Well, here it is! The first in a brand new series of articles heading to SourceGaming. The main goal of these articles is to present a look at how Smash Bros. rosters based on other companies would pan out.
TheAnvil, Nantendo and Spazzy_D spearheaded the selection choices for the roster, and many of the other SourceGaming team members joined in the fun to help us get the roster just right.
We tried to put ourselves into the mindset of Sakurai himself, and voted using a set of guidelines and tropes that we’ve observed of Sakurai over the years, including but not limited to the following:
-Are they recognizable?
-Are they important to their own franchise?
-Are they important to Konami?
-Can a moveset be made for them?
-Are they popular?
-Is the franchise they hail from relevant, or retro?
So without further adieu, join Spazzy_D, Nantendo and TheAnvil as they present their Dream Roster for KONAMI.
We’ve also prepared write ups to verify our picks. Read on for the juicy details!!!
Bill Rizer, Probotector
Contra, being one of Konami’s most notable franchises, with many iterations, and frequent releases (up until as late as 2011) was certainly prime for a juicy character on our roster. When looking at its cast of characters there really was no one more fitting than Bill Rizer, who has starred in the majority of the Contra games. Dual machine guns as a starting point would separate him from the rest of the roster, even other artillery-driven characters such as Snake. Additionally, Bill has access to weapons such as flamethrowers, lasers and homing missiles to name but a few.
When we were deciding the roster, we decided that each of us would add a clone character to the roster. My choice was Probotector (also known as RD-008). For those who are unaware, Probotector was the name given to the Contra series in Europe, and the main characters were replaced by robots (Probotectors). This in my mind made a Probotector a perfect character choice to implement as a clone, as they play identically to their human counterparts. Functionally, due to the Probotector being a robot, I would suggest that in the context of a Smash Bros. style game, they would be slower and heavier, but stronger and harder hitting. -TheAnvil
Frogger as a franchise is actually one of Konami’s most successful IPs. Debuting in 1981, Frogger has since released more than 30 games in total.
As a frog, it would make sense for Frogger to be aerodynamic, and to have an impressive air game. He’d use his natural abilities like his tongue, and would be efficient with his feet. I also think that due to his routes, a move similar to Pac-Man’s standard B would be appropriate for him. -TheAnvil
While it might not seem like it over her in the west, the Mystical Ninja series was one of Konami’s biggest franchises until recently. Outside of japan we only received four titles: one for the SNES and gameboy, and then two for the Nintendo 64. In Japan it is another story altogether. Known by the name Ganbare Goemon in the east, the series has seen 36 releases starting in the arcades and going all the way up to mobile phones and the Nintendo DS. The series even got its own board game, Pachislot machine and even a manga and anime series (the latter of which even received a dub). Goemon himself has also appeared in other Konami titles like Wai Wai World, Konami Krazy Racers, Yu-gi-oh and Pop’n Music. Suffice to say, the series needed inclusion.
Goemon is the series main and titular character. He fights with an extendable Kiseru and gets a projectile by throwing ryo. For his super move he can summon Impact, a giant robot made to look like Goemon himself, who will attack the stage with his extendable fists. The Goemon series has 3 other important playable characters being Ebisimaru, Yae and Sasuke. These characters get referenced in some of Goemon’s alts but they are not playable. The reason Goemon is the only playable character was because we wanted to include as many diverse series as possible but if a sequel was to ever happen then the Mystical Ninja series would DEFINITELY get a second rep. – Nantendo
Snake, Raiden, Big Boss.
At this point in time the Metal Gear franchise may as well be Konami’s Mario. The sheer popularity of the series has left it as one of the only series Konami still regularly makes with the most recent, main-line, iteration – Metal Gear Solid V: the Phantom Pain – launching last year. Even with Kojima recently leaving Konami the company still looks eager to continue the series and there are rumours of a Big Boss pachinko machine on the horizon. The series is big enough that it gets three characters on our roster, the most alongside Castlevania. These three all show an important part of the series which is why they were chosen over the many other characters that we considered like Liquid Snake and Revolver Ocelot.
