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Guest Article: Case for Fossil Fighters

This article was created by our guest writer zoniken, you can find him at his pixiv.

Before moving on to the introduction of this article, I would like to thank NantenJex for helping me with editing.

As Nintendo continued making popular franchises like Super Mario Bros. and Legend of Zelda, they’ve also created many new IPs in order to increase sales and give appeal to every gamer. While there are several IPs that became successful like Splatoon and ARMS, others could be deemed failures like Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. However, there are a few other titles released that received mixed reactions by many players, both good and bad. Style Savvy and Dillon’s Rolling Western are two such examples, both of which became series that have released over three titles so far. Today, I’ll be focusing on one such series and that is the Fossil Fighters series!

Music

But before we can move on to the main topic, let’s start with the series’ music. What is Smash Bros. without music? Here are a few tracks you can look forward to if anybody from Fossil Fighters makes it in and songs you can listen to while reading this article..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnbERluauKI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGlEs3FkHHY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ZoMFsWPmHY

Series Background

Pokemon Dinosaur Version

The Fossil Fighters series is a monster capturing/breeding RPG game created by Nintendo, mainly for Nintendo DS and 3DS. But, unlike Pokemon, this game is mostly focused on dinosaurs called “Vivosaurs”. The player’s objective is to dig up the fossil from the ground, clean it up by using the touchscreen, and bring the revived Vivosaur into battle to fight against other Fossil Fighters in a 3 vs 3 battle style. The first title was released for Nintendo DS in 2008, with a sequel titled Fossil Fighters: Champions in 2010, which not only added new Vivosaurs but also the inclusion of an evolution system and new content upon cleaning fossils such as flipping and scrolling fossils of various sizes. Nintendo also released a third title called Fossil Fighters: Frontier in 2014 for 3DS, where the player can drive a customizable vehicle to explore various digging sites and find new fossils.

Fossil Fighters’ gameplay mechanics are rather different from other monster capturing/breeding RPG games. In an open field, players won’t encounter wild Vivosaurs as they can only be obtained by digging their fossils from the ground, cleaning and reviving them at the laboratory. Instead, you can train them by fighting against other Fossil Fighters who can be encountered at certain times after digging up specific fossils. In battle, as explained above, the game will be played in a 3 vs 3 battle style, where a player can rotate their party’s position. The Vivosaur standing at the front will be the attacker, while the Vivosaurs from behind will act as support.

Character Background

The Fossil Fighters series contains over 140 Vivosaurs, including their evolved forms introduced in Champions, however, the series also contains various human characters as well. While there are several characters to choose from, here are the characters that I think may fit perfectly if they’ve joined Smash.

Hero

From the left, the heroes of the first Fossil Fighters, Champions, and Frontier.

The Hero is the main protagonist of the series and the player’s avatar. Although all heroes are different in each game, their main goal is always to become a Master Ranked Fossil Fighter by winning every tournament held at the main locations of each series. However, as for the main plots, there are powerful and threatful villains who plans to conquer the world that the hero must defeat by using their Vivosaurs. While the first game only used a male gender for the player’s avatar, the series added a female option in Champions. The hero mostly carries a pickaxe to dig out fossils from the ground, and even uses a drill and hammer to clean up the fossils whenever they return to the laboratory in order to revive the Vivosaur. And since the Vivosaur, for an unknown reason, can turn into a medal, the hero can carry their medals around, and even summon them by throwing a medal into the field, similar to Pokemon’s Pokeball or Yo-kai Watch’s Yo-kai Medals.

If the hero did join Smash, they may fight similar to the Pokemon Trainer from Super Smash Bros. Brawl, where they can summon three different Vivosaurs in battle, separated from small (V-Raptor), medium (Tricera), and large (T-Rex). However, this system may not be possible due to technical difficulties so, if possible, the hero itself may fight solo, using a pickaxe as its main weapon, while a drill and hammer can be used as part of his movesets. They can then summon the Vivosaurs to attack as part of their specials. Similar to Wii Fit Trainer and Robin, they can change genders as well. As for its Final Smash, it may summon all three Vivosaurs at once who all perform their strongest attacks, similar to Pokemon Trainer’s Final Smash, or ride on the Bone Buggy and use its mechanics to attack, similar to all Star Fox fighter’s Land Master.

