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Adventure Mode (World of Light)

    Character Locations 
Several of the characters are found in interesting areas in World of Light:
  • Link is found at one of the Sheikah Towers.
  • Donkey Kong is resting in a small treehouse in the western jungle area.
  • Captain Falcon is found on a racetrack, and is surrounded by various racing spirits, including some from his own series.
  • Snake is locked away in a military base that'd fit in his series. He's also guarded by a Metal Gear REX, and the Cardboard Box can be found in a chest next to the both of them.
    • Mega Man is located just outside this facility, because storming enemy bases is something he does in practically every game (supported by Dr. Wily's Spirit being found inside the base). He's also being guarded by Sigma's Spirit.
  • The characters found in the central city are Inkling, who takes part in urban paintball warfare in what's clearly Moray Towers on the map, Wii Fit Trainer, who is exercising at the city's park, and Little Mac, who grew up in the Bronx and is in front of a stadium (he's also guarded by Mr. Sandman, the Final Boss of Punch-Out!! for Wii).
  • Ness is found on a giant pink cloud representing Magicant. To reach Ness, you have to defeat the Flying Men, who accompany Ness during his journey within Magicant.
  • Lucas is located in a small mountain village next to a foggy forest, just like Tazmily Village, his home.
  • Zero Suit Samus is somewhere in the volcanic area, because Lethal Lava Lands are such a staple of the Metroid series that the vast majority of its stages feature acid/magma hazards. In addition, you have to fight the Metroid spirit to get to her, possibly being a reference to the Metroid Hatchling from Metroid II: Return of Samus.
  • Pichu is the only Fighter you can find in the Power Plant, where most enemy Spirits are electric-themed. Pokémon Stadium 2 had a minigame where players controlled Pichu to power up a generator.
  • Bowser and Ganondorf are the final opponents of the Molten Fortress and the Sacred Land respectively, referencing their statuses as the usual Big Bads and Final Bosses of their respective series. In addition, Bowser must be defeated in his One-Winged Angel form of Giga Bowser to be unlocked, whereas Ganondorf must be defeated and unlocked before Ganon can be challenged.
  • Peach is stuck on a small platform in the Molten Fortress, a Bowser Castle-inspired area where the King of Koopas himself is recruited. She's a Damsel in Distress to the end... though a skilled player or dedicated Peach main can bust her out first and sic her on Giga Bowser.
  • Ryu is unlocked at the end of the World Tour, which consists of fights against the Street Fighter cast in their home countries.
  • King Dedede is found by doing well in the Gourmet Race minigame.
  • Diddy Kong is at the end of the DK Island sub-map, which is a recreation of the Kongo Jungle overworld of the first Donkey Kong Country, the game Diddy debuted in.
  • Pit, being an angel, is found in the Temple of Light, a holy area heavily inspired by his series.
    • Interestingly, Simon is located in this same area before Pit. This is either a nod to the Belmonts being devout Christian warriors or Simon and Pit being colleagues in Captain N: The Game Master.
  • Olimar is found in an area full of huge mushrooms that tower over a dark pit, which likely references how he would delve underground to obtain treasure for Hocotate Freight in the second Pikmin game.
  • Lucina is found next to some clockwork wreckage in the Dark Realm as a nod to her being a Time Traveller.
  • Young Link is in an area of Sacred Land that resembles The Lost Woods, and to access him, the player is required to have Saria's spirit.
  • Finding Zelda requires the player to complete a puzzle in an area that resembles Kakariko Village. Doing so will allow the player to face Impa, who is Zelda's guardian, as well as a known resident of Kakariko in some incarnations. Defeating Impa reveals Zelda's whereabouts.
  • Young Link, Zelda, and Ganondorf, the actual Triforce Wielders of the game (as Link from Breath of the Wild is not confirmed to have it, at least), all demand the player to employ their respective virtues in order to unlock them: Young Link requires Courage to brave through the The Lost Woods, Zelda requires Wisdom to solve the Kakariko puzzle, and Ganondorf requires Power to defeat the 4 or 5 Spirits guarding him in a place heavily reminiscent of the Pyramid of Power from A Link to the Past.
  • Sonic is found in the Sacred Land in front of the path to Cloud guarding the Master Sword. This might be a nod to how Sonic once wielded a sacred sword himself or how Sonic Lost World has a Zelda-themed DLC stage.
  • In the area of the Sacred Land unlocked after rescuing Young Link and Zelda, the player finds Cloud guarding the Master Sword. This could be a subtle reference to the decades-long rivalry between Final Fantasy VII and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
  • Wario being at Dracula's Castle might be a reference to his debut role in Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, where he takes over Mario's Castle for himself. This is supported by the Fighter that can be unlocked right before him (Daisy). Wario also had a Vampire form in Wario Land 3.
  • Richter can be found in Dracula's Castle by eliminating all evil monsters that block paths, and he appears right in Dracula's chamber, in-between the spaces for the Count himself and Alucard — seemingly a reference to his portrayal in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, and how Alucard had to solve all the mysteries of the castle in order to free him from Shaft's control.
  • Not too far from Richter is Robin. Robin is sometimes associated with darkness in some manner, whether it's the dark magic of their homeland of Plegia, or the blood of the fell dragon Grima that flows through their veins, either way, they fittingly show up in a dark place like Dracula's Castle. As a possible Casting Gag, male Robin and Richter share the same English voice actor.
