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Video Game / Super Smash Bros. Brawl
aka: The Subspace Emissary

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Nintendo worlds collide in the most epic story mode for the series.

"And as we face each other in battle, locked in combat... we shine ever brighter."
— The last few lines of the main theme, translated from Latin
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Super Smash Bros. Brawl is a Mascot/Platform Fighter developed by Game Arts and Sora Ltd. and published by Nintendo for the Wii in 2008. It's the third installment in the Super Smash Bros. series, containing 39 fighters, 41 stages, 500+ trophies to collect and 250+ pieces of music.

In addition to expanding on the features first introduced in Melee, Brawl is notable in the series' history for multiple important inclusions. First, it shakes up the status quo with the introduction of non-Nintendo characters as Guest Fighters, with Konami's Solid Snake and Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog joining the roster. Second, is the introduction of Final Smashes, powerful and flashy attacks that do major damage if they are successfully executed. Finally, it is the first Smash game to support online multiplayer.

Brawl also has an expansive Adventure Mode called The Subspace Emissary where you must fight against the mysterious forces of Subspace. The mode is similar to Melee's Adventure Mode in that it involves traversing levels with minor platforming, but it is much more expansive and action-based. This mode also has a narrative that is told via silent cutscenes.

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The game's website can be found here.

    open/close all folders 

    Playable Roster 
Note: Bold denotes unlockable characters.

Nintendo Characters:

Third-Party Characters:

    Stages 

Nintendo Stages:

Note: Bold denotes unlockable stages.

Third-Party Stages:

    Items 
Note: Bold denotes unlockable Assist Trophies.
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This game provides examples of:

