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Cave Story is originally a freeware indie game released back in 2004. It is a 2D action/platformer that calls back to the classic era of games, and takes inspiration from games like Metroid and Mega Man. It gained popularity until it was noticed by Nicalis, who helped to finally give the game an official western release. Cave Story is famous for its fantastic music, its surprisingly great story, and its smooth game design. Many of the characters have interesting properties to their weapons and methods of attacks, and the game’s retro style could easily match the cartoony style that Smash currently has going for it. As such, I’ve decided to come up with this moveset for its protagonist, Quote.
Who is Quote?
Quote is the protagonist of the game Cave Story, though his name is only told to the player after completing an optional side quest that spans roughly a quarter of the game. Without giving away too much of the story, Quote finds himself inside an unknown area with no recollection of who he is or how he got there. As he explores his surroundings, he comes across a village populated by creatures called Mimiga, and learns that someone who calls himself “The Doctor” has been capturing them for some reason. Quote ends up involved in the fight to rescue them. Do note that while I avoided talking about spoilers here, I will have to mention a lot of key plot details in the rest of this article.
Importance to Nintendo/Series
While Cave Story is a third-party game, it is worth noting that the game has been remade not once or twice, but four times on Nintendo systems. Different versions exist on the DSi, WiiWare, and two separate versions for the 3DS, including both a 3D remake of the game available for retail as well as a 3D enhanced version on the eShop. Quote, being the main character of the games, is the most logical choice to represent his series in Smash, as the same has been done with every other third-party character in Smash. It is worth noting that Nicalis has mentioned in at least two separate tweets (1, 2) that they had an interest in having Quote in Smash, which elevate his chances a little of actually making it into Smash someday.
How will they play?
Colors: standard, yellow (Easy Mode), light Blue (Hard Mode), red and yellow (Curly), purple (King), dark blue and black (Combat Robots), green (Service Robots), white, green and pink (Colons)
As a note on these colors, I had originally planned to have Curly Brace as an alt, but I felt it would restrict her to Quote’s moveset and design, and possibly make them less unique in order to accommodate both. Plus, some of the moves and animations that I’ll get into later in this article wouldn’t make quite as much sense for her. From left to right, these colors represent his original design, easy mode, hard mode, Curly Brace, King, combat robots, service robots, and the Colons.
Most of these attributes simply mimic Quote’s abilities in Cave Story. Quote can neither crawl nor wall-jump in Cave Story. As a robot, he will be built heavy, but a little slow. He will be roughly the same height as Mega Man, but travel slowly in the air. Those who have played Cave Story know that changing your direction mid-jump isn’t quite as easy as it is in some other platformers. One non-standard choice I’ve decided on is to have him be mirrored when he faces left, despite wielding the Blade with one hand. Having him constantly face the screen stays true to his games, as well as is required to make sense of one of his taunts later on.
Quote will make use of his arsenal of weapons to mainly fight from a range with his specials and most of his aerials. His standard attacks will focus on using the Blade for short-ranged swings. I considered making his standard attacks based around the Polar Star or the more apt Spur, but I had trouble differentiating it from just being an objectively better version of Mega Man’s Mega Buster. He will also have an EXP mechanic to modify many of his attacks, which I will explain in-depth below.
While his strengths include a strong ranged game and a recovery that reaches far (albeit lacking a hitbox, save for one custom), he has his downsides. Starting at Level 1 is similar to Lucario with low Aura. He will be at a disadvantage when compared to the average power level of the rest of the cast. On the other hand, Quote at Level 2 will be on par with other characters, while Quote at Level 3 will have an advantage. That advantage can easily be taken away from him if he takes damage, giving him a dynamic power level as the match progresses, as opposed to Lucario who steadily gains power until his Aura is maxed out. He will also have two notable weaknesses with his ranged weapons. While they will be a good option to build up damage from a relatively safe distance, most of them will have very weak knockback and be unable to KO at reasonable percentages. Quote will have to rely on his Blade to secure most of his kills, which puts him at risk of taking damage and losing his levels. Also, to reduce excessive camping with his huge array of projectiles, Quote will have an animation for taking out and putting away all of his weapons (except for the Blade, which is held in his neutral stance), giving him startup and recovery time on his ranged moves where he is vulnerable, similar to Shulk but more noticeable. Multiple attacks made with the same weapon will delay the recovery animation until the attacks are finished, so you can fire the same weapon multiple times in quick succession without receiving the recovery lag multiple times. However, certain weapons will have limits on how many times they can be fired in a row.
