As Smash Bros fully embraces clones, who else should join the fray as an echo fighter?
Don’t get us wrong – the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate character roster would be pretty stacked even without clones. With that said, it’s pretty cool to see the developers of the game embrace the concept of clones with officially categorized ‘echo fighters’ – additions to the roster who are heavily based off existing characters.
This opens up a lot of potential possibilities in terms of extra characters – perhaps nowhere better exemplified than in both Simon and Richter Belmont making it onto the character, or Princess Daisy finally getting her chance to fight as a Peach echo character.
What is an Echo Fighter / Character?
Just in the interest of clarity, before we get to our picks for some cool echo fighter ideas from us on VG247, let’s talk about how an echo fighter is defined for a second.
Broadly speaking, echo fighters are characters who have moves based directly on another character. These moves might have different properties or effects, but echo fighters won’t have different attacks. In other words, they’re tweaked versions of existing characters masquerading as a new character.
Princess Daisy will have attacks that perform slightly differently to her source Princess Peach, for instance, but her actual attacks will be the same. Lucina and Marth share attacks and specials, but Lucina is easier to use thanks to the damage being more evenly distributed without players being forced to be particularly accurate with her sword.
Recently announced echo character Chrom, he’s based on Roy but also borrows a few moves from Marth – which sort of makes him a mixed echo. He doesn’t really have any all-original moves, though – but he once again borrows from existing cast members.
This can lead to a bit of confusion, especially with older characters. Link, Young Link and Toon Link are all considered unique characters since they have slightly different specials. Dr. Mario is not actually a Mario echo since he has a unique Down-B move – stuff like that.
With that said, who would we pick for echo fighters if we were in charge of Smash Ultimate? If you need to refresh your memory of who is on the roster, chack out our Smash Ultimate fighter roster page. Here’s our picks – let us know yours below in the comments.
Ryu: Ken or Akuma
Look. This one is such a no-brainer that it seems an obvious place to start. In a sense Ken is the original echo fighter, with him making his debut as a colour-swapped Ryu back in 1987’s Street Fighter. As the Street Fighter series has progressed Ken has gradually diverged away from Ryu, retaining the same move set but taking on a distinct, aggressive, rush-down approach of his own.
Ken would be an easy echo fighter for Ryu, sharing similar moves – typically, Ken has more powerful uppercuts and kicks while Ryu is more about his zoning game and precise attacks. That’d be simple enough to implement, as would Ken’s iconic red gi – but if they wanted to differentiate him more they could also put him in his much different Street Fighter 5 outfit. Another easy option would be regular Street Fighter antagonist Akuma, whose overpowered shoto techniques could easily be adapted from Ryu’s.
Zelda: Toon Zelda
So here’s an interesting wrinkle: back in Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Wii there’s a bunch of files pointing to cut characters. You’ll hear a little more on this later, but one pair of files relates to this echo fighter pick: files for a Toon Zelda and a Toon Sheik.
Toon Sheik would make most sense as Tetra, Zelda’s secret pirate identity in Wind Waker, but those move sets wouldn’t match up at all. Now that Zelda and Sheik are distinct characters, however, it’d be an ideal time to bring a Toon Zelda back to pair up with Toon Link. Given that Toon Zelda has appeared in several Zelda games across the Gamecube and DS, she’s significant enough that she’d make an obvious and fun echo fighter pick.
Diddy Kong: Dixie Kong
While we’re talking about cut content from Super Smash Bros Brawl, it’s only right we also bring up Dixie. Dixie is another character referenced in files for the game, and Smash boss Masahiro Sakurai later admitted that originally it’d been planned for Dixie and Diddy to form a single ‘tag team’ character, similar to how the tag mechanic worked in the Donkey Kong Country games. That was ultimately cut.
Dixie is a significant Donkey Kong series character – probably the most significant now not playable in Smash series baddie King K. Rool has joined the roster. She even took the starring role in Donkey Kong Country 3. Dixie feels like she’d require more significant move edits than most echoes, but she’d also be a particularly good fit in terms of expanding the Donkey Kong series’ presence in Smash.
