The 'Shroom:Issue 195/Challenger Approaching!

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Challenger Approaching!

Written by: Roserade (talk)
Render by: Waluigi Time (talk)

Greetings, beautiful 'Shroom readers! Welcome back to another edition of Challenger Approaching!, where I analyze what a character could play as if they were put in Super Smash Bros.

It’s been a long time since I’ve written one of these. Our last go-around was in Issue 150 with Phoenix Wright, a section written before I had even played his games. Looking at the concept now, there’s certainly some things I could change... But in the meantime, we’ve got a new character to cover. In case it wasn’t apparent from the Everything Else, this issue’s theme is movies, with The Super Mario Bros. Movie a little ways behind us now. After this time, I still enjoy the movie as much as I did the first time I saw it, even with its pacing and character flaws. But you’re not here for a movie review! You’re here for a Smash character, right?

Well, I’ve cooked up a character this month that’s sure to be a treat. Hold onto your plumber’s hats, everyone, because…

CA 195-1.png

Koopa General Raises Shell!

That’s right, the competent commander of Bowser’s army has flown onto the scene, and is ready to duke it out in Smash! But just how would this winged wonder fight? Let’s find out!

Before we continue, a few notes:

  • A special thank you to Waluigi Time (talk) for the excellent render you see above, and the palette swaps of it you’ll find later in the section. It’s absolutely amazing, he really knocked it out of the park!
  • The doodles of attacks that will accompany this section are meant to be illustrative, more than high-quality. Hopefully, they all still read alright.
  • I’m aware that the YouTuber Delzethin now has a video series titled Challenger Approaching! in which he accomplishes the same goal. Though I believe Challenger Approaching! is a general enough name that multiple concepts with it attached can coexist, I would also like to emphasize that I first began this section before he began his video series, so this is in no way intentional stealing. With that being said, feel free to check out his content!

Background and Likelihood

Koopa General is a new character created for The Super Mario Bros Movie, though his design origins are very apparent. He appears as a secondary antagonist throughout the film, loyally serving the orders of Bowser. Though he is not remarkably charismatic, he is impassioned, and even a little manic when Mario evades his attacks. His voice is provided by Scott Menville.

So this is a... fascinating case to consider, when we ask ourselves the question of “will Koopa General ever be in Smash Bros.?” On several occasions has it been stated that only video game characters would make an appearance in the series, but I might argue that this was before Nintendo had a wide-reaching presence outside of video games. Beforehand, this question was asked mostly of characters like Goku or (even jokingly) Shrek, instances where the character is incredibly divorced from Nintendo the company. Now, though, Nintendo has a smash-hit piece of Mario media that isn’t a video game. Is it so unreasonable that the next round of Smash newcomers could grab from the movie’s slim selection of new characters?

Personally, I would still say that Koopa General has a slim at best chance of making it into the next Smash Bros. game. I don’t know if I’d ever expect to see movie-original characters in the game. Even if we assume that a character introduced by the movie could be added to the roster, I struggle to see why Koopa General would be selected over the likes of Kamek, who was already prevalent in the games before the movie brought him even more attention.

But hey, this is all speculative work, outside of the realms of reality! So what could Koopa General play like in Smash Bros.?

Main Idea and Characteristics

In recent years, Smash character design has favored creating an experience as replicative of a character’s original playstyle or game as possible, however it needs to be translated. In Koopa General’s case, we don’t have any sort of game material to work with, and he directly fights very little in the movie itself. For these reasons, we’ll have to get a little inventive. My concept for Koopa General is a trapping character with aggressive attack options. Much like his attitude and approach in the movie, his playstyle will be focused on sabotaging opponents with set-ups before unleashing a flurry of powerful mix-up options and kill moves. This playstyle will require refined learning, though, as in beginning hands, it can be challenging to play him to his greatest strengths.

Koopa General is on the lighter side of the weight spectrum, although he nears a standard medium weight with the gear he has on. He has excellent air mobility and speed, perhaps more speed than his dash when on the ground, and his wings allow him to take five jumps, like most other winged characters. His movement is best when he’s off the ground, but managing his jumps and movement options will be vital.

