The Super Smash Bros. (JP) series is a crossover series of multiplayer fighting games in which many well-known Nintendo characters are pitted against each other to fight, with each character using their unique abilities in battle. The games are among Nintendo's best selling games, not only for being one of Nintendo's few fighting games, but also for being a mass crossover of many Nintendo franchises; they are also known to attract both casual and competitive players, with game modes and official Nintendo events accommodating different types of play. While the Western title for the series is a play on the title of Super Mario Bros., Super Smash Bros. is a standalone crossover franchise and is not explicitly part of any of its constituent series. However, the Super Mario franchise is the most heavily represented franchise in each game, with multiple playable characters and stages, and receives first billing as Nintendo's flagship franchise.
Along with Mario, many different characters from different franchises appear as fighters throughout the series. These include Link from The Legend of Zelda series, Pikachu from the Pokémon series, Kirby from the Kirby series, Ness from the Earthbound (series), and many more. Besides the diverse lineup of fighters, Super Smash Bros. has numerous non-playable references to Nintendo history, such as the roster of stages in the series, themed around locations from past Nintendo games. In addition to the Nintendo-related content, Super Smash Bros. Brawl and subsequent installments introduce a number of third-party guest fighters. While these guest fighters include mascot characters that have appeared in prior crossovers with the Mario series, such as Sonic and Pac-Man, they also include characters from more "realistic" and adult-oriented franchises, such as Solid Snake from the Metal Gear franchise and Bayonetta from her self-titled series. With its large, diverse roster of characters that range from the familiar to the obscure, the Super Smash Bros. series serves as a gateway to Nintendo's vast library of franchises, with the games often boosting the popularity and public image of lesser-known series such as Metroid, Kid Icarus, and Fire Emblem.
It has become one of the quickest-selling and most popular series in Nintendo's history, and Super Smash Bros. Melee is the best-selling Nintendo GameCube game. Masahiro Sakurai has directed all the games in the series, the latest being Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Super Smash Bros. (1999)
The first installment released on the Nintendo 64 in 1999. It included 12 characters from various Nintendo video games, including Mario, Pikachu, Link, Yoshi, Samus Aran, Donkey Kong, Kirby, Fox McCloud, Ness, Luigi, Captain Falcon, and Jigglypuff.
Up to four people can play in multiplayer (Versus) mode, with the specific rules of each match being predetermined by the players. There are two different types that can be chosen: Time, where the person with the most KOs at the end of the set time wins; and stock, where each person has a set amount of lives, and when they are gone, the player is eliminated.
This game's one-player mode included one adventure mode that always followed the same series of opponents although the player could change the difficulty. Other single player modes exist such as Training and several mini-games, including "Break the Targets!" and "Board the Platforms". All of these were included in the sequel, with the exception of "Board the Platforms".
There are nine playable stages in Versus mode, eight based on each of the starting characters (such as Princess Peach's Castle for Mario, Zebes for Samus, and Sector Z for Fox) and the unlockable Mushroom Kingdom, based around motifs from the original Super Mario Bros. (from which the English-language name of the Super Smash Bros. series comes), even containing original sprites and the original version of the Overworld theme from that game.
Super Smash Bros. Melee (2001)
The second installment, released for the GameCube, featured a much larger cast of characters including all of the originals, in which some were still locked others were available from the start. Some new characters were Peach, Bowser, Zelda, and Ice Climbers. It had a larger budget and development team than the previous game did and was released to much greater praise and acclaim among critics and consumers. Since its release, Super Smash Bros. Melee has sold more than 7 million copies and was the best-selling game on the GameCube. Super Smash Bros. Melee features 26 characters, of which 15 are available initially, more than doubling the number of characters in its predecessor. There are also 29 stages. It introduced two new single-player modes alongside the Classic mode: Adventure mode, and All-Star mode. Adventure mode has platforming segments similar to the original's "Race to the Finish" mini-game, and All-Star is a fight against every playable character in the game, allows the player only one life in which damage is accumulated over each battle and a limited number of heal items in between battles.
There are also significantly more multiplayer modes and a tournament mode allowing for 64 different competitors whom can all be controlled by a human player, although only up to four players can participate at the same time. Additionally, the game features alternative battle modes, called "Special Melee", which involve some sort of alteration to the battle (e.g. all characters are giant by default, the speed is faster than normal, etc.), along with alternative ways to judge a victory, such as through collecting coins throughout the match.