Snake has already appeared in Super Smash Bros and his moveset could easily be adapted from that. Snake was the original hero from the first game and excels in both stealth and explosives. His alternates are also mostly from smash but he does have an old Snake outfit from his appearance in Metal Gear Solid 4. His main design is taken from the first Metal Gear Solid though. Raiden was the surprise star of Metal Gear Solid 2 and has gone off to have his own spin-off series with Metal Gear Rising. Raiden represents the recurring theme of cyborg ninjas that have been around since Metal Gear 2 which makes him a speedier, more melee focused, character compared to Snake. He also appeared in Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale as the Metal Gear representative and we are honouring that here. Lastly we have Big Boss who is a clone of Snake. Big Boss is the original Snake and the current Snake’s father. Big Boss has been a recurring force since Metal Gear 1 on the MSX but he made his playable debut in Metal Gear Solid 3 as Naked Snake. His story was expanded upon in Peace Walker and the latest game, Metal Gear Solid 5. His design is based on the more modern incarnation of him, taking elements from Peace Walker and Metal Gear Solid 5 but in terms of gameplay, he plays like Snake. We felt like, as the most recent protagonist of the series, Big Boss needed to appear but so did Snake so this was the best option to properly represent them both. – Nantendo
You might argue that Yu-gi-Oh! is not a Konami series. The franchise began as a Manga running in Shueisha’s Shonen Jump and then went on to become a major seller with it’s anime and trading card series. Yet, anyone who has looked at a Yu-gi-Oh! card will see the Konami logo on the back and that is because Konami are the publishers of the Yu-gi-Oh! games and card series. Konami have a hold on the rights to the franchise and because of how successful it is we felt like Yugi needed a place in this roster. If you are still convinced he is not a true Konami character then that is fine as third-party characters are allowed on this roster and Yugi would fall into that category then.
The character is the dark alter-ego, Yami Yugi, of the series protagonist Yugi Moto. It is this form that always takes over and is the main star of the series. The way Yugi would play can be similar to how he plays in another character fighter: Jump Ultimate Stars. In this game, Yugi fights by summoning monsters from the cards for one-off attacks and he is not afraid to jump into the battle himself. So you play as Yugi but each attack (standard, special and super) summons another monster to perform an attack, from the lovable but weak Kuriboh to the powerful and recognizable Dark Magician. – Nantendo
The Pop’n Music series is a rhythm game that started off in arcades but has also appeared on home consoles such as the PS2. the series is actually a part of the Benami series which is one of Konami’s most successful franchises. The Benami franchise not only covers Pop’n Music but the Beatmania series and the incredibly popular Dance Dance Revolution series of games. Benami needed some representation but out of all three of these series, Pop’n Music is the only one with recognizable characters which is why we went with it (although we did consider a Dance Instructor at one point).
Nyami is a catgirl who changes her outfit in nearly every game. Her design here is based on one of her most recent appearances: Pop’n Music Sunny Park which came out in arcades in 2012. This is not her most recent appearance which is much more anime in design but, just like Pac-Man in smash, that style is not as iconic so we went with her latest ‘iconic’ style. I imagine Nyami would fight using rhythm based moves, rather than dance moves, that would be a bit random and reference all of her appearances. It would be similar in idea to Mr. Game & Watch’s moveset in that regard. -Nantendo
Simon Belmont, Dracula, Alucard
Castlevania, is, all thing’s considered, one of Konami’s premiere franchises. The series has good overall sales (with over 20 million sold it’s Konami’s 5th best selling franchise after Winning Eleven/Pro Soccer Evolution, Metal Gear, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and Live Powerful Pro Baseball), it has longevity (the series debuted in 1986 and has had regular releases ever since), and it even has relevancy, with the last game in the series (Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2) releasing in 2014. It’s rich gothic art style and myriad of unique heroes also makes it the sort of series with characters that lend themselves well to a fighting game. This made it difficult for us to pair down the possible playable candidates on our roster. We initially intended to include two fully unique characters from the series with one clone; instead Castlevania ended up being the only series represented with 3 non-clone characters.
Simon was an easy choice for us. The protagonist of the first game in the series, Simon has appeared as a playable character in 8 separate Castlevania game, more than any other character in the series. The Castlevania series is the story of the legendary Belmont families battles against Dracula, and Simon is very much the prototypical Belmont. He is the perfect choice to represent the action platforming origins of the series, and he can draw upon the Belmont family’s legendary weapons, including the cross boomerang, explosive holy water, fearsome battle axe, and of course his signature weapon: the vampire killer whip. He’d likely be a slow character with mediocre mobility, but he would make up for that with range, strength, and versatility.
