The King of the Koopas and Arch-Enemy of the Mario Bros.; Bowser is an intimidating fire-breathing monster that holds the honor of being the first villain to be playable in Smash.
Anthropomorphic Shift: To reflect his increase in agility, Bowser's stance and proportions have been changed in 3DS/Wii U to be much more humanlike to match his usual appearance from the Super Mario Bros. series, as opposed to the more bestial look Melee and Brawl gave him. He also uses more conventional punches and kicks instead of the more reptilian claw strikes and headbutts he once had. Bowser returns to his previous feral stance when he's Giga Bowser.
Art Evolution: In Melee, he had an original design that gave him a more bestial stance, a very muscular physique and tanned skin as opposed to bright yellow. Brawl kept his stance but changed his colors and made his body look softer to match his main series appearance more. In, 4 he has a more humanlike stance; see Anthropomorphic Shift above.
Butt Monkey: After his addition, he literally became the punching bag in Melee, Brawl and Wii/3DS's How-to-Play videos. Many screenshots shown during Brawl and 3DS/Wii U's development also have him getting the short end of the stick, and in Shulk's trailer he's the very first victim of Shulk's Back Slash.
The Brute: He's the powerhouse of the villain team in Subspace Emissary.
The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: The Bowser in Melee's Adventure Mode has a natural advantage in size and power over the playable version, most noticeable when your character is another Bowser.
Divergent Character Evolution: In Melee, Giga Bowser was just a bigger, freakier, Bowser with a buffed but fundamentally identical moveset. Brawl made Giga Bowser a One-Winged Angel form with immunity to flinching. Finally, 3DS/Wii U saw Bowser and Giga Bowser take on two very different movesets; Bowser underwent Anthropomorphic Shift, while Giga Bowser's fighting style remained distinctly primal.
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.
The Dragon: To Ganondorf in Subspace Emissary mode.
Enemy Mine: He joins the heroes in Brawl's adventure mode once he realizes that Tabuu had manipulated everyone. He is distinguishable from Wario or Ganondorf in that he is the only antagonistic fighter who is required to join you.
Ground Pound: Bowser's down special move, Bowser Bomb, which is identical to the Ground Pound he performs in the final boss of Super Mario Bros. 3. In 3DS/Wii U, his down aerial is reworked into being a second one, retracting into his shell and slamming downwards.
The Heavy: Although he is not the main antagonist of The Subspace Emissary, he's the most recurring nuisance after the Ancient Minister.
Human Shield: In Brawl's Story mode, he uses either Zelda or Peach as this.
Implacable Man: He still takes damage when attacked as Giga Bowser in Brawl, but is completely immune to flinching and knockback.
Kappa: Semi-based on one, though it is more so Koopas in general than Bowser himself, who is more of an ox-turtle. He can also breathe fire, like a dragon.
Lightning Bruiser: In the fourth installment, they buffed his speed, and his attacks have been reworked to be much quicker. His more upright stance in that entry reflects this. Even before Smash 4, he bordered on this, as his dash speed was faster than Mario's.
Limit Break: Giga Bowser. He grows huge and has all of his attacks buffed on top of being immune to knockback during the transformation.
Mighty Glacier: Bowser was a pure mighty glacier in Melee, being the most powerful character after Ganondorf, while being arguably the slowest 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.
Saved for the Sequel: Bowser, along with Mewtwo and King Dedede, was planned to be playable in the first Smash game, but was unable to get in due to time and budget constraints. In the next game, he finally got to show the Smash world what he's made of.
Spin to Deflect Stuff: 3DS/Wii U gives his Whirling Fortress the ability to deflect weak projectiles if they hit the top part of the shell (the bottom part of the shell and "finishing" projectiles like Samus' Charge Shot or Wii Fit Trainer's Sun Salutation can still bypass this).
Stock Sound Effect: Some of his roars come from Kaiju movies, which only proves his ferocity.
Suicide Attack: Bowser can use Flying Slam to hurl himself right off the stage, carrying a hapless opponent along for the ride.
Turtle Power: He was originally supposed to be an ox, which is why he has horns. Then someone decided it did not make sense for an ox to be leading turtles.
Vocal Evolution: Similar to Charizard, Bowser's voice actors are usually the same as in the main Mario games, but voice him with more realistic roars and growls.
The Voiceless: Like Donkey Kong, Bowser only roars and growls, despite being able to speak in the Marioverse.
Your Size May Vary: Bowser's height has varied from being the same height as Super Mario to enormous, but in Smash he's roughly twice as tall as Mario.
