Artificial Intelligence (abbreviated as "AI") in the Super Smash Bros. series refers to the intelligence of any Computer Player in the single-player and Versus Modes. In Versus Mode, players can preset the AI of a Computer Player. In Adventure Mode, All-Star Mode, and Classic Mode, players can still set it to some degree.
Artificial Intelligence levels range from between 1 and 9, with 1 being the weakest and simplistic, and 9 being the most adverse.
There are many complaints surrounding the poor Artificial Intelligence of Computer players in Super Smash Bros. and Super Smash Bros. Melee. YouTube features several videos depicting the glitches in this faulty AI system for all three games.
Examples of flawed AI in Super Smash Bros.
- The overall biggest flaw with level 9 computers is that they roll incredibly often compared to their Melee and Brawl counterparts.
- Computer Players having poor recovery abilities (e.g. Captain Falcon) will not recover if attacked.
- Projectile/charge move spamming (such as a level 9 Pikachu consistently using Thunder Jolt, or a level 9 Donkey Kong using Giant Punch cancels).
- In Hyrule Castle, a level 9 Kirby may repeatedly use Stone on the left side of the stage, sliding down and not cancelling it, leading to an early, quick death.
- If there is a player on the right side of the Saffron City stage, Computer Players will walk into the doors of the Pokémon trap. When fighting Pikachu on this stage in 1 Player Mode, sometimes Pikachu will just walk down to his doom with just one attack. Also, most of the time, Pikachu might use Quick Attack and end up in the gap between the buildings at the right side of the stage.
- On Peach's Castle, if a player stands on the bottom platform, and the CPU is on the other side of it, it will run into the wall repeatedly.
- When an item appears, a level 9 Computer Player will attempt to grab it, and will even stop fighting to get the item.
- If a throwing item appears on a platform and a Computer Player picks it up and another player is below the platform, the Computer Player will throw the throwing item on the ground until it disappears, even if the item is a Bob-omb, often leading to the Computer Player SDing.
- There is also an AI glitch where if a player is fighting Fox in Sector Z, and runs off to the edge of the stage, Fox will follow the player and aim Fire Fox off of the stage, resulting in an SD.
On the other hand, compared to at least the Melee AI and possibly the Brawl AI, the Super Smash Bros. computers are overall better at KO'ing. Unlike Melee computers, Super Smash Bros. computers go for KOs more often, such as the Link CPUs using Down Aerials or DK using Down Smash.
- Abusing Fox's AI on Dreamland
- Abusing DK's AI in training mode
- Abusing Metal Mario's AI in 1P
- The majority of TAS videos by Andtgar, show off abusing Super Smash Bros. AI while perfectly comboing.
Examples of flawed AI in Super Smash Bros. Melee
- Most Computer Players will always spam either their Neutral Attack or projectiles depending on the player's distance from them.
- They are very easily edgehogged. Certain stages are notorious for exploiting poor AI, such as Rainbow Cruise and Final Destination. Kongo Jungle is the best known stage for exploiting poor AI, as it is easy to KO Computer Players by simply grabbing an edge, dropping from the edge as they attack, and then re-grabbing the edge.
- Another example of poor AI in Jungle Japes is to face Ness at any level on 1 stock and not move. The CPU Ness will try to jump over to the player, but will ultimately fall into the river. This same event also happens when a level 7, 8, or 9 Yoshi is faced on 1 stock on Fourside. Another example of poor AI is in Mushroom Kingdom II, where if close to the left edge of the stage, a Level 6 DK will use his Forward Aerial or Down Aerial, then try to recover, but will ultimately SD. Yet another example can be found in Icicle Mountain when the stage begins to scroll upwards very fast. The AI will only advance one platform at a time, usually too slow to escape the lower blast line, resulting in a SD.