Rosie

Never mess with a spunky little girl with a pickaxe and bad luck.

Rosetta “Rosie” Richmond is the main heroine from the first Fossil Fighters and granddaughter of Mr. Richmond, the owner of Vivosaur Island. Due to being born from a rich family, she has a spunky and spoiled personality and can be rude towards somebody she dislikes. However, she’s rather encouraging and loyal to her friends. She also fell in love with the protagonist after being saved by the hero many times throughout the game. She has a terrible habit of getting involved with bad situations, such as easily being cursed by a spell cast by the Digdag Chieftain, and even devolving into a eutriconodonta by the enemy’s regression ray. She later returns to Champions, referring to the main protagonist as her rival, and she can be battled at the tournament.

I’ve chosen Rosie in this list due to her being one of the main heroines from the first game, and a recurring character. If she did join in Smash, she could fight similar to the hero as I explained above. Alternatively, rather than being a clone, she could be an alternate gender costume for the hero of the first game, since the first game didn’t contain a female avatar.

Duna

I bet furry fans would love to see this character joinSmash.

“Dinaurian” was introduced in the first Fossil Fighters game, a race of intelligent space aliens with reptilian features, and the ability to transform into a Vivosaur. While they’re the main villains of the first game, Duna is rather different. Although she first appeared as an antagonist, who was occupied as an agent to search for a key to unleash a secret weapon to destroy mankind, she has since become a secondary heroine alongside with Rosie, as she fell in love with the hero after being saved once. Although her actions mean betraying her people, she decides to help the hero to save the world from destroying all life. She also returns in Champions although only through the Nintendo Wi-Fi feature (which is now impossible today), as she can be battled only in a special event and can be obtainable afterwards. Duna has an ability to transform into a velociraptor-like Vivosaur, and can be fought in battle using wind-elemented attacks.

I’ve chosen Duna on this list for not just the same reason as Rosie, but because she is more popular than her. If she joined Smash, she may use a similar mechanic that Zelda and Sheik had before Smash for 3DS/Wii U. While Duna can fight in her humanoid form, she can transform into her Vivosaur form by using the down special, and both forms contain different movesets. However, this may not work due to similar technical problems that both Zelda and Sheik had. So instead, she could use a shape-shifting ability like shifting her arms into large claws, similar to Corrin’s ability. Transforming into her Vivosaur form may work as her Final Smash, or even summon Dinaurian’s robotic Vivosaur Dinomaton instead.

Luckily, the manga version has provided a perfect example of how she can fight if joined Smash.

T-Rex

Never call it a Bowser/Charizard clone…

T-Rex is a fire-element Vivosaur that first appeared in the original Fossil Fighters and is considered the mascot of the series. Similar to Bowser and Charizard, it uses its sharp fangs to bite its opponents, and can even breathe out powerful flames from its mouth. However, being the most powerful Vivosaur, it cannot be used as a support without severely hindering its ally’s ability, making it difficult to use in battle as it can damage allies too. After Champions, T-Rex can evolve into T-Rex Lord.

If joining in Smash, it may fight similar to both Bowser and Charizard, as it uses its fangs and fire-element attacks as its main weapon in battle, which may make T-Rex a Bowser and/or Charizard’s semi-clone. For its Final Smash, it can evolve into T-Rex Lord, using its ultimate move “Lordly Fire” as its finishing move.

