With Sukapon’s reveal as a Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Assist Trophy, there is an opportunity for a whole legion of Nintendo fans to be introduced to one of Nintendo’s earliest fighters. Joy Mech Fight is a Famicom game that never left Japan, even though the language barriers are minimal. In a scenario that parallel’s Mega Man’s, one scientist is going to use robots to take over the world, and his former friend and good scientist is using a remaining one to save the day. And again, just like Mega Man, the nature of these robots are what make Joy Mech Fight so delightful.
Joy Mech Fight primarily focuses on the story of Sukapon, though eventually other enemy robots can be reprogrammed and added to the roster as playable characters. Sukapon was designed to be an entertainer, but was forced to take to the battlefield when Dr. Ivan took off with the other robots. What is wonderful about Sukapon is his design and attacks. This is a pleasant guy with no special attributes. He is the everyman of robots. When you attack, you can kick with his legs, throw his head, roll toward opponents or grab an enemy with your hands to toss them. The best part is, in my opinion, how Sukapon’s eyes will become as big as saucers when he takes damage from a devastating hit. He is this incredibly pleasant looking character who looks harmless and happy, considering that is what he was always supposed to be.
Part of the fun is watching the way these characters move. They are a jumble of parts, due to the things Nintendo had to do to make Joy Mech Fight run on a Famicom. The company leaned into it. It allowed different parts to be involved in specific attacks. It also made forcing enemies’ heads to pop off a legitimate gameplay strategy. If you keep successfully damaging your opponent, their head will fly off and they will have to retrieve it. You can then get in extra hits while they get themselves right again. It plays along with the idea that these characters are made up of special sprites.
Joy Mech Fight also does its best to offer as much detail as possible in a small amount of space. Eve has one giant eyeball Honou is basically a collection of fireballs. Sasuke is a robot that looks as much like a ninja as it can, complete with possible claws. Tiger looks a little like a martial artist. Some of the names are a bit suspect, as Giant actually has wrecking balls for hands, a shield as a chest, and a huge rock as a head, but each of them are well-defined and unique. Even though Sukapon is something of a blank slate, all of his enemies-turned-allies have more to them.
But I think what makes Joy Mech Fight so good is what happens as you go through the story. For a fighting game, there is such a sense of joy. Sukapon is this happy-go-lucky character, even when fighting. If someone defeats the Special Mode, the hardest difficulty level, you can find that Sukapon goes back to being a comedian. Dr. Ivan, the bad guy, repents and is back with Dr. Little. Even the other robots ended up joining Sukapon after being defeated. There is a sense of happiness and peace.
Joy Mech Fight is exactly that, a joy. We have these goofy looking robots, which at the same time can be quite detailed. They are made of things like metal and rocks. They throw their heads, feet, and hands at enemies to attack. Hell, if they take enough damage, their own heads will fly off. There is a sense of goofiness here, with a story that could be dramatic tackled in a way where you never feel like things are ever too dire or you can’t set things right again. These robots are silly and fun, and it is wonderful that one of them will be a part of our lives again in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.