Super Smash Bros. is one of Nintendo’s best series, and it does a beautiful job at representing the developers’ long and influential history in the video game medium. But not every character who has made the cut is an ideal choice. There are still a number of popular characters who have yet to make the Smash Bros’ roster, and some that have made it that…well, let’s just say they feel out of place.
The original Smash Bros. had an inarguable roster of iconic Nintendo mainstays (though I still think Meowth would have made more sense as a secondary Pokemon character than Jigglypuff, and had the game had more memory, Bowser, Peach and Dedede should have made the initial cut). But with the sequels, it seems like director Masahiro Sakurai has at times gone a little overboard with how far he’s stretching his hand. At the worst of times, it seems more like he’s catering to his own ego than representing Nintendo’s history.
The following list are the five characters who have appeared in the Super Smash Bros. series at one point or another who really just don’t deserve to be there. It isn’t necessarily a list of characters I don’t like (though in some cases that’s true), but a list of characters who just really don’t belong to fight alongside Mario, Link and their ilk (mind you, this is coming from someone who still thinks Geno would be a great addition, even though it’ll never happen).
Lucario, for example, won’t be on here. Even though I don’t much care for Lucario, I understand that he’s one of the more popular Pokemon, and with Pokemon being one of Nintendo’s biggest franchises, I can respect his inclusion. Similarly, I don’t like that Dr. Mario is merely a clone character, but I understand that Dr. Mario was one of the more popular of Mario’s early spinoffs, and with Mario being Nintendo’s mascot, the inclusion of the character himself makes sense.
The following characters are, quite simply, the sort of lot that make you raise an eyebrow and say “Really?” Be warned, opinions ahead!
Appeared in: Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U
Original series: Fire Emblem
Part of me doesn’t have a problem with the idea of Lucina being a Smash Bros. character. Like Dr. Mario, I can understand that she’s from a popular game and simply has the misfortune of being a clone. But when I think of how she was implemented, I have to wonder why this character was necessary.
First off, I must repeat she is a clone of Marth. It wouldn’t be too big of a deal, except that Super Smash Bros. Melee already had a Marth clone in Roy, who was removed from the series because Sakurai specifically stated he wanted less clones in the sequels. So they got rid of one Marth clone for Brawl, only to bring in a different Marth clone who is even more similar to Marth in appearance and moveset.
Now, what really renders this character superfluous is that Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS introduced palette-swapped characters. Bowser Jr. becomes the Koopalings and Olimar becomes Alph. But Lucina is a separate character because reasons. By making her a separate character from Marth on the roster but practically identical in play style, it just kind of cheapens the inclusion.
I know you’re probably thinking “but what makes Lucina undeserving?” Well, besides the above reasons, there’s also the fact that Smash Bros. Wii U/3DS has three other Fire Emblem characters. With all due respect, has Fire Emblem really earned more characters than Metroid or Donkey Kong? Was a fourth character, a clone, really necessary?
Lucina isn’t a bad character per se, but she isn’t a memorable addition to Super Smash Bros.
Appeared in: Super Smash Bros. Melee
Original series: Pokemon
I know Pichu is cute and all, but even as a kid, I was dumbfounded why Pokemon Gold and Silver added un-evolved versions of preexisting Pokemon. Why should I have to train these new guys just to get Pokemon I already had in the last game? It still baffles me. Pichu’s inclusion in Super Smash Bros. raises just as many question marks.
I know, I’m kind of contradicting my own Lucario statement earlier, but Lucario is at least a Pokemon entirely separate than Pikachu. It seems like Pichu made the cut just from affiliation. This is more or less the Smash Bros. equivalent of having Tom Hanks on the roster, and then adding Jim Hanks and expecting him to have a similar impact. Because Hanks.
If this were a list of “worst characters in Smash Bros.” Pichu might just take the cake, since Sakurai, in either some cruel joke or a commentary on the unnecessary nature of the character, decided it would be funny if Pichu’s every last move damaged himself. Pichu never injured himself like this in Pokemon Gold and Silver, but this odd characteristic was added in the short film that played before Pokemon the Movie 2000. Not Pokemon the Movie 2000 itself, mind you. The short film beforehand.
So Sakurai decided to toss in a Pikachu clone in the form of Pichu – whose presence in Pokemon was already questionable – and decided to turn him into an intentionally broken character just in case anyone actually wanted to play as him. Okay.