    Tropes applying to the Subspace Emissary 
  • 1-Up: You can occasionally find balls resembling the Smash logo hidden away or as a reward for clearing an ambush. These will provide you with an extra stock.
  • 11th-Hour Ranger: At the end of the Great Maze, Tabuu is ready to launch another trophyfication wave at the heroes, but then Sonic the Hedgehog comes zooming in out of damn nowhere and breaks one of Tabuu's wings, cutting the attack short.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • Wario is just a greedy anti-hero in his series, but here he is a full-blown villain, complete with Evil Laugh.
    • In the Pokémon games, some of Rayquaza's feats include stopping the world-ending rampage of two legendary monsters and preventing a meteor from destroying the planet. Here, it attacks a defenseless Diddy for no reason other than because the monkey dared to approach the lake where it was resting.
  • Adaptational Weapon Swap:
    • Pit's Arrow of Light is replaced by twin blades that can be combined into a bow.
    • Zero Suit Samus' emergency pistol is replaced by a plasma whip that can also fire stunning blasts, much like the weapon it's based on.
  • Advancing Wall of Doom: The Porky Statue in the Ruined Zoo continuously advances towards the player, though its position is determined by the level itself as it scrolls. This makes the sequence remarkably similar to the Heavy Lobster chase in Kirby Super Star.
  • All for Nothing: The Ancient Minister reluctantly joined the villains to protect his people. However, Ganondorf ultimately forces them all to self-destruct to try to kill the heroes — and said R.O.B.s remain Deader Than Dead even after Tabuu's death, which restores everything else damaged by the Subspace invasion — thus leaving the Minister as the Last of His Kind anyway.
  • All the Worlds Are a Stage: The Great Maze contains all the levels you've played so far. Some of them you have to traverse backwards. There's even minibosses in some of them. And out of those, you already defeated a copy of some in the real levels previously.
  • All There in the Manual:
    • This page clears up some of the less obvious parts of the narrative.
    • The various Trophies of Subspace Emissary-affiliated characters help in explaining some details.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: All of Subspace, since it's basically a world of negative space filled with bright splashes of color against darkness. Taken further with Tabuu's boss fight, wherein his bright blue form, multicolor wings, and attacks make the battlefield borderline trippy.
  • And I Must Scream: Characters are unable to move or do anything while in trophy form, although they might not be fully conscious.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Player 2 will receive a significant boost to their running speed and jump height as their distance from player 1 increases, preventing them from falling behind. Also, character movement has been averaged, meaning Sonic or Captain Falcon can dash without immediately leaving the second player off-screen.
    • Physics are altered slightly to make vertical movement faster, emphasizing the platforming elements in this mode.
    • The Subspace Emissary is the only instance in the game where the Pokémon Trainer's stamina mechanic is omitted.
  • Ascended Fanboy: Pit watches Mario fight Kirby in the arena on a magic television before teaming up with him when Mario lands in the Skyworld.
  • Ass Kicking Pose: Besides the taunts, which work here too, many of the cutscenes end with one, as the screen freezes for you to choose the characters you want to use.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Marth and Meta Knight stop their duel to stand together like this against the Subspace Army.
  • Badass Crew: All of the characters start off divided into their own sub-groups and achieve multiple feats of Badassery before joining together into a Badass Army for the finale.
  • Badass Pacifist: Peach is rarely shown to be keen on fighting in the cutscenes and is the one who usually calls for a truce with their enemies (like Fox and Mr. Game & Watch). Being able to offer a steaming cup of tea to the enemy on top of a mid-combat airship is no easy feat.
  • Battleship Raid: Snake, Lucario and Meta Knight storm around the Battleship Halberd to oust the Subspace Army and rescue Peach and Zelda. Peach and Zelda later proceed to assist in the raiding as well, despite being told by Snake to stay put. Meanwhile, Falco and Fox shoot the Halberd's turrets from afar.
  • Battle Trophy: The Trophy Stand is an item that, when thrown, turns weakened enemies and bosses into trophies that you can then pick up and add to your collection.
  • Beak Attack: The Auroros fly above players and try to pin them down with their long and pointy beaks, ending stuck in the ground. The players can then pick them up and throw them like javelins at other enemies.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: The only reason Mr. Game & Watch switches sides is because Peach gave him her umbrella.
  • Berserk Button: The scene where (depending on who you saved from Petey Piranha) either Link thinks Mario has killed Zelda, or Mario thinks Link has killed Peach. There's no other way to describe the rage that follows.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Ness never stops smiling, even when he is kicking the crap out of The Porky Statue when it threatens Lucas.
  • Big Damn Heroes: A fair few, but the most impressive is Sonic coming out of nowhere to save the day at the end.
  • Big Door: The door to Tabuu's room is so massive it covers almost the entire background.
  • Big Good: King Dedede. If it weren't for his reviving brooches, the bad guy would've totally won when Tabuu "killed" all the heroes. This is similar to his role in Kirby's Adventure, and much like in that game, Dedede is a Hero with Bad Publicity until the big reveal.
  • Big, Thin, Short Trio: Towards the end of the game, you are given a party of the bulky penguin King Dedede, Mario's skinny brother Luigi, and the young boy Ness.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The ending is happy for the most part, but has a sad twist to it. Tabuu is defeated and all of the Subspaced locations are restored to the World of Trophies, but the Island of Ancients doesn't return due to the sheer volume of damage that the area took. Since Tabuu is responsible for the destruction of the R.O.B.s due to the detonation of the Subspace Bombs, this also makes the playable R.O.B. the Last of His Kind.
