Super Smash Bros. Characters Then and Now: Samus - Prima Games

Super Smash Bros. Characters Then and Now: Samus

by Bryan Dawson

Samus is one of the few characters to appear in every Super Smash Bros. game. She started off as a pretty bad character from a competitive standpoint, but improved in Melee, only to be shown up by Zero Suit Samus in Brawl. However, Smash Brothers lead director, Masahiro Sakurai, claimed that Samus was the best character in the Wii U Smash Brothers at the E3 invitational tournament. Zero Suit Samus won the competition, so his claim is up for debate.

Super Smash Bros. 64

Most competitive players consider Samus to be the worst character in Super Smash Bros. 64. She has a good forward tilt attack, great horizontal recovery thanks to her Bomb special move and she’s difficult to combo due to her slow fall speed. Unfortunately, that’s basically all she has going for her.

The only combos she can pull off consist of two hits, and she doesn’t have a single KO attack that’s easy to land. Not only that, she has bad match-ups with every single character in the game, and terrible match-ups against the best characters in the game. In order to win with Samus in competitive play, you have to essentially predict everything your opponent will do and have an answer ready for it.

Super Smash Bros. Melee

Samus improved quite a bit in Smash Melee, but she also became a very advanced character. She has some of the best-advanced movement in the game, but the skill required to perform some of these techniques is quite high. She has the longest grab range in the game, and while it’s very punishable if used normally, her advanced movement techniques enable her to not only extend the range of her grab, but make it much safer to use as well.

In Melee, Samus gained her Missile side special attack, giving her another projectile option. She can also use her Grapple Beam throw to latch onto walls, boosting her recovery ability. Her Screw Attack (up special) has a bit more range, which also adds to her recovery ability. Overall, she is an improved character, especially when it comes to her recovery options, but she still falls in the middle of the tier list due to her lack of combos and difficulty fighting the top tier characters.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl

The transition from Melee to Brawl hit Samus badly. Her KO ability and her solid projectile strategies were both severely nerfed. It’s much harder to KO an opponent until they have a very high percentage (130 percent or more), and overall, she’s a much weaker character. Her down tilt became more powerful, which makes it one of her few KO attacks, but it’s not as easy to connect as the KO attacks of many other characters in the game.

She can combo much better than in previous games (especially Smash 64), but her recovery options aren’t as good. Her Bomb jump is less effective for recovery, and she can no longer attack immediately after using a Bomb. Unfortunately, her Bombs do not explode when they make contact with an opponent anymore. Instead, they have a set timer and only explode once that timer expires.

On the bright side, her aerial game improved overall, and she can combo opponents in the right situations. If you have good air to ground movement with Samus, you can trap an opponent near a wall and prevent him or her from escaping more damaging combos. She has some advantages in these situations, but you need to be a skilled Samus player to trap an opponent and pull off her damaging combos.

Super Smash Bros. Wii U

Samus returns in the Wii U version of Super Smash Brothers, but not much is known about her new incarnation. She’s been separated from Zero Suit Samus on the character select screen, and Masahiro Sakurai stated that she was the best character in the E3 build (via internal testing). However, she wasn’t used in the E3 invitational, so we haven’t seen her used in competitive play. Reports from casual play indicate that she has improved, but it’s currently unclear how much.

From what little we’ve played of Samus, she is slightly improved, but her projectile game is weaker. She can no longer missile cancel, which was a major part of competitive Samus play in Brawl. She is faster and has more KO power compared to her Brawl incarnation, and Samus players will need to find some other technique to replace missile canceling if they want to perform well against the other characters in the game.

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