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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.
  • Abandoned Area: The Ruined Zoo. The Opening Cut Scene gives off a sufficiently creepy atmosphere, but then the music that plays over the level are fast-paced Pokémon themes. but when you revisit the area in the great maze, the track that plays is a somewhat creepy version of the EarthBound (1994) theme "Snowman".
  • Acrophobic Bird: Played with in Subspace Emissary cutscenes:
    • Early in the story, Pit leaps (with a boost from Mario) towards the airborne Ancient Minister and falls when he misses. It looks like a case of Cutscene Incompetence and Acrophobic Bird, but it's not. Pit normally can't fly unless he is powered by Palutena, and then it's only for five minutes at a time.
    • Later on, Meta Knight subverts this by actually flying up high, and then immediately averted when the Ancient Minister shoots a dead-accurate laser shot right through Meta Knight's wing, forcing him to land and tend to it.
    • Meta Knight actually seems to flip-flop in cutscenes. He flies low to the ground or runs when outside and traveling with others, but ascends to high height when he needs to save Lucas and Pokémon Trainer. He also flies through narrow indoor corridors, where you'd think running would be easier due to the size of his wingspan. Lastly, rather than flying up the entire way to the Halberd, he chooses instead to climb and leap up a mountain.
  • Action Bomb: While the series has the Bob-ombs as items, there is also the Subspace Emissary enemy "Bombed". Their heads are bombs, and to attack they rip off their heads, throw them at the player, and run away. The head regrows after some time, which is when they attack again. If one attacks them while they have a head, it will fall off and explode.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • Wario is just a greedy anti-hero in his series, who only cares about getting rich or otherwise splurging on himself. Here, he is a full-blown villain who takes sadistic glee in turning people into trophies on behalf of the Subspace Army, and also terrorizes Lucas after turning Ness into a trophy, complete with an 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 Boss of Doom: Subspace Emissary features Meta-Ridley as a boss you fight while it chases the Falcon Flyer, which you're standing on, as it makes its way out of the Bomb Factory. Meta-Ridley, however, doesn't so much attack you as he does the craft in general, with you happening to be in the line of fire. This doesn't seem like a big deal, until you see his attack where he slams the ship downward into the abyss. Remember, going too far off-screen in Super Smash Bros. is the only way to die, and your character almost always sticks to platforms when not airborne or attacked, despite the fact that the platform is being moved downward.
  • 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.
  • Alien Sky:
    • The Great Maze's save points take place in what appears to be another "bubble" of an area taken in by Subspace bombs, except that for some reason, the sky in the background appears to be ripping to expose the actual Subspace itself.
    • Captain Falcon's Final Smash involves sending whoever gets caught into a track, where he soon runs them over with the Blue Falcon. It may just be an usual cloudy storm, but the sky in this setting is purple and has several "warped" shapes in it.
  • 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.
  • Ambushing Enemy: The Bucculus enemies in the Subspace Emissary mode hide within the ground, with only their lips visible, and latch themselves onto players who pass above them and begin draining their health.
  • And I Must Scream: Characters are unable to move or do anything while in trophy form, although they might not be fully conscious.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: The game does this in the Adventure Mode, where you switch between various groups between levels, until the gang comes together for the grand finale. The levels aren't much of an issue, but you still lose out on sticker bonuses that you applied to the characters. And if they just became playable, you can't use stickers on them until you finish the level, and of course you need to get familiar with the character as well.
  • Androcles' Lion: Pikachu plays this role with Samus. In the story mode Subspace Emissary. After she rescues him from a generator, he accompanies her through the enemy base, helping her get her suit back, and eventually saving her ass when Ridley tries to smear her across the wall.
  • Androids Are People, Too: R.O.B. is portrayed as a fully-autonomous being capable of feeling emotions. This is most prevalent during Subspace Emissary, where R.O.B. as the Ancient Minister is forced to sacrifice his fellow R.O.B.s in order to detonate Subspace Bombs and further the goals of the Subspace Army, an act he shows visible shame and remorse for many times.
  • 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.
  • Anti-Villain: King Dedede starts stealing the trophies (corpses) of various heroes from Wario, presumably because he's trying to complete the same evil task as the other villains. He takes them to his castle and puts strange Dedede pins on them. Turns out, these pins are time-release detrophyfiers that bring said heroes back to life just in time for them to become the final resistance against the real villain. Dedede even selflessly gives his own pin to whichever princess he captured when he realizes that he doesn't have enough to save himself and the heroes.
  • 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.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: The Shadyas are a type of smoke-like enemies with large, curved blades. The only way to kill them is to attack the large, red, glowing orb in their chests.
  • Back from the Brink: In Subspace Emissary, Tabuu knocks out all of fighters appearing before him with one-shot of his Off Waves attack. Luckily, King Dedede had stashed away the trophies of Kirby, Luigi, and Ness with timed release revival brooches, allowing them to go and revive everyone. Additionally, when Tabuu tries the attack again, his wings are destroyed by Sonic, forcing him to fight on even terms.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses:
    • Marth and Meta Knight stop their duel to stand together like this against the Subspace Army.
    • Zero Suit Samus and Pikachu are assailed by two dark copies of Samus's Power Suit on a recently isolated platform. The scene ends with the dark suits facing the two, who have gotten into this kind of pose.
  • 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.
  • The Battle Didn't Count: Galleom does this twice in a row. The first time, Ike, Marth, and Meta Knight deplete its health, but even its losing animation shows that its not done for. It opts to leave the area and ends up facing Lucas and the Pokemon Trainer immediately afterwards, and is at full health when that second fight begins. Galleom only falls when it activates the Subspace Bomb in its body, like it was meant to do so in the first place.
  • 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 Theme Music: Every boss in the Subspace Emissary mode uses a tense, dramatic theme from the universe they're representing (in the case of Ridley and Meta Ridley, it's their flagship battle theme from the Metroid series). Since Duon and Galleom are original bosses, they share a Boss Remix of the game's main theme instead. Tabuu, another original boss and the last one in the mode, uses a completely new theme.
  • 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.
  • Beat the Curse Out of Him: The villains use "shadow bugs" mined from Mr. Game & Watch to create evil, purple-tinted versions of some of the heroes, like Peach and Diddy Kong. Most of the time, the real hero is trapped in trophy form and can't be brought back to life until the cursed version is defeated. However, it is possible for Diddy to fight his own Evil Twin, and at one point, Bowser does this to himself so he can be in two places at once.
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game: Duon has a melee-attacking side and a projectile-throwing side. The blog notes that it's best to match him and fight close to it when the melee side is facing you, and keep your distance from the projectile-throwing side.
  • 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.
  • The Big Bad Shuffle: The mode has numerous villains. This stems partly from the nature of the game - as a lumping together of the respective Nintendo mythologies, all the key villains come with their respective heroes. It at first seems that the Subspace Army is led by the Ancient Minister, with Bowser and Wario working with them to take out the other fighters and collect them in their trophy forms. King Dedede is also collecting trophied fighters, but he's competing with the other villains, and it turns out he's Good All Along, as he was collecting the fighters so that he could give them timed badges that would revive them in case all the fighters were wiped out. Then it turns out that the real leader of the Subspace Army is Ganondorf, and Ancient Minister was Forced into Evil in order to protect the R.O.B.s. THEN it turns out Ganondorf and the other fighters working with the Subspace Army were working under Master Hand, who was in turn being controlled by the true villain Tabuu, the lord of Subspace.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: On top of the unlockable Luigi's Mansion stage in the other modes, The Subspace Emissary has on its own several areas with ghost-esque enemies such as the Shaydas and the Floow.
  • 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 Sakurai, 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.
  • Bombardier Mook: Buckots are robotic enemies that fly with propellers on their tops and carry around buckets of red-hot metal bricks that they dump on top of fighters as their sole means of attack.
  • 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 Remix: The "regular" boss fights during the mode feature a remix of the game's main theme. That song comes up a lot throughout the game.
  • 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.
  • Bottomless Pit Rescue Service: The second player in the Subspace Emissary can turn into a beam of light at any time and fly back to Player 1. They will only die if they are either smashed away by an enemy or if they touch an enemy when they are off the screen.
  • Broken Armor Boss Battle: The Subspace Emissary has an enemy, the Armank, to whom damage can only be done if you destroy the dragon arm. When you do so, a vulnerable green blob pops out for a short period of time.
  • Bullfight Boss: Most bosses in Subspace Emissary, while not entirely based on this, will do it every once in a while as part of their routine.
  • 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.
  • Catch a Falling Star:
    • A variation occurs in the Subspace Emissary mode, where several of the heroes jump out of a bomb-filled room and land in Captain Falcon's Cool Car. They're falling at enough of a height that they ought to be at terminal velocity, but Smash never really bothered with falling damage, what with the Rule of Cool and all.
    • Meta Knight pulls this off with Lucas and the Pokémon Trainer, right before they hit the ground. Although at least in that case, it seemed like Lucas was trying to psychokinetically slow their fall. Also, the Trainer had already recovered his Charizard at that point and could have used it to save them. Too bad he was unconscious.
  • Cephalothorax: The Green alloy in Subspace Emissary. Note also that its body is based off of Kirby's.
  • Cerebus Retcon: In Subspace Emissary, it is revealed that Mr. Game & Watch is actually made out of a special substance, that can be used to harvest shadow bugs, which are used to support the entire conflict of the story.
  • Chain of People: One of Olimar's moves has him forming a Chain of'Pikmin to attack. It's useful to grab off ledges too.
  • 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.
  • Character Select Forcing: Happens on a regular basis in Adventure Mode. You will always be forced to play as a select group of characters and only when you reached the Great Maze can you choose anyone that you want to play as, and even then you're only limited to Luigi, Bowser, Kirby, King Dedede, and Ness if you haven't bothered to collect the others' trophies, Sonic won't show up until the final boss, and Jigglypuff, Toon Link, and Wolf aren't available until the game is cleared.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • We're treated to a scene early on involving a cardboard box on an enemy ship that inches forward once. Later, Solid Snake pops out, and gives one of the only spoken lines in the entire mode.
      Snake: Kept you waiting, huh?
    • There's King Dedede going around, seemingly a villain, "trophy-fying" heroes and taking them, seemingly on the same villainous side as Wario. Until he robs him. Then it seems that Dedede just wants to have his own private collection of trophies of the heroes, complete with dressing them up with odd badges, screwing around with the mission at hand (and something Dedede, at his most annoying, would plausibly have done). Until, way at the end it turns out the badges Dedede put on them were time release resurrectors, and it was Dedede's plan all along to, in case the heroes failed, save them with his own backup squad.
  • 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.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: Tabuu, the first villain in the series with a clear motivation. Whereas Giga Bowser from the previous game's Adventure Mode was merely a secret opponent without much of a villainous agenda, Tabuu is explicitly a being from another dimension who aims to absorb the Super Smash Bros. universe into his domain of Subspace. He also differs from Giga Bowser and the two Hands in being the most human-like villain of the series so far.
  • Cowardly Mooks: Poppants in Subspace Emissaryare 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.
  • Crack in the Sky: The save points in the Great Maze show a massive rip in the sky in the background, with Subspace behind it.
  • Cranium Ride: Subverted with Trowlons, who use this trope as an attack. They try to carry player(s) offscreen.
  • Crossover-Exclusive Villain: Tabuu, the Big Bad of the Subspace Emissary mode. He has no connection to any of the franchises present, has no dialogue, his only real goal is to drag the world into his home dimension of Subspace, and his design is completely unlike anything else in the game.
  • Crossover Villain-in-Chief: While not technically the leader, Ganondorf is still The Dragon to Canon Foreigner Tabuu, putting him at the head of an army that includes other franchise villains Bowser, Wario, King Dedede, Petey Piranha, Ridley, and Porky Minch.
  • 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.
  • Deadly Dodging:
    • It's possible to do significant damage to the boss Duon by getting its homing missiles to crash into it.
    • The Auroros enemies attack by dive-bombing players with their sharp beaks, and remain stuck in the ground if they miss. Players can bait them into attacking and dodge at the last minute to get them like this, after which they can be picked up and thrown like javelins.
  • Debut Queue: The Subspace Emissary introduces all the characters like this, even flashing their names on the screen in a freeze frame as they appear.
  • Defeated and Trophified: Tabuu and his minions literally turn the defeated cast into trophies incapable of fighting back.
  • Depth Deception: In the Subspace Emissary cutscene introducing Captain Olimar and Captain Falcon, the ROB Olimar is fighting made to be huge so that it seems the Captain and his Pikmin are still only an inch tall. Then Captain Falcon shows up then punches out the giant robot.
  • Desolation Shot: "The Ruined Zoo" opens with this, following Lucas as he wanders alone through a long-abandoned, dilapidated zoo.
  • Destroy the Villain's Weapon: In the level "The Swamp" of The Subspace Emissary, Falco destroys Bowser's Dark Cannon with his blasters after using it to turn Diddy Kong into a trophy and trying to use it on Fox.
  • 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).
  • Door of Doom: The final door leading to Tabuu, being a gigantic glowing door leading to the final boss that requires you to defeat every opponent you've ever faced to pass through it.
  • 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.
  • Dual Boss:
    • In a co-op Event Match, Dark Link and Dark Samus are both battled at the same time, and you and the other player have to defeat them both.
    • Duon in Subspace Emissary is a variation on this, as it's two giant robots with completely different movesets... attached to each other at the back.
  • Dual-World Gameplay: Happens in The Lake stage in The Subspace Emissary; there are doors that take the player to a Dark World version of the level; entering them is necessary to avoid obstructions that are present in either dimension. Reused in The Great Maze as well.