  • Blood Knight: As said on the Dojo by Word of God, all of the cast of characters enjoy fighting — even down to those you'd think otherwise, like Peach or Mr. Game & Watch. Being defeated and "trophified" is described as being much like death in part because they are unable to fight.
  • Bonus Boss: Jigglypuff, Toon Link, and Wolf are completely optional fights found in the Playable Epilogue.
  • Boss Bonanza: The Great Maze is an Unexpected Gameplay Change to Metroidvania. The goal of this area is to find and fight not only the previous seven bosses, but also 31 Mirror Bosses of all the playable characters encountered so far. After you defeated them all, you'll be able to fight Tabuu. Notably, Meta Ridley is no longer a Time-Limit Boss.
  • Boss-Only Level: "The Ruined Hall" and "Battleship Halberd Bridge" lack any platforming, containing nothing but their respective boss fights against Galleom and Duon.
  • Boss Subtitles: Master Hand and Tabuu, when they first appear, are the only bosses to receive them. The Ancient Minister, the Subspace Emissary's initial antagonist, gets one as well, despite him never actually being featured in a boss fight. Furthermore, although not bosses, each fighter (excluding Mr. Game and Watch) receives one during the first time they're seen in a Subspace Emissary cutscene.
  • Boss Tease: A meta-example - Snake & Sonic were massively hyped up for the release of Super Smash Bros Brawl, but they had to be unlocked in-game, and two out of three methods for doing so involved fighting them for the privilege. And a subversion in-game - Snake appears very early on in a brief cutscene, during which you see his cardboard box shake a little bit. It's not until much later in the story that you encounter him properly, unlocking him for gameplay.
  • The Cameo: Since Jigglypuff, Toon Link, and Wolf don't appear in the story, they can be unlocked in the Playable Epilogue.
  • Call-Back: The very first level begins with a duel between Kirby and Mario, mirroring the opening of Super Smash Bros. 64. Mario's introduction also references his appearance in the opening of Super Smash Bros. Melee.
  • Canon Character All Along: The Ancient Minister is really R.O.B.
  • Cast Herd: The character list is split into several smaller groups that eventually connect together.
  • Character Development: A few instances as the characters begin working together. A notable example is Lucas, who, through his travels with Pokémon Trainer, eventually gains the courage to stand up to bullies like Wario.
  • Chekhov's Gun: King Dedede's brooches can revive characters from their trophy forms after a certain amount of time.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: King Dedede, Luigi, Ness, and Kirby after obtaining one of Dedede's brooches. Averted with Sonic, who is more of a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere on your side, but his actions during the cutscene indicate that Tabuu dramatically unfurling his butterfly wings before unleashing his Off Waves was not merely showing off. With his wings damaged, Tabuu's power level drops dramatically and his Off Waves can actually be avoided.
  • The Chessmaster: King Dedede, of all people. As well as his Xanatos Gambit (see below), he protected himself as he went about his plan by appearing to be a bad guy. He made a backup plan for everyone so that just in case everything went horrifically wrong, there would still be someone who could save the day. Also, even if it was only part of the process, he did a pretty good job of incapacitating Wario. Even if he isn't much of a Chessmaster in his original series, this is still actually pretty representative of him normally: he appears to do wrong but is actually doing good, does things that are bad in the short term but helpful in the long term, and possesses knowledge that the heroes don't (his badges) and moves ahead of them.
  • Cutscene Incompetence:
    • At the beginning of the story, Mario and Pit try to catch the Ancient Minister as he flies away with another bomb, but they both fail to jump up and reach him and he gets away.
    • Bowser starts charging his Subspace Gun to turn Zelda/Peach (depending on who you saved) into a trophy. The process takes quite a while, yet the princess doesn't attack or run; she just stands there and lets herself be shot.
  • Damsel in Distress: Zelda and Peach throughout the campaign.
    • At the beginning of the story, either Zelda or Peach is kidnapped by Wario and is not rescued until the end of the second act by a group composed of Lucario, Meta Knight, and Snake.
    • The spared princess is later kidnapped by Bowser in the middle of the first arc and is rescued alongside the other princess.
  • Darkest Hour: After Tabuu turns everyone into trophies, you can't replay any stages you've already cleared, and when you go to save your game, you'll find that everybody is gone from your file. Of course, in the only stage available at that point, King Dedede saves the day.
  • Defeated and Trophified: Tabuu and his minions literally turn the defeated cast into trophies incapable of fighting back.
  • Desolation Shot: "The Ruined Zoo" opens with this, following Lucas as he wanders alone through a long-abandoned, dilapidated zoo.
  • Deus ex Machina: Sonic ambushing Tabuu before he can fire another round of his Off-Waves. It's not foreshadowed or hinted in any way, and there is no real explanation for Sonic suddenly being in Subspace fighting alongside the other characters (other than his late inclusion into the roster).
  • Dragon with an Agenda: It's blatantly obvious from Ganondorf's introduction that he is planning to betray Master Hand and seize control of the Subspace Army. Indeed, he prepares to do so late into the game, cheap-shotting Bowser to avoid interference. Too bad he didn't count on Tabuu's existence...
  • Driven to Suicide: The Ancient Minister decides to let himself die with the rest of his people. He gets dragged into escaping by Donkey Kong.