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 3DS/Wii U, he gains a drop-kick as well.
Princess of Toadstools
Voiced by Jen Taylor (Melee), Samantha Kelly (Brawl and 3DS/Wii U)
The beloved princess of the Mushroom Kingdom. Usually, Princess Peach relies on Mario to fight for her, but after Melee, she's taken action and joined the battle.
Action Girl: As out of place as it may seem at first, given the role she's known for, different games in her series have given her a playable role before Melee, which translated into an ass kicking princess in the Smash series. In fact, alongside Shiek and Zero Suit Samus, she has one of the most physical fighting styles amongst the female characters.
Adaptational Badass: While in her source series she's been shown to be quite capable of fighting, she rarely does so, and not to the same degree.
Ass Kicks You: Peach Bomber, which is her side-B attack, along with her back aerial and back throw.
Art Evolution: In Melee, her dress was only slightly more detailed than it is in her own series, such as having a visible bodice. In Brawl, they ramped it up to a full Pimped-Out Dress. In 3DS/Wii U, it's less embroidered than in Brawl, but still much more detailed and embellished than her main series and Melee appearance.
Artificial Brilliance: Peach's Brawl AI is able to do a technique involving a short hop, doing an aerial attack; canceling the hop into a float, and and approaching using that float.
Badass Adorable: To quote her 3DS/Wii U trophy's description, she "continues to prove that 'powerful' and 'cute' are not mutually exclusive".
Badass Pacifist: Offering tea to two combatants to stop them from fighting is pretty badass.
Badass Princess: A princess in dress with an upbeat attitude that still kicks a lot of ass.
Cloud Cuckoolander: She's quite goofy in Subspace Emissary cutscenes, such as offering tea to stop an ongoing fight while standing on a flying ship in the middle of a battle.
Combat Stilettos: Even on the battlefield, she still wears her signature high heels.
Counter Attack: Toad is used this way. He actually releases spores from his head to damage the opponent.
Damsel in Distress: If you choose to save Zelda in Subspace Emissary mode. They both become this eventually.
The Face: In Subspace Emissary, Peach makes herself useful by breaking up fights and turning potential enemies into friends, such as mysteriously producing tea, in contrast with the action oriented Samus and Sheik.
Fighting Clown: Peach wouldn't seem like much of a fighter considering her Damsel in Distress background, and many of her abilities are silly, like using sports equipment, radishes, and her butt. Nonetheless, she's still a strong and capable fighter.
Frying Pan of Doom: Back from Super Mario RPG, it is the most damaging but shortest reaching of her three forward smash weapons.
Game-Breaking Bug: In the early days of 3DS, there was an oversight with Peach's "Turnip Pull" Down+B Special, specifically its low chance to produce an actual item, even if they're not turned on, in place of the turnip (an ability she's had since Melee). This triggered the game's online match anti-cheat coding, getting players Mistakenly Banned from online play. A hotfix was released in short order.
Palette Swap: In Melee she had a full Princess Daisy costume with a change in skin color and glove length, though as of Brawl it's her usual outfit just with Daisy's colors. She has another color swap that looks like a weddingdress. 3DS/Wii U also adds Fire Peach from Super Mario 3D World.
Took a Level in Badass: After being heavily nerfed in Brawl, she is improved once again in 4. She's received a mobility buff (better jumps, faster movement speed), and most of her attacks have been sped up as well.
White Gloves: Like Mario and Luigi, only it makes sense in Peach's case, as her profession would probably be more likely to keep her hands nice and shiny.
Art Evolution: In Melee her design was based on her Ocarina of Time appearance. In Brawl, she has her Twilight Princess appearance as well as the light arrows she used in said game. 3DS/Wii U uses the same Twilight Princess design.
Action Girl: Appropriately enough, as the Melee version was based on Ocarina Of Time, the first Legend Of Zelda game to give the princess whose name is in its title this role.
Badass Princess: Of course. In fact, Zelda actually tends to deal more knockback than Sheik!
Combat Stilettos: She has heels in Melee, but switches to more practical boots in Brawl.
Composite Character: In Melee, her specials all use the magic Link can learn in Ocarina of Time. And despite Brawl having a Twilight Princess' design, she 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. 3DS/Wii U separates the two characters, but gives Zelda the ability to summon Phantom Zelda from Spirit Tracks, further adding more composites to the character.
Damsel in Distress: If you choose to save Peach in Subspace Emissary mode. They both become this eventually.
