The Super Smash Bros. series started out as a mixture between a party game and pure Nintendo fan service. With traditional two player fighting games slowing waning in popularity during the 32-bit era, Nintendo decided to make a game that would break all of the rules. Games like Street Fighter II had codified the laws of the genre in the early ’90s. When Smash Bros. came along, it threw them all out of the window. Now you had a fighting game with four characters, who battled with a range of ridiculous weapons and weren’t afraid to spam ranged attacks. As the series went on, it managed to incorporate crisp technical gameplay, while still keeping the essence of what made it fun in the first place.
With so many different characters and franchises being represented, Smash Bros. may be the series that has the most secrets and lore. We are here today to take a closer look at the biggest video game crossover of all time. From the mysterious origins of the series to all of the illicit content that needed to be removed from the latest game.
Here are 15 Things You Never Knew About Super Smash Bros!
15. It Was Originally A Different Game Called Dragon Kings
When the original Super Smash Bros. was released for the Nintendo 64, Nintendo never expected it to take off in the way that it did. Super Smash Bros. was never intended to be more than just a fun game, that people weren’t supposed to take seriously. The inclusion of characters like Jigglypuff (over someone like Mewtwo, who made it into the next game) and Ness (as EarthBound had yet to accumulate its cult-like following) is proof that Nintendo didn’t take the roster seriously at the beginning.
This might have something to do with the fact that Smash Bros. was never intended to exist in the first place. The game that would become Super Smash Bros. was originally called Dragon King: The Fighting Game.
The creator of the Smash Bros. series is a man named Masahiro Sakurai. He was originally working on a multiplayer fighting game for the Nintendo 64 called Dragon King: The Fighting Game. He grew dissatisfied with the character designs in the game. as he felt they were too alike. Sakurai replaced the bland characters with ones from popular first party Nintendo titles. He showed the game to his superiors… and the rest is history.
Only a handful of screenshots exist of Dragon King: The Fighting Game and they all appear to be from an early point in development. Some design elements (like the percentage based knockback) were already included in the game.
14. The Final Smashes Almost Made It Into The First Game
Super Smash Bros. Brawl introduced a new kind of attack to the series. It was known as the Final Smash and it became the ultimate attack for most of the characters in the game. In order to use the Final Smash, the players had to wait for a floating orb that bears the Smash Bros. symbol to appear in the arena. The orb can take around 30% of damage before breaking. Whoever causes it to break gains the ability to fire off a single Final Smash against their opponents.
While the Final Smash debuted in Brawl, it was planned to appear as early as the first game in the series. There are several sound files within Super Smash Bros. that would later reappear as the noises used for Final Smash attacks in Brawl. These clips include Ness shouting “PK Starstorm!”, Captain Falcon calling for his Blue Falcon and Pikachu making the same noise that he would use for his Volt Tackle attack in Brawl.
13. Ditto Was Almost In Melee
The Pokémon franchise is one of the most well-represented series in the Smash Bros. games. As of the most current game, the Pokémon that are playable in Smash Bros. is Pikachu, Jigglypuff, Lucario, Mewtwo, Charizard and Greninja. The previous games also had Squirtle, Ivysaur and Pichu as characters.
As of Pokémon Sun & Moon, there are over 750 Pokémon in existence. It is therefore not feasible to include all of them into the Smash Bros. series. One way in which Pokémon have been included is through the Pokéball item. Ever since the first Smash Bros. game, the Pokéball item would summon a random Pokémon that would perform a unique attack. This has allowed for numerous Pokémon to appear in the Smash Bros. series without having to make them a full character.
In Smash Bros. Melee, Ditto was actually programmed into the game but is inaccessible during regular gameplay. Ditto will only come out of a Pokéball with the aid of a debug cheat, and won’t actually do anything but appear. He was originally planned to be able to copy a move of one of the characters in play. The developers couldn’t work out how to make Ditto’s effect actually activate without crashing the game, so he was cut late in development.
12. Master Hand Can Be Played In Melee
Master Hand is the enigmatic end boss of the original Super Smash Bros. game. In later instalments, he was joined by other equally bizarre antagonists like Crazy Hand, Tabuu and Master Core. Master Hand is a giant gloved hand that attacks with a range of weird moves. He can throw cards onto the stage that will rocket your character off the screen (if you don’t jump off them). He can swat you like a fly or flick you to death. Depending on the character you are playing, he can either be a pushover or the biggest challenge in the game.
