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. When down special is performed after this, Mr. Game & Watch will spill the oil gathered in his bucket, which is an extremely fast (frame 2) attack which also has great range and it can be incredibly powerful depending on what projectiles Mr. Game & Watch absorbed (dealing extreme damage and knockback to the point of being a potential OHKO if Mr. Game & Watch absorbed powerful enough projectiles).
This naturally makes it an incredible attack with a lot of utility, being strong as an approach tool, a spacing tool, an OOS option and as a combo ender due to its incredible speed and power. The downside to the attack however is that Mr. Game & Watch has limited access to it, as he needs to fill his bucket up first before he can use it. As he can only fill it up with absorbable projectiles, this limits the amount of characters he can even use it against, especially in a 1v1 competitive environment. If he does get the opportunity to use the attack however, it is an incredible option. How much damage the Oil Spill deals depends on the amount of damage each of the projectiles absorbed would have done which is then multiplied by a certain number (with the maximum damage and absorption multiplier depending on the game).
In Super Smash Bros. Melee, Oil Panic can start absorbing projectiles as soon as frame 5. Mr. Game & Watch is locked into a 33 frame looping animation when he has his bucket out so when the player releases the special button, Mr. Game & Watch will be stuck in the loop until it ends, rather than instantly ending. Mr. Game & Watch will also go into this looping animation after absorbing a projectile, although he is completely intangible when filling up his bucket and when his bucket is full, he will not go into any ending animation afterwards. The move's normal ending animation takes 13 frames to complete.
The move has a very small absorption bubble, which means that some projectiles can outright hit Mr. Game & Watch rather than being absorbed, depending on their size and the angle they came from. The move has a 1.5x absorption multiplier and then 5% is added onto the final amount (with 12% being the minimum possible damage). Once the bucket is full and the oil is spilt, the spill lasts for 36 frames and has three separate sets of hitboxes, which get larger as the move travels further. The oil spill is also more powerful when performed in the air. It is possible to connect all three of these hitboxes if the spilt oil is weak enough. Interestingly, despite the spilt oil having the appearance of being a projectile, it is not considered one and is rather a normal disjointed hitbox. Because of this, the oil spill cannot be reflected or absorbed.
There is no coded limit on how much damage Mr. Game & Watch can absorb, so the oil spill can deal up to 200% under normal circumstances. The amount of damage which can be absorbed is technically not limitless however. If Mr. Game & Watch manages to absorb projectiles which equate to dealing over 500% damage, it will crash the game once Mr. Game & Watch spills the oil. This cannot be achieved under normal circumstances however, as the projectiles absorbed would have to deal over 110% each.
If Mr. Game & Watch hits a shielding opponent with a powerful enough oil spill (such as three fully charged PK Flashes), he will slide extremely quickly across the stage invariably to the point of being KO'd unless there's a wall behind him. This is known as the kamikaze glitch. 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 Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Oil Panic has seen numerous changes both positive and negative. The move cannot absorb projectiles as soon (going from as early as frame 5 to frame 7) although the loop animation is 3 frames shorter to compensate. On the positive size however, Oil Panic's absorption radius is drastically larger (being quadruple the size of its Melee counterpart) and the move absorbs much more damage (2.8x the original amount as opposed to 1.5x +5 the original amount), making it much more effective when used against weaker projectiles. Mr. Game & Watch is now also capable of absorbing multiple projectiles in a row, rather than having to wait for his absorbing animation to complete. These changes overall make the move much more effective at absorbing projectiles, as well as increasing the reward for doing so.
An interesting property the move has received is that it can now slide off edges. When the move is performed near an edge, Mr. Game & Watch will slide forwards off the edge and with good timing, he will gain a lot of forwards momentum (known as edge momentum shifting). Mr. Game & Watch can also B-reverse the move to slide in the opposite direction. This allows Oil Panic to be used as a movement option on platforms, giving it some extra utility.
The oil spill however has mostly been nerfed. One positive change the move did receive is that it now deals a minimum of 18% damage. This along with its increased absorption multiplier makes the move noticeably more effective against projectiles which are not too powerful. Mr. Game & Watch is also now intangible during the first 6 frames of his oil spill. However, one notable downside the move has received is that it can now only deal a maximum of 60%. This does not greatly hurt the move overall though, as the move still comes out almost instantly on frame 2 and it is still powerful enough to OHKO most characters on tournament legal stages. This also means that Mr. Game & Watch can no longer perform the kamikaze glitch, which makes the oil spill safer to use at maximum strength. The aerial version additionally no longer deals more knockback than the grounded version. Another downside the oil spill now has is that the hitbox does not last as long and it no longer has three separate sets of hitboxes, instead having a clean/mid/late hit. This means that the move can no longer connect multiple times.
These negative changes however are outweighed by the significantly improved absorption properties, making Oil Panic a more effective tool against projectiles. This especially helps Mr. Game & Watch in doubles as he can absorb his partner's projectiles more easily and in most cases, the final oil spill will be much more powerful. This makes Oil Panic an excellent tool in doubles, resulting in Mr. Game & Watch being a solid doubles character, especially when he is paired with a character with fast and decently damaging projectiles (such as Zero Suit Samus or Pikachu).