EXP Gauge – When Quote attacks opponents, the EXP gauge will increase, and receiving attacks will lower it. The gauge increases in 4 increments: Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, and MAX. The effects of Level 3 and MAX are typically identical. Quote will start the match at Level 1 with an empty EXP gauge. Most of his moves will be modified in some way based his current level. The gauge showing his current EXP will be located under his portrait, similar to Little Mac’s KO Punch meter. He will also have a brief message above his head to indicate when he gains or loses a level.
The growth or depletion of his EXP gauge is directly related to how much damage he gives and takes. In Cave Story, it’s far easier to lose EXP than it is to gain it, but I felt that emulating that would make Quote difficult to use in Free-For-All matches, where he may be attacked far more often than he can retaliate. Instead, it will be a one-to-one rate for losing and gaining EXP. From an empty gauge, Quote must deal 25% to reach Level 2, 35% to reach Level 3, and 15% to reach MAX, and he’ll lose his levels if he takes the same amount of damage. One of Quote’s specials will allow him to gain some EXP while out of combat, giving him an extra method of keeping his levels up. While each individual weapon has their own EXP gauge in Cave Story, I felt like that might be complicated to keep track of in a game like Smash, so I decided to apply the concept to the character as a whole instead.
Air Tank – Quote’s shield will take the appearance of the Air Tank.
Note: This was just something I’ve had on my mind for a while. Currently, Yoshi is the only character in Smash with a unique shield, and I’ve wondered why other characters never got that option. Even if they weren’t functionally different from a regular shield like Yoshi’s is, I thought it would be a nice touch. This references the boss fight against Curly Brace, where she uses her Air Tank to block your missiles if you try using them. I considered allowing Quote to have that effect, but it neither felt necessary for his moveset, nor is it something he was able to do in his own games, even after obtaining the Air Tank.
Quote materializes in from a teleporter.
Quote stands almost completely still, similar to Mega Man. He wields the Blade in his right hand.
|Idle Animation #1||Quote briefly looks behind himself before looking forward again.|
|Idle Animation #2||Quote quickly examines the Blade before returning to his neutral stance.|
Quote will use the same walking animation he uses in his game.
|Running Animation||Quote will use a similar running animation as Mega Man.|
|Crouching Animation||Quote kneels down, similar to Link.|
Quote will use the same jumping animation he uses in his game.
|Special Fall Animation||
Quote will fall upside down, similar to how he falls off the island during the normal ending.
Quote will use the same KO animation and sound effect he uses in his game.
|Neutral Attack||Quote swings the Blade down and then up for a two-hit combo to knock enemies in the air. Increased levels will improve the damage of both hits, and increase the knockback of the second hit.
Level 1: 2%, 5%
Level 2: 3%, 7%
Level 3: 4%, 9%
Quote slides a short distance forward with a powerful two-handed overhead swing, functioning as a decent KO move. Increased levels will improve the damage and knockback.
Level 1: 9%
Level 2: 11%
Level 3: 13%
|Forward Tilt||Quote stabs the Blade straight in front of him, dealing mostly horizontal knockback. Increased levels will improve damage and knockback.
Level 1: 5%
Level 2: 7%
Level 3: 9%
|Up Tilt||Quote stabs the Blade straight up. Has trouble hitting grounded opponents, but works well against opponents above him, and can KO at high percents and levels. Increased levels will improve damage and knockback.
Level 1: 6%
Level 2: 8%
Level 3: 11%
|Down Tilt||Quote sweeps the ground in front of him with the Blade. It has low damage and knockback, which allows it to start combos. Increased levels will improve damage, but knockback is only slightly affected.
