The stages that are described below are your fields of combat. Some stages have more of an advantage for certain characters than for others, and some have advantages that can be exploited by a clever fighter. Get to know these levels, as they will be the only places that your Nintendo characters will be doing battle. A Smash Master knows these levels like a spider knows its web - which parts are deadly and which are not, where to step without getting stuck, how to entangle your opponent. Needless to say, to compete, you will need to know them as well.

Dream Land


This is one of the most balanced levels in the game. A small level with three platforms above an ice-cream cone-like base, it is not well suited to larger than two person matches. However, its symmetry and flatness make it a very good level for 1v1 duels. Watch out for the tree, though, as it will periodically blow a wind in either direction, slowly moving your character in the direction of the wind. Also, make sure that your B-up recovery is executed at the right place in space near the level, or you will hit your head on the bottom of the stage and plunge into the abyss.

Yoshi's Island


This fanciful level necessitates agility and power in the air. With angled platforms and main stage, a large opponent will sometimes miss a small one, or normal-sized one in a crouch, as the attack will pass right over their head. The angled platforms also provide a unique challenge to a projectile user, as the top of the platform will deflect your projectile while the bottom and sides will let it through. The things to watch out for in this level, though, are the cloud platforms. One to the left of the stage and two to the right, they are a mixed blessing. They allow characters (especially ones with a bad recovery) another chance at life, but if stood on too long, they disappear underneath you, dropping everything that was resting atop them into the depths. Be wary of this, because other players will try to lure you into attacking them as they stand on the cloud, and then jump away as it disappears. Also, watch out, as you can hit your head on the bottom of the level if your B-up recovery goes wrong.

Planet Zebes


This level is almost universally disliked. Some smashers won't even play it anymore, as it is just annoying. It consists of a bottom stage that has two low points and is very bumpy, making attacks done at the wrong time prone to missing. Above this is one long, flat platform on the left, one short angled platform on the right, with a short, flat platform above them both in the middle. Just off of the right side of the stage is a platform that moves up and down. And underneath it all is a layer of acid lava. This yellow lava, if touched, bounces your character back up (and damages him/her, of course) at a slight angle away from the stage, giving you another chance to B-up recover. This lava will come up and engulf portions of the stage from time to time, making the highest platform the only safe place to sit for 100% of the time (but no one is going to let you do that, now). This acid lava, though it prevents spikes from killing instantly, has been sworn at many a time by smashers everywhere, as its coming-up will obscure the edge that is so vitally needed for a recovery. For this reason, it is usually banned from tournaments.

Sector Z


Ah, the uplifting strains of the Star Fox theme. On this stage, you and your opponent(s) will duke it out on the back of the Great Fox, which, as the name implies, is very large. The largest level in the game, the stage starts at the nose of the ship, gently slopes up and then down into a small valley, and then slopes back up a bit more steeply to the tail fin of the Great Fox. Here, it drops down onto the fighter launch surface and the big engine. Because the nose and engine of the Great Fox are only so big, it is possible to accidentally go under them and then, unless you are Pikachu, you are done (no, you can't land on the Great Fox's main guns). You can also grab onto the top of the tail fin, allowing characters with a weaker B-up to return to the main part of the Fox. However, most of the fighting usually takes place in the area behind the tail fin, because of the ability to bounce your opponent off of said tail fin for longer, more damaging combos. Beware the Arwings, though, who will come by every now and then to try and destroy the pesky creatures running about on the hull, beating each other up and generally making a ruckus. You can stand on top of the horizontally-moving ones when they are right-side up, but just don't get caught on top of one when it moves away from the ship, because it will take you with it, and to your doom.

