Posted by: metinahurricane | December 1, 2009

The Black Box — Dead Hand

I knew it was a slug!

Dead Hand ————————————————————————————————— Wizzerd

So, to start with the new review title – The Black Box. Wikipedia says, “Black box is a technical term for a device, system or object when it is viewed in terms of its input, output and transfer characteristics without any knowledge required of its internal workings.” Considering my taste has started to get pretty wacky (I’m getting old 9_9) and nobody really knows why I like the things I like – although I do try to explain myself – it seemed pretty apt.

Starting with the little things, the things that occur to me as I’m reading that I won’t be able to remember later:

  • Spire’s new picture is so much better than the gameplay pic you had earlier. Changes the whole mood of the moveset for the better.
  • Dead Limbs rush toward him for the Up Special? I thought they were rooted to the ground, as things that sprout tend to be. It would be pretty weird to see an arm shimmy along a stage.
  • Forward Tilt seems obsolete; Devour can also serve the exact same function, no?
  • How a creature defined by its lack of lips can kiss is beyond me.
  • Is it just me or is this vaguely a Warlord set? Super slow huge character with an alternate KO method and bite attacks and drool attacks and vomit attacks? Suicide KOs? Lucky he’s not quite a heavyweight.
  • I love these attack names. Very evocative. On the flip side, I don’t like the lack of creepy Zelda music. It’s out there; I should know, I used half of it for Zant.
  • What a beastly playstyle section! Dude, brevity is the soul of wit. Try to sum it up a bit quicker than that.
  • Dedede has an infinite against him? Now I know it’s a Warlord set.

So, let’s get serious here. Is Dead Hand your best? Nah, it’s not Ssssss – Eggplant Wizard (a pact is a pact; that set no longer exists). Is it good? Oh, to be sure. There’s a reason you’re – as I’ve said many times – probably our most consistent MYMer, taking the mantle from Kibble and Mendez before him. You have no sets that stand out as outright BAD (not even Slowpoke, who only one person actually read), and Takamaru, Bubbles, Eggplant Wizard and now this all show the same signs of greatness. Thing is, you’re a natural, man.

This isn’t an MYMer review, though, so let’s get to the specifics. That organization just doesn’t appeal to me. Those monochromatic section headers are frankly an eyesore, and aren’t at all as clever as they seem to be. The whole color scheme feels off; more than any of your other sets, this one could have benefitted from colouring the body text a nice greyish of some sort. Some dark reds, more shades of grey, maybe some earthy browns. Dead Hand isn’t supposed to be a black-and-white villain; he’s much more grungy, more fleshy, if you know what I mean. Time to get a bigger organizational bag of tricks, I think, because it’s one of the only areas in which you’re not great.

Now, aside from the superficial resemblance to Romero, the big distinction between the two is what they’re doing with their undead minions. Romero is a summons character; you make Dead Hand into a kind of camper, a grab-oriented character who tries to stay well away and plant his little garden of horrors. I’m sort of glad you didn’t take that obvious root, going out of character to make him more based around various nasty appendages. On the other hand, this way you ended up with all kinds of stock fare like those myriad bite attacks.

Dead Hand is quite unique in playstyle, in theory, but in practice a lot of his moves are actually kind of boring and wind up making a character who isn’t completely sure what to do. You make a whole big deal out of his slow, crawling style, inching his way along, occasionally barfing or drooling or leaning forward for a bite – which is awesome – and then you give him decent aerials that are quite capable of edgeguarding. Suicide KO? Awful idea to put into a moveset like this. Goes utterly against the flow and very much feels as though it’s there because you had no better idea.

The worst thing about this moveset has already been mentioned to you. You’ve cleaned up that “awful writing quirk” you borrowed from Warlord since Eggplant Wizard, but you’ve since tossed in a new one – explaining why Dead Hand’s attacks are, in fact, NOT overpowered. You do it quite a few times in this set, most egregiously in that Up Special. It’s like you’ve been rendered scared of balancing things incorrectly. I mean, throwing in a mention of what-have-you at the end of the attack isn’t a big deal, but when you actively spend that much time making his attacks sound useless, something’s off. It lends the moveset an inferiority complex.

Still, this is a rather poor recovery, namely because it’s so easy to rack free damage on. During the whole time Dead Hand has super armor competent opponents will be constantly whacking him with high damage attacks. His Dead Limbs are begging to be destroyed as well during this as well, though this will artificially lengthen their lifespan if so, them dying once returning to their original position. Try to minimize damage taken as much as you can.

Tsk, tsk, man.

That’s mostly the negative, of course. Dead Hand has a lot of charm – unusual, that – and should certainly be considered another solid outing in your increasingly impressive oeuvre. If you ask me, you have yet to make the set that stands head and shoulders above the rest – Bubbles was good, but not a work of genius, and it seems more people are realizing that in Subaru’s wake anyway – but it’s definitely coming.


(I used to have a giant picture of you-know-who here with the caption “Oh wait. It’s already here.” But I held off for your sake. Aren’t I just wonderful? (a))



  1. Thanks for the quick review.

    Sorry about the Up B, but you have to admit he isn’t the most aerodynamic guy around x_x

    You’re totally right about the FTilt.

    And the DTilt.

    I suppose he is showing some similarities to Warlord sets…

    Sorry about the playstyle section.

    Could we form another pact about Slowpoke? 😦

    Sorry about the org. I’ve definitely done better.

    Right again about the gimping.

    I’m scared of balance x_x

    Anyway, thanks for the review and I’ll try to fix these things.

    EDIT: And sorry about my lack of music. I hate how links are automatically underlined. Underlining looks so sloppy. (yeah I know that’s not a valid excuse)

  2. Underlining DOES look messy. I totally get where you’re coming from on that.

    Slowpoke pact? First I probably should read it. 😉

  3. Don’t. (SHOCK)

  4. You’ve prgoressed from the color gray (smirk) to black, K.Rool.


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