The Computer Players in Melee also make poor use of their shields, and use grab attacks far more often than normal attacks. The best example is Dr. Mario. They also have a tendency to overuse one move, such as Captain Falcon constantly overusing Falcon Dive or Raptor Boost after using their Forward Throw, often in a self-destruct when near the edge, as well as Ganondorf spamming Dark Dive. Also, a computer controlled Luigi will never use his Super Jump Punch to recover, even if he is directly below a ledge, instead he will always use his Green Missile, which gains no vertical distance. Also, a computer controlled Zelda will constantly use the Down Tilt attack. Many Computer Players, especially while metal, will also self-destruct while attempting to Meteor Smash an opponent. Some CPUs will pick up a hammer on Jungle Japes. When the character with the hammer comes to the openings, they will fall, unable to recover, and be KO'd. Sometimes they jump constantly swinging the hammer.
When an item appears, the Computer Players never pick them up (except healing items, Pokéballs, Cloaking Devices and Hammers), instead they only pick them up when the player or CPU are next to the items.
Examples of flawed AI in Super Smash Bros. Brawl
While the AI has been significantly improved, there remain some examples of AI limitations in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
In Brawl, certain characters (most prominently Ness) know how to use their recovery more. Higher level Luigis will be resourceful. If a character gets an item like a Starman, rather than just trying to avoid that character, they'll also use the opportunity to attack any stragglers; i.e., players who are still vulnerable to attacks. When a Smash Ball appears, opponents will aggressively attack it at opportune times, while repelling anyone who tries to get it as well. One change from Melee is that Computer Players focus more on attacking human players rather than other Computer Players.
Another new feature is that the computer's level in Training Mode can now be selected. The AI is also improved drastically, as opponents set to Attack will actively fight the player, rather than walking towards them and rarely throwing an attack like in previous installments.
There are some examples of AI limitations in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. The CPUs seem to be somewhat easier to KO than the average human player, even when set at level 9, but not significantly (though, this was also present in the two previous games). They sometimes have hard time to avoid certain stage hazards, and sometimes self-destruct quite easily in certain situations in scrolling stages, such as Rainbow Cruise and Big Blue. They also have generally poor edgeguarding abilities, though, self-destructing while attempting to edgeguard isn't very common, unlike in the two previous titles. The flaws in Brawl's artificial intelligence are few, but potent. For example, when a player constantly grabs a ledge, the level 9 computer players tend to stand still until the player goes back on the stage and will sometimes self-destruct when attempting to attack the player.
When a CPU Luigi uses Negative Zone, he will almost always spam his Fireballs over and over again, even on level 9, the same way that a Pit CPU using Palutena's Army will spam his Palutena's Arrow (though, these were supposedly fixed for the PAL release of the game). When fighting against a level 9 Pikachu on Delfino Plaza, if one jumps in and out of the water while the Pikachu is on the land, the Pikachu will constantly use its Thunder. Some computer players may also play "stupidly" in very complex Custom Stages. In the underground versions of Mushroomy Kingdom, even a level 9 will sometimes repeatedly attack the blocks, ignoring the player even if items aren't on. They also have a habit of rolling into an edge when Snake uses his Down throw near an edge. After CPU Mario uses Mario Finale, He will shoot at least 1 Fireball every time unless circumstances force it not to.
There has also been speculation that the AI at level 9 reads button commands and reacts accordingly, which has sparked anger among some smashers who feel that the AI should be made better rather than do what they term as 'cheating'. Some inconclusive experiments were performed by the SLAPAHO crew to see if this allegation is true, and though no definitive results were obtained, their findings justify future experimentation and research. However, many smashers (mostly experienced) conclude that regardless, the AI at level 9 is still easy to beat because of their flaws (and they even go as far as joking about their "difficulty" by recording occasions where they perform feats otherwise impossible for the AI to do, like in this video and the comments on this video.)
A CPU player (regardless of level) will always aim for solid platforms that can be sweetspotted when recovering, even when there are "soft" platforms off the stage.
There also appears to be a system in place which enables the AI to learn, as demonstrated in this video and this video. These videos are courtesy of YouTube user ChurroEmiliano. More details about these videos can be found on his blog post.