  • King K. Rool can be found on a large wind and sail style ship in the Mysterious Dimension. The spirit guarding him is Risky Boots, referencing his time as a pirate.
  • R.O.B. is found next to a pile of electronic junk in the Mysterious Dimension. This could very well be a reference to the infamous New Mexico E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial cartridge landfill Urban Legend that derived from The Great Video Game Crash of 1983, with R.O.B. being often credited as the piece of hardware that managed to override the resulting anti-video-game stigma in America at the time.
  • Wolf is found on an abandoned airplane in the Mysterious Dimension which aligns with his dogfighting profession. The Spirit of Krystal is also nearby in the same plane, which might be a reference to her joining Star Wolf in Star Fox Command.
  • While Corrin isn't in an area related to him, the spirit that must be beaten to reach him is Azura.
  • Roy and Dark Samus are found in The Final Battle before the Hands can be fought. Roy's Binding Blade shines like the sun while Dark Samus's Phazon is very weak to light.
  • Palutena and Bayonetta are the last fighters to be obtained in the entire mode. They're found in The Final Battle, but only after defeating the Hands for the first time, called by Galeem and Dharkon respectively. Of course, Palutena would be the last fighter imprisoned by Galeem, since after all, she is the Goddess of Light, while Bayonetta uses various dark-related powers derived from demons and from the god of the human world. Ironically, Sakurai has stated that Palutena and Bayonetta could survive Galeem's initial onslaught due to them having easy access to other dimensions, but Kirby was picked to be the sole survivor because he's more beginner-friendly.
  • The Mii Fighters might seem to be scattered in random locations, but their placements make sense when you consider the other Mii-related stages found in Ultimate, turning them into Fridge Brilliance.
    • Mii Brawler, who is at the Sacred Realm (based on The Legend of Zelda), represents Find Mii/Streetpass Quest, a Fantasy Role-Playing Game from StreetPass Mii Plaza.
    • Mii Swordfighter is in a village loosely inspired by Animal Crossing. He represents Tomodachi Life, another social simulation game, and its stage of same name.
    • Mii Gunner is in the tropical island to the south of the map. She references Wuhu Island, from Wii Sports Resort.
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    World Map 
While most World of Light locations are nondescript yet inspired by the classic games, there are a handful that can be identified as specific locations from major universes.
  • On the overworld, some of the more clearly identifiable areas include Lumiose City, Magicant, and the Land of Morytha.
  • One of the dungeons forgoes all subtlety and is literally just Kongo Jungle from Donkey Kong Country. As in, the exact layout, just in hi-def.
  • In the same vein, the Dracula's Castle dungeon is an almost exact recreation of the level map from the original Castlevania, albeit more detailed. The areas even match up with where the levels are in the original game as well, with the Spirit battles corresponding to the enemies and bosses you would fight in each.
  • One World of Light dungeonnote  is a real world map where you fly from location to location via plane, similar to the between-round cutscenes in Street Fighter II that play after every victory, fighting Street Fighter spirits in their respective countries. Rounding out the entire dungeon is a fight against Sagat and then M. Bison, the Big Bads of the first two games.
  • The Sacred Land is named after the similar location from the Zelda games (known as the "Sacred Realm", where the Triforce resides). It is located in the Dark Realm (similar to the "Dark World" in A Link To The Past (which this area uses the theme of), the corrupted form of the Sacred Realm, what this area is meant to represent), and resembles a warped version of Hyrule that looks like giant Triforce, with Ganon's Castle in the middle, with the battle with Ganon taking place in the ruins of his castle, much like in Ocarina of Time.
  • A more general one : select the Pokémon Trainer and you control the Trainer on the map, moving him/her on the overworld and when a battle occurs, you control his/her Pokémon directly in the fight. This sounds very familiar to how a Pokémon main game is played.

    Other 
  • World of Light is written as 灯火の星 in Japanese. Spell it backwards, it becomes 星の火灯, an alternative writing for Kirby's series name in Japanese.note 
  • The cliff scene in World of Light has a very strong parallel to a cliff scene at a Japanese Mii Fighter Promo for the 3DS version of Smash. Even the roster from Mario's end is similar! It also appears to be the same cliff seen in the intro of Brawl and the ending to The Subspace Emissary.
  • Marx being the boss fight of the Mysterious Dimension, a location in space, is a nod to his role as the final boss of the "Milky Way Wishes" mode of Kirby Super Star.
  • The shopkeeper spirits all sell items based on their profession. Timmy and Tommy Nook sell item-like spirits that you'd expect a general goods store to have, Sheldon sells weapons as he did in back in Inkopolis, Anna sells warriors that would fit in next to the Einherjar cards she could sell you in Fire Emblem Fates, Funky Kong sells vehicles as he ran a boat and plane service, and Beedle sells primarily nature-related Spirits, as he was a bug collector in a few games.
  • The scene in the intro featuring Kirby dodging Galeem's beams of light is very similar to the scene of Kirby avoiding shots from several Destroyas in Kirby: Right Back at Ya!. Thankfully, Kirby does a better job of dodging this time as the latter were able to graze the Warp Star.

Classic Mode

    Classic Mode Paths 
Classic Mode is now custom-tailored to each character, playing differently for each one. Some even reference their own games!
  • Mega Man's Classic Mode in the Japanese version is named The Mystery of Dr. Mario, the subtitle for the Japanese name of Mega Man 2. The final battle is against Dr. Mario (as a stand-in for Dr. Wily) and Mewtwo, representing Wily's alien hologram as the final boss of Mega Man 2.