A lot of early fighting games (like Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat) would make the end boss unplayable, before adding them to the roster in the sequel. The Smash Bros. series has managed to avoid this and has never made Master Hand playable… at least by legitimate means.
It is possible to play as Master Hand in Melee through the use of a glitch. By plugging the controller into the third player port and messing with the name selection icon, it is possible to force the game to start a match without you selecting a character. This forces the game to boot the character assigned to the third player slot… which is Master Hand.
11. One Hundred Hours Of Brawl
Just because a company makes the video games that you love, it doesn’t mean they won’t mess you around if they get the chance to.
In this current age of gaming, developers can reward players for difficult tasks through built-in achievement systems. Things like the Trophy system used in PlayStation games can give players a reason for completing the most annoying parts of a video game. In the old days, developers included them just to fulfil their sick desires. The Final Fantasy series used to include powerful boss monsters (like Emerald Weapon and Shinryu), who would give you a crappy reward for killing them. If you got the highest rank in Blast Corps for the Nintendo 64 (which was no small feat), then you got an award that says “You can stop now”.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl has one of the most annoying challenges in video game history. In order to unlock one of the trophies in the game, you needed to play 100 hours of Brawl. Just to be clear, this doesn’t mean you can leave the game on for five days. Only time spent in battle counts towards the total!
So what is the trophy that you unlock after 1oo hours of pain? It must be something amazing if Nintendo made it so hard to unlock. Is it Missingno? Shigeru Miyamoto spitting on a PlayStation? A scantily-clad Princess Peach?
No, it is Ashley Robbins, the main character from an obscure Nintendo DS game called Another Code: Two Memories. Here is what the trophy looks like (if you don’t have 100 hours to spare).
10. The Lost Brawl Characters
As the Smash Bros. series grew in popularity, the pressure to release the games on time became stronger. A new Smash Bros. game will not only be a big seller, it will also increase sales for the console that it’s on. Even a particularly exciting new character can increase sales, as was the case when Cloud was announced for Smash Bros. for 3DS/Wii U.
With the deadline always looming in the distance, it is only natural that things get cut from a game that is still in development. When it comes to a Smash Bros. game, this usually means that a character will have to be cut. This was certainly the case with Brawl, as fans have discovered data pertaining to several characters that were planned for the game, but never made it in.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl contains information about characters from previous games that were slated to return, as well as brand new characters that have yet to see the light of day. These include Roy, Dr. Mario and Mewtwo (who had previously appeared in Melee), Toon versions of Princess Zelda & Sheik, Dixie Kong and Plusle & Minun from Pokémon. It is speculated that these last two characters may have been a clone version of the Ice Climbers, as they are usually portrayed as being together.
9. The Dr. Mario Stage Boss
Super Smash Bros. for 3DS/Wii U introduced Stage Bosses to the series. These were new opponents that appeared in certain levels, that would attack all players on the field. The Stage Bosses are the Yellow Devil (from Mega Man), the Dark Emperor (from Find Mii), Metal Face (from Xenoblade Chronicles) and Ridley (from Metroid).
The Stage Bosses are all huge monsters that dwarf the playable characters. They possess unique attacks and cannot be thrown off the stage. In order to defeat a Stage Boss, you need to take their health down to zero (like a traditional fighting game boss). Usually, this grants the player some sort of bonus (like an extra point, if you aren’t using stocks).
There was another Stage Boss that was planned for the Smash Bros. for 3DS/Wii U. Fans have gone through the data of the game and discovered evidence for a scrapped Dr. Mario stage. There exists character art for the Virus monsters from Dr. Mario. This art is placed among the other Stage Bosses, suggesting that the players would have battled the Viruses at one point.
8. Giga Bowser Can Be Played In Melee (With A Cheating Device)
To those who have played the latest games in the Smash Bros. series, you might have encountered Giga Bowser. This is the giant form that Bowser transforms into when he uses his Final Smash. In this new form, Bowser becomes a lot stronger and gains a much longer reach. While not invulnerable in this form, he cannot be pushed backwards. Giga Bowser isn’t as good as some of the other transforming Final Smash attacks (like Super Sonic), but he at least looks impressive.
