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    YMMV applying to the Subspace Emissary 
  • Ass Pull:
    • Tabuu's existence literally comes out of nowhere, seeing that he wasn't even foreshadowed in the game up until then.
    • The final battle is preceded by one that benefits the heroes, with Sonic coming out of nowhere and breaking Tabuu's wings to make fighting him possible.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Tabuu. Some think he's Evil Is Cool and an interesting SNK Boss, others think he's a blatant Giant Space Flea from Nowhere and a cheap Invincible Villain, and a third camp even views him as all of the above.
  • Breather Boss:
    • Meta Ridley, who despite being the second-to-last boss in the game, is instead the easiest boss in the game after Petey Piranha. For one thing, unlike other bosses where being close to them is the most dangerous spot to be, it's the safest spot to be against Meta Ridley, as it's the easiest place to evade (and counterattack) all his moves, while even being a blatant blind spot for some of his attacks. Also unlike other bosses, Meta Ridley has a clear "attack me now" phase and "prepare to evade" phase; before attacking he flies off screen, giving you time to dodge (the only attack he doesn't fly off screen for is the one he telegraphs with a roar instead). As such, Meta Ridley's attacks are ridiculously easy to evade no matter how aggressive you're being, and for his one move that could be difficult to evade, where he drags down the Falcon Flier while spitting fireballs, you can knock him off just by doing some damage to him. While the fight is on a timer, Meta Ridley also has less HP than most bosses, and can be defeated quickly, making the timer a non-factor (unless you're trying to turn him into a trophy that is). Overall, he's a boss that can be defeated quickly and reliably without any damage by any remotely competent player. Oh, and he's also at the end of the hardest level in The Subspace Emissary, making the breather even more apparent.
    • Galleom's second fight is easy to breeze through since you can constantly spam Charizard's Rock Smash, which takes out large chunks of health.
  • Broken Base:
    • The mode is one of the most polarizing aspects of the series, as arguments rage on how well it was implemented, whether the neutral setting was a waste of potential or not, the amount of focus Brawl puts on it, and whether it was better than Melee's Adventure Mode or not. For the latter, however, there are many fans who want to see a newer Adventure Mode that combines the best of The Subspace Emissary and Melee's Adventure Mode.
    • A recurring discussion in the fanbase is whether this mode is biased towards the Kirby series or not. Some fans will point out that Meta Knight's Halberd being central to the plot, Dedede's role as the Big Good, and Kirby saving the rest of the fighters by destroying the Subspace gunship make them stand out, while others will argue that these claims are being blown out of proportion in that their lack of development or significant interactions with the remainder of the cast made those characters far less memorable than the likes of Lucas or ROB, and any other characters who did make a more significant impact in the story.
  • Demonic Spiders:
    • Armanks. These tanks can only be harmed when they temporarily expose their soft innards, which requires that you destroy the giant arms that they extend out of their tops. Problem is that while you're trying to destroy the arm, it's free to retaliate with a number of extremely punishing attacks, almost all of which can hit you from across the screen.
    • Armights. Besides appearing out of literally nowhere, they can fly around and can deal a lot of damage with deceptively long-ranged sword attacks which are sometimes liable to juggle you. Not to mention that they can occasionally throw their swords, catching players who thought they could just stay at range off guard. Fortunately, they'll disappear on their own if not defeated fast enough.
    • Autolances are Immune to Flinching while being unable to be grabbed, are highly resistant to damage, and have multiple attacks that are tricky to avoid and deal enormous amounts of damage and knockback, including a powerful and large lance projectile if you're away from them, and if you're near them a lance stab that comes out near instantaneously while it launches you on a dangerous low horizontal trajectory. Their only saving grace is that their weak points will become exposed once they take enough damage, making them go down quite quickly afterwards.
    • Floows. They fly around very fast and their attack is a very powerful AOE attack that covers a large area that makes it very difficult to avoid. They also have a lot of HP and regenerate their HP at a fast rate when damaged, however they cannot move nor attack while regenerating. Since by just attacking them you can get them just stuck doing nothing but regenerating until death they're easily manageable alone, but when mixed in with large groups of other enemies you can no longer easily focus on them, which makes them much harder to kill and their massive AOE attack extremely threatening.
