For the main article, go here.For characters who debuted in the original, go here.For characters who debuted in Brawl, go here.For characters who debuted in the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS installments, go here.
The first villain to be playable in a Smash Bros. game, the King of the Koopas is one of the five Mario characters in Melee (unless you count Yoshi and Donkey Kong.)
Anthropomorphic Shift: Bowser's stance and proportions have been changed in the fourth installment to be much more humanlike than before, so he retains his usual appearance from the Super Mario Bros. series, as opposed to the more bestial look Melee and Brawl gave him.
The Dragon: To Ganondorf in Subspace Emissary mode.
The Dog Bites Back: Bowser ends up exacting revenge on Ganondorf's trophy when finding it after the latter, prior to being turned into one, had shot Bowser in the back with the only Trophy gun left.
Enemy Mine: He joins the heroes in Brawl's adventure mode once he realizes that Tabuu had manipulated everyone. He is more notable than Wario or Ganondorf because he is the only villain fighter who would have to join you.
Mighty Glacier: Bowser was a pure mighty glacier in Melee, being the most powerful character after Ganondorf, while being arguably the slowest character in the entire Smash series, which resulted in him being a perpetual bottom tier character. In Brawl, his movement speed was buffed and his attacks are slightly faster, though he is still an overall slow character who relies on his great power and endurance.
Surprisingly, his running speed in both games is good for a Mighty Glacier, not that it helps him much.
However, as Giga Bowser, he makes up for his lack of speed with enhanced power.
His more upright posture seems to have made him more agile in the 3DS and Wii U games.
The Voiceless: Like Donkey Kong, Bowser only roars and growls, despite being able to speak in the Marioverse.
Wrestler in All of Us: In Brawl, he gains the Flying Slam (a flying suplex he performs on an opponent) in place of the Koopa Klaw (which was nothing more than a glorified grab). And in the latest Smash game, he gains a drop-kick as well.
Damsel in Distress: If you choose to save Zelda in Subspace Emissary mode. They both become this eventually.
The Face: In The Subspace Emissary, Peach makes herself useful by breaking up fights and turning potential enemies into friends, mysteriously producing tea, in contrast with the Action Girls Samus and Sheik.
Lethal Joke Character: Peach wouldn't seem like much of a fighter, but with her unique and powerful abilities, she has always been considered high tier in Melee. While Peach was toned down in Brawl, she's still considered an upper middle tier character.
Boss Subtitles: As both Zelda and Sheik, the former simultaneous with Peach.
Composite Character: Gets her Twilight Princess' appearance as well as the light arrows she used in said game and The Wind Waker, yet can still turn into Sheik a la Ocarina Of Time. Word of God says Sheik was an unused character design for a potential Twilight Princess appearance.
Damsel in Distress: If you choose to save Peach in Subspace Emissary mode. They both become this eventually.
Nerf: Sheik in Brawl, who had all of her aerial attacks weakened, especially her forward aerial, along with a weakened up smash, the removal of her down throw chain throw, and sustaining more knockback. Zelda, on the other hand, had several of her attacks made stronger, along with gaining a slight speed boost.
Combination Attack: All of them except iceberg but belay and blizzard depend on it the most.
Difficult, But Awesome: In both Melee and Brawl, the Ice Climbers demand higher awareness than most characters, precise timing to pull off their deadly chain throws, and knowledge of difficult advance techniques such as desyncing, to be played at a competitive level.
Kaizo Trap: One of the reasons they're dangerous. If you K.O. the lead character (usually Popo, depends on the Palette Swap), the following character disappears shortly afterwards. In the hands of a good player, and especially if they were K.O.'d by a smash attack with a lot of ending lag, and especially if they were star K.O.'d, the following character can definitely land a killing blow before they disappear.
Cowboy Bebop at His Computer: His trophy description is ordered strangely, gives away a huge spoiler in a mundane manner, and has wrong information such as his nation being destroyed. Additionally, in a codec conversation, Mei Ling refers to him reuniting the war-torn land of Altea when he actually reunited the-war torn land of Archanea (Altea being the name of the country in Archanea that Marth comes from).
Dude Looks Like a Lady: Especially in Brawl. Caused a LOT of gender confusion, eventually came jokes that his name is "Martha".
Less so in the fourth game. While still fairly androgynous, he was given shorter hair and more masculine features.
