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Video Game / Super Smash Bros. 64

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"Introducing: Super Smash Bros.! Where all your favorite characters go toe-to-toe in one 4-player STAR-STUDDED SLAM-FEST!"

During the late 1990s, a video game developer named Masahiro Sakurai wanted to make a four-player fighting game. With the blessing of Satoru Iwata, Sakurai spent his weekends at HAL Laboratory creating the framework for such a title, but came across a little problem: at the time, fighting games had flooded the gaming market, so if he wanted his project to stand out, it needed something unique.

To make a long story short, Sakurai threw various Nintendo characters into his prototype without telling the company, with Nintendo begrudgingly greenlighting development as a Japan-exclusive budget title following its presentation, believing the title to be doomed to limited success. It wasn't. Due to its unexpected success, Nintendo decided to give the game an international release, from which it only garnered further popularity, setting the stage for the IP developing into one of the biggest fighting game franchises in the mainstream eye since Street Fighter.

Super Smash Bros.note  is a 1999 Mascot/Platform Fighter video game developed by HAL Laboratory and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo 64. It's the first game in the Super Smash Bros. series, and as such, is the simplest and most modestly-intended entry in the franchise, having only 12 fighters, 9 stages, no side specials, and a set Classic mode (here called 1P Game) reminiscent of single-player modes in more conventional fighting games.

Its Japanese website can be found here, and the English website is archived here.

Playable Roster:

Note: Bold denotes unlockable characters.


Note: Bold denotes the unlockable stage.


  • Kirby: Maxim Tomato, Star Rod
  • The Legend of Zelda: Heart Container
  • Pokémon: Poké Ball
    • Pokémon that can spawn include: Charizard, Blastoise, Clefairy, Chansey, Goldeen, Snorlax, Mew, Beedrill, Meowth, Onix, Hitmonlee, Koffing, Starmie
  • Super Mario Bros.: Bob-omb, Fire Flower, Green Shell, Red Shell, Super Star
  • Super Smash Bros.: Barrel, Beam Sword, Bumper, Capsule, Crate, Fan, Home-Run Bat, Motion-Sensor Bombnote , Ray Gun

This game provides examples of:

  • A.I. Breaker:
    • You can defeat Pikachu on Story Mode without even touching him by just jumping around the tower on the right, causing Pikachu to Quick Attack himself off of the platform.
    • It's also possible to do something similar with Fox: stand near the nose of the Great Fox and wait for him to charge you, then jump over him. Fox will be unable to recover, and will either fall off the screen or land on the Great Fox's lasers, at which point it's only a matter of time before the lasers fire and he asplodes.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: The fight against Master Hand takes place on a single, flat platform before a swirling void. The fight with him in Melee starts in the same spot ("Final Destination") but then warps out of there, eventually flying over a sun-lit field. The in-game explanation is that as the fight goes on, it transfers to the "real" world.
  • Armored But Frail: Metal Mario is so heavy that he often can't be knocked off the stage until he's taken well over 200% damage. However, he is almost completely unable to recover once he does get to that point because his weight also makes him the fastest-falling character in the entire series. If he's off once, he's finished. His home stagenote  has disproportionately huge K.O. boundaries compared to the tiny stage size because otherwise he'd be out too fast to even attempt to come back.
  • Artificial Stupidity: The A.I. will do nothing offstage to defend themselves or evade edge-guarders (excusable because air-dodging does not exist), and if hit during their recovery, they will just fall instead of trying to use their recovery again.
  • Asset Actor: A much lesser degree than other entries in the series, but Captain Falcon and Ness, not having their own Home Stages at the time, are fought on Planet Zebes and Dream Land respectively — the closest things to their original environments.
  • Attract Mode: The game, if left idle at the title screen for long enough, will eventually display a short video of the games' basic mechanics, called How to Play." At other times, it will show the first 15 to 20 seconds of a 4-player match played by the CPU.
  • Background Music Override: Training Mode plays its own theme during gameplay instead of the chosen stage's normal theme. Since this does not happen in later games, it can be attributed to Early-Installment Weirdness.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: No one has any problems breathing outside of the Great Fox in Sector Z or the chunk of debris above Planet Zebes. Justified for Samus as she's wearing her Varia Suit but the whole series' are Acceptable Breaks from Reality anyway.
  • The Big Guy: Donkey Kong's the physically largest in the cast, and the strongest. He's also the only one who can jump while carrying a crate.
  • Bittersweet Ending: So you've defeated the godlike Master Hand. You'd expect a triumphant score heralding your victory, right? Instead, the final results music is distorted and melancholy, and it ends with your character reverting to a lifeless doll as the camera pans away, ending with a closing door. What prevents this from being a Pyrrhic Victory is that the credits music is suitably congratulatory, ending with a special picture of your character as the announcer congratulates you.
  • Book Ends: Attempted, as the game's intro starts and Single Player Mode's ends as your characters as dolls inside a child's bedroom.
  • Bowdlerise: The Japanese version has more realistic "punch" impact sound effects for attacks. These were changed to more cartoony sound effects in the English versions to tone down the violence factor, though they can still be heard in the Sound Test menu in all regions.
  • The Cameo: You can find certain characters flying in the background of certain stages, most of them mooks.
    • A Lakitu note  flies up in Peach's Castle.
    • King Dedede or a few Bronto Burts show up flying in Dreamland.
    • Though far away, a Necky can be seen flying in the background of Congo Jungle.
    • Ridley or a Waver can occasionally be seen flying in space near Planet Zebes.
    • Propeller Shy Guys or Goonies fly by the Yoshi's Island stage.
    • Butterfree, Pidgey, Fearow, and Moltres fly in the background of Saffron City while a Porygon, Chansey Charmander, Electrode or Venusaur can show up in the foreground as potential stage hazards.
  • Cherry Tapping: Luigi is the only character in the game with a taunt that does damage, and even that only works at extremely close range under certain circumstances (e.g., while the opponent is hanging off the edge of a cliff) and does very little damage. Nevertheless, it is possible to finish off an opponent with his taunt, and this makes for a truly humiliating defeat.
  • Crossover-Exclusive Villain: Master Hand has been around in the Smash series since this game, being a boss unique to the series and appearing as the Final Boss in Classic Mode (known here as 1P Game). It eventually subverted the trope, when it and Crazy Hand appeared as guest bosses in Kirby & the Amazing Mirror (which is part of the Kirby franchise).
  • Damage-Sponge Boss: Metal Mario is intended to be this a he needs to take a lot of damage to start being thrown around. Though it's probably just as easy to try and trick him into falling off the stage.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Ness' highly nonstandard moveset is powerful and great for catching players off guard, but also very unwieldy, especially the recovery move. It isn't uncommon for an inexperienced Ness player to die from flubbing a PK Thunder recovery more than anything else.
  • Ditto Fighter: Clefairy, who randomly imitates another Pokémon. In Melee, this was changed to a set of random moves instead (though two are variations of Suicune's and Electrode's moves).