    • Mega Man's route also includes fighting copies of himself alongside the Yellow Devil on the Wily Fortress stage, referencing the Wily Fortress bosses of Mega Man 1 and 3 (the Devil and Copy Robot). And after that, Galleom is fought with Guts Man's theme replacing his own battle music, possibly referencing the Guts Tank from Mega Man 2.
  • On the topic of Dr. Mario, his own route pits him against various teams of three of the same character using their red, yellow, and blue color schemes, the same colors as the viruses he usually deals with. All the fights have remixes of Fever and Chill as their BGM, except for the second-to-last fight that instead features the theme of Dr. Mario's biggest rival in the genre: Tetris Type A. The penultimate fight also features a trio of Warios, referencing how Wario was the Big Bad of Dr. Mario 64.
  • Ryu's Classic Mode is a series of one-on-one Stamina battles with no items in Omega stages themed around Street Fighter charactersnote . In particular, the second round features Zero Suit Samus as a stand-in for Chun-Li, primarily because she's a girl in blue who kicks a lot, and in her casual wear too to reference Chun-Li's Street Fighter Alpha outfit. The battle against Incineroar references Zangief, due to both being wrestlers who share a spinning lariat movenote . The battle against Donkey Kong is a reference to Blanka, not so much with the electricity but more so the jungle aesthetic. The fight after the bonus stage (referencing the car bonus stage taking place after a couple fights) is against a giant Little Mac, referencing Balrog, the boxing character. And the penultimate fight is Meta Knight, referencing Vega, whose fighting style resembles flying through the air.
    • Not only that, his final fight against Master Hand and Crazy Hand references Bison's hands in this artwork, thus the choice in music for the fight. It also references the final fight in Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie where Ryu and Ken fight Bison.
  • Ken's Classic Mode, in a nod to him being The Rival to Ryu, has him fight his other "rival" counterparts from other games, such as Dark Pit, Dark Samus, and Wolf — all of whom share elements of the movesets possessed by their own rivals. His penultimate fight is against Ryu himself, who served as his Final Boss in the first two Street Fighter Alpha games, while his final battle on less intense difficulties is against Crazy Hand by himself.
  • Sonic's Classic Mode is themed around Sonic games, going in chronological order from Fox on Green Hill Zone representing Tails to Incineroar on Windy Hill representing Zavok. The Captain Falcon fight is meant to invoke Sonic R, a giant metal Sonic on Fourside represents Perfect Chaos, the blue, yellow, and red Kirbies reference the Speed, Flight, and Power teams from Sonic Heroes (with the Halberd representing Final Fortress), and the Sheik fight invokes Sonic and the Secret Rings.
  • Samus's Classic Mode starts out with her hunting a couple bounties before moving onto K. Rool on Brinstar, referencing Fake Kraid. From there, she shows up in Brinstar Depths to fight several R.O.B.s that are defending the real Kraid, before proceeding to fight a Giant Ridley, and then Dark Samus as a penultimate opponent.
  • One of Pikachu's battles is against two Pichu, with one of them being the Spiky-Ear skin. Melee had a similar reference to the Pichu Brothers in one of the Events.
  • Mario's storyline (as well as Captain Falcon's) ends with a faceoff with Bowser, who turns into Giga Bowser for round 2 when you defeat him. Melee's Adventure Mode did the same thing given the right conditions.
  • As if to respond in kind, Bowser's final boss is Mario. Metal Mario also appears after the regular Mario is defeated.
  • Jigglypuff's battles are all Smash 64 characters and references to the very first Classic Mode. The first fight is against Link, most of the stages were on the N64 game, Master Hand's original battle theme plays when you battle the four unlockable characters of that game, and your final opponent is a Giant Donkey Kong, a noted opponent from the original game.
  • Simon's fourth battle is a fight against a blue Charizard and a green Dedede, referencing the monsters Gaibon and Slogra, who appeared as a Dual Boss in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.
    • In Simon's penultimate battle, you have to fight Richter, referencing his fight in Symphony of the Night where you fight a possessed Richter as Alucard. It's also a nod to Richter being the Disc-One Final Boss; killing him ended the game prematurely, and only by breaking Shaft's control over him by exploring more of the castle and finding the proper equipment would Alucard be able to continue. It could also be a reference to the battle against the Whip's Memory in Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, which took Richter's form.
  • The final battle against Dracula has different music depending on who faces him. Simon and Luigi's battles use "Nothing to Lose" when facing his human form and "Black Night" when he transforms, just like the first Castlevania. Richter's uses "Dance of Illusions", the theme which played when he fights Dracula as the final boss of Rondo of Blood and as the opening stage of Symphony of the Night. As a nod to their shared retro heritage, Pac-Man's version uses the original mix of "Dwelling of Doom" from Simon's Quest.
  • Both Luigi and Pac-Man also have Dracula as their Final Boss in Classic Mode because, much like the Belmont Clan, both Luigi and Pac-Man are known for fighting undead, specifically ghosts. Additionally for Pac-Man, Dracula closest resembles a villain like Mesmaron or the Ghost Witch of Netor as the four Ghosts Pac-Man is known to regularly contend with tend to serve as a Quirky Miniboss Squad in anything that isn't a Maze Game. Dracula may be the archnemesis of the Belmont Clan, but he is just another of a myriad of one-off ghost-commanding main villains for Pac-Man. In Luigi's case, he may also be a reference to Antasma, an anti-Luigi villain who possesses many vampire aspects.