  • 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.
  • Energy Ring Attack: Tabuu has an attack in which he releases three massively powerful pulses from his body. In a cutscene it's able to wipe out almost every single playable character, and in gameplay, after Sonic breaks his wings it's still the most powerful attack in the entire game.
  • Eternal Engine: The Island of the Ancients in the Subspace Emissary. It's a large floating landmass where the local advanced technology is being used by the Ancient Minister's army of R.O.Bs. to mass-produce Subspace Bombs.
  • 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: Inside the Great Maze, the player has to defeat dark copies of most playable characters to advance and fight Tabuu.
  • Evil Laugh: Ganondorf, at one point. He's laughing from across a very shaky holographic interface, so his laugh dissolves into the most malevolent sounding static you've ever heard in your life.
  • Extradimensional Emergency Exit: In The Subspace Emissary, the villains unleash an enormous Gunship that comes out of a portal to Subspace. When the heroes deal it a destructive blow, villains Ganondorf and Bowser simply step back into the portal as the Gunship explodes beneath them.
  • Eye Beams: Tabuu uses them, as well, though they're probably the least effective out of all the attacks in his arsenal.
  • 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.
  • Fiendish Fish: The Feyesh is an enemy in The Subspace Emissary mode that is a goldfish with a giant, single eye for a head and electric tentacles.
  • Fighting Your Friend: Due to a misunderstanding, Yoshi and Mario have to fight one another during a level.
  • Final Boss, New Dimension: The final boss fight with Tabuu is fought in the realm of Subspace.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Marth and Meta Knight are both standing near the same giant blob of Subspace. Meta Knight assumes Marth is allied with the invading forces and attacks him, prompting a sword duel which is cut short by a couple of Primids. At this point, the two heroes realize they're on the same side and turn on the Subspace monsters. The two work together for the next leg of the game.
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: Glices, Glires and Glunders; they are a set of three enemies in Subspace that use fire, ice, and lightning respectively; Glices and Glires are weak to each other's elements, but Glunders have no such weakness.
  • Fist of Rage: In Subspace Emissary, Lucas does this when he meets back up with Wario, who had incapacitated his new friend Ness, indicating that Lucas has gotten over his fears and ready to fight Wario to get his friend back.
  • Flipping the Bird: The game has Wolf flipping off the camera in his intro when you fight him in his secret battle from this mode.
  • Foreign Language Title: "Audi Famam Illius", is in, you guessed it, Latin. There is also a remix of the main Fire Emblem theme, with the Japanese lyrics rewritten in Latin.
  • 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.
  • For the Evulz: Sakurai states that this is Wario's reason why he's working with the Subspace Army. Wario does have motivation in greed, but the efforts he goes through to get it, right down to shaking money out of enemies way too gleefully just proves he enjoys the methods as much as the gains.
  • 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.
  • Freaky Electronic Music: Adventure Mode uses an electronic Dark Reprise of the game's main theme in the levels that take place in Subspace, Tabuu's realm. Tabuu himself has electronic music in parts of his battle theme.
  • 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%.
  • The Glomp: Done by King Dedede to Kirby, when they finally meet just before the Great Maze.
  • 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.
  • Good All Along:
    • In Subspace Emissary mode, King Dedede spends most of the story trying to take fighters that have been turned into trophies. Then after everybody except the three that he did manage to get face down Tabuu and get trophified, the badges he placed on two of the three turn them back to normal...the third one ironically was swallowed by his archenemy after falling off the princess you chose to save.
    • The Ancient Minister also turns out to have been blackmailed by Ganondorf. Once Ganondorf controls the other R.O.B.s into doing his bidding, he fights back with the heroes.
  • Goomba Stomp: After Melee introduced it in Adventure Mode, Brawl retains this mechanic in its own Adventure Mode (Subspace Emissary), and it also has a Giant Goomba which can dish out decent Collision Damage unless you can get above it, at which point bouncing up and down on its head about six times sends it down for the count. Stomping on the small Goombas almost always results in an Item Drop.
  • Gratuitous Latin: The game begins with an an epic Latin chorus. It also serves as the ending theme of Subspace Emissary, where the Latin-based lyrics are shown on-screen (along with English subtitles).
  • 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.
  • Grenade Launcher: Has the rotating cylinder launchers from Metal Gear Solid 2 as Snake's Final Smash.
  • Grid Inventory: The game uses a grid-based system for its sticker power-ups: you can only use as many oddly-shaped stickers as you can fit on the round base of a trophy.
  • Guide Dang It!: The Subspace Bomb Factory (Part II) has an Orange Cube hidden above the camera's range in a side area.
  • Gusty Glade: There are a few areas on the outside of the Halberd whilst it is in the air.
  • Hard Mode Perks: More stickers and trophies appear in harder difficulties, especially stickers in the Adventure Mode. Duon's missiles will do more damage to himself the harder the difficulty is, should you successfully direct them back at him.
  • Healing Checkpoint: The last level in the Subspace Emissary mode includes save points that heal you and revive fallen party members, this is because the gane changed from straightforward action levels to a huge sprawling metroidvania stage (with reused assets).
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • The Ancient Minister is thought to be the remorseless leader of the Subspace Army, but actually regrets his actions. In truth he isn't the true mastermind, and thus lost control of his R.O.B. Squad when Ganondorf stepped in to complete the job of destroying the world with Subspace Bombs. The Ancient Minister then interferes, only to be attacked. It is then his true form is revealed, a R.O.B. From there is only referred to as such and becomes playable.
    • In a case of All There in the Manual, it is revealed that Mr. Game & Watch is actually a villain, until Peach gives him her parasol. He was apparently not really evil, just incapable of telling the difference between good and evil. Hence, the ease of his turn.
  • 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 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.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: The beginning of the ruined zoo in Subspace Emissary has the Porky Statue from Mother 3, which cannot be defeated... well, technically not. Without cheating, using Smash hacks, or somehow changing his absurdly massive HP, you can and will never manage to deal nearly enough damage to it to break it. Instead, Ness destroys it once you manage to get to the end of its chase and you then fight Porky himself.
  • Human Cannonball: Several stages in the Subspace Emissary mode feature the barrel cannons as a Shout-Out to Donkey Kong Country.
  • Humongous Mecha: Galleom and Duon are both massive robots that dwarf the entire playable cast.
  • Indy Escape: In Subspace Emissary, during Lucas's introductory stage, he must run from the invincible Pig King statue while avoiding or defeating enemies as the statue continuously advances on the left side of the screen. At one point, the statue falls in the water and sinks, and you think you're safe, but then it (or another one) falls from the sky and you must keep going. If you're not expecting it, the statue can easily kill you when it lands.
  • Interchangeable Antimatter Keys: The Subspace Emissary mode has one-time keys that open doors this way. They respawn in their original locations if the key is lost or abandoned in the way, but they're gone forever after they're used.
  • Irony: Sonic, the fastest thing alive, is very late to the final battle against Tabuu. He is also low-tier in Brawl tournaments, one of the reasons being that he has slow attack setups.
  • 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.
  • Kaizo Trap: After defeating Porky, one of the legs will fall with enough force to hurt you. Similarly, the Porky Bots don't vanish when he's defeated, hence you can get blown up by them after the boss has already been defeated if you're too close to him. Not too dangerous, since you can't get KO'd if the boss is defeated, but devastating in Boss Battles when you don't want to take much damage or waste healing items.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Near the end of the story, the introduction of Tabuu represents that heralding of the Darkest Hour, as he singlehandedly defeats the near-entireity of the playable cast before creating the Subspace Maze. Were it not for King Dedede's forward-thinking, it could've been The End of the World as We Know It.
  • Last Episode, New Character: Although calling it the last "episode" is not quite accurate, in the level The Great Maze Sonic the Hedgehog makes his first appearance in the whole story at the last possible second, showing up in the cutscene immediately preceding the final boss.
  • Last Lousy Point:
    • The Subspace Bomb Factory (Part II) in The Subspace Emissary has two boxes which are difficult to get, but if you want the flag denoting you've done everything in the level, you'll have to get them. One has you enter a moving door in an autoscrolling section, bounce on a trampoline to leap off the top of the screen, use your double jump to get even higher, then attack to break open a box hidden out of view of the camera entirely. The other requires using a character who can wall jump to scale a vertical shaft (on your initial visit, this means Captain Falcon and/or Diddy Kong) to reach a door that contains the box beyond it.
    • The Meta Ridley trophy requires you to get close to beating Meta Ridley in The Subspace Emissary, then wait for a trophy stand to spawn (keep in mind the fight is on a timer), then throw the trophy stand at him, and then jump off the Falcon Flyer that you've been riding the whole fight and grab the Meta Ridley trophy out of the air before it disappears off the bottom of the screen.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: R.O.B.'s Red Baron nickname in Smash 4 spoils the fact that he's the Last of His Kind.
  • Late Character Syndrome: The mode gives you a quickly expanding cast of fighters to work with in the story and you get lots of share time between each fighter to get used to their play styles. You also have the opportunity to boost the powers of characters through stickers. At the Final Battle, Sonic the Hedgehog appears to weaken the final boss' ultimate attack and becomes playable for that one fight. You have no opportunity to boost his abilities and unless you went through the trouble to unlock him in the main fighting modes through alternative means beforehand (beat Classic Mode with 10 characters or fight in Brawl mode for 10 hours), no time to practice with him, making him practically useless for the final battle.
  • Late to the Tragedy: This occurs right before the final boss fight, when Sonic, the fastest playable character in the game, shows up out of nowhere with no notice whatsoever and damages Tabuu's butterfly wings, weakening his 'Off Waves' ability and allowing a battle with him without dying by default.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: After what is probably a few hours of play time after a short cutscene teased at his role in Subspace Emissary, Snake pops out of his cardboard box and says the line "Kept you waiting, huh?" directly to the camera before his first gameplay section begins, as if he acknowledges everyone that had been dying to play as him since he was revealed in the first preview trailer. Not a single coherent word was spoken anywhere else during a cutscene, outside of those accompanying an attack, in the entire game.
  • Leap of Faith:
    • In one area (The Path To The Ruins) there is a series of what seem like narrow, bottomless pits, but one of them actually leads to a door hiding one of the item boxes necessary for 100% Completion. The correct pit can be found in front of a Borboras, but if you don't know it's there, you'll likely panic and try to avoid being pushed down it.
    • In the last part of the mode, the Great Maze, there are a few new areas. One of them is a wooden area based on a past one, which ends with two bottomless pits, only one of which will actually kill you. The other leads to a necessary battle. Since they are so close together, the map won't tell you if you're too far off from the door in question, and you scroll down with both. However, although it's incredibly obvious which one is the deadly one when it scrolls down, at that point you are too far down to do anything about it but struggle until losing a life]]. Luckily those lives can be quickly replenished.
  • Legion of Doom: A group of villains, including playable characters Bowser, Ganondorf, and Wario, and NPCs Petey Piranha, Porky, and Ridley join under Master Hand, who is secretly being controlled by Tabuu, to make the Subspace Army. Bowser, Ganondorf, and Wario all end up eventually betraying the army, joining the heroes once they realize they were just Tabuu's pawns. However, Ganondorf planned on overthrowing Master Hand and becoming the army's leader long before he learned of Tabuu.
  • 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 Goal: There are glowing yellow doors that signify the end of a level, rather than the normal red ones that just take you to another part of a level. For the Great Maze, the end is shown by a ridiculously huge set of Amazing Technicolor Doors that only open when you defeat shadow clones of the characters and every other previously-fought boss.
  • 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.
  • Levels Take Flight: At one point, you're working your way across the side of the Halberd to get to the deck of the flying ship while dealing with a constant wind in your face, slowing you down.
  • Lone Wolf Boss: Rayquaza has zero connection to the main plot, and only attacks Fox and Diddy Kong because they disturbed him.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: There are songs that you can only hear during certain movies in the Subspace Emissary, such as the Wild West version of the Luigi's Mansion theme heard during the "King Dedede Steals..." movie, or the melancholy version of the Brawl theme heard in movies such as "Ganondorf Takes Command", or the stirring rendition of the Fire Emblem theme when Marth first unsheathes his sword, etc.
  • The Lost Woods: The Trope Namer makes an appearance as the place where Link obtains the Master Sword and meets up with Yoshi.
  • Magic Countdown: Averted with the first Subspace bomb. When the picture cuts away from the bomb, it has 7 seconds to go. Exactly 5 seconds later, the timer is at 2 seconds. On the other hand, there are several situations where, within moments, it will jump from almost 3 minutes to less than 5 seconds.
  • Make My Monster Grow:
    • The Shadow Bugs at one point create a giant dark copy of Diddy Kong. This is one of the toughest fights in the game despite being a mini-boss.
    • Nagagogs are sumo-wrestlers that, given the chance, will grow bigger and stronger depending on their health bars. Close to full, they're small and blue. Half-gone, they're bigger and yellow. Close to empty, they turn giant and red. And their offensive and defensive capabilities grow accordingly.
    • One of Tabuu's attacks in the Final Boss fight is to enlarge himself and fire Eye Beams.
  • Male Gaze: Zero Suit Samus is introduced with her dropping to the ground from an air vent followed by a slow pan from her legs to her face. Clad in a Spy Catsuit as she is, this is hardly surprising. It does build suspension and makes it all the more powerful when she does show her face near the end of the clip.
  • Mama Bear: Samus shows a strong sense of protection towards Pikachu, which was being forcefully used to fuel a facility with its electrical energy.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Taken to great lengths. Wario was being directed by Bowser and Ganondorf, who also manipulate the Ancient Minister (who also directs the R.O.B. Squad), the forefront of the Subspace Army, which is created by manipulating Mr. Game & Watch), but in turn are being given orders by Master Hand, who is being manipulated by some weird energy being that resembles Dr. Manhattan called Tabuu.