Hyrule Castle


Personally, the Legend of Zelda theme from this level gets stuck in my head the worst out of all of these levels. This is another large stage, as you and your opponent are fighting on top of a castle, but can be conceptually split into three different parts. On the far left, there is a roof that gently slants down towards the edge, allowing for brutal edgeguards. It connects with the stone floor of the main portion of the level at about a Mario-height below the surface, essentially separating it from the main. The middle of the level is a flat, stone floor that comprises 2/3 of the total level. Towards the right of the middle of the level float three platforms, staggered so that one would have to jump back and forth (as well as up) to get to all of them in sequence. Then there is a drop-off, just above the height of a single jump from most characters that leads down to the third area. This part, dubbed "The Hall of Pain" by my particular smash crew, is combo city. A short portion of flat stone floor with a green tower near the edge allows for one to bounce their opponent back and forth between wall and tower until they are at high enough damage to kill them with a smash. The thing to look out for here are those pesky blue tornadoes. If you get caught in them, they will spin you around and then shoot you straight up, damaging you and possibly killing you as well. They appear in 4 places, the roof on the left, the main stone floor, the rightmost platform about the main floor, and the Hall of Pain. All of these whirlwinds usually move back and forth rather slowly, but the tornado on the main level has a mean streak, so watch out. It will rush towards you every now and then very quickly, so always be alert. In the Hall of Pain, you can't be killed if the tornado catches you under the tower, as it will just slam you into the top and drop you, so if you MUST be caught by it, do it there.

Peach's Castle


This level is simply weird. Most definitely one of the strangest of all of the stages, the main portion of this level is a stone block about a Donkey Punch and a half wide. This stone block, like all other portions of the level, has no grabbable edge! Above this is a wooden, railroad-looking thing that slopes up on the left and down on the right, with a flat part in the middle. Out to either side of the level are right-triangular gravity-defying blocks that have their short side parallel to the ground and their pointed end up (hypotenuse on the stage side). And that is the end of the immobile parts of the level. The annoying parts are as follows:

  1. There is a bumper that floats back and forth over the top of the stage, bouncing people off of it and inflicting one damage whenever it is touched. This can severely hamper kills, as no matter the strength of the attack hitting the character into the bumper, the character just bounces off gently and floats down.
    However, this is not even the worst part of the movable stage.
  2. Through the base of the stone block that makes up the foundation for the stage is a long, stone block. This stone block moves back and forth to either side, slowly but inexorably. Throwing characters like Link or Captain Falcon off of the side where the block is not causes instant death, as they have nothing to grab onto, and this is compounded when the block is moving away from them.

Strategies for this level heavily involve spiking and throwing off of the un-recoverable side. A good move is to hit your opponent upwards with a smash so that they hit the bottom of one of the triangle blocks, bouncing them off and down in an improvised spike, for those characters lacking one.

Saffron City


Pikachu's home stage, Saffron City is also reviled by many Smashers because it gives unfair advantages to a few characters (though not abhorred quite as much as Planet Zebes). It consists of three separate buildings and a few floating platforms. The leftmost building (much lower than the others), is separated from the main building by a gap that is covered above by a floating platform that changes height (from high to low and back) periodically. Down to the left of the leftmost building, there is another floating platform of the same type, except angled slightly down towards the left KO wall. At its low point, this platform is flush with the building, but it is not at its higher level.

The main building is substantially wide, with a floor that is flat on the left and slopes up slightly on the right. Then, there is a box that sits on the right of the building, with a door in it. Pokémon of different types come out of this door, if someone gets too close while it is open.

  • Porygon: This crystalline little guy pops out of the door, sending anyone who touches him flying.
  • Charmander: The little orange and yellow fire Pokémon sounds off his name to anyone who wishes to hear. Hitting him will cause damage. If he feels like it, he will spew fire from his mouth for a few seconds, immobilizing and damaging anyone caught in the blast.
  • Venusaur: This is a big blue Pokémon with a plant on his back who will shoot his Leaf Cutter at you, a stream of green projectiles that will juggle you in midair.
  • Chansey: Just like her Pokéball cousin, Chansey pops out of the door and tosses an egg. However, she only gives you one, and if you touch her while she's out of the door, she will heal you for a small amount of damage.
  • Electrode: Ever the angry Pokémon, Electrode will pop out of the door, charge up, and explode, sending anyone inside the blast radius flying.

