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Video Game / Super Smash Bros. Melee

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"Nintendo's biggest stars are all here!"
Back cover, first line of the description

Super Smash Bros. Melee is a Mascot/Platform Fighter developed by HAL Laboratory under Masahiro Sakurai and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo GameCube in 2001. It is the second game in the Super Smash Bros. series.

While the original Smash game laid the groundwork for the series, Melee set the standard for what to expect for content. Not only does Melee have many more playable characters (26) and stages (29), it also has a number of new singleplayer modes such as All-Star and Adventure, collectible trophies based on games from Nintendo's past, present, and future, and a slew customization options for multiplayer matches. This is all thanks to Sakurai becoming much more ambitious regarding the Smash IP, being blown away by the unexpected success of what was originally a Nintendo 64 budget title and feeling that, given the large amount of positive attention, there was more than enough room to make it into something big.


Melee is also notable for including Marth and Roy from the Fire Emblem series as playable characters, even though Fire Emblem had been a Japan-only property at that point. Roy in fact debuted in Melee as a means of promoting Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade, which wouldn't release until 2002 (being perhaps the closest one would get to a literal case of Marth Debuted in "Smash Bros.", for which this game is the Trope Namer). The surprise popularity of the two led to future Fire Emblem games finally getting localized for international release.

After nearly 20 years, Melee's Japanese website is still in operation and can be found here; the English website is archived here.


Playable Roster:

Note: Bold denotes unlockable characters.


Note: Bold denotes unlockable stages.


  • Balloon Fight: Flipper
  • EarthBound: Mr. Saturn
  • Kirby: Maxim Tomato, Parasol, Star Rod, Warp Star
  • The Legend of Zelda: Bunny Hood, Heart Container
  • Metroid: Screw Attack
  • Panel de Pon: Lip's Stick
  • Pokémon: Poké Ball
    • Pokémon that can spawn include:
      • Generation I: Venusaur, Charizard, Blastoise, Clefairy, Electrode, Weezing, Chansey, Goldeen, Staryu, Snorlax, Articuno, Zapdos, Moltres, Mew
      • Generation II: Chikorita, Cyndaquil, Togepi, Bellossom, Marill, Unown, Wobbuffet, Scizor, Porygon2, Raikou, Entei, Suicune, Lugia, Ho-Oh, Celebi
  • Perfect Dark: Cloaking Device
  • Super Mario Bros.: Bob-omb, Fire Flower, Freezie, Green Shell, Metal Box, Poison Mushroom, Red Shell, Super Mushroom, Super Star
  • Super Smash Bros.: Barrel, Beam Sword, Bumper, Capsule, Crate, Fan, Food, Home-Run Bat, Motion-Sensor Bomb, Party Ball, Ray Gun, Super Scope

This game provides examples of:

  • Achievement Mockery: Some of the bonuses you can earn are effectively consolation prize points for being bad at the game. For example, World Traveler awards 2,000 points for getting KO'd in all four cardinal directions.
  • Advanced Movement Technique: Wavedashing is an infamous physics exploit caused by jumping, then immediately air-dodging diagonally into the ground. The momentum of the air-dodge is preserved even after landing, causing the character to slide around quickly. Mastering wavedashing is considered a key part of high-level Melee play.
  • A.I. Breaker: There are a number of ways to get level 9 CPUs stuck in indefinite loops where they'll repeat the same action/movement over and over until interrupted. Some of these loops will involve them killing themselves, such as Luigi on Mushroom Kingdom 2, Fox on Jungle Japes, and Roy on Jungle Japes (the lattermost example resulting in CPU Roy being able to kill himself 98 consecutive times). Surprisingly, level 8 and 7 CPUs won't get stuck in these loops, only level 9s.
  • Anti Poop-Socking: The milestone messages for completing 50,000 and 100,000 VS. matches encourage you to stop playing for a bit, though they're probably a bit too late at that point.
    You've played 50,000 VS. bouts! Enough! Take a break!
    You've fought 100,000 VS. mode matches! Go outside!
  • Artificial Stupidity: The AI does nothing to defend themselves offstage (excusable because air-dodging kills momentum and prevents the usage of further midair jumps and recovery moves), and each character is programmed to recover the same exact way every time, ignoring all alternative and recovery-boosting options. The most infamous example is CPU Luigi being programmed to just use his Green Missile during recovery, thus he will never use his Super Jump Punch and will invariably die the instant he falls below the stage line.
  • Big Applesauce: Fourside is a large city where you fight on top of four skyscrapers. The background also features a very New York City-esque skyline.
  • Bonus Boss: The game's Adventure Mode has several examples:
    • By far the most notable is if you beat Bowser in Adventure Mode after reaching the final battle in less than 18 minutes on Normal or harder without continuing, you'll then fight a gigantic, monstrous version of him known as Giga Bowser.
    • The Link fights in the Underground Maze area also qualify (with a score bonus for beating all of them).
    • Then there is the Giant Kirby fight in Stage 5, accessible after beating the 15 Kirby team in less than 30 seconds.
  • Cement Shoes: If you never jump during a match, you'll earn a bonus called "Cement Shoes".
  • Challenge Run: The game gives you points for certain accomplishments in battle, and in single-player mode, it even lists all these accomplishments for you; naturally, some have become fodder for challenges. For instance, you can lose points for relying too much on a single move, but you get a lot of points for only using a single move. Some challenges are a lot harder in certain modes; a No-Damage Run is a lot easier in All-Star Mode (but it's brutal everywhere else), and "Switzerland" — i.e. win around without ever attacking or taking damage — is pretty easy to get on Adventure Mode stages where you don't actually have to attack anything to win.
  • Dual Boss:
    • After Luigi is unlocked, the penultimate fight of Adventure Mode starts pitting you against the Metal Bros.
    • When fighting Master Hand in Classic Mode, Crazy Hand can show up to assist its counterpart if certain conditions are met.note  Event Match 50 also requires fighting both at once.
  • Early Installment Character Design Difference: A meta example for this game, which based its characters on their Nintendo 64 era designs. Later GameCube games would provide these characters redesigns that would eventually become the basis for their modern appearances.note 
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • This is the first game to implement a camera where you can take snapshots of people. Unfortunately, it's restricted to a single mode and only three players can participate while the fourth player takes the pictures. In Brawl and later games, this is implemented whenever you pause in any offline mode and you can take pictures by pressing certain buttons.
    • There are a much larger amount of trophies from Japan-only games, possibly related to the fact that the first game in the series was itself originally planned to be Japan-only. Many of these are never seen again and such trophies in later games are generally either playable characters or related to them in some way, such as those from Mother 3 (whose predecessors are not Japan-only) and the Fire Emblem series (specifically, anything released between the since-Remade for the Export first game and the series's international debut). In addition, a lot more trophies feature brand-new 3D models rather than ones recycled from the characters/items' origin series.
    • The C-Stick can't be used to execute Smash attacks in single player mode. It instead controls how far the camera zooms in, which is a feature that's never returned in later games.
    • Classic Mode trophies don't use the characters' in-game model; rather, they use a model that depicts what the character looks like in their home series. Additionally, they aren't posed like in any of their artwork. Characters also get multiple renders in different poses, unlike later games.
    • Final Destination and Battlefield are unlockable stages in this game; later games would make them available from the start.
    • Battlefield's aesthetics were themed on metallic platforms in the middle of colourful, swirling vortexes instead of the more naturalistic settings in the later installments.
    • As badge-type items didn't exist until Brawl, the Screw Attack is a held item, which prevents you from using normal attacks while you have it. It can also be thrown at enemies, which damages them and forces them into a Screw Attack jump that leaves them in the helpless state afterwards.
  • Easter Egg:
    • The Metroid trophy has a reflection of Super Metroid's title screen, minus the logo.