Decomposite Character: Sheik was an alternate form of Zelda in Melee and Brawl, but became her own character in 3DS/Wii U.
Difficult but Awesome: In the air, at least. Almost all of her aerials have to be landed exactly right to get the most damage and distance out of them. Otherwise, they're pretty weak, knocking the opponent back about as far as a jab combo would have.
Emotionless Girl: Gives the impression of one in Brawl and 3DS/Wii U. It fits her occasionally Machiavellian personality from her own series.
Everything's Better with Princesses: Yes, she's the princess of a kingdom with not often visible kings. Justified in her Twilight Princess iteration as her Brawl trophy states that she was in the process of becoming queen before Zant attacked.
Opera Gloves: Directly taken from her more elegant Twilight Princess iteration.
Palette Swap: In Brawl, she has an alt that resembles her look in Ocarina of Time and by extension in Melee.3DS/Wii U adds one based on A Link To The Past/Between Worlds, which is very similar to the Ocarina look, but with blue embroideries instead of purple, even lighter hair and more saturated colors. Her Ocarina look is also updated to even deeper purples to match Ocarina of Time 3D.
Purple Is Powerful: Wears purple in her default costume in Brawl and 3DS/Wii U and she has some very potent attacks if you land them just so. Her backward and forward aerial attacks in particular can knock opponents pretty far away even at 0%.
The Rival: A lot of the pictures for Wii 3DS/Wii U depict her as being this to Rosalina. Maybe because they're both serene Ladies Of War?
Royals Who Actually Do Something: She started to take more active roles after her Ocarina of Time incarnation, which just so happens to be the first one featured in Smash.
Demoted to Extra: They hold the dubious honor of being the only character that has appeared in multiple installments in a row to be cut from the roster: they're non-playable in 3DS/Wii U, but a trophy of them remains. Sakurai has stated that they were working in the Wii U version, but the team was having trouble getting them to work on the 3DS, and that the time was better spent working on newcomers with more complex programming. Series that are unlikely to have another installment also had low priority. Sakurai also didn't want console-exclusive characters.
Difficult but Awesome: It's possible to "de-sync" them for short periods of time to pull of some Combos, like having Nana do a Smash attack while Popo is in the middle of a grab.
Drop the Hammer: If the page image did not make it clear, this is their main form of offense.
Enemy Mine: Seeing the bond they share in SSB, it's hard to believe they were rivals in the original game.
An Ice Person: For no reason other than making them more competitive, as they did not have ice powers in their own games.
Kaizo Trap: 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.
Limit Break: They summon a giant Iceberg that covers most of the stage, which freezes enemies upon contact.
Glass Cannon: They can hit hard, but if they are separated, or especially if the computer-controlled Climber dies, their defensive and recovery options become severely limited.
Palette Swap: Notably, half of the outfits allow the player to control Nana instead of Popo.
Puppet Fighter: Downplayed. If the Ice Climbers are "de-synced", the player can alternate between which character is acting, allowing them to be controlled separately. This is also the reason the Kaizo Trap mentioned above works. The problem is that if the lead character is safe but too far away from the following character, the following character will stop acting and automatically chase the lead one down, so the player has to be careful when doing this trick. This in contrast to Rosalina, who can control the Luma regardless of the distance between them.
Shout-Out: The player controls both of the Ice Climbers at all times. This is a reference to Ice Climber being the first Nintendo console game with two player simultaneous co-op.
The Bus Came Back: Surprisingly enough, the good doctor returns in 3DS/Wii U, becoming the first veteran to do so after being absent from a previous version and who is also the only one to make it back in without being DLC.
Deadly Doctor: It's a fighting game after all. Palutena believes Dr. Mario's power comes from his knowledge of anatomy, allowing him to hit his opponent's weak points, explaining why Dr. Mario can deal more damage than regular Mario.
Demoted to Extra: Was demoted to a sticker and two songs in Brawl, one of which was just a carry-over from Melee.
Divergent Character Evolution: Oddly, by not changing much moveset-wise. He retains his original moveset in Smash 4 (though his Super Jump Punch have been retooled into a powerful single-hit move) while Mario had his revamped in Brawl, making what was previously one of the closest clones into a semi-clone. In terms of deeper mechanics, Mario was made into a combo-heavy Gradual Grinder while retaining his middling weight and speed, while Dr. Mario was made into a Mighty Glacier with slower movement but stronger attacks. And while he shares his custom special moves with Mario and Luigi (except in name for some), some are altered to make use of Dr. Mario's properties (the custom Megavitamins use their properties, and none of the custom sheets allows him to stall in the air).