Then there is the final building, small, flat, and separated from the middle building by a gap. A little bit lower than the top of the Pokémon garage, this building is used by certain players as a fortress from which to spike and edgeguard their way to victory.

Kongo Jungle


Welcome to Donkey Kong Country. The main wooden platform is flat on either end, but slopes down on either side to a flat spot in the middle, so that a barrel thrown at normal speed will roll gently back and forth on the leve, ad infinitum, until someone runs into it, attacks it, or otherwise destroys it. There are two slightly outward angled platforms above the edges of the level, and two small, flat platforms that rotate around one another in a circle. Below the level is a barrel, like the ones in Donkey Kong Country, that, if you jump into it, will carry you around until you hit a button for it to shoot you out, or the barrel time runs out. Watch out, because this barrel will turn upside down periodically, shooting you out at odd angles. Also, the base of the main stage is permeable, meaning you can jump and recover up through the bottom of it. This makes this level great against an unsuspecting opponent, because as they come over to edgeguard, you can B-up right into them, through the level, or simply move past them.

Mushroom Kingdom


The one and only unlockable stage in the game. To unlock this hidden level, you have to beat the single-player game with all eight original characters (no time, stock, difficulty, or continue limits). This is the strangest level in the game, in my opinion, and I'll tell you why.

There are two main parts to this level, separated by a gap in the middle, the only place on the level where you can fall to your death. To the left and right of this gap are flat brick floors, stretching off into infinity. This is the only level on which you can literally walk into the KO wall, which is embarrassing. On the left side there is a platform above the edge of the gap, and then a higher platform that goes all the way into the KO wall on the left. You cannot jump or drop through this upper platform, as it is really thick. However, if you have a long-range uair (Captain Falcon, Link, DK), you can smack your opponent through the platform when they're not expecting it, as your attack will reach through. There is a green pipe, like the ones in Super Mario, on the very right edge of that top platform, making it a nice little wall to bounce opponents off of.

To the right of the gap, above the floor float two platforms, the lower one slightly to the right of the upper one. Just to the right of the lower one, there is another, lower, green Mario pipe, and then nothing else until you reach the KO wall. There is also a pipe on the surface of the left wall of the gap itself.

Covering the middle gap are two platforms, connected by a rope and pulley. If a character stands on either one of the platforms, the platform that he/she is standing on will start moving down, and the other will start moving up. If he/she stays on the platform, eventually both platforms will plummet into the depths. However, if another fighter stands on the OTHER platform at the same time, then the two platforms will stay where they are, as they have been balanced (this works even if it's Donkey Kong on one and Jigglypuff on the other). After they fall, they will reset after about 5 seconds.

Another phenomenon on this level is the POW block, straight out of Super Mario. They will appear periodically floating in the air, and if you hit one, anybody touching the ground at that time (except for yourself) will be rocketed into the air. This can kill, at around 80% on average, so if you see someone going for a POW, jump.

One more thing about this level that is critical for good performance is knowledge of the pipes. If necessary, you can get atop one of the green pipes and tap your control stick down to pull a Mario and go from one pipe to the other. Remember, though, that there are 3 pipes, and you can end up at any of the other two. However, you know that Nintendo never makes it that easy, so watch out for the carnivorous piranha plants that come out of the pipes whenever someone gets near (they don't come out of the gap-pipe, though; I guess it's below them). They will send you flying in an upward direction if you run into them, but I've never seen one kill someone directly.

This level is a throwing character's level. Getting your opponent over on the far side of either of the vertical pipes means that you can likely throw them to death at low, maybe even 0% damage. That means Ness, Donkey Kong, Pikachu, Captain Falcon, etc. do very well on this level.