  • The fights in Pac-Man's Classic Mode all use the oldest non-remixed music tracks from the opponent's home series. Since Duck Hunt had no music during actual gameplay, the fight against Duck Hunt doesn't have any BGM at all.
  • Roy's Classic Mode has him fighting every character that uses swords... but not just any type of sword — legendary swords. It's why Roy doesn't fight Robin, Young Link, or the Mii Swordfighter, as they all use generic swords, and while Toon Link isn't included either, Link represents all Links that have held the Master Sword. It's also a reference to his own game as Roy must have all of the Divine Weapons in order to advance to the true ending.
  • Corrin's Classic Mode is an obvious reference to the struggle between Nohr and Hoshido. In particular, there are three fights to note, two of them have your Corrin fight with each side while another Corrin fights on the other, directly referencing the cover of Fates. But one fight has you fight against six Mr. Game and Watches, half of them black and the others white. This refers to Revelations Chapter 6 in which Corrin, in an attempt to stop the fighting between both sides, decides to take out generic units on each side to get their attention.
  • Pit's Classic Mode has several references to Kid Icarus: Uprising, such as fighting against Palutena in Skyworld with Dark Pit on your team, in reference to how the two teamed up when Palutena was possessed by the Chaos Kin. Pit also has to fight Bayonetta, referencing how most of the enemies in her games are angels, although it could also be putting Bayonetta as either Medusa or Hades.
  • Snake's Classic Mode is named "Weapons and Equipment OSP", a reference to a famous line from the opening of Metal Gear Solid. The only items that can spawn throughout the run (aside from the Smash Ball) are varying types of explosives and firearms, also a nod to Snake's profession. The penultimate fight is a Mirror Match against another Snake as a reference to Liquid Snake and Big Boss, and the final match has Galleom as a stand-in for a Metal Gear.
  • Having Marth (but not the other Fire Emblem characters) have Rathalos as his boss fight isn't just a reference to the final battle of the original Fire Emblem. In Monster Hunter Generations, you were able to get armor to let you appear as Marth if you fought a Hyper Silver Rathalos.
  • Mewtwo's Classic Mode, "Psychic Control", has him fight characters and then adopt (one of) them as his thrall of sorts for the following match, and all of them were shown to be under similar control in their own media. Lucas acts as a stand-in for Claus, Cloud spent a good amount of time of Final Fantasy VII under Sephiroth's influence, Ken was brainwashed in Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie, Richter was controlled by Shaft in Symphony of the Night, Pit had his body controlled by the Chaos Kin in Palutena's own body during Kid Icarus: Uprising, and finally he brings capped Pikachu to the final boss, harkening to the first Pokémon movie and possibly an episode of the anime where Ash was possessed.
  • Toon Link's Classic mode is all team fights (with the exception of the final boss), and you always have a red and blue pair of Toon Links on your team, referencing Tri-Force Heroes.
  • The Pokémon Trainer's Classic Mode is a recreation of the Pokémon series. You start by fighting through Pikachu, Jigglypuff, Lucario, and Pichu, referencing the wild Pokémon throughout the series. The penultimate fight is a Mirror Match against another Pokémon Trainer, simulating a Trainer battle. The final boss is Mewtwo, who in Pokémon Red and Blue was only able to be battled after clearing the rest of the game.
  • Bayonetta's Classic Mode campaign is named "A Requiem of Fallen Wings", named after the endgame Chapter "Requiem" of the first Bayonetta, and has her fight various foes who have wings as a nod to the Angels that she regularly fights. As a reference to Jubileus, the Final Boss of the first Bayonetta, Bayonetta's final opponent is fellow goddess of light Palutena in Giant form.
  • Shulk's Classic Mode has him fight opponents based on each of his Monado Arts; Falco for Jump, Sonic for Speed, King K. Rool for Shield, Cloud for Buster, and Little Mac for Smash. The final opponent is Mega Man as a stand-in for Metal Face, or as a reference to the “Machine” symbol used for the Enchant Art mentioned in the Japanese name of the route.
  • Duck Hunt's Classic Mode is themed around hunting, with all of the opponents being animals, as well as a bunch of Mii Fighters in animal costumes. The final boss is the ultimate prey from another game themed around hunting; Rathalos from Monster Hunter.
  • Diddy Kong's Classic Mode is titled "Hey, Little Buddy!", which Donkey Kong often called him in the Donkey Kong Country TV show. In his path, Diddy acts as the sidekick to various other characters and helps them beat their rivals.
  • Cloud is notable for his motion sickness, thus all of his stages are stages with a moving vehicle. The first stage is Spirit Train, which references the opening of Final Fantasy VII, where Cloud jumps off a train when he appears for the very first time, and later jumps back onto one to escape Shinra infantrymen after bombing the Mako Reactor. The third stage being the Halberd stage could also be a reference to the Highwind, as both are airships, and Big Blue could also count as a nod towards the much beloved motorcycle minigame.
  • While Ike's Classic Mode is simply attempting to defeat black-clad opponents in reference to his rivalry with the Black Knight, the battle against a team including Sonic is set to "Knight of the Wind", the main theme from Sonic and the Black Knight.