    • Similarly, the Metal Mario trophy has a reflection of the Yoshi's Island stage.
    • Some trophies have a reflection of Osohe Castle, as depicted in the canceled Nintendo 64 version of Mother 3.
  • Expy: A lot of the stages are clearly based on the original Smash Bros.'s stages. Brinstar is Planet Zebes, Corneria is Sector Z, Mushroom Kingdom and Princess Peach's Castle are Mushroom Kingdom and Peach's Castle...
  • Expy Coexistence: The original versions of Yoshi's Islandnote , Dream Land, and Kongo Jungle are all unlockable.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Quite a few of them.
    • There's the infamous Black hole glitch. While a fun glitch to fool around with, it can severely lag the game, and is prone to causing a complete game freeze if it becomes too intensive for the game to handle (especially if the players do "modifications" to the black hole).
    • In really early versions (the 1.0 versions), there's the Shadow glitch, which allowed players to catch the tiny Shadow Balls thrown by Mewtwo from his forward throw. If one of these balls is thrown after being caught, the game freezes.
    • A glitch with Mewtwo is the Soul Breaker glitch. When Mewtwo uses Confusion on a projectile too strong to reflect (thus causing his reflector to "break") while simultaneously grabbing an opponent with it, the opponent will become permanently stuck to Mewtwo and unable to move, with no way of escape unless Mewtwo is KO'd. Mewtwo can also permanently freeze other characters when the Soul Breaker is activated by using his down throw on them (where he must then use Confusion to unfreeze them). Due to the possibility of Mewtwo being able to autowin matches by activating this glitch (such as if he's ahead and thus can wait out the time to win while the opponent can do nothing), the glitch is banned from being intentionally performed in tournaments (though since this glitch is essentially impossible to perform in competitive formats, this doesn't really matter).
    • Similar to the Soul Breaker glitch above is the Freeze glitch, which allows the Ice Climbers to permanently freeze opponents unless they grab them again (though unlike Mewtwo with the Soul Breaker, the Ice Climbers can perform it entirely by themselves, making it actually feasible to perform in competitive play). Having the capacity to autowin matches like the Soul Breaker, it too is banned from being intentionally performed in tournaments, and it will be considered an automatic forfeit if any player activates the glitch. Unlike Soul Breaker though, the Freeze glitch can be useful in the 1P modes, particularly the Home-Run Contest (where it's necessary for the Ice Climbers to obtain max distance).
    • A more obscure game breaking bug is the Box glitch. This is a glitch that can only be performed on the Plumbers (Mario, Luigi, and Dr. Mario), and only by Fox and Falco. If Fox/Falco use their down throw on one of the Plumbers in specific locations on stages at certain damage percentages, the Plumber becomes stuck in an invisible box area that has solid collisions on all sides and cannot be escaped from unless another character grabs and throws them out. Besides completely restricting the affected player's movement, this glitch can be an autowin if the trapped player was behind in the match and the nontrapped player(s) let time run out to win instead of freeing them.
    • When playing Master Hand (whether from the Name Entry glitch or from hacking), the game will freeze in vs. mode after a match finishes if Master Hand wins the match, as he has no victory screens and thus the game doesn't know what to do (though playing in Stamina Mode will avoid this, as the victory screen is bypassed in that mode). The game will also freeze in Classic, Adventure, and Target Test before anything can be played as Master Hand lacks the requisite assets to be used, and will freeze in the intermission stage of All-Star mode (thus with Master Hand the player can only play the first match in All-Star).
  • Gang Up on the Human: There are events called "Trophy Tussles" in which you fight against 3 other CPU opponents with the trophy you're trying to win being the stage. The CPU really does gang up on you during the events. All three of them.
  • Gimmick Level: The Brinstar Depths stage has a unique circular layout and will occasionally rotate clockwise or counterclockwise.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • How to obtain some of the after match bonuses in Melee, which is required to get the Diskun trophy. There are three things with these bonuses that cause them to be this. One and two, unless you look it up, you won't know the bonus exists until you obtain it, and only then will it show up among your collected bonuses, where you then get a short blurb on what gets you the bonus. Three, some of them though are really obscure and/or have unclear conditions to obtaining them that aren't properly explained how to get in the ingame blurb or anywhere (good luck getting the "Lethal Weapon" bonus without any guide, or knowing that "Button Holder" was a bonus).
    • Getting Luigi requires what is probably one of the most esoteric methods of unlocking a character ever devised. You need to cross the finish line of the first stage of adventure mode while the number in the timer's seconds counter ends in 2 (eg. XX.X2 xx). It's not hard to execute, but it's almost impossible to figure out on your own, and quite difficult to explain to someone else.
    • The alternate method of unlocking Mewtwo in Melee requires having 20 hours worth of playtime in vs. mode across human players. While you're guaranteed to get him eventually as long as you keep playing the game, it's going to take a very long time for a player to get him without looking up his unlock condition and ways to speed up the process (hint, the playtime is cumulative from all human players, so you can get him in as little as 5 hours across 4 human players).
  • Infernal Background: In the intro, Mario's nemesis Bowser appears standing in a field of flames. With Bowser himself darkened aside from his Glowing Eyes of Doom, the effect is pretty creepy... or badass.