  • Door-Closes Ending: A variation. After defeating Master Hand on Classic, the camera zooms out to reveal the room from the title sequence, followed by the screen going black to the sound of a door shutting. Cue credits.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The game's intro shows the 4 secret characters of Luigi, Jigglypuff, Ness, and Captain Falcon shown in silhouette and appear when unlocked. Luigi, however, appears alongside Mario in Classic Mode (named "1P Game" back then) even if you haven't unlocked him.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • There is only a 12-character roster, with 4 unlockable, and they were all protagonists in their respective series (save for Jigglypuff and, to a certain extent, Pikachu). It was also the only game of the series with no Fire Emblem characters, as that series was still exclusively to Asia at the time.
    • There are also fewer stages to fight on, with only one stage unlockable. These stages also have simpler gimmicks, and the stage backgrounds are simply background images instead of being 3D-rendered.
    • Final Destination and Battlefield are in the game... in 1P Game only. They also have more "runic, ancient" kind of looks rather than their reincarnations in later installments (Final Destination got more of a high-tech look later with the universe as the backdrop, whereas Battlefield was changed to look similar to Final Destination in Melee but became more of a lush, green landscape in Brawl onwards). Battlefield is also referred to as "Duel Zone" by official media, although Final Destination keeps its name.
    • Items and minor characters such as Poké Ball summons and background characters are rendered as 2D sprites instead of 3D models.
    • Classic Mode is called "1P Game", and does not feature hidden bosses such as Crazy Hand. Master Hand also has 300 HP regardless of the difficulty setting. All of the opponents are also fixed, with the sole exception being whose power the last of the Kirby team copies. The congratulations pictures also aren't just screenshots of the game, but completely unique artworks.
    • Master Hand's design is also different from in later games. Instead of his wrist slowly fading into nothingness, it ends with a cuff, making it resemble Mario's glove.
    • Training Mode has its own music theme that overrides the normal stage themes, and replaces the backgrounds with the Smash logo.
    • The characters are supposed to be animated dolls instead of trophies.
    • The overall atmosphere of the game is small-scale and humble, resembling the imagination of a child playing with toys. Later games would go for an Epic Movie or Crisis Crossover feel.
    • Instead of a trophy gallery containing info on a majority of items, enemies, and other stuff across Nintendo's franchises, there are biographies of the playable fighters only.
    • The game lacks a lot of mechanics that became mainstays, such as air-dodging, sidestepping, side specialsTechnical note  and even Final Smashes.
    • Unlike future games, it was possible to accidentally KO yourself by touching the ceiling 'blast line' even at 0% damage if you were to jump away from an attacking opponent while off-screen. Since Melee and onward, you were only KO-ed if you were launched to the ceiling 'blast line' in a damaged state, or if you were standing on a platform that will launch vertically and off-screen.
    • The icons on the character select screen are pieces of previously existing stock artwork, rather than art created specifically for the game.
    • Matches take a while to start. There's a delay of a few seconds to show the entire stage before the 3-2-1 countdown begins.
    • This is the only game to have the Board The Platforms bonus game. Subsequent games have Break The Targets (though it was dropped in Ultimate) and Race To The Finish, but not BTP.
    • The game's menu theme is not its Leitmotif; it's the credits theme. Melee is often represented with its menu theme along with its opening music, while later games would have a main theme and a menu theme based on it. Additionally, the menu theme is minimalistic in composition, compared to the Orchestral Bombing found in later games.
    • Every music track is a custom arrangement for this game, all using the same soundfont, and all by a single composer (Hirokazu Ando). Future games would use large teams of composers as well as reuse many tracks from other games outright.
  • Evil Knockoff: The Fighting Polygon Team, a bunch of purple polyhedrons based on each of the 12 characters in the game, found in groups of 30 in the single player mode before Master Hand. Metal Mario and Giant Donkey Kong also appear as minibosses.
  • Final Boss: Of Single Player mode, Master Hand, starting the tradition.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: If you pause at the right time, you can see a silhouette of a suitless Samus whenever she gets shocked by Pikachu or other means of electricity.
  • Gainax Ending: The ending of 1P Game, following Master Hand's defeat, simply has your character drop on the table as a lifeless doll with melancholy music playing in the background, followed by a door closing. What this represents is left up to fan speculation.
  • Gratuitous English: Ness and Captain Falcon use gratuitous English when calling their attack names out.
  • Gusty Glade: Dream Land, which features the iconic tree boss from the Kirby (Whispy Woods) blowing periodically. The wind slowly pushes the fighters to the left edge of the stage, so they have to move right to avoid falling.
  • Home Stage: Having the smallest roster, every one of the starting charactersnote  have a stage from a game in their home series, explained above. With Mario getting a second unlockable one, commonly associated with Luigi.
  • Implacable Man: Metal Mario just keeps walking and attacking. It would take really high damage to make him flinch, but at the beginning he's too heavy to launch or properly throw. Luckily, he doesn't attack as often as the regular fighters.
  • Introductory Opening Credits: Variation; the intro cinematic shows the names of the eight default characters before cutting to scenes of them in action, one after another.