    • Gamygas, totem-poles with five layers of bases and one giant face that you actually need to damage. The problem is that the face is so high up that a character can usually get in only one attack before falling back to the ground, and if a player decides to bring the face down to his level by attacking the bases, they quickly learn that Gamygas shoot ridiculously strong lasers at a rate of about two per second if they're not under constant fire (which resets their attacks). And because they're so tall, they take the prize for the hardest enemy to just avoid, even though they don't move from where they stand.
    • Greaps are gigantic enemies who use long-ranged scythe attacks, one which is a downward scythe slam that deals obscene knockback, being able to even OHKO on Intense difficulty, and one of which is a jumping circular spin that strikes a massive area around it while dealing obscene damage, being able to deal over 100% with one usage of this attack on Intense. With these two attacks, the Greap is by far the greatest offensive threat to the play in the SSE. Furthermore, although its standard attack leaves it open for a while afterwards, it has a very large amount of health to back up its damage, and it has significant heavy armor that makes it very difficult to flinch while it cannot be grabbed. The saving grace against it is that its red head is a weakspot that causes significant damage to it when struck.
    • Roturrets are, as their name implies, rotating turrets, which in quick constant intervals will shoot two streams of powerful energy blasts at you, that deal very high damage and knockback, and are very difficult to avoid. They're additionally highly durable and have heavy armor that requires you to hit them quite hard to flinch them, which with them being in the air farther limits the amount of attacks you can flinch them with. They're not too bad in solitary affairs if you can flinch them, but throw other enemies into the mix and they'll quickly be one of the most dangerous and difficult enemies in the game as they pound on you with constant powerful fire while you're unable to focus on them. The saving grace is that they're completely stationary, so if you don't need to kill one to advance you can run away from it easily.
  • Ending Fatigue: The final level, "The Great Maze," features battles with every playable character you encounter up until that point, along with every boss character, all contained within an elaborate (but well-designed) maze. You cannot fight the Final Boss without going through every room and completing every fight — to put it into perspective, the level takes a few hours to complete in a game where stages are usually ten minutes long, give or take cutscenes. The level is so long that there are Save Points in multiple locations, and completing it all in a single sitting is a Herculean task. Oh, and good luck with 100% Completion. On the bright side, once you've completed the level once, you can just go straight to Tabuu, subverting the trope.
  • Enjoy the Story, Skip the Game: The level design can be a bit tedious, and the lack of classic enemies may have put a lot of players off, but the gorgeous cutscenes and the characters interactions make playing this mode at least once more than worth it.
  • Game-Breaker: Meta Knight, the infamous game breaker of Brawl's competitive play, is perhaps even more broken in the Subspace Emissary. All of his attributes that makes him especially effective in competitive play still help immensely here, but some particular notes; his neutral aerial deals 19% damage when both its hits connect and is very fast in completion, giving Meta Knight some of the highest DPS against enemies and bosses, while there's also no stale-move negation in the mode, allowing players to spam it with impunity. Mach Tornado works wonderfully at clearing the large hordes of enemies you're often up against, while allowing Meta Knight to traverse horizontal platforming sections quickly and safely. Shuttle Loop is still a horribly broken and spammable move, that can be used to get Meta Knight out of rough spots, and makes vertical platforming a breeze. And since all his attacks are sword-based attacks that deal slash damage, it's easy to power his entire moveset with stickers. His one actual downside is that he's light, but on the harder difficulties, all characters will get KO'd early anyway by the ridiculously powerful attacks being thrown around, and this weakness is easily covered by launch resistance stickers.
  • Goddamned Bats:
    • Buckots tend to fly very high out of your reach while dropping rains of white-hot ingots on you, which is beyond infuriating, especially if your character has poor vertical mobility.
    • Bytans. They almost always show up in swarms and multiply constantly, so you if straggle with killing them they will become a near-never ending swarm. The Giant ones are less annoying since they don't multiply as fast, but they're far bulkier and hit far harder.