  • Duel Boss: Mario vs. Kirby at the start of the first level, as well as Meta Knight vs. Lucario in "The Glacial Peak". In a twist, you can actually choose to play as either one. For 100% completion and to get every cutscene unlocked, you have to do both. Also, King Dedede vs. Bowser in one of the Subspace levels, though in that fight, you can only play as Dedede.
  • Dynamic Entry:
    • As the Ancient Minister is about to drop a subspace bomb after being chased by Marth & Meta Knight, Ike comes out and hits The Ancient Minister with the Great Aether.
    • Olimar can only stand back in shock as Captain Falcon arrives in his Blue Falcon, jumps out of it, slams a Falcon Punch into a giant R.O.B., knocking it out... and lands on a group of Pikmin, killing them.
    • Just as Tabuu is charging his Off Waves, Sonic comes out of nowhere, damaging both wings and greatly weakening Tabuu.
  • Eldritch Location: Subspace is a dark dimension that shines in black and purple. The Greater-Scope Villain lives there, and his wish is to drag the World of Trophies into Subspace. Over the course of the game, his minions steal several levels, and while his initial plot fails, he uses those locations to create the Great Maze. Subspace also serves as the setting for the final battle.
  • Enemy Mine: By the nature of this plot, it's to be expected. The most notable case is between Link, Zelda, and Ganondorf. While standing over Ganondorf's statue, Link and Zelda agree that they do need his help. They awaken him and point him toward the Great Maze. As they walk away, Ganondorf starts loading up an attack to go after them, but realizes that, sadly, he needs their help as much as they need his, and follows along.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Bowser is visibly appalled when he finds out Tabuu had been torturing and controlling Master Hand the entire time.
  • Evil Is Bigger: In addition to every boss dwarfing the playable characters, the Shadow Clones that the player must seek out and defeat in the Great Maze are copies of all the playable characters so far, but shadowy and bigger.
  • Evil Knockoff: The Shadow Bugs can imitate characters by copying their trophies.
  • Fainting: In the cutscene where Galleom grabs Lucas and the Pokémon Trainer, the Trainer loses consciousness once Galleom starts flying out of the Ruined Hall. This is noticeably the only instance in the entire game where a character is knocked out without being turned into a trophy.
  • Faceless Eye: Feyesh are enormous floating goldfish with tentacles and a single large eye where their face should be.
  • Face, Nod, Action: Since nobody talks outside of grunts and attack names, everybody communicates like this.
  • Foreshadowing: The symbol for the Subspace Army is a huge hint at the identity of the Ancient Minister, since it's a modified version of R.O.B.'s logo.
  • Four Lines, All Waiting: The Subspace Emissary has several different groups of playable characters, most of which get at least one level to themselves, and many of these groups don't start meeting each other until at least halfway through the story. By the eighth stage (of 31), there's already five lines: Mario and Pit, Kirby and Peach/Zelda (depending on who you rescued in the first level), Diddy Kong and Fox (as Donkey Kong was hauled off by Bowser earlier), Lucas and Pokémon Trainer, and Meta Knight, Marth, and Ike.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Many cases:
    • After mowing through R.O.B.s by the dozen in previous stages, the characters are completely unable to damage them in cutscenes. The second instance can be justified if you believe that Samus and the others had learned of the R.O.B.'s enslavement at that point and didn't want to hurt them. But nothing excuses Mario and Pit's earlier failure to stop them from arming a Subspace Bomb, nor Kirby, Link and Yoshi's inability to act until the bomb had already gone off.
    • Averted near the beginning: Zelda teleports onto the field and later gets captured in a cage without even trying to escape. However, this is completely accurate to the actual mechanic of the attack, which does not let you go through things, just turn invisible and quickly move in one direction.
    • The Porky Statue contains an example of Segregation AND Integration. In a cutscene, Ness destroys the Porky Statue with PK Flash, which is one of the only two attacks it was truly vulnerable to in Mother 3. However, if you beat the game and replay the stage as Ness, you'll find it's still invincible to attacks outside of cutscenes.
    • Due to the sheer amount of Subspace Bombs going off in one place, the Isle of the Ancients is unable to be restored at the end of the game. However, it remains on the world map with all its stages reopened in the post-game so you can go back and collect anything you have missed.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Rayquaza, a Pokémon who lives in the ozone layer, randomly emerges from a lake to attack Diddy Kong. What makes it even worse is that Rayquaza is often portrayed as a guardian of the planet, yet in this game the character is either affiliated to the Subspace Army or a mindless beast. Either way, Rayquaza has zero relevance to the plot.
  • Glass Cannon: Among the bosses, Galleom has the worst durability other than Petey Piranha and the Boss Battles mode versions of Master and Crazy Hand, so he can be defeated pretty quickly. However his attacks are tremendously powerful, hitting harder than all the other bosses besides Tabuu, and on Intense difficulty a few of his attacks are strong enough to even KO at 0%.
  • Glowing Flora: The grotto Kirby, Mario, Link, Pit and Yoshi visit after storming King Dedede's castle has several patches of glowing mushrooms to provide some light in several areas.
  • Great Offscreen War: The level based on Fire Emblem has Marth make his way across a field riddled with arrows and broken catapults as he tries to repel the Subspace Army.
  • Guide Dang It!: The Subspace Bomb Factory (Part II) has an Orange Cube hidden above the camera's range in a side area.
