Welcome to the eleventh article of Smashboards Character Analysis! These articles will not be looking at why a character is or isn’t likely, so please do not expect that going in. Instead, they will focus on how a character might play in Smash and how their series might be represented within the boundaries of the Fighter’s Pass.
”Geno Joins the Stars!” Geno in Smash Analysis
Introduction Super Mario RPG
Super Mario RPG was first released in 1996 by Square (which would later become Square Enix), who is famous for the Final Fantasy and other amazing RPG games such as Secret of Mana. The game includes role-playing elements, leveling up, and turn-based combat. The story features a cast of characters such as Mario, Peach, Bowser, and the newcomers, Mallow and Geno. At the beginning of the game, Mario thwarts Bowser’s plans to marry Peach and the two battle it out in Bowser’s Keep. The fight is interrupted, however, by the ill-fated arrival of Smithy and his gang.
The gigantic sword known as Exor smashes right through the keep and even breaks apart Star Road, leading Geno to come and aid Mario as they search for the seven star fragments. The game was well-received by players and critics alike for its interesting spin on the usual Mario formula and has since become a classic Super Nintendo game. It was overshadowed, however, by the release of the Nintendo 64 and Super Mario 64 four months later. The game saw is also notable for helping start the Paper Mario series, which is a series continuing to this day. So how does a one time character from a game largely forgotten by Nintendo and Square become one of the most requested characters for Smash?
Geno has had quite an adventure in Smash speculation. Even before Melee, people wanted him in. Smash Director Masahiro Sakurai has even stated that he was interested in adding Geno into Brawl at one point. Many fans felt this fell through because of licensing issues between Nintendo and Square. Geno’s popularity has always been impressive, but it has since ballooned due to the fact that Geno’s Mii Gunner outfit from Smash 4 is currently missing in action. Regardless if the stars align for Geno or not, he would be an excellent addition to the roster.
Geno is a zoner with a mixture of offense and speed. In his original game, Geno had some of the best speed stats among the entire cast and boasted an above average attack stat when first starting out. This would slowly give way though as the player progressed through the story. Geno can dish out high amounts of damage but is also vulnerable to attacks. Geno is best played on the offensive while using his attacks with disjointed hitboxes to prevent approaches and then use the window to swoop to launch an attack. Thanks to Geno’s impressive speed, he can easily close the gap after shelling the opponent with Geno Beams and Side Smashes. However, Geno isn’t without faults and one of those is his frailty. He might hit hard, but he’s also very light and susceptible to being launched. A well-placed Smash Attack can be certain doom for the wooden doll and result in a premature death. If one was to compare his damage output to his weight, it would be one of the biggest contrasts in the roster. Few hard-hitting characters fall into the light category, like Geno would.
Geno has two unique gimmicks: Flower Points and Timed Inputs. Geno comes with 50 Flower Points or FP. Each one of his specials uses a set number of Flower Points. He can’t use them if he runs out of Flower Points. He gains a 7% increase to his launching ability throughout his moveset if the Flower Points stay above 25%. This makes Geno dangerous right of the gate, as he hasn’t used his Flower Points yet. However, once the points reach below 25%, then his launching ability shrinks. The Flower Point system wasn’t like this in Super Mario RPG, but this system works well for Geno’s gameplay style. Flower Points store by KO’ing an opponent, dealing damage, and using items or picking up healing items. The latter is a reference to how in Super Mario RPG, potions and such could restore Flower Points.
The other gimmick, Timed Inputs, allows the player to time a button input to maximize the damage. Each one of Geno’s Specials allows him to time pressing the special for an additional effect, which includes increased damage output. However, this Timed Input is very particular, and it’s hard to get perfect. For example, to get a max damage Geno Beam, players need to charge the attack so it lands on the third Star. They will first need to press the neutral special button input to start the charge. Then, they need to press the neutral special button again to release it. The visual cue to get a second or third Star is when it momentarily shines. Even if the third a Star appears, it’s only within the 1.2 second window that players get the perfect input. This results in a larger and more powerful blast. This is true for the other specials. Inputting a perfect timed input will cause a more powerful special. This, coupled with the additional 7% attack buff if the Flower Points are above 50%, makes Geno a powerful adversary.