    • The Glice/Glire/Glunder trio are small, move fast, and have a tendency to come out of nowhere. In a chaotic fight, you may not notice them until they attack, upon which they quickly release an AOE elemental discharge that deals considerable damage and either launches you with decent knockback (fire), stuns you in place with multiple hits thus leaving you vulnerable to being hit by stronger enemies (electric), or freezes you and allows other enemies to pound on you for extra damage (ice).
    • Mites are very fragile and are weak when they hit you, but their very small size makes them very hard to hit, while they always come in large swarms and their attacks, while not a KO threat, have enough knockback to knock you off the ground and thus you can end up getting juggle between the mites constantly knocking you back and forth.
    • Sword Primids aren't that durable and aren't much a threat to KO outside of very high damages, however they move pretty fast while their sword attacks cover a very long range and come out very fast. Their damage output is additionally surprisingly high and they tend to be in swarms, so on the higher difficulties they can bring a player from 0% to KO% very fast. For the extra annoyance factor, they can reflect projectiles back at you if you try pelting them with projectiles outside their great range.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Snake's introductory line of "Kept you waiting, huh?" became this after Snake and the entire Metal Gear series disappeared in the next game in the series, and fans would have to wait over 10 years to see Snake in another Smash game. It also applies to his voice actor David Hayter, who was fired from the role after 2010's Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, and fans had to endure another long wait to hear him as Snake again in Ultimate.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The second Subspace Emissary stage, the one where the real action begins, is called "Skyworld," plays Kid Icarus music throughout, and has you play as Pit for the entirety of the stage (the option to control Mario for the last third of the stage notwithstanding). Sakurai's next project after Brawl happens to be Kid Icarus: Uprising.
  • It Was His Sled: Everybody knows about Tabuu's existence. Ditto for the Ancient Minister being the game's playable R.O.B.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • Palutena who only appears to give Pit his sacred bow.
    • Also the Subspace Gunship, laughably so. So much effort into designing this massive monstrosity, yet it goes down in a matter of seconds after its full reveal. There's not even a level for it.
  • Signature Scene:
    • The Great Invasion is almost unanimously regarded as the one cutscene that makes the whole ride worth it, even among some detractors who feel that the time and resources that went into SSE's development should have been allocated elsewhere. Certain character introductions, like Falcon's note  and Snake's note , and the scene where Samus regains her Power Suit note  are lesser examples.
    • Ridley grabbing Samus, slamming her into a wall and grinding her face against it was so iconic (and rather horrific) that it came back as one of his attacks in Metroid: Other M.
  • That One Attack:
    • Tabuu's Off Waves, which are an invariable OHKO attack that covers the entire stage, making them impossible to evade via getting out of the way. However, with some timing and use of a sidestep or rolling dodge, they can be easily evaded, though this attack has made Tabuu near impossible for the inexperienced who don't have their sidestep/rolling timing down.
    • For No Damage Runs, there's Duon's charge attack, and Porky's homing laser. The former has weird hitboxes, that can drag characters along even when intangible, where the characters then get damaged as the charge's hitboxes remain as the intangibility runs out; whether a character gets dragged or not depends on the character's build, and for some characters, can make it nearly impossible to avoid getting damaged by. The latter is a long-lasting multi-hitting attack that follows your movement and will instantly shatters shields, requiring multiple precise dodges to evade. Like Duon's charge, this attack also affects certain characters much worse than others.
  • That One Boss:
    • Duon, a boss with very high HP, the ability to switch between melee and ranged specializations on a whim, many difficult-to-evade attacks that hit hard and cover a large area, and attributes that can make it especially difficult for some characters (such as its significant slash resistance, making its titanic HP even greater against sword characters). Players generally consider it even more difficult than the game's final boss Tabuu (and inexperienced players only have more trouble with Tabuu when they can't dodge his one-hit KO Off Waves, which is easy to once you get the timing down).
