Capcom's recent announcement of the addition of jumping to Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 got us thinking about classic video game characters whose lives have been changed by the addition of brand new moves. Here's a few of the stand-outs.
Of course, we start with the one freshest in our minds:
Bionic Commando - Jumping
Debuting In: Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 - 2011 - PSN, Xbox Live Arcade
The Move: After two game's (that count, at least) worth of running and swinging, Nathan Spencer finally scores that most basic of video game character abilities - jumping. Remember when we used to consider jumping optional? We were such dorks back then.
Lasting Impact: It's too early to tell, but what could possibly go wrong with jumping?
Runner-Up: Last year's Bionic Commando's ability to not be mentioned in any of the press for this new game.
Mega Man - The Slide
Debuted In: Mega Man 3 - 1990 - Nintendo Entertainment System
The Move: Just as the name implies, Mega Man 3 gave our robot buddy the ability to slide, avoiding projectiles and bypassing spaces normally too low for him to pass. Other games might have gotten around this by letting their characters crawl or duck down, but not Mega Man. Mega Man is special.
Lasting Impact: The slide is a staple of the Mega Man universe nowadays, appearing in the series' flagship titles, as well as fighting games like Marvel Vs. Capcom. Like it or not, Mega Man is forever a slider.
Runner-Up: Mega Man X5 for the PlayStation finally allowed Mega Man characters to duck. Knee technology has come a long way.
Super Mario Bros. - The Wall Jump
Debuted In: Super Mario 64 - 1996 - Nintendo 64
The Move: Nintendo's Mario series has been in a constantly evolving state since the plumber first appeared back in 1981's Donkey Kong as Jumpman. Each new game in the series brings new power-ups, new outfits, and new moves for players to employ in the never-ending quest to save the princess, but Totilo and I agree that one move made a bigger difference than the others, and that's the Wall Kick, or Wall Jump.
The Wall Jump first appeared in Super Mario 64, the first 3D game in the series, and its addition made complete sense in that game. There was more ground to cover, so players needed new ways to cover it. Being able to slide down walls and jump off of them felt pretty natural in the 3D environment, taking our heroic plumber to higher heights than ever before.
Lasting Impact: It wasn't until the New Super Mario Bros. for the DS that the Wall Jump would appear in a traditional side-scrolling Mario game, debuting in New Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo DS and returning for New Super Mario Bros. Wii. The move has also appeared in Super Smash Bros. Melee, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Super Mario Galaxy, and Super Mario Sunshine. It seems to be here to stay.
Runner-Up: Everything else Nintendo has added to Mario over the years.
Sonic the Hedgehog - Spin Dash
Debuted In: Sonic The Hedgehog 2 - 1992 - Sega Genesis
The Move: Sonic the Hedgehog debuted on the Sega Genesis in 1990, and a whole generation of gamers fell in love with Sega's new mascot, who displayed speed unlike anything we'd seen in a video game before. In 1991, Sonic got even faster in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, when Sega introduced the Spin Dash. Holding down the d-pad and mashing a button revved up our little blue friend and then shot him like a bullet across the stage, taking out barriers and enemies alike.
Lasting Impact: I couldn't imagine Sonic without his Spin Dash today. It's an expected feature now, with Sonic taking it along for the ride to Super Smash Bros. Brawl on the Nintendo Wii. Some Sonic the Hedgehog game compilations even patch the first Sonic game to allow use of the move.
Runner-Up: Sonic's more recent ability to suck was not nearly as appreciated by fans.
Street Fighter - Super Combos
Debuted In: Super Street Fighter II Turbo - 1994 - Arcade
The Move: It's amazing that such a simple concept can change a genre forever. For this 1994 enhanced version of Super Street Fighter II, Capcom gave players a super meter that, once filled, would allow them to unleash super combos - generally hyper-powerful versions of the character's normal special moves.
Lasting Impact: Super combos have been in every Street Fighter game since, undergoing several mechanics tweaks and changes, but essentially remaining super bad-ass moves that make your opponent cry. The impact extends far beyond the Street Fighter franchise, however. It's gotten to the point where if a 2D fighter doesn't feature special moves that fill the screen with lighting effects and flying fists, it just doesn't seem right.
Runner-Up: The ability to fight against Marvel characters.
What other video game characters have seen the benefit of news moves? How about Lara Croft's crawling skills, or Duke Nukem's ability to never have his game released? The comment section is yours, ladies and gentlemen, to do as you see fit.