Level 1: 3%
Level 2: 5%
Level 3: 7%
Quote throws the Blade forward. Level 1 travels a little less than half the distance of Final Destination, but has below average damage and knockback. Level 2 only travels a quarter of FD, but has high damage and knockback. Level 3 travels a little more than half the distance of FD, and King’s spirit will appear to deal multiple weak attacks along the path of the attack. The weak attacks will combo into the final hit which launches opponents. Total damage is slightly higher than Level 2, and the knockback of the final hit is increased*. All versions can be reflected, but not absorbed.
Level 1: 7.5%
Level 2: 15%
Level 3: 1% each weak hit (8 total), 10% final hit
|Up Smash||Quote slashes above him, similar to Ike’s up smash but quicker. Damage increases as levels improve, but knockback only increases between Level 1 and 2. At Level 3, King will appear and perform a follow-up attack on the first enemy hit by Quote, dealing less damage and knockback, but sending foes directly up.
Level 1: 8%
Level 2: 11%
Level 3: 11% for Quote’s slash, 5% for King’s slash
|Down Smash||Quote slams the Blade down in front of him for a high knockback attack, similar to Robin’s down smash. Increased levels will improve damage and knockback. At Level 3, King’s spirit appears and slashes behind Quote for the same range and damage as Quote’s attack, but higher knockback.
Level 1: 10%
Level 2: 13%
Level 3: 16%
|Floor Attack||Quote stabs the Blade both to both sides before standing up. Unaffected by EXP.
Damage: 7% Front/Back, 5% trip.
|Edge Attack||Quote pulls himself up, then fires a shot from the Polar Star. Slow, but ranged. The shot can be reflected or absorbed.
Level 1: 3%
Level 2: 4.5%
Level 3: 6%
|Neutral Air||Quote swings the Blade vertically around himself, similar to Mii Swordfighter’s neutral air. Increased levels will improve the damage and knockback.
Level 1: 5%
Level 2: 8%
Level 3 11%
|Forward Air||Quote uses the Fireball to create a small blast in front of him, dealing average knockback. Increased levels will improve the damage and knockback.
Level 1: 8%
Level 2: 11%
Level 3: 14%
Quote fires the Snake behind him, which can travel through walls and opponents, but deals low knockback. Increased levels will improve the damage and range (a little less than half the distance of FD at Level 1 to roughly the full length at Level 3), but not the knockback. The shot can be absorbed, but not reflected. Instead, it will completely ignore reflectors.
Level 1: 4%
Level 2: 6%
Level 3: 8%
|Up Air||Quote swings the Blade overhead in a similar motion to Cloud’s up smash. The back hit of this move sends opponents horizontally. Increased levels will improve damage and knockback.
Level 1: 7%
Level 2: 9%
Level 3: 11%
Quote fires three shots from the Machine Gun, reaching slightly longer than the distance from the top platform of Battlefield to the floor. Each level will improve damage and knockback by a small degree, and Level 3 will propel Quote a slight distance in the air when fired. This attack can be used a maximum of 3 times before landing. The shots can be reflected, but not absorbed.
Level 1: 2% per shot
Level 2: 2.5% per shot
Level 3: 3% per shot
|Grab||Grabs the opponent with his free hand. Has a short range.|
|Pummel||Quote hits the opponent with the pommel of the Blade. A below average pummel in terms of speed and damage. Unaffected by EXP.
|Forward Throw||Quote kicks the opponent forward at a low trajectory. Unaffected by EXP.
Quote throws the opponent behind him with both hands, referencing Balrog’s throw in his boss fights. Quote’s throw will send opponents at a higher angle than Balrog’s throw. Turns Quote around, and is unaffected by EXP.
Quote throws the opponent straight up and follows with a shot from the Super Missile. The throw has low damage and knockback, but the Super Missile has decent damage and knockback which improve with levels. At Level 3, three smaller missiles are fired will less knockback, but each hit combos into the next. This throw is good for KOs, but opponents who react fast enough may be able to DI away from the missile. The missiles can be reflected, and the explosion from the missiles can be absorbed.
Damage (Throw): 2%
Level 1: 6%
Level 2: 12%
Level 3: 5% per missile
Quote throws the opponent down and fires two shots from the Fireball downwards. Damage improves with levels, but knockback only grows slightly, allowing this throw to work as a combo starter.