Geno’s weaknesses are just as apparent as his strengths. As mentioned earlier, Geno is a lightweight and has low survivability when knocked off the stage. Compared to other light weights like Jigglypuff and Pichu, Geno has a larger frame than most lightweights, which makes him the perfect target. Along with his size and lightweight, Geno’s slow falling speed and floaty airspeed makes him a big target. Geno can use his impressive speed and mobility to outmaneuver slower, more brutish opponents, but he needs to be careful to not get hit or fall into traps. Playing carefully, using Geno’s strengths to overshadow his weaknesses, and the Flower Points and Timed Inputs will help Geno handle characters like Bowser and Ganondorf.
Geno Specials and Final Smash
Neutral Special: Geno Beam
Geno fires off a cyan-colored beam which can charge up to release a more powerful beam.
Holding down the neutral special input and watching the visual cues is the key to get the maximum damage. These cues take the image of three stars that will hover over Geno. The beam is at its weakest with One Star and at its strongest at Three Stars. Releasing the input at one of these Stars will release the beam. The charge will directly affect the damage output and reach of the beam. The beam itself is strong and will do multiple hits of damage before launching the opponent. If fully charged, it has the same distance as Byleth’s Failnaught but will lose damage the further it travels. It suffers from considerable start-up lag as Geno opens up his “hand guns” to unleash the blast. The attack takes up 3 Flower Points.
- One Star: 1.8% (per hit), 14.4% total
- Two Stars: 2.5% (per hit), 20% total
- Three Stars: 3.4% (per hit), 27.2% total
Geno flings a disc-shaped energy blast that flies forward and will travel some distance before vanishing. However, if the player hits the special button right at the moment of contact with an opponent, it does high damage. Failing to do the timed hit will cause the attack to whiff and minor damage. The timing for this attack is key since it requires the player to time pressing the special button when collided with the opponent. The attack comes out fast and causes Geno to be vulnerable until it breaks or vanishes. If it collides with an opponent but the player doesn’t cause it to explode, it will hit the opponent and continue forward. The timed blast can also do collateral damage to nearby opponents. It costs 8 Flower Points.
Damage: 2.4% (whiff), 32.6% (Timed Input)
Up Special: Geno Boost
Geno will launch himself high into the air using the power of the stars. As Geno flies upward while rotating, arrows will appear around Geno. Correctly pressing the special button right at the last arrow will give Geno a much-needed extra boost while also slightly increasing his attack and defense stat for 15 seconds. The effect will cancel though should the player input the Up Special again. The stat increase boost occurs right after the timed button press, which allows Geno to do a little more damage at the tail end of the attack. Geno can catch the opponent in the attack and launch them along with Geno. Geno damages the opponent as he spins upwards. If the Timed Input is missed, the attack does moderate damage, but should the player time the press, it’s capable of doing higher damage plus launching the opponent with the last hit. The one downside though is that, because of Geno’s lightweight, he is a sitting duck when he enters a free-fall state. Even with the slight defense increases after the Timed Input, powerful attacks can still launch or KO him. It costs 5 Flower Points to do though, even if Geno is out of points - he will boost himself into the air slightly without doing damage. It should be noted that the original move served to purely boost Geno’s stats and wasn’t an actual attack.
Damage: 4.2% (per hit), 6% (per hit - Timed Input)
Down Special: Geno Blast
Geno will summon a beam of starlight which will hit Geno much like with Pikachu and Pichu’s Down Special, Thunder, but with a wider hit box. However, holding down the input causes stars to appear above Geno, like how it did with the Geno Beam. The more it’s charged affects the number of starlight beams that appear. Charging it up to three summons five beams that hit with two on either side of Geno and the final one hitting him dead center. The attack is powerful, but that power comes at a cost which is the start-up and landing lag. It requires some time for Geno to summon the starlight beam which will cancel if Geno is damaged. If the opponent dodges the beam or it misses, Geno is then vulnerable which can lead to a counterattack. The maximum charged Geno Blast sends two beams on either side of Geno, which increases his potential reach. Opponents who are hit by the beams while airborne get knocked down or even meteor smashed or spiked depending on the distance to the ground and damage percentage. The attack is a powerful defensive tool as it can protect Geno from approaches, catch opponents off guard, and even cancel out certain projectiles. It costs 12 Flowers Points to do.
