Super Smash Bros. Brawl features a never-before-seen roster size of 35 characters, including some that you would have least expected to see show up. Join us for a brief look at each of the characters and find out about some of the ones that didn't make the cut. Make sure to skip the two Secret Characters pages if you don't want to see spoilers!
Here are a couple definitions to keep in mind during the character discussions: Weight directly affects how easy it is to be KO'd (the heavier you are, the more damage you can take), and a third jump is an up special that can be used after your jump and double jump for some extra lift. Charged attacks are special moves, like Mario's F.L.U.D.D., that you need to charge up over time to really be effective, and a character's strength directly affects their ability to KO their enemies. Finally, please note that this is meant to be a primer for beginners and intermediate players, and is by no means a comprehensive guide. Visit our Super Smash Bros. Brawl forum or our sister site GameFAQs for more in-depth character analysis.
Strengths: Most balanced character
Weaknesses: Doesn't stand out in any category
F.L.U.D.D.: No longer a D.U.D.D.
Nintendo's mascot character Mario is back for his third foray in the world of Smash Bros. He sets the standard as the most balanced character in the game, but while he doesn't excel in any particular area, he has an attack for every situation. The most noticeable change to his arsenal is his new down special, F.L.U.D.D., which comes from Super Mario Sunshine. F.L.U.D.D. is a charged attack that deals absolutely no damage, but comes with a heavy knockback if it connects. Use it to knock your foes straight off an edge!
Strengths: Huge double jump (highest in the game)
Weaknesses: Doesn't exactly have a third jump
Fun fact: Yoshi in English means "Yes!"
Yoshi still has the highest double jump in the game, and this is still countered by his lack of a true third jump. This time around, though, his up special actually does sort of function as a third jump by slowing his rate of fall and moving him a bit horizontally, and it can be used like this twice for that extra recovery range. His Egg Lay special is as embarrassing as ever--and as dangerous as ever near an edge. Finally, watch out when using his side special, as it's easy to roll off a cliff.
Strengths: Can float with her double jump
Weaknesses: Some of her moves are unpredictable
Weight: None of your business!
As in Super Mario Bros. 2, Peach is able to float during her jumps, which when combined with her parasol glide can make recovering from a seemingly fatal knockout a cinch. She also never leaves home without Toad, whom she can magically produce on demand and who is always ready to take a bullet for her. Perhaps her greatest weakness is her unpredictability. Her side smash randomly retrieves one of the sports instruments she's used over the years--each of which produces a different type of hit--and when she pulls out a vegetable to toss, she'll
occasionally find a dangerous bob-omb!
Strengths: Heaviest contender
Weaknesses: Slow; huge size means he's easy to hit; no projectile attack
Most played by: Dennis Hopper
King Bowser is the biggest, heaviest competitor, which makes him the most difficult one to knock out. Unfortunately, he pays for this, as usual, in the speed category. His fire breath will stun anyone caught in its path, but it loses effectiveness over time and leaves him open from behind. His down special is powerful and great for clearing a group, but it's easy to dodge and leaves him stunned for a moment upon landing. His nastiest move, however, is his side special, the Flying Slam. Watch out for
it in a stock match, because he can take you off an edge with him for the win!
Strengths: Powerful stench overwhelms enemies
Weaknesses: Slow; if used incorrectly his specials will stun him; no projectile attack
Tip: Don't use Wario's gas attack against girls unless you're already going out with them
Mario's bizarro-world clone Wario has entered the battle and brings with him his amazing power of flatulence. His down special, the Wario Waft, is a fart joke in and of itself; over time, Wario will automatically charge this special and your patience will be rewarded by an explosive release that deals huge damage to anyone around him. But if you use it without a charge, it doesn't do much besides leave you wide open with an embarrassing grin. Likewise,
if you lose your motorcycle and try to pull another one out too soon, Wario will be stunned momentarily while he looks around for his ride.
Strengths: Very strong; heavy
Weaknesses: Easy to hit because of his size; slow to jump; no projectile attack
Tie: But no pants...