  • 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.
  • The Maze: The Great Maze, which is the final level. Be thankful you have an auto-mapping feature, as unlike most other mazes you have to explore every nook and cranny and kill every copy character and boss to open the way to the final battle. Once you complete the map, though, you realize it was incredibly simple the whole time. It's a single contiguous loop with a multitude of dead-end "branches", making it essentially impossible to actually get lost.
  • 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.
  • Metroidvania: The final stage of the mode, The Great Maze, where you have to explore a huge labyrinth based on previous levels to defeat all shadow clones and bosses to access the Final Boss. The rest of the mode is straight platforming.
  • Mid-Battle Tea Break: Invoked by Princess Peach in order to stop a fight between Sheik and Fox.
  • Minecart Madness: Part of Stage 8 of the mode, which was influenced by Donkey Kong Country. An added bonus: In riding the carts, you often got to run over several hard enemies in the process.
  • Mini-Boss: Minibosses are very plentiful in the Subspace Emissary, and include dark versions of Diddy, Peach, Zelda and (during The Great Maze) all remaining characters that appeared up to that point. Strangely, Brawl is also the first game in the series whose Classic Mode averts this trope (the second is Ultimate), since the designated Quirky Miniboss Squad (the Fighting Alloys) are only fought in the Multi Mook Brawl modes.
  • Mini Mook: Mites. Even their trophy description talks spitefully about them becasue of how small and weak they are.
  • Mirror World: Certain areas have you shifting between daytime and sunset of the same level, using it to remove an obstruction — on both sides — from one side, that is indestructible on the other. It probably isn't a coincidence that this game and Kirby Super Star had the same designer.
  • Misguided Missile: It's possible to do this with Duon's missiles in its boss battle.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: There's a rare fictional mon example. The Pokémon Rayquaza raises out of a lake like it's some sort of sea monster. It's supposed to live in the earth's ozone layer.
  • Monochrome Past: Flashbacks in the story's cutscenes are black and white.
  • Monster Progenitor: Most of the enemies that appear in the Subspace Emissary mode are made of Shadow Bugs extracted from Mr. Game & Watch's body.
  • 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.
  • Mundane Utility: The cargo-carrying hovercrafts that Wario and King Dedede use are equipped with articulated arms powered, so the trophy says, by magic. While magic is a more common resource in Nintendo world than in ours, one has to wonder if a simple hydraulic rig wouldn't be more practical.
  • Mutually Exclusive Party Members: Downplayed at the start, in which one of the first battles has Kirby decide whether to rescue Zelda or Peach from Petey Piranha. The saved character travels with you for the next couple of matches, but eventually, the two story paths merge.
  • Near-Villain Victory: At one point in the story, every single playable character (and Master Hand) is trophyified. Then Dedede's timed badges go off and Luigi, Ness and Kirby revive. Thanks to them (and Sonic, who comes in to prevent the Big Bad from killing everyone again), the whole roster is again able to kick ass.
  • 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.
  • Not Me This Time: The villains are all running around turning heroes into trophies. Dedede captures several, and keeps them in his castle, placing badges on them. He runs out of badges, and reluctantly takes his own off to attach it to the final hero trophy. After the real villain, Tabuu, uses his ability to turn every single character into a trophy, the purpose of the badges is revealed: they restore a trophy to life after a time delay. And with Dedede's contingency plan proven a good idea, he and the heroes he captured go off to rescue the entire rest of the cast.
  • Oculothorax: The Feyesh in the story mode is a flying eyeball fish with tentacles.
  • Offhand Backhand: It's technically possible to do this from the viewpoint of certain characters. Finishing off the Teleport spamming Tabuu this way is extremely satisfying.
  • Offscreen Villain Dark Matter: Justified, where the villains actually are getting their supplies from subspace. Mr. Game & Watch could have dark matter extracted from him endlessly, helping the villains create an infinite army of mooks.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: Tabuu doesn't have the pipe all the way through, but one segment of his battle theme (around a minute and 14 seconds in, precisely) has it. Rather noticeable because its ethereal energy contrasts the more rock-oriented energy the rest of the theme has.
  • 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.
  • One-Winged Angel: Tabuu, The Man Behind the Man (behind the other men), transforms into a winged version of himself that can transform the heroes back into trophies. But then Sonic the Hedgehog comes and damages both of his wings, thus weaking his power to just an instant KO.
  • Only Mostly Dead: Characters become trophies instead of dying. All one has to do is touch their trophy stand to revive them.
  • Optional Boss: Jigglypuff, Toon Link, and Wolf are completely optional fights found in the Playable Epilogue.
  • Optional Character Scene: The mode features variants of alternative scenes with different characters, such as if Kirby decides to free Peach or Zelda in the opening level. Unlocking the other scenes would require a second playthrough.
  • 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.
    • In a game where nearly every character has their end of game personalities and powers (Ness ready to face off against Porky, Samus ready to fight Ridley, and so on), Lucas is the only one who acts below that seeing his final boss equivalent as something terrifying. In itself that's not too bad, but it becomes truly OOC when Ness is hit by the Trophy gun and runs in terror away from Wario, abandoning his new friend who he just fought with to a villain. Even in the prologue chapter of Mother 3 where Lucas is very much known as 'a crybaby' and is 3 years younger than he is in the main game, the moment he realizes his friends were in danger (from tanks, no less), he riled together the creatures of the forest and mounted a rescue attack to save them. It's pretty farfetched to expect the same kid, 3 years later, to abandon another psychic kid to a single human villain just because they have a scary gun and garlic breath.
  • 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.
    • Princess Peach gets a scene like this while holding her parasol, on the fight above the Halberd in the Subspace Emissary. Later, the four ships fly out of the explosion created when the Halberd was shot through by the Subspace Gunship.
    • The Ancient Minister in ROB's reveal. Though that's not exactly walking out of the flames, and more fighting unhindered while on fire.
  • Outrun the Fireball: There are multiple instances of characters escaping from the Subspace Bombs. Yoshi is the only character to literally run away from a bomb, which he does while carrying Mario. Everyone else is ferried either away by Kirby's Warp Star, or Captain Falcon's Falcon Flyer.
  • Outside-Context Problem: The ultimate villain, Tabuu, comes out of nowhere and effortlessly beats absolutely every character. Then Dedede's badges activate...
  • Outside Ride: Meta Ridley is fought on top of the Falcon Flyer in one of the later stages.
  • 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.
  • Patchwork World: The Great Maze is made up of areas from the "normal" world that have been absorbed by Subspace Bombs.
  • Perverse Puppet: The "Puppit" enemies. Their trophy description just makes them creepier.
    A marionette enemy, suspended from above by piano strings. A Puppit proves vicious with long, sharp claws and a mysterious beam emitted from its eyes. You would think, based on the exterior wood pattern, that it's made of wood, but no one is sure. More importantly, who is the one manipulating those piano strings?! What an enemy! Mystery abounds!
  • Phantom Zone: The entire plot of the mode revolves around the titular subspace.
  • 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.
  • Prolonged Video Game Sequel: This Adventure Mode is far longer and more elaborate than the one premiered in Melee.
  • Puppet King: The story eventually reveals that Master Hand (the Big Bad of the previous games) is literally being puppeteered by new villain Tabuu. Ganondorf (the only other villain still standing at that point) immediately turns on him with this revelation, only to be stricken down effortlessly by Tabuu's Off Waves.
  • Radial Ass Kicking: After settling their differences, Meta Knight and Marth combine this with Back-to-Back Badasses when the Subspace Army begins to surround them.
  • 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.
  • Ramming Always Works: The Dragoon. The rider gets a crosshair display to select a target, and then plows through for a single-hit KO. Taken to extremes in a critical scene in Subspace Emissary, where Kirby, riding the Dragoon, rams straight through the Sub-Space Battleship and destroys it in one shot.
  • Rare Random Drop: For all those die-hard completionists, Subspace Emissary will be HELL. To get all the trophies in Brawl, you have to play Subspace Emissary, and have a trophy stand randomly drop during all the Boss Battles. When it comes to Meta-Ridley, not only is there a time limit on the battle, but unless you have near-perfect timing, the trophy will most likely drop into a bottomless pit if you're not fast enough. Luckily, trophy stands appear much faster in this battle.
  • 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).
  • Redemption Equals Death: Master Hand has just been freed from Tabuu's control, and he attempts to fight him, only to be beaten and presumably killed.
  • Remixed Level: The final level is the Great Maze, a Metroidvania-style labyrinth made up of parts of all the previous levels which had been blown up with Subspace bombs. On top of that, the Halberd segment isn't ripped from the previous Halberd stage, but rather, it's based off the elevator portion from the original Revenge of Meta Knight game in Kirby Super Star.
  • Required Party Member: When you head out to fight the Final Boss, your party will always include Luigi, Ness, King Dedede, Bowser, Kirby, and Sonic. Anyone else you want needs to be collected as a trophy in the immediate two levels before the Very Definitely Final Dungeon and restored to normal form (Ganondorf in particular can't be unlocked unless you've unlocked both Link and Zelda). On the other hand, Toon Link, Wolf, and Jigglypuff can't be unlocked until after the final boss is defeated.
  • Robotic Reveal: A variant occurs when the Ancient Minister, who up until this point was considered to be a variant of one of the Big Bad's Mooks, turns out to be R.O.B..
  • Rotten Rock & Roll: Tabuu's Battle Theme Music is played as a Progressive Metal battle track.
  • 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.
  • Save Point: The final level has special doors to save points sprinkled about, which also restore health and return any fallen party members back to your roster. A select few of them even act as warp points to certain areas.
  • Scaling the Summit: There's a level where Meta Knight and the Ice Climbers are racing against each other to see who reaches the summit of Glacial Peak first. When they reach the top, they meet Lucario and, after defeating it, they add it to their team.
  • Schrödinger's Player Character: It is assumed that your current party is fighting all the enemies in the story but depending on the character limits placed as you progress, you will never see the other characters jumping in to help.
  • Slave Mooks: The R.O.B. enemies fought in several levels are revealed to have once been a peaceful civilization, but to have been enslaved by Ganondorf on Tabuu's account and forced to serve as soldiers in their bid to conquer the world.
  • Sleepy Enemy: Towtows are sheep-like enemies that spawn in an asleep state. If awakened by attacks, they enter a feral form and viciously charge at the player.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Shortly after the mode's midway point, Meta Knight and the Ice Climbers begin scaling a snowy summit called The Glacial Peak, whose primary hazard is ice spikes with a very strong Knockback power; there are also large chunks of ice that retract in and out, and are important to scale the mountain (but also dangerous because they may end up crushing a character). Notably, this level is where Lucario can be found and recruited.
  • Sphere of Destruction: Subspace Bombs basically eat perfectly spherical chunks of the universe, sending them into the Subspace.
  • 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.
  • Stationary Enemy: The R.O.B. Launchers and some R.O.B. Blasters do not move, instead remaining rooted to their spot and essentially serving as stationary gun emplacements.
  • Storming the Castle: In addition to Kirby making another (failed) attempt at storming the Halberd, its original owner finds himself storming the ship to take it back from Bowser and Ganondorf who had hijacked it.
  • Story Breadcrumbs: Since there's no dialogue, the only concrete information you have to go on within Brawl itself are the relevant trophies.
  • Story-Breaker Power: Tabuu's Off Wave has the power to revert all the characters back into trophies, which allows it to completely curb-stomp nearly the entire cast in seconds, with only a Chekhov's Gun allowing one to get free and revive the others. After that, they are only saved from another Off Wave by a Deus ex Machina Big Damn Heroes moment from Sonic, which depowers the Off Wave enough to only be a One-Hit Kill that covers the entire screen and can only be avoided through rolling and air dodging.
  • Subspace or Hyperspace: The story mode, appropriately called "The Subspace Emissary", features Subspace as an alternate dimension, home of Master Hand and Tabuu. It can be accessed via giant evergrowing purple spheres created by the supspace bombs and the subspace cannon, which draw everything they touch into it. Subspace itself is mostly a dark purple-ish void filled with purple energy platforms and spheres containing the landscapes that were swallowed up by the gates.
  • Superboss: Extra doors appear in three stages after you beat Tabuu and complete the story; going inside them will pit you against Toon Link, Wolf, or Jigglypuff, depending on the level. However, you only have one chance to defeat them and their AI is much more aggressive than the characters you fought previously.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Snake attempts to hide from Lucario and Meta Knight using his trademark cardboard box. In his home game, mooks would be fooled. But not Lucario, who immediately notices something strange about a cardboard box in the middle of an otherwise-empty hallway. And once more enemies arrive to harass the group, Snake immediately tries to hide behind a wall, because in Metal Gear proper, taking on that many enemies at once head-on would be suicide.
    • Captain Falcon makes a Dynamic Entry from his speeding Blue Falcon. But because he is going so fast, he doesn't notice the crowd of Pikmin and promptly kills them all as he lands and strikes a pose.
    • Ganondorf and Bowser's battleship's defensive cannons manage to hit and destroy the Halberd, whose large size makes it an easy target.
    • One good hit from Kirby is enough to take down the battleship.
  • Taken for Granite: Played with; defeated characters are turned into Trophies.
  • Taking the Bullet:
    • Ness and Lucas are being attacked by Wario. Wario fires his trophy gun at Ness a few times, and Ness dodges all the shots easily. An irritated Wario then changes his target to Lucas. Lucas, being the cowardly little brat he is, doesn't even try to dodge, so Ness pushes Lucas out of the way, complete with slow motion camera panning, and is turned into a trophy in the process. It should be noted that in this world, being turned into a trophy is like death.