  • Jungle Japes: The Titular stage makes an appearance but the previous game's Kongo Jungle returns as a playable stage as well.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo:
    • The Motion-Sensor Bombs are from GoldenEye (1997), which is no longer under Nintendo's ownership due to it being part of Rare and the license issues surrounding the movie. The is lampshaded in its trophy description, which lists its origin as "TOP SECRET". The Japanese Version of Melee instead uses the Remote Mine model from Perfect Dark, and the trophy description actually verifies the game of origin.
    • The Cloaking Device is an item from Perfect Dark, another Rare property that Nintendo lost ownership of. Like the Motion-Sensor Bomb, its trophy description in the international version lists the game of origin as "TOP SECRET".
  • Leitmotif: The music that plays during the game's credits depends on the character you clear it with:
    • Mario's theme is "Super Mario Bros. 3".
    • Donkey Kong's theme is "Jungle Japes".
    • The theme of Link, Zelda/Sheik, and Ganondorf is "Great Bay".
    • Samus's theme is "Brinstar".
    • Yoshi's theme is "Yoshi's Island".
    • Kirby's theme is "Fountain of Dreams".
    • The theme of Fox and Falco is "Corneria".
    • The theme of Pikachu and Mewtwo is "Poké Floats".
    • Luigi's theme is "Mushroom Kingdom II".
    • Captain Falcon's theme is "Big Blue".
    • Ness's theme is "Mother".
    • Jigglypuff's theme is "Pokémon Stadium".
    • Peach's theme is "Rainbow Cruise".
    • Bowser's theme is "Princess Peach's Castle".
    • The Ice Climbers' theme is "Icicle Mountain".
    • Dr. Mario's theme is "Dr. Mario".
    • Pichu's theme is "Battle Theme".
    • The theme of Marth and Roy is "Fire Emblem".
    • Young Link's theme is "Saria's Song".
    • Mr. Game & Watch's theme is "Flat Zone".
  • Lethal Lava Land: Brinstar Depths has lava far below the stage.
  • Level 1 Music Represents: For most of the represented universes, at least one stage will have the music from the first level of that series' first game. The one aversion from the last game is also corrected this time, as "Green Greens" from Kirby's Dream Land is remixed and used on the "Green Greens" stage.
  • Levels Take Flight:
    • Poké Floats takes place over, as its name indicates, giant Pokémon floats that fly over the skies of Kanto.
    • Mute City has a flying sectionwhen you approach the looping on the track)
    • Corneria and Venom both take place on the Great Fox, as it flies over the stage's respective planet, albeit from different angles.
    • Rainbow Cruise takes place over the same flying ship and floating platforms as in Rainbow Ride from Super Mario 64.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: Including transforming Bowser's trophy into Giga Bowser by striking it.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: The "Peach's Castle stage" song from the original Smash makes a single appearance in Adventure Mode, during Luigi's appearance in the first battle (if you triggered it in the first stage). The problem is, this cutscene, bar loading times, is about 6 seconds, and the song isn't in the Sound Test.
  • Non-Indicative Name:
    • The stage "Mushroom Kingdom II" is actually based on Subcon, the dream world from Super Mario Bros. 2.
    • For a minor example, the "Rare Trophy" jingle that can be found in the Sound Test doesn't play when you obtain a rare trophy, but rather when you obtain your last remaining trophy from the Lottery.
  • No Plot? No Problem!: Out of all the games in the series, this one has the least amount of plot. At least Super Smash Bros. 64 showed that the fighters were dolls from a child's toybox brought to life by Master Hand. Here, the fighters are trophies inexplicably brought to life. Nothing on where they came from or who brought them together.
  • Nostalgia Level:
    • Mushroom Kingdom I and II, which are based respectively on Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros. 2, along with Flat Zone which is based on the Game & Watch games.
    • For actual nostalgia levels, Kongo Jungle, Yoshi's Island, and Dream Land from the first game can be unlocked to play in.
  • Oddball in the Series:
    • This is the only game without personalized Battle Intros; instead, all characters come to life from their trophy form.
    • Additionally, this is the only game where the announcer doesn't count down before the fight starts, instead saying "Ready? GO!"
  • Old Save Bonus: Having a save file of Pikmin on your Memory Card unlocks the Captain Olimar trophy.
  • Play as a Boss: A glitch makes it possible to play as Master Hand.
  • Production Foreshadowing: There are trophies for Animal Crossing characters (which was already released in Japan at the time but not America) and a single character from Cubivore: Survival of the Fittest (said character was cut from the final game). Both trophies are said to be from "Future Releases".
  • Random Number God: A very strange case with its Item Containers; They all had a very low chance of producing a Goomba or a Redead on the field, whether it was during a normal Match or Event Mode.
  • Recurring Boss: Bowser in the Events is your opponent in several of the events after the first (including a harder sequel to the first event), including in one of the obligatory All-Star Battles and as part of the final battle (his Giga Bowser form was the True Final Boss).
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: After beating Samus in Adventure Mode, the entire planet of Brinstar initiates a self-destruct sequence. You then have to climb up the caverns to get to a teleporter and escape before everything blows up.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Icicle Mountain, based on the Ice Climber universe takes place on a snowy mountain, yet the players are constantly pushed around by wind rather than Frictionless Ice.
  • Villain Team-Up: Event 51: The Showdown has the player face off against Giga Bowser, Ganondorf, and Mewtwo, all of whom are the main antagonists of their respective seriesnote  and the only antagonistic playable characters in the game.


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