Hit 'em where it hurts
Formerly nothing more than an Assist Trophy, Little Mac is finally making his big Smash debut. Armed with impressive speed and a formidable flurry of jaw-busting punches, hes shaping up to be quite the fun contestant. Just how competitive hell be remains to be seen.
Macs most notable ability is, without a doubt, the Power Meter. As of now, weve only seen it used with the Smash Bros. equivalent of Macs Star Punch (the notorious boss-finishing haymaker from his NES and SNES days). If the Power Meter can be applied to other attacks or even Macs entire moveset, it has serious game-changing potential. Either way, its something entirely new to the series. Concerns about his air game aside, were convinced that Little Mac is ready to bring the pain where it counts. Heres all the info we have on his moveset.
Star Punch (Neutral Special)
As Doc Louis would say, "the punch is mightier than the sword!" It just may be true, too--short of Home-run Bats or a well placed special from Roy, theres never been a KO this reliable in Smash Bros. history. Whether its too good to be true remains to be seen, but we do know that with a full Power Meter, Mac can unleash a devastating uppercut that unequivocally spells "game over."
Like the Mega Punch, the Star Punch appears to render Mac impervious to launch resistance, an advantage Captain Falcons earth-shattering finisher conspicuously lacks. It could just be that it was shown uninterrupted in the trailer, though--as I said, there may very well be a catch. If Giga Mac hadnt already been revealed, Id be crossing my fingers that Macs Final Smash consist of Doc waddling onstage and performing a Star Punch of his own (he did invent the technique, after all). Now that would be an embarrassing way to lose.
Charging Star Slammer (Side Special)
Little Macs side special may very well be his most athletic maneuver so far, though its a bit of a stretch to call it graceful. Still, the Star Slammer has a number of advantages beyond the damage it deals, including a low center of gravity that actually allows him to run underneath certain projectiles. In the reveal trailer, hes shown sliding beneath Marios fireballs with relative ease--a feat that should make avoiding slower, more floaty objects like Waddle Dees a piece of cake.
In the trailer, Doc says "tear that armor up" as Little Mac lands a Slammer directly into Mega Man. Does this mean the move will be able to break the defensive moves of other characters, or even quickly wear down shields? It may just have been an off-the-cuff remark, but if not, Star Slammer may be more interesting than it initially appears.
Skyward Punch (Up Special)
Sakurai said himself that Mac is "not the strongest" while airborne, and his recovery move is a perfect example. Yes, it has a fair amount of vertical range (potentially good for grabbing ledges when you havent been knocked far), but in the end its going to be about as useful as Links Spin Attack when it comes to saving lives.
Luckily, the punch appears to have other uses. Like Mega Mans Mega Upper, it can send an enemy hurtling skyward, though Macs rendition appears to inflict substantially more physical damage. Its actually more like Warios recovery than anything else, and despite his boxing expertise I cant say that Mac looks a whole lot more stylish pulling it off. Function presides over form in battle, I suppose.
Counter (Down Special)
Yes, Marth and Roy have counters, but I never found myself using them all that much. Macs counter, on the other hand, appears to consist of a dodge followed by a punch--a much more compelling proposition that could be interspersed with actual dodges to effectively confuse the opponent.
Whats not clear is how the strength of the punch itself is determined. Will it depend on the power of the incoming attack? Its not as if Mac is absorbing the hit, but even so, that may have something to do with it. It would be fun if the move could be cancelled after the dodge to send opponents scurrying in fear of a counter, only to hit them with something else instead. Unfortunately, thats probably a bit wishful.
Basic Punch (Neutral Attack)
Not a whole lot to say here--jamming the A button results in a quick jab, a staple of any boxers arsenal. Of course, Mac is no typical boxer, and much like Foxs kick or Captain Falcons own fists of fury, things get interesting with multiple presses.
All I can really say is that I feel bad for Donkey Kong. Who volunteered him to be in this trailer and get relentlessly pummeled? Were there perks involved for his cooperation? With Macs height, he may even be able to duck any slow-winding retaliation DK can muster. It will be interesting to see whether Macs jabs are actually faster than those of other speedy characters--if so, theyll make for useful interrupters, and may even buy the player time to think.
Mega Punch (Forward Tilt)
This looks awesome, and its about time Captain Falcon had some competition in the career-ending death punch department. Little Macs Mega Punch may take longer to charge at its most powerful, but the amount of charge also appears to be user-controlled--a handy luxury that should keep opponents guessing.
Its not entirely clear to me why Villager is assisting Mac by burying Pit, only to get socked in the face immediately after. Did the two have some kind of deal? A debt owed? Is Villager simply a genuine good samaritan, forever destined for betrayal in the unforgiving world of Super Smash? Regardless, Mega Punch is clearly a powerful move that, when paired with the insta-kill Star Punch, makes Little Mac a serious KO threat at almost all times.
Uppercut (Up Tilt or Neutral Attack finisher)
Little Macs Uppercut is like his Star Punch, but without a full Power Meter. Whether or not theyre actually the same move is not yet known, but if the above clip is any indication, its a versatile attack that can rack up quick damage as well as act as a finishing blow.
Beyond its versatility, the Uppercut will likely work well in conjunction with Macs basic punches and jabs. Its cool to think about keeping an opponent incapacitated for extended periods via quick and varied punches, slowly wearing them away as you would in an actual Punch Out!! game. I cant be sure, but I have a feeling that getting rung-up by one of Little Macs whopping finishers after a solid two minutes of furious pummeling will be one of the more demoralizing experiences in the game. There's also a chance the Uppercut is the final punch in his Neutral Attack--we don't know for sure.
Pummel (Grapple Strike)
This is just mean. Its not all that bad watching Marth get hammered, but imagine these body blows striking Kirby, or even Yoshi. The poor dinosaur would squeal in pain as bruises formed on his soft underbelly, only to be rolled unconscious off the edge of the stage and dragged away by those deformed Shy Guys from Yoshis Story. Hopefully he can at least listen to that games theme music while he recovers.
From the looks of it, Mac initiates some impressive punches when in the clinch, pounding on his enemy with body blows when grappled. They look fast, too, likely dealing more close-range damage than other, similar grapple attacks. It would be especially cool if the move caused enemies to have their wind knocked out, resulting in brief incapacitation similar to that of a broken shield. Sadly, we have no reason to believe this will be the case.
Giga Mac (Final Smash)
Id call this more odd than anything else. Seeing Bowser morph into a hulking, lumbering creature isnt all that weird since hes already non-human, but Mac? His heavily-muscled hunchback form is somewhat disconcerting. As usual, Final Smashes may not factor in very strongly with certain competitive players, but those of us that do leave Smash Balls turned on will surely have a good time with Macs juiced-up form.
Theres not much to go by, but odds are that coming into contact with Macs fists as he Hulk-smashes around the stage will result in either an instant KO or a hefty dose of knockback. If you do die, youll likely want to stay on your floaty platform of invincibility until the chaos ends--and pray for your fellow contestants down below.
From what we can tell, Mac will be an absolute blast to play, and may make for a serious competitor as well. His insta-KO Star Punch is more or less unprecedented, while his Mega Punch and assortment of fast, hard-hitting jabs render him quite the damage-dealer. Well be sure to update this article when new information appears, making it the place to go for all your Little Mac info.