    • And Donkey Kong for Diddy Kong (in their case, Donkey Kong actually had to punch Diddy Kong out of the way).
  • Technicolor Toxin: In the Cave level, the poison gas you encounter is purple-colored.
  • Teleport Spam: Tabuu, the Final Boss. Occasionally he'll leave explosions after teleporting, making following him around the stage a poor decision.
  • Temple of Doom: There's a Ruins level featuring many enemies (including those part of the Subspace Army) and traps like falling spikes and fire jets; it is here where Pokémon Trainer captures Ivysaur and Charizard (his starter is Squirtle). In the Ruined Hall, one of the bosses (Galleom) is fought.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: At one point in the story, after Ganondorf and Bowser's gigantic Subspace Battleship shoots down the heroes' recovered Halberd, the heroes escape in their personal fighters to the Theme Music Power-Up. The music being Dramatic Latin Chanting doesn't hurt.
  • Third Party Stops Attack: Just before Sheik and Fox fight on the Halberd in the Subspace Emissary, Peach stops them... for tea time.
  • 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 is presented as a major villain in The Subspace Emissary, but the closest you ever come to fighting him is a cutscene where the heroes attack the Halberd with their various spaceships, after which Ganondorf is double-crossed by Tabuu. A little weird, as this is a game where Ganondorf is a fully playable character. You later fight a dark copy of him in The Great Maze, but that's because Tabuu created a dark copy of each of the 31 characters that have appeared by that point, so it doesn't count.
    • Despite being a straight boss in Classic Mode, Master Hand was presented as the Big Bad of The Subspace Emissary until it's revealed that he's the literal puppet of Tabuu, who disposes of Master Hand before the players get there.
    • There's also the Ancient Minister, who was hyped as the subgame's main villain in previews and promotional material. He heel-faced and was revealed to be R.O.B. just before the heroes busted into what would've been his boss chamber.
  • 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 Lives: The mode has a unique take on this. In most stages, players form a party using the characters they unlock. When one character dies, the next character in the party takes their place, and so on until the last character dies. There is also a unique item in "Subspace Emissary" that replenishes lives, so that if the last character in the player's party dies, the first character returns. In Team Battles, if a player loses all their lives, they can "share" one from their teammate to continue.
  • 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.
  • Wait Here: At the end of a level, Snake is very clear to Zelda and Peach when asking them to stay in a spot while he inspects the area they're heading next. They don't actually listen to him, but do manage to make themselves quite useful. Peach manages to recruit Fox, and they both help out in the fight against Duon, after which Peach adds yet another useful member into the team: Mr. Game & Watch.
  • 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.
  • Watching the Sunset: The characteristic shot of the mode (and the game as a whole) is of the entire playable roster looking at the shining "X" shape lingering in the sky where the Ancient Minister's people and homeland used to be. Due to the orange lighting, this shot gives off the appearance of this trope.
  • Wave-Motion Gun: The Subspace Gunship has a massive laser that tears a hole to subspace.
  • Weaponized Teleportation: Subspace Bombs. They transport the lands they're on into Subspace, but when exploding create a vacuum powerful enough to rip apart people caught the blast area. Too many bombs launched in the same area can result in the land they swallow being disintegrated instead.
  • 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.
  • Wham Episode:
    • First, the Ancient Minister is revealed to be R.O.B., who rebels against the Subspace Army when Ganondorf forces the other R.O.B.s to set off every subspace bomb on the base.
    • Later, the united cast stand before the Greater-Scope Villain, Tabuu. Unfortunately, they are all reverted to Trophies by the enemy's Off Waves. It is only because King Dedede had the forethought to place special badges reversing the process on a few fighters that the heroes can continue to fight against Tabuu.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: What happens to Link's fairy companion? It appears flying along with him when he's introduced, flies off out of shot when the Halberd casts a shadow... and then (outside of one of the battle taunts Link can do) never appears again.
  • Whip It Good: Tabuu, the Final Boss, has one of his own. Being captured by it often leads to instant death.]]
  • Wings Do Nothing: Tabuu gains wings for precisely one attack. They don't seem to do anything (given that he seems to be able to levitate and warp for short distances, anyway), but since Masahiro Sakurai says that Sonic weakened said move by attacking them, they may serve some purpose. Since there's very little reason for them to be wings specifically, though, they still count.
  • Wipe the Floor with You: Ridley does this to Samus prior to his Boss Battle in a cutscene. This scene proves to iconic that it's repeated in Metroid: Other M and (as part of Ridley's Final Smash) in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
  • 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.
  • Wormsign: This happens with Rayquaza. When it uses Dig, the ground gets cracked and pushed upward to show where it will attack from.
  • 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.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: King Dedede grabs Ness and Peach or Zelda as a matter of convenience due to them already being trophified. However, the one character he specifically seeks out to be his ace in the hole, his last chance backup for when everything goes to crud... is Luigi.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: While he's not killed, Bowser gets this from Ganondorf in Subspace Emissary. The two of them are going to report to Master Hand when Ganondorf decides to turn Bowser into a trophy in preparation to usurp the Master Hand. Later, when Bowser is restored and Ganondorf is a trophy, Bowser takes his sweet revenge... or tries to, anyway.
  • Your Head A-Splode: The Bombed enemy's one form of attack is throwing its explosive head at you, then running away as it regenerates so it can throw it again.
  • 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 
  • Acrofatic: Wario has some very fast attacks and extreme aerial maneuverability for a heavyweight. His Final Smash form, Wario-Man, is even faster and stronger and can jump absurdly high to boot.
  • Absurdly Short Level: The co-op Event Match "Fastest, Shortest, Sudden Death", which only lasts for 10 seconds and asks your team to defeat an enemy without either member of your team dying, when everyone begins at 300%.
  • Achievement System: The game set the tradition in itself and subsequent games of including "Challenges" grids, each of which unlocks a cosmetic award (such as trophies or music for the player's collection). The player may check details of any achievement that is horizontally adjacent to one they've already acquired, and they also have a limited number of 'hammer' items that can be used to unlock an award without having to complete the objective for it.
  • 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.
  • A.I. Breaker:
    • You can trick the AI into a lot of things, but the most memorable trick is probably the "Fly To Survive" scheme. It's only usable with the handful of characters who possess limited flight capabilities and it's mostly useful for the Cruel Brawl survival-test, where you face a bunch of seriously overpowered bots, but by simple constantly flying under the island the battle takes place on—hanging off the ledge on either side to reset your flight-time counter without having to properly land—you can trick the AI into jumping off the screen with a little practice.
    • In the WarioWare Inc. stage, if the "Freeze!" microgame comes up, the CPU will stand still until the stage transitions all the way back to the main elevator room. But the stage credits you with not moving as soon as the microgame ends. A canny player can take advantage of the two or three seconds it takes to wind up a free Smash attack or other charged move on the nearest enemy.
    • The stage editor allows for all sorts of bizarre computer player behavior. For instance, if you create a square, open at the top, on the upper-right corner of the stage and it's the correct size, Lucas will spend the entire match jumping back and forth.
    • Zelda (who is considered a terrible fighter against any human) can easily beat any AI controlled character on flat stages by spamming her Din's Fire attack and slowly blasting the enemy to one side of the screen. The computer has literally no defense to this strategy.
  • The All-Seeing A.I.: Like in Melee, no Interface Screw in the world is going to deter the AI. Examples unique to this game include:
    • When the Nintendog appears to cover the screen, nothing happens to the AIs.
    • The AI have perfect bearings when the controls or the stage in Spear Pillar is reversed, making the fight much harder than it needs to be.
  • All Your Powers Combined: Pokémon Trainer has a Final Smash combining the powers of all his Pokémon.
  • Animation Lead Time:
    • Zelda still has her alter ego Sheik as an alternate form despite no game other than 1998's Ocarina of Time at that point having her take on that appearance. However, Sheik returned because when Brawl entered development, 2006's The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was still in early production and that team planned to have the character reappear.
    • The game features basically no content from Super Mario Galaxy, which was released in November 2007, due to the two games having mostly-concurrent development cycles. It's only briefly mentioned in the game's Chronicle, and the game instead treats Super Mario Sunshine as the latest mainline Mario game. For the same reason, content on Metroid Prime 3: Corruption is nonexistent (only having a mention in the Chronicle), so the newest Metroid content in the game is as of Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (console, 2004) and Metroid Prime: Hunters (handheld and overall, 2006).
  • Anti-Frustration Features: If someone is sufficiently far behind in the match from this game onwards, there's a chance that they might spawn with a Final Smash ready to use.
  • Artificial Brilliance: Many fans have argued that the level 9 AI is capable of learning from human players. Players often point to examples of a certain characters' AI altering their recovery strategy after a human player has repeatedly used this character. Though this has been proven falsenote  but the rumor still persists. The stock AI can also be replaced with more effective AI. Among various projects, one Japanese hacker is working on an Ice Climber AI that never messes up its chaingrab infinites, something that is possible for humans—ie. not a true example of cheating AI — but difficult.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • In general, CPU-controlleed characters have trouble with the idea that stages aren't always completely static. If the bottom of the stage is occupied by horizontally moving platforms, the computer-controlled characters will miss the platforms by a mile every single time.
    • The AI can navigate custom stages fairly well... unless it has spikes. CPUs don't quite seem to get the idea that spikes are bad, and it's not uncommon to see a CPU work their damage up hundreds higher than normal just bouncing on spikes. They only get the hint when they're about one inch away from them and unable to do anything about it.
    • Trampolines. If you're on one side of a wall and the CPU is on the other, it will spend tons of time trying to jump over the wall, even if it's too high, despite there being a spring behind it which it could use to jump over the wall.
    • It has trouble with the falling blocks, too - it doesn't seem to have any foresight, so it will often remain standing on a block until it's too low to reach the rest of the stage.
    • The AI will constantly approach dangerous items only to roll away from them just before they get hurt.
    • The AI will always perform an air dodge immediately after being struck in air, or being hit into the air, oblivious to there being a brief window of vulnerability as one ends. It's quite easy to juggle them to death by simply timing your attacks.
    • Fox, Falco and Wolf have a habit of driving off the stage to their deaths when using their Final Smash. This is particularly common on Lylat Cruise, but can happen in a wide variety of other places as well.
  • Ascended Meme: Snake's codec conversation regarding Captain Falcon is basically HAL Laboratory lampshading the popularity of the "Falcon... PUNCH!" by having even Snake and Otacon say that they've been dying for an excuse to say it themselves.
  • Asset Actor:
    • In Solo Event Match 26: "The Slow and Easy Life", Ness is used as the player's character to stand in for Villager — who wouldn't appear properly until the next game — that's trying to listen to K.K. Slider's concert.
    • In Co-Op Event Match 18, "The New Weapon of Shadow Moses", R.O.B. stands in for Metal Gears that Snake has to defeat.
  • A-Team Firing: The CPU players tend to do this when armed with the Cracker Launcher, simply firing it off at random rather than trying to aim up or down towards anyone else.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever:
    • Jigglypuff's Final Smash, Puff Up, causes her to grow/inflate to such a size that it can push other characters off the stage. Most evident on small stages.
    • Bowser's equivalent Final Smash move involves turning into the dreaded Giga Bowser and wreaking havoc on everybody.
  • Audible Sharpness: A few characters have their swords shine. One such case is Link's sword during a taunt.
  • Autobots, Rock Out!:
  • Athletic Arena Level: This game not only features new Pokémon Stadium (Pokémon Stadium 2) and F-Zero (Port Town Aero Dive) stages, plus Pokémon Stadium 1 and Big Blue as Nostalgia Levels, but also introduces a stage based on Figure-8 Circuit of Mario Kart DS fame; since then, it became a tradition for the series to have at least one Mario Kart stage.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Several of the Final Smash attacks in this game and onwards qualify for this trope. For example, any one that requires a player to catch an opponent will often do large amounts of damage and kill at low percentages to those unfortunate enough to get caught in one and are often very flashy. But, they usually have very short range, making it easy for zoning characters to try and hit the smash ball out of you, and will go to waste if dodged, which is often easy given that the short range most of them have often forces predictable usage of them. Special mention to Marth's (and Lucina's) final smash: It does 60% damage and an almost guaranteed kill on hit, as well as having an absolutely insane amount of movement range. But, not only is it just as easy to dodge as any other similar Final Smash, but the range is also so large that it's easy to self-destruct with it if you use it carelessly (such as using it in the air on a small stage). This is subverted if you press B again to cancel the movement and end the attack, though the game doesn’t explain this up front.
    • Donkey Kong's Final Smash, a rhythm minigame with a soundwave that grows bigger with each beat that's hit correctly. It takes some time to get its range to anything useful and has no outstanding damage output or knockback. It was even worse in Brawl, where the player wasn't even given a button prompt, so it ended up being luck more than anything. Small wonder it got replaced in Ultimate.
    • Lucario's Final Smash. While the beam is aimable, it takes a while for it to move, and the charge up time it takes before Lucario fires gives the opponents a good amount of time to start running away. More often than not, other fighters can just go to the corner of the stage, jump out of the way when the beam's about to hit them, and before the final smash can do much damage, it'll already run out.
    • The Home-Run Bat became this in this game. In the original and Melee, it had a slightly unwieldy swing time but was still usable much of the time and was a reliable one-hit KO, stage obstacles notwithstanding. In Brawl, it works more-or-less the same way, except the swing time is dramatically increased. It makes a highly effective thrown weapon in every single game, however.
