Samus Strategy Guide - Super Smash Bros. Brawl

by Jesse D
5 April 2008


This Samus-specific Super Smash Bros. Brawl strategy guide is written under the assumption that you already understand the general rules and control scheme of the game. That being said, you should be familiar with things such as the ability to attack in any direction, whether on ground or in the air. You should also be familiar with melee attacks, special attacks, (final) smash attacks, grabbing/throwing, double jumping, and shielding/dodging.

The purpose of this guide is to describe all of Samus' special abilities as well as the tactical advantages or flaws for each. That being said, we won't be describing her basic abilities such as melee attacks. I would strongly recommend you to consult our Super Smash Bros. Melee Strategy Guide to understand these basics, since they're no different in Brawl.

Due to the multi-controller capabilities of Brawl, I'll be referring to buttons based on their function instead of their name. They're identified as follows:

GameCube Controller Sideways Wii Remote Wiimote + Nunchuck Classic Controller
Directional Motion Analog Stick D-pad Analog Stick Analog Stick
Grab/Throw Z A + B or - A + B ZL or ZR
Melee Attack A 2 A b
Special Attack B 1 B a

These are assuming, of course, that you are using the default control scheme. If you customize your control scheme then, well, you're on your own! I strongly recommend that you use the GameCube controller, if available. For a fighting game such as this, the game pad is the way to go.

Samus (Armored)

Samus Aran has been a regular member of the Smash Bros. series since its conception on the Nintendo 64 in 1999. As with all games in the series, she has a great balance of weight and speed. She packs an arsenal of long-range of attacks and is equally formidable in hand-to-hand combat. All of her abilities from Super Smash Bros. Melee are present in Brawl, with some slight adjustments.

Charge Beam
Special Button
If you press the special attack button while standing in place, Samus will proceed to charge her beam attack. This process takes a little less than three seconds, and Samus cannot walk while charging. If you are in the line of fire and need to quickly dodge an incoming attack, simply moving left or right will trigger an automatic dodge. It's possible to fire a non fully-charged shot at any time by pressing the special button in place again at any time. This is, of course, weaker than a fully-charged blast.

Don't fire your charged beam at obvious times when an opponent would be expecting it. The charge will remain until you lose a life or sustain a major hit, so keep it at standby and save it for the opportune moment to catch your opponent(s) by surprise.

Forward + Special Button
Missiles are more powerful than a non-charged beam attack. This is a heat-seeking type of missile which will lock on to your nearest opponent, although it is somewhat slow. Use this as a quick projectile attack if your beam is not fully charged or if your opponent is not directly level with you. This attack takes about a second to prepare, so don't be standing within an arm's reach of an opponent because you'll be momentarily vulnerable. Use melee attacks or a charged beam in these situations

Super Missile
Smash Forward + Special Button
If you perform a smash-forward attack using the special button, Samus will fire a Super Missile instead of a standard heat-seeking missile. What sets Super Missiles apart from the others above is that they're faster and they deal a bit more damage. The catch, however, is that they can only travel in a straight line. You can hit opponents who are farther away and their speed is more likely to catch them off-guard. These also make a great alternative to beams if you don't have a fully-charged beam on-hand. These are best used to span a large distance between you and your opponent.
Like the standard missile, it's not recommended to fire one of these off in close combat as you'll be momentarily vulnerable while preparing to fire a missile.

Screw Attack
Upward + Special Button
The Screw Attack makes a triumphant return to Brawl after its disappointingly weak implementation in Melee. It's more similar to the way that it in was in the original Nintendo 64 title... meaning that it deals a fair amount of damage but also sends your opponents flying.

By pressing up and the special attack button, Samus will perform her trademark buzz-saw attack. This does not make her invulnerable, but it is a great way to get an upward-lunging attack on opponents directly above you. It is also handy if you find yourself within a tight group or in otherwise close quarters with other opponents, and want a quick way out.

The Screw Attack also functions as somewhat of a third jump for Samus, and can be an essential life-saver.

Downard + Special Button
By pressing down and the special attack button, Samus will quickly morph into a ball and drop a standard bomb. These can be dropped while either standing or in the air. Unlike other characters' explosive attacks, Samus' bombs will not damage her, but will instead boost her slightly into the air (in morph ball form).

Bombs are generally not very powerful and won't send your opponent flying very far. If you are high in the air and moving horizontally, then you can drop a row of these over the battlefield to get a few hits in. They can also catch enemies directly below you by surprise. But beyond that, the time they take to lay and their weakness make bombs somewhat useless.

Final Smash: Zero Laser
Special Button, w/ Smash Ball
If you're lucky enough to snag a Smash Ball during gameplay, you'll be given the ability to fire off one of the most devastating Final Smash attacks in the game. Position yourself so that you're level on the horizon with your opponent(s) (make sure you're facing them!) and press the special attack button by itself to fire off a ludicrous beam attack. By pressing up or down, you can adjust the angle of your attack. You're invincible while firing, so if somebody attempts a sneak attack behind your back, they'll be regretful.

Of course, this attack affects Samus' armor as well. Firing her Final Smash attack will wreck her armor, leaving her to continue the fight as...