Nerf: Invoked, but averted. Marth's sword is shorter in Brawl, resulting in his great reach being reduced (though it's still among the best), the tip of his sword is more difficult to land with most attacks, and his dashing speed was reduced. However, the tipper hitbox for most of his attacks is stronger, and Marth's aerials, special moves, and recovery were improved. As such, Marth has remained top tier in Brawl.
Sword Lines: Employed in the Brawl depiction of his Dancing Blade attack. The trail of Marth's Falchion blade in motion changes in color depending on the input from the Control Stick/Directional Pad when the attack is used, with red being neutral/forward/side, blue being up, and green being down.
Unexpected Character: For American players, as the games he appeared in had never been released in the US at the time.
Too Long; Didn't Dub: Marth has a lot of voice clips for a Smash Bros character which may have been the reason he was left speaking Japanese. Averted in the Brawl version as Ike who has similarly long dialogue lines was translated and Marth was left in Japanese as he had yet to make a western Fire Emblem appearance.
You Don't Look Like You: His Smash Bros design has some pretty substantial differences from his Fire Emblem designs from both before and after Melee; the most obvious difference is his hairstyle. This was discussed in the Iwata Asks forFire Emblem: Shadow Dragon - his Brawl model and Shadow Dragon design were completely separate projects and were both finished around the same time, preventing the latter from being used in the former. His design in the fourth game is new, but draws heavily from his New Mystery design.
The epitome of old school, Mr. Game & Watch is not a distinct previously-existing character so much as a conglomeration of elements from characters seen in the myriad Game & Watch games. Still, he can be considered the first successful digital character in Nintendo history, predating even Mario.
Blue and Orange Morality: According to Word of God, Game & Watch has no concept of right or wrong. He defects to the heroes' side in the Emissary just because Peach gave him her parasol.
Composite Character: The Game & Watch characters did not have consistent appearances, so Mr. Game & Watch's character model is mostly based on the falling civilians in "Fire", but his moves come from many other Game & Watch games. Some of them even come from the Game & Watch games based on Mario.
Catching Some Z's: If put to sleep, Game & Watch will have Zs flashing above his head.
Confusion Fu: His animations don't telegraph a lot of his attacks. Additionally, his "Judge" attack has random power, knockback, and sometimes other effects, based on a scale of one to nine. One is practically Scratch Damage (it actually hurts Mr. Game & Watch, too), nine is a One Hit KO under normal circumstances.
Energy Absorption: He can absorb energy attacks with his Oil Panic special - if he absorbs three, he then can use it as an attack that does the damage of the three absorbed attacks combined. In terms of raw percentage, this potentially can be the most powerful attack in the game that is not a counter or a final smash.
In Melee, the most powerful attack has been determined to be Mr. Game and Watch absorbing three PK Flashes, and then throwing it on Roy and having Roy counter it.
Fighting Clown: A few of his attacks fall into this trope. Smacking people with whatever you can get your hands on is passable, but it crosses into ridiculous extremes when you can weaponize sausages.
Final Boss: Melee's All-Star Mode concludes with a throwdown against 25 Mr. Game & Watches.
Lightning Bruiser: It's arguable he is this instead of a Glass Cannon for Brawl; he has above average speed, great power, strong defensive options, and the ability to survive to surprisingly high percents with Bucket Braking and his strong recovery.
Nerf: Inverted. Mr. Game & Watch was given a buff in nearly every way in Brawl, being a faster, heavier, stronger character. His down special, Oil Panic, also was given the unique ability to negate all momentum, allowing him to survive to much higher percents than a character of his weight class conceivably would. The maximum damage of Oil Panic was severely reduced, but its maximum knockback wasn't; he's still probably going to OHKO anyone he dumps oil on after absorbing three strong projectiles.
Attack Reflector: In Melee, he had one that worked just like Fox's. He kicks it forward in Brawl, allowing him to reflect projectiles from farther away at the expense of not being able to hold it like in Melee.
Difficult, But Awesome: Falco was one of the most technical characters in Melee, demanding fast reflexes and high technical skill to master his Shine combos and other advance techs. In Brawl, Falco doesn't demand as much technical skill, though he still requires more than most characters to be played at a competitive level. In both games, Falco is considered top tier.
Fragile Speedster: Falco's attacks are among the fastest in both Melee and Brawl, though he doesn't sustain hits very well (except for vertical KO hits in Melee, where his vertical endurance was among the best). Thanks to Falco's strong defensive options, however, he competes better than the typical Fragile Speedster.
Lightning Bruiser: Falco is this in Melee, where his Shine combos can be zero to death combos, has access to a fast and powerful forward smash, and has one of the best vertical endurances.