    • The Giant False Diddy Kong is just awful. Keep in mind that Diddy's main weaknesses are averagely damaging but quick attacks and being somewhat light. This monster negates both weaknesses, requiring at least 200% damage before one can even think of KOing it, while it can knock you out at 0%, while having attacks that cover half the screen. Its tendency to scramble after items doesn't help, as items grow to its size when picked up. This also applies to giant characters in Brawl in general, who all are ridiculously overpowered; see, Brawl's physics were deliberately designed to nerf the concept of combos, which were otherwise the primary weakness of giant characters, while the giant characters themselves were made drastically more powerful.
  • That One Level: The Subspace Bomb Factory; it's the longest level in the game besides The Great Maze, is chock full of dangerous encounters, has the most grueling battle sequence in the game that finishes with the only time you'll fight two Armanks at once, features a deadly auto-scrolling section that will get your characters killed easily should they fall the least bit behind, and to cap it all off it has a boss battle at the end of it. Fortunately, the boss, Meta Ridley, is very easy to defeat as previously covered, though trying to turn him into a trophy is another story.
  • That One Sidequest: The Meta Ridley trophy is probably the single hardest boss trophy to get. Not only are you required to beat down Meta Ridley until he's near death, you have wait for a Trophy Stand to randomly spawn (during a timed fight) and then throw it at Meta Ridley between attacks while he's between attack patterns and floating above a Bottomless Pit.note  To add insult to injury, this is all at the end of what is arguably the most difficult level in the game.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Sonic and his role as the 11th-Hour Ranger. Given that he was one of the major guest characters advertised for the game, many were disappointed that he did not play a role in the story until literally the very end.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • One of the biggest complaint leveled against the Subspace Emissary is that, in spite of the stellar cast of classic characters, the story takes place in a neutral setting that has nothing to do with their respective home series. Many who were hoping for the biggest Crisis Crossover story in the history of video games were disappointed, especially considering Melee's own Adventure Mode was centered around trekking through stages based on each character's individual worlds.
    • Those who are fine with the neutral setting instead lament that enemies from Nintendo games are almost entirely absent in this mode. While five of the eight bosses come from existing Nintendo games, the regular enemies are made up almost entirely of an Original Generation, with only Super Mario Bros. getting any enemies in the mode.
  • Vindicated by History: The Subspace Emissary received, at best, a lukewarm reception, even being called the "worst part of the game" by a lot of the fans… until 2013, when it was announced there wouldn't be a mode like that in 3DS/Wii U. Fans of the mode started to make their voice heard that they liked it (which was unheard of when it came out) due to it playing with the Smash formula in a good way, all the Awesome Moments in the cutscenes (like the Great Invasion), and the scene where Ganondorf forces the R.O.B.s to blow themselves up being one of the darkest moments in series, if not Nintendo as a whole.
  • What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: Seriously, it's really hard for this section of the game not to feel like this when Jigglypuff grabs a rocket launcher and blows up a giant mustachioed floating fish with a Roman helmet and swords, or when the Final Boss is a giant floating holographic blue angel thing with rainbow wings.
  • Woobie Species: The R.O.B.s were contracted by Ganondorf and company to help them shroud the world in subspace. To do this, Subspace Bombs must be detonated manually by two R.O.B.s each, with detonators consumed and destroyed by the resulting explosion. Near the end of the story, Ganondorf takes control of them all and forces them to attack their own leader, then makes them drive themselves to near extinction by detonating every single Subspace Bomb in their own homeland. The final shot of them has them closing their eyes, aware of what's happening and unable to stop it.

    YMMV applying to other modes and the overall game 
  • Accidental Innuendo:
  • Alas, Poor Scrappy: Mewtwo was one of, if not the most, unpopular characters to play in Melee, due to its highly unorthodox design and being considered the worst character in the game at the time. Cue Brawl's release, and a large portion of the fanbase complains about its exclusion, and with the 3DS/Wii U installments, there are those who dearly wished for the return. Thankfully, Sakurai and company listened to the fanbase and released the character as DLC for the fourth game (and even made it free if you bought both versions).