The king of the jungle returns and is more powerful than ever. Donkey Kong is not only much faster than he used to be, but his Giant Punch special takes much less time to fully charge (it's also super powerful, so keep one ready at all times). His down special is great when multiple enemies are around, as it hits on all sides and tears through shields as if they were paper. Pretty much all of DK's smash attacks are deadly, and of course, he can still lift his opponents with ease and carry them to an edge
for a good toss!
Strengths: Fast; banana peels are very useful
Weaknesses: Not too strong; very light; Peanut Popgun special can backfire
Bonus: One of the most embarrassing characters to lose to
Donkey Kong's lil' buddy Diddy has entered the fray and augments his low strength with some intriguing jungle technology. His down special, which causes him to casually toss a banana peel behind him, is perhaps his most useful, strategic attack. Up to two peels can be active at once, and any enemies that walk over one will slip and fall, leaving them wide open for attack. These peels don't affect you, and can also be picked up (even midrun!) and tossed for repositioning or damage.
Favorite saying: Eggs.
Or, as the Super Mario Bros. 2 instruction booklet says, "He thinks he is a girl and spits eggs from his mouth." While it's true that in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, he'll show up in the Mushroom Kingdom stage and spit some eggs here and there, we can't wait for the day Birdo steps onto the main stage and wins glory for transgendered egg-spitting dinosaurs everywhere.
Strengths: Balanced, all-around contender
Weakness: Doesn't really stand out in any area
The hero of Hyrule comes back with an updated look, courtesy of Twilight Princess. The most obvious change is that he now has the Gale Boomerang side special, which pushes enemies backward on hit, or pulls them into Link if they're caught in the return. Link's also got the Hero's Bow for a powerful ranged attack and bombs that explode on contact. And on top of that, when he's standing idle or ducking, his shield will block most projectile attacks. Don't forget about his Clawshot, which allows for both a ranged throw and a way to recover
from being knocked off an edge!
Strengths: Two forms to use depending on the situation
Weaknesses: Light (as Zelda); very light (as Sheik); transformation leaves you open
Most played by: Your girlfriend
The dual-natured princess of Hyrule returns! Zelda has the ability to shift between two forms, each of which has a unique moveset and is best suited to different situations. When playing as Zelda, her special move, Nayru's Love, deals damage to anyone around her and deflects projectiles. Her side special, Din's Fire, is a ranged attack that can be controlled in flight and explodes when you release the B button. As Sheik, you gain a significant
speed boost and a hard-to-spot projectile attack, but be warned: Your transformation is very obvious
and leaves you vulnerable.
Strengths: Can fly and glide
Weaknesses: Light; annoying
Nemesis: The sun
Kid Icarus himself, Pit joins the battle in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. He's arguably as maneuverable in the air as Meta Knight, and has the powerful Sacred Bow of Palutena to launch very fast, chargeable, controllable arrows. Both his down special and side special reflect projectile attacks, but the side special (the Angel Ring) is also a fast and powerful attack that can be spammed. Pit is a good all-around character and his ability to fly is very useful, but perhaps his biggest downside is that he's annoying. Seriously, what's with that voice?
Strengths: Two is better than one
Weaknesses: Nana can wander off or get separated, halving (and then some) your effectiveness.
What they want: Vegetables, revenge
Popo and Nana, the Ice Climbers, are back again. Keeping them together is absolutely crucial, because you lose half your attack power and your up special, Belay, becomes useless as a third jump if the two get separated. Your special move throws a chunk of ice (two with Nana at your side) that slides a long range and can be done repeatedly. Their down special can freeze an enemy at close range, and with both Ice Climbers together, both directions are covered. Remember, keeping Nana by your side is critical, because without her, it's basically game over!
Strengths: Small size makes him hard to hit
Weaknesses: Requires tons of micromanagement; very difficult to play; absolutely relies on his Pikmin
If you don't know him: You should
The diminutive Captain Olimar is quite possibly the most difficult character to play. Like the Ice Climbers, Olimar shares a symbiotic relationship with his partners, the Pikmin, and absolutely relies on them at all times. Each color Pikmin has different properties, and it's important to know which one is next (you can tell by the order they follow you in). His down special recalls any deployed Pikmin and can also be used to reorder them, and his side special tosses one of your brave soldiers, each of which will behave differently
based on their color. Make copious use of his up special, which can be a great finisher!