Appeared in: Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS
Original series: Kid Icarus
Here’s where Sakurai decided to give himself a pat on the back. While I can at least appreciate that Palutena is a unique character and not a clone (the only such character on this list), there are so many more deserving and popular characters out there who didn’t make the cut, while Palutena more or less got a free ticket just because Sakurai made Kid Icarus Uprising.
Here’s a fun fact, out of every character who has ever appeared in the Super Smash Bros. series, Palutena is the only one, the only one, who was never previously a playable character in some capacity. Captain Falcon piloted the Blue Falcon in F-Zero, the Duck Hunt character includes the “Unseen Gunman” (the player character) from the NES game, and even R.O.B. was playable in Mario Kart DS. But Palutena? She only appeared at the very end of the original Kid Icarus. And while her banters with Pit in Uprising could be amusing, players never had the chance to play as her. Palutena is, quite literally, only in the game for Sakurai’s own hubris.
That’s not to say she’s a bad character, I even find her moveset to be kind of cool. But when it comes down to it, Palutena really hasn’t earned her spot. She’s not exactly iconic, and the Kid Icarus series hasn’t exactly been vital to Nintendo. Did Smash Bros. really need any Kid Icarus characters other then Pit?
When it dawns on you that Dixie Kong is still somehow not in Smash Bros. but Palutena is, it becomes all the more of a bummer.
2: Wolf O’Donnell
Appeared in: Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Original series: Star Fox
Here’s where we enter bottom of the barrel territory. Wolf O’Donnell, ladies and gentlemen.
Look, I like Star Fox. I have many fond memories of Star Fox 64, and look forward to the new Star Fox on Wii U. But was the series really relevant enough by 2008 to warrant three represented characters in Super Smash Bros? More specifically, did it need three characters who are all more or less identical?
After Star Fox 64, the series kind of burned out for many gamers. Sure, Star Fox still has its fans, but I’m not sure Star Fox Assault left such an indelible mark on Nintendo’s history as to make Wolf O’Donnell a Smash Bros. must-have. Not to mention Falco has already been relegated to Fox clone, what exactly was the point of adding another?
For the record, I again point out that Metroid and Donkey Kong, two of Nintendo’s biggest franchises, each only have two playable characters in Super Smash Bros. (in Metroid’s case, it’s two versions of the same character), but Star Fox has had three. And they don’t even barrel roll.
At the very least, Wolf didn’t make a return appearance in the sequels. But if Sakurai was trying to get esoteric here, the least he could have done was resurrect Muddy Mole.
1: Dark Pit
Appeared in: Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS
Original series: Kid Icarus
If Palutena was Sakurai patting himself on the back, then Dark Pit is Sakurai raising a toast in his own honor while simultaneously flipping the bird to everyone who requested their favorite characters, only for them to be denied a spot in Super Smash Bros. Dark Pit’s inclusion just screams egomania.
Again, I point out the abundance of Kid Icarus characters and references in the newest installments of the series (there weren’t even any new Zelda characters). A series that laid dormant for 21 years is suddenly the focal point of Super Smash Bros. representation, conveniently after Sakurai made Kid Icarus Uprising (which was a good game by the way, but come on). It should be noted that Sakurai, when making the original Smash Bros., contemplated adding King Dedede, a character from his other, more prominent series, Kirby. But he decided against adding Dedede in both the original game and Melee, as he didn’t want to favor his own characters. I wonder what happened to that humility? At least Dedede has earned his spot.
I must also reiterate that Dark Pit is a clone of Pit, despite the fact that the palette-swap concept has been introduced. Sakurai claims he separated the characters because “Pit’s Final Smash [The Three Sacred Treasures] wouldn’t make canonical sense for Dark Pit.” And Smash Bros. is clearly all about the accuracy of representation, which is why Mario’s Final Smash feels like it was pulled from Dragon Ball Z and Bowser’s involves the King Koopa transforming into a horrible, mutated version of himself (because that happened in a Mario game, right?).
To pour salt on the wound, Pit even has an alternate costume that looks like Dark Pit, and Dark Pit has an alternate costume that looks like Pit. It’s like Sakurai is magnifying the pointlessness of Dark Pit and taunting us with it!
Dark Pit is already kind of an annoying character, being a part of the endlessly rehashed dark-clad, antihero version of the main character trope. There’s nothing memorable about him. But here he is, in Super Smash Bros. while many a beloved character gets left in the cold.
The only redeeming aspect of Dark Pit’s inclusion is that now, whenever someone makes a suggestion for even the most obscure character to be added to the series, they can defend their stance with six simple words: “Makes more sense than Dark Pit.”