  • Band Land: Hitting the leaf platforms in the Hanenbow stage will cause them to play musical notes.
  • Battle Aura:
    • When a character grabs a Smash Ball, they get a multicolored aura and their eyes glow yellow, which continues until after the Final Smash is used.
    • Lucario has a functional Battle Aura (literally called "Aura"), which powers most of his attacks. Its intensity is based on how much damage he's taken, and as it grows stronger, so do his attacks.
  • 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.
  • Blackout Basement: An Event Match pits Falco against a CPU Mr. Game & Watch on Lylat Cruise, but the screen continually fades to black, then to normal. One guess as to whether Game & Watch is affected.
  • Black Screen of Death: When Lyn appears as an Assist Trophy, the screen turns black the moment before she strikes.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: Subverted, where the European translations have almost no English text, and each language has a different announcer. The foreign announcers can get on your nerves much more easily than the English announcer, though, making you want to switch to English.
  • Borrowing from the Sister Series: The Challenges section is derived from Kirby Air Ride's Checklist system, where each unlockable is hidden behind a square and unlocked squares show the unlock conditions of adjacent squares.
  • Boss Remix:
    • The music on the Final Destination stage (where, as the name implies, the final battle takes place in Classic mode) is a Boss Remix of the title theme.
    • The Boss Rush battle theme is a remix of Melee's menu theme. It's not as intense as the Melee Battlefield's own boss remix of the theme, though.
    • One of the alternate songs on the Final Destination stage is a boss remix of Melee's opening theme.
    • Cruel Brawl has its own boss remix of Brawl's main theme, only played in that mode. This theme returns in 3DS/Wii U as the Cruel Smashnote  theme.
  • Boss Rush:
    • The Boss Battles mode allows the player to challenge all bosses from Subspace Emissary, plus Master Hand (who is The Unfought in that mode) and Crazy Hand (who only appears in Classic Mode).
    • The final co-op Event Match consists of two players facing the game's entire playable roster, similar to All-Star Mode minus the breaks or recovery opportunities.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Solid Snake is the only character in the game who gets to do this. In his first appearance in the Subspace Emissary adventure mode, he stands up from his trademarked cardboard box and addresses the player by saying, "Kept ya waiting, huh?"
  • Camera Abuse: The game introduces the Assist Trophy, an item that might summon a cute Nintendog puppy that proceeds to jump up on the camera for a few seconds.
  • 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.
  • Clarke's Third Law: Invoked in a couple of the optional Codec calls in Shadow Moses Island. Otacon compares Snake's artillery to everyone else's unique methods of attack when Ganondorf is concerned, and Mei Ling even directly goes into a spiel about how technology is simply another kind of magic when Zelda's around.
  • Clothing Damage. Happens with Samus Aran. Her "Final Smash" move has her fire a massive laser beam from her arm cannon that fills up one side of the screen... along with causing her armour to fall off, leaving her clad in only her skin-tight Zero Suit. You can also start a match without armour.
  • Colour-Coded Timestop: Luigi's Final Smash is a ball of negative colors, inside which time slows down. Also adds random status effects.
  • Console Cameo:
    • R.O.B. has been a playable character in the Smash series since this game.
    • The presents background of Trophy Hoard has a black Nintendo DS Lite in one of the boxes.
  • Continuing is Painful: If you use a continue in the game, you'll get a 20,000-point penalty in addition to getting your score cut in half, making it a more serious blow to anyone going for a high score.
  • Cosmetic Award: The game ramps up the "time-consuming" part of the above paragraph by a lot with too many "Complete <mode> with all 35 characters" tasks but slacks down on the difficulty otherwise. Well, except for the Liquid Snake sticker, which requires killing 10 foes on Cruel Brawl and the Galleom Tank, demanding completion of Boss Battles on Intense. Unless you live in Europe and haven't wasted your Golden Hammers, in which case you're able to quickly claim the latter with one. And that's not counting the random trophies, which are even more random due to the lottery being replaced by the Coin Launcher.
  • Counter-Attack: Present once again with Marth and Peach. The game replaces Roy with Ike, whose counter functions in the same fashion. Marth's counter was upgraded to function similarly, but isn't as strong, due it triggering faster. It also adds Lucario, whose Double Team counter can become an extremely powerful KO move if he's at a high damage percentage, but is less reliable due to its physics.
  • 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.
  • Crosshair Aware:
    • The cannon on the Halberd stage occasionally tracks one of the players with these.
    • A player who assembles the Dragoon gets to aim his instant death attack with a crosshair as everyone else evades.
    • Snake's Final Smash has him use a crosshair to aim where to shoot his grenades.
  • 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.
  • Deliberate Injury Gambit: Lucario's aura mechanic causes his attack strength to grow more powerful the more damage he takes.
  • Deliberately Monochrome:
    • The Pictochat stage is largely black and white (by extension, the Pictochat software on the DS is also mostly monochrome), although the characters are still colored. In addition, flashbacks in the Adventure mode cutscenes are black and white.
    • King Dedede also has a colour swap which gives him a monochrome colour scheme in reference to his debut appearance, but his hammer remains the same, and he retained it in the next installment. Kirby also gets one, with his copy ability hats remaining the same (except Jigglypuff's, since Kirby gets its ears and hair in his colour scheme).
  • Demographic-Dissonant Crossover: Brawl marked the start of non-Nintendo guest fighters joining the roster, with the very first one announced being Solid Snake from the Metal Gear, an M-rated series notorious for its realistic depictions of the horrors of war and violence, sex, profanity, tobacco usage, and political conspiracy storylines. Snake's Brawl arsenal is conspicuously limited to mines, grenades and similar explosive weapons rather than anything which shoots bullets.
  • 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.
  • Desperation Attack:
    • Lucario's attacks get more powerful as his damage percentage increases, peaking out at 168%. This is invoked in an event match where you have to play as Lucario starting out with high percent (182%).
    • If a character is down several points or stock, they automatically gain Final Smash powers the next time they drop down onto the stage.
  • Divergent Character Evolution:
    • The characters that were clones in Melee got more of this to the point that there are no true clones in Brawl, thus there are only semi-clones.
    • Giga Bowser, as Bowser's Final Smash, had all of the same moves, just made significantly more powerful. In for 3DS/Wii U, Bowser has been redesigned to be closer to his appearance in the main Mario series, with many of his moves changed to make him less bestial and more agile; Giga Bowser, on the other hand, remains exactly the same as in Brawl, the contrast further accentuating his monstrous, feral nature.
  • Divide and Conquer: Any Pit player worth his weight in salt does this when deploying Palutena's Army. It's one of the few Final Smashes that allows the user to move and act freely with his own moveset during its execution. The reason it falls here is that the Centurions are dangerous in their own right, and the player has to choose to either focus on dodging them or dodging Pit, though a skilled player can do both for the most part.
  • A Dog Named "Dog": Snake lampshades the lack of creative names for the Star Fox characters (mostly in Wolf's case).
  • Dude, Not Funny!: The AI Colonel's mocking of Luigi immediately invokes this trope from Solid Snake during the man in green's Codec Conversation.
  • Dynamic Loading: You can beat up Sandbag in the time it takes to load up an online match.
  • Early-Bird Cameo:
    • Wario's victory theme is the first level theme in Wario Land: Shake It!, which was released six months later.
    • The Gekko from Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots and a remix of the game's "Theme of Love" both appeared in this game, which in some regions was out months before the former game was even released. For that matter, the entire Shadow Moses Island stage is a reference to an entire chapter in the game. Interestingly enough, MGS 4 is a PS3-exclusive game, meaning a first-party Nintendo game is promoting a game not available on a Nintendo system.
  • 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.
    • In its debut in this game, the Assist Trophy item has multiple characters that you have to unlock before they get the chance to be summoned when you grab one, such as Shadow and Isaac. Later games simply have every character that the item can summon available from the start.
  • Eat the Bomb: Kirby, King Dedede, and Wario can eat explosive items from this game onward, though that will hurt them (And in Wario's case, anyone who's standing too close to him). It doesn't cause any knockback to the devouring fighter, though, and the damage is usually less than being in the blast of the explosive itself.
  • Edible Ammunition: The Trope Namer. It's coined in a Codec conversation between Snake and Otacon on Diddy Kong, the two get on the subject of Diddy's Peanut Popgun (which originated from Donkey Kong 64).
  • Embedded Precursor: The game features the ability to unlock several games from the various video game franchises represented. These are all timed demos, though, due to the existence of the Virtual Console, and not all demos were on the VC. With a little bit of modding, it is possible to play these games not as timed demos, but as full games.
  • Enemy Roll Call: The game has Mini-Game Credits at the end of Classic Mode where the player shoots mugshots of all the characters currently unlocked, as well as items, assist trophies, Pokéball Pokémon, and trophies currently owned.
  • Energy Weapon: Zero Suit Samus's energy whip, because the Paralyzer from Metroid: Zero Mission wasn't cool enough before. Unlike most of the whip examples on this page, this one's actually made of energy, not just coated in it.
  • Evil Knockoff: The Fighting Alloy Team, a group of metallic enemies coming in different colors: Red being based in Captain Falcon, blue based on Zelda, yellow based on Mario and green based on Kirby. Also, in The Subspace Emissary, has various copies of the playable cast made up of Shadow Bugs that the player fights with frequency.
  • 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 itself, but only after it's entirely destroyed.
  • Explosive Overclocking: Samus's Final Smash (while wearing her Power Armor) is "Zero Beam", which fires off a blast of energy powerful enough to destroy her suit afterwards. Instead of outright hurting her however, this just leaves Samus in her Zero suit.
  • Eye Beams: ROB has these, and his Final Smash turns them into a whirling laser helix of death. They also bounce.
  • 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.
  • Family-Friendly Firearms: It was specifically said that Solid Snake could not use guns... but his rocket launcher, mortar, grenades, and land mines are all goodnote . This may have also been for gameplay reasons though, since a projectile that moves almost instantly (like Sheik's needles) that you could fire almost constantly would be really cheap.
  • Feed It a Bomb: The player can be vulnerable to this. Kirby, Dedede, and Wario can each swallow explosive items. While this causes about 5 damage, it's most likely a LOT more preferable to what most explosives do when they go off. Wario is unique in that he actually hurts anyone touching him when he eats a bomb.
  • Fiendish Fish: The Balloon Fish from Balloon Fight appears in the Summit stage (despite it being based on Ice Climber), swallowing every fighter that stays in the water for too long and instantly KOing them.
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: Lucas' special attacks are PK Ice, which throws a snowflake-shaped projectile that freezes opponents; PK Fire, which throws an explosive fireballs; and PK Thunder, which throws a lightning bolt.
  • Foreshadowing: The Shadow Moses Island state seems to be the usual collection of Shout Outs that the other stages in the game are, until you reach the fourth chapter of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, (which hadn't yet come out at the time) and realize that Hideo Kojima, who designed the stage himself, was dropping a big hint.
  • Franchise Codifier: The game majorly defined the games that came after it. It introduced Final Smashes, Assist Trophies, 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. Brawl also became the first game in the series to employ an in-game chart of achievements, usually grouped in rows and columns, for the player to know what actions or feats can be done while playing the game in its various modes to receive unique rewards (a trophy, a song, a stage, or more rarely a playable demo).
  • "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.
  • Free-Fall Fight:
    • The Fire Emblem stage "Castle Siege" has a portion where the floor falls out from under you and everyone seems to be falling into the basement. However, the floor is still there, just invisible (characters walk on it like any other platform).
    • Subverted on Final Destination, which starts in space, goes through re-entry, and ultimately looks like it's on a collision course for the ground, before it whites out and starts over. Interestingly enough, the white out happens at exactly 5 minutes, which is how long you have to beat the boss fight, implying that you did crash.
  • 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 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.
  • Game Mod: The game has been cited as the most modded ever. There exists a large number of custom versions of the game, each with a different focus (competitivity, aesthetics, etc.)
  • Gangplank Galleon: The Pirate Ship stage, which takes place aboard Tetra's Ship of The Wind Waker fame, while it sails the Great Sea. Sometimes a cyclone takes the ship upward, but the vehicle eventually returns to water.
  • 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.
  • Glass Cannon:
    • Lucario's Glass Cannon status is highlighted more in Super Smash Bros. Brawl where his Aura properly forces him to deal a lot of damage at low health while at the same time makes him more vulnerable to being knocked out of the stage easily with very simple attacks. Even at full health, Lucario still gets beaten up around the stage easily.
    • Zelda has become buffed to where she has downright deadly kicks and a powerful long-range attack, but is still easily tossed around. Also watch out for beetles as they take her faster than most others.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Whenever a character breaks a Smash Ball, their eyes glow yellow, signifying they can now use their Final Smash.
  • Goomba Springboard: Present in all Smash games starting from this one, as the Footstool Jump technique. A good way to keep enemies from recovering is to do this in mid-air, while — though it rarely comes up in actual competitive gameplay — the Piranha Plant can bite anyone who attempts this on then if the Plant is "crouching" in its pot. Byleth's Up Special also invokes this if it catches another player.
  • Gratuitous English: Sonic, since he's voiced by a Japanese actor. In contrast, Lucas and Zero Suit Samus avoid this by having American voice actors — even in the Japanese version.
  • Greek Chorus:
    • Along with the aforementioned Corneria calls, the Lylat Cruise stage has a similar sequence that can be performed by Fox, Falco, and Wolf. This is retained in for Wii U and Ultimate.
