Posted by: metinahurricane | August 15, 2009

The Grey Area — Dingodile

DingodileMasterWarlord

Catherine Grey.

Catherine Grey.

I once again have a Warlord set on my plate, and really should get going with this. Going in, ever since MYM 3.0, I’d expect tons of massive attacks, a truckload of extras, and some insane mechanic or other.

But Dingodile has none of these things! I… I’m disillusioned… if I can’t count on Warlord for making movesets I’m afraid of, what can I count on?

Well, I can still count on your movesets being packed with creativity, I suppose. I can still count on move interactions, plenty of them. I can still count on interesting playstyles. And I can still count on every single character you make being a villain heavyweight who has tons of things in common with your mains – who all also happen to be villain heavyweights.

As is obligatory in my reviews – the only thing I do the same way each time – let’s start with the organization. I’ll admit, when I first took a look at those strange-looking headers (Dingodile looks more like a pigman and the beam is white where the beams he shoots are red), the apparent lack of color, and the egregious overuse of brown, I thought this would be one of the set’s weaknesses. In fact, after reading it, I’ve decided it gives the moveset a ton of personality, as custom headers often do. These are very unique and immediately remind you who we’re talking about without ever bogarting attention from the attacks themselves – I’d congratulate agi on a job well done.

The use of bolding is much, much better than on your earlier MYM 6 sets. This is how it’s supposed to be done. If I take a glance at the Down Aerial, I can immediately absorb everything that matters about it, since its unique property jumps right out at me and the damage is at the end (another clever move, and a worthy throwback to Mendez and Kibble). Since this carries over throughout the moveset, it makes it really easy to read, which is truly an anomaly for your movesets and something I’d definitely like to see in the future.

I thought the monochromatic appearance would be a fault, but really, you’ve used the best thing about the white-text scheme – instead of forcing a certain feel down the reader’s throat, you’ve left a kind of blank slate for the reader to interpret as they will as they read the moveset. This, of course, only works if the moveset is nice and brief, and you’ve got that in spades.

So now that I’ve waxed on for three paragraphs about something I can’t even complain about, let’s move on.

Dingodile feels schizophrenic. He’s a heavyweight, but he’s also a ranged character. He’s a trap character of sort with his crystals, suggesting he’d be defensively inclined, but then he’s – as Junahu pointed out – quite packed with suicide KO moves and seems like he wants to be a kamikaze bomber. His playstyle suffers because of this, even though it’s got its touches of brilliance – how well you implemented the spirit of his crystals from his boss battle, for one, and the many flamethrower attacks that never get stale. It’s just that between those two, the suicide motif, the burying submechanic his down tilt suggests, the attacking into the foreground/background, and the rather complex overheating interaction, he’s got a few too many layers. It’s almost overwhelming.

The other thing that nags at me about this moveset is that your ideas are as creative and as wacky as ever – well, maybe not as EVER, but certainly as complex as Sloth’s – and you’ve toned down the detail so much that at times the meaning gets lost in the shuffle. Obviously, less detail is a very good thing – as I harped on about at the beginning – but from time to time, your ideas are just too much for a few sentences to explain. Forward Tilt especially stands out as an attack I had to read a few times to get a good grip on, and his final two smashes suffer from this, too (it took me, like, four reads to realize that Dingodile is balancing on the tip of his tail, and that he’s essentially latching himself to the ground).

More importantly, though, this moveset has character. That boss fight of yours certainly didn’t suggest he could end up with a variety of creative attacks (except for that Side Special, it feels more obligatory than interesting), let alone with a relatively unique playstyle. And yet you added both of those things while keeping the spirit of the character alive, and it results in a very Dingodile moveset that was truly a joy to read.

Now, the question, of course, is do I like it more than Sloth? Ultimately, I’m going to have to say no. Sloth was the ultimate intuitive interactive character with an obscene amount of move interactions (but not too much to stomach altogether, like Ludicolo) and with a truly fitting and fascinating playstyle. Dingodile is almost a lighter work, a kind of experiment, and it can’t really compete with him… but that’s not to say that he’s an unsuccessful experiment. I would not be surprised if this placed in the Top 50, and I’d love to see it there.

There’s this kind of mania nowadays; everything has to be “unique”. You’re partly responsible, actually, since Sloth set such a high bar for us all. There’s this general opinion that if a moveset isn’t either packed with absolutely outrageously creative attacks (looking at you, Spadefox) or has this convoluted playstyle (cough, Al), it’s not up to par. I think we’re moving quickly toward retreading waters, because there are limits to imagination; we can’t go on forever. We stalled for a while by playing with traps and with having only one KO move that forces the whole playstyle to be built around it, but we’re simply running out of design space.

And when that happens, we’ll be relying completely on interesting, almost-plausible, conceptually rich movesets like Dingodile. He didn’t make me gape (metaphorically speaking) like Sloth or Spadefox, but he was ultimately the more enjoyable experience. A moveset doesn’t need to make your mind whir to be successful. The thing that sets one apart from the other, in the end, is the character of it, and that’s what we’ll be emphasizing as we move into a new movesetting dark age in MYM 7.

But anyway, Dingodile’s a pretty cool set and I look forward to Tycoon.

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Responses

  1. Oh trust me, my next moveset has a mechanic that I don’t believe has ever been touched upon in MYM. ;D

    Honestly, I don’t think we’ll ever truly “run out” of creativity per se. There’s always a way to tweak an existing concept or combine several established concepts into an overall new idea. Heck, you just posted Leafeon which shows that even trap-based playstytles still have a lot of unexplored terrain.

  2. If you had told me back then that this would place 4th, I would have laughed you clear out of the room. Goes to show that you never really know.


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