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Pit's Brawl incarnation was often portrayed in fanfiction as a pure, submissive, weak, kind, holy, and innocent being (in other words, like one of the common stereotypes of angels.) To be fair, this was before Kid Icarus: Uprising was released and developed his personalty, and Brawl gave few hints of his or any other Kid Icarus characters' personalities. All the fandom that payed attention knew of Pit at the time was the implication that he was overconfident or possibly even arrogant, and a hidden conversation Snake has with Otacon that says he's far stronger and older than he looks.
  • Anti-Climax Boss: Because All-Star Mode has you face all of the characters of Nintendo's franchises (and Metal Gear and Sonic) in the order their series were made, Olimar is always the one you fight last due to Pikmin being the most recent one. He's always by himself, his attacks without the Pikmin are weak if you can separate him from them, and since 3DS/Wii U wasn't a thing yet, Olimar doesn't have a very reliable recovery move. Not only that, but the stage is always Distant Planet, which not only has a One-Hit KO hazard in the form of the Bulborb, but also the rain effect which makes half of the stage practically useless to fight on when it's active. Needless to say, he's the easiest to take out.
  • Awesome Music: The game's main theme is this to many. With its triumphant music, its Latin chorus and its incredible use in The Subspace Emissary, even those who don't like the game can agree that this song sounds absolutely cracking.
  • Best Level Ever: For the competitive community, Smashville is seen in this light. It's widely regarded as the most balanced of any tourney-legal stage, even more so than Battlefield.
  • Breather Boss: Crazy Hand. While Master Hand has some of the best boss attacks in the game for his exclusive moves, Crazy Hand instead has some of the worst boss attacks for his exclusives (two of which are heavily telegraphed and can be evaded just by moving away). The rest of his attacks are also ridiculously easy to evade except for the Hand Drill (which he performs later in his attack pattern than Master Hand, making him use it less), and his attacks are extremely weak for a boss (while the few that can KO are again very easy to dodge). Crazy Hand is such an easy boss that in the team-up with Master Hand at the end of Classic Mode, decent players will have the battle won once they defeat Master Hand regardless of their damage. Then there is his Boss Battles version, which drastically nerfs his HP to the worst among bosses in the game, leaving him a freebie in the mode for any remotely competent player.
  • Contested Sequel: Sakurai's team went of their way to make the game as mainstream-accessible as possible (particularly because Melee turned out to be too hardcore, and because the Wii itself was aimed at casual gamers), altering a number of physics and mechanics and including the nightmare of every SSB player, TRIPPING. While the production quality of the game is agreed to be high quality, the changes to the gameplay alienated some longtime fans, particularly competitive players.
  • Critical Dissonance: Brawl received many positive reviews with a higher Metacritic score than Melee and sold more copies. Given the ongoing strife in the community and just by looking at this page, you'd be surprised how it sold so well or even got those reviews.
  • Disappointing Last Level: Or rather, Disappointing Last Event. Many fans consider Brawl Event 41, "The Final, FINAL Battle", to be a lazier, inferior version of Melee Event 51, "The Showdown." It pits the player against an overpowered giant Mario, Snake, and Sonic (in place of Giga Bowser, Ganondorf, and Mewtwo respectively). The battle is ridiculously anti-climatic, as it's possible to trick Giant Mario into falling off the ledge in just a few seconds.
  • Ear Worm: The Waddle Dee Army, otherwise known as "the Big Gay Dance"'s background music. Bu-kaa, bu-kaa, hrah hrah hrah!
  • Fan Nickname: "The Big Gay Dance" for King Dedede's Final Smash because of its use in Brawl Taunts.
  • Good Bad Bugs: The "Smash Stack" exploit, which is the most common way to load mods for that game. However, it can also be used to install other homebrew. Unlike the Twilight Hack, it still works with newer firmware, as well as the Wii U's Wii Mode.
  • Memetic Badass: Meta Knight, due to being widely considered a massive Game-Breaker to the point where not only does he get his own tier in that game, but that incarnation of him is often considered to be the best character in the entire series. He's so badass that tournament players cower in fear unless he's explicitly banned from character selection. Adding to this is that Meta Knight is already a big Ensemble Dark Horse among Kirby fans for his stoic & honorable nature and his Zorro-esque voice in the English dub of the anime.
