Super Smash Bros: All 12 N64 Characters, Ranked By How Viable They Are In Ultimate (2023)

Since its release in 2018, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has come a very long way. It has grown to astronomical heights, introducing characters that fans would never have dared dream of in past games. The introduction of Sora (of the beloved and Disney-infused Kingdom Hearts series) to the game finishes off the roster with a bang. Now, though, it's time to take a look back and appreciate where it all started.RELATED: The Most Broken Characters In Super Smash Bros. HistorySuper Smash Bros., better known as Super Smash Bros. N64, was released in 1999. The original had a limited roster of 12 beloved Nintendo characters. From there, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate's cast grew to an astonishing 89 fighters! Let's take a look and see if those 12 original characters have grown, too. Here's how they stack up in the latest title.

12 Jigglypuff: A Real Featherweight

Super Smash Bros: All 12 N64 Characters, Ranked By How Viable They Are In Ultimate (1)

Jigglypuff has certainly seen better days in the franchise. While it has been tweaked a couple times over the course of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s history, it is still considered to be around the bottom of the totem pole. Jigglypuff has a great offensive moveset. It has reliable combo starters and great finishers. Its greatest drawback, however, is its defense.

Jigglypuff is incredibly light. This can spell doom against heavy-hitting characters, leaving the enigmatic Normal-type Pokemon susceptible to early KOs. The good news is that Jigglypuff will really only ever be defeated by getting knocked out of bounds, considering it has one of the best recoveries in the game. Also, shielding is not as viable as it would be for other characters: Jigglypuff is unique in that whenever it gets its shield broken, it is immediately KOed.

11 Donkey Kong: A Powerhouse Who Is Too Easy To JuggleSuper Smash Bros: All 12 N64 Characters, Ranked By How Viable They Are In Ultimate (2)

In Ultimate, sometimes-underrated Nintendo legend Donkey Kong recieved a speed increase with that same gorilla power. He can certainly go bananas in the right hands, with options like great throws and true combos. Unfortunately, he does possess certain drawbacks that affect his viability in Ultimate, such as his severely limited recovery and huge hitbox.

Further, with his style being heavily focused on grabs, it can be very difficult for DK to succeed if the opponent is able to avoid being grappled. However, DK does have some other tools at his disposal. He is perhaps the best in the game at pressuring shields, which can make him an overwhelming force. It's just very difficult to fully utilize his potential.

10 Kirby: Mobile But Unspectacular

Super Smash Bros: All 12 N64 Characters, Ranked By How Viable They Are In Ultimate (3)

Kirby has a lot of different combo options and abilities that can offer niche KO opportunities. His tilts are where his offensive power shines. Defensively, however, Kirby can struggle against characters with a good zoning game. Kirby is an extremely slow character in the air, making him a sitting duck when trying to recover. This affords the opponent an opprtunity to punish him heavily.

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Kirby’s aerial attacks are also slow compared to others aerials, so a great deal of foresight and strategy is required when in the air. He also struggles on certain stages that have platforms, as his moves don't really utilize them that well, and his arsenal is a little run of the mill.

9 Luigi: Very Combo-Reliant

Mario's brother in green is back and has changed tremendously since Smash 64. With almost a complete overhaul of his moveset, he is unrecognizable from his 1999 iteration. Luigi possesses a great offensive game, with some of the series’ best grab combos that can bring opponents from 0% to death in an instant.

RELATED: Super Mario Bros.: The First Games Luigi Was Playable In

He's a very good all-rounder in Ultimate. Luigi's major drawback is his recovery. Horizontal recovery for Luigi can be very difficult, considering that achieving the optimal results from one of his best options, Green Missile, is completely based on luck. He'll also struggle to perform if he can't pull off his devastating combos.

8 Samus Aran: In The Prime Of Her Keep-Away Career

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The formidable bounty hunter last seen in the excellent Metroid Dread makes her fifth appearance in the series, and is arguably at her best in Ultimate. With a great moveset and offensive capabilities, she is a force to be reckoned with. She can provide all sorts of mix ups and combos.

She also has a wide range of projectiles, including one of the most reliable ranged options in the game and perhaps the most deadly in her fearsome Charge Shot. She has a great recovery and can play a very defensive playstyle. A Samus player will really struggle if the opponent can reliably close the distance, however.

(Video) Super Smash Bros Commercial (N64)

7 Link: The Hero Of Prolific Projectiles

Super Smash Bros: All 12 N64 Characters, Ranked By How Viable They Are In Ultimate (6)

One of the faces of the Smash series makes his appearance once again in Ultimate, this time with a completely different look. Link is now modeled after the iteration of the character that stars in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and his moveset has certainly evolved, as well.

