Samus overview

Veterans of Samus' art of combat from her Melee days are in for a treat, as her basic moveset retains much of her combat style from the GameCube era. A few surprises along with the complete new introduction of Zero Suit Samus' fighting style round out the package. Read on for a general introduction of Samus' fighting style, her signature combat techniques and the new Zero Suit persona.

Controller terminology

Please consult the game's manual for the full details of each of the controller types the game supports (the GameCube controller won't let you down :) ). Here's a brief description of the terminology used throughout this overview as a generalisation across the board:

  • Hold (direction): Hold down the indicated direction.
  • Tilt (direction): Tap the indicated direction.
  • Normal attack: A combatant's normal attack (eg. A on the GC controller).
  • Special attack: A combatant's special attack (eg. B on the GC controller).
  • Grab: A combatant's standard grab attack (eg. Z on the GC controller).

Power Suit Samus

Samus' bulky orange Varia Suit grants her a medium-weight stature while providing decent protection and heavy firepower to counter slower movement. Her slower, more deliberate attack style may prove difficult against nimble opponents but gives her a unique edge against the heavyweights.

Ground attacks
Punch (Normal attack)

Press this once for a quick forward punch, or twice to follow up with an arm cannon slam.
Forward kick (Normal attack + Hold forward)

Attack while holding forward to unleash a quick roundhouse kick.
Forward kick
Downward kick (Normal attack + Hold up)

Hold up while attacking to bring Samus' leg down on opponents' heads. Always useful for a fast attack when landing from above.
Downward kick
Arm cannon slam (Normal attack + Hold down)

Hold down while attacking for a fiery slam on the ground. Useful for catching forward opponents and smaller targets off-guard.
Arm cannon slam
Running tackle (Normal attack + Running forward)

Press Normal attack while running forward to perform a hard tackle. Use this against foes near a cliff edge to help knock them flying.
Running tackle
Special attacks
Charge Shot (Special attack)

Press Special attack while motionless to begin charging energy in Samus' arm cannon. Once the round completes charging, press Special attack again to discharge a powerful energy bolt at will. The shot can be discharged at any time during the charging phase, but won't inflict as much damage as a fully powered shot. Use a fully-charged blast to send high-percentage opponents off the arena. Pressing Special attack in mid-air without charging first will discharge the smallest bolt.
Charge Shot
Guided Missile (Special attack + Hold forward)

Press Special attack while holding forward to deliver a small homing missile. Try to ensure close proximity to your target as the projectile will eventually slow its momentum and explode. Useable while airborne.
Guided Missile
Super Missile (Special attack + Tilt forward)

Tilt forward and press Special attack to unload a stronger Super Missile. This projectile trades homing capabilities for speed, strength and distance. Use it against opponents trying to recover their footing on the arena. Useable while airborne.
Super Missile
Bomb (Special attack + Hold down)

Hold down and press Special attack to lay a single explosive bomb. The bomb won't harm Samus, and is useful for shaking off surrounding opponents. Useable while airborne.
Screw Attack (Special attack + Hold up)

Hold up and press Special Attack whenever foes are nearby to give them a face-full of the Screw Attack. Try to remain in contact as long as possible to rack up the damage, and use the vertical climb of the Screw Attack to help recover if you're knocked off the arena. Useable while airborne.
Screw Attack
Smash attacks
Arm cannon smash (Normal attack + Tilt forward)

Samus' standard forward smash attack delivers a hardy blow from her arm cannon. Hold Normal attack to charge the hit - use it on single opponents with high percentages to finish them off.
Arm cannon smash
Sweeping kick smash (Normal attack + Tilt down)

Perform a downward smash attack while grounded to execute a low sweeping kick. Very effective against opponents surrounding Samus' position.
Sweeping kick smash
Fiery arm cannon smash (Normal attack + Tilt up)

Catch opponents falling from above with this high sweeping arm cannon smash. Also effective for catching taller opponents when surrounded.
Fiery arm cannon smash
Aerial attacks
Air kick (Mid-air: Normal attack)

Press Normal attack in mid-air for a quick forward kick.
Air kick
Sweeping arm cannon (Mid-air: Normal attack + Hold forward)

Attack forward in mid-air for a heavy fiery arm cannon sweep. Good for tackling fellow airborne opponents.
Sweeping arm cannon
Reverse kick (Mid-air: Normal attack + Hold back)

Reverse attack in mid-air for a fast backward kick. Use this to catch airborne opponents behind Samus off-guard.
Reverse kick
Vertical kick (Mid-air: Normal attack + Hold up)

Attack while ascending to perform a corkscrew vertical kick. Use this to meet opponents as they fall from above.
Vertical kick
Meteor Smash (Mid-air: Normal attack + Hold down)

Hold down as you attack in mid-air for a powerful downward smash. Try to catch grounded opponents with this move - although striking an airborne opponent directly over a chasm with this can often knock them off the stage.
Meteor Smash
Grapple Beam (Grab)

Press Grab to deploy Samus' Grapple Beam. Ensnare a foe and either throw them off in any direction or repeatedly press Normal attack to rack up a small amount of damage. Useable while airborne.
Grapple Beam
Grapple Beam Recovery (Mid-air: Grab)

If you find yourself precariously above a chasm and can't use a double-jump or the Screw Attack to recover, press Grab to deploy the Grapple Beam and snatch the edge of a cliff. Once Samus grabs hold quickly pull yourself up before opponents close in.
Grapple Beam Recovery
Kick Recovery (Normal or Special attack while hanging from a ledge)

As Samus dangles precariously from a ledge, surprise nearby opponents by pressing any attack button. Samus will quickly leap up and slam down a heavy kick, perfect for catching her launcher unawares.
Kick Recovery
Final Smash: Zero Laser (With Smash Ball: Special attack)

Score a Smash Ball and put yourself in a good position to face all opponents across the arena. Press Special attack to unleash Samus' immense Zero Laser. Hold up or down to sweep the massive beam to ensure all foes are caught in the blast. Any opponents already with a high percentage before suffering the Zero Laser's wrath won't last long. Upon exhausting the Zero Laser's charge, Samus' armour will overload and fall away to reveal her Zero Suit form.
Final Smash: Zero Laser

Switching between Samus' two forms

Samus and Zero Suit SamusSamus has a number of options available to switch between her two fighting forms:

  1. Score a Smash Ball and use Samus' Final Smash: Press Special attack after scoring a Smash Ball to unleash Samus' Zero Laser on hapless opponents. Once the blast subsides Zero Suit Samus will emerge from the remains of her armour. Using a Final Smash while in Zero Suit form will restore the Power Suit.
  2. Hold a Shield button down on the character select screen as you proceed to the stage select screen: Doing so will give Samus her Zero Suit form from the beginning of the match - don't forget to hurl her fallen armour pieces at opponents!
  3. During the Subspace Emissary: On a stage with multiple characters to choose from, select Samus and toggle between her Power Suit and Zero Suit by pressing left or right on the GameCube controller's C-stick, Minus on the Wii Remote, the C button on the Nunchuk or the right Control Stick on the Classic Controller.
  4. During a match, very quickly press Up taunt, Down taunt, Up taunt: This is incredibly difficult to achieve, and only allows Samus to enter Zero Suit form. To restore the Power Suit you'll need a Smash Ball. Don't try this in the middle of a heated battle.

Zero Suit Samus

Without her standard armour's protection, Zero Suit Samus is extremely vulnerable to heavy attack and must use agile athleticism to avoid a nasty trip off the arena. Thankfully her speed more than makes up for lack of defense, and is ideal in delivering quick strategic strikes against slower targets.

Ground attacks
Punch (Normal attack)

A quick punch attack - hold the button down for an rapid succession of facepalms.
Forward kick (Normal attack + Hold forward)

Samus performs a fast roundhouse kick. Use this to temporarily stun an opponent and knock them off their footing.
Forward kick
Handstand kick (Normal attack + Hold up)

Hold up while attacking to perform a fast upside-down sweeping kick. Try to use this against opponents as they fall from above - use it consecutively to keep knocking foes into the air. Also handy for clearing enemies surrounding Samus.
Handstand kick
Downward sweep kick (Normal attack + Hold down)

Perform a low and fast sweeping kick. Keep in mind this can only strike enemies in front of Samus.
Downward sweep kick
Running kick (Normal attack + Running forward)

While running, press Normal attack to execute a fast aerial kick. Catch enemies off guard with this and follow up with a heavier attack.
Running kick
Special attacks
Paralyzer (Special attack)

Press Special attack to discharge a small burst of energy from Samus' emergency pistol. Foes struck by the blast will be momentarily stunned - use this opportunity to close in and open up with stronger attacks. Hold Special attack for a split second longer to charge the shot. Useable while airborne.
Plasma Whip (Special attack + Hold forward)

This deploys a short Plasma Whip capable of striking nearby foes twice in one round. Useful against numerous foes bunched together forward of Samus. Useable while airborne.
Plasma Whip
Flip Jump (Special attack + Hold down)

While facing a nearby foe, perform this move to flip right over their heads. As Samus passes above the target, press either Normal attack or Special attack to strike a heavy kick. Be wary of using this near the edge of platforms - don't accidentally flip jump over the gap. Useable while airborne.
Flip Jump
Plasma Wire (Special attack + Hold up)

Very useful against foes directly above Samus. When surrounded by enemy targets, perform this move to deploy Samus' Plasma Wire directly up. The long energy tendril can strike individual targets multiple times in one round, so try to catch enemies just as the whip deploys for consecutive hits. Useable while airborne.
Plasma Wire
Smash attacks
Plasma Whip smash (Normal attack + Tilt forward)

Use this to quickly send enemies forward of Samus flying. Charge the hit before unleashing for a stronger blow, just watch out as Samus is vulnerable while the attack charges up.
Plasma Whip smash
Paralyzer smash (Normal attack + Tilt down)

Another way to stun foes with Samus' emergency pistol. Use this against foes directly in front of her to momentarily stun them.
Paralyzer smash
Plasma Wire smash (Normal attack + Tilt up)

Very effective against foes surrounding Samus. Use this to unleash the Plasma Wire directly above. Foes caught in the vortex can be hit multiple times in one round.
Plasma Wire smash
Aerial attacks
Plasma Whip slash (Mid-air: Normal attack)

Press Normal attack while airborne to deliver a quick slash of the Plasma Whip. Good for a fast opening attack.
Plasma Whip slash
Double kick (Mid-air: Normal attack + Hold forward)

Use this to perform a quick one-two airborne kick. Use it against fellow airborne combatants or against targets above Samus' position.
Double kick
Reverse kick (Mid-air: Normal attack + Hold back)

Use this attack against foes directly behind Samus while airborne to deliver a fast single backward kick.
Reverse kick
Vertical flip kick (Mid-air: Normal attack + Hold up)

Hold up and press Normal attack while airborne to perform a fast somersault kick. Very useful against foes falling down from above. This can also be performed repeatedly as gravity draws Samus back down to the arena.
Vertical flip kick
Meteor Kick (Mid-air: Normal attack + Hold down)

Take care with this move. Hold down and press Normal attack while airborne to perform a fast, slightly angled downward kick. Use it when foes lurk beneath Samus, but be certain to avoid chasms as Samus will soar down till she lands on solid ground - be sure she has something to land on.
Meteor Kick
Plasma Whip grab (Grab)

Press Grab while grounded to deploy the Plasma Whip. Snag an opponent and either rapidly press Normal attack to deal out minor damage, or throw your foe away in any direction.
Plasma Whip grab
Plasma Whip Recovery (Mid-air: Special attack + Up or Forward)

Without the Screw Attack, the Plasma Whip is the only gadget capable of saving Zero Suit Samus when knocked off the arena. While in mid-air, either deploy the whip forward towards a ledge or directly above, depending on which direction solid ground is. Once the whip safely makes contact, hold up to pull yourself up to safety.
Plasma Whip Recovery
Kick Recovery (Normal or Special attack while hanging from a ledge)

When dangling from a ledge, press either Normal attack or Special attack to leap up with a fast kick. Use this to catch nearby opponents off-guard as you recover from a fall.
Kick Recovery
Final Smash: Power Suit Samus (With Smash Ball: Special Attack)

The only way to restore Samus' Power Suit is via the power of a Smash Ball. Grab the item and press Special attack to restore Samus' armour instantly. Try to do so nearby other foes, as anyone caught near Samus as she initially begins glowing will suffer damage.
Final Smash: Power Suit Samus