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Zero from Zero Escape Moveset


Smash Journeyman
Apr 22, 2015
This was a suggestion on the "Could they work for Smash" thread, to which I responded no. Zero from Zero Escape would be a highly impractical character given they comes from a visual novel and have a power set, which while one of the most broken in fiction, is entirely based around something other than combat. So yeah, Zero will never get into Smash...but then I went and made a moveset anyway. I really like Zero Escape a lot and I just couldn't stop thinking about how the character could be implemented in Smash that would be true to their nature. And, well, I have a paper for my Masters I'm procrastinating on majorly, so even though probably no one is interested, here it is.

Before you read any further, if you haven't already, I suggest you go and find the Zero Escape series and play it. Specifically the second game, Virtue's Last Reward upon which I'll be basing this character (as there are actually, at least, three separate characters that take the moniker of the titular Zero). It really is a unique experience, a story that could only exist in a video game that takes interactive story telling to a place no one else is exploring in such a way. It's also just generally a great thriller with a plot that twists and turns in unexpected ways. Spoilers don't really matter a whole lot for most stories, but it does for Virtue's Last Reward. Which is why I would even suggest playing it before the first installment, as the first installment plays with a lot of the same ideas, just not to the same extent, so I find Virtue's Last Reward to be richer as a blind experience as you slowly develop an understanding of what kind of story you are experiences. With that being said, if you do want to read on, I have kept spoilers to a minimum.

Anyway with that out of the way, the standard design for Zero would be his old man look from Virtue's Last Reward.


He would have alternate costumes based on his younger self, his older self dressed as his younger self and the gas mask outfit (which is actually worn by another character primarily, but another character named Zero so I find it appropriate and iconic enough). If wearing the gasmask outfit, Zero's voiced lines are removed. A palette swap based on the Zero from the third game, and perhaps even the plague doctor costume from that game could work as well. I chose him not only because he's from my favourite game of the trilogy, but also because he has robot arms, which feel like they're more fantasy than the normal humans the other two zeros are, and would thus work in Smash. This aspect would be highlighted a bit more than his standard design. Perhaps removing his gloves from the design to do so.

Anyway, in terms of play style Zero is not very strong. His moveset revolves mainly around his specials and his gimmick. His standard moveset has very few attacks that deal decent knockback, though they do deal surprisingly high amounts of % damage. You just won't notice easily as he struggles so much to knock foes off the stage. His air game, both his jumps and air speed are also very sub par. For his attacks he uses a variety of items from across the game as weapons. Such as the double bladed axe from the rec room. All in all this makes his moveset look visually similar to Villager, though not nearly as useful. His running speed is also rather slow, although his dodge frame data is quite good. Sounds like a pretty bad character, huh? Well let's look at his specials before his normal moves to see if they salvage him.

Neutral Special: Radical 6

A counter. Zero takes a pose with his arm held aloft, like in his official artwork (he performs the same pose for both his counters). If the enemy attacks, he will toss a vial onto the ground. The result of a successful counter differs depending on the enemy's % damage. Above 60% it will invert the enemies controls, while below 60% it will slow them down briefly, like Bayonetta's Witchtime. However, like Witchtime, the effectiveness of the counter reduces the more it is used.

Side Special: Tubocurarine

A command grab. Zero grabs his opponent and injects them using the injection gun. This deals light damage, maybe 5% or 6%. A weak attack overall, but actually Zero's main method of KO'ing foes, as it as the property of many final smashes and the lava in the Great Cave Offensive. If the enemy's damage is above 100%, this attack will automatically kill them. Zero's playstyle is to rack up damage using his counters and then finish them off with a lethal injection. In the actual game the bracelets have the tubocurarine in them while the injection gun has the antidote, but for the purpose of Smash the gun works better as a delivery method than the bracelet.

Down Special: True Path

A counter much like Shulk's vision. Upon successfully using, Zero vanishes for a second before reappearing to attack the opponent (how exactly, eh, doesn't really matter, could just be a pose). Successful counters will build up a gauge near his portrait. On the fourth successful counter, Zero's counter attack will be a lot more devastating dealing a full 2* the damage of the original attack, with a minimum damage of 20%. Failing the counter and getting hit just after using it will reset the gauge to nothing. Zero must be wise and read his opponents precisely to reach the true path.