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. As such, Dr. Mario is essentially a more powerful version of Mario with a stronger projectile and few drawbacks. This was remedied in 3DS/Wii U, as his movement speed and jump were changed to be worse than Mario, his falling speed was increased, and his air speed is slower than Mario this time.
Labcoat of Science and Medicine: But of course. His trophy description give his wearing it as the explination to why he's slower than the Mario in overalls.
Limit Break: His is the same as Mario's, except for the fact that he launches two giant pixelated pills instead of giant fireballs.
Mighty Glacier: In 3DS/Wii U. This time he is much slower in all forms of movement, and his attacks are all much stronger as well. He was intended to be slower in Melee, but the programmers apparently forgot to do this.
Moveset Clone: Of Mario obviously, sharing just about everything, though some of his attacks had different properties like his Megavitamins having a stronger bounce and hitstun, his neutral aerial becoming stronger the longer it's out, and his forward smash using electricity instead of fire. He's less of one in 3DS/Wii U, due to him keeping his old down aerial and his down special and his up special being changed in function from a multi-hit move to a single-hit power move, and Mario having replaced his old down aerial with his old down special and gaining a new one.
Nerf: Doc has been nerfed greatly in 3DS/Wii U with his major decrease in mobility as well as the loss of the spacing techniques/exploits in Melee.
Perpetual Frowner: Much like Mario, he seems to constantly have a frowning expression in 3DS/Wii U.
Shotoclone: By the loosest definition, as he possesses a projectile attack, an uppercut attack, and a spin attack, just like Mario, but does not utilize the traditional commands used to perform these moves. In 3DS/Wii U, he retains his spin attack as a down special while Mario's had been kept as an aerial attack.
Shoryuken: Shares the Super Jump Punch with Mario. It's virtually identical in Melee, but in 3DS/Wii U, it is revamped to be a hybrid of Mario and Luigi's versions, being equally effective as an Anti-Air attack, combo finisher, and KO move.
Unexpected Character: Manages to count for this twice. He was not expected to be playable in Melee, given that he's more or less Mario with different clothes, nor was he expected to return in 3DS/Wii U after his absence in Brawl.
Wall Jump: Gains the ability to do so in 3DS/Wii U.
White Gloves: They make more sense here, as sanitary hand ware is fitting for a doctor.
Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Cut from Brawl. In fact analysis of Brawl's data files showed that while the other cut characters were considered, Pichu didn't even get as far as the chopping block.
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 if you want the maximum knock back from it. 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: It's even lighter than Jigglypuff and takes damage from its own attacks. Its trophies outright admit that it's the weakest character in the game, and that it's best used as a handicap for skilled players playing against less-skilled opponents.
Loophole Abuse: His down special, Thunder, only damages him if it touches Pichu. If this move is only used when it is safe, it maintains all the utility of Pikachu's version of the move (ie: attacking above him when beneath platforms, attacking behind him when jumping horizontally, etc.), in exchange for only losing a small amount of damage/knockback.
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.
Art Evolution: In Melee his appearance was based off of Star Fox 64. In Brawl its an original costume but stays much more faithful to his Star Fox Command design than Fox's does in comparison.
Badass Normal: He has no super powers, relative to being a man bird, but does have advanced technology.
Big Damn Heroes: In The Subspace Emissary, his introduction has him appearing from his Arwing and destroying Bowser's Dark Cannon, which had been plaguing Fox and Diddy Kong for several levels.
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.
Fricking Laser Beams: His Standard Special. It fires slower than Fox's but causes targets to flinch to compensate.
Glass Cannon: Falco possesses some very fast and powerful moves, but his light weight and generally below-average recovery ability keep him from living very long. And like Fox, his fast falling speed gives him a good vertical endurance but gives him vulnerability to edgeguards and juggles.
Limit Break: Summons the Landmaster. Differs from Fox's by being able to "fly" much more manageably than his.
Moveset Clone: Shares 4/4 specials with Fox, a Final Smash, and several regular attacks. His blaster was different (slower firing, but flinches enemies) and his attacks got more variations in Brawl (such as kicking his reflector instead of holding it and using a few Razor Wings). In 3DS/Wii U, his custom specials barring one are all different from Fox.
Razor Wings: Melee gives Falco razor tail feathers. In Brawl, many of his attacks involve hitting the opponent with his wings, which make a "cutting" sound on contact.