Moveset Clone: With Fox. His blaster was different (slower firing, but flinches enemies) and his attacks got more variations in Brawl, to the point of keeping him viable in the metagame while Fox was Nerfed.
Nerf: Falco received some nerfs in Brawl, with his shine combos being removed, his vertical endurance no longer being great, and his great forward smash being replaced with one that is slower and weaker. He received some buffs to compensate, though, such as a very powerful chain throw that works on nearly the entire cast and can guarantee over 50% in damage if a grab is landed at a low enough percent (and it combos into his down aerial meteor smash, which is death on some characters unless the opponent can pull incredible DI), a much better recovery (with Falco Phantasm being buffed), improved vertical KO options (with the introduction of DACUS and a stronger up smash and aerial), and a stronger camping game (as his Blaster is more effective in Brawl).
The firebird was shortened in distance while the phantasm was lengthened. As as a result, he does not gain height any better in Brawl than in Melee despite not falling as fast, but travels better horizontally.
The legendary and immortal King Of Evil, Ganondorf is the second villain to become playable in Smash Bros.
Awesome but Impractical: Ganondorf's Warlock Punch and up tilt (dubbed the "Volcano Kick") invoke this. The former involves Ganondorf charging his fist to unleash a mighty punch that sends opponents flying in darkness, while the latter involves Ganondorf charging his leg in a midair split, before violently crashing it into the ground in a large explosion. Both attacks can KO at ridiculously low percents. Both attacks are also the slowest attacks start-up lag wise in both Melee and Brawl, being nearly impossible to land on a non incapacitated opponent.
Awesome yet Practical: Ganondorf's down aerial (dubbed by fans as the "Thunder stomp"), a move which involves Ganondorf thrusting his legs down in a stomp that electrifies the opponent and sends them soaring down (or flying up if they're on the ground). It's by far the most powerful aerial attack and meteor smash in both Melee and Brawl, where as a meteor smash, it nearly guarantees death on a recovering opponent if they have any sort of damage (unless it's Melee and they meteor cancel), and despite meteor smashes being weaker on grounded opponents, it's so powerful it can star KO all but the heaviest under 100%. While the move is rather slow in startup, when used for edgeguarding, Ganondorf can surprisingly get back on stage easily after using it, and when used onstage, L-cancelling in Melee and auto-cancelling in Brawl greatly reduce the risk of using the move while also allowing the move to be a great and highly damaging combo starter at low percents.
Badass: It's Ganondorf. What did you expect? Though it's subverted in Brawl, where he is bottom tier.
Difficult, But Awesome: Ganondorf's "Flight of Ganon" and "Flipman" techs in Brawl. The former gives Ganondorf access to a super jump he can use at any time when grounded, and the latter gives Ganondorf a method of getting back on stage from hanging on the ledge without lag. Both, however, are very difficult to pull off consistently, especially in the midst of battle.
The Starscream: It's strongly implied in the game itself (and confirmed via Word of God) that Ganondorf plans to backstab Master Hand at the right opportunity. However, when he learns that Master Hand is actually being manipulated by Tabuu, he tries to fight Tabuu instead, and also freed Master Hand in the process.
Genius Bruiser: In Subspace Emissary. For a sorcerer, he's awfully comfortable with high-tech gadgetry.
Knight of Cerebus: Ganondorf is the only one of the Subspace Emissary villains originating from out of Super Smash Bros. to be completely devoid of humorous elements. In particular, the scene where he overrides the Ancient Minister's control over the R.O.B.s to make them detonate the Subspace bombs is a contender for the darkest part of the game.
Lightning Bruiser: Although his Melee incarnation appears to be the above example at first glance, he has decent speed, and quite a few of his moves come out ridiculously quick for a character of his power.
Moveset Clone: With Captain Falcon, to many people's confusion. It's possible that he was a fairly last-minute inclusion for Melee and they didn't have time to give him a completely original moveset, but he still cribs off Falcon in Brawl.
Mythology Gag: His design and his sword only appeared in a tech demo, not in any actual games so far.
Nerf: In Melee, Ganondorf was the strongest character and a borderline Lightning Bruiser, with some very fast options and aerial attacks that were sickeningly powerful yet fast. In Brawl, Ganondorf was slowed down immensely, with many key attacks weakened or nerfed in other ways.
Ornamental Weapon: Ganon only ever uses his sword for one victory pose and one taunt. It's actually a holdover from his old moveset, which was going to incorporate the sword, but it was cut short and thus he received Captain Falcon's moveset. Sakurai mocks him on the Smash Bros Dojo blog for not using it.
