Zero Suit Samus trades power and weight for speed and mobility. She has a supreme sense of athleticism that you don’t get from the other characters. She runs fast, jumps far, and feels very controllable. She also has surprisingly large range on a lot of her moves. On the other hand, she’s not very strong, so it can be difficult to finish off your opponents. She’s great against slowpokes or short range characters, but the speedier powerhouse characters can beat her down quickly if you aren’t careful.
Zero Suit Samus’s standard combo is a quick but weak three hit combo. It’s pretty average, so don’t use it too much. Her forward tilt is a quick kick that is similarly weak, but is a good spacing tool. Her down tilt is great for sending opponents up and into one of your many upward moves. You can do this with her slightly odd up tilt too, which is a pretty handy move that is great for hitting all around you.
Zero Suit Samus has a pretty nice running attack as well, but don’t expect to kill anyone with it. In fact, don’t expect to kill often with any of her standard ground attacks other than her forward smash and up smash. Even then, she’ll only kill at much higher percentages than the average character. The forward smash has a lot of range and decent power, and you can usually get a gauranteed hit with it if you score a hit with the down smash first. Zero Suit Samus’s down smash is a charged paralyzer shot which stuns the enemy for a certain amount of time, depending on how long you charge the move. Finally, her up smash is a pretty decent as well, and can score multiple hits.
Zero Suit Samus’s special attacks mostly revolve around her weapon. Her side special is especially important because it is pretty much her one and only reliable killing move. It’s a sideways attack with huge range that scores multiple hits as it extends outwards. The knockout hit is at the tip of whip, a useful spot since you can score kills without getting too close. In the air, it can be used as a tether recovery.
Her up special is also a tether recovery in the air. You’ll want to use the up special most of the time and the side special if you are level with or slightly above the ledge. As an attack, the up special is a lot like the up smash in that it has multiple hits to rack up damage, but the cool part is that the topmost hit will pull your opponent back down to the ground, where you can follow up with more attacks.
Zero Suit Samus’s neutral special is like a ranged version of her down smash. She shoots a paralyzer shot horizontally, which increases in stun duration and range the longer you charge it. The problem is that it is slow and the range is pretty terrible, even if you charge it up, so it’s not really that useful in combat since it usually ends with you wasting time and getting punished. It can be used to cleverly gimp recoveries though, if you are good and get the right opportunity.
Finally, Zero Suit Samus has a very interesting and useful down special. It acts as an automated third jump that doubles as a dodge. If that sounds confusing, this is basically what happens: initiating this move will cause Samus to jump in an arc, and during the duration of the jump she cannot be hit, just like during a roll. You cannot maneuver her at all during the jump; it is preset. Furthermore, she flips during the jump, so she will land facing the opposite direction. To make things even better, pressing an attack button during the jump will make her do a pretty powerful kick that can come in very handy in the right moments. But that’s not all, she can still do a tether recovery after the flip jump, though this is a little less useful than it sounds. This is because the flip jump comes back down, so while you gain horizontal distance, you have to be quick with the tether recovery or you may not be high enough to make it. But with all these recovery options at her disposal (and excellent jumping to begin with), Zero Suit Samus doesn’t have much problems making it back to the stage.
Zero Suit Samus has a terrible grab. It’s extremely slow and even the animation is annoying. If you manage to actually grab anyone with it, you’ll probably prefer the down throw, since it can lead into other moves, like her up smash or up special. The other throws are all pretty average; that is to say, they aren’t very strong.
Zero Suit Samus’s grab doesn’t function as an attack or a tether recovery in the air, seeing as how her side special does exactly those things already. Her neutral air attack is a plasma whip twirl that hits all around her but is pretty weak and useless. Her down aerial is her worst: it is an aerial drop that is really useless since it’s weak and easy to avoid. Not to mention that upward moment will stop the attack from dropping to the ground, causing you to awkwardly hover or even worse, slowly go down a slight distance.
On the other hand, Zero Suit Samus has a great back air. It’s quick and hard hitting, and can serve as one of your rare killing moves. Your up air will also occasionally kill off the top of the screen if you are fighting high up, and it’s just a pretty good attack overall. Finally, her forward special is a two hit kick that is decent, but won’t usually kill anyone.
Zero Suit Samus has a pretty unspectacular final smash. All it does is give you your suit, turning you back into normal Samus. The energy aura from your suit’s formation will damage anyone nearby, but it won’t kill nearly as effectively as most final smashes. And of course, you may not even want to turn into regular Samus…
And if, for some reason, you haven’t figured out how to start a match as Zero Suit Samus, you just select Samus and hold the shield button until you get to the map select screen. At that screen, your icon at the top left of the screen will have changed to Zero Suit Samus’s. You don’t need to hold the shield button after that.