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Super Smash Bros. is a series of fighting games published by Nintendo, featuring characters from franchises established on Nintendo systems. The series had a successful start in 1999 with Super Smash Bros. on the Nintendo 64. It achieved even greater success with Super Smash Bros. Melee, released in 2001 for the Nintendo GameCube, becoming the best selling game on that system. The third installment, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, was released on the Wii on January 31, 2008 in Japan, and was released on March 9th, 2008 in North America. The fourth installment was split into two different games, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U; the first one was released on the Nintendo 3DS on October 3, 2014 and the second was released on the Wii U on November 11, 2014. Masahiro Sakurai has directed all four games despite HAL Laboratory handing the series to a new developer for Brawl.
Super Smash Bros. was introduced in 1999 for the Nintendo 64. It was released worldwide after selling over a million copies in Japan. It featured eight characters from the start, with four unlockable characters, all of them created by Nintendo or one of its second-party developers.
In multiplayer (Versus) mode, up to four people can play, 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 it is 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.
In Versus mode, there are nine playable stages: eight based on each of the starting characters (such as Peach's Castle for Mario, Planet Zebes for Samus, and Sector Z for Fox McCloud) and the unlockable Mushroom Kingdom.
Super Smash Bros. Melee was released November 21, 2001, in Japan; December 3, 2001, in North America; May 24, 2002, in Europe; and May 31, 2002, in Australia for the Nintendo GameCube console. It had a larger budget and development team than Super Smash Bros. 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 the character is allowed to use only three items which heal all taken damage 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 featured alternative battle modes, called "Special Melee," which involve some sort of alteration to the battle (ex: all characters are giant by default, players may only use their jump and standard attack buttons, etc), along with alternative ways to judge a victory, such as through collecting coins throughout the match.
In place of Super Smash Bros.' character profiles, 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, 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.
Although a third Super Smash Bros. game had been announced long before E3 2006, Nintendo unveiled its first information in the form of a trailer on May 10, 2006, and the game was named Super Smash Bros. Brawl. The trailer featured Solid Snake, of Konami's Metal Gear fame, marking the first time that a third-party character had been introduced as a playable character in a Super Smash Bros. title. A second third-party character, Sonic, from Nintendo's former rival Sega was also confirmed as a playable character on October 10, 2007. Brawl is also the first game in the franchise to support online play via the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection.
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.
At E3 2011, it was announced that there will be a fourth entry in the Super Smash Bros. franchise, which will be availbe on the Nintendo 3DS and on the Wii U. Sakurai initially stated that the announcement was made public in order to attract developers needed for the games, as development for the titles did not start until May 2012 due to production on Kid Icarus: Uprising. On June 21, 2012, Nintendo announced that the creation of the games would be a co-production between Sakurai's Sora Ltd. and Bandai Namco Entertainment. The 3DS version was released on September 13th, 2014 in Japan, and was released on October 3rd, 2014 internationally, while the Wii U version was released on November 21st, 2014 in the Americas, on November 28th, 2014 in Europe, on November 29th, 2014 in Australia, and on December 6th, 2014 in Japan.
Initially, the game introduces two new third-party franchises consisting of Mega Man from Capcom and Pac-Man from Bandai Namco. On June 14, 2015, approximately two months after DLC has been introduced, Ryu from Capcom's Street Fighter was added to the game as the first DLC newcomer, making Capcom the first third-party franchise with more than one playable character in the same game. Later, during the November 12th, 2015 Nintendo Direct, Cloud Strife from Square Enix's Final Fantasy franchise was announced as the second DLC newcomer, thus adding Square Enix to the list of third-parties represented in Smash for Wii U/3DS. Lastly, during the Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U - Final Video Presentation on December 15, 2015, Bayonetta, from Sega's stylish action game of the same name, was announced as the fifth and final DLC newcomer.
In October 2014, Sakurai initially stated that he was not finished in developing new Smash Bros. games. However, in a Weekly Famitsu scan, he stated that he doubts in being able to continue game development as a whole if his workload stays the way it was for Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U.
The Super Smash Bros. series is a dramatic departure from many fighting games. Instead of winning by depleting an opponent's life bar, Smash Bros players seek to knock opposing characters off the stage. In Super Smash Bros., characters have a damage total, represented by a percentage value, which rises as they take damage and can exceed 100%. As a character's percentage rises, he can be knocked progressively farther by an opponent's attacks. To KO an opponent, the player must send that character flying off the edge of the stage, which is not an enclosed arena but rather an area with open boundaries, usually a set of suspended platforms. When a character is knocked off the stage, he may use jumping moves to (attempt to) return; as some characters' jumps are longer-ranged, they may have an easier time "recovering" than others. Additionally, some characters are heavier than others, making it harder for an opponent to knock them off the edge but likewise harder to recover.