  • Heroic Mime: The entire mode contains no dialogue (which is an interesting variation per se) save one No Fourth Wall moment from Snake. Several characters call their attacks and make some interjections, but that's it.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Donkey Kong and Ness each perform one. Donkey Kong saves Diddy Kong from a trophy beam from Bowser by punching him away just in time to take the bullet himself. Ness similarly shoves Lucas out of the way of Wario's trophy beam, which leads him to take the bullet. Meta Knight sacrifices his ship to provide everyone else's ships cover to get in close to the Subspace Gunship.
  • Hero of Another Story: A lot of characters are introduced already engaging Subspace forces, looking for something or someone. King Dedede is the biggest example as he had learnt the truth about Tabuu and the power of the Off Waves before the events of the story, prompting him to start collecting fighters and giving them his special brooch in case everybody was trophified.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: Subverted. It initially appears the the villains of the story are Bowser, The Ancient Minister, and Wario. Then it seems that Ganondorf is controlling Bowser and the Minister. And then it seems that the Classic Mode boss, Master Hand, is behind Ganondorf, only for it to turn out that a new Original Generation villain is behind Master Hand.
  • Humongous Mecha: Galleom and Duon are both massive robots that dwarf the entire playable cast.
  • It's Personal with the Dragon: Since Donkey Kong is one of the earliest "casualties" of the story, Diddy Kong has a significant beef with Bowser. Lucas, meanwhile, has a personal issue with Wario, who trophified Ness. Strangely averted between Mario and Bowser, since although Bowser kidnaps Peach and Zelda, Mario and his crew remain more concerned with stopping more Subspace Bombs from going off and pursuing the Ancient Minister.
  • Jump Physics: Jumps and general recovery effectiveness were turned down in this mode to make platforming harder.
  • Jungle Japes: Donkey Kong and Diddy make their first playable appearance of this mode in a level that brings Kongo Jungle to mind.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: R.O.B.'s Red Baron nickname in Smash 4 spoils the fact that he's the Last of His Kind.
  • Let's You and Him Fight:
    • Link and Yoshi attack Mario and Pit, mistaking a vanishing Shadow Bug princess trophy as the opposing duo having killed their friend.
    • King Dedede causes trouble for the other characters even though he has his own secret agenda against the Subspace Army.
    • Sheik attacks Fox because his Arwing shots on the Great Halberd almost hit her and Peach by complete accident.
  • Level in the Clouds: The Subspace Emissary starts with a few levels which are made out of clouds, based mostly on Kid Icarus. Pit is sent here by Palutena shortly after the Ancient Minister interrupts the fight between Mario and Kirby in Midair Stadium to start his invasion. The game also features a fighting stage set in Skyworld from Kid Icarus; many pieces of the stage are breakable, leaving only the fragile cloud platforms (though the stage rebuilds itself after a short while).
  • Lone Wolf Boss: Rayquaza has zero connection to the main plot, and only attacks Fox and Diddy Kong because they disturbed him.
  • The Lost Woods: The Trope Namer makes an appearance as the place where Link obtains the Master Sword and meets up with Yoshi.
  • Marathon Level:
    • The Great Maze, which is straight Metroidvania style, in contrast to the linear levels used in the rest of the game. It also counts for roughly one third of your completion percentage. Thankfully, there's no need to do it all in one sitting.
    • As far as linear levels go, Subspace Factory (Lower) is a long trip. It also has multiple cutscenes, a big turning point in the plot, two potential Last Lousy Points, and Meta Ridley.
    • The Cave and the first stage of Subspace are relatively short, but the fact that they only consist of one long section rather than multiple short ones makes them strenuous for players who keep getting Game Overs.
  • Mecha-Mooks: The R.O.B squads, with the job of planting and detonating the subspace bombs at the cost of their own lives. They're later revealed to be unwilling slaves of the Subspace Army.
  • Mercy Mode: The first time you start a stage, it defaults to the difficulty level you picked at the beginning of the game; on later attempts you can choose from any difficulty level. This allows you to follow this trope by choosing an easier difficulty for a stage you're having trouble with, or invert it by turning up the challenge (which provides you a greater chance of collecting stickers and trophies).
  • Metal Slime: Poppants are enemies that flee from the player while dropping healing items and trophies. They're difficult to kill because they tend to run off cliffs to avoid the player, but defeating them can reward one with a rare trophy or sticker.
  • Mooks: Primids, Goombas, basic R.O.B. models, etc. cover most of the "simple" enemies, coming in large numbers and usually not too resilient.
  • Mook Maker: The swirling vortexes that spawn enemies until they are destroyed.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Played for laughs with Captain Falcon's Dynamic Entry. He comes to Olimar's rescue, gives a FALCON PUNCH! to a giant R.O.B.… and in landing kills all but one of Olimar's Pikmin.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: When the story is cleared but before the credits roll, the main theme is replayed and an extended version of the opening cast roll is shown with all the characters you collected - but now the song has lyrics accompanying it to explain the Latin.
  • One-Hit Kill:
    • The villains' Dark Cannons instantly trophify any character they hit.
    • Luigi goes down in one swing of Dedede's mighty hammer.
    • Tabuu's Off Waves instantly defeat any fighter they contact. It's only after Sonic breaks his wings that they can be avoided at all.
  • Only Mostly Dead: Characters become trophies instead of dying. All one has to do is touch their trophy stand to revive them.
  • Optional Party Member: Since every character you've met so far gets Trophified after entering Subspace, most of the roster ends up as this for the last third of the game. The only characters you are guaranteed to have at the end are King Dedede, Kirby, Luigi, Ness, Bowser, and Sonic.
  • Original Generation: Master Hand returns from the previous games. New to Brawl are Tabuu, the robots Duon and Galleom, and the Subspace Army Mooks.
  • Our Monsters Are Weird: Masahiro Sakurai's works tend to involve hordes of strange monsters to fight, and the Subspace Emissary is no different. A lot of them invoke a feeling that they don't belong to any universe that the playable characters come from.
  • Out-of-Character Moment:
    • Rayquaza, who has saved the world in its own series and normally lives in the ozone layer, shows up in the Subspace Emissary when it attacks Diddy Kong for simply wandering past the lake it's living in.
    • Following the "Misunderstanding" cutscene, Yoshi joins Link in the battle against Mario instead of trying to work out the situation peacefully. Once that's done, they go back to being close friends, with Yoshi even letting Mario ride him to escape a Subspace Bomb in a subsequent level.
  • Out-of-Genre Experience: This mode is generally more of a side-scrolling platformer than a fighting game, with most of the enemies being Mooks and not Player Characters. "Generally" meaning that there are still portions that use the rest of the game's fighting elements, as well as a Metroidvania level late in the mode.
  • Out of the Inferno: Fox emerges from his downed, burning Arwing unscathed, even after his Arwing is knocked out of the sky by the Halberd's claw, crash-lands, and takes a direct hit from Rayquaza.
  • Party Scattering: There are multiple times where party members are forced to split up (for example, Mario being shot into Skyworld by Petey Piranha, or DK knocking away Diddy Kong to prevent Bowser from "trophyfying" him). They all reunite late into the game to enter Subspace. Once in Subspace, they are scattered again when they first encounter Tabuu; Luigi, King Dedede, Ness, and Kirby spend the next two levels working to gather them back together for the Great Maze and the rematch with Tabuu.
  • Playable Epilogue: Allows you to revisit all the stages (even those ostensibly destroyed by Subspace Bombs) at a different difficulty level or to gather any items/secrets that you missed. This is also one method to unlock the three hidden characters: battles with Wolf, Jigglypuff, and Toon Link are all hidden among previous stages.
  • Plot Hole:
    • No Subspace rifts are established as existing prior to the start of the story, which brings up some questions concerning the content that's All There in the Manual; Tabuu's army would have no way of getting out of Subspace to attack the Halberd, Tabuu himself would have no way to bring Master Hand into Subspace to kickstart the plot, and King Dedede would be incapable of learning about Tabuu's Off Waves, considering he's in a different world entirely.
    • Pit (who has wings) tries (and fails) to attack the airborne Ancient Minister. This creates a Plot Hole because it is never explained in game that he can't actually fly, at least not for more than a few seconds. The fact that he can fly for nearly ten full seconds when the player is controlling him (more than enough to catch the Ancient Minister) just makes things more confusing.
    • Being sent flying into the sky is sufficient damage to trophify Mario in the first level, but a few levels later Diddy Kong suffers the same fate but remains awake. To be fair, Mario was hit by a cannon ball that launched him into a completely different world, while Diddy Kong was knocked away by Donkey Kong; DK likely managed to somehow pull his punch to send his little buddy flying away without really hurting him.
  • Point of No Return: Played with. As the story progresses, Subspace Bomb explosions prevent you from replaying certain levels (including the very first level of the game), and the Halberd gets destroyed when you finally gain access to Subspace, so you can't replay the Halberd levels either (though you still walk on it at the beginning of the Sea of Clouds level, somehow). The only way to replay these levels at this point is to beat the game and reach the Playable Epilogue.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: If the playable cast at the end is as small as it can possibly be, it will end up looking quite motley. Heck, even all the characters taken together are quite the unusual gathering.
  • Recurring Boss: Galleom is fought in three separate levels. Oddly, the second time is immediately after the first.
  • Recurring Camera Shot: After Diddy Kong and Fox McCloud defeat Rayquaza, Diddy tries to enlist Fox to help him rescue Donkey Kong. Fox starts to walk away, so Diddy grabs him and drags him off by the scruff of his collar. Later he tries to get Fox's fellow Star Fox pilot Falco Lombardi to help as well, but he has the same reaction as Fox, so Diddy grabs him and drags him off the exact same way (this time with Fox walking behind the two, shrugging as if saying something at his teammate's expense).
  • Ruins for Ruins' Sake:
    • The Ruined Zoo is based on the City Zoo from EarthBound Beginnings, only it is devoid of life and in an unkempt state.
    • Lucas and the Pokémon Trainer later visit a dungeon in search of Ivysaur and Charizard to add to the latter's team.
  • Sadistic Choice: In the first level, the player has to choose to save Peach or Zelda. (Even if you break both cages at once by attacking Petey Piranha's head only, the game randomly picks a princess and acts as if you chose to save her instead of the other one.) You eventually are able to play the character not chosen later in the game, though.
  • Sphere of Destruction: Subspace Bombs basically eat perfectly spherical chunks of the universe, sending them into the Subspace.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Kirby Super Star. The enemies fight similarly to Kirby enemies, the bosses are harder than the levels, and the Super Smash Bros. combat system is already similar to that of Kirby Super Star. This mode itself gets one in the 3DS version of the fourth game in the form of the Smash Run mode, as it plays similarly in terms of defeating enemies, has the red doors from this mode, and even some of the Subspace Army mooks reappear as enemies in Smash Run.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: There's Mario, Yoshi, Pit, Link, and Kirby at the Canyon. This would normally be Big Damn Heroes, until you realize that the rescuees consist of six people and three Pokémon who probably could've handled it themselves.
