When Super Smash Bros. Brawl was first shown off at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in 2006, it surprised everyone with a post-trailer reveal of a challenger no one had expected: Solid Snake, of Metal Gear fame. Along with the later reveal of Sonic the Hedgehog, it changed the way everyone viewed Super Smash Bros. as a series where not only Nintendo characters could compete, but characters with a special significance to Nintendo as well.
Over the past year, Nintendo has shaken things up further with their slow drip of reveals for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS. Not only would Sonic be returning, but Mega Man and Pac-Man would be joining in as well. Yet, amidst all the reveals of characters both old and new to the series, one has remained conspicuous by his absence: Solid Snake.
Back in March, when faced with the question of whether or not Snake was simply hiding under another box until the moment was right to strike, Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima stated “I’m not working on that game, but I don’t think it’s likely [that Snake will return]. If Mr. Sakurai is watching this, hopefully we see Snake.”
This has left people talking, some expressing a desire to see Snake return. Others feel that he was out of place, while believing that another character should emerge to represent Konami in his place. And what better series to represent than the one that has arguably been the most closely tied to Nintendo over the years, Castlevania?
While it makes sense, it also presents a bit of a conundrum: The Castlevania titles have featured many, many protagonists over its 28-year history, so who could– who should be the one to have the honor? Though opinions have differed strongly, many have gravitated towards none other than Simon Belmont for one reason or another.
Arguments against range from there being more prominent protagonists over the years, and also that there have been more consistent members of the cast, including Dracula himself (around whom the series always tends to revolve in one way or another), who could also be represented by his alter-ego, Soma Cruz, or even his son, Alucard, who has some shared abilities and starred in one of the franchise’s most beloved entries, Symphony of the Night. Conversely, seeing as that beloved entry has never graced a Nintendo platform (Sony, SEGA, and even Microsoft, yes; Nintendo? Never), Alucard feels more like he belongs in the “maybe” pile.
I’ve explained before why Pac-Man belongs in Super Smash Bros., now it’s time to lay out why Simon is the vampire hunter of choice to represent his franchise in the game, should it ever come to that.
1) Vampire Hunter Superstar
Haunted Castle, Castlevania, Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest, Super Castlevania IV, Castlevania Chronicles, Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance, Castlevania: Judgment (I never said they were all good appearances), Castlevania: Harmony of Despair, Ganbare Goemon Gaiden 2, Wai Wai World 2, Snatcher, Contra: Hard Corps, DreamMix TV: World Fighters, New International Track and Field, Hai No Majutsushi, Evolution Skateboarding, and most recently, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow: Mirror of Fate.
That is 17 games– count ‘em, 17 different games that Simon has appeared in some form or fashion since debuting in 1986. It’s an impressive number, even more so when you consider the rotating cast of protagonists.
2) Nintendo Player
What’s more, of those 17, the majority (11, in case you were wondering) were on Nintendo platforms. So not only has Simon put in more appearances than anyone, but most of those have been on the very platforms Super Smash Bros. celebrates, dating all the way back to the company’s very first platform, the Nintendo Entertainment System. And on that platform, he starred in two of the three games to appear there, including the very first one bearing the series’ name (to say nothing of the arcade game, Haunted Castle, which preceded it), and put in cameos in other titles as well.
Castlevania has popped up in one way or another across numerous games and series not related to the franchise. And more often than not, when it comes time to have someone stand and represent said franchise, who do they turn to? Simon, of course. So why should Super Smash Bros. be any different in this regard? It’s the role he was born to play, and given that he was the series’ original hero.
3) 25th Anniversary Captain N Reunion
Of course, there is also the whole aforementioned Captain N thing. For better or for worse, he was certainly one of the most memorable characters from that entire series, and that has stuck with people enough that they want to see him rejoin such fellow cast members as Mega Man, Pit, Mother Brain, Palutena, Link, Zelda, and Donkey Kong.
Incidentally, one might argue that without the eponymous captain himself making an appearance, the entire idea is for naught. However, besides the fact that people seem willing to “take the hit” if it means having Simon in, one mustn’t forget that Captain N can potentially be a part of the group, thanks to the Mii Fighter. Granted, it won’t be quite the same, but all things considered, some compromise is probably to be expected where he is concerned.
In any case, for this reason alone, director Masahiro Sakurai has undoubtedly heard plenty of demands for Simon. Granted, he hears demands for everyone, but anecdotally speaking, there seems to be a greater concentration for Simon in general… perhaps because they know it’s feasible.
4) He’s Got the Moves That Really Move ‘Em
Super Smash Bros. has done wonders for characters in ways no one has ever imagined– who would have ever thought that the move set of Captain Falcon, a character who has never been playable outside of a futuristic race car prior to appearing in the first game– would have some of the most iconic moves in the entire series? Similarly, other characters who have had so very little to work with have taken the stage with so much to bring. Because of this, the next reason admittedly feels just a little flimsy.
