Super Smash Bros. Advanced, known in Japan as Nintendo All Star! Dairantō Smash Brothers Advanced, is a fighting game developed by HAL Laboratory and published by Nintendo for the Game Boy Advance.
The Super Smash Bros. series is a dramatic departure from many fighting games. Instead of winning by depleting an opponent's life bar, Smash Bros players seek to knock opposing characters off the stage. In Super Smash Bros., characters have a damage total, represented by a percentage value, which rises as they take damage and can exceed 100%, but can only reach 999% of a maximum damage a character can take. As a character's percentage rises, the character can be knocked progressively farther by an opponent's attacks. To KO an opponent, the player must send that character flying off the edge of the stage, which is not an enclosed arena but rather an area with open boundaries, usually a set of suspended platforms. When a character is knocked off the stage, the character may use jumping moves in an attempt to return; as some characters' jumps are longer-ranged, they may have an easier time "recovering" than others. Additionally, some characters are heavier than others, making it harder for an opponent to knock them off the edge but likewise harder to recover.
Each character possesses distinctive moves (such as Mario's fireball) as well as various weapons and power-ups which can be used in each stage. These items appear randomly in the form of beam swords, baseball bats, fans, turtle shells, and hammers, among others.
Super Smash Bros.'s play controls are greatly simplified in comparison to other fighting games. While traditional fighting games such as Street Fighter or Tekken require the player to memorize button-input combinations (sometimes lengthy and complicated, and often specific to a character), Smash Bros uses the same one-attack-button, one-control-stick-direction combinations to access all moves for all characters. Characters are not limited to constantly facing their opponent, but may run around freely. The game focuses much more aerial and platforming skills than other fighting games, with larger stages as well, most of which are not just a flat platform. Each stage offers different game play and strategic motives than the others, making the arena a much more significant factor in the fight than other games. Smash Bros. also implements blocking and dodging mechanics. Grabbing and throwing other characters are also possible, allowing for a large variety of ways to attack.
During battles, items related to Nintendo games or merchandise fall onto the game field. These items have purposes ranging from inflicting damage on the opponent to restoring health to the player. Additionally, most stages have a theme relating to a Nintendo franchise or a specific Nintendo game and are interactive to the player. Although the stages are rendered in three dimensions, players can only move on a two-dimensional plane. Not all stages are available immediately; one stage must be "unlocked" by achieving eight particular requirements.
Although the player can choose from five difficulty levels and numbers of lives, the game's single-player mode always follows the same series of opponents. The player will choose one unlocked character, and battle against a series of characters in a specific order, attempting to defeat them with only a limited number of lives in a limited amount of time per challenger. If the player loses all of their lives or runs out of time, they have the option to continue at the cost of a considerable sum of their overall points.
The "Break the Targets" minigame as well as the "Board the Platforms" minigame are two of the remaining single-player games. The objective of the minigames is to break each target or board each platform, respectively. The goal must be achieved without falling off each character-specific stage. The last one is the "Training Mode" section, where the player can choose any of the available characters and to choose the opponent, as well as any stage. When started, a menu can be brought up to gain almost any control, such as slowed game speed, spawning any item, and telling the opponent what to do.
Up to four people can play in multiplayer mode, which has specific rules predetermined by the players. Stock and timed matches are two of the multiplayer modes of play. This gives each player a certain amount of lives or a selected time limit, before beginning the match. Free for all or team battles are also of choice during matches using stock or time. A winner is declared once time runs out, or if all players except one or a team has lost all of their lives.
The game includes twelve characters in total as playable characters. Every character featured in the game derives from a popular Nintendo franchise. All characters have a symbol that appears behind their damage meter during a fight; this symbol represents what series they belong to, such as a Triforce symbol behind Link's damage meter and a Poké Ball emblem behind Pikachu. Furthermore, each character has recognizable moves from their original series, such as Samus's firearms from the Metroid series and Link's arsenal of weapons. Eight characters are playable from the beginning of the game: Mario, Donkey Kong, Link, Samus, Yoshi, Kirby, Fox, and Pikachu. Four more characters can then be unlocked by completing different aspects of the game: Luigi, Captain Falcon, Ness and Jigglypuff.
The following characters are non-playable characters that appear only in the various Single Player modes throughout the series, controlled by the computer. The first non-playable character in the Classic Mode is the Dark Blue and Pink Yoshis who share the same attacks as the original playable Yoshi. Giant Donkey Kong, who is simply a larger and more powerful version of Donkey Kong. The Fighting Polygon Team, who only appear in two stages; in Race to the Finish and the Fighting Polygon Team vs. battle. They were modeled on the playable characters in the game but they did not have special moves. Metal Mario (originally from Super Mario 64), a metallic copy of Mario, has high resistance to being knocked off the stage as well as a faster falling speed and higher attack power. The last non-playable character is Master Hand, serving as the final boss of Single Player Mode.