Secret Character: In Melee, Brawl, and 3DS/Wii U. He's so far been an unlockable character in every game he's been in, with the following being the requirements:
For Melee: Beat Multi Man Melee or fight in 300 VS. Battles.
For Brawl: Have him join you in The Subspace Emissary, beat Multi Man Brawl or fight in 50 brawls.
For 3DS: Beat Classic Mode on any difficulty without continues or play 20 matches in Smash.
For Wii U: Beat Classic Mode on any difficulty or play 10 matches in Smash.
Too Long; Didn't Dub: Falco's voice clips were muted in Melee, even though he spoke in the Japanese version. Changed in Brawl.
Took a Level in Badass: He received some buffs in Brawl, 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, a much better recovery thanks to Falco Phantasm being buffed, improved vertical KO options, a stronger up smash and aerial, and a stronger camping game since his Blaster is more effective in Brawl.
The prince of Altea, and the hero of the original Fire Emblem: Dark Dragon and the Sword of Light, its sequel, and the remakes thereof. Brought into the game by popular demand of the Japanese fanbase, but a complete surprise for the English base; he only speaks Japanese to reflect his games being Japan-only titles (until Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon).
Armor-Piercing Attack: Shield Breaker, his neutral B, is a slow charged attack that breaks shields easily, and will always shatter shields when fully charged. Characters with broken shields are briefly stunned and left wide open for punishment. At high percentages, this is deadly.
Art Evolution: In Melee and Brawl, his design was an original embellished update of his costume from The Mystery of the Emblem. In 3DS/Wii U, his design matches his official redesign from the New Mystery remake, with elements of the Brawl design.
Badass Normal: Possibly the best example in the game, next to Snake. None of his attacks come with any sort of flashy elemental effects; they are just simple sword moves.
Back-to-Back Badasses: With Meta Knight in Subspace Emissary after the Subspace Army interrupts their fight.
Bilingual Bonus: Marth's Japanese was kept un-dubbed in the NA and European releases of Melee and Brawl.
Bishōnen: In contrast to the rugged Ike and the spiky-haired Roy, to the point that many people mistake him for a girl.
Blue Oni: To Ike's Red in Subspace Emissary with Meta Knight as the mediator between them. Also reflected in their cape colors despite them both being Primary Color Champions.
Charged Attack: Shield Breaker, dealing more damage and knockback the longer it's charged and is Marth's strongest non-Final Smash attack when fully charged.
Combos: His side-special attack (Dancing Blade) is a 4-part combo attack. The first two swipes are easy enough to do and are fairly weak, but the second two hits require timing and finish off the move.
Damn You, Muscle Memory: Shield Breaker is designed to exploit this, as most players' immediate response to seeing a slow charged attack is to shield. Doing so against Shield Breaker will wind up with their shield shattered, leaving them stunned.
Difficult but Awesome: Downplayed. While he can fight fine without doing so, hitting opponents with the very tip of his sword makes his attacks hurt all the more.
Force And Finesse: The Finesse to Ike's Force so the two FE representatives (both Lightning Bruisers in their own series) can be differentiated. Where Marth is quick and powerful when spaced properly, Ike is big, slow, and hits hard regardless of where he connects. Also reflected in Marth's Bishōnen status and princely armor vs Ike's burly appearance and tattered mercenary armor.
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.
Invoked again in Smash 4, where his sword has been shortened again, a number of his moves deal less damage, and due to knockback changes on his grabs he has fewer follow-up actions for combos.
Sword Lines: Employed in the Brawl and 3DS/Wii U 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 non-Japanese players, as the games he appeared in were exclusive to Japan at the time.
Weak, but Skilled: His playstyle: His attacks, while fast, are normally weak unless he hits with the tip of his sword. Skilled Marth players know how to take advantage of this for either combos or KO power.
The Wise Prince: He is said to be by Mei Ling and is probably the wisest of his initial team in The Subspace Emissary.
You Don't Look Like You: His design in Melee and Brawl has some pretty substantial differences from his Fire Emblem designs from both before and after; the most obvious difference is his hairstyle. Marth received a redesign in Shadow Dragon, but this design and the Brawl model were concurrent projects. They were completed at the same time, meaning that the former could not be used in the latter. In the fourth game, his design is new, but draws heavily from his New Mystery design. Also, in none of the Smash games does Marth actually carry the Fire Emblem!
Link as a child. As his trophy notes, he is the original portrayal of Link.note At the time Melee was released, the only Zelda games that starred an Adult Link were The Adventure of Link and (partially) Ocarina of TimeMelee specifically uses the child version of the Hero of Time.