  • As Palutena is a goddess herself, her Classic Mode is about facing protagonists from series where religion or mythology play a key role. Link and Zelda due to the divine nature of the Triforce and various deities existing in their series, as well as Zelda being the reincarnation of a goddess. Cloud as Final Fantasy as a whole has many divinities and could be a reference to once being chosen to be the warrior of a goddess and the music playing is Magnus Theme, suggesting that Cloud is also meant to be Magnus from Kid Icarus: Uprising. Simon and Richter due to the Belmont clan being made of devoted Christians that use holy equipment against the undead. Shulk since the final antagonist of his game is a god and he became one himself briefly. Bayonetta hunts angels to feed their souls to Underworld demons. Lastly, her series is represented by fighting a horde of Pits and Dark Pits in her own temple.
  • Robin’s route has them mainly fight teams of two, each containing a character associated with fire and a character associated with thunder, a reference to two of Robin’s tomes. However, their sixth round sees them face an opposite gender Robin, which references Awakening’s Big Bad, Grima, using a copy of Robin as their avatar. This also likely references Fire Emblem Warriors, where in its recreation of Awakening’s finale, female Robin acts as Grima’s avatar, in contrast to male Robin being the default.
    • It seems rather strange that Robin has to tackle these fights as a 1v2 setup, but because Smash Balls are active, Chrom is technically backing Robin up at any given point in time via Final Smash.
  • Chrom's route focuses almost entirely on two-on-two battles, with him teaming up with either Lucina or Robin for each match, referencing Awakening's theme of The Power of Friendship and the Pair Up system. The exception is the first match, a solo battle against Lucina herself, which references their duel during Chapter 4 of Awakening.
    • The route's name, "Fight As One", comes from something Chrom can say if he is the supporting unit in a Pair Up in Awakening. However, the Japanese name of the route, "Is it fate, or a bond?", comes from the Japanese name of the Premonition and Chapter 23 of Awakening, known in English as "Invisible Ties".
  • Wolf's route is a big rematch against every character that was missing from Smash for 3DS / Wii U returning back in Ultimate: Young Link, Pichu, Squirtle and Ivysaur, Snake, and Ice Climbers. The boss is Galleom, an original boss to Smash Bros. who also has returned in kind.
  • Piranha Plant's route haves it fight all the characters that were added in the main Ultimate game: First a team of Inklings, then Ridley and Dark Samus, King K. Rool and Chrom, Simon and Richter, Isabelle and Daisy and Ken and Incineroar. The final boss is Rathalos, who was also introduced first in Ultimate.
  • Incineroar's entire path takes place on Boxing Ring to better emulate his pro wrestling themes. In addition, every character fought is a heavy character with a special grapple move. Morton and Ludwig are the exception though they and the Master Hand and Crazy Hand battles are meant to be a reference to both Tag-Team Wrestling and Double Battles from Pokemon Generation 3 onward (Gen 3 noteworthy of having no playable Smash representative). Incineroar's partner for both fights is Greninja, a fellow dark type Pokemon and the only other Mon to have made its debut on the 3DS.
  • All of Lucas's female opponents are mothers or motherly figures, in reference to Lucas's Missing Mom. Giant Palutena may also reference Queen Mary of Earthbound Beginnings. His final opponent before Master Hand & Crazy Hand is Mewtwo, who's a stand in for Giygas/Giegue, another feline/fetus-looking monster with unmatched Psychic Powers. Lucas was also revealed for Smash 4 right after Mewtwo, giving the two another connection.
  • Ness' Classic Mode, "Home to Onett!" is basically the events of Earthbound in reverse. It starts off in Magicant with a battle against another Ness, similar to how Ness fought his Nightmare in his Magicant. His next battle is against Lucas in New Pork City, which might actually be a reverse reference, in that Lucas can find a movie of Ness and his friends in New Pork City in MOTHER3. He then moves to Fourside to fight 3 R.O.B.s, a nod to how he had to fight security robots in the Monotoli tower who bear a striking resemblance. He moves on to fight Sheik in Gerudo Valley, a stand-in for the Dusty Dunes Desert area between Fourside and Threed. The next battle is against two Dark Toon Links in Luigi's Mansion, referencing the zombies of the dark (at first) Threed. In addition, Jeff is the only Assist Trophy that can be summoned here, since Jeff was recruited into the party here. He finally arrives at his hometown Onett in the sixth battle against Villager and Isabelle. This might be a reference to how dogs were among the first enemies Ness fought and the mayor is a questionable individual. Starmen are the only Assist Trophies that will appear here, a nod to how late in the game, they took over Onett. In Japanese, the name of this route references Ness' homesickness, a condition he would get in his game if he did not speak to his mother for a long period of time.
  • All of Joker's opponents are in their dark color palate, hence the name of his route, "Shadows". In addition, his Classic route is shown to be the antithesis of Mewtwo's route where while Mewtwo mind control's one of his opponent's to fight for him, Joker instead purifies and recruits the opponent, the next round will have the opponent in their lightest color, similar to how Joker recruits Shadows in Persona 5. The penultimate opponent is a dark Incineroar seemingly meant to represent Samael, the Shadow of Masayoshi Shido most known for being a Bare-Fisted Monk. In addition, the final fight between Master Hand and Crazy Hand is fought on Omega Mementos, similar to how Mementos served as the final dungeon in Persona 5. As the music chosen is Our Beginning, this could also serve as a reference to Yaldabaoth's fight in particular, as one of the standout features of his design are his two golden-gloved hands. Not to mention the hands and Joker share the same voice actor in English versions.