In place of Super Smash Bros.'s character profiles, Super Smash Bros. Melee introduced trophies (called "figures" in the Japanese version). The 293 trophies include three different profiles for each playable character, one unlocked in each single-player mode. In addition, unlike its predecessor, Super Smash Bros. Melee contains profiles for many Nintendo characters who are either non-playable or do not appear in the game, as well as Nintendo items, stages, enemies, and elements.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl (2008)
The third installment, released for the Wii, featured a slightly larger cast then Melee, including a lot of "character replacements" since some of the characters from Melee are gone from this one. Perhaps the most effective replacement on the Smash community was Lucario replacing Melee's Mewtwo. Some new characters were Pokémon Trainer, Lucas, Pit, Olimar, Diddy Kong, and Meta Knight. The first one in the series to contain third party characters (Sonic the Hedgehog and Solid Snake) and is the first game in the series to include the Final Smash. This game introduced a fully-fledged Story Mode. Super Smash Bros. Brawl is also the first game in the franchise to support online play, via the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection and offers the ability for players to construct their own original stages. The game features a total of 39 playable characters and 41 stages.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl also features compatibility with four kinds of controllers (the Wii Remote on its side, the Wii Remote and Nunchuk combination, the Classic Controller, and the Nintendo GameCube controller), while its predecessors only used the one controller designed for that system. The player also has the ability to change the configuration of controls and the controller type. Super Smash Bros. Brawl features a new Adventure Mode titled "The Subspace Emissary". This mode features unique character storylines along with numerous side scrolling levels and multiple bosses to fight, as well as CG cut scenes explaining the storyline. The Subspace Emissary features a new group of antagonists called the Subspace Army, who are led by the Ancient Minister. Some of these enemy characters appeared in the previous Nintendo games, such as Petey Piranha from the Mario series and a squadron of R.O.B.s based on classic Nintendo hardware. The Subspace Emissary also boasts a number of original enemies, such as the Roader; a robotic unicycle, the Bytan; a one-eyed ball-like creature which can replicate itself if left alone, and the Primid; enemies that come in many variations. Though primarily a single-player mode, The Subspace Emissary allows for cooperative multiplayer. There are five difficulty levels for each stage, and there is a method of increasing characters' powers during the game. This is done by placing collected stickers onto the bottom of a character's trophy between stages to improve various aspects of a fighter.
Like its predecessor, Super Smash Bros. Brawl introduces several new playable characters. Among them are Sonic the Hedgehog and Solid Snake, the series' first third-party fighters.
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U (2014)
The fourth and fifth installments was released for both the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. The two titles have the ability to trade custom fighters. The two games also share a roster but, they both otherwise have numerous different features, with the Wii U version having the most content. It was also confirmed by Nintendo that Namco Bandai developed the game to increase production. New 3rd party characters were; Mega Man, Pac-Man, Ryu, Cloud, and Bayonetta, while Solid Snake and all mentions of Metal Gear were completely absent from the game. The 3DS version features cel-shaded 3D graphics and stages based on games for handheld consoles, while the Wii U version features HD graphics and stages based on games from home consoles. The 3DS version includes an exclusive mode called Smash Run, while the Wii U version includes a mode called Smash Tour, along with an altered stage builder and the Special Orders mode.
The 3DS version was released first on September 13, 2014 in Japan, and on October 3rd, 2014 in the rest of the world. The Wii U version was released on November 21, 2014 in North America, on November 28, 2014 in Europe, on November 29, 2014 in Australia, and on December 6th, 2014 in Japan.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (2018)
During the E3 2018 Nintendo Direct, Inkling from the Splatoon series, Princess Daisy from the Mario series, and Ridley from the Meteroid series were confirmed as new playable characters. In the August 2018 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Direct, Simon Belmont, Richter Belmont (both from the Castlevania series), Chrom (from the Fire Emblem series, Dark Samus (from the Metroid series), and King K. Rool (from the Donkey Kong series) were also confirmed to be playable. Within the September 2018 Nintendo Direct, Isabelle from the Animal Crossing series was additionally confirmed as a new playable fighter. In the November 2018 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Direct, Ken Masters (from the Street Fighter series), Incineroar (from the Pokémon series), and Piranha Plant (from the Mario series) were announced as playable, with Piranha Plant being DLC. It has also been confirmed that an additional five fighters and stages, as well as some music, are to be released as DLC via a "Fighters Pass". At The Game Awards 2018, Joker, the protagonist of Persona 5, was announced as the first of the fighters included in the Fighters Pass. thegameawards. In the E3 2019 Nintendo Direct, the Heroes of multiple Dragon Quest games, as well as Banjo & Kazooie from the Banjo-Kazooie series, were confirmed as the second and third Fighters Pass fighters respectively. The September 2019 Nintendo Direct, in addition to revealing that further DLC fighters are to be released separate from the Fighters Pass, confirmed Terry Bogard from the Fatal Fury series as the fourth Fighters Pass fighter. The January 2020 Mr. Sakurai Presents Direct reveals Byleth from Fire Emblem: Three Houses as the final Fighters Pass fighter, along with the reveal of 6 challenger packs for Fighters Pass Vol. 2. The March 2020 Nintendo Direct Mini reveals that a character from ARMS will be the first character for Fighters Pass Vol. 2. This character was revealed on June 22, 2020, and it turns out to be Min Min.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate introduces Spirits mode, with collectible spirits able to augment fighters' abilities. They replace the collectible trophies of the past installments. They visually appear and function very similarly to stickers from Super Smash Bros. Brawl. There is also a new Adventure Mode, titled World of Light, which sees Galeem turning many characters (except for the playable fighters, who were instead imprisoned, except for Kirby who survived) into spirits.
