Oil Panic (オイルパニック, Oil Panic), commonly known as "The Bucket", is Mr. Game & Watch's down special move. It is a unique move in that it can be held indefinitely until charged, and is one of three moves in the entire Super Smash Bros. series that has absorption functionality, the others being Ness's & Lucas's PSI Magnet and Mii Gunner's Absorbing Vortex. It is the only attack-based absorption move, as the aforementioned moves are used to heal damage instead.
Any energy-based attacks (such as PK Flash or a Ray Gun shot) will be absorbed and transferred into the bucket. Unlike most other chargeable attacks, Oil Panic keeps its stored energy across stocks. For example, if Mr. Game & Watch is KO'd with two units of oil, he will still have those two units when he respawns. The Wario Waft has the same property.
When the attack is executed, Mr. Game & Watch will instantly hold out a bucket while jerk-leaning forward. He can be turned around if desired during the duration of this attack. The bucket is held until the player releases the buttons to perform the attack, or if he is attacked. The former has considerable ending lag as he puts the bucket away.
When using Oil Panic, at most three energy-based attacks can be absorbed, then Mr. Game & Watch will automatically put the bucket away and start flashing white. The oil gathered can be used later as an attack with the potential for extreme damage and knockback, determined by adding up how much damage each of the projectiles absorbed would have done (2.8x the combined damage of the absorbed attacks, capped as noted below).
In SSB4, stronger attacks will fill multiple segments at once, with 10% filling two units and 20% filling all three. Each unit will multiply the damage stored by 2.8×, but deal 20% maximum, with each additional unit filled lowering the damage stored by 8%. Highly charged attacks like Ness' PK Flash can instantly fill the bucket from an empty state, making such moves incredibly dangerous when battling Mr. Game & Watch. If the bucket absorbs such an attack, then players can expect it to have OHKO properties.
In Ultimate, Oil Panic's power was greatly nerfed, due to the maximum damage being lowered to 48%. This was done by reducing the maximum damage a single Unit will deal from 20% down to 16%. The multiplier for the damage was also lowered to 2×. The thresholds remain the same, though this actually makes Oil Panic deal less damage when one is reached. So for example, if storing the exact 20% required for all 3 units to be filled at once, it will store 16% in the 1st unit, 12% in the 2nd unit, and 4% in the 3rd unit. Overall, the damage in this example would be 36%.
The maximum damage it can inflict is 200% in Melee , 63% in Brawl and SSB4, and 48% in Ultimate. Since Oil Panic's knockback is determined by the damage absorbed, its knockback caps at these percentages as well. However, due to Smash 4's changes, Oil Panic's damage fluctuates depending on how the 3 units are stored. From 0-9%, reaching 8% and storing 3 instances of it will reach max damage. But, due to the way the thresholds work, storing 10% and then another instance of it will cause it to deal 36%. Then at 16% instances, it will return to max damage, before dropping once again at the 20% threshold until 24% instances are reached.
As such, the attack is very potent because it has almost no start-up lag and a hitbox of a large size with lingering duration, meaning that it can be a very effective finisher of certain combos. Given it comes out on frame 2 (as of Ultimate), this makes the threat of a fully charged Oil Panic extremely potent, with it being a reliable out of shield option or combo ender that can easily KO. A common tactic is to use neutral attack's first hit at around 70%, and buffer Oil Panic out of it as a KO confirm.
It can have enough knockback to one-hit KO if it has absorbed three powerful projectiles or a single attack of immense power in SSB4. The power of the attack when it has absorbed three PK Flashes in Melee is so great that when it is shielded, the recoil causes Mr. Game & Watch to fly backwards at extremely high speeds.
Changes across games / versions
Melee to Brawl
Brawl to SSB4
SSB4 to Ultimate
There's a glitch known as the kamikaze glitch in Melee where if Mr. Game & Watch attacks a shielding opponent with Oil Panic after it absorbed three strong enough projectiles, such as three fully charged PK Flashes, the opponent's shield will shatter and Mr. Game & Watch will be sent flying back at extreme speeds, invariably to the point of being KO'd unless there's a wall behind him. If Mr. Game & Watch collides into anyone along his trajectory, they will be sent vertically with extreme knockback, also resulting in OHKOs. This is the only instance in Melee where someone can be harmed by colliding with a launched opponent that was not thrown. This is due to the residual, long lasting hitbox of Oil Panic lingering as Mr. Game & Watch is launched backward, dealing the full damage and knockback of the original attack.
In Brawl, Oil Panic gained an interesting and very useful property: When Mr. Game & Watch uses a non-full Oil Panic while in knockback, he will halt all momentum. As such, when used for momentum canceling, Mr. Game & Watch completely negates all momentum upon the first frame of activation. When used in conjunction with DI, Mr. Game & Watch is capable of surviving far beyond other characters of his weight class, such as Squirtle, and even outlasting heavier middleweights such as Mario.
Oil Panic is considered to be the best momentum cancelling special move in Brawl, as it completely negates all momentum upon the first frame of activation, as well as having almost no risk of using it since it doesn't move Mr. Game & Watch back towards the stage or make him helpless, unlike many other special moves that negate momentum. As such, mastering this technique is essential for competitive Mr. Game & Watch players. When used for momentum cancelling, the technique is often referred to as bucket braking.
Note that Oil Panic will not negate any momentum at all if the bucket is full.
The ability for characters to momentum cancel in general was fully removed in SSB4, but Oil Panic now instead provides added forward momentum and temporary falling slowdown. This, coupled with his usual midair jump and up special move, make Mr. Game & Watch's recovery among the best in the game. Unlike bucket braking, it will still work if the bucket is partially or even completely filled, making Oil Panic easier to attack with when in the air.
A way this can be used is by using down-b, jump, and an immediate down-b when in the air. This will send Mr. Game & Watch forward a large distance, meaning he can even get back from the bottom corners of the screen and travel from one side of the stage to the other. Bucket jumping also allows Mr. Game & Watch to safely return from the stage after using his down aerial for an edgeguard.
In Ultimate, prior to patch 2.0.0, activating Oil Panic on frame 18 of Mr. Game and Watch's dash animation and then immediately moving the control stick forward again would allow him to move around at full dash speed with Oil Panic active. This coupled with the bucket's newfound ability to reflect physical projectiles gave Mr. Game and Watch a powerful approach option. Absorbing an energy projectile or being hit would end the bucket slide, but reflecting a physical projectile would not. The user could also turn around while the bucket slide is active in order to move in the opposite direction.
Special Move customization was added in Super Smash Bros. 4. These are the variations:
Oil Panic is a Game & Watch game, taking place at a gasoline station, where the player would attempt to catch drops of oil from a leaking pipe. The bucket becomes full at three drops. Once the bucket was full, the player would then have to pour the oil out the window to be caught by the assistant waiting below. If the man was not below the controlled character, the player would miss, causing the oil to splash over a customer waiting below. Oil Panic's bottom screen appears in the stage Flat Zone 2.