That said, Simon feels like he would fit the series like a glove, particularly with regard to his moves. Granted, others (such as Trevor) have shared Simon’s basic abilities, but as opposed to characters who hail from the more “Metroidvania” styled entries in the series, his feel like they come naturally– almost as though his own moves were tailor-made for Super Smash Bros.
Just picture it: (Going by GameCube buttons) A would be used to strike with the Vampire Killer whip, and could attack in different directions. Charging it up could see the whip go through its different levels, including the morning star and the flame whip. The Vampire Killer would also be handy as a grab move that can reach ledges, similar to Link’s Hookshot or Samus’s Grapple Beam.
But the B button is where it really gets fun. A regular tap of B would hurl a dagger; a basic attack for a basic move, while forward and B would let loose the more powerful boomerang cross. For foes overhead, Up and B would hurl a large battleaxe in an overhead arc, and Down and B would send a bottle of holy water downward to firebomb the ground. Just like in the Castlevania games! Anyone who has ever played one of the early games should be right at home, even more so than Mega Man players using the Blue Bomber.
Speaking of which, that brings us to the Final Smash. Two ideal options come to mind here: One is to fill in the blank with the last item that is unnamed as part of the regular moves above, the Stopwatch, which would freeze everything as in the games and allow Simon to go to town on his helpless opponents. The other, perhaps more favorable option, would be to basically “pull a Mega Man,” so to speak, and summon in several other heroes from his series to wail away on anyone in their path.
5) Costume Hunter
Every character in Super Smash Bros. has a variety of alternate attire to wear. After all, if you have four players all choosing the same character, you want each player’s choice to appear distinct from the rest.
In pretty much every single Castlevania title Simon has appeared in, he’s had a new outfit– it’s enough to make Barbie jealous, assuming she were a fan of slaying the undead. But I digress; from his blonde hair and barbarian-styled original attire to his more armored looks (red and blue/green in II and IV, respectively) to the furs and fiery red hair of more recent incarnations, Simon has enough varied, unique looks to prevent any sort of confusion among those who choose to play as him. Even in terms of mere alternate color schemes instead of full-blown costume changes, Simon dresses to impress.
And I guess if we really wanted to scrape the bottom of the barrel, we could include his God-awful Light Yagami-in-bondage costume from Judgment as well. Of course, if things ever got that desperate for some unimaginable reason, I’d rather see Simon dress as another of the series’ whip-wielders.
6) Current Events
Generally speaking, Super Smash Bros. tries to keep up-to-date. For instance, until recently, they would feature two Fire Emblem characters: Marth, the hero of the original game, and one from whatever was the most current at the time. In 2001, that was Roy, while 2008 replaced him with Ike, who has surprisingly stuck around as Sakurai has added Lucina and Robin from the latest installment, Fire Emblem Awakening. This is also likely why I’m stuck with F.L.U.D.D. as one of Mario’s moves now, and why Other M Samus has replaced her Metroid Prime/Super Metroid hybrid form.
The point of this is to say that if one were to follow this same logic when looking for a Castlevania character to include, then the fates are smiling upon Simon this day. As one person noted in a conversation I was a part of, “I’ve been saying this for months, but if you get a Castlevania character it’s going to be some Lords of Shadow joker, and I don’t think anybody really wants that. Least of all Sakurai.”
Granted, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 was the most recent installment in the series… but not on a Nintendo platform. That honor, fascinatingly enough, places Simon in the spotlight– or at least, a rebooted version of Simon, who serves as the main character in Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate on the Nintendo 3DS. Granted, he wasn’t the only playable character, but his seems like the driving force of the story.
As an aside, protagonist Gabriel Belmont’s armor in the original Lords of Shadow was based on Simon’s Castlevania II appearance, so there is further relevance for you.
7) The Kojima Connection
Bringing everything back around, we have to remember that this was never really about Castlevania or Konami; it was about Hideo Kojima, who is is surprisingly buddy-buddy with Nintendo for a guy who puts so few of his games on any of their platforms, yet “practically begged” Sakurai to have his brainchild, Solid Snake, appear in a Super Smash Bros. game. Naturally, one would assume any move made to include a Konami character would be a move to appeal to him first.
As a result, one would think Snake remains the most likely candidate, if any, from Konami’s catalog of characters to make an appearance in another Super Smash Bros. game. But, if they were to decide to go with a series from the company who has a stronger link to Nintendo’s history (who happens to now be affiliated with Kojima, even, if only tangentially), then why not the version of said series that Kojima himself signed off on?
That’s where I say Simon is the guy.
Granted, the case for Simon Belmont to appear in Super Smash Bros. may not be quite as strong as Pac-Man’s (and how could it be?), I nonetheless believe that whatever reasons anyone else could give for someone else from Castlevania to be in the game, Simon’s collectively outweighs them all.