Dracula is the driving force behind the Castlevania series, to the point that the series is actually titled “Devil’s Castle Dracula” in Japan. Dracula was the final boss of the original Castlevania, a role which he holds in the vast majority of the games in the series. In the games that he does not appear, he is almost always involved in the central plot in someway. Dracula’s inclusion in this roster is also important because he is one of the only pure villains, and he would likely be the sort of character that Smash fans wish Ganondorf was. He’s a large, slow, powerful figure who also happens to be a sorcerer with many vampiric powers. Teleportation, conjuring fireballs, and summoning demons would all be part of his tool kit.
Alucard is a dhampir, half vampire, half human. He is also Dracula’s only son. Debuting in 1989’s Castlevania III on the NES, Alucard’s real notoriety comes from his starring role in 1997’s Symphony of the Night. This game would take the Castlevania franchise in a new direction, as it added an explorable map, rpg leveling elements, and upgradable equipment and techniques that would allow players to progress to previously unreachable areas of the Castle. Alucard is included to represent this branch of the Castlevania universe. He is a fairly nimble swordsman with many magical abilities at his fingertips. He can summon spirits, change forms (most notably into mist, a bat, or a wolf) and suck the very life out of opponents with “soul steal.” He also can take a page out of his old man’s book by teleporting and shooting hellfire from his cape. All of these attacks make much more than just an ordinary swords man.
We actually considered several other Castlevania characters prior to settling on these three. Alucard initially wasn’t on our roster; we instead planned on including Gabriel from the recent Lords of Shadow reboot instead. Gabriel has two things going for him: recency and sales. It was ultimately decided that it was more important to include a character from one of the series Metroidvania games, however, and Gabriel was removed. Speaking of Metroidvanias, Shanoa from Order of Ecclesia entered our discussions as well, mostly due to the fact that she would represent the handheld Castlevanias and also be another female presence on the roster. Unfortunately, Shanoa was not a big enough draw in comparison to the other fighters. Maybe we can find room for them in the sequel…- Spazzy_D
This roster’s JRPG representation comes from the Suikoden franchise. Originating with the 1995 PS1 RPG of the same name, the series is well regarded and long lived, with over 10 games between 1995 and 2012. The series is known for two things; it’s large cast of characters (the plot of many of games involve the 108 stars of destiny, all of which are recruitable) and it’s mix of standard JRP battles with different forms of large scale army vs. army combat. With so many games, and so many characters per game, choosing a representative for this franchise was a daunting task. It became evident that we should take a “Marth” approach to this issue, and we therefore included the first protagonist in the series, Tir McDohl, in our roster.
Tir McDohl is the son of General Teo McDohl, and as the Tenkai Star of Destiny, he must amass an army powerful enough to topple the Scarlet Moon Empire. Personality wise, Tir is a very typical silent JRPG protagonist. Unlike many JRPG leads, however, his main weapon type is staff and not sword. This makes him a welcome addition into a fighting game that has no such weapon users. In his home game, Tir is considered a very well rounded character, meaning he is just as at home with magic as he is with physical attacks. His move set would likely draw from both of these combat styles, with his standard attacks being staff attacks and his specials likely being some combination of various rune magic. While this could include more standard magic types such as earth, wind, fire, or water magic, Tir bears the Soul Eater Rune, which controls life and death itself. We would expect him to use such a powerful tool to it’s full effect in this fighter. – Spazzy_D
Wai Wai World (Konami Man):
Konami Man, while not a popular character, probably deserves a spot on this roster more than most. This is simply because he is Konami’s mascot, appearing in some capacity in over 28 games over the years. Konami Man first appeared in a cameo capacity in 1984’s Road Fighter, but he would receive a starring role in 1988’s Wai Wai World on the Famicom. In this game, Konami Man (along with Konami Lady) must traverse their way through various Konami world’s in order to rescue their protagonists, which can then be used in future stages. This was actually the first major Konami crossover, with stages and characters from franchises such as Goemon, Castlevania, Gradius, Twin Bee, and Getsu Fuma appearing.
Konami man is basically a pastiche of the modern superhero, and he therefore shares many of the abilities we would associate with the genre. He is strong, he is durable, and he can fly by using the Konami mantle. He would like not be a particularly fast character, but his strength and mobility in the air would offset that greatly. He also has a beam gun that he can use as a projectile, something that will nicely compliment his playstyle. -Spazzy_D
Bonk- the third wheel in the 16-bit console wars. Younger gamers may not remember this diminutive caveman head banger, but he was an industry icon in the early 1990’s. When Hudsonsoft and NEC released the PC Engine (known as the TurboGrafx-16 in North America) in Japan in 1987, it was a relative success. The system was more powerful than its contemporaries at launch and with Hudson’s backing it had plenty of great games to play. What it didn’t have is it’s own Mario, a mascot to represent the console to gaming world. Enter Bonk.