Annoying Arrows: Just like Link's, the difference is most in appearance and that his do less damage and knock back.
Arrows on Fire: You would think the fire on them would make them more powerful, maybe the short arms negate it?
The legendary Gerudo and immortal King Of Evil, Ganondorf is the eternal nemesis of Link and Zelda across many of their incarnations. He is the second villain to become playable in Smash.
Art Evolution: In Melee his design is taken directly from the Space World 2000 tech demo duel, which itself is based off of his appearance in Ocarina of Time, combining his pre-time skip cape design with his post-time skip cape length, and giving him a sword. In Brawl he was updated to his Twilight Princess design, which he retains in the fourth title, with the addition of the glowing Sage Sword wound from said game and having a torn cape.
Awesome but Impractical: Ganondorf is extremely strong and his weight makes him hard to kill, but his lack of speed makes him easy to avoid while several of his attacks leave him vulnerable to retaliation if they don't connect. His Warlock Punch and up tilt (dubbed the "Volcano Kick") exemplify this more than anything else; the former involves Ganondorf charging his fist to unleash a mighty punch that sends opponents flying and covered in dark flames, while the latter involves 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, but are also the slowest attacks in Melee and Brawl, being nearly impossible to land on a opponent who isn't incapacitated or distracted.
Badass: It's Ganondorf, the King of Evil. What did you expect from a title like that?
While he doesn't actually wield it, Ganondorf flourishes the two-handed sword he was seen wielding in the tech demo in one of his victory animations in Melee, and in Brawl pulls out the Sage Sword, examines it, then puts it away as a taunt. Sakurai even posted an ironic comment on the old Smash Bros Dojo website regarding this.
One of his Warlock Punch variants in 3DS/Wii U allows him to wield the Sage Sword.
Elemental Punch: His attacks are often imbued with darkness or electricity depending on the attack. His custom neutral special Warlock Thrust is perhaps the closest to this, creating a dark-elemental blast whenever he punches.
Genius Bruiser: In Subspace Emissary. For a sorcerer, he's awfully comfortable with high-tech gadgetry.
Killing Intent: While talking to Otacon, Snake remarks that Ganondorf has a "murderous vibe" and questions if modern weaponry would even work on him.
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.
Kung-Fu Wizard: Despite being an incredibly powerful sorcerer, his fighting style is designed to mimic Captain Falcon's.
Limit Break: He turns into Beast Ganon - taken from his Twilight Princess appearance - roars, and rushes forward.
Mighty Glacier: Quite slow, but one of the strongest characters. Brawl made him even slower, and 3DS/Wii U made him even stronger - 40% damage from a charged Smash Attack is normal, without getting into the custom movesets. His attacks also kill extremely early, and at standard kill percents, even his normal attacks can KO.
Moveset Clone: With Captain Falcon, to many people's confusion. He was a last-minute inclusion, and was only added because he was popular and had a similar body shape to Captain Falcon. He still cribs off Falcon in Brawl having only 3/4 specials in common (with the fourth still vaguely similar), tough he does have different animations, such as the Warlock Punch being more of a backhand then the straight, some of the moves they share got altered (Dark Dive now ends in an uppercut that deals damage), and he gained some different standard moves (like his forward attack being his kick from Twilight Princess). He's the same as his Brawl incarnation in 3DS/Wii U, but all of his custom move variants are different from the good captain's.
Mythology Gag: His Melee design and his sword only appeared in a tech demo, not in any actual games.
Nerf: In Melee, Ganondorf was a strong character 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. This was later fixed in 3DS/Wii U, where he remained slow but hit much harder.
Ornamental Weapon: In Melee and Brawl, 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. This stopped in 3DS/Wii U: While it's not a part of his standard moveset, it's used in one of the Warlock Punch variants.
Palette Swap: In Brawl he has one that resembles his Ocarina of Time colors, and by extension his appearance in Melee.
Reverse Grip: Stabs opponents with the Sage Sword in a reverse grip in one of his alternate Neutral Specials in 3DS/Wii U.
The Starscream: Ganondorf planned to backstab Master Hand at the right opportunity in Subspace Emissary. 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.
Suicide Attack: The aerial version of Flame Choke can pull this off if you do it when there is no platforms under you, causing Ganondorf to drag the opponent and himself to the bottom of the stage.
Supernatural Martial Arts: He fights with magic-boosted punches and kicks. One of his taunts has him pull a sword, but he doesn't use it.