There are 76 playable characters in the series as a whole. Super Smash Bros. has 12, Melee has 25, Brawl has 35, 3DS/Wii U has 58, and Ultimate has 76 (These numbers do not account for transformations or unannounced characters). Some characters are playable from the start, but some are unlockable through achievements or downloadable content.
|Fighter||Universe||Super Smash Bros.||Melee||Brawl||3DS/Wii U||Ultimate|
|Rosalina & Luma||N/A||Unlockable|
|Bowser Jr.||N/A||Unlockable (3DS)/Starter (Wii U)||Unlockable|
|Donkey Kong||Donkey Kong||Starter|
|King K. Rool||N/A||Unlockable|
|Link||The Legend of Zelda||Starter|
|Ganondorf||N/A||Unlockable||Unlockable (3DS)/Starter (Wii U)||Unlockable|
|Zero Suit Samus||N/A||Starter||Unlockable|
|Jigglypuff||Unlockable||Unlockable (3DS)/Starter (Wii U)||Unlockable|
|Ness||EarthBound||Unlockable||Starter||Unlockable||Unlockable (3DS)/Starter (Wii U)||Unlockable|
|Ice Climbers||Ice Climber||N/A||Starter||N/A||Unlockable|
|Mr. Game & Watch||Game & Watch||N/A||Unlockable|
|Wii Fit Trainer||Wii Fit||N/A||Starter||Unlockable|
|Duck Hunt||Duck Hunt||N/A||Unlockable|
|Mii Brawler||Super Smash Bros.||N/A||Starter|
|Sonic||Sonic the Hedgehog||N/A||Unlockable||Starter||Unlockable|
|Mega Man||Mega Man||N/A||Starter||Unlockable|
|Banjo & Kazooie||Banjo-Kazooie||N/A||Downloadable|
|Terry Bogard||King of Fighters||N/A||Downloadable|
Bold indicates that a character doesn't need to be unlocked through any special criteria, but isn't seen on the character select screen at the start of the game.
The Super Smash Bros. series has a dedicated community known for playing an older entry over newer ones. Super Smash Bros. Melee is by far the most played game. It has also quite a large following in general, being one of the most watched streams at EVO. Melee continues to be played at major tournaments worldwide, despite a brief decline after the release of Brawl.
Brawl was received incredibly poorly by the community, so much so, that there were a few quite a few mods to adjust gameplay that took off. Notable ones include Project M and Brawl Minus.
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U was and still is extremely popular in competitive play, being played at tournaments globally. Although not as popular as Super Smash Bros. Melee, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U cleared up the series' reputation after Brawl. The 3DS edition of the game was also popular at tournaments, but was quickly left behind after the Wii U version's release.
Ultimate has received an unprecedented competitive following, attracting players new and old, even some players who were extremely loyal to one game. This following has proved to be very large and does not seem to be going away anytime soon.
Each game has a number of arranged soundtracks of those from original games. For example, the "Ground Theme" from Super Mario Bros. has been arranged by several composers throughout the series, including original composer Koji Kondo. In addition, many music tracks have been taken directly from the original games, such as "Battle of the Storm Hill" from Donkey Kong Jungle Beat.
Many arranged soundtracks play the original music but also include other melodies within a game or series. For instance, the "Egg Planet" arrangement from Super Smash Bros. for Wii U plays not only the "Good Egg Galaxy" soundtrack from Super Mario Galaxy, but uses the "Ground Theme" and "Invincibility" music from the original Super Mario Bros. as well.