Giga Bowser first appeared as a boss monster in Melee. As the Final Smash did not debut until the next game, the only way to encounter Giga Bowser was by completing the Adventure Mode on the normal or hard difficulty in under 18 minutes.
Like the Master Hand example above, it is possible to play as Giga Bowser in Melee with the aid of cheating devices. By accessing the debug mode, you can play as a fully functional version of Giga Bowser in regular matches.
7. Fire Emblem Only Came To The West Because Of Smash Bros.
In 2012, Fire Emblem Awakening was released for the Nintendo 3DS. This game was a massive critical and commercial success. It soon became one of the “must-have” games for the system. Before Awakening, the Fire Emblem series was on its last legs. Nintendo had been considering shelving the series, due to the low global sales of previous titles in the series. The success of Awakening led to the release of three new Fire Emblem games on the 3DS, a crossover with the popular Shin Megami Tensei series on the Wii U, and Fire Emblem becoming one of the most well-represented series in Smash Bros.
Fire Emblem owes a lot of its success to the Smash Bros. series, as it would never have left Japan without it.
Super Smash Bros. Melee introduced Marth and Roy to the series. These characters were representatives from the Fire Emblem series. At one point, it was suggested that they would be edited out of the English version of Melee, as they were from a series that had never left Japan. The popularity of these characters among playtesters led to them remaining in the game. Marth and Roy became popular with the fans and caused a surge of interest in Fire Emblem in the West. Nintendo took note of this and began localising the Fire Emblem games in America.
6. Sakurai Yelled At The Fans For Complaining About Clones
The Smash Bros. fanbase is made up of some of the most passionate and dedicated fans of any video game franchise. Smash Bros. represents the childhood fantasies of many gamers. If you grew up in the ’90s, then you could only dream of a fighting game where Mario could fight Sonic or Ryu from Street Fighter could take on Pac-Man in battle. With so many different video game franchises being represented, Smash Bros. has the unique ability to appeal to a wide variety of gamers across several generations of players.
With all that being said, it cannot be easy to be the creator of the Smash Bros. series. This job has fallen upon the shoulders of Masahiro Sakurai. He has directed every game in the series and he holds a great deal of creative control. Despite this, Sakurai still has to take orders from Nintendo and must include characters that he may not want in the game (like Corrin). He also has to take abuse from fans for not including their favourite characters.
The biggest issue that fans have with Sakurai is the inclusion of clone characters. These are characters that are essentially slightly changed versions of established characters. Examples include Dr. Mario (Mario), Dark Pit (Pit) and Lucina (Marth). Most fans would rather have one new character in place of several clones.
Masahiro Sakurai actually responded to this criticism in his column for Famitsu magazine. He said that fans should be grateful for the clone characters, as they are free gifts from the developer. He also said that the ones who complain are acting like children.
5. Smash Bros. Spoiled Metal Gear Solid 4
Hideo Kojima is the creator of the Metal Gear Solid franchise. He also happens to be a huge fan of the Smash Bros. series. Kojima actually wanted Solid Snake to appear in Melee, but it was too late in development for him to be included. Snake would later appear as a playable character in Brawl.
Snake’s inclusion in the game was unusual, due to the fact that most of the well-known Metal Gear Solid games were PlayStation exclusives (at the time). The Metal Gear Solid games also carried adult age ratings. Despite this, Snake became a popular character in Brawl and fans were disappointed that he did not return for the later Smash Bros. games.
When Snake appeared in Brawl, he had his own stage based off of the front of the Shadow Moses Island base from Metal Gear Solid. What most fans didn’t realise at the time was that this level was full of spoilers for the upcoming Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. The Brawl version of the Shadow Moses Island base can break open, revealing Metal Gear Rex battling a series of Gekko robots. Not only was this the first on-screen appearance of the Gekko (who would have a major role in Metal Gear Solid 4), but it spoilt the fact that you would return to Shadow Moses Island and use the Metal Gear Rex to escape from the base.