Smash Bros's play controls are greatly simplified in comparison to other fighting games. While traditional fighting games such as Street Fighter or Soul Calibur require the player to memorize button-input combinations (sometimes lengthy and complicated, and often specific to a character), Smash Bros uses the same one-attack-button, one-control-stick-direction combinations to access all moves for all characters. Characters are not limited to constantly facing their opponent, but may run around freely. Smash Bros. also implements blocking and dodging mechanics, which can be used both on the ground and in the air. Grabbing and throwing other characters are also possible, allowing for a large variety of ways to attack. (Around 25, on average.)
One additional major element in the Super Smash Bros. series is the inclusion of battle items, of which players can control the frequency of appearance. There are conventional "battering items" with which a player may hit an opponent, such as a baseball bat or a sword, as well as throwing items, including Bob-ombs and shells, and shooting items, either single shot guns or rapid fire blasters. Recovery items allow the user to lose varying amounts of their damage percent. From the Pokémon franchise come Poké Balls that release a random Pokémon onto the battlefield to assist the user; Brawl introduces a new "Assist Trophy" item which serves a similar purpose, albeit being capable of summoning a wider range of characters from a variety of franchises. Brawl also introduces items called Smash Balls, which allow fighters to perform character-specific attacks, known as Final Smashes.
The following non-playable characters appear only in the various Single Player modes throughout the series, controlled by the computer. The player can control them only by using various cheat devices. Most of the non-playable characters were created for use in the Super Smash Bros. series.
Throughout the Super Smash Bros. series, most single-player modes have included several non-playable boss characters. These bosses generally have a number of advantageous characteristics, such as extreme resistance to being knocked off of the screen. Most of these bosses were created specifically for the Super Smash Bros. franchise, though some have made appearances in other games.
Master Hand appears in Super Smash Bros., its sequel Super Smash Bros. Melee as well as Super Smash Bros. Brawl as the final boss of Classic Mode and in the case of Melee, the 50th Event Match "Final Destination Match". Super Smash Bros. Melee introduced a left-hand counterpart to Master Hand named Crazy Hand, which appears alongside Master Hand in some scenarios. Master Hand also makes several appearances in Kirby & the Amazing Mirror as a miniboss, and partnered with Crazy Hand as the bosses of Candy Constellation. It also makes an appearance in Kirby: Squeak Squad as a gray hand that can shift its shape to form swords and the like.
Master Hand and Crazy Hand look identical aside from their laterality, but Crazy Hand's fingers act in a more erratic and chaotic way. While Master Hand is more relaxed and mature, Crazy Hand is impulsive and destructive and its fingers move differently when it's preparing for an attack. Its attacks are wilder and faster than those of Master Hand. When being fought simultaneously, Crazy Hand and Master Hand are able to execute moves together, including a series of claps, and the two hands making fists.
Super Smash Bros. also introduced Metal Mario (originally from Super Mario 64) and a Giant Donkey Kong. Metal Mario is simply Mario with increased resistance to being knocked out of the stage as well as a faster falling speed and more attack power, while Giant Donkey Kong is simply a larger and more powerful version of Donkey Kong. Super Smash Bros. Melee's Adventure Mode introduced more boss characters that were enhanced versions of playable characters, such as the Tiny Donkey Kong duo, Giant Kirby and Metal Luigi. However, due to items introduced in Melee, such as the Metal Box, Super Mushroom and Poison Mushroom, all of these seemingly non-playable characters (including the enhanced characters that were unplayable bosses in the first game) are indeed playable for short amounts of time as they allow all characters to become Metal, Giant or Tiny. Dark Link, a completely black form of Link, appeared in Melee as a non-playable character. In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, gamers can play as Dark Link in the form of a color change for Link. 
Giga Bowser (known in Japan as Giga Koopa (ギガクッパ Giga Kuppa?)), is a gigantic, enhanced version of Bowser introduced in Melee. He is the secret final boss of Melee's Adventure Mode, only appearing if the player clears Adventure Mode on normal or higher in 18 min. or fewer without continuing. Beat him without using a continue to get his trophy. He is also one of the fighters in the final match of Melee's Event mode, "The Showdown", with Mewtwo and Ganondorf by his side. Giga Bowser has several abilities that the regular Bowser does not. He is so large that he is immune to grabs and similar grabbing moves. As with Metal Mario, Giga Bowser becomes playable for short periods of time in the following game, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, when Bowser performs his "Final Smash" attack. Bowser transforms into Giga Bowser, and while he can still take damage, he has permanent super armor, until the effect of the Final Smash wears off.
