Ash Ketchum Playable In Super Smash Bros. Brawl!

Everyone’s favorite Poképhile Pokémon Trainer Ash Ketchum is making his grand debut as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl on the Nintendo Wii. And by playable, we mean he’ll actually just be standing in the back shouting like a big wuss while his three Pokémon attempt to leave your ass in ruins.

According to Nintendo’s Official Smash Bros. Website, the character name is “Pokémon Trainer” but seeing as the Pokémon you’ll be fighting with are exclusive to the original version of Pokémon, it’s a pretty safe bet to assume the ambiguous trainer in question is Ash. (Besides you’d have to be a pretty lousy parent to name your kid “Pokémon Trainer” -- imagine the psychology bills.) Ash won’t be fighting directly, but will instead be using three different Pokémon in rotation to battle against the competition, namely Squirtle, Ivysaur, and Charizard who will swap in and out of their poké balls via the “Down B” special move. They’ll all be sharing a damage meter, so swapping out to save yourself a KO isn’t an option.

What’s interesting is that it looks like each individual Pokémon will be have something defined loosely as a “stamina meter.” It’s not explicitly stated how this feature affects playing as Ash, but Brawl’s website suggests that using one Pokémon for an extended period of time, or repeatedly switching them out and in is not a prudent strategy.

It’s certainly an innovative approach to a new character—and a risky one at that. Usually when an “alternative” character like this winds up in a fighting game that character tends to wind up in either one of two camps: they’re either completely useless, or unfairly exploitative. Fortunately, Nintendo is one company that’s generally had a history of getting these kind of unique characters properly balanced. So with any luck we’ll be able to see minimal controller tossing and expletive shouting (where Pokémon go, virgin child ears are sure to follow) once Brawl hits this December.