  • Jungle Japes: Donkey Kong's stage, Congo Jungle. It's a wooden stage within DK's home jungle with platforms hovering in a circular pattern. There are Barrel Cannons in the lower sides, which can help a character prevent falling down.
  • Lag Cancel: This game and Melee have a variation called smooth landing (nicknamed Z-Canceling in this game, and L-canceling in Melee due to the change in the control scheme), where most air moves can have their landed lag halved by shielding at the right time. This can make aerials much safer against block (and much more effective as combo tools) than they would otherwise be.
  • Level 1 Music Represents: The music for almost all of the playable stages is the first level music of the series' first game, or the theme most commonly associated with the series. Dream Land is the major exception; it uses the "Gourmet Race" theme from Kirby Super Star instead of the "Green Greens" music from Kirby's Dream Land.
  • Live-Action Cutscene: Smash 64 had an ad with real people in Mario, Yoshi, Donkey Kong, and Pikachu costumes beating each other up while "Happy Together" plays over it.
  • Lethal Lava Land: Planet Zebes has lava/acid down below that, when it rises, blocks off the lower blastzone and causes those who fall into it to get burnt and launched back upwards.
  • Make My Monster Grow: In the 1P Game campaign, one of the enemies is Giant Donkey Kong.
  • Mechanically Unusual Fighter: 3 of the 12 have at least one quirk making them different form the standard character template. Yoshi's Up Special is a projectile instead of a third jump, but he becomes Immune to Flinching during his extended double jump. Ness' Up Special is a remote control projectile that you have to hit yourself with to get an aerial boost, and Jigglypuff has no Up Special for recovery at all, having instead a combination of its neutral Special and 4 'double jumps' are used for recovery.
  • Mini-Boss: In the 1P Game, the Fighting Polygon Team is found right before Master Hand. The game also has two minibosses at the middle and before the last bonus minigame: Giant Donkey Kong (who is so massive that you get two allies to help you fight against him) and Metal Mario (who is hard to launch and very heavy).
  • Mini-Game Credits: Shooting the names in the credits would only bring up more specific info about the person's contribution.
  • Moveset Clone:
    • Mario and Luigi were given the same moveset, though Luigi's specials have different properties. His fireballs travel in a straight line, his cyclone hits once for high damage, and his Coin Jump Punch also only hits once but turns into a devastating Fire Jump Punch at point blank range. Melee started differentiating the two by giving them entirely different side specials, and some of Luigi's standard attacks got modified to boot. By Brawl, Mario gains FLUDD from Super Mario Sunshine as his Down Special Move note , and both brothers have different Final Smashes. Ultimate pushed things even farther by giving Luigi the Poltergust to use for tether grabs. Melee added Dr. Mario as another clone, who had more powerful attacks; when he returned in the fourth game he retained his Melee moveset while Mario's had changed, and the differences in their speed and strength were more pronounced than before.
    • Jigglypuff was added due to its similarities with Kirby, thus sharing a handful of standard attacks with him, though the next game would give both of them new moves to differentiate them to the point where many don't consider them moveset clones anymore.
  • Mr. Imagination: The game's introduction and the ending of 1P Game suggest that the entire game is just a young child playing pretend in their bedroom, with the characters all being dolls brought to life by their imagination.
  • Multi-Mook Melee: Started the series tradition of having one of these with the Fighting Polygon Team, though in this game they're only fought in 1P Game (there was no dedicated mode to fight them until the next game).
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: The most direct example in the series of an "All-Star Cast", as everyone in the roster is the main character or mascot for their prospective franchises (in Luigi's case, he's typically the co-protagonist of his brother's adventures, so he still counts). But there's also Jigglypuff, as that Pokémon is playable because of its popularity in Japan at the time.
  • No Antagonist: The only game in the series to feature no antagonistic playable characters.note 
  • Non-Dubbed Grunts: Various Pokémon keep their Japanese voices even in the English release of the game. Several of which can be pinpointed to various episodes of the anime:
  • Nonindicative Name:
    • The stage that would later be known as Battlefield is called "Duel Zone", but the only battle fought there (a fight that pits the player against 30 enemies at once) isn't exactly a duel.
    • Not much of "Yoshi's Island" is seen on the Yoshi's Island stage. Ultimate will somewhat fix this by naming the stage "Super Happy Tree", based on the tree in the background.
  • Nostalgia Level: The Mushroom Kingdom stage resembles the overworld in the original Super Mario Bros., with only the platforms being 3D.
  • One-Hit Kill:
    • The Home Run Bat item has this effect — landing a smash attack with it is an almost-guaranteed Home-Run Hitter KO.
    • This one-hit kill takes some work, but Fox's reflector will bounce a projectile back at its shooter for 1.5 times the damage and knockback. When it comes to reusable throwing items however, the damage increase can be stacked for each time it's bounced off the reflector. So when you use an item that's pretty powerful to begin with like a green shell, and have it thrown against Fox's reflector two times (computer AI opponents will happily do this for you), you suddenly have a "charged up" green shell of death that's powerful enough to KO another player even at 0% damage.
