|“||Anyone who touches the ebbing and flowing sea of acid on the planet's surface will be severely damaged.||”|
|—Super Smash Bros.'s instruction manual|
It is the home stage of Samus Aran. This is also the stage where Captain Falcon is fought when being unlocked (this could be because both characters are bounty hunters and come from science fiction game series).
Wavers and Ridley can occasionally be spotted flying in the background.
All the action takes place on an extremely unstable space station on the remote planet Zebes. Three stationary platforms hover above the planet's surface, with one moving platform on the right side of the station. It's advisable to remain on these high platforms, because huge pools of lava will flood the surface without warning. Your character will take 16% damage each time you touch the fiery liquid, so be sure that if someone falls in, it's one of your opponents.
Planet Zebes consists of a rough, jagged base, three main platforms (two of which are sloped at an angle), and one smaller platform ascending and descending at the far right of the stage. Hazardous acid rises from below, submerging most of the base and occasionally two of the three platforms, though it never rises high enough to reach the topmost platform.
Touching the acid results in damage and major vertical knockback, and can KO if the player's damage meter is high enough. Contradictorily, it can also be used strategically as a means of salvage if the acid rises high enough. Whereas falling off the stage on any other level will result in an instant KO, the acid will deal damage to a character but send them flying skyward, allowing them to reuse their recovery or simply fall back onto the stage. Obtaining a Starman (or any form of invincibility) grants invulnerability to the acid, allowing the player to walk through it. However if while invincible the player falls off the stage and through the acid, he or she will self-destruct as they are immune to its burn effect.
Additionally, the acid has no effect on items. It will not break open containers, detonate motion sensor bombs, or set off green or red shells.
In competitive play
The stage is commonly banned in N64 Backroom tournaments, mostly because of the acid that interferes with usual gameplay, due to being able to star KO at unexpected moments and covering up parts of the stage, forcing opponents to run and jump to avoid it. This can also cause the fighting space on the stage to become extremely small. In addition, the occasionally awkward camera angles making gameplay more difficult for most. However, the stage is sometimes allowed in non-official tournaments on behalf of its size, ideal for aerial combos. It is also occasionally allowed as a counterpick over Peach's Castle due to the larger size.
Relationship with Brinstar
Some stages in the original Smash Bros. were recycled or heavily modified for Melee and can easily be identified for their use of inspiration, including Planet Zebes (Brinstar).
The two stages share much common ground in that:
- both have rising and falling pools of acid.
- Brinstar's acid moves in the same pattern as Zebes'.
- Planet Zebes uses Brinstar's music, but Brinstar uses a remix of it.
Despite their similarities, however, Zebes and Brinstar seem more to differ from one another. For example:
- Brinstar, in retrospect, is much smaller than Zebes.
- the two platforms adorning either side of Brinstar are constrained by fleshy stalks that can be broken if attacked, causing the platforms to slope at sharp angles.
- the small ascending and descending platform in Zebes has been removed in Brinstar.
- Brinstar's acid deals significantly less knockback compared to Zebes's.
There are several other minor details. A cluster of organic material conjoins the base of Brinstar and splits the stage in two when destroyed. Also, Ridley is no longer seen flying in the background, but is instead replaced with a giant throbbing alien organism, as well as a Chozo Statue that occasionally gets up and roams about.
This stage is based on the area Brinstar that is on the Planet Zebes from Metroid. However, the only significant reference to Metroid is the yellow acid. In Metroid's Brinstar there are some rooms which feature yellow acid on the ground. If the player goes in the acid it does some damage. In Metroid II: The Return of Samus there are times where acid is in the way of the player's path. If the player kills enough Metroids an earthquake occurs and the acid goes down. Towards the end of Super Metroid, in Mother Brain's room an earthquake occurs and acid starts rising up. While the acid in this stage originated in Metroid, the acid going up and down after an earthquake could be a reference to either Metroid II or Super Metroid (perhaps more likely Super Metroid as Metroid II is set on planet SR388 while Super Metroid is set on Planet Zebes).
Enemies from Metroid such as wavers and Ridley can occasionally be seen flying in the background.
The song that plays on this stage is from Metroid. This song plays when in the area Brinstar.