Dr. Mario (SSBM)
Dr. Mario (Dr. マリオ, Dr. Mario) is an unlockable character in Super Smash Bros. Melee. This is his first 3D appearance as well as his first appearance in the Super Smash Bros. series, as he stems from a series of Mario puzzle games. As a clone of Mario, Dr. Mario and Mario have nearly identical movesets with obvious differences in attack physics.
Dr. Mario currently ranks 11th on the Melee tier list, at the top of the D tier, four places higher than Mario's rank. His relatively high mid-tier placement is a consequence of his combo ability with overall uniqueness as a fighter, such as an unusual-functioning reverse-sex kick. His approach options are also very good, with a long wavedash and a good air game, as well as a very good SHFFL. Dr. Mario also has a good projectile, which itself can be used to aid his approach. However, Dr. Mario's primary weakness is his abysmal recovery, which is one of the worst in the game, due to its predictability and few methods of increasing its distance. Dr. Mario also suffers from lack of range in his attacks, leaving him vulnerable against characters with disjointed hitboxes such as Donkey Kong and Marth, of which the latter serves as his worst matchup.
How to unlock
To unlock Dr. Mario, players need to complete either Classic or Adventure Mode as Mario without using any continues; alternatively, players can play 100 VS. matches.
Dr. Mario is fought on Princess Peach's Castle, with the track "Dr. Mario" playing.
Dr. Mario is essentially a stronger version of Mario (that despite claims from his Smash trophies within the game, is not slower in any form except for his neutral ground attack). Both have the same dashing speed and falling speed, yet most of Dr. Mario's attacks deal greater damage and knockback than Mario's. Dr. Mario has a slightly faster air speed, rendering his combo potential and aerial approach superior. True to having relatively low traction and a slightly above average falling speed, Dr. Mario has a rather long wavedash. A low short hop, above average falling speed, and low lag aerials give Dr. Mario a good SHFFL, improving his air game. In addition, Dr. Mario has a good number of reliable finishers: a fast forward smash with no sourspots that can KO opponents under 100%, an up smash that is faster than Mario's and has low knockback to set up more combos, and forward aerial, sometimes referred to as "The Fist", which is a very powerful aerial with a large, lasting hitbox, that can KO opponents under 120%, and is relatively easy to combo into. Dr. Mario also has a great projectile, Megavitamins. Their bounciness and slow horizontal speed creates a temporary defensive wall that deters his enemy's approach. Although designed to be like Mario's fireballs, which are fast moving and weak, Megavitamins deal surprisingly high damage (8% each) and high hitstun, opening up far more opportunities for combos if Dr. Mario is quick to capitalize on them. Dr. Mario can strategically manipulate his jumping prowess while shooting Megavitamins to perform the Pill Rush technique, maintaining at least two Megavitamins on the stage for stage control and defensive purposes.
Dr. Mario also has some properties unique to him that make him a more capable fighter. His neutral aerial attack is a sex kick, but is the only one that increases in damage and knockback the longer it is held out, making it a good SHFFL and edge-guarding option, as well as a reliable horizontal finisher at high percentages. Dr. Mario's up tilt is a good juggling option, dealing decent damage and low knockback. His back aerial is one of Dr. Mario's best edge-guarding and approach options, semi-spiking with high base knockback and low ending lag. His down tilt sends opponents behind him and has more hitstun than Mario's, making it a moderately useful combo starter. Super Sheet, like Mario's cape, turns enemies around without dealing knockback, limiting the effectiveness of their recoveries and allowing for possible gimps and quick KO's.
Like Mario, Dr. Mario has a good grab game; his up and forward throws can set up combos and chain throws, while the latter can also act as a potential KO move at very high percentages. Dr. Mario's back throw, like Mario and Luigi's, is a very powerful throw (more powerful than Mario's and Luigi's), being effective for setting up edge guards at high percentages, and acting as a reliable KO move at very high percentages.
