So I thought I’d write another Smash Bros article on something people found problematic in Brawl and that is clone characters. Brawl had select characters that had very similar move sets for the 2% of the world that hasn’t played Brawl. Toon Link has recently been announced for Smash and that spurred a lot of discussions between the fandom that really perked my curiosity. Now my stance on this I will explain later, but know that clone characters are a common occurrence in fighter games. A clone is a term that originated from fighting games having characters with the same or similar move sets, commonly caused from a large amount of characters. Toon Link is considered to be just a faster and swifter Link that deals less damage in Brawl, this is a datable topic on whether or not Toon Link is a clone. He is ultimately considered a clone by many though (including myself). With that I think the idea of clone characters should be looked into a little more.
I personally never found a problem with clones, in fact in terms of Smash Bros Brawl (where the clone controversy started) as we know it right now (or before SSB4 for those reading this in the future) I don’t think this is a problem. Don’t get me wrong I find it unsatisfying in fighting games when I don’t get an optimal amount of fighting styles to tinker with, but all in all it can be gotten away with if handled right. You see I believe Brawl having a higher amount of clones than Melee was due to the fact that Brawl pushed the limitations of the Wii’s disc system. With that fact that Brawl put so much with limited space, the possibility of them not being able to give characters from the same franchise (or not in the case of Capt. Falcon and Ganondorf) completely unique move sets is pretty likely. Something people are saying about Toon Link is they’ll fully welcome him back as long as he has a more dynamic fighting style compared to Link. Some suggestions like a different sword style and using different items I find to be very reasonable, and it’s nice to hear the Smash Bros fan base is very respectful and creative. With the WiiU and its much higher capabilities I can see the Smash Bros team making those dynamic fighting styles.
In Brawl I saw the clones as the closest thing to character customization (other than the stickers no one used; good idea, but didn’t work out to well) Smash Bros offered. Of course I didn’t think it was on purpose, but I liked that fact that if I preferred Link (a sword fighting character) to be a little faster I’d be happy to pick Toon Link. I personally liked fighting with Lucas over Ness because I found him to have more weight which suited my playing style, and it also helped that the Earthbound fighting style has been my second main since SSB64. The Star Fox Characters were interesting because I was able to choose either a balanced character Fox, speed character Falco, or power character Wolf. Not to mention trading Capt. Falcon’s speed for more power by choosing Ganondorf was also an option. I’m not saying this justifies anything, but I do think having clones (as long as they are not the same in every way) is a nice way of having options for a fighting style. Just to make this clear I feel character customization going beyond that sticker thing done in Brawl would make things kinda unfair in terms of not knowing what character does what; which a huge point of Smash Bros, to clearly know who the character is and what they are capable of.
Something else I wanted to mention is another idea that I’ve seen around that sparked from Toon Link’s return to SSB4. The fact that if Link gets to have an alternate form, Mario should be able to get one again, but not Dr.Mario (with him being a clone), but Paper Mario. This idea I am fully supportive of being I am a huge fan of Paper Mario, but I would like to expand on this idea. We already know that the next Smash Bros game will not exceed the number of characters that Brawl had. Well since Ice Climbers will probably never get a game at this point why not get rid of them and put Paper Mario in their place? This would give Mario the possibility of both replacing the Ice Climber’s unique duo character fighting style and improving it. I would also like to add since Pokémon Trainer is most likely not gonna return I think Paper Mario can take the idea of switching between characters as well. My idea is let Paper Mario have access to his select Partners (most likely the most dynamic or most popular partners) and switch between them with down B. This would effectively give an alternate Mario a character a unique fighting style and replace two characters at once to give possibility of adding/keeping two more characters to the roster without taking away unique ideas in the roster. This is the kind of thinking I’m positive the Smash team are taking actions like this as they have been pleasing me so far with the little they are revealing. Thank you for reading and your support, I hope you’ll check out my videos on game analyses and more on my youtube channel:www.youtube.com/NaismithBilly