As a final overview note: Koopa General will have a mechanic similar to King K. Rool, where the spear he wields can be lost and must be picked up again. Because certain attacks of his will incorporate his spear, you can assume that there are two variants of the move: a stronger version with piercing damage from the spear, and a weaker version with just his fist to strike.

Standard Moves

His jabs and tilts

This commander’s standard moves won’t be anything revolutionary in terms of their function, but they will be set to command the battlefield. Koopa General’s jab is a standard one-two-three strike, hitting with those hands below landing a headbutt. If he’s currently holding his spear, he’ll also have access to a rapid jab flurry of stabs. His forward tilt is a forward blow, which he’ll fully extend himself into to get great reach. His down tilt is a low kick with this foot, with follow-up opportunities at low percents; his up tilt has him quickly lift both of his wings, giving a weak hitbox to both sides of his body.

His aerials

Likewise, his aerials are not completely out of left field, but their juggling potential and kill potential make them a series of versatile tools. His neutral air has him spin in his shell, his body and wings carrying opponents with a multihit move. His forward air is a forceful swipe with the spear, while his back air is a clap of his wings, an attack that has notable knockback and pushes Koopa General in the direction he’s facing. For his up air, he gives an upward thrust of his spear; finally, his down air is another multihit shell spin, this time carrying opponents with him as he plummets downwards. This move has potent kill opportunities, but can be risky to try due to its high recovery stage afterwards.

His smash attacks

Koopa General has some surprisingly powerful smash attacks for his stature. His forward smash is another spear attack, but this time it has a strong hitbox and a full lunge, allowing for more horizontal distance coverage than one would immediately expect. His up smash is similar, in that he stabs with his spear while also leaping up into the air, giving a long vertical hitbox. With these two combined, he has remarkable smash attack coverage horizontally and vertically. His down smash has his tuck into his shell and slam into the ground, creating an energy blast that’ll knock away anyone caught in it. If you manage to nail the attack directly in the center of his shell, the opponent will actually be buried instead.

His grab and throws

Koopa General’s throws aren’t the strongest part of his kit, but they act serviceably. His grab and pummel are your typical grab close, headbutt repeatedly movements. His forward throw has him spin once while lifting up into the air, before tossing the opponent away. His back throw is essentially the same, but with a lower launch angle and a more over-the-shoulder approach to the toss. His up throw will propel the opponent straight upwards with a flap of his wings, and his down throw has him knock the opponent to the floor, before either jabbing them with his spear or, in the absence of the spear, stomping on them.

Special Moves

His neutral special, Spearmonger

Now is where Koopa General’s capabilities as a tactician truly shine. For his neutral special, Spearmonger, Koopa General wields a spear. He’s able to throw his spear in two different angles: a lower, flat angle that’ll move faster, and a higher, trickier angle that’ll move in an arc across the stage. If an opponent is hit by the spear, they will be carried with it while it travels through the air. From there, Koopa General is able to chase down their position, or play his cards right and set himself up with an aerial or smash attack right where the spear is leading them. This attack comes with some drawbacks, of course: the spear doesn’t pin the opponent as long as an attack like Steve’s Minecart does, and they’ll be able to react out of the stun shortly after getting hit. In addition, the spear must be picked up again before it can be used by anything in his kit. If the spear is used to trap offstage, you’ll have to wait until it responds onstage again to grab it. Running into the spear at any point during its arc will count as picking it back up again, so be aware of your movement so that you don’t accidentally interrupt the attack.

His side special, Shell Shot

Koopa General’s side special, Shell Shot, has his curl up in his shell and go blasting off horizontally. A strong burst movement option, he can cover lots of ground with ease, and hitting an opponent with his shell could prove powerful. If he hits any character or object, he’ll bounce back the other direction, as Koopa shells usually do in the Mario series. However, if the player presses the grab button while in motion, Koopa General will momentarily reach out his hands. If his hands grab an opponent, he’ll lift out of his shell, do a few stylish spins in place, and then toss the opponent forward with lots of force. This allows a variety of mixup scenarios, where an opponent needs to guess whether you’re going for a shell bash or a command grab. If you’re using side special to recover to the ledge, you’ll have to use the grab input - otherwise, you’ll bonk off the edge and go off in the other direction!

