Luigi usually stands in Mario's shadow, but that might change in the new Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS. While it's still too early to know for sure, Luigi appears considerably improved. When we look back at his previous incarnations, Luigi was never a powerhouse character. In every single game he's had problems with recovery options and approaching opponents safely. However, he has been improved with each game and the Wii U and 3DS versions seem to follow that trend. Now if only we could get Death Stare Luigi from Mario Kart 8.

Super Smash Bros. 64

Luigi is the only clone character in the original Super Smash Brothers game. Just like in many of the Super Mario titles (most notably Super Mario Bros. 2), Luigi isn't an identical clone of Mario in Smash, but most of their attacks only have a few minor differences to separate the two. Unfortunately, Luigi gets the pointy end of the stick, as his floaty jump and generally slower movement give him abysmal mobility.

Where Luigi excels is in comboing into his Super Jump Punch. The floaty jump makes it more difficult for Luigi to land combos compared to other characters, but when his Super Jump Punch combos connect, they do big damage and offer plenty of KO opportunities. Luigi also has decent albeit predictable recovery options. His generally high jump combined with the vertical distance of the Super Jump Punch and the horizontal potential of the Luigi Cyclone make his recovery better than average. It's not enough to overcome Luigi's weaknesses, as most competitive players agree he's one of the worst characters in the game.



Super Smash Bros. Melee


Super Smash Bros. Melee

While Luigi didn't receive many buffs or nerfs in the transition from Smash 64 to Melee, the advanced movement options in Melee really helped Luigi become a better character. He has one of the best wavedashes in the game, thanks to his long and floaty jump, and he has great combo ability thanks to improved aerial attacks. It's also more difficult for opposing players to land combos on Luigi in Melee, which is another semi-buff.

Luigi's Super Jump Punch lost its horizontal distance and doesn't get high vertically compared to Smash 64. This means that his recovery options are more focused on the Green Missile, which makes him very predictable and easily edgeguarded. Luigi also received several new attacks, including a new Up and Down Tilt, Forward Smash and Back Aerial. However, these changes weren't enough to really move him up the tier list. He's not the worst, but he's far from the best in the game.



Super Smash Bros. Brawl


Super Smash Bros. Brawl

Luigi saw a few improvements from Smash 64 to Melee, and even more from Melee to Brawl. His movement was improved, especially in the air. This was a great help because Luigi is best when attacking in the air thanks to his powerful aerial attacks. Many of his attacks are now stronger and/or faster compared to their Melee counterparts. In addition, his Down Taunt is one of only two taunts in Brawl that inflicts damage, and can even work as a potential KO tool when edgeguarding or in the air.

Some of the weaknesses Luigi had in previous games are still apparent in Brawl. While his movement options improved, he still suffers from lackluster mobility. In addition, he has relatively short reach and still has problems closing in on opponents despite the fact that he can spam his Fireball projectile. If you can close in on an opponent you can inflict big damage, but most skilled players will make Luigi's approach very difficult.



Super Smash Bros. Wii U / 3DS


Super Smash Bros. Wii U / 3DS

Like many returning characters, Luigi appears relatively unchanged at first glance. However, as we played around with Mario's favorite brother, it quickly became clear that he could be much improved in the new game. At this point, Luigi seems to have much greater combo potential. His new Down Throw has a lot of combo potential, and his new Dash Attack works significantly better than his Dash Attack in previous games.

Luigi's recovery seems to be nerfed slightly in that his attacks don't quite have the same range as in Brawl. His Fireball is slightly faster, but at the moment Luigi still seems to suffer while trying to approach an opponent. He still doesn't have a good way to approach despite the increased Fireball speed. However, once he gets in on an opponent, he can deal a considerable amount of damage.

We'll have more on Luigi and Super Smash Bros. Wii U and 3DS in the coming weeks!