Level 1: 1.5% per shot
Level 2: 3% per shot
Level 3: 4.5% per shot
Polar Star. Level 1 fires weak shots that travel just under half the distance of FD, and can be fired twice in a row. Level 2 fires slightly stronger shots that travel just over half the distance of FD, and can be fired three times in a row. Level 3 fires stronger shots with decent knockback that travel about 3/4 the distance of FD, and can be fired four times in a row. The shots can be reflected or absorbed.
Level 1: 4% per shot
Level 2: 5.5% per shot
Level 3: 7% per shot
Hyper Star. Normal shots are weaker and unaffected by levels, but this version can be charged up to fire a long-reaching laser. Charging for more time will increase the damage and knockback of the laser, but will consume EXP relative to how long the charge was held. The charge can be canceled with the shield button, but not stored. Quote can move around while a charge is being held, and can fire up or down if that direction is held before releasing the charge. The laser can be reflected or absorbed.
Regular shots: 3% per shot
Level 1 charge: 12%
Level 2 charge: 20%
Level 3 charge: 28%
Nemesis. Level 1 fires a quick long-range shot that passes through enemies and deals decent knockback, reaching roughly three-quarters of FD. Level 2 fires a shot that stops when it reaches a target, reaching half of FD, deals less damage and knockback, and fires slower. Level 3 fires slow moving, short ranged, low damage, no knockback rubber ducks. The rubber ducks are items that can be picked up and thrown to roughly the same effect. The shots can be reflected, but not absorbed.
Level 1: 10%
Level 2: 5%
Level 3: 1%
Bubbline. Level 1 fires very weak shots with no knockback, and only reach about a quarter of the distance of FD. Level 2 fires slightly stronger shots with minimal knockback at a higher rate, reaching about half of FD. Level 3 fires slightly stronger shots with very low knockback. Holding the button causes bubbles to fly around Quote, up to a maximum of 5. Each bubble can block weak projectiles (Thunder Jolt, Peanut Popgun, etc), but it will take multiple bubbles to block stronger ones (Charge Shot, Aura Sphere, etc). Releasing the button will fire all bubbles at once, traveling the full distance of FD. The bubbles will be fired in the direction being held. Quote can move around while the button is held, and shielding will cause all current bubbles to be fired. All versions can be reflected or absorbed.
Level 1: 1.5% per shot
Level 2: 1.75% per shot
Level 3: 2% per shot
|Custom #1||Mirror Bubbline. All levels do less damage than the standard Bubbline. Level 3 will gather the bubbles in front of Quote in a protective wall that can reflect projectiles, defending him from the front but leaving him vulnerable from other angles. Similar to the standard Bubbline, it will take multiple bubbles to reflect stronger projectiles.
Level 1: 1% per shot
Level 2: 1.25% per shot
Level 3: 1.5% per shot
|Custom #2||Burst Bubbline. Each level, when the button is held, will charge a large bubble that will fire when the button is released or the bubble reaches its largest size. As the level increases, the bubble charges faster and travels farther when fired, from about half the distance of FD at Level 1 to the full distance at Level 3. The bubble will trap the first enemy it comes into contact with, but will burst if it comes into contact with any attack before that. Characters trapped in bubbles can mash buttons to escape, but escaping becomes more difficult at higher percents. If the bubble is popped by an attack, the trapped character takes a small amount of extra damage which improves with levels, but they will not take damage if they free themselves. Unlike the standard Bubbline, the bubbles cannot be reflected or absorbed (reflectors and absorbing moves with a hitbox can pop the bubbles). In order to prevent potential infinite combos, enemies trapped in bubbles cannot be grabbed or stunned by attacks with a paralysis effect.
Level 1: 2%
Level 2: 4%
Level 3: 6%
Booster v2.0. Holding the button causes Quote to fly at high speed in any cardinal direction. There will be a slight delay before Quote starts moving to make steering easier. Uses fuel that replenishes gradually while on the ground, but has less fuel than similar recovery moves. Unaffected by EXP, and does not cause special fall.
