Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Why Solid Snake is so powerful

Solid Snake Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Solid Snake is the best combination of faithful aesthetics and interesting mechanics within the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate lineup. Sakurai and his team not only made Snake look and feel like a representation of the Metal Gear franchise, but they also included mechanics from his own game series. I’m talking about signature CQC moves, the Nikita rocket launcher, and even the butterfly-shaped C4 (technically C3) from MGS3.

Now, I don’t know if I would say Snake is back to the same level of strength as he was in Brawl; back then the Kojima rep made an appearance in most big tournaments. But I do know he’s missing some of his “assets.” And he is one of the stronger heavies with a staggeringly high skill floor and ceiling. So, just like in my other articles, let’s break his kit down.

One of the more “technical” characters

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Snake Powerful MGS Solid Snake
The Nikita Missile Launcher

On the surface, Solid Snake seems like a projectile spam character. And you’d be right. Snake’s kit has three projectiles not counting the C4. But the difference between a casual and serious Snake player is the intention behind the spam. Advanced Snake players will use the projectiles as a way to zone or guide the enemy to where they want them to go. This also includes playing mind games, stacking projectiles as if they were a combo, and using their own explosives as a way of recovery.

Beginner players might just use whatever explosives they can to keep the opponent away, tossing grenades willy-nilly and depending on the Nikita for everything. True, the bread and butter for Solid Snake are his grenades. But they’re much more versatile than they appear to be at first. He can lob, chuck, or simply toss them, with two max on the field at once. These bad boys are what lead to his combos and are the biggest tool to keep players away.

But what happens if you get close?

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Snake Powerful MGS Solid Snake
Snake’s CQC-based neutral air

But that’s not all. You’d think that a character with such strong projectiles would be weak up close, right? Absolutely not. Sure, Snake’s combo potential depends on frame-perfect movements, but his regular smashes and tilts are all strong and dependable. Two particular examples are his up tilt and up air. Both of these moves can KO at shockingly low percentages.

So, if you aren’t ready to explode grenades on the precise frame in order to link a combo together, just rely more on these two moves. Also, Snake’s combos tend to include fewer hits, but more damage/knockback. But if you really master the Kojima rep, the stuff you can pull off will have everyone’s jaws on the floor.

Not without his own share of “broken” mechanics

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Snake Powerful MGS Solid Snake
Some fine C4 placement at work

When I compare Solid Snake to other fighters, I can see why people have such a hard time playing him. Frankly, he’s weird. His moves don’t match his weight or power, and he has an absurd amount of projectiles where most other heavies would have only one or two. If I were forced to compare him to any other heavy, I’d probably say Dedede. They both have a great projectile game, but if you eat a smash from them, you’ll probably be looking at a KO from 30% damage.

Finally, Snake like most other Smash fighters is broken in his own way. His side special, the Nikita, actually needs a bit of retouching, as currently players aren’t able to air dodge through it. That might not seem like a big deal, but it means that if you’re up against a good Snake, you’ll basically be forced to eat a couple of those missiles throughout the match. It’s so strong that people have actually been making montages dedicated to it.

So with that in mind, what do you think? Do you agree that Snake is back and better than ever? Or is he just a shadow (Moses) of his former self? Let us know in the comments below!

Jacob Buchalter
Writer, Illustrator, Graphic Designer, and "geek culture" aficionado. Jake B is an avid art lover based in San Francisco, California who has been hooked on video games and animation since he was just a wee lad.  As one of those so-called "creative types" Jake obsesses over art in any medium, whether it's video games, cartoons, or anime. Ask him about any artist, they're probably already in his bookmarks. Gaming is one of his biggest passions, and an industry he takes seriously.