4. Death To The Transformers
The latest Smash Bros. games for the Nintendo 3DS/Wii U are some of the most technically impressive in the series to date. The games have the biggest roster of characters in the entire series. The Wii U version has incredible HD graphics, while the 3DS version allows you to play the game online whilst travelling.
Despite the technical advancements that the series has achieved, the latest Smash Bros. games had to drop a major feature in order to be playable on newer systems – the transforming characters.
In the previous Smash Bros. games, some of the characters could change into entirely new ones. Princess Zelda could transform into Sheik at any time (and vice versa). The Pokémon Trainer could switch between three characters at any time. Samus would become Zero Suit Samus after using her Final Smash (and vice versa).
Sakurai wanted to make sure that the 3DS version of the game would run smoothly with the full 3D effect activated. One of the biggest drains on the hardware was having to load an entirely new character. It is for this reason that the Pokémon Trainer was scrapped (with only Charizard remaining). Princess Zelda & Sheik and Samus & Zero Suit Samus were made into separate characters.
3. Mewtwo’s Voice
The one thing that all Pokémon fans know is that a Pokémon can only say its own name. There are a few exceptions to this of course, like Team Rocket’s Meowth. There was also a Gastly that could talk, in the “Ghost of Maiden’s Peak” episode.
Mewtwo is another Pokémon who can talk, although he does this through the use of telepathy. In the original Pokémon movie, Mewtwo never shuts up! He spends almost the whole runtime complaining about the meaningless of life and how humans suck at everything.
In Super Smash Bros. Melee and the latest Smash Bros. games for the 3DS/Wii U, Mewtwo is a playable character. In the English version of the game, he speaks exclusively in grunts and noises. In the Japanese versions of the game, he actually talks. He will speak during his victory poses and taunts. It is unknown why this was left out of the International versions of the game.
2. The Characters That Never Made It
While many characters were planned for Brawl that had to be scrapped early on in development, some characters never even made it past the drawing board.
Now that the Smash Bros. series has become one of Nintendo’s biggest properties, it has opened the door for many different characters to join the fray. With that being said, there are some characters that were suggested but were ultimately declined. James Bond was planned to appear in the original Smash Bros. game, due to the popularity of Goldeneye 007 at the time. One of the big problems that killed this was having to get the likeness rights of Pierce Brosnan, as well as Bond not being able to use guns (a restriction that also applied to Snake in Brawl). Banjo and Kazooie were considered at one point, yet did not make it in due to rights issues with Rare. Ayumi Tachibana, the main character of an obscure Famicom game called Famicom Tantei Club was considered, but she was declined due to her game being unknown outside of Japan. While the Ice Climbers (and later, the Duck Hunt Duo) would act as representatives of the NES era, the Balloon Fighter (of Balloon Fight) was also considered for inclusion. When it comes to the more recent games, Sakurai said that he has wanted to include Geno from the Super Mario RPG since Brawl. Geno fans will have to make do with his Mii costume for now.
1. Leaking The Sexy Trophies
The latest Smash Bros. titles allowed for Nintendo to make full use of social media in order to hype the games. Every time a new character was announced (via a gorgeous trailer), it would flood the news feed of every gaming website on the planet. Even the mainstream media took note when it was a big reveal (like when Cloud was shown for the first time). It is because of this kind of promotion that Nintendo began to tighten security on the project. They wanted to maximize the exposure of their character reveals.
On August 19th, 2014, a massive leak of Smash Bros. information began to appear on 4chan. Lots of images and video clips containing new information about the game were leaked. This new information revealed the existence of Shulk, Bowser Jr., and the Duck Hunt Duo in the game, long before they were officially announced.
It was soon discovered that this leak came from someone within the ESRB (the video game rating board). Whoever the leaker was, they wanted the world to see some of the illicit material that was removed from the game. The leak included screenshots of numerous trophies that depicted scantily clad females. One of these trophies did not make it into the final version of the game. The character of Tharja from Fire Emblem Awakening had her trophy removed from the game, due to her outfit being too revealing. Tharja wears a mixture of a bikini and a see-through robe in Fire Emblem. Despite Zero Suit Samus also wearing a very short outfit as one of her alternate costumes, it was decided that Tharja was just too much for the eyes of the poor fighting game community.