- One Star: 8% (beam), 10% (in the air), 15.3% (near Geno impact)
- Two Stars: 10% (beam), 15.4% (in the air), 20% (near Geno impact)
- Three Stars: 16% (beam), 22.1% (in the air), 30.2% (near Geno impact)
Geno becomes enveloped in a star beam and will shoot upwards into the air. Anyone caught will also be caught and sent into the air along with Geno. This will cut into a cinematic Final Smash like many of the DLC Final Smashes. All the players will find themselves on an isometric battleground exactly like how it is in Super Mario RPG. In fact, even the opponent is rendered to be like the models in the game. This would require having all 77+ characters to have entirely new models, but let’s just roll with it. Appearing opposite of the opponent(s) is Geno plus two additional team members which include Mario, Peach, Mallow, or Bowser since they were the team members in Super Mario RPG. Geno will always be in the middle while the other two are randomized. They will each perform their own powerful attack from the game with the bottommost character will go first, followed by the topmost, and then Geno will finish it off.
- Mario: He performs Ultra Flame which fires a series of fireballs in succession into the opponent and strangely looks like Mario Finale. Pressing the special button repeatedly increases the amount of fireballs.
- Peach: Peach performs Psych Bomb where she throws a lone Bomb-omb followed by a rain of more Bomb-ombs. Pressing the special button repeatedly increases the damage output.
- Mallow: Mallow does Star Rain, which causes a large star to fall to the ground that deals damage in a wide area. Pressing the special button when it lands causes it to bounce and land again. Geno can perform this attack three times before it finishes.
- Bowser: Bowser does a Bowser Crush and summons a gigantic neon-green Mechakoopa which stomps back and forth across the field; dealing damage to everyone. Pressing the Special button repeatedly increases the damage.
The duration for these are all fairly short compared to their home game, but the player can squeeze off a few button presses in time to increase the damage output. The last attack is Geno Flash, which causes Geno to transform into a cannon and fire a wobbling orange bomb towards its target. Holding down the Special button until it gets to three Stars will increase the damage output. The explosion deals high damage to all players, which then ends the Final Smash and launches the opponents. The blast looks exactly how it does in Super Mario RPG.
It’s important to note that the total damage output has many potential variables that are based on these following criteria: if players press the special input during the Final Smash and which characters appear in the Final Smash.
- Mario: 13% (base), 18.2% (max)
- Peach: 10% (base), 16.6% (max)
- Bowser: 17.7% (base), 22% (max)
- Mallow: 5.3% (per bounce), 15.6% (capable of 3 bounces total)
- Geno: 14.4% (One Star), 20.1% (Two Stars), 28% (Three Stars)
Jab Attack/Jab Finisher: Geno’s standard jab attack is like Mega Man’s, where Geno fires a mid-range projectile that comprises stars. However, unlike Mega Man, Geno can’t run and jump while firing and must remain stationary. This is a reference to how he plays in Super Mario RPG. Pressing the Neutral Input multiple times starts an infinite jab. This infinite jab is a star spray which releases a final burst of stars as the Jab Finisher.
Damage: 5.2% (jab), 1.4% (infinite jab), 4% (finisher)
Dash Attack: Geno Push: Geno pushes both hands out and releases a burst of star energy. This has a slightly disjointed hitbox which makes it difficult to time but also to predict. The star burst will explode shortly after coming out, which deals further damage.
Forward Tilt: Geno Burst: Geno will take one of his handguns and fires a burst of energy which has a slight downward angle. It will launch opponents upwards.
Side Smash: Hand Cannon: Geno holds up his arm and causes his “elbow” to rise up. He then shoots out an explosive blast that deals damage when it detonates. Like some of his attacks, it has a disjointed hitbox, making it an awkward attack to correctly land. It’s easy to miss the opponent and to overestimate the distance between Geno and his opponent. As an addition, Geno can even damage the opponent when he flips his arm up at the beginning.
