WONDER RED FOR SMASH!!
Now that Nintendo have opened the Fighter Ballots, and deigned to allow the enthusiastic masses an assisting role in shaping the future of the game, a faint glimmer of hope has begun to sparkle deep in the infinite darkness, because The Wonderful 101 now have an honest shot at getting the spot they rightfully deserve on the celebrated roster of champions that is Super Smash Bros.
WHAT IS THE WONDERFUL 101?
For those of you that don’t know, The Wonderful 101 is a fast paced, high energy character action puzzle adventure game developed by Platinum Games and released exclusively for the Wii U in 2013. It features a unique blend of genre smashing action in one of the wildest mash-ups of gaming concepts you’ll ever experience. From platforming, to puzzle solving, to beat-em-ups, to rail shooting, to Punch-out, to bullet hell shmup action, you never know what the game is gonna throw you into next.
Viewing the action from above, you take control of a team of 100 superheroes as they race across the globe fending off a large scale alien invasion. By drawing symbols on the gamepad (or using the right control stick), you can utilize a special “Unite Morph” ability, and command the team to join themselves together and transform into a variety of objects, such as a hand, a sword, a hammer, a whip, and more! Each morph has its own specific uses and abilities, and mastering them all is crucial to victory. It’s all very confusing and overwhelming at first, and typical of Platinum, the game requires a very high level of focus, commitment, an ability to think and react quickly in response to sudden turns of events, and a lot of practice. But ultimately, it is a deep and rewarding gameplay experience for those who manage to make it over the, admittedly, very steep and intimidating learning curve required to get a handle on all the craziness.
Throughout every level of the game, you are being graded on your time, your combos, and the amount of damage you take, and at the end of each stage you are awarded varying levels of medals and trophies based on how well you do at kickin’ the bad guys butt. You’ll probably get pretty crappy scores the first time through the game, but don’t worry about it. The entire first play through is basically the tutorial. Once you know what’s coming, you can learn from your mistakes, figure out what works best, practice your combos, and go back through and try to beat your scores and get the best trophies you can! It’s fun and satisfying!
WHAT IS IT ABOUT?
The games story begins in the year 2XXX, where humanity is in the midst of Earth Defence War III. 40 years prior, a powerful alien terrorist organisation known as GEATHJERK invaded the planet, and again 20 years later. Both times, humanity just barely managed to pull through, and now GEATHJERK are back stronger and fiercer than ever before, and while their motives are unclear, they will stop at nothing to make sure all human life is exterminated.
Enter Will Wedgewood, a young, mild-mannered school teacher. He recently aced his admittance exams and has been officially accepted into the CENTINELS Planetary Secret Service team, The Wonderful 100, which consists of exactly one hundred of the Earth’s most elite special combat agents. Now known as the new Wonder Red, he joins his fellow Wonderful One’s as they take up arms against the cruel alien menace in an effort to save the Earth and put a stop to GEATHJERK once and for all. Along the way, the team will face countless battles, personal hardships, meet some new faces, and slowly begin to uncover the secrets behind the enemy and where their true goals lie.
The game blasts right out of the gate with lasers, explosions, giant robots, characters shouting the names of their attacks; it doesn’t stop escalating the madness for even a moment, and the last couple hours of the game are a spectacle that needs to be seen to be believed. It’s a story full of surprises and wonder, so strap yourself in for the ride of a lifetime.
With its weirdly cute, squishy stumpy art style, a delightful, colourful cast of screwball characters, a wonderfully campy voice dub, an epic orchestrated soundtrack, a jam-packed script full of corny, funny dialogue, more zany, fourth-wall breaking slapstick antics than you can shake a stick at, and a world where something explodes practically every minute, there is hardly a dull moment in TW101. And on top of all this, it is anything but shallow. The game is positively bursting with heart, and some surprisingly tender moments carry some truly emotional impact, ranging from heart-warming, to heart-wrenching.
WHY SHOULD THIS “WONDER RED” FELLOW BE IN SMASH?
Because he fucking deserves it! Wonder Red is an amazing character, and the cartoony nature and fun, over-the-top action of The Wonderful 101 is a perfect fit for Smash. The array of powers and Unite Morphing abilities present in TW101 could very easily lend themselves to an incredibly fun and interesting Smash Bros moveset, making Wonder Red a truly unique, exciting addition to the roster.
There are already a couple of music tracks from TW101 in Smash, too, as well a set of trophies of the main 7 wonderful heroes, so it’s not even like TW101 would be unwelcome at the Smash party, either!
Also, as an aside, here’s a fun fact! Very early on in TW101’s conceptual development, the idea of having the cast be an assortment of all-star Nintendo characters (like Super Smash Bros) working together to defeat enemies and overcome obstacles was briefly discussed before eventually settling on the comic-book style, Japanese Super Sentai rangers theme instead!
THIS POST IS REALLY LONG…
You’re right, so I’ll wrap it up. Look, The Wonderful 101 is personally one of my favourite games of all time, but sadly, as is unfortunately the case with a lot of Platinum’s games, it has sold poorly and is woefully underrated. It’s heartbreaking to see something so genuine and special get nowhere even close to the recognition it deserves, and I want to do everything I can to help change that. If you own a Wii U, please do me, yourself, and this game a huge favour, and play it!! If you don’t own a Wii U, or maybe you think that perhaps the hectic, confusing, occasionally frustrating gameplay is not for you, but you’d still like to see what all the fuss is about, watch a let’s play on YouTube!! If you’re at least passingly interested in this game, please find a way to experience it, one way or another!! This game is an under-appreciated gem, and deserves to be loved.
Please consider voting for Wonder Red in the Smash Ballot, even if you haven’t played it. Even if they ultimately decide to pass on Wonder Red, and he doesn’t make it into the game, hopefully seeing all the votes he gets will help Nintendo see the love people have for this character, and the potential this IP has. Who knows, maybe it could help lead to more games being made! The games director, Hideki Kamiya, has expressed keen interest in doing a sequel one day, if possible! I’d love to see this game become one of Nintendo’s beloved IP’s someday, and voting for Wonder Red in Smash could be the first step towards that future.
Thank you for your time.