Reason for Inclusion

Although having mixed feedbacks, many reviewers praised the first game to be fun and enjoyable due to its addictive fossil cleaning mechanic and battle system. The first game scored 32 out of 40 by Famitsu and it placed as the third best-selling game in Japan the week of its release (35,000 copies), while it was placed in the 10th best-selling game in the US the month of its release (92,000 copies). Back in Japan, by the end of 2008, it was placed 15th best-selling DS game of the year, selling over 240,000 copies. Today, the series in total has sold over a million copies worldwide.

The series even got a manga series by four different artists; three of which released in Coro Coro magazine and the other in Dengeki Nintendo DS magazine. The latter manga can be read in Japanese at the author’s homepage.

Not to mention Sakurai did bring Fossil Fighters: Frontier’s Hero/Heroine as a showcase trophy for Smash for 3DS.

Reason for Exclusion

Unlike Pokemon, or other monster capturing/breeding RPG games like Digimon and Yo-kai Watch, Fossil Fighters isn’t really that famous. Although the game has received mostly positive reactions by many players, the series isn’t really that popular. Even though the series sold over a million copies worldwide, each individual title has never even sold over a million copies, as the first game only sold worth of 0.89 million copies, Champions sold 0.67 million, and Frontier sold 0.42 million.

The series already had a Rotation and Triple Battle system before Pokemon: Black & White.

This unpopularity also affects the characters as well. Even though Rosie and Duna, the duo heroines from the first Fossil Fighters game, made their return in its sequel, they are not that familiar to many gamers today. It does not help that the heroes are generic avatar characters, and ‘Vivosaurs’ as a name is not really as memorable as Pokemon, Digimon and Yo-kai Watch. If anybody from Fossil Fighters joined Smash, most gamers simply would not recognise them.

And speaking of Vivosaurs, their size is also a problem. As Sakurai stated that he couldn’t make Ridley playable due to his massive size, then T-Rex, who’s known as the mascot of the series, is too big (I mean, a lot of dinosaurs ARE huge). Unlike Bowser and Charizard, Vivosaurs are mainly based on actual dinosaurs, and they’re not meant to be resized into smaller forms. T-Rex is too large and may ruin its appearance if it became smaller as the average size of other fighters like Yoshi, or similar size as Bowser and Charizard. But of course, choosing a smaller Vivosaur like V-Raptor, or choosing Nibbles as T-Rex’s replacement may work, but people would be even more unfamiliar with them.

Many people today believe that popularity is the most important factor for choosing a character for Smash, and so unpopular characters shouldn’t be chosen as they are not important or relevant. We can’t be 100% sure on this although Sakurai does factor it in at least whenever he’s deciding who should join Smash, as characters like Takamaru missed their chance due to lack of popularity. However, I personally disagree that this is the case, because I do believe that a series and a character’s history is more important for Smash, and Fossil Fighters may have a chance to join in the future if Sakurai or anybody who’s working on Smash considers them.

But what do you think? Do you think Fossil Fighters have a chance to join Smash? Or should it be ignored due to being too unpopular and infamous? Let me know in the comments below! And before we close, let me introduce myself for the first time, since I haven’t made any introduction whenever I make this guest article. My name is zoniken, a Japanese American dude who’s been around Source Gaming for quite a long time, since the development of Smash for 3DS/Wii U. I used to live Hawaii as I was born and raised there, but have now moved to Japan since this March for a new life. Sadly, I don’t have a Twitter and Facebook account for personal reasons, so you may not find me there. But you can find me at pixiv, as I mostly post fanarts there, though everything is all written in Japanese. And finally, thank you for reading this article, and see you at the next zone!

2 comments
  1. i really think Vivosaurs should be in the next Smash as i really enjoy Fossil Fighter Frionter! i think that the pokemon trainer system would best fit those character. also their theme song should be a remix of this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9iX6i1aWO0

    David Horan on April 24 |
  2. Sorry for the late comment! Thank you NantenJex for posting this article!

    @David Horan
    Yeah, it’ll be an interesting thing to see Fossil Fighters to join Smash, as I do wish to see it join in as well. But when it comes with popularity, it may be too difficult at this moment.

    zoniken on April 26 |