    • On Shadow Moses Island, Snake can contact Mei Ling, Otacon, or Colonel Roy Campbell (or Slippy Toad) via codec for information on each specific fighter. Though this is retained in Ultimate, only the fighters that appeared in Brawl have calls due to the death of Roy Campbell's Japanese voice actor in 2012; fighters added in for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U or later, as well as fighters that were present in Melee but absent from Brawlnote , will get no response.
  • 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.
  • Grenade Tag:
    • Snake can plant a pack of C4 directly on an opponent for his Down Special if he's standing close enough to them (Rather then dropping it on the ground), then blow it up at will. Amusingly, the C4 pack can also transfer itself to other players if the victim touches them (Snake himself included).
    • The gooey bomb (also introduced in this game) includes the transfer aspect, although the initial tagging is a throwing action.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body:
    • One of King Dedede's special moves involves him chucking various Mooks at his opponent. In Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U, the move only uses Gordos and he hits them at his opponent with his hammer.
    • Many characters are able to damage other enemies while throwing an opponent they've grabbed, whether by hitting them with the grabbed opponent during their throw animation (Mario's spinning throw is actually a decent way to clear off a crowd of enemies) or actually hitting them in the sky with the thrown opponent. The attacks, however, are brief, and not particularly damaging.
  • Growling Gut: In the pre-release trailer for the game (viewable in the game itself via the video gallery), this happens once to Wario which leads to a massive fart.
  • Guest Fighter: Solid Snake from Metal Gear and Sonic the Hedgehog were the first third-party characters in the series, debuting in this game. The latter was highly demanded by fans who wanted to see him in a fighting game with Mario (which was why he was added in the game), and the game's website refers to both by the trope name. Solid Snake is a unique case as Hideo Kojima originally asked for Snake to be added to Super Smash Bros. Melee. However, that game was far along in development with no time to add another character, so the developers rainchecked him till Brawl.
  • Guns Akimbo: Diddy uses his Peanut Popguns and Falco use his laser guns akimbo in cutscenes, using them to Leap and Fire. Diddy can also use two Peanut Popguns during his Final Smash, which also has him pull out his jetpack from Donkey Kong 64.
  • High-Tech Hexagons: Lucas, who debuted in this game, has a mild hexagonal attack motif. Many of his PSI-related attacks are represented with hexagons, and PSI is usually treated more as science than magic.
  • Highly Specific Counterplay: The Pokémon Trainer's Pokémon are affected by type effectiveness. However, Ivysaur's water resistance and Charizard's grass resistance are almost always useless outside of a Pokémon Trainer Mirror Match: The only other character who comes with a water move is Mario with his non-damaging F.L.U.D.D. You can also get Kirby to copy one of Squirtle's water moves or Ivysaur's grass moves, but that's a rare situation.
  • Hold the Line: Some of the Event matches have conditions in this style (for instance, Olimar having to keep his Pikmin alive until they blossom).
  • Hot Potato: The sticky bomb sticks to a player, but switches place upon physical contact, turning matches into a game of "run away from the imminently exploding player". Any halfway decent match with Smash Balls enabled will invoke the Bouquet Toss reversal, as everyone chases the Power-Up.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • Snake's codec messages gives a lot of info when used.
      Otacon: That blade in his hand is called the Master Sword, also known as the "Blade of Evil's Bane". He also has a whole arsenal of items at his disposal— bombs and arrows, a shield, a boomerang and a Clawshot. He's a force to be reckoned with.
      Snake: Gear is only useful when it is used at the right time and place. Just lugging a ton of it around doesn't do you any good.
      Otacon: .... I... uh... I wouldn't be talking if I were you, Snake.
      Snake: What's that supposed to mean?
      Otacon: You tell me, Mr. Utility Belt.
      Snake: [grumbles]
    • This dialogue in another Codec Conversation:
      Snake: Colonel, there's a guy in here who looks like a wolf.
      Col. Campbell: You mean the fighter named Wolf.
      Snake: "Wolf". Real imaginative name...
  • Iaijutsu Practitioner: Lyn, of Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade fame. Her appearances as an assist trophy in the series, starting from Brawl, have her attack this way, as well (crouching in position for a few seconds with sheathed katana, before attacking with a single slash).
  • I Always Wanted to Say That: When Snake and Otacon discuss Captain Falcon by Codec, the two enthusiastically spout off some of Cap's most iconic phrases.
    Snake: You know, seeing Captain Falcon here reminds me... We should do that thing we've always wanted to try...
    Otacon: Ohhhh yeah! That thing! Good idea! OK, ready? Go!
    Snake: Falcooooon Punch!
    Otacon: Falcon Kiiiiiiick!
  • Inconsistent Dub:
    • There's a bizarre example between this game and Smash Bros. Dojo, which apparently have their own separate translation teams. The game pluralizes the recurring enemies in the Subspace Emissary as "Primids", while the site prefers just "Primid" (made even more jarring when the Trophy Stand update had a screenshot of the Big Primid trophy that includes the game's pluralization). Additionally, the game level "Outside the Ancient Ruins" is referred to on the site as "Outer Ancient Ruins" in the Secret Element List update, and the Mysteries of The Subspace Emissary update calls what is named the "Island of the Ancients" in the game the "Isle of Ancients". The site did correct some of its own errors later on, as at one point, Samurai Goroh and the Wario Bike and Drill Rush attacks are called Samurai Goro, the Wario Chopper and the Triple Dash.
    • The Italian site also has Ike's Aether being renamed "Twilight" all of a sudden some months before the game's release, where it was still called "Aether".
    • More from the Italian translation of Brawl: for some reason, the translators made up new Italian names for the characters from Panel de Pon and Drill Dozer (which were never released in Europe) in the sticker list. The odd part comes when you get the Lip sticker and she is renamed "Fiorella"... yet Lip's Stick is still called "Bacchetta di Lip" and not "Bacchetta di Fiorella"!
  • Inconveniently-Placed Conveyor Belt: This is one of the items placeable in custom maps, giving the player the option of placing them inconveniently when building a sadist stage.
  • Inconvenient Summons: When summoned using an Assist Trophy, Mr. Resetti may complain about being summoned without warning and will even tell you that his lower half, which is underground, only has a towel wrapped around it thanks to this trope.
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: The Lightning Bolt item from the Mario Kart series, is introduced here as an item. When a fighter touches it, it may temporarily shrink all of the other fighters on the stage, drastically reducing their damage output and weight. However, it may also backfire by making only the fighter who touched it shrink instead, or by making all of the other fighters grow! Additionally, any fighter that picks up a Poison Mushroom (which, while similar-looking to the size-increasing Super Mushroom, is slightly darker in coloration and bears an angrier expression) will get temporarily cut down to size.
  • 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.
  • Instant Armor: Zero Suit Samus can use a Smash Ball to instantly assemble her Powered Armor, damaging any nearby brawlers.
  • 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.
  • Invincibility Power-Up: Many Final Smashes in this game and onward in the series work a bit like this, making the character invulnerable for the duration of the Final Smash. In fact, most Final Smashes are this or a single powerful attack. It's still possible to suicide with most of them, though.
  • Irony: The game was designed by Masahiro Sakurai to specifically NOT be competitive, yet the number of official money tournaments featuring it actually exceeded those of Halo in 2010.
  • Jet Pack:
    • Diddy Kong can use his Rocketbarrels from Donkey Kong 64 as a recovery move.
    • R.O.B. is equipped with propulsion jets in its feet that allow it to hover upward, though its fuel is limited (it refills once it touches ground again).
  • Joke Item: Certain items can backfire or just simply fail to work. For example, there's a small chance the otherwise highly destructive Golden Hammer item will end up instead being a Golden Squeaky Hammer, which deals no damage to those it strikes. In addition, throwing a Poké Ball may sometimes summon Goldeen, which does nothing (an obvious poke towards Magikarp's famed Splash attack). The fourth games further the joke by allowing Goldeen to pop out of Master Balls, which usually contain legendary Pokémon only.
  • 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.
  • Kaizo Trap:
  • Knockback Evasion: Momentum cancelling. After cancelling hitstun with an airdodge or your fastest aerial, you can reduce your horizontal momentum by jumpingnote , or your vertical momentum by fast-falling.
  • Ladder Physics: The game uses and averts this. Obviously, every character has limbs—but you'd think Ivysaur (the only true quadruped) would have a bit of a tough time getting up each rung. Avoiding spikes and long pits in the Swamp stage requires jumping from ladder to ladder.
  • Last Lousy Point:
    • There's trophies for beating every mode in the game except The Subspace Emissary on the highest difficulty setting (which you can't just use a Golden Hammer to forcibly gain).
    • To get the Stickers trophy, you have to obtain at least one of every sticker in the game. There are over six hundred of them and no way to influence which one you get.
  • Law of Inverse Recoil:
    • Diddy Kong gets recoil from his Peanut Popgun when he shoots it. He also gets more recoil the more he charges it before firing it.
    • Lucas' PK Fire has enough recoil to be considered a possible recovery technique when fired in the opposite direction.
    • Samus' charge beam also has a bigger recoil the more charged it is. Her missiles don't have nearly as much, though.
    • Despite how quickly he fires subsequent shots, the recoil is enough to make Fox' Blaster point 90 degrees upwards. Falco's, on the other hand, has very little recoil, though he does cross his arms and hold it sideways. Wolf's has very little recoil. They're all energy weapons, however, and should have none.
    • The laser gun item has the most recoil of all, even though it too fires nothing but energy, every character has to hold it with both hands and it still almost hits them in the face every time they fire. The Super Scope, however, has very little recoil and can fire rapidly, and only a little more when a shot is charged. It still only shoots light, however.
    • Averted with the Cracker Launcher. As with real life rocket launchers, the recoil is insignificantly low, and you have to look real closely to see characters twitch with each shot slightly. This allows the use of rapidly firing it.
  • Lethal Harmless Powers: In Golden Sun, Isaac's "Move" power is simply a floating hand that gently pushes large objects a short distance. In Brawl, the Assist Trophy version of Isaac uses Move to gently push your opponents a short distance... off the stage. The fact that it's a gentle push as opposed to a harsh one works to his advantage, too: you're pushed only a tiny bit ahead of the hand, so you have no time to escape before it gives you another gentle push.
  • 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.
  • Level Editor: The game comes with a rather simplified, grid-based editor called the Stage Editor that doesn't allow the player to do even 1/10 of what the game designers themselves did. Even so, it's the first game in the series to include an editor, which provided a lot of fun for players who had specific ideas in mind of types of arenas they wanted to make.
  • Level in the Clouds: The game introduces 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).
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: Fights take a noticeably longer time to load, and some loading can even be experienced during the fights.note  This is especially noticeable in the All-Star Event Matches, where opponents can take up to seven seconds to spawn, counting from the beginning of the battle.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: The Golden Hammer item is accompanied with a Theme Music Power-Up. But while the Power-Up Theme lasts up to 40 seconds, the Golden Hammer only normally lasts up to ten seconds unless the player uses other factors to make the item last longer than normal.
  • Lord British Postulate: The supposedly invincible Wario-Man, as well as characters using a Starman, can both be KO'd in the conventional fashion by chucking a Team Healer item at them while they're at a high enough percentage and not on your team. On a similar note, while Giga Bowser is completely Immune to Flinching, he can still be star KO'd if he's hit while he's off the top of the screen.
  • Luck-Based Mission:
    • Getting all the trophies requires you to use trophy stands on every kind of enemy in Adventure Mode, including bosses. Of course, these stands are rare, and (just like Pokémon) you have to weaken the enemy in order to catch it, so it doesn't always work. Raising the difficulty level and using certain stickers will raise the chance of getting a stand, but it's still annoying when you hit a boss too hard, kill it, and you have to go through the whole level again for another chance, not to mention if the stupid bastards hit a conveniently-spawning Koopa Shell or a Blast Box with a stray attack of their own and thus end up dying without you being able to do a Goddamn thing about it. Playing with a friend can greatly help: one keeps the trophy stand and keeps distractions away, while the other whittles down the boss's health.
    • Brawl does away with the Trophy Lottery seen in Melee in favor of a shooter game that's just as addictive in order to get trophies and stickers. However, it is still random whether or not new trophies even show up. The Mew Trophy is an especially bad case. It's bad enough you have to fight multiple characters at once while getting worn down, but the combinations are random and can range anywhere from easy peasy to downright lethal.
    • And then there's the stickers. At least with the trophies you can aim for specific ones when using the stands or in the shooting mode; with stickers, apart from a few that you get for completing challenges, you have no way of knowing which sticker you'll get each time you grab one. Thus, the only way to get them all is massive amounts of sticker grinding, and once you're near the end you could spend hours doing it and not get anything new.
  • Magic Dance:
    • Luigi's final smash, Negative Zone, done by spinning in place and contorting his body in several different poses throughout.
    • Peach also dances during her Final Smash, putting opponents to sleep. Daisy follows suit in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
  • Make My Monster Grow: Jigglypuff's Final Smash, Puff Up, causes it to grow big enough to fill any of the smaller stages, pushing everyone nearby into the abyss and sending them flying if they're near enough when Jigglypuff's size peaks and it cries out before returning to normal. Bowser's Final Smash, Giga Bowser, overlaps with One-Winged Angel.
  • Man Bites Man: Wario has his Chomp special, which does Exactly What It Says on the Tin to anyone who touches his open mouth. His head inexplicably doubles in size while using this move and as a result, his victims are in his mouth up to the torso while he does the biting. It's the only time he's seen using this tactic in his history, but it's not terribly out of place, considering how bizarre his fighting style is. Kirby can copy this ability, making him possible to do the same move as well, which is strange since he doesn't have any teeth.