Damage: 8.2% (uncharged), 17.1% (charged), 4% (uncharged - start-up), 6.2% (charged - start-up)
Up Smash: Double Punch: Geno will raise both hands and unleashes a double rocket punch, which flies upward for some distance before detonating. The amount of distance the attack travels depends on how much the player charges it. Like the Side Smash, it has a disjointed hitbox that makes it tricky to time just right so the explosion does the max damage. Also, it can deal start-up damage as Geno raises both arms into the air to unleash the attack. This ensures the entire attack connects from start to finish.
Damage: 12% (uncharged), 20.2% (charged), 5.3% (uncharged - start-up), 7% (charged - start-up)
Down Smash: Geno Spark: Geno will float slightly in the air and perform a low level spin while ejecting stardust out. Opponents will be hit several times before getting launched. The attack is unique in that it allows Geno to pass through projectiles during the middle of the attack animation.
Damage: 10% (uncharged), 19% (fully charged)
Neutral Aerial: Geno Spin: Geno spins forward slightly while moving in the air. While spinning, he releases several blasts from his hand guns; 3 blasts total. While it’s a strong neutral aerial, it can have end lag if shorthopped.
Damage: 3.2%, 4%, 5.6%
Back Aerial: Geno Spark: Geno reaches back and slams his fist in a backhand slap while releasing a powerful spark. The spark will do multiple hits of damage before launching the opponent.
Damage: 11.2% (2.8% per hit)
Down Aerial: Geno Drill: Geno takes both feet, puts them together, and spins like a drill. This attack does multiple hits of damage. It can be short-hopped but has significant landing lag when done so.
Damage: 9.4% (1.8% per hit)
Up Aerial: Geno Bomb: Geno throws a spark ball downwards, which travels before exploding in a blast of stardust. It has a disjointed hitbox which allows Geno to hit opponents below him. However, it’s not effective at protesting Geno from attacks coming from below, so it’s not a good defensive tool. The spark ball will detonate whenever it comes into contact with an opponent.
Damage: 15.4% (clean), 8% (outer)
Throw: Whenever Geno grabs someone, he transforms into the same cannon from Geno Flash.
Pummel: Geno Zap: Zaps the opponent while they are in the cannon.
Forward Throw: Geno takes the opponent and launches them high into the air. It is a reliable kill throw due to its launching ability.
Back Throw: Geno swings the cannon backwards and fires the opponent. This shot angles downward and causes the opponent to hit the ground with a hard spike.
Up Throw: Geno tilts upwards and fires the opponent. Not as strong as the forward throw, but is more or less the same in practice. It has a little less launching power than the other throws.
Down Throw: Very similar to the forward and back throw. Geno fires the opponent forward but angled downward so that the opponent spikes up.
The lifeless doll that Geno possesses will lie on the floor. From above, Geno’s spirit, in the form of a floating star, floats down into the doll within a beam of light. Upon coming into contact, the doll springs to life and jumps up. This comes from how Geno first possessed the Geno doll.
- Up Taunt: Jumps up and down while wearing a cheerful expression. This is a reference to when Geno first awakens and does a celebratory jump.
- Side Taunt: Nods his head up and down multiple times. This is another animation seen multiple times, including after he wakes up, in Super Mario RPG.
- Down Taunt: Geno holds up his arms as his cape billows out, and he holds aloft a spinning green Star Piece. This is a reference to the scene following the defeat of Bowyer.
- Closes his eyes and nods once.
- He looks at his palm and shakes his hand slightly.
- Geno turns to the camera, folds his arms, and nods twice. This is a common animation for Geno and his battle victory animation in his home game
- Takes his arm and then thrusts it forward to the camera while loading his arm gun. This is a reference to a battle pose he took when first fighting Bowyer.
- Geno’s doll body collapses as his star spirit leaves the body. It then dances around and then shoots up into the sky within a beam of light. This references his last goodbye following the defeat of Smithy and his gang.
Unlike the rest of the roster, Geno simply lies on the ground while twitching. This is a reference to his death animation in Super Mario RPG.