    • The only stage in the path that isn't set on Mementos is the second round where a Giant Kirby is fought on Kalos Pokemon League, a clear analogy for the blue colored Velvet Room. Kirby's Meta Knight color's bear a resemblance to the persona Black Frost and his blue coloring in the next stage is likely a reference to Jack Frost, the mascot of Atlus.
    • Stage 3 is set on the Persona 3 variation of Mementos, and features a fight against Samus and Dark Samus. This seems like a shout-out to anti-shadow weapon Aigis, the mascot of Persona 3, and her "sister" Metis, who is featured in "The Answer" epilogue. This is lent more credence when one considers the fact that Metis is Aigis' shadow, in a similar way that Dark Samus is a Phazon clone of Samus.
    • Stage 4 features a fight against the masked Meta Knight while Beneath the Mask plays.
    • Stage 5 is set on the Persona 4 variation of Mementos. The opponents are three Dark Links, reflecting Persona 4's theme of "facing oneself". In addition, Dark Link becoming Fierce Deity in the next round is most likely a reference to Yu's ultimate Persona, Izanagi-no-Okami.
  • The Hero's Classic Path consists almost entirely of Dragon Quest shoutouts:
    • All of the fights, save the final battle, are Stamina battles, referencing the HP mechanics of the original genre.
    • The first battle is against three blue Kirbies and a red one, representing the iconic Slimes of the franchise.
    • The fourth battle is a surprisingly early battle against Rathalos - it wouldn't be Dragon Quest if you weren't slaying at least one dragon.
    • The Dragon Quest VIII hero is accompanied by a small Pikachu, representing his pet mouse Munchie.
    • The final battle is against Robin in a normal smash battle, which would normally seem to be an unusual choice. However, once he is defeated, he is replaced by a giant purple Charizard, and it becomes clear that they are intended to be both forms of the Dragonlord from Dragon Quest I, including the powerful yet cartoony nature of his dragon form.
  • Banjo & Kazooie's Classic Path isn't interesting in terms of characters, since they're simply duos that work together, but the stages are direct references to various areas from Banjo-Kazooie to match the soundtrack. Spiral Mountain represents itself, Tortimer Island represents Treasure Trove Cove, Summit represents Freezeezy Peak, Mushroomy Kingdom represents Gobi's Valley, and Luigi's Mansion represents Mad Monster Mansion. The first fight with Duck Hunt May be a reference to Banjo and Kazooie themselves, as they use their brown-and-red color.
    • The fourth battle has them fight against Link and Zelda while the fifth battle has them against Falco and Fox, a reference to the fact that both The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Star Fox 64 are games on the Nintendo 64, just like Banjo-Kazooie.
    • The last fight before the boss isn’t a Banjo-Kazooie reference at all. Instead, the fight is against Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong at Kongo Jungle, as the main theme from Donkey Kong Country Returns plays. This instead plays into the fact that Donkey Kong Country is another franchise started by Rare. Perhaps the Kongs are celebrating Banjo and Kazooie returning to the spotlight, like they did in Returns.
  • Terry's Classic Path is just like The King of Fighters where Terry faces off against three characters in a team one fighter at a time in Stamina Mode. Like the teams in the game, each team he faces is a theme for each character (Mario, Peach, and Rosalina and Luma form a Super Mario Bros. team, Sonic, Mega Man, and Pac-Man form a guest fighter team, Ridley, Ganondorf, and Bayonetta form what Sakurai like to call Darkness Team, etc.). Each of the stages is either a flat stage or the Battlefield/Omega version of a stage.
    • The fight against the Kid Icarus cast plays music from the SNK arcade game Athena. Palutena is loosely based on the Greek goddess Athena (her name being derived from “Pallas Athena”), same as the titular character of the arcade game.
    • The battle against Sonic, Mega Man, and Pac-Man not only references The King of Fighters, but these 3 characters all had games on the Neo Geo Pocket.
    • The battle against Ridley, Ganondorf and Bayonetta is set on Geese Tower with "Soy Sauce for Geese" playing, referencing Geese Howard himself in a similar manner to his Spirit battle.
    • The final battle is a team of all three fighting game characters (Ryu, Ken, and Terry) also referencing their own crossover games, the Capcom VS SNK series.
  • Several characters' "Congratulations" images contain some references of their own:
    • Kirby's "Congratulations" image shows Kirby riding a Warp Star with seven other Kirbys trailing behind in a similar vein to the post-World 1 cutscene in Kirby Mass Attack.
    • Ken's image shows him and Ryu beating up on Kapp'n's bus, to Isabelle's shock and dismay. This is a reference to one of the bonus stages from Street Fighter II (and by extension, Final Fight), where the player had to beat up and destroy a car, after which the car's owner would come in and exclaim a Big "OMG!".
    • R.O.B.'s image shows R.O.B. being carried away by Pikmin led by Alph. In Pikmin 2, you could find the head of a R.O.B. as a Treasure entitled "Remembered Old Buddy". It could also be referencing Olimar's disastrous battle with a gigantic R.O.B. in his Subspace Emissary introduction.
    • Mr. Game and Watch's End Credits image shows a pair of G&W's performing the Judgement side special, with the numbers landing on "3" and "9". The Game and Watch system was conceived by Gunpei Yokoi in 1979, thirty-nine years before Smash Ultimate's release.
    • Cloud's image shows him charging towards Bahamut ZERO, a possible reference to the party's fight against Bahamut SIN in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children.
    • Wolf's image shows him sitting casually yet awkwardly next to Fox; a reference to the Corneria mission in Star Fox: Assault, during which they teamed up and had a similar chat after the mission was over.