  • The Starscream: Ganondorf secretly plans to usurp power from Master Hand. It doesn't go anywhere since Tabuu's been pulling the strings and ends up obliterating the cast.
  • Starter Villain: While Wario is affiliated with the main antagonists, he himself doesn't participate in any of their larger plans and instead elects to wander the countryside attacking people at random.
  • Story Breadcrumbs: Since there's no dialogue, the only concrete information you have to go on within Brawl itself are the relevant trophies.
  • Taken for Granite: Played with; defeated characters are turned into Trophies.
  • The Glomp: Done by King Dedede to Kirby, when they finally meet just before the Great Maze.
  • Timed Mission: Oddly averted in part of the second Subspace Bomb Factory stage. In-story, the heroes have to escape from the factory before the Subspace bombs explode, but you aren't timed at all, and even in the room before Meta Ridley, you can practically sit there forever, waiting for the explosion that never comes. However, the plot catches up to the gameplay in Meta Ridley's fight itself, which the player must complete before the explosion hits the Falcon Flyer.
  • Time-Limit Boss: When you fight Meta Ridley, you're only given 2 minutes to defeat him since you're trying to escape an exploding island. Oddly enough, the timer only applies to the initial fight in the Subspace Bomb Factory; there's no time limit when fighting him in The Great Maze or the Boss Battles mode.
  • Undying Loyalty: Bowser is the only non-boss villain to remain loyal to Master Hand until the very end, as he is horrified upon seing Master Hand unconscious from Tabuu's attack. Meanwhile, Wario is just a Jerkass seeking to spread chaos, and Ganondorf has been plotting against his allies from the very beginning.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: Just about every level in the mode is comprised of linear platforming sections. The final level is done in a non-linear, Metroidvania-esque style.
  • Unflinching Walk: Princess Peach. Walking right next to turrets and guns that were in the middle of shooting down Fox. Of course, she has her parasol out, so maybe that's what's shielding her. And right before the Duon boss fight, while everyone else is focusing on Duon, Peach is nonchalantly straightening her skirt as if it was just a normal day.
  • The Unfought: Ganondorf never gets in a direct confrontation with the heroes. This is because he loses to Tabuu before the heroes even get close.
  • Unique Enemy: Exactly one Mizzo exists, and it's on display in a room in the Halberd. You can't even kill it. Its trophy description lampshades its unique status.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The Great Maze in Subspace, an imposing mashup of several previous levels that's accessed by climbing a really long staircase.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: When you're fighting your way through Subspace as either the team of Luigi/King Dedede/Ness or alone as Kirby and find the Trophified fighters, there is absolutely nothing to stop you from leaving them there to rot instead of picking them up like the game intended you to do. Of course, you won't be able to play as the abandoned characters later for obvious reasons, but if you're feeling vindictive, you can still do it.
  • Video Game Setpiece: At certain points during gameplay, the screen suddenly goes purple and you're forced to go through a Multi-Mook Melee to bring things back to normal and continue on.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Rayquaza, after the breeze of a fight against Petey Piranha. In addition to having a full repertoire of attacks with some nasty ones and being really fast on the highest difficulties, he also has significant resistances to every type of move in the game except ice moves (of which there are only three, none of which are available for the first Rayquaza fight, and all of which are fairly weak regardless), which makes him the most durable boss in the game besides Tabuu.
  • Warm-Up Boss: Petey Piranha is the first boss in this mode, and he only has two attacks; swipe a cage left or right, and jump up to stomp on the ground. Both attacks are ridiculously easy to avoid, with plenty of blind spots and a ton of startup to them to ensure you can easily react, aren't that powerful if they do somehow hit you, and Petey himself has pretty low durability to go down quickly. Each of the subsequent bosses have a big variety of moves that are a lot harder to evade and hit a lot harder, and will take a lot more punishment before going down.
  • Wave-Motion Gun: The Subspace Gunship has a massive laser that tears a hole to subspace.
  • We Cannot Go On Without You!: If you play the Adventure Mode with a friend, the game ends if Player 1 is knocked out and has no extra stock left, regardless if Player 2 is alive.
  • We Need a Distraction: Meta Knight, Fox, Samus, Captain Falcon, and Olimar all provide their ships as distraction when invading Subspace so Kirby can use the Dragoon to slice the Subspace Battleship in two.
  • The Worf Effect: How does the game display how powerful the Big Bad is? By having him defeat and enslave Master Hand, the creator of the World of Trophies, of course. And this is before the main plot even begins. When the playable characters confront him, he trophifies virtually the entire cast in a single blow with his Off Waves.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Played by King Dedede. If the heroes beat Tabuu the first time, well and good. But if they don't, no biggie, Dedede has the trophies of Ness and Luigi to be revived by his badges for just that occasion. It's notable after placing Peach/Zelda's trophy there as well, he gives up his own badge for her trophy, basically sacrificing his own failsafe in the hopes that he will be revived by one of the others. Even though Bowser busts in and steals her trophy anyway, it does allow Kirby to revive later on, since he ate her badge.
  • Your Size May Vary: When Olimar is first introduced, he appears to be an inch tall (like he is in his own series) while his Pikmin helplessly flail at a R.O.B.. But when Captain Falcon bursts in, his height reveals that Olimar is actually roughly human-sized now while the R.O.B. is gigantic (the only Giant R.O.B. in the game).

