The character too big for Super Smash Bros. - Smash History of Samus Aran's nemesis, Ridley

Playable Ridley in my Smash? It's less likely than you'd think.

Posted by Dakota 'DarkHorse' Hills • March 15, 2018 at 8:42 p.m. PDT

Super Smash Bros. has been going strong as a series for nearly 20-years now for Nintendo, and the roster has only continued to grow for each of the four current installments.

Most of the company's iconic characters have made it into the game as playable characters over the years, but others have famously, or infamously, left out in the cold (like the Ice Climbers for the latest Smash games, get it?). The most prominent of these being Samus' continued nemesis, Ridley.

The space pirate captain, who also appears to be a space dragon, has never appeared in playable form, yet he has appeared in every Super Smash Bros. game to date (with the exception of the 3DS game) even being prominently featured in Brawl's Subspace Emissary mode.

Ridley has been one of the most requested characters by fans over the years along with Donkey Kong Country's King K. Rool, but that request has continued to go unfulfilled. As it stands now, Metroid and F-Zero are the only series featuring a single playable character that have been around since the original game.

Today we will be taking a look at Ridley and his relation to and appearances in the Super Smash Bros. series along with the statements regarding the character from series director Masahiro Sakurai over the years.

Let's go ahead and dig into Ridley's history.

Who is Ridley?

Long story short, Ridley is a primary antagonist of the Metroid series. He has appeared in almost every game in the franchise in some form or another and is usually one of the final bosses of the games he appears in.

His race is currently unknown, but he appears to be something of a space dragon with purple skin and a pterodactyl-like head. Ridley has the ability to breathe fire and fly and likes to attack using his sharp claws and tail.

While he may appear like a mindless beast, Ridley is actually highly intelligent. He is the leader of a group of space pirates that relishes in violence and destruction. Ridley is also responsible for the death of Samus' mother and indirectly her father as well.

The purple alien's design has gone through many variations over the years including a cybernetically-enhanced version called Meta Ridley in the Metroid Prime Series.

Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo 64

This is the Smash Bros. game with probably his least significant appearance, as he only appears as a background character in the Planet Zebes level in the game sporting his sprite look from Super Metroid.

With the series brand new at this point, players had probably just began to put together their dream rosters of Nintendo characters they'd like to appear in the game.

Ridley in Smash 64 image #1
Click images for larger versions

Super Smash Bros. Melee

This game was assumedly the jumping off point for fans to want Ridley in a playable form, as Melee made some players wonder if he was already in the game.

Ridley appears in the opening cinematic for Melee fighting Samus in a corridor and is one of the few characters that appear rendered and in motion while not being playable along with Wolf from Star Fox, some men in black from Earthbound, Samurai Goro from F-Zero and the non-playable Pokémon.


Click images for animated versions

Super Smash Bros. Brawl

Brawl is the game where Ridley gets his most prominent role in the series as an antagonist in the Subspace Emissary mode of the game. He appears in Samus and Pikachu's route where he attacks the pair in a cinematic and looks to be at least three times the size of Samus.

Ridley gets a boss battle in the mode against the electric duo, and so does his Meta Ridley form later on in the mode's story. Reportedly, there is also data found in the game suggesting that he was planned to be an assist trophy early in the games development.


The release of this game also marked the first time Masahiro Sakurai addressed the characters playable status in the series.

"I think that would probably be impossible [to make Ridley a character]," said Sakurai to Nintendo Power back in 2008 followed by a laugh. "If we had put our best efforts into it, we may have been able to do it. But he might have been a little slow. Would that have been all right? [laughs]."

Following this, the modding community decided to take matters into their own hands and make their own playable versions of the character for Brawl and its modified version Project M.

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U

Again for Super Smash Bros for Wii U and 3DS, Ridley was left off of the playable roster. In the Wii U version, he appears on the new Pyroshere stage as a new type of interact-able stage hazard character. He flies around the stage and attacks the players and can also take damage and be defeated similarly to his previous boss form.

Sakurai went into more detail this time around as to why he feels Ridley is not the best choice to make a character out of.

"Instead of going through a lot of very convoluted hocus-pocus to make Ridley a fighter, I figured it’d be better to keep Ridley as it currently is, the correct way, and have it feel like a truly threatening presence" - Sakurai

"I definitely know that Ridley’s a much-anticipated name for fans, but if we made Ridley as a fighter, it wouldn’t be Ridley any longer," said Sakurai in an IGN interview after the release of Smash on Wii U. "It’d have to be shrunk down, or its wings reduced in size, or be unable to fly around freely."

"Providing accurate portrayals of characters is something I want to pay ample attention to," he continued. "If I don’t stick to that thought, then we’d have to lower the quality or break the balance of the game. Something that goes way off spec could break the entire game."

Sakurai also went on to talk about including the Yellow Devil from the Mega Man series and Metal Face in the same vein of experimenting with these large stage hazard characters in this iteration.

From Sakurai's own words, they appear to be hesitant to make Ridley playable because he would lose his most defining features in some way or another. His size seems to pose the biggest issue in interpreting the character.

Size Matters

Like many Nintendo characters, Ridley has no canonical size and appears to change depending on which game he's in. Samus is normally said to be around six-feet three-inches tall outside of her suit, and Ridley towers over her at at least two to three times her size depending on the game. That would make him somewhere between 13 to 20-feet tall.

Figuring out the Smash rosters' height is no sure science, but Ganondorf stands large and in charge at seven-feet six-inches tall. By fan conjecture, Bowser and Rosalina stack up similarly, so the tallest characters currently in Smash are still only around half of the size of Ridley. That's not even taking into consideration his wingspan.

The developers of the series have not had the same issue with sizing-up characters, however. Kirby is canonically eight-inches tall, but in Smash Bros. he appears to be around three-feet and Olimar is less than an inch tall in the Pikmin games.

With the announcement of the new Super Smash Bros game for the Switch, the debate has already been renewed for the characters inclusion in the series along with the memes of "Ridley is too big."

We managed to get Cloud and Bayonetta in the fourth game, so anything seems possible at this point. Sakurai being tied to the game though probably means their design philosophies will continue going forward about Ridley.

What do you guys think? Is Ridley too big for Smash Bros? Could he be effectively down-sized? Would you like to see him in the new Switch game? Let us know in the comments.

Sources: IGN, Kotaku, images from Wikitroid, Video footage from Master0fHyrule, and Michael Sypher, GameXplain

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