  • Memetic Loser: Ganondorf, for eschewing his swordplay from then-recent Zelda games in favor of retaining his Captain Falcon-based moveset despite having his stockier build from Twilight Princess, leading to jokes about him being fat and out-of-shape. On the competitive side of things, Ganondorf is mocked for being the worst character in the game. This status would continue into the next game, though he has a bit of a Memetic Troll reputation going on there as well.
  • Most Annoying Sound:
    • Sonic: "YOU'RE TOO SLOW!" "C'MON STEP IT UP!" and "NOW I'LL SHOW YOU! HUAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!"
    • Peach's "La-la-la-la-la-la!" taunt in Brawl. Her "Ohhhhhh, did I wiiiiiiiiin~?" victory quote is also infamous for how salt-inducing it is.
    • The sound of tripping.
  • Never Live It Down: Captain Falcon was considered the worst character for the first two tier lists (which covers about the first year of the game's competitive scene), and while like Melee Mewtwo where he got discovered to be a lot more potent than his bottom tier brethren and would permanently rise out of the bottom tier, he never shook off the stigma of worst character and even for a low/bottom tier character had almost no serious players throughout Brawl's entire competitive life, despite being an immensely popular character in the rest of the Smash games. This stigma didn't follow him into Smash 4 though, where he has perpetually been considered a high tier character and had a very large flock of players playing him since day 1.
  • Older Than They Think: Fox and Falco's unique victory quotes against each other, as well as Falco's "Hands off my prey!" Catchphrase, originated in the Japanese version of Melee rather than Brawl.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • Tripping. Whenever a player makes a dash input, they may, by completely random chance, trip over and leave themselves vulnerable. While a disruptive annoyance in general, this commonly causes players to trip and get hit by attacks they would have avoided otherwise to no fault of their own. This only applies to random tripping, not forced tripping caused by attacks, as the latter is triggered by players and can be part of legitimate strategies. There was much rejoicing when random tripping was removed from the fourth game.
    • Hitstun cancelling is the most detested mechanic in Brawl after tripping. Whenever a player is hit by an attack, they can do an air dodge after 12 frames of hitstun, or an aerial after 25 frames, regardless of the knockback they sustained. This mechanic meant players suffer barely any practical hitstun regardless of what they were hit by, which caused multiple detrimental aspects in the game. The first is that combos were almost nonexistent, and the few that remained were mostly from chain throws or extremely weak yet fast attacks that could chain multiple hits into itself. The second was that many attacks could result in the player getting punished for hitting with them at low damages, and the player was always at risk for pursuing an opponent they just launched. The third is that it allowed momentum cancelling; since characters could act so early out of hitstun, they would be able to make actions while in knockback that redirected it, reduced its distance, or even completely negate it, allowing characters to survive to far higher damages than they were intended to. This mechanic was the main culprit for why Brawl was such a slow-paced and defensive game, as it both simultaneously made it more difficult to rack up damage and more difficult to KO opponents.
    • The revamped air dodge. Removal of wavedashing aside, the fact that Brawl air dodge is highly spammable and hard to punish makes it too effective for its intended use, which, combined with ledge planking and camping, turns Brawl into a game of turtling instead of the offensively-oriented Melee. This is alleviated in the 4th installment; the air dodge is still momentum-conserving like in Brawl, but you can no longer air dodge out of hitstun, and air dodging near the ground now produces significant landing lag for all characters, making it much more punishable.
    • "Autosnap" ledges, which made ledges much easier to grab and allowed characters to grab them from much farther away, to a degree that is commonly seen as a Game-Breaker.