Dr. Mario also has his flaws. While powerful, the majority of the sweetspots in Dr. Mario's attacks are short-ranged. His forward smash is a notable example, where its reach is among the worst for a forward smash attack, requiring Dr. Mario to be right next to the opponent to land it. Similarly, his up smash is also rather close ranged.
Yet his greatest weakness is his abysmal recovery. A combination of predictability, poor distance covered, and few options to extend it makes it one of the worst in Melee. Although he has above average air speed, he also has above average falling speed, lowering his horizontal air movement. Super Jump Punch grants below average vertical distance and poor horizontal distance. Button mashing Dr. Tornado is a decent stalling tactic and can mindgame edge-guarding opponents, but grants negligible net vertical and horizontal distance. His Super Sheet, being not as effective as Mario's cape, only grants minor vertical distance once in the air.
Overall, Dr. Mario is a solid character with fast, relatively powerful attacks with great edgeguarding ability and good approaching options. As long as players can stay on the stage during the battle and keep their opponents within arm's reach, there is little an opponent can do against him.
Since Dr. Mario is ranked higher than Mario, he performs better overall, as his attacks are much more powerful. He can also spike foes with his up smash, albeit only if they are on the ground, leading to greater combo potential, and high KO potential on aerial foes. He can KO earlier than Mario, especially due to his throws being much stronger, with his back throw being among the strongest throws in the game.
However, Dr. Mario's recovery is worse since he cannot wall jump, his Super Sheet (side special) only lifting him up once and gains minimal height on usage, and both his Super Jump Punch and Dr. Tornado specials don't gain as much distance in the air in comparison to Mario's up and down specials. Furthermore, even though Dr. Mario boasts much more damage and KO potential than Mario, his forward smash's hitbox has less horizontal reach, requiring him to be closer to his opponents to make efficient usage of it.
Despite this, the numerous advantages that he has over Mario makes him a solid choice in Melee, placing in the upper middle tier.
Grab and throws
For a gallery of Dr. Mario's hitboxes, see here.
In Competitive play
Tier placement and history
Initially, Dr. Mario was considered an inferior version of Mario due to his slower attacks and worse recovery, with Mario ranked higher than Dr. Mario in the tier list (usually one spot above Dr. Mario). Many smashers such as Captain Jack began to show Dr. Mario's better attributes, such as better punish options than Mario. In 2005, Dr. Mario was recognized as a better character than Mario, placing at least one spot higher than him in the tier lists to come. However, even with evolutions in Dr. Mario's game, representation of him at tournaments was not very notable, with rarely anyone placing high enough to win money just using Dr. Mario.
It was not until 2011 when Shroomed showed Dr. Mario's powerful grab game and projectile game, placing consistently in top 8 at national tournaments such as Apex 2013 and EVO 2013. Although Shroomed no longer mains Dr. Mario exclusively and reserves him for specific matchups, Dr. Mario was still considered a solid high tiered character, sitting at 9th place at the top of the High tier almost making it into the top tier in the eleventh tier list. However, with the decline in results and notoriety from other Dr. Mario players in the current metagame, and even Shroomed himself claiming that he's not as viable now, Dr. Mario has fell to 11th place in the current tier list, at the top of the mid-tiers.
In Single Player modes
In Classic Mode
In Adventure Mode
Adventure Mode makes no concessions to Dr. Mario when he is unlocked. Unlike some other characters, the track Dr. Mario does not play on any stages.
In All-Star Mode
In All-Star Mode, Dr. Mario and his allies are fought on Mushroom Kingdom II. In these cases, the track Dr. Mario plays.
In Event Matches
Dr. Mario appears in the following event matches:
Dr Mario (Classic Mode, trophy #61)
Dr. Mario (Smash Red, Adventure Mode, trophy #62)
Dr. Mario (Smash Blue, All Star Mode, trophy #63)
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