulpes, and with good reason. But to me, playing with Fox McCloud became like second nature. Fox was always one of the faster characters in the series, which immediately drew me to him. While I had always known him as the lead character in the space opera rail shooter, Star Fox, seeing him outside of his cockpit was a treat. He has a bit of a snide, smart-alecky vibe that I grew to appreciate. From the way he would say “MEE-SHAWN COMB-PLEET” after winning a match, his powerful uppercut kick forcing him to shout jibberish like “TOVYA!” or his little pitter-patter sounds while running, Fox always felt suave, slick and daring to play as in this brawler.

While later entries in the series tend to cast him aside, he peaked in Melee, where the running joke for serious tournament-goers would involve two Fox McCloud’s fighting each other in Final Destination, a flat surfaced level which lent itself to the hardcore who hated the gimmicks that Smash Bros. catered to, like items and stage interactions. Honestly, part of this was the reason I stepped away from Smash Bros. on a serious level; that and losing a memory card save that had over four thousand hours of playtime as Fox alone. But despite being nerfed in later entries, he will always be my go to no matter what.

 

 

Ice Climbers

Picking mains isn’t always easy when it comes to fighting games. Sometimes, they choose you instead. At least, that’s how I became intimately familiar with the Ice Climbers in Super Smash Bros. Melee on the Gamecube. Back in 2001, I was a freshman in college, and we certainly played Melee quite a bit. In fact, I’d say it was all we did outside of going to classes or hang out at a friend’s apartment during parties. Little did I know that the Ice Climbers were actually a pair of characters frozen in time and thawed out just for Nintendo’s all star slamboree. But it wasn’t until several months after sinking my teeth into this game with friends that I became enamored with the climbers. The stars of their own video game back in 1985 on the NES, Popo and Nana, better known to me as Brother and Sister Bear (don’t ask..) were a rag tag duo of parka-wearing kids with mallets that worked together to reach new heights in their own game. In Smash Bros., these two would fight at the same time, with Nana often mirroring Popo’s behaviors and attacks, depending on the buttons pressed. Their attacks involved sending ice blocks towards the enemy, turning players into popsicles with their freeze mist, or swinging themselves around in circles furiously swinging their way toward opponents. What they were really doing though was spinning their way into my heart.

I found the Ice Climbers to be adorably brutal. They loved to scrap, and it was always hilarious to talk smack after beating someone with them. Despite the fact that they were a bit slippery to control sometimes (unintentional pun?), and their attacks often were fairly weak, The Ice Climbers are consistently fun to play as, and that’s why they continue to be my main to this day. From jokingly wailing for “Brother Bear’s” return after he’s been KOed, to talking trash with a solo Nana (Sister Bear), the Ice Climbers will melt hearts one hammer swing at a time.

 

Donovan “OneEye” Z

 

 

Ike

Whenever I think about the Smash Bros. franchise, one thing jumps to mind, and that thing is speed. The games favor fast moving attacks, quick recoveries, and high technical accuracy, with such timing and precision that, at a competitive level, battles are often decided by single frames of attack animation or a cancel. So why on Earth would I write about playing Ike, a traditionally slow and clunky super heavy fighter? Because Ike exemplifies everything I love about the heavy playstyle.

Ike is a large, sword-wielding hero who primarily uses a combination of mind games, enemy reads, and zoning to punish mistakes and pile on the damage. Since Ike can easily initiate fights through the use of air neutrals and strong grabs, he forces his opponent to act reactivity to his aggression. Do they try to run from his attacks and put themselves out of position, block and leave themselves open to easy grab combos, or try to attack back, only to be out of range? Figuring out what the opposition most likely reaction will be means that players are able to capitalize on their mistakes and create openings for powerful damage moves.

What makes Ike so potent is that once you understand those fundamentals, they can be used in conjunction with long range to abuse friends and also enjoy some breathing room. If you properly zone with Ike, taking particular care to always land the hits at maximum range, opponents will find themselves too far away to retaliate, but too close to run. Simple and strong would be the easiest way to describe his playstyle. Don’t underestimate it.

The future looks even brighter for Ike. In Smash Bros. Ultimate they have given him a healthy buff by removing frames from his attack and recovery animations, as well as made him faster and more fluid in mobility. While this is somewhat dangerous, since players could find themselves in close quarters more often, I think things can only go up from here for my favorite swordsman.

 

 

King K. Rool

The Donkey Kong Country series holds an incredibly fond place in my heart. I remember playing DKC2 at my friend’s house as a kid, then when I finally bought my own SNES as an adult. One of the included games was the original DKC, but the thing I’ve always enjoyed the most about the series is the large and bombastic King K. Rool. So after watching hours of gameplay and analysis I feel confident in saying he is going to be my go-to in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

Now that the online community has been able to dissect numerous matches, we can understand his place within the game. This tyrant has two main strengths and one common weakness. Firstly, he has a large variance in hitboxes available for his moves. Having attacks that can hit above, below, or even behind the player grants flexibility in how damage is applied. However, this comes with the drawback that he has sluggish attack and landing annimations, with some being as fast as six frames, and most being as slow as twelve or more. So the king may be the heaviest of the heavies in terms of damage, with moves that easily break the 10% base health threshold and others pushing a terrifying 20%.