Demoted to Extra: Was demoted to a sticker and two songs in Brawl, one of which was just a carry-over from Melee.
Informed Flaw: Dr. Mario's Smash trophies in Melee state he's supposed to be slower than Mario while being more powerful (and thus led many people to believe he's a slower but more powerful version of Mario). While Dr. Mario is certainly more powerful than Mario, in actuality, he isn't any slower (his movement speed and the speed of his attacks are equivalent to Mario), and he actually has faster air speed (so Dr. Mario is a faster character in the air). As such, Dr. Mario is essentially a more powerful version of Mario with a stronger projectile and few drawbacks, explaining why he's five spots above Mario on Melee's tier list.
Elite Tweak: His down special, Thunder, only damages him if the thunder bolt it summons touches Pichu. If this move is only used when it is safe, it remains every bit as deadly as Pikachu's version of it.
Fragile Speedster: He has one of the fastest movement speeds in Melee with comparatively fast attacks and a teeny-tiny hitbox, while being terrible to subpar in about every other category.
Gradual Grinder: He excels at hit and run tactics and evading the opponents attacks, and has moves that come out quick enough to punish anything. However, he lacks good KO moves, with about his only one being Thunder, which hurts him when used improperly. This all adds up to mean that Pichu is good at racking up big damage percentages, which he needs to do to have any hope of actually defeating the opponent.
Joke Character: He's Melee's lightest character, weaker damage output compared to Pikachu, and he takes damage from his own actions. The latter is carried over from the Pokemon franchise, where the self - damage is said to be caused by Power Incontinence due to youth and inexperience.
Lethal Joke Character: Only a few of his moves cause him to take damage; if the player avoids using those moves, then his biggest weakness vanishes, while his insane speed and tiny hitbox remain. These traits actually synergize together well, because his need to only use certain attacks gives him a great emphasis on controlling positions properly, which is trivial with his speed and agility.
The main character of Fire Emblem: Sword of Seals, a game that would be released soon after Melee. He was put in the game so fans could get excited about the new game.
Awesome but Impractical: His neutral B attack. While it boasts as monstrous 50 damage at maximum charge as well as being a potential One-Hit Kill, the charge-up takes forever to max out, and the attack happens almost immediately after maxing out so you can't even wait until the target gets into the right spot (and this is providing said target doesn't just belt you during the charge).
Demoted to Extra: While the others were reduced to trophies, he was nothing more than a sticker and unused playable data.
Fragile Speedster: While he appears to be a Mighty Glacier to casual players and novices due to his powerful forward smash, Flare Blade, and his laggy attacks, Roy fights as a Fragile Speedster in competitive play. His fast dashing and falling speed give Roy access to one of the fastest SHFFLs, but Roy suffers from being heavily susceptible to combos, having one of the worst recoveries, poor horizontal endurance, and severe difficulties in finishing off opponents due to his lack of reliable KO moves outside his forward smash.
Roy Debuted in Smash Bros.: He literally did;Sword of Seals came out afterMelee. Though with that being said, given that Sword of Seals never saw international release, the trope is pretty much played out as normal anyway...
Demoted to Extra: Reduced to a trophy in Brawl, though he was closer to being finished than any of the other scrapped characters.
Evil Laugh: In his taunt and English victory poses.
Glass Cannon: He hits hard, with some of the strongest throws in Melee, but has poor endurance that combines with his high susceptibility to combos due to his large size. Mewtwo is supposed to weigh 269 pounds/122 kg. Here, it is lighter than Peach, Zelda, and even the Ice Climbers.
Last Lousy Point: It takes a whopping 20 hours worth of Melees to unlock him. Although this can be shortened to five hours when four people are playing.
Mind over Matter: His telekinetic lift. Also, he never comes into contact with any of the items he picks up, nor does he touch the ground while moving around.
Bonus Boss: Only appears on Normal difficulty or higher if you deplete Master Hand's health to half his HP within a certain amount of time. In Brawl, he appears at the beginning with Master Hand, making it a very challenging battle.
Confusion Fu: Is very confusing compared to Master Hand. His animations are erratic, and his animations of Master Hand's moves can definitely throw you off.
Canon Immigrant: Appears in Kirby and the Amazing Mirror as a Dual Boss with Master Hand again. It would be more accurate to call them two Master Hands though, as it lacks all of Crazy's unique moves, animations as well as two of the double team manuvers.