Bonk’s primary form of attack in his games is his head butt. He’s a caveman with a hard head, and I doubt that would change in any of his appearances. Bonk would likely use a wide variety of head bashing attacks, including his head dive and head roll. He can also benefit from many transformations in his games, ranging from an unstoppable dinosaur to a happy face throwing thief, so he has a lot to draw from in order to form a moveset. Mostly though, he would be a fast, strong, small fighter, the type that would be better at dishing out punishment than receiving it. -Spazzy_D
Modern survival horror game can usually trace their DNA to one of two sources: Resident Evil or Silent hill. The Silent hill franchise has long been a critical and commercial success, with 12 games in the main series and a variety of spin off media ranging from comic books to Hollywood movies. Most games in the series are set in the eponymous town of Silent Hill, and the games are known for their use of atmosphere and psychological horror to instill a sense of dread into players. While resident evil protagonists often bored on super human (I’m looking at you, Chris Redfield), Silent Hill’s hero’s tend to be more of the “everyman” variety. This makes it very difficult to include a compelling player character into a fighting game roster. Still, there’s one recurring enemy that stands heads and tails above the rest: Silent Hill Mascot, Pyramid Head.
Pyramid Head may ultimately be a manifestation of the repressed anger and guilt of Silent Hill 2 protagonist James, but his physical presence is very real and extremely deadly. If Konami Man is a Superhero Pastiche, than Pyramid Head is emblematic of the unstoppable slasher movie monster. He is a relentless and almost unstoppable force that delights in the physical and mental abuse of his victims. His weapon of choice is the great knife, a blade that is closer to a giant butcher’s knife than to a traditional blade. In this game, he would be a slow, powerful, tank of a character. A bit like Ike, if Ike was an irredeemable monster. – Spazzy_D
Easily the face of the Rumble Roses games, Reiko Hinimoto was a pretty obvious choice to be included on the roster.
Rumble Roses employed an all-female cast of characters, which made the inclusion of Reiko feel natural. Typically wrestlers in fighting games are stereotypically portrayed as hulking masses of humanity, along the lines of Haggar, Zangief or Raiden. Although there are exceptions to this, more often than not where Luchas are concerned.
Reiko’s moveset would rely on grapple moves, scientific wrestling and submission holds, like the original Rumble Roses games. The Wrestling world is so jam packed full of moves, that it wouldn’t be possible to run out of move ideas for Reiko! -TheAnvil
While Gradius appears to be the more well known Konami side-scrolling shoot ‘em up game it was not the only one. If Gradius is the gruffer older brother then Twinbee is the adorable younger sister (although Twinbee himself is a boy). The Twinbee games took the shoot em’ up genre that was popular in arcades at the time and gave it a much more cartoonish look, with the main space-ship sporting arms and legs, and a general light-hearted, kid friendly, feel. The Twinbee series went on to be really popular and even moved away from the shoot em’ genre to the platforming genre on the SNES.
While Vic Viper was a hard character to include due to his space-ship design, Twinbee was fairly easy as he is has humanoid features. He had previously appeared in the smash-style game: Dreammix TV fighters, so it was pretty easy to imagine him in Konami’s own Smash-style game. Twinbee’s alts are based on recurring characters from the Twinbee series like Winbee and Gwinbee. Konami has made a lot of games in the side-scrolling shoot em’ up genre during its life so it might be fun to imagine Twinbee not just as a rep for his series but the entire genre as well. From Gradius to Parodius. -Nantendo
Adventure Island is a strange series. It began life as a port of SEGA’s Wonder Boy arcade game, but halfway through development Hudson decided to change the game so that it starred a fictitious version of the company’s spokesman, Takahashi Meijin. From there on out, Wonder Boy and Adventure Island become two distinct entities, with Wonder Boy adapting RPG elements to the series while Adventure Island focused more on platforming and twitch reflex gaming. To confuse matters further, Takahashi Meijin was renamed Master Higgins in the North American and European releases of the game. No matter what you call the character, his adventures were quite popular during the 8 and 16-bit eras.