  • Master of All: Infamously, Meta Knight. He can K.O. foes as well as he can rack up damage at insane speeds, his aerial mobility and exceptional recovery moves more than make up for his one visible flaw of lightweight, and his sword was programmed with a ton of priority (jargon for the parameter that dictates which moves win against others when clashed against one another. In MK's case, his sword has "transcedent" priority over most other moves), meaning that he can pierce through most defenses with ease. This all led to a character that was actually banned in tournaments for a time.
  • Master of None:
    • Mario, normally the Jack of All Stats, fell into this category. Power Creep from Melee to Brawl was not kind to him, leaving him with ungainly speed and mobility, above-average weight counterbalanced by susceptibility to chain-grabs and an unimpressive recovery, and a whole lot of moves that, on top of puny reach, were too strong to lead into combos and too weak to finish an opponent off. The following game gave him a number of buffs that let him find a proper niche.
    • The Pokémon Trainer's Pokémon. They are intended to have Multiform Balance, with Squirtle being a Fragile Speedster, Charizard a Mighty Glacier, and Ivysaur in the middle. Problem was, it was closer to this trope. Ivysaur doesn't hit anywhere near as hard as Charizard, and it lacks Squirtle's comboing abilities. It being heavier than Squirtle is counterbalanced by the fact that it has an atrocious recovery and air game, making it comparatively easy to KO, and speed and maneuverability on the ground and in the air is abysmal compared to Charizard. Worst of all, the game attempted to implement a form of the original game's Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors, but while plant-based moves to take down Squirtle and water-based moves to take down Charizard are only used by a handful of characters, fire-based moves are legion, making Ivysaur even easier to flatten. A number of players have argued that, were Ivysaur to be its own character, it would likely be considered the worst in the entire game.
  • Mechanically Unusual Fighter:
    • Samus, originally a standard fighter, received an alternate form in this game but cannot switch to it at will. Using her Final Smash breaks her Varia Suit and leaves her in the Zero Suit, who is faster and has more close-ranged attacks, just like Sheik. Using Zero Suit Samus' Final Smash will regenerate the Varia Suit. Also like Sheik, holding down buttons before a match starts will turn the player into Zero Suit Samus without needing a Final Smash. Just like Zelda/Sheik, 3DS/Wii U and Ultimate turned Samus into two separate characters and removed the transformation mechanic.
    • The Pokémon Trainer is a step above Zelda and Samus as a three-form fighter; they can switch between Squirtle, Ivysaur, and Charizard at will with their down special. All three Pokémon tire out if used for too long at a time, encouraging continuous switching. Each Pokémon has basic Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors weaknesses and resistances as well, though it ends up being Fake Balance (fire-element attacks are extremely common in the roster while grass-type and water-type damage is nearly nonexistent). The fourth game replaced the Trainer with just Charizard, but brought them back in Ultimate with the same mechanics minus the tiredness and element systems, making them the only multi-form fighter on the roster at launch.
    • Olimar/Alph is a Minion Master whose majority of attacks are tied to his Pikmin; he has very few moves that deal damage when he's by himself. He can pull one of five types out of the ground with his neutral special, and can have up to six following him at once (three in 3DS/Wii U and Ultimate). Pikmin die if an opponent manages to hit them, so Olimar needs to recover them with his whistle if they get too far away. In later games, his recovery, Winged Pikmin, gets more effective when Olimar has fewer Pikmin.
    • All of Meta Knight's special moves double as recovery moves. Each one is so potent on their own — especially on top of his multiple jumps — that they render him helpless when completed, preventing players from chaining them together.
    • Solid Snake has attacks with unusual timing to them, including an up special with extremely high recovery which makes him very vulnerable. His Grenades are projectiles that deal Scratch Damage if they hit his opponents, as their timed explosions are what causes any real damage, and his Remote Missiles are manually controlled. Originally in Brawl, he had a very unconventional down smash, involving him planting a landmine that would either explode after a set amount of time or when someone got too close to it. As of Ultimate, his down smash was changed.
    • Lucario grows stronger as he takes damage, increasing both his damage output and the size of his special moves' effects, making him a character all about managing risk and taking advantage of bad situations. While 3DS/Wii U extended the increased knockback effect to every fighter through the new Rage mechanic, Lucario remains the only one whose moves deal more damage and behave differently because of it.
  • Mercy Mode: Starting in this game, where Final Smashes were first introduced, the series will randomly dole out "pity/easy Final Smashes" to players who are losing quite badly (i.e., at least five points behind the leader), respawning them after a KO with one ready to go. In Brawl, even if the item frequency is set to "none", this can still kick in unless Smash Balls specifically have been turned off, making a planned-out long match go sour. In Smash 4 onwards this is fixed, in addition to no longer activating in 1v1 matches.
  • Mini-Game Credits: A roll call of characters/things in the game. It keeps track of your score, and you gain coins from shooting more targets which can be used elsewhere in-game. The actual credits, played after completing Subspace Emissary, are traditional for once, and so long that any game with them would be unwieldy.
  • Misbegotten Multiplayer Mode: Despite nearly everything being designed with co-op multiplayer functionality, certain subgames are very obviously meant for single players:
    • Home Run Contest. Yes, you can do try and play the contest with a friend, and somehow try and team up in an attempt to send Sandbag flying as far as possible. This usually doesn't work too well, partly because it's way too easy to send Sandbag flying the wrong way at the wrong time with two players running around like lunatics and attacking the hell out of it.
    • Boss Battles is near unplayable on anything resembling a high difficulty level because every boss has a powerful attack and two of the ten bosses have One-Hit Kill attacks. You have no continues, health restoration is massively limited and any one person dying/getting KOed immediately causes both to fail on the spot. As a result, playing this mode with friends, especially inexperienced ones trying to play the higher difficulty levels, usually ends in tears, typically when both players get to the Final Boss and one player fails to dodge the insta-kill Off Waves.
  • Missing Secret: The event matches come in Easy, Normal, and Hard flavours, but use the same icons as are normally used for a five-difficulty scale, which might make one think that the events can eventually be played on Very Hard and Intense.
  • Mission Control: Snake can receive intel on other fighters in the game from Col. Campbell, Mei Ling, and Otacon. Parodied when Slippy Toad unexpectedly shows up to proffer advice on fighting Falco Lombardi. The feature returns in Ultimate but, due to the passing of Otacon's Japanese voice actor, it wasn't updated with new conversations for the sake of respect.
  • Mission Control Is Off Its Meds: The off-his-meds Colonel scene from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty is referenced in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, appearing when Snake uses his Smash taunt against Luigi. While the AI isn't as nonsensical as before, you can still tell it's the AI when he gets to the "La Li Lu Le Lo" part.
  • Money for Nothing: Coins are mainly used for continuing if you fail in Classic or All-Star mode and used for the Coin Launcher to get stickers and trophies. The fact that you literally gain coins for every single mode you play in and gambling coins for spectator mode online, you'll quickly reach the 9999 coin limit with nothing worthwhile to spend it on. Note that if you're into 100% Completion, it's quite likely that you will blow through all 9999 coins you collect in the process of trying to get many trophies in the Coin Launcher, or continuing repeatedly in some of the higher difficulties of Classic and All-Star modes. But it's not like it takes long to build your cash back up, and you'll only need to do all that once.
  • Nostalgia Level:
    • Mushroomy Kingdom, Mario Bros., and 75m, which are all based directly on their appearances in their respective games.
    • For Smash-related 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.
  • Moveset Clone: Less prominent in this game due to Divergent Character Evolution (plus the new "clones" having major differences from their parent counterparts to begin with), but still present to an extent:
    • Lucas acts as this to Ness, though it's downplayed as the properties of his specials are different, and most of his standard attacks are completely different. Notably, Lucas is a starter character while Ness is unlockable.
    • In the absence of Young Link, Toon Link acts as a semi-clone of Link. The catch in this case is that Link himself got differentiated (for example, he now uses the Gale Boomerang from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess instead of the traditional Boomerang from other games; the Gale Boomerang deals no damage on the return trip and instead has a "windbox" that pushes opponents around), while Toon Link plays closer to his predecessor Young Link. When both child Links returned in Ultimate, Young Link retains Link's old moveset but on a smaller body, while Toon Link is floatier and has a few different attacks in comparison.
    • Brawl introduced an unusual partial example in Wolf; although his special moves and Final Smash are clearly inspired by those of his rivals Fox and Falco, they have drastically different properties, and most of his standard attacks are completely different.
  • Muggles Do It Better: There are combatants who can use their bare fists, magic, and summons to aid them in battle. And then you have Snake, one of the strongest fighters who uses military explosives for most of his attacks.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: On a meta level, the game is this for the Super Smash Bros. series; any pretenses of Nintendo-only characters being used are shattered with the introduction of Snake and Sonic as guest fighters, and it's the first game to have a plot with actual stakes beyond opposing Master Hand. The plot itself has R.O.B. become the last of his kind after the Isle of the Ancients is completely vaporized, which is acknowledged by his Boxing Ring title in succeeding installments.
  • Not Quite Flight: Pit's up special grants him a limited flight duration in a similar manner to the Angel Feather. He can also perform a glide by holding the jump button, an ability shared by fellow winged combatants Charizard and Meta Knight. The glide mechanic was removed in for WiiU/3DS, and his up special was revised to a quick burst of directional flight for more timely recovery.
  • Obstructive Foreground: The Nintendogs and Mr. Resetti Assist Trophies combine this with Interface Screw, and are there solely to take up screen space. Gods help you if you're on a small stage, or worse, a moving one. Not only that, but the AI isn't affected by it at all.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: The dev team discovered the "wavedashing" glitchnote  pretty early in development, but left it in. Then they discovered how much of a drastic gap it created between newcomers and veteran players, and it was one of the first things they removed from Brawl. In addition, the physics were altered so that the ability to combo was taken out entirely.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: The Pokemon Trainer. He usually runs around in the background, along with his Pokemon. In stages where this isn't possible, he turns into a small ball of light and warps to the next available spot farther ahead when you're about halfway there. This is very easy to miss, especially in the middle of a fight.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting:
    • The main battle theme for the Final Destination stage features this chanting, along with face-melting electric guitar solos. Interestingly, it's a remix of the main theme for the game, where the Latin Chanting isn't ominous at all; in fact, it's more lyrics than chanting. When you beat the Subspace Emissary mode, the theme plays again with a very loose translation of the lyrics displayed... and they're a thematic description of the events of the game (granted, a very loose and non-specific description). It's worth noting, though, that said piece was composed by Nobuo Uematsu, the famed Final Fantasy composer responsible for the aforementioned "One-Winged Angel" and "Liberi Fatali". Man just loves his ominous chanting.
    • The "Fire Emblem Theme" music on the Fire Emblem stage also has Latin lyrics, and although it's much more upbeat, it's no less awesome. Translation here; apparently, it's the same choral group responsible for the main theme.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: The remixes of the Zelda Overworld/Underworld music and Luigi's Mansion theme incorporate this as well.
  • One-Handed Zweihänder: Ike with his big sword, as explicitly pointed out to be doing so by Solid Snake on his Home Stage, Shadow Moses Island.
  • One-Hit Kill: Some Final Smashes consist of one powerful attack that is (nearly) guaranteed to KO anyone it hits. Zelda's, Marth's, and Captain Falcon's are prime examples. Assembling the three pieces of the Dragoon is also an instant KO, even if the target hasn't suffered any damage. Unless, of course, you miss.
  • One Stat to Rule Them All: Speedy characters have the ability to output damage more efficiently than every other character does. Exaggerated with Meta Knight, who has the distinction of being the only character who can combo with the minimal hitstun, making him formally banned from many tournaments.
  • Orchestral Bombing: The game has Final Destination, which is both this and Ominous Latin Chanting.
  • Oxygen Meter: There's an invisible one just for swimming. Some characters (e.g. Squirtle) can swim longer than others (e.g. Charizard), but anyone will sink eventually. In the Subspace Emissary, some stickers can increase the length, but there really isn't any need for it.
  • Palette Swap:
    • Wario's costumes are divided between his overalls from the main series and the biker jacket outfit he wears in his own games.
    • In Japan, R.O.B. was sold with red and white colors, to match the Famicom; outside Japan, he was silver and grey to match the NES. Both colors are available in Brawl, his red and white colors were the main pallete in all versions; but after that, versions outside Japan make the grey color his main pallete.
  • Perpetual Molt: The game subjects Pit to this trope. Every time he flies, he seems to lose a ton of feathers. But he's using a magic one (the move was based off a powerup from Kid Icarus) so that's okay.
  • Petal Power: Peach's Final Smash, Peach Blossom, features plenty of the titular flower.
  • PG Explosives: This was actually cited as the reason Snake got a lot of explosive weapons but no simple guns in this game; explosions are sillier.
  • Power Creep, Power Seep: Solid Snake. He can't even jump during gameplay in his own series, but here he can easily jump three times his height and fly with the assistance of a summoned Cypher (his enemies in his games), perform elegant suplexes, and is so flexible he can bend his spine almost all the way back. Also, the swimming/drowning mechanics the game introduced are nearly the same for everyone, even for characters who can't swim (Sonic and Charizard), characters who can't drown (Squirtle in Brawl and Greninja in Wii U/3DS), or characters who dissolve in water (the Inklings in Ultimate). Varia Samus and Zero Suit Samus highlight this as well. In their original appearance, Zero Suit Samus was part of a No-Gear Level, lacking any offensive capabilities whatsoever outside of a temporary stun. In Smash Bros, she's significantly faster and more agile than her armored counterpart (in the original, she was, if anything, slower), and actually places higher on most character tiers.
  • Power-Up Food: The Superspicy Curry, which turns whoever consumes it into an Incendiary Exponent (they don't receive damage, the rivals touching the fire do).