Booster v0.8. Can only go up and is a little slower than v.2.0, but has more fuel and can drift from side to side while ascending. Unaffected by EXP, and does not cause special fall.
|Custom #2||Booster v4.8. After a short delay, charges quickly in the specified direction, dealing damage to the first target encountered. Momentum from this move will slow down after hitting an opponent. Increased levels will improve damage, knockback and distance traveled, but this version causes special fall.
Level 1: 8%
Level 2: 11%
Level 3: 14%
Weapon Energy Capsule. Quote pulls a weapon energy capsule from the ground. It takes 2.5 seconds for Quote to pull the capsule. Once he has it, it breaks open and gives Quote 15% worth of EXP. Quote cannot cancel this once he starts it, it cannot be used in the air, and he is vulnerable for this move’s duration. Using this move in rapid succession will give less EXP each time and will take longer to pull out the capsule. Unaffected by EXP.
Life Capsule. Quote pulls a life capsule from the ground. It takes four seconds for Quote to pull the capsule. Once he has it, it opens and heals Quote for 5% damage and gives him 5% worth of EXP. Its downsides are similar to Weapon Energy Capsule. Unaffected by EXP.
Iron Bond. Quote will wear the Iron Bond, which will double his EXP gains for a short time while he has it. The move has to be charged up similar to how the Special Flag item works (but not as long of a charge). This move is unaffected by EXP.
|Final Smash – Level +||Quote’s Level goes a rank above MAX, giving a boost to the damage, knockback, speed, and range of all his attacks that use EXP. His specials that use EXP each gain a new effect:
The Polar Star and the Hyper Star will become the Spur, being able to fire shots that are stronger than the Level 3 Polar Star and charge quicker than the Hyper Star. The Nemesis becomes more powerful instead of weaker and burns foes for lingering fire damage.
The Bubbline creates more resistant bubbles, blocking/reflecting tougher projectiles for the standard and Mirror Bubbline, and being able to take more hits before bursting for the Burst Bubbline.
The Booster v4.8 creates an explosion at the start with significant knockback. The other two versions are unaffected, as they do not use EXP.
If Quote’s down special is set to Weapon Energy Capsule, it will be set to Life Container for the duration of this Final Smash. If his down special is set to Item Draw, the Iron Bond will not be picked. Otherwise, this special is not affected, as it does not use EXP.
This mode lasts 12 seconds before ending. Quote is still fully vulnerable while this Final Smash is active. At the end, Quote’s level will be left at MAX.
Three Whimsical Stars float closely around Quote as he watches them. Each star can deal 1% damage with negligible knockback.
Quote puts on the Mimiga Mask, then quickly removes it.
Quote looks into the background with a question mark appearing above his head.
|Animation #1||Quote swings the Blade and an image of King briefly flashes beside him.|
Quote takes a drink from the Life Pot, similar to Young Link’s taunt in Melee.
A text box appears which says “Aren’t we forgetting something?”, and Quote looks around confused, referencing the extra line of dialogue the player receives if the true ending is reached with the Little Man still in your inventory.
Victory Fanfare: The jingle that plays when Quote defeats a boss will be used.
And that’s how I’ve envisioned Quote playing in Smash. Thanks for taking the time to read this far, I put a lot of time and effort into making this as accurate both to Cave Story’s and Smash’s design philosophies as possible. If you have any comments, questions, criticism, or anything, feel free to ask in the comments. However, we’re not quite done yet taking some inspiration from SlowDragon’s articles on Steve’s inclusion in Smash, I decided to also write an additional two articles to supplement this one. Keep an eye out for those too, and please let me know what you think!
*: This move works a little differently than Quote’s other moves in regards to level progression. Players of Cave Story may know that the Level 2 Blade can technically attain a higher DPS than the Level 3 version can, as long as you stand right next to your opponent and fire as quickly as you can. I wanted to replicate this, but I felt it would be counter-intuitive to have a forward smash deal less damage as it leveled up. Instead, I’ve tweaked the numbers a bit so that while the Level 2 Blade will deal more damage consistently, the Level 3 Blade has the potential to deal more damage if many of the hits connect, and the last hit will do more knockback.