Strengths: Very, very strong
Weaknesses: Very, very light
If you don't know him: We don't blame you
Lucas, the psychic boy from the unreleased-in-the-US Mother 3 (Earthbound 2) joins the Brawl. His PK Magnet down special absorbs projectiles fired at him and gives him health while dealing damage to anyone in range, and his PK Freeze special will freeze an enemy in place. His up special, PK Thunder, is directed manually but can also be sent back to hit Lucas, propelling him in the opposite direction for an attack or to recover from a knockout. His smash attacks are almost all universally deadly and have huge hit radii, making him a tough competitor!
Strengths: One of the fastest characters
Other animals considered for lead in original Star Fox: Star Sparrow, Star Hawk, and Star Sheep
The original space animal, Fox McCloud, is back. Though you will most likely remember him as the leader of Team Star Fox, Fox is also a returning combatant that has always been a formidable foe. He is as fast as ever, and his Blaster special can still be fired rapidly and spammed. His attacks are still fierce, his down special, Reflector, deflects projectiles, and his side special, the Fox Illusion, is a potent ranged attack. Overall, Fox is a strong contender and is easy to jump into for beginners and veterans alike.
Strengths: His sterling suit of armor
Weaknesses: Tends to fall apart under pressure
Boxers or briefs: Boxers!
But with his obvious upsides come equally apparent downsides. Or rather, backsides. You see, if anyone so much as touches Arthur, his clothes practically fly off. That's awkward. And even worse, if you hit his nakedness, he dies and decomposes on the ground in front of you. Congratulations, you just hit a naked person and killed him. No, thank you.
Strengths: Flies; very fast attacks
Weaknesses: Very light; hard to knock out enemies straight up; no projectile attack
Hungry: Like a hippo!
The Super Smash Bros. Brawl version of Dreamland's friendliest pink puffball is nearly the same as he was in Melee. His most powerful attacks are his side special, the Hammer, and his down special, the Stone--be careful about recklessly stoning people, as you're open to attack for a brief time after reverting. Kirby's signature move is his Inhale, whereby he eats enemies to absorb their special moves. Kirby's appearance also changes to mimic the victim. He has a different, ridiculous look for each character, and
discovering them all can be a fun game in and of itself!
Strengths: Flies; very fast attacks
Weaknesses: Very light; hard to knock out enemies straight up; no projectile attack
Surprise: He's not evil, just misunderstood
Meta Knight is Kirby's nemesis of sorts, but he seems like a decent enough guy once you get to know him. He is the master of the air, and is most dangerous when in his element. His wings allow him to fly and glide much like Pit, and his side special, the Drill Rush, sends him out a good distance, the direction of which can be controlled (it can be used in the air, too). His down special is a teleport in the direction you specify that can be used to dodge attacks, and if you hold the B button down
Meta Knight will follow up with a counterattack.
Strengths: Very strong; has an army of minions he can summon at will; heavy
Weaknesses: Very slow; his most powerful attacks leave him open
Most played by: Carlos Mencia
King Dedede isn't so much evil as he is a huge jerk. Not only does he cheat by mechanizing his mallet (it has a jet engine in it!), but he's ready and willing to sacrifice his loyal Waddle Dees and Waddle Doos for his own glory. He can toss up to two minions at a time, some of which will wander around and attack on their own. His Inhale special is great for throwing an enemy off an edge. His strongest hit is the down special, which must be charged over
time but delivers one of the deadliest blows in the entire game.
Strengths: Very strong; huge range; heavy
Weaknesses: Slow; low jump; no projectile attack
Less heroic name than Ike: Possibly Todd
Ike is one of the strongest and heaviest characters in the game, but pays for it with his low jump height and slow speed. He has two charge moves (his special and his side special) that can deal incredible damage but leave him open during the charge-up. His down special is a counter that, if timed properly, stops nearly any attack in its tracks and delivers a potentially lethal counterattack. If you can adjust to his speed, Ike is one of the most deadly characters in the game, as nearly all of his smash attacks can be fatal.