    • The significant amount of invincibility grabbing a ledge grants, that can be indefinitely replenished by regrabbing the ledge. While abuseable in prior games, the easier to grab ledge, floatier falling speeds, and generally improved recoveries, made the act of "planking" (i.e. repeatedly letting go and regrabbing the ledge to exploit its invincibility) much more prominent. This made being on the ledge, which should normally be one of the most disadvantageous places to be, an extremely safe spot, and some characters could abuse it to a degree where they were nearly unhittable, to where they could reliably utilise it to stall out a match they are winning (Meta Knight, already generally deemed a Game-Breaker, was especially notorious for his game breaking planking). This led to almost all tournaments adopting a "ledge grab limit" rule (the tournament would have a limit on the amount of times you can grab the ledge in a game, and should a match timeout, the result screen will be checked and a player who went over the limit automatically loses regardless of their lead). Smash 4 would address this by making it so that regrabbing the ledge without getting hit or landing on the stage first will result in no invincibility whatsoever, leaving you extremely vulnerable to eating a heavy punish.
    • Two that are exclusive to the Pokémon Trainer:
      • The stamina and forced switching mechanic. If a player uses one Pokémon for too long, that Pokémon will gradually dish out less damage and receive more knockback when hit, forcing the Trainer to switch them out regularly. Symbolically, this represents Pokémon fighting as a team. Mechanically, this becomes a tactical nightmare in tournaments, and made the Trainer especially vulnerable to turtling tactics. This is also believed to be one of the major reasons why fan-favorite Pokémon Charizard failed to garner a significant Smash-based fanbase.
      • Type Effectiveness. The Trainer's Pokémon are also affected differently by their respective weaknesses/resistances. Just like in the Pokémon games, Charizard, Squirtle, and Ivysaur sustain more knockback from water, grass, and fire-based attacks respectively, while they sustain less knockback from grass, fire, and water-based attacks respectively. Since Squirtle and Ivysaur are the only characters in the game with water and grass attacks, this weakness only really mattered to Squirtle and Charizard in Pokemon Trainer dittos, but since many characters have fire-based attacks, this left Ivysaur at an innate and exploitable disadvantage no other character had against the rest of the cast, bolstering its low-tier scrappiness.
      • To everyone's relief, both of these maligned mechanics were removed when the Pokémon Trainer returned in Ultimate.
    • Excessive stale-move negation. In layman's terms, spamming any move causes said move to get weaker, knocking back enemies less and less. This effect is much more severe in Brawl than it is in the previous games, as while the previous games just reduced damage, Brawl also reduces a move's knockback. Among average players, this mechanic is hated for widening the gap between characters with several reliable finishers and those with few. But with competitive players, the main problem this introduces is it allows some moves to combo into themselves far longer than they reasonably should, making certain stale moves in certain situations more useful than the fresh move, and in some cases, can completely break certain matchups, such as Sheik's forward tilt or Pikachu's down throw on the Star Fox characters.
    • While the lack of buffering can be a scrappy lack-of-mechanic for primary Brawl players, buffering becomes a Scrappy Mechanic for dedicated Melee players, since due to the way the system works, it can cause unintended inputs that lead to grave mistakes, particularly accidental neutral air attacks that give the player no chance to recover.
    • The fact that you can't straight-up restart Event Matches like you could in Melee, as the GameCube controller's Z button (or its equivalent on other controllers) now lets you take snapshots instead, like in other modes in the game. Not only do the other two options - quitting and failing - take longer, but the former requires a button combination that can strain your fingers, depending on the controller used. This was carried over to the Wii U version of the fourth game.
  • That One Attack:
    • Master Hand's Finger Flick, Hand Swipe, and Hand Drill, all of which have near-instantaneous start-up without any telegraphing (unlike other boss attacks), while either dealing very high knockback (the former two) or dealing extreme damage (the lattermost). Special mention goes to the Hand Drill, which is also flat-out impossible for most characters to evade without going offstage (where they then have minimal time to do so, especially if they're hit by the Hand Drill as it starts up). These attacks are so effective, they bring what would have been a middling boss to perhaps the most difficult in the game, only being contended with by Duon in The Subspace Emissary (at least in Classic Mode; his Boss Battles incarnation has drastically nerfed HP, leaving him with less HP than every other boss except Crazy Hand in that mode, and leaving it so low that most characters can defeat him before he can complete one attack cycle, ensuring players often won't have to deal with these attacks).