Classic Mode: Back in Blue
Geno’s Classic Mode references two aspects of Geno’s character attributes: he's blue, and he has largely been absent in gaming. As well, he returns from being a Mii Outfit in 4 and a Spirit in Ultimate. The characters fought in the Classic Mode references for these characteristics. Every single character in the route is blue, has blue clothes, or blue hair. They also are an allusion to how they returned from a long absence either in their home game or in Smash. The opponents come in pairs since, more often than not, players had to fight more than one enemy in Super Mario RPG.
Round 1 - Vs. and
Link’s inclusion is a direct reference to how Link’s defeat during the war against Calamity Ganon but “came back” after 100 years to fight the Calamity yet again. Sheik is an obvious reference to how Sheik is a returning veteran and how Sheik would periodically return to aid Link during Ocarina of Time. Pirate Ship was chosen for its blue ocean and how it’s a returning stage.
Round 2 - Vs. and
Kalos Pokemon League
Squirtle and Greninja were both included as they are from previous generations of Pokemon. Squirtle was also included as it missed out in 4 but returned for Ultimate. In addition, Greninja was included instead of Lucario since some in the community initially thought Greninja would be cut in favor of a Generation VII Pokemon. Kalos Pokemon League was chosen for its blue atmosphere and it returned as a stage.
Round 3 - Vs. and
Mega Man and Sonic are both returning third-party characters, but also experienced a lull in their games throughout their long lifetime. However, after this absence, they came back even better than ever. Wily Castle is a location from Mega Man that returns every time.
Round 4 - Vs. and
Chrom and Lucina were included as Lucina is a returning veteran and Chrom is a returning 4 element instead of a returning character. Lucina also returned from the past to her original timeline, the future. Oops… spoiler. Arena Ferox is also a returning stage from 3DS.
Round 5 - Vs. and
Orpheon Space Frigate
Much like above, Zero Suit Samus is a returning veteran who returned in 4. Sakurai even alluded to her, possibly not returning in the April 2014 Smash Direct. Dark Samus returns to Smash after being an Assist Trophy and now promoted to Echo Fighter. She also returns to the gaming world after a long absence following her defeat in Metroid Prime 3. The stage, Space Frigate Orpheon, is a returning stage that wasn’t in 4.
Round 6 -Vs. and Geno
Rosalina & Luma, much for similar reasons as the others, is a returning veteran. In addition, Mario Galaxy finally returned to the gaming world with the Super Mario 3D All-Stars, which also features 64 and Sunshine. This is also referenced by the stage Delfino Plaza. Geno being included was also an obvious choice, but also many fan interpretations of Rosalina and Geno’s “relationship”.
Final Round Vs. Master Hand and Crazy Hand
Allowing the victory screen to continue will cause the victory theme to continue playing much like Cloud’s.
The series symbol comes from Exor and Bowser’s Castle. This gigantic sword is often used for promotional materials for the game.
- Blue (Default)
- Red - (Based on Mario)
- Pink - (Based on Peach)
- Yellow - (Based on Mallow)
- Green - (Based on Bowser)
- Grey - (Based on Smithy, the main boss)
- Purple - (Based on Gaz, the toad who originally owned the Geno puppet)
- White- (Based on the Star Cape)
Geno is an insanely popular character in Smash speculation who has an enormous amount of support from the community. Geno constantly appears on “Top 10 DLC” lists in both the West and in Japan. Sakurai acknowledging Geno’s worth, increased cooperation between Nintendo and Square Enix, and the deletion/ban of several Youtube videos showing Super Mario RPG music and Geno mods is often used as evidence why Geno is coming… either soon or later in the pass. Regardless how one may feel, Geno seems to fit right in with the roster and would be well-received by the gaming and Smash communities. Please check back next week when we cover potential content like stages and Spirit Battles from Super Mario RPG!
Editing: @Thirdkoopa @Sari
Graphics: @Zerp (Thumbnail), Venus of the Desert Bloom (Article Graphics), prism (Render Artist)
Social Media: @Zerp
Special Mentions: Super Mario Wiki
Author’s Note: Square has tons of characters that could bring to the table aside from Dragon Quest’s Hero. Personally, I support 2B but simply ignoring Geno’s sheer fan demand is borderline criminal. The character comes from a series that still loved by fans and continues to be represented in Smash to this day.