Up Special: K

Spawn's K's armour where Zero is standing. This acts as an obstacle on the stage that can be stood on and, if dealt enough damage, destroyed. If the armour is already spawned, press the button again and Zero will disappear. The armour will then break apart revealing him to be inside, saying "This is where I was all along". If the armour breaks either by Zero using it to recover or from enough damage, the pieces of it can be picked up and thrown. Fitting for the character, this is a recovery that will save Zero no matter how dire his off stage situation is, however it must be set up in advance and it is weaker against characters who can destroy the armour using brute force (an actual application for Warlock Punch at last).

Gimmick: Nonary Game

Every attack in Zero's normal arsenal has a value set to it from 1-8. Whenever an enemy is hit by that attack, a counter on their portrait gets the value added. So, say if his forward tilt has a value of 3 and the enemy's current nonary value is 4, then that fighter's nonary value becomes 7. If the value goes above 9, it will roll over to 0. If the value is ever at 9, then the enemy will receive 9% extra damage, Zero will restore 9% of his HP, and the value will reset to a random number. Most players will probably just ignore this gimmick and appreciate the extra damage when it comes, but a strong Zero player will know how to chain multiple values together in succession to build up damage and keep Zero healthy.


AttackNameDescriptionNonary Number
JabScalpelZero slashes several times with a scalpel. Deals very little knockback, but surprisingly high damage for a jab. It's also very quick, but does not have much range.1 (per hit)
Side TiltKnifeZero thrusts forward, hitting enemies with the butt of a knife. Why the butt of the knife? Because it's based on an attack Akane does in game.3
Down TiltDiceZero rolls a pair of dice. The result is shown above his head. This attack deals the same amount of damage as the dice roll, ranging from 2% to 12% with the most likely occurrence being 7%. Deals very weak knockback.2
Up TiltG-OLOMZero swipes weakly with his robot arm. His arms do not have a hurt box5
DashShoulder TackleA basic shoulder tackle not dissimilar to Captain Falcon's Dash Attack.9
Side SmashDouble Bladed AxeZero uses the Halberd from the rec room. Hit hits wide and looks powerful, but does not actually deal that much knockback.8
Up SmashLanceZero stabs upwards with the lance from the rec room. Quite quick for an Up Smash, but not very strong.7
Down SmashBombLike Snake's old Brawl down smash4
NairPool CueZero twirls a pool cue hitting on all sides of him.2 (per hit)
FairDartZero throws a dart from the rec room, dealing light damage. Actually his most useful aerial.1
BairShovelZero swipes with a shovel behind him. His most powerful aerial in terms of knockback, but also his most unwieldy.8
UairBottleZero hits above him with a bottle.6
DairScrew DriverZero drops a screwdriver below him. Deals very weak damage, but also has almost no end lag.9

Final Smash: Virtue's Last Reward

Zero sprays an area in front of him with knockout gas. Any enemies hit are transported to an elevator where they fail to solve a puzzle and are then dropped to their doom before being engulfed in a giant explosion. There's a final shot of Zero showing not pleasure in the destruction of his foe. Auto kills any enemies that are above 100%.

The main intent is to replicate Zero's nature. He has very little in the way of brute force and KO potential, but he's a very tricky opponent to fight, as he has two different counters that can seriously debilitate enemies. And while his air game is poor, his Up Special offers him infinite recovery potential, provided you had the time to set it up first. His main goal, however, is to slowly read his opponent and deal enough damage here and there to finally grab them with his side special and kill them instantly, rather than knocking them off the stage. His gimmick is quite useless if you play him conventionally just trying to attack your opponent, but if you have him mastered and know which attacks you should unleash, then his low knockback but high potential for damage output and ability to heal, should make it so you can weaken enemies enough to secure a kill with his side special.

I don't have any ideas for his grabs or throws, other than maybe reusing the darts for his forward throw. There actually is quite a bit of grabbing going on in Virtue's Last Reward's cutscenes, but it's of the more realistic grappling nature with characters struggling over a weapon or trying to detain someone, so nothing that jumps out as obvious for Smash. Maybe I'll come up with something later and assign nonary values to them. I will note now that pummeling would actually be very useful for Zero, as you can use a pummel to put an opponent on the right nonary value so that you know you can have them reach 9 when performing a throw.

Overall I think this would make for a rather interesting character that you have to be quite tactical to play. He'd probably be rather low tier, but the kind of low tier that would really surprise unsuspecting players if put in the hands of someone who has mastered him.
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