Mario is the perfect character for beginners. He's balanced in virtually every way, which is understandable since he's the mascot of Nintendo. His special moves consists of fireballs, a super jump, and a spin attack that seems to originate from Super Mario World. His Cape move from later games is not present. His standard attacks deliver an appropriate amount of damage, though most people have a hard time with long range attacks, and come out victorious against characters like Donkey Kong. He is very similar to Luigi in terms of the attacks he can perform, though there are differences between the two.
His special moves consist of:
- Standard Special - Fireball: Sends a single fireball out at a foe. Will travel a decent distance, though if it doesn't connect with another player or a wall, it will vanish.
- Up Special - Super Jump Punch: Mario's recovery move.
- Down Special - Mario Tornado: Will send Mario spinning, attacking any enemies in his range.
Mario's Fireball attack originates from Super Mario Bros. His Super Jump Punch isn't from any particular game, though it can be attributed to Mario's incomparable jumping abilities. His Mario Tornado move may be traced back to his spin attack from Super Mario World on the SNES.
In Super Smash Bros. Donkey Kong is modeled after his appearance in Rare's Donkey Kong video games. He sports his red tie with his logo on it and is one of the most powerful characters in the game, with the downside of being one of the slowest as well. His standard special Giant Punch is one of the game's most powerful, though executing it at full potential can be a challenge since it has to be charged at first. Donkey Kong is usually regarded as the best player to use during the team sections of the single player mode due to his power.
His special moves consist of:
- Standard Special - Giant Punch: As previously stated Giant Punch is one of the game's most powerful attacks. However in order to use it to its full potential the player will have to charge it up first. After it's fully charged, the player can choose to either let loose or save it for later.
- Down Special - Hand Slap: Donkey Kong will start to continually pound the ground with his hands.
- Up Special - Spinning Kong: Donkey Kong's recovery move. Will make Donkey Kong spread his arms out and start to spin. If he's trying to get back onto the stadium then this move will send him upwards.
Game's official description of Donkey Kong: "Donkey Kong and Mario started out as arch-rivals, but they’ve patched things up in recent years. These days DK spends his time searching the jungle for bananas instead of kidnapping beautiful maidens. In the past few years, other members of the Kong family have cashed in on DK’s fame as well, including his favorite nephew, Diddy."
Link appears to be based on his adult appearance from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. He specializes in both close up combat and ranged combat thanks to his sword and his boomerang and bombs. Like Mario, Link is good for beginners, though may be a bit more challenging to master. He's well rounded, though because he's such a specialist in both ranged and close up combat he's also not very powerful. His sword attacks are fast and swift, though aren't as potent as his special moves, which take a bit longer to perform and are more complicated. Because of this some experienced players tend to attack first with the sword and then when the opponent is down move in with a special attack. Link's Hookshot is also one of the few grab moves that will latch onto a ledge, acting as a secondary recovery move.
Link's special moves consist of:
- Standard Special - Boomerang: Link's Boomerang will come back to him after he throws it, and thus can hit the opponent twice.
- Up Special - Spin Attack: Link's primary recovery move will send him upwards after he executes it, though is also useful on the ground while against a horde of enemies on both sides.
- Down Special - Bomb: Link will take out a bomb, though the player will have to press the button again in order to throw it. If he holds onto it for too long it'll explode in his hands.
Samus Aran is one of the game's more complicated characters and is a challenge to master. She is usually forgotten amongst the mist of the easier to play as characters, though like most she can be a powerhouse in the hands of those who know how to use her. She has a great resistance to attacks and will commonly stay on the stage for quite some time. Oddly enough, despite her high defense, she is also one of the fastest characters in the game (only Captain Falcon is faster). Like some other characters, Samus Aran is fantastic in both close range and ranged attacks, and has some of the most devastating special moves, such as her charged shot which, unlike Donkey Kong's Giant Punch, can be used from far away.
Samus' special moves consist of:
- Standard Special - Charge Shot: One of the most powerful attacks in the game. Similarly to Donkey Kong's Giant Punch, the Charge Shot must be, as its name suggests, charged firsts before it can be executed.
- Up Special - Screw Attack: Samus' primary recovery move. Like Link, Samus' grab can also latch onto ledges from far away, making her have two recovery moves.
- Down B - Bomb: Will cause Samus to go into her Morph Ball form and drop bombs.
Yoshi is another complicated character who is fantastic in the hands of those who know how to use him. One of his greatest strengths is the fact that he has the highest and farthest double jump in the game. Contradicting this, however, is Yoshi's unfortunate lack of a third jump. In lieu of a third jump, however, is Yoshi's interesting yet hard to master Egg Throw, which is hard to aim yet deadly. Yoshi is one of the only characters who can roll when in shield mode as well. His standard B move is a favorite among players. It causes the green dinosaur to shoot his tongue out at and enemy and engulf him as he did in previous video games, and then turn the character into an egg. Following this Yoshi can then beat up on the character until he pops out. One tactic used against new players is to stand at the edge of a stage and then gobble up an enemy and send him soaring down to his untimely death.
Yoshi's special moves consist of:
- B - Egg Lay: Yoshi will eject his tongue out at an enemy, eat him and turn him into an egg for a short time.
- Up B - Egg Throw: Yoshi will toss eggs at his opponents, though aiming may prove to be a challenge.
- Down B - Yoshi Bomb: Yoshi will perform a ground pound.
Kirby is Hal's own character, so it comes to no surprise that he's also one of the most interesting. Right from the bat the most notable aspect of Kirby is his uncanny ability to suck in his opponents and copy their abilities, a move that he could perform in his own series of games. For example, if Kirby sucks in Mario and uses his copy move, he'll sport Mario's trademark red cap and will be able to shoot fireballs. If he does so to Samus Aran he'll wear her helmet and will be able to use Charge Shot. He also has an outstanding amount of jumps - a total of six plus a recovery move. Of course one of his major downfalls is his lack of fat, and thus he can be whacked around the stage pretty easily.
Kirby's special moves consist of:
- B - Swallow: Kirby can swallow an enemy and steal his or her standard special move.
- Up B - Final Cutter: Kirby's recovery move will send him soaring in the sky and then cause him to crash back down to the ground.
- Down B - Stone: Will turn into a stone. This move is best used when in the air to send him crashing down on enemies from above.
Fox McCloud is one of the faster characters in the game, though unlike Samus he's very weak. Nevertheless he's one of the game's better jugglers and can reflect. His blaster weapon won't send players flying, which has its pros and cons. He's relatively high on the user created tier list at number 4, though some tend to dislike his lack of real power. His recovery move, Fire Fox, is efficient yet some complain about how predictable the move is.
Fox's special moves consists of:
- B - Blaster: Fox will shoot his blaster at his opponents. It won't make the opponent flinch, which can be good as it will allow Fox to shoot more shots at him.
- Up B - Fire Fox: Fox will be engulfed in flames and will then shoot upwards.
- Down B - Reflector: A fantastic move that reflects attacks and long ranged projectiles.
According to pro players, Pikachu is the best character in the game. He is currently ranked number one on the tier list for a variety of reasons, most notably his aerials, edgeguarding and recovery move. While light, it is hard to land an attack on the swift and small Pokémon. All of his special moves use electricity, and is down B move is sometimes infamous for how newcomers overuse it so often. His recovery move is considered by most to be the best in the game, and is fantastic at juggling characters.
Pikachu's special moves consist of:
- B - Thunder Jolt: Pikachu will send electricity down the stage.
- Up B - Quick Attack: Pikachu's fantastic recovery.
- Down B - Thunder: Pikachu will send a bolt of lightning to every character who is directly above him unless a platform is in the way.
Luigi is an odd character since basically he is so similar to Mario, yet dramatically underpowered. On the tier list he is ranked 10 out of 12, and when it comes to comparisons Mario is almost better in every category with the exception of Luigi's up B move. He is an unlockable character who can be obtained by completing the break the target levels with all of the eight default characters, though as always the player will have to challenge him on Peach's Castle first before unlocking him.
Luigi's special moves consist of:
- B - Fireball: Similar to Mario's, except rather than being red fireballs they're green to correspond with Luigi's clothes, and move in a straight line, instead of bouncing around the stage.
- Up B - Super Jump Punch: If used correctly Luigi's version of the Super Jump Punch can be much more potent than Mario's.
- Down B - Luigi Cyclone: Similar to Mario's Tornado, though can be used as a recovery.
Captain Falcon is the fastest character in Super Smash Bros., and is perhaps best known for his ability to perform a variety of combos. He's an unlockable character who can be unlocked by completing the single player mode in less than fifteen minutes. If the player successfully does so, then he or she will battle Captain Falcon on Planet Zebes. If they defeat him, he will be added to the character roster, if not, then the player will have to beat the single player mode in under 15 minutes again, and continue to do so until the character is defeated. It comes to no surprise that Captain Falcon is the fastest character in the game considering the fact that he originates from a game in which you race high speed futuristic vehicles.
Captain Falcon's special moves consist of:
- B - Falcon Punch: Falcon Punch is without a doubt one of the series' most popular moves simply for the fact that Captain Falcon says the name of the attack while he performs it. It's also pretty powerful, albeit it takes awhile to perform.
- Up B - Falcon Dive: Captain Falcon's recovery move.
- Down B - Falcon Kick: Like Falcon Punch, Captain Falcon will say the name of the move when he executes it. It'll send him soaring across the stage until he connects with a player.
Ness is an unlockable character with unarguably the most unique recovery in the game. He hails from the SNES cult classic EarthBound and his inclusion in the game may be traced to the fact that HAL helped create the Mother series. Ness' recovery, while unique and powerful, is hard to execute. Rather than just pressing B up and sending Ness soaring upwards, the player will have to maneuver an electric ball behind Ness and hit him, thus turning Ness into a human rocket. When this move is used against enemies it's very powerful yet dangerous to attempt as when you're controlling the ball Ness will remain motionless, setting him up for an attack. To unlock Ness the player must complete the single player mode on three lives without continuing. The player must then defeat Ness in the following match in Dream Land. If he fails to do so he will have to try again later.
Ness' special moves consist of:
- B - PK Fire: Ness will send out a small bit of fire that will engulf the opponent in flames.
- Up B - PK Thunder: Ness' complicated recovery move.
- Down B - PSI Magnet: A move that absorbs energy based projectiles.
Jigglypuff is a Pokémon character who was included because of its popularity in Japan. Initially Pit from Kid Icarus was going to take its place though due to the fact that not many people knew the character he was replaced with Jigglypuff. Jigglypuff was initially infamous because of the misconception that it was the weakest character in the game, though its true potential can be seen by its variety of special attacks. The character can be unlocked by completing single player mode with any number of stock remaining.
Jigglypuff's special moves consist of:
- B - Pound: A simple punch.
- Up B - Sing: Jigglypuff will start to sing and put players to sleep.
- Down B - Rest: Most players assume this to be a pointless attack, though if executed correctly it will send the character soaring off of the screen.
Considered to be the game's primary antagonist, Master Hand will appear as the final boss of the single player mode. Unlike the rest of the characters, Master Hand has a limited amount of health that decreases rather than increases. Once it reaches zero, the single player mode will end. Master Hand went on to appear in every subsequent Super Smash Bros. video game.
Simple enemies that will prove to be a challenge to player who wish to defeat every last one of them. The enemies are all modeled after the playable characters, though are completely purple. Even if a character hasn't been unlocked, they'll still appear as a polygon. The Fighting Wire Frames of Melee and the Fighting Alloy team of Super Smash Bros. Brawl are similar enemies.
A standard boss who originates from Super Mario 64 on the Nintendo 64. The boss is fought near the end of the single player mode. Because he is completely covered in metal, he has high defense and is very challenging to knock off the stage, especially on the higher difficulties. However, because he is so heavy Metal Mario will have a hard time returning to the stage after being knocked off.
Giant Donkey Kong
Giant Donkey Kong first made his appearance in Super Smash Bros., and would go on to techincally appear in the series' two subsequent titles. He appears in the game's classic mode and vaguely resembles King Kong due to his enormous size. He's a formidable opponent because of how large he is, and because of his size he's much more powerful than before (which is surprising since he was already the most powerful character in the game). Despite his size the playable character Kirby can still copy his ability.
Characters that were cut
According to the game's director, there were various characters who were cut for multiple reasons. Originally Super Smash Bros. wasn't even going to feature Nintendo characters to begin with. Early screenshots reveal that the characters were just simply polygons. Recently Sakurai revealed that King Dedede and Mewtwo were all going to be featured as playable characters, though had to be cut due to time restraints. Princess Peach and Bowser from the Mario series were also going to be included, but weren't because of the Nintendo 64's limitations (what the limitations were aren't exactly clear). Meowth was also apparently considered, though the reason for him not being included is unknown. Finally Pit from Kid Icarus was also going to be present, though was replaced with Jigglypuff due to his unpopularity. All of the previously mentioned characters excluding Meowth would eventually make it into the series; Mewtwo, Princess Peach and Bowser were in Super Smash Bros. Melee while King Dedede and Pit made it in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.