The Man Behind the Man: To Bowser, Wario, and the Ancient Minister. And Master Hand is the man behind him, and Tabuu is the man behind Master Hand.
Took a Level in Badass: In 3DS/Wii U, he still retains his slowness, but has gained quite a bit of flinch resistance, and his attacks now hit really hard, to the point that most other characters would need combos to achieve the same amount of damage.
Unskilled, but Strong: He doesn't really have much in the way of finesse, preferring to throw wild haymakers and such. Fridge Brilliance and Fridge Logic applies when you realize that he's known for his fencing abilities (there's nothing that says he has hand to hand experience), and also makes one wonder why he doesn't just use his sword (though, it could just be him wanting the challenge, or his pride getting in the way of pragmatism).
One of the original legendary Pokémon. Mewtwo is a man-made clone of fellow legendary Pokémon Mew, who has mastery of psychic power that is nearly unrivaled. It also has the honor of being the first DLC character in the series.
Awesome but Impractical: Its moves may be awkward and ineffective, but the animations are awesome. For example, its dash attack with the Beam Sword has the sword spinning in front of it.
Badass: The original legendary and one of the most powerful Pokémon of all, but its playstyle in Melee is difficult to use and relies on spamming to be effective.
Badass Boast: One of its Japanese victory quotes roughly translates to "No one can defeat me".
The Bus Came Back: Mewtwo comes back in 3DS/Wii U, available as a free download for those who registered both games during a promotional period.
Casting a Shadow: Shadow Ball and many other moves with the same dark purple after effects as Ganondorf.
Composite Character: Its portrayal in Melee takes several cues from the Japanese version of Pokémon: The First Movie. Its trophy description in 3DS/Wii U also characterizes it with a similar personality/background to the movie (especially in Japanese), while its Downloadable Content character model more closely resembles the movie's Mewtwo than its model in Pokémon X and Y does, with fiercer, more angular eyes and a flatter chestplate.
Demoted to Extra: Reduced to a trophy in Brawl, though it was closer to being finished than any of the other scrapped characters. As of 3DS/Wii U, it is only a trophy in the initial release, but is available as Downloadable Content.
Downloadable Content: In 3DS/Wii U. Available for free for those who registered both versions by March 31, 2015, and also released as paid DLC.
Evil Laugh: In its taunt and English victory poses.
Glass Cannon: It hits hard, with some of the strongest throws in Melee, but has poor endurance that combines with its 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 700 Melees, or 20 hours worth of them to unlock it in Melee. Although the latter can be shortened to five hours when four people are playing, and the former can be shortened by just playing a bunch of one-stock matches against low-level and handicaped CPUs.
Mind over Matter: Its telekinetic lift. Also, it never comes into contact with any of the items it picks up, nor does it touch the ground while moving around.
No Biological Sex: Technically genderless, but has a masculine voice and personality. The Japanese version of the fourth game also refers to it with masculine pronouns in its trophy description.
Olympus Mons: Incredibly powerful, but a man-made clone of Mew, not anything related to mythology. Though the games occasionally describe this as Mew "giving birth" to Mewtwo, but it's unknown how literally this is meant to be taken.
Like Bowser and King Dedede, it was meant to be in Super Smash Bros. on the N64, but the lack of time and budget prevented it from happening. It was introduced instead in Melee.
It was slated to be a player character for Brawl, according to unused resources in the game's data. It eventually returned for 3DS/Wii U as DLC.
Secret Character: To unlock in Melee, play a total of 20 hours on VS. Mode,note This is 20 hours cumulative, not consecutive. The amount of time is also divided by the number of players; 20 hours for one player, 10 hours for two players, 6 hours and 40 minutes for three players, and 5 hours for four players or fight in 700 VS. Matches.
Unexpected Character: After its absence in Brawl and the roster for the 3DS version, people were beginning to think that it would be gone for good in spite of the noticeable fan support for the character. However, it was then announced that it would return as Downloadable Content in Spring 2015.
"It was a difficult fight." (translated from Japanese)
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).
The Cameo: Marth has a palette swap based on him in 3DS/Wii U, minus the red hair.
Charged Attack: Flare Blade, similar to Marth's Shield Breaker. Fully charged, it is a One-Hit KO, deals recoil damage, and causes an explosion.
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.
Art Evolution: In 3DS/Wii U, he was redrawn to generally be less rigid and cuter, with new, quirkier animations more closely matching the original LCD cels.
Badass Adorable: He's a stick-figure-like silhouette with a bulging nose and is 2D, but he can kick butt with the best of them.