  • Production Foreshadowing: The game serves as one for Kid Icarus: Uprising, albeit somewhat retroactively (Uprising was originally a completely unrelated game until the dev team thought that Pit & co. would be a perfect fit for their concepts). Pit and Palutena's updated looks are used in Uprising, as well as Pit's bow-twin swords weapon. His Fallen Angel Palette Swap from the game, on the other hand, became an actual character that even became a Smash fighter himself. Masahiro Sakurai of Kirby fame helms both the Super Smash Bros. series and Kid Icarus Uprising.
  • Promoted to Playable:
    • Wario, Meta Knight, Pit, Olimar, Squirtle (who doubles as the starting platform in Poké Floats) and King Dedede (who also appeared in the N64 installment as a background character in Kirby's stage) all appeared as trophies in Melee before becoming playable characters here.
    • Charizard was one of the Pokémon summoned in the first two games before it became a playable character in Brawl, Red made a cameo in the N64 game's intro before becoming playable as Pokémon Trainer and Wolf became playable in Brawl after making a cameo in Melee's intro.
    • Giga Bowser from Melee becomes playable through Bowser's Final Smash in Brawl.
  • Quad Damage: The Smash Ball, introduced in this game, allows a character to perform a Final Smash, and for many character this trope is the main effect. In particular:
    • Bowser and Wario's Final Smashes are both temporary Quad Damage effects with Bowser's being a large increase in reach and knockback and Wario's being a large increase in speed and mobility.
    • R.O.B.'s Final Smash in this game is like this too, giving him constant laser eyes for a little while.
  • Rare Random Drop: This happens with severely decreased chances of getting any legendary Pokémon at all. This being the case, however, most legendary Pokémon are much more lethal; Mew drops CDs, Celebi drops trophies, and Jirachi (who wasn't in Melee) drops a ton of stickers.
  • 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.
  • Remilitarized Zone: The Shadow Moses stage in brings the military setting of the Metal Gear games. The Subspace Emissary has the stages set within Halberd.
  • Replay Mode: The game has a videos tab in the vault, allowing the player to view promotional material and cutscenes from The Subspace Emissary.
  • Reverse Grip: Pit (as well as Dark Pit in 4 and Ultimate) can split their bows into two swords. They hold one normally, while the other is held like this in order to speed up the reattaching process.
  • Rewarding Inactivity: In the WarioWare stage, one of the microgames that may pop up is to stand still and do nothing. However, stomping over this trope with steel-shod boots, it's sometimes better to suck down any punishment handed out for failing the Microgame... by landing some seriously heavy hits on your static opponents, since even the AI tries to follow the game's instruction to stay still.
  • Rise to the Challenge: The game features the rising Rumble Falls. There's an Event Match whose chosen difficulty level will determine how fast the stage will rise.
  • Ruins for Ruins' Sake: Ruins appear in the background of Mushroomy Kingdom.
  • Same Content, Different Rating: Like Melee, the game is rated T by the ESRB deapite having the same slapstick, bloodless violence the series is known for; and unlike Melee, the game also saw its rating increase in the United Kingdom (from 3+ to 12+). There are some elements that may have justified the rating, such as Wario's farts and Snake's suggestive dialogues with his teammates, but it was never confirmed if that was the case. Later games settled for a more reasonable E10+ rating.
  • Samus Is a Girl: A Discussed Trope. If the player fights Samus as Solid Snake on Shadow Moses Island, Snake remarks to Otacon that he's fighting "a woman in a power suit." Otacon is baffled as to how Snake can possibly know she's a woman. Snake figured it out by watching how she walks and checking out the anatomy involved.
  • Scaling the Summit: An Event Match has Princess Zelda reach the top of Kong Falls while the screen is scrolling up rapidly. She even quotes the "because it's there" motto in the event's description.
  • Sea Hurtchin: The game introduced the Unira (the sea urchin baddies from Clu Clu Land) as items. When thrown, they will fix themselves at their landing spot and extend their spines. Any foe coming in contact with these will be damaged and dealt knockback.
  • Secret Character: A tradition retained from previous games. There's even a new way to unlock all hidden characters in the game: Whenever one of them joins your team in Subspace Emissary, they will also be available in all other modes. There are even characters you're unable to unlock before completing SSE itself (unless you're optiing for unveiling them by playing VS. matches). Notably, Jigglypuff is one of the last characters that can be unlocked, despite its earlier method of availability in the first two games.
  • Sequel Non-Entity: The game saw quite a few cuts from Melee. Dropping Dr. Mario, Mewtwo, Pichu, Roy (in favor of Ike) and Young Link (in favor of Toon Link). Dr. Mario would return in the next game, and so would the rest in Ultimate.
  • Shifting Sand Land: Mushroomy Kingdom has become a bleak and barren desert since its appearance in Super Mario Bros..
  • Ship Level: Debuting in this game is the Pirate Ship stage from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. Combatants fight on the ship as it sails across the sea, with tornados, rocks and the ocean itself as environmental hazards.
  • 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.
  • Sphere of Power: Pikachu's Final Smash attack turns him into ball lightning. Large, fast, and almost uncontrollable by any but the most skilled players. Sonic's is the same, but much easier to control.
  • Spring Jump: There's a variety of springs in the game, such as those you can put in custom stages, ones that are items, and Sonic's spring (appearing as one of his moves). Throughout the series, this is also Mario and Luigi's Up-B move though whereas Mario's goes to one side, Luigi's goes straight up. If timed right, it's also insanely strong.
  • Steel Ear Drums: Explosions and other loud noises are commonplace and nobody reacts to anything but the hitboxes. In one aversion, however, Snake will duck and cover his ears if one of his grenades explodes sufficiently close to him - though he won't react the same way to his forward smash attack, which involves shooting an RPG almost directly at his feet.
  • Stepping Stones in the Sky:
    • Wario is capable of doing this by pulling his bike out of Hammerspace when in midair then immediately jumping out of it, which still allows him access to his Double Jump. Doing this actually boosts him higher than his regular recovery move.
    • More generally, if two characters are in mid-air, one can use the other's head as a footstool to gain a bit of extra height.
  • Stewed Alive: During his Final Smash, Kirby can get the chef hat, a single-use ability that sucks all the enemies on-screen into a pot of stew and cooks them into recovery items.
  • Sticky Bomb:
    • The game adds Gooey Bombs to the item repertoire. These clingy suckers stick to either the terrain or a player after being thrown, exploding on their own after a few seconds. This bomb can be passed to someone else, including the one that launched it by running into them before it explodes, making for a silly-looking game of Grenade Tag.
    • Snake's down special, C4, can stick to opponents if timed just right. These are hard to see and remote activated, meaning unsuspecting opponents may find themselves suddenly flying in the air after Snake triggers it. Like Gooey Bombs, these can be passed between players; giving the C4 back to Snake and watching him blow himself up can be surprisingly cathartic.
  • Successful Sibling Syndrome: Luigi's Final Smash move, "the Negative Zone", is implied to have generated because he has lived in his brother's shadow for so long.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Every character has an individual limited amount of time they can swim in water, with Sonic having the shortest swimming time by a fair margin.
  • Super Strength: King Dedede's hammer weighs close to a ton according to Snake, but he can run and jump with it like it was nothing.
  • Surprisingly Good English: While there are a lot more characters with different voice actors depending on version than in Melee, Captain Falcon, Zero Suit Samus, and Peach retain the same voice actors between the Japanese and English versions and speak very perfectly passable English, as do a number of Assist Trophies.
  • Swap Fighter: A large amount of these characters (along with having Zelda and Sheik return from the previous game) have been introduced. In the previous two games, Samus was a standalone fighter like everybody else. In Brawl, she becomes Zero Suit Samus after using her Final Smash with a changed moveset and can switch back to Power Suit Samus with the same method. The Pokémon Trainer invokes this trope by not actually being the fighter, but rather has you controlling his Pokémon which swap with down B in order of Squirtle, Ivysaur, and Charizard.
  • Switch-Out Move: Zelda can switch to Sheik and vice versa like in Melee. Brawl also introduces the Pokémon Trainer, who doesn't directly fight but sends out three Pokémon in a vein to their origin series. These Pokémon are Squirtle, Ivysaur, and Charizard, who play differently from each other, but the Trainer can switch them out using their Down Special, again like in their franchise. All three Pokémon have different weight classes, allowing players to make good use of combo moves utilizing their switch mechanic. Also in Brawl, veteran fighter Samus Aran gains an alternate form: her Zero Suit self. While the armored version is slower and projectile-heavy, the Zero Suit version is faster and more melee-oriented. Samus can switch between armored and Zero Suit forms via Final Smash (although, while it's hard, armored Samus can also rapidly taunt to shed her armor).
  • Tank Goodness: The Landmaster is available as a Final Smash for all three of the Star Fox characters, though it functions somewhat differently for each of them. It'll hog almost the entirety of a smaller level, frequently forcing the opposition to jump over or on top of it to avoid getting rammed or shot by it, but being in such a position can instead allow you to send them flying with a barrel roll, or more amusingly, simply carry them off the top of the screen using its jets for an instant KO.
  • Teleport Spam: Meta Knight can exploit his Dimensional Cape move for an infinitely long duration; a tactic deemed so completely broken that the character has been banned in tournament play.
  • Temporary Platform: One of the features of the stage builder are these — and odds are, if you know someone who has built stages there, they've built at least one heavily featuring them. They regenerate as well, which results in problems both ways — the platform might be missing when you're scrambling to get back up, and you also might have to deal with a platform appearing right where you were trying to go to save yourself.
  • Theme-and-Variations Soundtrack: Though it has a very extensive soundtrack otherwise, almost all of the original music in the game is based on the opening theme, by Nobou Uematsu. The variations include Musical Pastiches of Sabre Dance and Ravel's Bolero.
  • There Is No Kill like Overkill: Almost all Final Smashes are like this. Sonic and Pikachu start flying around dealing huge damage to whatever touches them. The Starfox fighters break through with their Landmasters. Mario shoots a ludicrously large fireball across the screen. Link does a combo of about two dozen hits before sending the enemy flying away. Ike's Final Smash involves striking the enemy once, then catapulting them into the sky, where they are then slashed repeatedly with his sword before being hurtled back down to earth (and usually, back off into the sky). And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Some of these can, with the right timing, kill an enemy, and then kill them again as soon as they have respawned and their Mercy Invincibility has expired.
  • Throw the Mook at Them: King Dedede inverts this by throwing his own minions at enemies. He can throw Waddle Dees as a projectile with his Side+Special, or occasionally a Waddle Doo, and more rarely throwing a highly-damaging Gordo. This was simplified in the fourth game, where he exclusively throws Gordos.
  • Too Awesome to Use:
    • The Golden Hammers can automatically unlock a secret without having to do the challenge. In the few challenges that really are exceptionally difficult (beating Boss Battles on Insane, for example), you can't actually use the hammers in the first place, except in the PAL versions.
    • The Heart Containers in Boss Battles. They completely heal you, but there are only three, and they can't be used mid-battle, which often results in death after deciding to try and tank an easy boss at high damage.
  • Tornado Move:
    • Now with the Gale Boomerang, Link can throw it to create small tornados to attack opponents with.
    • One of Meta Knight's attacks is spinning himself rapidly to become a tornado, a la Taz-Mania.
  • Training Dummy:
    • In addition to reprising this role in Home-Run Contest like in Melee, the Sandbag now appears as an item in other modes, where it functions like a piñata and will drop items when beaten up. It also appears in some of the Wi-Fi waiting rooms and while you can technically defeat it by smacking it out of bounds or eating it with Wario, Kirby, or King Dedede, a replacement will appear immediately.
    • You get trophies for kicking around the computer player in training mode.
  • Unexpectedly Realistic Gameplay: Tripping, which may or may not occur when trying to run.
  • Unexpected Shmup Level: The game does this when you beat Classic or All-Star mode, like in Melee (not the case with Adventure Mode, however; it only uses standard credits). It also features the Coin Shooter minigame that lets you collect trophies and stickers, and is a great source of distraction.
  • Variable Mix: The main tracks of the stages Summit and Yoshi's Island constantly change in tone and tempo to match the current state of stage (though the Summit music is a single audio track that's merely timed to match up with the stage's various events; if you're playing in Slow Brawl, for instance, you'll hear the audio desynch from the onscreen events).
  • 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.
  • Wall Jump:
    • In the absence of Pichu, Pikachu can wall-jump now. Zero Suit Samus (but not regular Samus) was also added. However, wall jumps have diminishing gains in altitude until your feet hit something reasonably horizontal. This goes for everyone now. Just give Lucario a single wall as tall as you want, and he can go from bottom to top in a matter of seconds.
    • Squirtle, Lucario, Diddy Kong, and Sheik have the extra ability to stick to walls.
  • Wings Do Nothing: Pit can flap his wings in the form of three Double Jumps or activate four seconds of free flight as a special move (both are replenished by landing on the ground). He has neither of these abilities during the story mode cutscenes.
  • What Song Was This Again?: The game remixed both versions of Ashley's Song and put them in the same game, which finally meant English players could hear the Japanese version and Japanese ones could hear the English version as well as their local equivalents.
  • Whip It Good: In addition to Sheik who still can attack with a whip, Zero Suit Samus can change her gun into a laser-made one.
  • Wintry Auroral Sky: The Summit stage, which is the Ice Climbers' home stage, is (at the start of the fight at least) located on top of a frozen moutain bathed in the shimmering lights of auroras borealis.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: Snake has a habit of being utterly blindsided by his mission control's wackier information regarding the other fighters.

 
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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.

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