Link can be extremely viable in Ultimate, due to his amazing zoning abilities and projectiles. Getting close to him is no easy feat considering the various explosions, hail of arrows, and occasional boomerang that must be dodged to approach. At the same time, though, speedier opponents can overwhelm him at close range.

6 Yoshi: An Unwieldy But Powerful Combatant

Super Smash Bros: All 12 N64 Characters, Ranked By How Viable They Are In Ultimate (7)

Mario's faithful steed makes their fifth appearance in the series. Yoshi has been able to remain viable throughout the series, and although their presence in the professional top spots has been lacking, they are still rather popular.


Yoshi offers a great aerial game and zoning options to be reckoned with. They are the only character that gets super armor on their double jump, which makes them extremely hard to edgeguard. Yoshi also boasts great kill potential and an effective recovery, Not to mention a unique shield which has slightly different properties to those of other characters' bubble shields. With all of this in mind, the dinosaur's quirky traits are very difficult to master.

5 Fox McCloud: Great Speed But Recovery Is Slippy

Super Smash Bros: All 12 N64 Characters, Ranked By How Viable They Are In Ultimate (8)
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Fox McCloud makes yet another appearance, and this time he seems to match his former glory from Super Smash Bros. Melee. Fox has great combo and kill potential, mixed with a fast-paced playstyle that certainly places him in the higher tier.

Fox starts to fall in the defense category, though. He is rather light, only allowing him to take a few hits before being in the danger zone. His recovery can also put him in a rough spot, considering how predictable its trajectory is and how safe it tends to be to try and punish.

4 Captain Falcon: An Overwhelming Force At Close Range

Super Smash Bros: All 12 N64 Characters, Ranked By How Viable They Are In Ultimate (9)

The captain is here once again to show you his moves, though they really haven't changed much at all. Captain Falcon is one of the main 12 that has barely been tinkered with since his debut, but where he has changed, he has changed for the better.

He is one of the fastest characters in the game and can pack a mean punch to boot. He is lethal when it comes to combo potential, and has a good recovery as well. His only downside is that he can really suffer against certain matchups. Captain Falcon's in-your-face playstyle means that foes that can keep him at bay will be an uphill battle for him.

3 Ness: A Tricky Foe At Any Range

Super Smash Bros: All 12 N64 Characters, Ranked By How Viable They Are In Ultimate (10)

Earthbound's Ness is a constant threat. He has made an appearance in every Smash outing, and he has had a rollercoaster of a time in terms of viability. Ness is currently a devastating pick in the right hands, at any level of play.

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With great combos and amazing kill potential, he can be extremely hard to play against. He also possesses one of the most dangerous and spammable projectiles in the game: the notorious PK Fire. Ultimate’s directional air dodges have also bolstered his recovery significantly, though it can still be exploited by more mobile opponents.

2 Mario: Brings Everything And The Kitchen Sink To Battle

Super Smash Bros: All 12 N64 Characters, Ranked By How Viable They Are In Ultimate (11)

Mario has been present in every Smash game and, considering he is the face of Nintendo, that is no surprise. He has always been a viable and well-rounded fighter. For newcomers, Mario is a wonderful pick to gain an understanding of the various mechanics of the series. At higher skill levels, he can continue to throw down with any other member of the cast.

Mario has arguably one of the best combo games in all of Smash, considering that each of his moves work perfectly with each other. He's equipped with a projectile for zoning purposes and has some mix up tricks up his sleeve, making him the most balanced character in the game. Offering a little of everything, however, does mean that he doesn't have the raw strengths in some areas that some fellow fighters do.

1 Pikachu: A Lightning-Fast Threat

Super Smash Bros: All 12 N64 Characters, Ranked By How Viable They Are In Ultimate (12)

The de facto Pokemon mascot pulls no punches when it comes to Smash. Pikachu is considered by many to be the best character in Smash Ultimate. With lightning-fast speed and some of the best combo potential in the game, Pikachu can quickly wrack up damage and knock his enemies out of bounds. If the player is able to utilize this formidable Electric-type Pokemon's amazing moveset to the upmost, they will defeat all comers.

Pikachu also possesses one of the game’s safest and best recoveries. Pichu's even lighter weight and the damage it deals to itself dissuades many from picking them, making Pikachu one of the best all-around damage-wrackers in the series (perhaps not to the extent of some fellow Pokemon that can be unleashed from Ultimate's Master Balls).

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is available now, for the Nintendo Switch family of systems.

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