Strengths: Very powerful in the air (as Samus); very fast with a high jump (as Zero Suit Samus)
Weaknesses: Has no moves that launch up (as Samus); very light (as Zero Suit Samus)
Irony: The Zero Suit is not not a suit
Samus is highly maneuverable and skilled in the air, and her power suit is equipped with a variety of weapons. Her Charge Shot special isn't quite as powerful as it was in the past, but it still packs a punch, and her two missile types have a higher firing rate than before. Be sure to slow her descent by dropping bombs to gain a bit more reach with her jumps! When she fires her Zero Laser final smash, she loses her suit and is forced to fight as Zero
Suit Samus, who is much faster but more vulnerable to attack. Zero Suit Samus has a
Paralyzer stun gun that doubles as a plasma whip (the tip is the most dangerous part of it). Samus
can use her whip to pull enemies in closer, or use it to latch onto an edge to help recover from a knockout.
Strengths: Fast; tiny (and difficult to hit)
Weaknesses: Very light; vocabulary doesn't extend beyond his own name
Most Played By: Jerks
The quintessential Pokémon is very tiny and thus hard to hit. Combine that with great speed and powerful attacks, and you have a worthy opponent. His Skull Bash side special is a great finisher, but it can also be used to recover from a possible knock-off. His most powerful attack is his Thunder down special which calls lightning down toward him, hitting anyone in its path and dealing huge damage to anyone near him when it connects. For maximum efficiency, make sure you use it when there isn't a platform
above you to stop the lighting from striking true!
Strengths: Three separate Pokémon at your command to swap between depending on the situation
Weaknesses: One of the most difficult characters to control
Most played by: Michael Vick
The Pokémon Trainer himself doesn't actually fight--he sits back and lets his three Pokémon to battle for him. All three Pokémon share the same health bar, and will over time grow fatigued, forcing you to swap them out using his down special (his swap order is static: Squirtle to Ivysaur to Charizard). Squirtle is fast and has a water attack similar to Mario's F.L.U.D.D.; Ivysaur has some great ranged attacks; and Charizard is slow but heavy and very strong. The trick to playing as the Pokémon Trainer is
knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each of your Pokémon to create the best matchups for any given situation. With the proper practice, Pokémon Trainer is easily the most versatile character in the game.
Weaknesses: Sorry, what?
Hobbies: Naked piracy!
The questions raised were profound and far-reaching. Would Birthday Suit Samus be art? Would this exploit Samus, or empower her? Can getting exploited be a form of power? Would Super Smash Bros. still be family friendly? Everyone likes birthdays, don't they? Alas, these questions will have to go unanswered until at least the next Super Smash Bros. game, as all this was the product of certain developers not realizing the Zero Suit is the skimpy blue leotard Samus wears while doing a victory lap after saving the universe. At least, that's what we heard from our incredibly credible sources.
Strengths: High jump; fast speed
Weaknesses: Low weight; Green Missile can misfire
More weaknesses: He's Luigi
The man in green plays very much like Mario, but with some noticeable differences. He's faster and has a higher jump, but is lighter and thus more easily knocked out. His uppercut, when it connects low and on the ground, is incredibly powerful, but you're highly vulnerable for a moment after landing because he trips. His Green Missile side special can be charged to become incredibly powerful, but roughly one-eighth of the time it will misfire and take off explosively, making it dangerous and unpredictable. Nevertheless, when used with care, Luigi can be a fun and powerful contender.
Strengths: Good reach; quick attacks
Weaknesses: Light; no projectile attack
Worst name: Ever?
Marth is one of the easier characters to learn, but mastering him requires a lot of time and effort. His side-B special, Dancing Blade, is a combo attack that changes depending on what directions you tilt the control stick in and when, and is one of the most versatile attacks in the game. His down special blocks an attack and follows up with a powerful counterattack, but must be timed just right or else it leaves him open. Be sure to keep your distance from opponents, because the very tip of his sword deals the most damage.
Strengths: Has some of the most powerful attacks in the game
Weakness: Difficult to play
Favorite Smash Bros. Character: Pikachu
The original psychic master, Ness from Earthbound is back for round three. Ness has some of the most powerful attacks in the game, hands down. His side smash, PK Flash special, and his PK Thunder up special attacks are all extremely potent but can be difficult to land because of their charge-up time. His PK Magnet covers him on both sides, and his PK Fire arcs down and hits multiple times with a stun. While Lucas relies on his brute strength, Ness is better at building up damage with combos and then cleaning up with a powerful finisher.