    • Tabuu's Off Waves attack. He teleports into the background, briefly materialises his wings and then unleashes three damaging shockwaves that cover the entire screen and do such immense knockback that one shockwave is enough to instantly defeat your character on any difficulty higher than Easy. The only way to survive is by spotdodging all three waves with extremely precise timing each. They are bad enough in the Subspace Emissary, but are infinitely worse in Boss Rush mode, where you only have one life and failure means having to replay the entire mode over from the beginning. The Off Waves attack was so infamous that the developers acknowledged it by sneaking it into 3DS/Wii U as the final attack of Master Core's true form if you don't KO it in time.
  • That One Boss: The battle with Master Hand and Crazy Hand at the end of Classic Mode. Master Hand himself in Classic Mode is the most difficult boss in the game after Duon because of the aforementioned attacks, and his high HP in Classic Mode ensures players will have to deal with them. Throw in Crazy Hand to distract you from being able to preemptively prepare for these moves while giving you another full-powered boss to fight, and welp, good luck taking them down on Intense difficulty without any stock loss (Crazy Hand alone himself, however, is a complete pushover, so if you can take down Master Hand, you'll have the fight won).
  • That One Level:
    • Stages:
      • Hanenbow, and not just in Tournament Play. The stage itself is only comprised of small platforms which tilt every which way when hit by the players or the Electroplankton bouncing around the arena, with no single "large" platform to stand on. It causes matches played on it to feel very cramped, which is frustrating in a highly mobile game like Smash.
      • Mario Bros. looks exactly like the level from the titular game. The only ways to get KO'd are either from the top or by getting launched into one of the narrow edges. The cramped stage and numerous Shellcreepers and Sidesteppers make it difficult to play on.
      • 75m could have potentially been a fun stage, being based on the third level of Donkey Kong. However, the stage is very large, very disjointed, has annoying springs that come out every so often, is comprised almost entirely out of tiny platforms, and has a very poor music track list. It later returned for the Wii U version of the fourth game, but it got an even worse design, as some platforms were shrunk down, making matches even more cramped.
      • Rumble Falls frustratingly speeds up at completely random times (though it does have the courtesy to warn you first), putting slower characters at a disadvantage as they have a hard time keeping up. Not helping Rumble Falls' case is the one-hit KO spike that appears partway through the stage, as it can easily KO a player who isn't watching out for it.
    • In All-Star Mode, the Pokémon portion is considered to be the hardest part. You have to face up against all three of Pokémon Trainer's Pokémon along with Pikachu, Jigglypuff, and Lucario. It doesn't help that one of the stages that can be chosen is Spear Pillar, which can very easily screw you over with the hazards summoned by Dialga or Palkia.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Mario moving his Mario Tornado move from down-B to down-air and receiving F.L.U.D.D. as a new down-B was heavily criticized by many fans. While many competitive Mario mains like it for giving Mario further edgeguard options, other fans dislike it for being much more situational than the Tornado (it's effectively useless on stages without regular ledges, which is a lot of them), making Mario lose a recovery option, and giving him a move based on a one-time gimmick in canon.
  • Uncanny Valley: The darker colors and shades used for the characters sometimes make them look rather strange, particularly in regards to characters like Toon Link, where the detail in his character model contrasts the cartoony nature. This is not helped by the fact characters don't emote as well as they should (Dedede and the aforementioned Toon Link had only a few faces with little variety). Later games in the series would increase the color vibrancy and updated character expressions to be more varied.
  • Vindicated by History: Brawl has been getting this reception over the years. While the game is still criticized for its poor balance and poor gameplay mechanics, there are several fans that praised it for the vast amount of content in the game, as the Wii U version of Smash 4 has been gaining criticism for its lack of content outside of multiplayer. Brawl would later on get vindicated for its content even further after Ultimate appeared and brought back a lot of the content that ended up highlighting even more of what Smash 4 lacked compared to both Brawl and Ultimate.
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