Samus Aran (サムス・アラン, Samus Aran) is a starter character in Super Smash Bros. Melee. Returning as a veteran from the previous game, Samus, similarly to Link, reprises her role as a short-ranged fighter with numerous ranged options. In addition, she received some powerful buffs, causing her to improve from a bottom-tiered character in Super Smash Bros. to a high-mid tiered character in Melee.
Samus is currently ranked 10th on the current tier list, placing her in high-mid tier, a significant improvement from her 8th place position in Super Smash Bros.. This is mainly due to her numerous and effective projectiles, which adds to her KOing power and her approach on the ground. She also has a good air game, complimented with a powerful back aerial. Samus' recovery is among the best in the game; her bomb jumps, ability to wall jump, grappling beam, and heavy weight all contribute to making her among the toughest characters to KO horizontally. She also possesses techniques exclusive to her, such as the Super Wavedash and Extended Grapple, that aid her approach on opponents. However, she is floaty, allowing her to be juggled and KO'd vertically easily. She also happens to be easy to combo in general due to being floaty, and heavy with a tall stature. Her primary combo starter, her grab, is also very laggy if it misses, though it can be extended in the NTSC version. Regardless, Samus has a large amount of advantageous matchups, three of which are close to unloseable (against Roy, Yoshi and Pichu).
Samus is a unique character. Although a tall heavyweight, she is unusually floaty, uncharacteristic of characters in her weight class. Her slow falling speed (the second slowest in the game, tied with Zelda) allows her recovery to travel more distance and gives her better potential combo game. However, it also makes her more susceptible to vertical KOs, even with her high weight, and it also gives her a poor SHFFL.
Arguably Samus's most valuable asset is her high range. While lacking a disjointed hitbox, Samus has a variety of long-reaching attacks and long-ranged projectiles that can assist with her ground-based approach. Charge Shot can quickly become one of her most powerful attacks, while her Missiles can act as both an approach option when non-tapped and as a powerful finisher when tapped. Samus's average traction and low falling speed also grant her a long wavedash that can mesh well with her long-ranged smash attacks, as well as her modestly-ranged tilts; assuming the player has particularly good timing, Samus also has access to the longest wavedash in the game, the Super Wavedash, which can also potentially surprise enemies due to its speed. While laggy, Samus is also owner of the longest grab in the game, and a technique unique to the NTSC release of the game can allow her to extend its reach by three, in addition to allowing it to home in on enemies.
Samus's recovery is also among the longest and most flexible in all the game. While Screw Attack grants relatively little horizontal and vertical distance, its multiple hitboxes can potentially frustrate edgeguarders, especially due to its final blow. Samus, however, owns arguably more options for her recovery than any other character in the game. Her average air speed and low falling speed aid her approach toward ledges, while her natural ability to wall-jump can aid her recovery on stages with walls underneath the ledge, such as Fountain of Dreams or Dream Land. Samus's down special, her bombs, can allow her to bomb-jump onto the stage without the loss of jumps, and her grab air can allow her to enter "safe zones" underneath the stage, as well as acting another long recovery technique. Owing to these variety of options, edgeguarding against Samus can be extremely difficult, especially for characters with poor recoveries. For Samus herself, this long recovery also grants her a powerful edgeguarding game of her own, aided by her fast and powerful neutral and back aerial attacks.
Despite having a good approach on the ground, Samus's aerial approach suffers due to her strange variety of attributes. Her below average falling speed and high jumps give her a poor SHFFL, despite the presence of low ending lag for her aerials when L-canceled. Her low falling speed also can prevent her from quickly pursuing enemies that have been knocked into the ground; as such, Samus can have particular difficulty in comboing fast-fallers, even with her variety of throws. Tying into this, Samus's grab is extremely laggy and can easily be punished if she fails to grab an opponent with it;
Samus also has a very poor defensive game; Samus's shield cannot easily cover her body and thus invites shield stabbing. While boasting an average sidestep dodge, Samus's rolling dodge is among the worst in the game, due to its low speed. While Screw Attack can potentially act as a decent out of shield option, Samus's other options are slow and laggy, such as her up smash and grab.
Changes from Smash 64 to Melee
Samus has been significantly buffed from Smash 64 to Melee. She is often considered the most buffed character from Smash 64 to Melee along with Jigglypuff, due to increased power, attack speed, range, combo ability, and recovery, and by going from a low tier to a semi-viable tournament contender.
Grabs and Throws
Like some other characters, Samus has received some changes in the PAL version of Melee, which nerfed her overall, as she can no longer use the Extended grapple or bomb out of a grapple. Additionally she now losses her Charge Shot charge when hit out of Screw Attack (a similar thing occurs when Donkey Kong is hit out of his Spinning Kong in the NTSC version, where he loses all of his giant punch charge when hit out of it).
For a gallery of Samus's hitboxes, see here.
In Competitive play
Samus has a positive matchup spread. She is soft countered by 7 characters, has 6 even matchups, soft counters 6 characters, counters 3, and hard counters 3. Her projectiles help her in many matchups, winning her the Ice Climbers matchup and making the Fox and Falco matchup even. She has a hard time against characters who are good at approaching and who can combo her, such as Sheik and Marth.
Tier placement and history
Samus received a large amount of buffs from her transition from Smash Bros 64 to Melee, and was ranked quite high in initial tier lists, hovering around the 6th and 9th places. This was largely due to her improved projectile game, combo game, and improved recovery. Although with a much smaller player base than most high-tier mains, her representation and performances from dedicated mains such as HugS saw her remain in the higher tiers for many years to come. Innovations in other character's meta-games being discovered and adaptation to Samus's defensive fighting style has seen Samus fall in placings through recent Melee tier lists. However, she remains a very powerful fighter with dedicated mains such as Duck and split mains such as Plup continuing to make significant impacts with her. She currently sits at 10th place, in the High-mid tier alongside Pikachu.
In Classic Mode, Samus can appear as an ordinary opponent, as an ally or opponent in the team battles, alongside either Captain Falcon or Fox, as a giant opponent, or as a metal opponent. When alone she appears either on Brinstar or Brinstar Depths, while when on a team with Captain Falcon she appears on Big Blue.
Samus is once again fought on the Brinstar stage, after Samus is beaten, the planet will start to explode and the player must evacuate to Samus's ship before the planet explodes, if not they will lose a life.
Samus and her allies are fought on Brinstar.
Samus is featured in the following event matches:
In addition to the normal trophy about Samus as a character, there are two trophies about her as a fighter, unlocked by completing both Adventure and All-Star modes respectively with Samus on any difficulty:
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