Strengths: Powerful smash attacks; can fly
Weaknesses: Attacks require precision; specials need to be charged over time
Fun fact: R.O.B. was really a Nintendo Entertainment System disguised as a robot toy to fool retailers who didn't want to stock video games.
The Robotic Operating Buddy makes his triumphant return in Brawl! R.O.B. has some incredibly strong attacks that require a high degree of precision to connect. He might not be for beginners, but he's well worth learning. His optic blast special and his up special booster jets are both extremely useful, but they must be charged in order to activate (they automatically charge between uses).
On top of that, his side special can reflect projectiles and hit multiple times, and his down
special can be charged to fire one of his gyro discs. All in all, R.O.B. is a powerful but
difficult character to master.
Strengths: Heavier than Fox; much higher jump than Fox
Weakness: Slower and not quite as strong as Fox
More weaknesses: He can't fly?!
Falco is normally Fox's wingman, and he plays virtually identical to Fox with a few notable differences. Falco is not quite as strong as Fox, nor is he as fast, but he makes up for this by being a bit heavier, and thus harder to knock out. His Blaster special has an infinite range and produces a slight stun effect on hit, and his down special Reflector not only deflects projectiles, but also works as a short-range attack with knockback. Lastly, his final smash Landmaster is slow and unwieldy on the ground, but it is fast and maneuverable in the air.
Strengths: One of the fastest characters; very strong; has a high jump
Weaknesses: Light, Falcon Punch leaves him wide open, no projectile attack
He brakes for: No one
The pilot of the Blue Falcon returns to show you his moves! Captain Falcon is very similar to Ganondorf moveset-wise, but trades off a tad of the Garudo chieftain's raw strength and heavy weight for a huge boost in the speed category and a high jump. His most famous attack, the Falcon Punch, leaves him vulnerable to attack during the windup but delivers a devastating and often fatal blow to anyone caught in its path. If he has to,
Captain Falcon can even reverse directions during the charge-up to deliver a more powerful version behind him.
Strength: Grows more powerful as he takes damage
Weakness: Difficult to play because he's not as useful until he's almost knocked out.
Proves the saying: No pain, no gain.
Lucario's greatest strength is also his greatest weakness. This Aura Pokémon will actually gain strength as he takes more damage, and consequently you may find yourself actually wanting to take some pain to boost your offensive capability. But you may dig yourself an early grave if you can't find that perfect balance between damage and power. Lucario's Aura Sphere special can be devastating when fully charged, and his down special is a counter that teleports you out of harm's way when timed correctly. Ultimately, mastering Lucario requires skill, time, and patience, but if you can do it you'll have a unique and powerful
character in your arsenal.
Strengths: Putting the pain in painting
Weaknesses: Fleas, Frisbees
Okami's estimated marketing budget: Seventy-five cents (and some gum)
Amaterasu is the sun god come to Earth in the form of a she-wolf to defeat the diabolical scheme of a black dragon. She's fast, nimble, and awesome looking, but most importantly, she can paint over reality itself with a celestial brush. Or, to put it in editing terms, her tail is a like a big red pen, and if you piss her off, she can edit you out of the script. There's just one little problem: She hasn't actually been in a Nintendo game yet. That will change, however, this coming April 15, when Okami ships for the Wii. Hopefully on that day Amaterasu will cement her place in history as one of Nintendo's greatest heroes and grab herself a spot on the roster of a future Super Smash title.
Strengths: Has the most powerful noncharged attack in the entire game; floats
Weaknesses: No third jump; her Rest attack is difficult to land and puts her to sleep; one of the lightest characters in the game; no projectile attack
Most played by: Insomniacs
Jigglypuff is one weird Pokémon. Her down special, Rest, is the most powerful noncharged attack in the entire game and if it doesn't KO when it hits, it gives everyone it hits the Flower status effect, which deals damage over time. She's a tough character to control, though. Not only does Rest put her to sleep for a couple of seconds, but she's one of the lightest characters in the game and has no third
jump or projectile attacks. Her up special, Sing, will put nearby enemies to sleep (the
more damaged they are, the longer they sleep), so try to combo this with Rest!