Sonic: Shadow the Hedgehog (or Tails)
Shadow is another character with some interesting past history to suggest he could be an echo fighter in Smash Ultimate. Specifically: Shadow appeared as an assist trophy in Brawl and Smash 4, but that assist trophy has so far been absent from all builds and showings of Smash Ultimate. Further, Knuckles has been added to Smash Ultimate as an all-new Sonic-series assist trophy. Curious…
Shadow was designed to be a sort of dark version of Sonic who acts evil while still being a good guy at heart (I mean, just check out the screenshot above – what an edgy prick), but that also means he basically shares an identical move set to Sonic. He could be made into a slightly slower, harder-hitting version of the quippy Hedgehog easily, and if they wanted to go all the way Sakurai’s team could give him a time-warping Chaos Control move that could be borrowed from Bayonetta’s Witch Time counter move. Alternatively Tails could also make a solid Sonic echo – but it wouldn’t be Tails if he couldn’t fly, so they’d have to give him that move. Metal Sonic could work too. Boy, the Sonic series sure does love its clones.
Back to completely unfounded speculation for a second – Impa is probably the last remaining truly obvious Zelda character who isn’t one of the series’ one-shot villains. Impa has appeared in a range of Zelda games and often as an old lady sage or handmaiden, but a few versions of her – in Ocarina of Time, Skyward Sword and Hyrule Warriors – have been kick-ass warriors in their own right.
Impa is often a Sheikah, one of the ninja-like clan of warriors sworn to protect the royal family. In Ocarina of Time, Impa is the one who trains Zelda in the arts required for her to become Sheik in the years Link is sealed away – meaning it’d make perfect sense for a Smash iteration of Impa, perhaps based on the Ocarina of Time version, to share Sheik’s move set.
This one might be a little soon given that Octolings have only been made playable in the Splatoon series for the first time earlier this year, but it also makes a lot of sense, especially given Splatoon is Nintendo’s most popular and iconic new series in a good while and it only has the one representative in Smash.
Octolings are more or less identical to the Inklings and can potentially use all the same weapons – they just have a unique look to them, making them ideal echo fighter material for Smash Ultimate. It’d also allow for twice the amount of Splatoon’s fresh fashion to be shown off in Smash – sixteen different outfits total.
While Kid Icarus does have Dark Pit as a Pit echo fighter on the roster, its presence in Smash Ultimate does currently lack a proper villain – and given that it’s a series Sakurai himself revived, one wouldn’t blame him for giving it a bit of preferential treatment – thus Medusa’s place on this list.
Medusa is basically a goddess of Darkness, so she’s a natural foil for Goddess of Light Palutena. They have more in common than you’d think, however – they both use magic and staff weapons to fight, and they share similar proportions. She’d make a natural echo fighter.
Over in the Bayonetta series Jeanne is Bayonetta’s friend and rival, and she’s in many ways actually the secondary protagonist of the series. She plays a major role in the story of both games, but crucially she’s also playable in both Bayonetta games as an unlockable character.
When she’s unlocked, Bayonetta’s combat changes just a little, with Jeanne something of a glass cannon that both takes and dishes out more damage. Her Witch Time activation window is smaller, but again allow her to dish out more withering punishes and counters. Sounds like the ideal sort of difference for an echo fighter, right?
Mario: Paper Mario
One of the things that’s been a touch surprising to me about Smash in its last two entries is the lack of representation for Paper Mario, which is no a fairly significant Mario spin-off series. It finally got a stage in Smash 4 for 3DS, and that stage is actually returning in Super Smash Bros Ultimate.
More important, however, is Paper Mario himself. Paper Mario is a natural, obvious fit for a Mario echo – they can share the same basic moves (though the FLUDD down+B would have to go – ripe to be replaced with a hammer-swing move) and Sakurai’s team has perfected the art of 2D characters in the 3D world of Smash thanks to Mr. Game and Watch.