    Tropes applying to other modes and the overall game 
  • Actor Allusion: If you use the Codec when fighting Captain Falcon at Shadow Moses, Otacon and Snake will reveal that they are both fans of the character. In the Japanese version of F-Zero's anime adaptation, Falcon Densetsu, Captain Falcon is voiced by Hideyuki Tanaka, who voices also Otacon here.
  • Athletic Arena Level: The two Pokémon Stadium stages take place on a battlefield and Mario Circuit takes place on a race track.
  • Band Land: Hitting the leaf platforms in the Hanenbow stage will cause them to play musical notes.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: Luigi's Mansion is based on the haunted mansion from the eponymous game. Ghosts escape from any wreckage you create when destroying sections of the mansion, and it will magically repair itself after a short time once completely demolished.
  • Circus Synths: The remix of Marx's battle theme from Kirby Super Star. While the original song used brass and strings to fit the twisted jester Marx, Brawl's remix uses synths and electric guitars, although there are some orchestral instruments still.
  • The Cover Changes the Meaning: This game's cover of "Unfounded Revenge" is significantly more lighthearted and cutesy than its original incarnation, which was a theme associated with powerful Pigmask bosses.
  • Cutscene Viewer: The game has a videos tab in the vault, allowing the player to view promotional material and cutscenes from The Subspace Emissary.
  • Darker and Edgier: With more detailed and more realistic graphics, a surprisingly dramatic story mode, and more violent attacks, this game is definitely qualified for this trope compared to the previous entries in the series.
  • Demoted to Extra: Pichu and Mewtwo were both playable characters in Melee, but were demoted to trophies here. Dr. Mario, Young Link, and Roy have also been removed, but they're stickers instead of trophies.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Wario's victory theme is the first level theme in Wario Land: Shake It!, which was released six months later.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: A meta one for third parties. Music rearranged by the original company (Theme of Love and Angel Island Zone) would be owned by said company, while the next two games the arrangements would be owned by Nintendo.
  • Everything-Is-Smashable Area: The Luigi's Mansion stage lets you destroy the titular building by breaking its support beams, leaving you with nothing but a flat stage. The mansion will eventually repair after some time after being fully destroyed.
  • Fake Difficulty: Tripping, which randomly happened when a character changed directions while running or inputting a Smash attack using the control stick. There's nothing quite like randomly falling over right when you try to deal a KO attack.
  • Franchise Codifier: The game majorly defined the Smash games that came after it. It introduced Final Smashes, stage building, third-party characters, and online play, all of which have remained series mainstays since. The game's UI and style also carried over into subsequent installments.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: The Pokémon Manaphy's Heart Swap move causes you to play as an opponent's character temporarily. However, you have the same lives, so you can't commit suicide to your advantage.
  • Game-Breaking Bug:
    • Some of the available hacks out there can freeze the game under certain conditions. One very common example is if the player has the Smash Stack file on an inserted SD card (which was the predominant method players utilized to use mods without hacking their Wii), but didn't activate a code to disable custom stages, which will cause the game to crash when they go on the stage select screen as the game tries to load the Smash Stack file as if it were a custom stage.
    • It's possible to mash out of Yoshi's grab before his tongue brings you into his mouth. This requires near TAS-level mashing and being barely damaged to do, but if Yoshi's opponent can break Yoshi's grab before going into his mouth the game will lock up. This glitch was theoretically so severe that it briefly stirred up debate about if Yoshi should be banned from competitive play (as causing the console to crash in a bracket set would be very disruptive to tournaments and since this would be the result of normal play there would be no fair way to pin the blame for the crash on either player). However it was deemed that causing the glitch was not in realistic human capabilities to do in real matches and so Yoshi's tournament status remained untouched (and indeed there are no known instances of this glitch occurring in an actual tournament match).
    • With Sheik's Side Special move, Chain, if she uses it at the absolute apex of her short hop, as soon as she lands the hitboxes of her Chain will be replaced with the hitboxes of the last move she used prior, which would normally be a Good Bad Bug with some neat applications. However if she activates this glitch without having used any other move prior on her stock, the game will just crash. Unlike the Yoshi glitch above, this one had clearcut ramifications in competitive play, where if a Sheik player crashes the game with this glitch they are automatically DQ'd (as activation of the glitch would entirely be the Sheik player's fault and they would be able to avoid triggering the glitch when it will crash the game).
    • When Meta Knight ues his Down Special move, Dimensional Cape, he can disappear indefinitely as long as the player can mash up on the C-stick during the disappearing portion of the move, where Meta Knight is then completely intangible as long as he remains off the screen. Usage of this glitch in tournaments in any capacity was banned immediately upon its discovery, as a Meta Knight player that has the lead in a match could secure victory with no interaction by exploiting this glitch to be untouchable until the match's timer ran out.
    • It's possible to become stuck on Tabuu when he uses his whip grab. The player remains stuck and completely unable to move until Tabuu kills the player. The glitch is thus an auto loss in Boss Battles or if the player only had one stock left in SSE.
  • Gang Up on the Human: In a Free-For-All match, AI opponents tend to prioritize human players.
  • Gigantic Moon: The moon in the background of the Luigi's Mansion stage is very, very large.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Whenever a character breaks a Smash Ball, their eyes glow yellow, signifying they can now use their Final Smash.
  • Green Hill Zone: The Trope Namer appears as Sonic's native home stage. As the name suggests, it's a grassy field whose most notorious characteristics are the exuberant flora and its checkered soil that forms small hills.
  • Innocent Innuendo: Snake's codec conversation about Zero Suit Samus has him exclaim that "Samus took her clothes off!", which is accidental innuendo in-universe, but also lampshades the bounty hunter's status as a Ms. Fanservice.
  • Interface Screw:
    • Palkia on the Spear Pillar Stage can flip the stage upside down and even mirror it, but doing so does not change the controls.
    • Manaphy's "Freaky Friday" Flip if summoned from a Pokéball flips the summoner with their opponent for a few seconds.
    • The Nintendog Assist Trophy brings up a puppy that stands in front of the screen blocking the match for several seconds.
    • If Mr. Resetti is summoned as an Assist Trophy, he'll start ranting, obscuring a good portion of the screen with his text boxes.
    • The Devil Assist trophy will scroll the screen in a random direction, perhaps putting parts of the stage beyond the blast lines.
  • Jungle Japes: Rumble Falls, as well as the titular stage returning from Melee. Rumble Falls takes the place of Icicle mountain in Melee, being a vertical auto-scrolling stage.
  • Lethal Lava Land: Norfair's platforms float over a large magma cavern. Waves of magma will occasionally emerge from either side and cover parts of the stage, dealing large amounts of damage to anyone that touches them.
  • Nostalgia Level:
    • Mushroomy Kingdom, Mario Bros., and 75m, which are all based directly on their appearances in their respective games.
    • For actual nostalgia levels, 10 stages from Melee are available in this game. Rainbow Cruise, Temple, Brinstar, Yoshi's Island, Corneria, and Onett are part of the starting roster, and Jungle Japes, Green Greens, Pokémon Stadium, and Big Blue can be unlocked.
  • Real Is Brown: In addition to the detailed textures applied to the characters' clothings, the game emphasizes desaturated colors in models and environments to enhance the sense of realism. One good example is Mushroomy Kingdom, which is a desert wasteland through which Super Mario Bros.' World 1-1 runs. Sakurai even justified it by saying it's because the place's been abandoned for over 20 years, so it fell into decay.
  • Ruins for Ruins' Sake: Ruins appear in the background of Mushroomy Kingdom.
  • Shifting Sand Land: Mushroomy Kingdom has become a bleak and barren desert since its appearance in Super Mario Bros..
  • Ship Level: Pirate Ship, which takes place on a small boat on the open ocean.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Summit from Ice Climber takes place at the top of an icy mountain at first, then it slides off down the side before landing in the icy water. The terrain also has very low traction, adding an extra hazard to deal with.
  • Space Zone: Lylat Cruise takes place throughout the Lylat System as the level flies through space.
  • Unexpectedly Realistic Gameplay: Tripping, which may or may not occur when trying to run.
  • Villain Team-Up: A handful of Co-Op Event Matches have this:
    • Event 1: Two Trouble Kings has Mario (and Kirby when playing the co-op version) being pit against Bowser and King Dedede, both antagonistic kings of their series and the main rivals to the respective playable fighters.
    • Co-Op Event 7: Battle of the Dark Sides has Link and Samus fighting pure black versions of themselves, referencing Dark Link and Dark Samus, respectively.
    • Co-Op Event 8: All MINE! is a rare example of the villains being the playable characters, with Wario and Bowser (both Mario antagonists) working together to battle the Mario Bros. in order to collect 2,000 coins.
    • Co-Op Event 19: Shadow of Andross is another unique example. Here, Fox and Falco fight off against Wolf, but accompanying him is Andross, an Assist Trophy, who remains for the entirety of the match.
    • Co-Op Event 14: The Dark Guardians is a subversion. While both playable characters (Ganondorf and Wolf) are villains, they are instead fighting against rampaging monsters (Represented by Donkey Kong and Charizard) rather than forces of good.
    • Event 40: The Final Battle is a successor to the first Event Match, in which Bowser and Dedede are now accompanied by Ganondorf.
    • Co-Op Event 20: The Final Battle for Two has the two players face off against every playable antagonist in the game: Wario, Meta Knight, King Dedede, Wolf, Ganondorf, and Bowser.

 
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Alternative Title(s): The Subspace Emissary

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Meta Knight is SS Tier

Meta Knight is shown to be considered the most powerful character in Brawl and the most powerful character in Smash history.

How well does it match the trope?

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