Strengths: Stronger smash attacks than Link; harder to hit; cel-shaded
Weaknesses: Shorter range on attacks and Clawshot
Looks good: On Paper
The hero of winds makes a surprise appearance in the latest Smash Bros. game. The smaller, cel-shaded version of Link plays very similarly to his older alter-ego, but there are some noticeable differences between the two. Toon Link has a much smaller attack range than his big bro, but he makes up for it with some more-powerful smashes and a smaller frame that's more difficult to hit. His bombs are identical (except they're cel-shaded, too), but his boomerang is just the regular, nonmagical kind,
and his arrows are also much slower. Check out his airborne down smash, which falls
much faster than regular Link's and can bounce like a pogo stick to hit multiple targets!
Strengths: Very strong and heavy
Weaknesses: Very slow; has a weak jump; no projectile attack
Especially fun to beat with: Pikachu
You can't have a party in Hyrule without its most evil sorcerer. Ganondorf's incredible strength and heavy weight make him a powerful combatant, but a skilled opponent can take advantage of his weak jump and slow speed. His special attack, the Warlock Punch, is devastating if it connects, but he's left wide open during the charge-up. For an even more powerful version, tilt the control stick in the opposite direction to punch behind you. If you find yourself out of jumps and just out of reach of land, try his side special for that extra boost!
Strengths: Strong; can absorb projectiles and turn them back with his Oil Panic down special.
Weaknesses: His Hammer effects are random; must absorb three projectiles to charge Oil Panic
Most played by: Really old people
Easily the most bizarre character in the entire game--possibly in any game--Mr. Game & Watch makes his return in Super Smash Bros. Melee. His side special, Hammer, has entirely random effects, ranging from fire to electricity to an almost instant KO. He also has a Sausage Toss special (seriously, he tosses cooked sausages) which is great for keeping enemies away. His strangest move is his down special, which catches projectiles in a bucket; when he gets to three, he throws out a bucket of oil that damages depending on the power of the attacks absorbed!
Strengths: Stronger than Fox
Weaknesses: Lower, slower jump than Fox and Falco
What: No Slippy?
Wolf O'Donnell is Fox's archenemy and the captain of Team Star Wolf. Like Falco, he has a similar moveset to Fox, but ultimately has his own play style. He is stronger than Fox and heavier than Falco, but has the worst jump of the bunch. His Blaster special has even less range than Fox's, but the gun itself has a dagger on it that knocks back anyone close enough. His down special Reflector inflicts damage up close and deflects projectiles that come from either side, his side special always travels at a slight angle upward, and his final smash Landmaster is the fastest of the three and has the most powerful gun.
Strengths: Very strong, heavy
Weaknesses: Steep learning curve
Mullet: Ready for action!
Solid Snake has one of the most unique play styles in the entire game, and he's consequently very tough to learn. But once you master him, you'll be using one of the most versatile contenders in the game. His down smash plants a landmine (only one can be in play at any given time) that anyone can detonate if opponents venture too close. His down special attack drops C4 (again, one at a time) that you manually set off. Use these two moves to set up some powerful attacks and then guide your opponents into them with your side special,
the remote-controlled Nikita, or your grenades!
Strengths: The fastest character in the entire game
Weaknesses: Hard to KO anyone; light
Other weaknesses: Have you played his games lately?
Sonic the Hedgehog is by far the fastest character in the game, and he's literally able to dance around his opponents while racking up damage. Most of his specials or smash attacks are variations on his classic Spin Dash move, and despite his light weight, he has great moves to help him recover from the brink of death. His greatest problem, however, is that it's very difficult to produce a KO because only a couple of his attacks have enough power to finish opponents. But if you favor a speedy character, then you need look no further than Sonic the Hedgehog.
That's right, Nintendo gave the keys to their best franchise...to Philips. That's like loaning your Ferrari Enzo to a shady games executive. Of course they wrecked it, turning one of the most recognizable and important video game characters into the moronic star of three terrible games. And that's why CD-i Link would have been an awesome addition to Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Nothing in the history of video games would approach the sadistic glory of beating a Zelda fanboy with his hero's shameful past.