When Mr. Game & Watch uses a non-full Oil Panic, the move instantly halts Mr. Game & Watch's momentum immediately, which is especially noticeable when used in the air. While this property was present in Melee, it has become an absolutely pivotal in Brawl due to the inclusion of hitstun cancelling. When the move is used out of tumble hitstun (usually used after a neutral aerial), the move will immediately cancel all of the knockback/momentum Mr. Game & Watch received. While this is a form of momentum cancelling, using Oil Panic specifically is known as Bucket braking. When used in conjunction with his neutral aerial and with optimal 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 and unlike other special moves with strong momentum cancelling properties (such as Spinning Kong or Egg Roll), there is almost no risk of using it since it doesn't move Mr. Game & Watch back towards the stage or make him helpless. As such, mastering this technique is essential for competitive Mr. Game & Watch players, as it allows Mr. game & Watch to survive for much, much longer. The only downside with Bucket breaking is that it only significantly improves Mr. Game & Watch's horizontal endurance. It barely improves his vertical endurance, making it much less useful and effective for surviving vertical launching attacks and overall meaning that Mr. Game & Watch's vertical endurance is still among the worst in the game. Additionally, the Oil Spill is also completely incapable of negating momentum as well, effectively giving Mr. Game & Watch a risk for filling his bucket.
Overall, Oil Panic has become a much more potent tool in Brawl, being more effective against characters with projectiles (especially in a doubles format) and it has even become highly useful against character without projectiles due to the introduction of hitstun cancelling, allowing it to be formidable as a momentum cancelling tool.
In Super Smash Bros. 4, Oil Panic has seen a notable improvement as stronger projectiles can now multiple segments at once. If a projectile deals inbetween 10%-19%, it will fill 2 units and if a projectile deals over 20%, it will fill the entire bucket. This makes stronger projectiles even more dangerous to absorb than they already were, making Oil Panic even more effective against stronger projectiles. Oil Panic's absorption properties and its oil spill were unchanged from Brawl, resulting in the oil spill still being a highly devastating attack with OHKO potential.
However, due to these 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 maximum 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. This makes the change to absorbing projectiles less ideal than it is on paper although it still notably benefits the move in certain matchups.
A notable change the move received is that it no longer completely halts Mr. Game & Watch's momentum, instead only reducing his downwards momentum and granting him some horizontal momentum. It can additionally now only alter Mr. Game & Watch's momentum once. Because of this, the move can no longer be used for momentum cancelling. However, the move can now be used to aid Mr. Game & Watch's aerial mobility, granting him an additionally recovery option and because of the changes to hitstun cancelling, the move losing its momentum cancelling properties does not hurt it much at all. This technique is known as Bucket jumping and it notably aids Mr. Game & Watch's already solid recovery.
Oil Panic was nerfed in updates however due to universal changes. The first change came in version 1.0.8 where edge momentum shifting was removed. This hindered Oil Panic's utility on platforms. The second change came in version 1.1.3 where the move now only absorbs half the power of a teammate's projectile. This noticeably hindered its utility in doubles where it was still highly effective (especially prior to 1.0.4 when paired with Pikachu, whose Thunder could quickly and easily fill up the bucket in one go, which would fill the bucket up enough for the oil spill to deal 60% and OHKO).
Overall, Oil Panic still remains a solid tool in Mr. Game & Watch's kit, being an incredible tool against projectiles, while still being a useable tool in other scenarios (albeit less so than in Brawl).
In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Oil Panic has seen some improvements, mainly to an unfilled bucket. The move can start absorbing projectiles 1 frame sooner and it does not need to be held out for as long before it can be cancelled, making it less risky to use. Additionally, the move now functions like other moves with loop properties, as letting go of the special button will now immediately end the move, rather than the player having to wait for Mr. Game & Watch to finish the looping animation. The move now also immediately ends after absorbing a projectile, rather than going back into the looping animation, making it safer to absorb projectiles.
Another useful buff the move received is that the move now acts as a reflector against non absorbable projectiles. The reflector is small and weak, although it does give the move some extra utility in certain matchups, making it more useful.
However, the move did see some noticeable nerfs. The move now only has a 2x absorption multiplier and it can now only deal a maximum of 48%, which is not strong enough to OHKO in every instance. These changes result in the move reaching maximum damage at about the same time but the maximum damage it can deal is noticeably lower. Additionally, the oil spill deals less knockback, the far hits have smaller hitboxes and Mr. Game & Watch is no longer intangible when performing the oil spill. Despite these changes, it still remains an incredible attack, still being an extremely powerful frame 2 attack with great range. 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.
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. This was quickly removed however.
Overall, Oil Panic is an even greater tool against projectiles, being a safer move which can now reflect non-absorbable projectiles although in exchange, the reward for filling up the bucket and using the oil spill (while still extremely high) is lower than it was before. Nevertheless, it still remains an excellent tool in Mr. Game & Watch's kit.
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.