Aside from bosses, other non-playable characters can be fought in certain single-player modes.
Fighting Polygons (or "the Fighting Polygon Team") are metallic-looking purple clones of playable characters made completely out of polygons in Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo 64. The next to last level in the game contains 30 of these clones of existing SSB characters. They use near-perfect models as their character-counterparts with minute changes to their anatomy, and with a purple texture. In Super Smash Bros. Melee, the Fighting Polygons are replaced by the Fighting Wire Frames. Unlike the original game, there are only two types of Fighting Wire Frames (Male and Female) as opposed to a Polygon corresponding to each individual character base. The only distinct characteristics Fighting Wire Frames have is that they have a Heart inside their chest, and the Super Smash Bros. Symbol where their face should be. Both the male and female Fighting Wire Frames possess these. Males and Female Wire Frames have the same frame and gait of Captain Falcon and Zelda, respectively. Both models lack special moves. In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the Fighting Alloy team supersedes both other teams and come in four colors, shapes, and sizes. Finally, in Super Smash Bros 3Ds/Wii U, the Fighting Mii Team replaces the former 3, representing male and female Miis in Brawler, Sword Fighter and Gunner.
Along with Melee's Adventure Mode came the inclusion of minor, generic enemies, such as Goombas from the Mario franhchise and Octoroks from the Legend of Zelda franchise. This trend continues into Super Smash Bros. Brawl, which will also include an assortment of original characters to serve as non-playable generic enemies led by the Subspace Army.
The Subspace Army are the antagonists of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, appearing in The Subspace Emissary and led by the Ancient Minister. Their goal is to bring the entire world to Subspace piece by piece with devices called Subspace bombs (detonated with the aid of two R.O.B.s), though their motives are currently unknown. Among their footsoldiers are the Primid. The Primid are the primary offensive force of the Subspace Army. They are said to come in various forms to do battle. They can be seen forming out of strange purple spores that clump together. A variety of other enemies exist; along with a Squad of R.O.B.s, assorted original enemies include Bytans, small spherical enemies capable of self-replication; Greaps, large robotic figures that attack with large sickles; and Trowlons, enemies with trowel-like arms that attack by lifting opponents, amongst many others.
Sandbag (サンドバッグくん Sandobaggu-kun?) appears in the "Home-Run Contest" minigame in Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Bros. Brawl. The object is to strike it as far as possible with either a Home-Run Bat or a fighting move. Sandbag's only purpose is to get hit in the Home-Run Contest. Being hit all the time does not hurt it; it actually loves to see players "wind up and let loose," according to the trophy description. During the actual Home-Run Contest challenge, a player will use their chosen character to hit Sandbag off the pedestal on which it rests within ten seconds. Players damage Sandbag as much as possible while keeping on the orange platform so that it will fly farther. In addition, players are supplied with a Home-Run Bat with which to smash it. In Brawl, the "Home-Run Contest" will also feature two-player modes, online play, and a shield that keeps Sandbag on the platform while it is being damaged. Sandbag also appears as an item, and when attacked, items come out, as a prize. Players may also practice by attacking Sandbag while online multiplayer matches load.
- Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, Donkey Kong, Link, Samus, Kirby, Fox, Pikachu, Jigglypuff, Captain Falcon and Ness were the only twelve playable characters to appear in all four Super Smash Bros. games.
- ↑ web.archive.org/web/20060717223706/www.smashbros.com/en/story/page_3.html.
- ↑ Smashing Success: Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. continues to top the charts in Japan. IGN (1999-10-28). Retrieved on 2007-08-05.
- ↑ www.n-sider.com article.
- ↑ David Radd (2006-11-17). Opinion: Wii Won't Rock You. GameDaily. Retrieved on 2006-11-27.
- ↑ Wi-Fi Play. Smash Bros. DOJO!!. Smashbros.com (2007-09-18). Retrieved on 2007-09-18.
- ↑ www.smashbros.com/en_us/gamemode/various/various01.html.
- ↑ www.smashbros.com/en_us/gamemode/various/various02.html.
- ↑ Smash Bros. Could be its Creator's Last Game. Kotaku.
- ↑ Video of Dark Link in the SSBB Demo made available at EforAll 2007.
- ↑ Bowser's page on the official Super Smash Bros. Brawl website.
- ↑ www.smashbros.com/en_us/gamemode/modea/modea04.html.
- ↑ The Subspace Army.
- ↑ The Enemies From Subspace.