Zero Suit Samus

The beautiful blue blond-haired babe will emerge from her wrecked power suit after firing the Zero Laser.
Zero Suit Samus is a lightweight tradeoff from her armored self. Without the extra weight she can run faster and jump higher, and in general be a difficult target to hit. But of course, she now lacks her firepower and her physical attacks don't hit as hard. The key is to use her athletic prowess to your advantage. Make yourself hard to hit.

First and foremost, you'll notice the remains of her suit scattered about on the ground around her feet. The first thing you'll want to do is pick these up and toss them at your opponents for a quick surprise attack since they may expect you to be immobile after firing off your final smash.

Paralyzer Pistol
Special Button
About as useful as it was in Zero Mission, Samus' handheld pistol does little more than momentarily stun her opponents. You can hold the button to charge it for a little less than two seconds before automatically firing itself. Don't rely on this to deal much damage or send your opponents flying; instead use it to stun them just long enough to either get out of their range or to land a quick melee or throwing attack. But beyond that, it's somewhat useless.

Plasma Whip
Forward + Special Button
By executing a smash attack using the special attack button, Zero Suit Samus will twirl her whip in sort of a coiled pattern in front of her. This is a great way to hit your opponents and knock them back, and works well in combination with melee attacks. Use it in close quarters combat to get a good physical hit in on your opponent. It can also be used in the air to catch them by surprise.

Plasma Wire
Upward + Special Button
By pressing up and the special attack button, Zero Suit Samus will quickly extend her plasma whip upward by an unexpectedly long distance. If you have an opponent high in the air above you, you can quickly jump to meet them with the whip while there is still a bit of vertical distance between you. This technique is somewhat difficult to perfect and isn't entirely effective, but at least it looks cool.
Use this also to save yourself from falling over a ledge. If you are horizontally even or somewhat below a ledge, if it is within range, simply executing this technique will automatically aim it toward your desired target and draw you back to safety.

Flip Jump
Downward + Special Button
This skill is strange. Instead of being a downward attack, by pressing down and the special attack button, Zero Suit Samus will quickly spring herself upward into the air and perform a gymnastic flip jump. It's actually one of my favorite tricks to do with Samus, due both to its spontaneity and unpredictability. You can dodge attacks, escape a dangerous situation and land a surprise attack on your enemies. By pressing either the melee or special attack button while flipping through the air, she'll deal a kick below herself that actually works pretty well. See below for some additional tactics with this skill.

Final Smash: Power Suit Samus
Special Button, w/ Smash Ball
Many would compare Zero Suit Samus' final smash to the Crystal Flash, though this isn't entirely true (no recovered health). Basically, she will engulf herself into a glowing mass and will emerge with her shiny suit of armor, good as new. If any opponents are nearby, they will be drawn into this mass as well and will take a substantial hit, but this can easily be evaded by standing at a safe distance from Samus while she transforms.

Other Skills & Tactics

As with any character in the Smash series, understanding Samus' special skills is only half of being a good warrior. To be able to choose the right attack for the situation, and to fight using tactics is where the brilliance of the game's simple-yet-robust gameplay really shines. Anyone can pick it up and play it, but true mastery comes from skillful use of tactics. I that didn't sound cheesy enough, I could call you "Grasshopper."

Wall Jump
First introduced in Super Metroid and recreated in Super Smash Bros. Melee, Samus' ability to perform all jumps reappears once again in Brawl. This time, it has been adjusted to be even easier to perform. By simply jumping into a wall and pressing the control stick or pad in the opposite direction, Samus will automatically spring back off of it. In a narrow corridor, all you'd have to do is press left, right, left, right in progression to bounce your way up to the top.

Both armored Samus and Zero Suit Samus can perform a wall jump. It's useless most of the time (since you only see vertical walls in a few stages, certain areas of Subspace Emissary and cleverly-designed custom stages) but can be useful to fool your opponents in the right situation.
For example, Zero Suit Samus can perform a Flip Jump (see above) into a wall then elegantly bounce back off that wall using another flip jump.

Grapple Beam
Also a technique carried over from Melee, armored Samus can save herself from a fall by firing her grapple beam toward a ledge and reeling herself back in. Press your grab/throw button while in the air and it will automatically target a ledge within range (unlike Melee) and pull her back in.

Start As Zero Suit Samus
By holding the block button at the character select screen while selecting Samus, Samus will instantly shed her armor at the start of the match, leaving Zero Suit Samus with a pile of projectiles at her feet. Use these to your advantage!

Smash Taunt: Shed Your Armor
Smash taunting is a trick that only a few select characters can use for different effects. For example, the StarFox team can call in Arwings on StarFox-themed levels for backup. Solid Snake can make codec calls to get HQ's insight on his different opponents. Samus can shed her armor at will to become Zero Suit Samus. This can be done on any stage, however she can't re-obtain her suit without a final smash.

On a controller where you can use the d-pad to taunt, quickly press up, down, up. This is difficult, as you have to time it quickly and correctly. But if you can masterfully rock the d-pad up and down, you can enjoy another skill for your already vast arsenal. Don't try to do this so much that it leaves you open to attack, however.