Bait and Switch: Many new players will be wondering who he could be and what he could look like when they get his Challenger Approaching Screen... Only to realize that he is a silhouette!
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.
Canon Immigrant: His Melee design was officially used in Game & Watch Gallery 4, released a year after Melee.
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, while nine is a One Hit KO under normal circumstances.
Drop the Hammer: His down smash, his on the ground recovery attack and his Judgment special.
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. note 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.
Eyeless Face: A rare, non-creepy example, which comes justified as he completely lacks other features.
Fighting Clown: Smacking people with whatever you can get your hands on is passable, but it crosses into ridiculous extremes when you can weaponize stuff like juggling and sausages.
Final Boss: Melee's All-Star Mode concludes with a throwdown against 25 Mr. Game & Watches, and his unlock method always made him the last to be revealed no matter what, requiring all 24 of the other characters. In U's All-Star Mode, the order of fighters you battle through is reversed from the 3DS version, and since he's the first character you fight in that mode (when unlocked), he's once again fought last.
Flat Character: Pun notwithstanding, given that he's a character pulled from a series of simplistic LCD handhelds, he doesn't have much of a personality. The little he gets in Brawl's cinematics labels him as a True Neutral at best.
Glass Cannon: He is the second lightest characters in all of the games he appears in (beaten only by Pichu in Melee and Jigglypuff in Brawl and 3DS/Wii U), but has powerful aerials, some of the strongest smash attacks, and two special moves that can potentially KO someone at 0%.
Humanoid Abomination: It is suggested that he is composed of some primordial substance that can be created to make anything—for this reason, his body was used to create the SubspaceArmy. He is a 2-dimensional character in a 3-d world. He doesn't move like other characters do, instead jerkily twitching from one sprite to another. He has no understanding of good or evil, which is why he helped produce the Subspace Army and why he betrayed them to join the heroes.
Limit Break: Turns into the Octopus from the Game & Watch game of the same name. Mostly attacks by extending his tentacles.
Limited Animation: A signature trait of the character, acting as a Call Back to the LCD movement of the original Game & Watches. Due to such, it can be tougher to telegraph his attacks compared to others; he doesn't fluidly attack like every other character, he simply "twitches" from one sprite to the next.
My Master, Right or Wrong: Was the only person serving the Tabuu-controlled Master Hand who wasn't inherently "bad". One must wonder what Peach told him to get him to fight against said "Master".
Nerf: Of the characters that were nerfed between Brawl and 3DS/Wii U, he was hit the hardest besides Meta Knight. The ability to cancel momentum by using Oil Panic is gone, his range and damage have been severely reduced, and Oil Panic got another damage cap reduction. While he is still very competent in that he has much more mobility now and some of his weaker moves have been made useful, Brawl players might find him difficult to readjust to.
One-Hit Kill: If you get a "9" when using Judge, it will result in one of these even at ridiculously low percentages. For reference, in Brawl it will succeed on the heaviest targets if they have at least 13% damage.
One-Winged Angel: As mentioned above, his Final Smash turns him into a giant octopus.
Reference Overdosed: For a complete list as of Brawlsee here. So overdosed that he's one of the few characters without any animations or techniques unique to the Smash series. Everything he does is Shout-Out to a past game.
Retraux: He is designed to resemble the extremely choppy animations of the old LCD Game & Watch units.
Secret Character: In Melee, Brawl, and 3DS/Wii U. He becomes playable after the following conditions are met:
For Melee: Beat Classic Mode, Adventure Mode, or Target Test with all other characters; or fight in 1,000 VS. Battles.
For Brawl: Have him join you in The Subspace Emissary, beat Target Test with 30 characters on any difficulty, or fight in 250 brawls.
For 3DS: Beat Classic Mode with 10 different characters or play 90 matches in Smash.
For Wii U: Beat Classic Mode with 5 different characters or play 80 matches in Smash.
Spam Attack: Uses Stanley's gas sprayer as a standard A.
Unexpected Character: In large part because he wasn't technically a distinct character before Melee.
The Voiceless: Doesn't speak much, just makes weird sound effects.
Took a Level in Badass: 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 send flying off the screen anyone he dumps oil on after absorbing three strong projectiles.
Warm-Up Boss: Ironically faced first in Brawl's All-Star Mode, thanks to character series going in chronological order. He is also faced first in 3DS's All-Star Mode, once unlocked, albeit with PAC-Man and Mario.
Wolfpack Boss: His fight in Melee's All-Star mode is a fight against 25 of him.