Many of the games' composers are consisted of freelance and in-house musicians to provide arrangements and main themes. Until Super Smash Bros. Brawl, only the sound staff of HAL Laboratory, notably Hirokazu Ando and Shogo Sakai, have provided music for the games. Starting in Brawl, while Sakai and the HAL music team returned to provide new tracks for the game, freelance and third-party composers have assisted in the music development as well.
The soundtracks in Smash Bros. are mostly digitally created, while many also recorded (most notably the Super Smash Bros. Melee orchestrated opening theme). In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, various new arrangements feature live instrument performances, including rock and violin, while the rest of the music are digitally created.
While most of the soundtracks have been composed and arranged by composers in Japan where much of Nintendo's games are developed, some of the soundtracks used/arranged were originally composed by overseas composers. The "Noisy Notebook", for example, while arranged by Maki Kirioka, was composed by Calum Bowen. The soundtracks from Wii's Punch Out!! and Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon are composed by staff members from Canada-based Next Level Games.
So far, the only composers outside of Japan to provide an arrangement is British composer Grant Kirkhope (who rearranged the "Spiral Mountain" music from Banjo-Kazooie) and Toby Fox (rearranged the "MEGALOVANIA" music from Undertale), versus just having one of their original soundtracks be used in the game.
Super Smash Bros. has received praise for its multiplayer mode. The single-player mode was criticized for its perceived difficulty and lack of features.
Super Smash Bros. Melee received a positive reception from reviewers. IGN's Fran Mirabella III stated that it was "in an entirely different league than the N64 version"; GameSpot's Miguel Lopez praised the game for offering an advanced "classic-mode" compared to its predecessor, while detailing the Adventure Mode as "really a hit-or-miss experience."
Super Smash Bros. Brawl received a perfect score from the Japanese magazine Famitsu. Thunderbolt Games gave the game 10 out of 10, calling it "a vastly improved entry into the venerable series". IGN critic Matt Casamassina, in his February 11 Wii-k in Review podcast, noted that although Brawl is a "solid fighter," it does have "some issues that need to be acknowledged," including "long loading times" and repetition in the Subspace Emissary.
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U held ratings of 85/100 and 92/100 on Metacritic and 86.10% and 92.39% on GameRankings.
Daniel Dischoff of Game Revolution stated "It's true that Super Smash Bros. evolves every time with regard to new features, items, and characters to choose from. While your favorite character may not return or a few annoying pickups may force you to turn off items altogether, this represents the biggest leap forward Smashers have seen yet."
Super Smash Bros sold 1.4 million copies in Japan, and 2.3 million in the U.S. Melee sold over 7 million units worldwide, becoming the best-selling GameCube title. Brawl sold 1.524 million units in Japan as of March 30, 2008, and sold 1.4 million units in its first week in the United States, becoming Nintendo of America's fastest selling title. The 3DS version has sold more than 3.22 million copies worldwide as of October 2014, while the Wii U version became the fastest-selling Wii U game, with 3.39 million units worldwide in two months. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the fastest selling console title in Nintendo's history with it being the best launch for an exclusive in the United States. The title sold over 12 million in under a month, almost surpassing Brawl's lifetime to date sales.
- In Kid Icarus: Uprising, Palutena mentions a parody of it named, "Super Bash Sisters".
- PlayStation All Stars: Battle Royale is a game made on the concept of this game but instead of Nintendo characters, it is replaced with with Playstation characters.
- It was originally suggested by the series creator and director, Masahiro Sakurai, that Super Smash Bros. Brawl was supposed to be the last game he would direct. He has mentioned similar things for Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
- ↑ Nintendo (August 8, 2018) Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Direct 8.8.2018 YouTube. Retrieved August 8, 2018
- ↑ Nintendo (September 13, 2018) Nintendo Direct 9.13.2018 YouTube. Retrieved September 13, 2018
- ↑ Nintendo (November 1, 2018) Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Direct – 11.1.2018 YouTube. Retrieved November 1, 2018
- ↑ (December 6, 2018). The Game Awards 2018 4K Official Stream - December 6 LIVE YouTube. Retrieved December 6, 2018.
- ↑ Nintendo. (June 11, 2019). Nintendo Direct for E3 2019 YouTube. Retrieved June 11, 2019 (PST).
- ↑ Nintendo Direct, September 4, 2019
- ↑ Mr. Sakurai Presents "Byleth", January 16, 2020
- ↑ Nintendo Direct Mini 3.26.20
- ↑ The announcement of the upcoming Mr. Sakurai Presents Direct
- ↑ Mr. Sakurai Presents "Min Min", June 22, 2020