Aside from some advanced techniques and play-styles, the AI have also been reported to "learn" to taunt a KO by Crouch-spamming (as shown here), and to overuse Falcon Punches after humans play several Falcon Punch Free-for-Alls (as shown here.)
Examples of flawed AI in Super Smash Bros for Nintendo 3DS
- Whenever another character (human or CPU) reenters the battle after a KO, CPU Mii Brawlers have a tendency to move to one end of the stage (unless the stage has no pits on the sides), and jump backwards off of the ledge, only to grab the edge and climb back up (especially on Omega stages).
- Like in Brawl, CPUs with a Gooey Bomb or Crash Bomber stuck onto them will repeatedly shield and dodge until it explodes.
- CPU Mii Fighters have a habit of using their jabs near the edge of a stage, in an attempt to edgeguard recovering human players while they're hanging onto a ledge. In the process, they will usually let the jab reach its automatic finisher even if it completely misses (assuming that the player does not climb back onto the stage during the duration of the attack).
- While the CPUs in Smash 4 appear to understand items better than those in both Melee and Brawl, they still exhibit flaws when approaching or using certain ones:
- CPUs still accidently self-destruct when using a hammer or golden hammer. This is less common with the golden hammer.
- CPUs will rarely use the Ore Club correctly; when holding it, they will often stand in place and use its forward tilt repeatedly as if expecting this to produce a projectile, even though a side smash must be used to do this.
- CPUs at Level 4 or lower will rarely target characters who are holding/using Special Flags.
- Like in Brawl, CPUs will actively seek out any powerful items that are on the stage. However, this proves to be a fatal issue on Corneria. in this scenario, a CPU may try to grab an item that falls onto the Great Fox's laser blaster, but will often not be able to make it back onto the ship's deck, forcing them to stay put, (though they will repeatedly jump in place or even jump off the gun entirely only to get back onto it) until they are inevitably blasted off screen.
- CPUs still have a tendency to throw Deku Nuts and Smart Bombs too close to themselves and accidentally get caught in the explosions that follow.
- While CPUs are overall better at avoiding dangerous items activated by anyone other than them, this can become a problem when they are confronted with activated Motion-Sensor Bombs.
- Even at the risk of an explosion, CPUs will often throw crates or Party Balls at their feet rather than at another player.
- Unlike Brawl, low-level CPUs won't attack a Smash Ball on purpose.
- CPUs will never intentionally throw Cuccos or Beehives at opponents, and also have a habit of attacking them in the process of attacking others.
- CPUs do not recognize Franklin Badges and will often use projectiles, (including fully charged ones) on players who are wearing them, even though this may prove to be fatal.
- CPU Little Macs will not change their tendency to use their neutral special even if their Power Meter is full, resulting in them wasting their KO Uppercut when the player is not in range.
- If the player is charging an Aura Sphere, a CPU Olimar will repeatedly use Pikmin Throw (even when the player isn't in range) until the Aura Sphere is released or saved.
- Similarly, a CPU Bowser Jr. will exhibit the same behavior with Clown Cannon.
- In battles with character customization enabled, CPUs often attempt to shield against moves that are strengthened enough by equipment to break them in one hit, allowing for easy shield breaks and follow-up attacks.
- Level 6 and over CPU Warios will almost always use Wario Bike to recover, even when they jump off the bike, they will still try to use it but instead will initiate Wario's "searching around" animation and self-destruct.
- CPU Mega Men will sometimes attempt to use Crash Bomber to recover, despite the fact that it does not affect recovery.
- CPU Diddy Kongs will use horizontal trajectories of Rocketbarrel Boost in most cases. While this can be effective in some situations, they will still use it even when they are close to a blast line, leading to a self-destruct.
- When there are no characters on the field besides a CPU (even if players are on the revival platform) the CPU may begin to spin around in place, mostly heedless of any hazards on the field. This may lead to a self-destruct.
- CPUs may roll into items on the field even if they are active or about to explode.