Master Higgins spends most of his time saving his girlfriend from monsters, but he’s still a pretty laid back guy. Must be all that island living. Also, despite only wearing a grass skirt, Higgin’s actually wields quite the arsenal. His signature weapons are his throwing axes, but he also uses swords, spears, and even magic fireballs to attack enemies. He is actually pretty similar to Ghost N’ Goblins Arthur in this respect. On top of that, he can use his trusty skateboard to cover ground quickly and deliver a quick strike to his opponents. Overall, Higgins makes for a very well rounded, middle of the road sort of fighter. – Spazzy_D
Bomberman, Pretty Bomber
As Hudson’s flagship franchise, Bomberman is one of gamings biggest icons. So much so that Bomberman games have been released on nearly every major gaming console, and has had numerous spinoff games that include a Kart Racer. He even has appeared in his very own Anime!
If you take Bomberman at face value, it could appear to some that he hasn’t got a whole lot of potential for a moveset. However if you delve deeper, you’ll see a character brimming with potential. While the main focus of his attacks would obviously be bomb-centric, the different ways that he uses those bombs in his home games gives the impression of a very capable character. Many of the Bomberman games revolve around learning new abilities, moves, and powerups as you progress, and additionally the white Bomber utilises a variety of Bombs with different properties. These include bouncy bombs, ice bombs, poison bombs, gravity bombs and many more.
Pretty Bomber was picked to be a clone of Bomberman by Spazzy_D. Living up to her name, she’d be a lighter/floatier version of the white bomber. -TheAnvil
The Power-Pro Kun series is Konami’s take on baseball– and it’s a very unique one, at that. Compared to western series like MVP Baseball, 2K, or MLB: The Show, the Power-Pro Kun series is much more arcade-like, with the art style being notably chibi-style with big heads, Rayman-like hands, and so on. But while the gameplay is solid, the real draw here is the special “Success Mode,” which is basically a baseball JRPG. You create a player character and try to make him the best baseball player you can, while juggling your social life (yes, it’s part dating sim. And honestly, probably better than most dating sims out there), your baseball life, and sometimes, your professional life. The success mode for each entry is different, and in the case of the Power-Pro Kun Pocket series, particularly outlandish. In the Pocket series, of which there are 15 entries, there’s an “inner” and “outer” success mode– the entire inner storyline is interconnected, featuring shadowy global organizations, androids, cyborgs, ghosts, and more. You’ll play as a vagabond, as the top agent for a government agency that’s goal is to hunt down cyborgs, a time-traveler, and more. The “outer” storylines often take place in a different time period entirely– be that as the captain of a spaceship, a private investigator in the 1900’s, and much more. Hilarious, addicting, and at times even heartbreaking, it’s a shame that Power-Pro Kun’s more eccentric adventures haven’t been localized outside of Japan.
As for a moveset? While the main character is almost never the same, if he were to use some sort of combined moveset…he could use guns, swords, bats…the possibilities are almost endless. A conservative take would probably involve him just using his baseball gear in combat, but…given the rich (crazy?) history of the character, that seems like a waste. -Soma
Sparkster: Rocket Knight
Hailing from a 2D platforming game, Sparkster is so much more than a run-of-the-mill sword character. In both function and design. As opposed to using his sword in a standard fashion, Sparkster’s sword is actually an energy sword that shoots projectiles. The nature of his home game would suggest that Sparkster would be proficient in the air, and is more than capable of lobbing himself around the stage to attack his opponents not unlike Sonic. He is the Rocket Knight after all! A Final Smash equivalent could see him riding his mechanical Ostrich.
Due to his skilful air game and status as a projectile user, Sparkster would truly be one of the most unique characters in this roster. -TheAnvil
So there it is, our hypothetical Konami Smash clone roster. I hope you all enjoyed our reasoning and selections. It should be noted that these characters are the end result of a much larger list that was voted on by many members of the Source Gaming staff and whittled away to what you see here. Characters from Momotaro Densetsu, Bloody Roar, and Zone of Enders, amongst many others, were considered for this roster but did not quite make the cut. We also felt that some series, such as Graduis and Dance Dance Revolution, would be better suited to stage representation rather than having playable characters. We honestly think we created a roster of fun, diverse, and iconic Konami characters that any fan of the company would love to experience. More important than what we want think, though, is what you think. Please, let us know in the comments below!