King K. Rool is not without his own unique defensive options. He has a counter attack in his arsenal that will reflect any attack blocked by it, returning to sender and increasing the damage. More interesting is that, due to his imposing belly plate, a healthy amount of his attacks incorporate a super armor effect, meaning they will continue to land even through opposing force. However, after blocking three blows in a row his belly plate will break, stunning and leaving him vulnerable. Luckily it rapidly regenerates as long as the player doesn’t use attacks that utilize the plate until this happens.

All of this makes him a potential fighter to shake up the roster with, but the thing that excites me most about his place in the game is what this could possibly mean for his future within the Donkey Kong franchise. Those games have been developed by Retro Studios for a few games now and seriously lack my favorite Kremling King, which saddens me. I hope his grand entrance in Ultimate means he’ll have new adventures to sink his teeth in.

 

 

Stephen Wilds

 

 

Mario

I find it odd how few people actually main Mario or his cooler brother Luigi, being as they are such mainstays for Nintendo and gaming in general. This plumber has always treated me well though, as he may be the best all around character on the roster still to this day. This Italian Stallion lets me decide the playstyle and how I need to adjust to different opponents, which makes him invaluable when diving into a new entry of the Smash Bros. franchise. Though he has a fireball projectile and F.L.U.D.D., Mario is a working class type who prefers to fight up close and with his hands, favoring combos and my aggressive style. I’m still trying to perfect cancelling his animations at the right time, but turning him on a dime opens up a lot of possibilities on the fly. My aerial game isn’t superb, but this paisano’s kicks make it easy to eliminate frequent fliers.

I love how Mario’s moveset incorporates power-ups from several of his games, changing over time, growing with the character’s various adventures. These are badass moves, as I keep finding new and interesting ways to use the cape and water blast maneuvers. Turning people around and pushing them out of the air quickly makes them regret underestimating Mario’s abilities. He seems weakest on the ledge, at least for me, and recovery can be made quite difficult against a skilled opponent, but I try not to find myself in those situations if possible.

I’m often seen rocking his fire flower colors (red and white) to stand out and show that I’m bringing the power. Some of my favorite stages in Smash come from the Mario Bros. franchise. Well, maybe not the original Peach’s Castle, but the rest are great. He’s not the boring old mascot many think, but a mustachioed death machine that can be incredibly fun. Mario is mained a bit more in tournaments, and like many fans with their favorite franchises, I always want to represent the Mushroom Kingdom whenever I can.

 

 

Little Mac

I’ve never beaten Mike Tyson, but I embraced these fists of fury long ago and still take a run at the champ every now and then. When playing Smash Bros. on Wii U I looked to Mac’s can-do attitude and Coach’s Louis’ wisdom to lead me into victory. I found him difficult to use at first, constantly throwing myself off of stages or getting caught unprepared, but some time in training mode fixed most of this, and nothing educates someone faster than a thorough defeat.

Possibly one of the best ground-based fighters on the roster, he’s also fast with that fancy footwork. This pink hoodied pugilist hits hard, has a great pummel, and many of his big moves generate knockback. Mac always feels like he has the potential to end the fight at any moment. His wall jump is fun and helps to keep him from an early grave when used properly and in conjunction with that up attack. This makes me a little more willing to go off the stage for follow-ups and less angry when it costs me dearly.

Just don’t be too reckless or impatient. Boxing is a metal sport as well as physical, and this is a fighter who should know when not to overexert or chase targets. Little Mac’s counters can be predictable, so most suggest not to use them unless it is safe. I had to learn not to jump with him as much as I do with most characters as well. More importantly, conditioning myself to reset and not trying to stay on someone like a dog with a bone was tough. Just don’t miss. Practice precision.

I’m pretty sure I’m not using this fighter to his full potential, because he seems so versatile and it looks like Mac has been buffed even further for Ultimate, meaning he’ll be putting the pressure on even more. There is some hate for those that main this character, but I think they’re a bit salty when the hits just keep on coming. If all that wasn’t enough reason to try him, the Punch-Out!! theme is so inspirational and makes me want to keep on fighting.

 

Thanks for reading, and make sure to check out my fellow collaborators.

BugDoctor – [Link: https://www.twitch.tv/BugDr]

Mike Levy – [Link: https://www.youtube.com/user/Dongled]

Donovan “OneEye” Z – [Link: https://twitter.com/NAOneEye]

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