  • At the end of the Minigame Credits, the Bandai Namco, Sora Ltd., and Nintendo logos scroll down from the top of the screen. Shooting the Nintendo logo produces the Game Boy startup jingle, in reference to the Game Boy's startup screen where the Nintendo logo scrolls down from the top.
  • The right end of the Classic Mode mural depicts what looks like the shadow monster seen in For Wii U/3DS's difficulty selection, when the latter game is at the highest difficulty. It also shows Mario making a leap at the monster, much like the 3DS image representing the Intensity of 9.0.

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Miscellaneous

  • During the Assist Trophies montage on the November 1, 2018 Final Direct, Akira (in his blocky glory from the first Virtua Fighter) fights Zero Suit Samus in her casual clothes and Wolf. The former's specific color scheme resembles Sarah Bryant, another fighter of the series. The latter has a similar namesake — Wolf Hawkfield.
    • During the Mii Costume showcase in the same direct, a Mii in a Chibi-Robo! costume is seen fighting a horde of black Kirbys on Distant Planet, a reference to the Smoglings from Chibi-Robo: Park Patrol.
  • Yoshi's Final Smash is based on the Yoshi stampede cutscene from Melee. It's also a nod to his Paper counterpart's strongest attack, "Stampede".
  • The Rathalos boss fight simulates aspects of fighting it in Monster Hunter using Smash item stand-ins:
    • Using a Pitfall on Rathalos simulates the effect of a Monster Hunter Pitfall Trap. Upon falling into the trap, attacking its back will play an additional animation showing a part break on Rathalos' back, in reference to his back being very easy to break and a prime target when he is buried in his home game.
    • Landing a headshot with a Deku Nut knocks Rathalos out of the sky and stuns it, just like Monster Hunter Flash Pods.
    • While Rathalos' tail can't be severed in Smash, dealing enough damage to the tail will cause a Barrel item to drop from it. The Barrel contains nothing and explodes on impact when thrown, making it a clear reference to the Barrel Bomb item from throughout the Monster Hunter games.
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  • The PSI attacks of Ness and Lucas have had their graphics updated; they now bear the geometric shape patterns that appear when PSI is used in the original Mother games.
  • Pikachu's pose is identical to its Generation III sprites.
  • When Donkey Kong's playing well, the crowd chants the chorus of The DK Rap.
  • During the Palutena's Guidance for Simon, Pit says he recognizes Simon Belmont because they "hit the scene around the same time", which, while likely referring to how their games released in the same year, could also be a reference to that one TV show they both appeared in.
  • The Special Smash picture shows several characters under the effects of Custom Smash item settings. Pac-Man is metal, bringing Pac-Man World to mind, where Pac could become metal via use of the Chrome Ball powerup.
  • Piranha Plant's Palutena's Guidance is perhaps one of the funniest and most extreme examples of Mythology Gag the Smash series has ever had: the exact moment Pit notes he's against Piranha Plant, Viridi goes absolutely nuts and rattles off almost every major Piranha Plant species that was ever made! This includes varieties that were from games you wouldn't expect to be referenced, like Megasmilax from Super Mario RPG and Petea Piranha from Paper Mario: Color Splash.
  • Leo and Xander are attack (red) spirits, Camilla is a grab (green) spirit, and Elise is a support (colorless) spirit, exactly the same as their unit types in Fire Emblem Heroes.
  • One of the Challenge Board pictures is Cloud holding Zelda above water; this references Aerith's death from his home game, specifically him laying Aerith's body to rest in the waters of the Forgotten Capital.
  • Another Challenge Board picture is of Snake kneeling in front of a particular scene: Bayonetta leaning over Zero Suit Samus' unconscious body, likely recreating Otacon crying over Sniper Wolf's death in Metal Gear Solid.
  • The Boxing Ring stage now has a special visual shader, which saturates the colours of the characters, giving them a more cartoony look, simulating the visual style of the Wii release of Punch-Out!!.
  • The taunt messages for Online battles include ones that are based on series, including messages that aren’t even in Smash.
  • Mixed with Freeze-Frame Bonus, one of the props that the Nook family toss into the Town Hall during Isabelle's Final Smash is a framed photo of K.K. Slider, who Isabelle has stated she's a fan of.
  • The Mii Costumes based on Persona characters was released alongside Mii Costumes of Tails and Knuckles from Sonic the Hedgehog. While both series are owned under SEGA, they have a connection within their respective titles; DLC for Sonic Forces included a Joker costume for the Custom Character, and DLC for Persona 5: Dancing Star Night included a Sonic costume for Morgana.
  • Mementos as it appears in Smash has many visual references to aspects of the original Persona 5.
    • The background of the stage is taken directly from the map of the original Mementos.
    • Pink puddle splashes appear as characters step on the floor, exactly like in the dungeon Palaces.
    • The stage's main platform has the same star and dazzle camouflage patterns from the main menus.
    • One of the floating platforms has a TV screen showing Morgana running as he appears in the game's intro. In the Persona 4 version of Mementos, the screen instead displays the TV from that game's loading screen which has the graphic of Teddie dancing.
    • The portals that the trains and the Morgana bus travel through are taken from the red ripple transitions that occur whenever the Metaverse is accessed. It's also identical to the portal created in Madarame's Palace by Ann who used her MetaNav to spirit her and Yusuke away after an encounter with Madarame.