His up special, Special Delivery

His up special, Special Delivery, has Koopa General propels himself upwards while tucking into his shell, akin to a Blue Shell’s movement in Mario Kart. This flight upwards is swift, but it also has zero horizontal movement to it; for recovery purposes, you must be exactly below the ledge to connect. If the player presses the special move button again, Koopa General will go rocketing to the ground, causing a blue explosion wherever he lands, delivering a powerful spike on airborne opponents and inciting huge damage on grounded ones. Once he goes into the second movement, the attack can no longer be utilized to grab ledge, and if used offstage, he will plummet straight to the blast zone unless he strikes something on his way down.

His down special, Mario Muncher

Finally, for his down special, Mario Muncher, Koopa General pulls out a pair of large metal clamps, akin to the ones found on the front of his Kart in the movie. The clamps will crush down in front of him, catching up any opponents who run into them and grinding into them for continuous damage. This attack functions like Wario’s Chomp, serving as a stationary command grab that can stall an opponent’s movement or catch them in their attacks. The clamps will only remain active for a short amount of time, so this move should be coordinated for the exact moment it’ll catch the opponent.

Final Smash

Blue Shell!!!
There’s only one option for this one, right? For his Final Smash, Blue Shell, Koopa General tucks into his shell as a blue aura begins growing around him. From there, he’ll shoot up into the air, and the player can coordinate where on the stage they want Koopa General to slam back down onto. After the special move button is hit or enough time passes, Koopa General rockets into the ground, creating a massive blue explosion with a wide area of effect. This attack needs to connect with some surface to be utilized, so keep that in mind while selecting where to target. Additionally, though the whole area of effect has great damage, the centerpoint of the explosion packs the biggest wallop.

Other Details

First, let’s cover Koopa General’s alternate costumes.

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Koopa General’s costumes are partially based on other kinds of Koopas, and partially based on other characters of origin or prevalence in the Mario movie. They are as follows:

  • Slot 1: Standard look
  • Slot 2: Green Shell variant: green shell, boots, and helmet pieces
  • Slot 3: Red Shell variant: red shell, boots, and helmet pieces
  • Slot 4: Bowser variant: green shell and boots, red helmet pieces, more orange skin, red eyes
  • Slot 5: Penguin King variant: dark blue shell and boots, golden helmet pieces and spear
  • Slot 6: Lumalee variant: teal shell, boots, and helmet pieces
  • Slot 7: Banzai Bill variant: dark grey shell, boots, and helmet pieces
  • Slot 8: Dry Bones variant: grey shell, boots, and helmet pieces, grey skin, gold eyes

Now, onto Koopa General’s taunts:

  • Koopa General straightens himself completely upright, plants his feet on the ground, and puts up a salute while pounding his spear
  • Koopa General tilts his head back and begins laughing maniacally and cartoonishly, bending his arms up for a really exaggerated expression
  • Koopa General tucks his head down into his shell, so that only his eyes are visible. He glances around observantly, before popping his head back out

And finally, his win animations:

  • Koopa General swoops down onto the screen from above. He pumps his fist with a “Yes!”, before striking an in-motion flying pose for the camera
  • Koopa General is at-attention with the whole Koopa army around him. While they all keep their focus somewhere off-screen, assumably watching Bowser, Koopa General gives a glance towards the camera with a wink and a devious smile
  • Koopa General twirls the spear around in his hands. The camera pans to different shots of this movement, before he ends off the performance by pointing the spear straight up in the air, a glimmer of light coming off of it


There’s how Koopa General could appear if he were ever added as a character to Super Smash Bros. With a high-flying playstyle and lots of options for moveset synergy and aggressive trapping techniques, he’s sure to show why he’s one of Bowser’s elites. What do you think about this moveset concept? Feel free to let me know on the Boards!

That’s my concept for a Challenger Approaching! Thanks for reading!

The 'Shroom: Issue 195
Staff sections Staff NotesThe 'Shroom Spotlight
Features Fake NewsFun StuffPalette SwapPipe PlazaCritic CornerStrategy Wing
Specials Coming SoonCommunity Awards DossierChallenger Approaching!