Super Smash Bros

Super Smash Bros

Super Smash Bros is a Japanese series of crossover fighting video games published by Nintendo, and primarily features characters from various Nintendo franchises. The series was created by Masahiro Sakurai, who has directed every game in the series. The gameplay objective differs from that of traditional fighters in that the aim is to increase damage counters and knock opponents off the stage instead of depleting life bars.

The original Super Smash Bros. was released in 1999 for the Nintendo 64. The series achieved even greater success with the release of Super Smash Bros. Melee, which was released in 2001 for the GameCube and became the bestselling game on that system. A third installment, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, was released in 2008 for the Wii. Although HAL Laboratory had been the developer for the first two games, the third game was developed through the collaboration of several companies. The fourth installment, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, was released in 2014 for the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, respectively. The 3DS installment was the first for a handheld platform. A fifth installment, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, was released in 2018 for the Nintendo Switch.

The series features many characters from Nintendo’s most popular franchises, including Super Mario, Donkey Kong, The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Star Fox, Kirby, Yoshi, and Pokémon. The original Super Smash Bros. had only 12 playable characters, with the roster count rising for each successive game and later including third-party characters, with Ultimate containing every character playable in the previous games. In Melee and Brawl, some characters are able to transform into different forms that have different styles of play and sets of moves. Every game in the series has been well received by critics, with much praise given to their multiplayer features, spawning a large competitive community that has been featured in several gaming tournaments.

Gameplay in the Super Smash Bros. series differs from many fighting games. Instead of winning by depleting an opponent’s life bar, players seek to launch their opponents off the stage and out of bounds. Characters have a damage total which rises as they take damage, represented by a percentage value that measures up to 999%. As a character’s percentage rises, the character can be knocked progressively farther by an opponent’s attacks. To knock out an opponent, the player must knock that character outside the stage’s boundaries in any direction. When a character is launched off the stage, the character can attempt to “recover” by using jumping moves and abilities to return to the stage. Some characters have an easier time recovering onto the stage than others due to their moves and abilities. Additionally, some characters vary in weight, with lighter characters being easier to launch than heavy characters.

Controls are greatly simplified in comparison to other fighting games, with one button used for standard attacks and another used for special attacks. Players can perform different types of moves by holding the directional controls up, down, to the side, or in a neutral position while pressing the attack or special button. As such, each character has four types of ground attacks, mid-air attacks, and special attacks that can be performed. Quickly pressing or tapping a directional input and the attack button together while on the ground allows players to perform a chargeable “Smash Attack”, which is generally more powerful than other attacks. When characters are hit by attacks, they receive a hitstun that temporarily disallows any attacks to be made. This allows combos to be performed. A shield button allows players to put up a defensive shield which weakens with repeated use and will leave the player unable to move if broken. Combining the shield button with directional inputs and attack buttons allows the player to also perform dodges, rolls, grabs, and throws. The three basic actions in Super Smash Bros., attacking, grabbing, and shielding, are often described using a rock–paper–scissors analogy: attacking beats grabbing, grabbing beats shielding, and shielding beats attacking. When a player knocks another player off of the main platform, they may perform an action called edge-guarding. At the same time the player that has been knocked off will try to recover by jumping back onto the stage and avoiding the other players’ edge-guarding.

Another element in the Super Smash Bros. series is battle items, the abundance of which players can adjust them before matches. There are conventional “battering items”, with which a player may hit an opponent, such as a home-run bat or a beam sword; throwing items, including Bob-ombs and Koopa shells; and shooting items, either single-shot guns or rapid-fire blasters. Recovery items allow the user to reduce their damage percentage by varying amounts. Poké Balls are special items that release a random Pokémon onto the battlefield to temporarily assist the user. Brawl introduced the Assist Trophy item which serves a similar purpose; instead of releasing Pokémon, it summons a character from another series. Brawl also introduces the Smash Ball, which when broken allows the fighter to perform a character-specific super attack known as a “Final Smash”.

The rules that can be used in a match vary depending on the game, but the two most commonly used settings across all games are Time and Stock. Time mode uses a point-based system in which fighters earn points for knocking out their opponents and lose points for being knocked out or self-destructing (i.e. falling out of the stage by themselves). The player with the highest score at the end of the set time limit wins the match. Stock mode, also known as Survival, uses a life-based system in which players are given a set number of lives, known as stock, with each fighter losing a life whenever they are knocked out, becoming eliminated if they run out of lives. The winner is the last fighter standing once all other fighters are eliminated or, if a time limit is applied to the match, the fighter with the most lives remaining once time runs out. In the event of a tie, a Sudden Death match takes place. Here, each of the tied fighters are given a starting damage percentage of 300%, making them easier to launch off the stage, and the last fighter standing will be declared as the winner. In some games this process is repeated if the match ends in another tie.

Gameplay using competitive Super Smash Bros. rules is usually played in Stock mode with a timer. Items are turned off, and the only tournament-legal stages are those that do not feature hazards and other disruptive elements.

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