  • Banjo-Kazooie's reveal trailer features K. Rool getting beat up by the Jinjonator and then falling off a cliff, creating an Impact Silhouette in the ground and then getting buried under a boulder, much like what happened to Gruntilda at the end of their first game.
    • Their association with the DK characters comes from the fact that the first three Donkey Kong Country games (and 64) and Banjo-Kazooie were both developed by Rare (something alluded to in the duo's splash text), not to mention Banjo's early history as a spinoff character.
    • Kazooie is briefly shown tossing a grenade egg to Diddy, who in turn throws it at a giant Donkey Kong holding one of Pac-Man's oranges, a reference to Chimpy and Conga (the former's design being almost identical to Diddy's except for being naked).
    • The Jiggy pattern created at the end looks a lot like the loading screen from Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts. Their stock icon also resembles their pose on that game's boxart.
    • The ending sequence with Banjo sneaking towards an item being guarded by a giant sleeping Ivysaur is a possible reference to an early puzzle in Banjo-Tooie where he must slowly tiptoe to a Jiggy being guarded by Ssslumber, a giant sleeping snake.
    • The pose that Banjo makes (a peace sign) is a reference to the Japanese commercials of Banjo-Tooie, where he makes a peace sign multiple times.
  • The stage Spiral Mountain also contains some references in the background.
    • The main gimmick of the stage has it periodically rotate around the fighters, which is likely the best way to replicate the 3D platforming the series is famous for in a 2D game.
    • Banjo and Kazooie's house retains the design from Nuts & Bolts with the yellow trim, big hexagonal windows, being a standalone structure instead of being half-embedded in the cliff face and Banjo's name written on the door, except the house is in far better condition this time around (Nuts & Bolts retained the damaged look from Tooie).
    • Several uncollected items are scattered around the map such as empty honeycombs and extra lives displayed as a pre-rendered sprites of a gold statue rotating, one of which is hovering over Banjo's house, exactly where it was in the original game.
    • Bottles sometimes shows up at the top of Spiral Mountain in the background, around the same location where his molehill was in the original game.
    • Several locations which served as part of the tutorial provided by Bottles are recreated such as the tree stumps and the veggie garden.
  • The reveal trailer for Dragon Quest's Hero features him riding up to rescue Link as he fights a bunch of Puppet Fighters in a forest. This may be a reference to Final Fantasy. In the forest village of Elfheim, the player can find a grave-stone reading "Here lies Link"; a reference to the elf-like hero. The English localization of the NES version of that game changed the gravestone to read "Here lies Erdrick", which is a legendary title given to various heroes in the Dragon Quest series, including the hero of III, and the Luminary of XI. This gives Link and the Dragon Quest heroes a connection, and may be why Link and a forest setting were chosen for the trailer.
  • The Dragon Quest Mii costume showcase features a metal Mii wearing the Slime hat running away from Eleven.
  • For as short as it was, the reveal of Undertale's Sans Mii Gunner Costume was a treasure trove of references.
    • He's introduced staring directly at the viewer and with an all-black background save for the text of PictoChat underneath him, harkening to the game's battle system.
    • He nonchalantly dodges attacks by two Villagers, the first representing Frisk who uses a Stick while the latter representing Chara is equipped with a glowing red Killing Edge, which might not only reference the Real Knife but also its depiction in the Steam Trading card where the Real Knife is glowing red. Additionally in a Freeze-Frame Bonus, a plate of spaghetti is behind the first Villager as a reference to spaghetti being commonly associated with Sans's brother Papyrus and a hot dog behind the second Villager, referencing the hot dogs/cats Sans would momentarily sell in Hotland.
    • A Flowey-resembling Piranha Plant attacks him next, which he fends off with his Gaster Blaster. This is likely a reference to Flowey mentioning to Frisk in a repeated neutral ending that Sans was the reason why Flowey himself hasn't completed a Genocide route. A Fire Flower appears before Piranha Plant picks it up as it's a cutesy flower which Flowey also takes the guise of before he reveals his true colors. Coincidentally, it being a Fire Flower may also reference the fire attacks favoured by Toriel and Asgore, his parents when he was Asriel.
    • The two stages he's shown off on, Balloon Fight and Mario Bros., as well as the brief pan-around on 75m, all use a deliberately Retraux motif of pixel graphics, as Undertale itself does.
    • Balloon Fight and Mario Bros. in particular are the only two stages in the game with Wrap Around, calling back to Sans' ability to move offscreen to appear somewhere else he logically shouldn't.
    • In the line-up of the new Mii Fighters, the screenshot representing Sans and the Megalovania track has Sans on the Magicant stage. The song Megalovania first appeared in Toby Fox's Halloween Hack of Earthbound, which largely takes place inside Magicant.
  • Goemon's Mii Swordfighter costume features him running alongside Corrin, Pit, and Dr. Mario, each representing his allies Yae (the token girl), Sasuke (who wielded twin daggers similar to Pit's dual bladed weapons, and Ebisumaru (who is physically similar to Mario). The trailer gives him the light shuriken attack which resembles his coin throw attack (a similarity which is mentioned in the description for the costume on the eshop). He is later shown attacking Nabbit referencing the rabbit invaders.
  • Terry's trailer starts with the startup screen for the Neo Geo. It then parodies scenes from various SNK fighting game intros, including The King of Fighters, Samurai Shodown, and Fatal Fury Special, with the characters attempting to grab the Smash Bros invitation letter. It also features Geese's original death from Fatal Fury 1, as he dives off the tower to try and grab the letter.

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