    • Jigglypuff's Rest is capable of killing at 0% depending on the situation, but will usually one-hit KO anyone close to or above 40%. The price? The hitbox is confined to Jiggly's eyes, and if you aren't placed right the instant you use it, you've got 3 seconds to sit helplessly while your opponent charges up a smash. Also, even if you do get a kill, unless it's off the top, your opponent is going to come back to life before you wake up, which means they will kill you if you're above around 80%. Jigglypuff is also capable of instantly killing itself, which also applies to enemies. If its shield is broken by anyone including itself, if there is no ceiling above it then it will instantly be KO'd. This is because it is the Balloon Pokemon, and its shieldbreak is the balloon popping.
  • Original Generation: Master Hand, which serves as the Final Boss of the 1P Mode, is the only original character in the game. Later games from Melee onward add Crazy Hand.
  • Pacifist Run: There's a bonus ("Pacifist") for clearing a stage without even attempting an attack. Given how many stages have level hazards, this isn't as difficult as it sounds to obtain.
  • Palette Swap: Since this game, Yoshi has had his green color as his default and many alternate color swaps, and the games give many hints that every different color is actually a different Yoshi. In 64 and Melee, his eggs are always green, but in Brawl, the eggs match the skin color of the Yoshi.
  • Pause Scumming: If you pause after every frame of movement, then the on-screen timer won't clock forward. This makes it possible to complete the Break the Targets and Board the Platforms challenges with a time of 0:00.
  • Rocket-Tag Gameplay: The game has an extremely high hitstun that allows for easy, frequent very long combos, that often end in a KO. Additionally, the entire cast has easily edge-guarded recoveries outside Pikachu, and most moves deal high damage while KOing early, especially throws. Then on top of that heavy offense, defensive options are very limited, and the only two dedicated defensive options in the game, shielding and rolling, aren't very effective (shields have such immense shieldstun when attacked that a competent player can keep a shielding opponent stuck in their shield through a flurry of attacks until their shield breaks, and rolls sre slow and easily punished). This all results in a game where the entire cast dies ridiculously quickly and is heavily based on who can get the first hit, and is the reason why competitive Smash 64 runs more stocks in their matches than all the subsequent Smash games do in tournaments.
  • Secret Character: Jigglypuff, Ness, Captain Falcon and Luigi. The former three characters are unlocked by clearing 1P Game with different perks each, while Luigi is unlocked by completing Break the Targets with the eight starter characters.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Samus Aran is the only explicitly confirmed female character in the roster (and even then, her gender is hidden by her armor). Jigglypuff is often assumed to be female due to its alternate outfits, but just like other Pokémon, its gender is unknown.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: In the commercial for this game, Mario, Yoshi, DK, and Pikachu are happily strolling along the countryside, while "Happy Together" plays. Fitting at first, but then they start beating each other up, while the song still plays.
  • Space Zone: Sector Z, which only appears in this game, takes place on the Great Fox as it flies through space. The lack of neither air nor gravity presents a problem, but Arwings occasionally fly by to shoot at fighters.
  • Speed Run Reward: The opportunity to unlock Captain Falcon is earned by beating Classic Mode in less than 20 minutes.
  • Title Scream: "SUPER! SMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAASH BROTHERS!!!" overseas. In the Japanese version, it's "Nintendo All-Star! Dairantou! SMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAASH BROTHERS!!!".
  • Turns Red: While Master Hand himself doesn't change in appearance as his HP lowers, his stage does. The background starts as a night sky filled with shooting stars. When Master Hand's HP falls to 200, the shooting stars stop and poisonous-looking purple clouds fill the area. When it falls to 100, the background turns into a blue vortex. Each background change is marked by a slight power boost, the most obvious being that his Finger Gun attack will fire three projectiles in quick succession instead of one during the vortex phase.note 
  • A Twinkle in the Sky: If someone is hit upwards out of the arena in a fight, that character is sent to the stage's horizon and an audible twinkle is seen when we lose sight on them. This doesn't happen if they fly forwards and bounce off the screen (usually when the character isn't thrown away with enough momentum).
  • Wingding Eyes: When Kirby is dazed, he becomes swirly-eyed. This was dropped in later games.
  • A Winner Is You: The only reward you get for beating the game (after a long credit list) is a picture of your character with a loud voice yelling "CONGRATULATIONS!" Beating the game with at least a million points changes a single audio sample: "Incredible!!" Future Smash Bros. games give you various rewards for beating different modes on the hardest difficulty, along with the familiar "Wow! Incredible!" voice clip.
  • X-Ray Sparks: This is a feature of Pikachu's electrical attacks in this game (and no other game in the series). Ness (with PK Thunder), Samus (with Charge Beam), and the Ray Gun do the same thing. This even provides something of a visual gag if Samus gets shocked because, instead of showing us her skeleton, we just see the human figure inside her power suit. However, when Kirby and Jigglypuff get hit by electric attacks, only their eyes are visible, implying (sensibly) that they have no skeleton. Funnily enough, Mario and Luigi's noses appear to be part of their skeletons.


Video Example(s):


Meowth Shined aka MEOWNED

In Super Smash Bros, Fox comes equipped with a Reflector move that can turn even otherwise annoying-but-harmless moves like Meowth's Pay Day into something lethal.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / AttackReflector

Media sources: