Super Smash Bros. is a series of fighting games published by Nintendo. The characters in the series' roster are from popular Nintendo games, including the Mario, Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Pokemon franchises, among others. With the release of Super Smash Bros. Brawl the series has incorporated third-party characters as well, including Solid Snake from the Metal Gear Solid series and Sonic from the Sonic the Hedgehog series. Super Smash Bros. is unlike the traditional fighter because it does not focus on depleting opponents' health bars. Rather, players are tasked with building up damage (known as percentage) on their opponents and then knocking them out of the stage using a smash attack. All the games in the series are filled with Nintendo nostalgia, featuring remixed and classic tracks from old games, stages and items from Nintendo's history are also included. There is also a lot of Easter egg's to be found within the games as a nod to the fans and there are hundreds of trophies for you to find of based on everything Nintendo.
The series originated from Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo 64 released in 1999 to mixed reviews and commercial success. The critically-acclaimed sequel Super Smash Bros. Melee was released on the Nintendo Gamecube in 2001 to become the best selling game on the system and gained a huge following. The third installment Super Smash Bros. Brawl was released on the Nintendo Wii also to strong sales and critical acclaim. HAL Laboratory developed the first two games in the series with Brawl being developed by Sora Ltd, Masahiro Sakurai is the mastermind behind the series and has worked on all three games.
The Super Smash Bros. series is radically different from most fighters in the way that it focuses on knocking opponents offstage as opposed to depleting health bars. Characters have a damage counter that ranges between 0% and 999%. The higher the percentage, the farther the character is knocked away from an attack. To knockout an opponent (ie: make an opponent lose a life), they must be sent flying off-screen. The opponent has the ability to recover and grab hold of the closest platform if he/she is within reach. Matches are heavily customizable allowing you to set time limits, participate in coin battles, set the number of lives (up to 99), have special modifiers and more. Up to four players can participate in a match but you can opt to take on your opponent one on one if you so choose.
The game controls are simple and do not require long button-input combinations like other fighters. Rather, all attacks are done with one or two buttons in combination with the analog stick. Each character has a normal attack that can be executed rapidly for a combo. The button that executes the normal attack can be used with the analog stick to deliver directional attacks. Directional attacks can also be executed in mid-air. Characters can also do execute a harder smash attack which does much more damage than a normal attack but is slower to execute. Smash attacks can also be charged for even more damage. All characters have a shield and in combination with the analog stick, can sidestep attacks. In the air, the shield button does an air dodge. Lastly, all characters have multiple special attacks which are unique to each character. These attacks are done with pressing a button or using the button in combination with the analog stick. The skill in the game is not based around pulling off complicated combo's but rather about knowing the match-ups and having good timing.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl introduced the concept of Final Smashes - devastating attacks that are unique to each character that are designed to turn the tide of battle. Due to their powerful nature, Final Smashes must be earned by breaking open a Smash Ball item - a sphere that moves around the stage after which players scramble for, these can also be turned off if you do not want to involve these attacks in the match.
The series also has a heavy reliance on items. Like the characters, most of these items are derived from popular Nintendo games, such as the Super Mushroom from the Super Mario series, Pokéballs from the Pokémon series, and the Smart Bomb from the Starfox series. Items can be classified into five categories: battering items (used to strike the opponent), throwing items (thrown at the opponent), shooting items (items that provide long-range damage), recovery items (used to recover damage), and support items (used to give the player an advantage in battle). Super Smash Bros. Brawl also introduces "Assist Trophies" which, like Pokéballs, summons characters that benefit the player. Like other items and roster characters, "Assist Trophies" also draw upon Nintendo's rich catalog of games and third-party endeavors, examples include Will Wright appearing and summing a huge skyscraper to damage your opponent and a huge Nintendog licking your screen and blocking everyone's view.
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, some of them are, however, oblivious to even screen knock-outs. Most of these bosses were created specifically for the Super Smash Bros. franchise, though some have made appearances in other games.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl introduced the Subspace Emissary, an evolution of Melee's Adventure mode. At the end of several stages, the player would have to face boss battles, most of which composed of characters designed specifically for the game.
Examples of famed boss battles are the twin hands Master Hand and Crazy Hand, Giga Bowser, Galleom, and Tabuu.
The series has added more characters as time goes on, and subtracted characters that were either clones or superfluous, but the twelve characters that appeared in the original game have continued to be included in all Smash Bros games in the series. In Super Smash Bros. Brawl third party characters were introduced.
* These characters were transformations from other characters. Sheik and Zelda can transform between each other in Melee and Brawl, Samus and Zero Suit Samus can transform between each other from their final smashes in Brawl, and Squirtle, Ivysaur, and Charizard are represented by a Pokémon Trainer that can switch between the three in Brawl.
** These characters are unlockable in the 3ds version of the game but are starters in the Wii U version.