- This article is about Bowser's appearance in Melee. For the character in other contexts, see Bowser.
in Super Smash Bros. Melee
|Other Smash Bros. appearance||in Brawl|
|“||A mighty foe that trades speed for pure power.||”|
|—Melee's instruction manual|
Bowser, known in Japan as Koopa (クッパ, Kuppa), is a character in Super Smash Bros. Melee and is available from the start. Announced at E3 2001, a stronger form of Bowser also appears as the "final" boss in Adventure Mode.
Bowser is currently ranked 24th in the G tier in the current Melee tier list. Among Bowser's positive traits is his difficulty in getting KO'd due to his high weight and rather fast falling speed; additionally, he has among the most powerful attacks in the game (most notably his forward smash), as well as some very good aerial attacks, most notably his forward and upward aerials. However, he suffers due to his large size and weight and also his large periods of hitstun, making him extremely easy to combo. His moves are also very sluggish, and his approach is among the worst in the game, with laggy aerials, poor jumping ability (leading to an awful SHFFL), a short wavedash, poor projectile, and slow, predictable recovery. Bowser is among few characters to lack any positive matchups, and only two, against Yoshi and Pichu, are considered even.
Bowser acts as the game's primary "slow and powerful" fighter; other equally heavy and powerful characters, such as Donkey Kong and Ganondorf, are of considerably higher speed than Bowser in a variety of ways. Bowser has an average falling speed, and a below average air speed, as well as high traction and a surprisingly fast dashing speed. These characteristics, however, also give Bowser a short and slow wavedash.
One of Bowser's greatest strengths is his raw damage output and KO potential. Many of his attacks are the strongest of their type, and their damage output can reach perhaps ludicrous levels; his side smash, for instance, deals 24% when not charged, and his down tilt has the second highest damage output in the game for a tilt (behind Ganondorf's incredibly slow up tilt), dealing a potential 22% if both hits connect. As a result of this high damage output, Bowser's KOing options are possibly the most numerous in the game, with one of his tilts, two of his smash attacks, and even his jab becoming potentials for garnering KOs. In addition to their high power, Bowser's attacks also have very large hitboxes, leading to a rather large range.
In addition to this, Bowser has a surprisingly high amount of tricks that can be used to aggravate opponents. The set knockback of his down throw can allow for chainthrowing on fast fallers, while his up air, when L-cancelled and set up after a short hop, can infinite fast fallers. One of Bowser's most versatile moves takes from as his up special move, Whirling Fortress. In addition to a potential 32% it can cause, it is amongst the most flexible moves in the game, acting as a combo breaker due to its paltry 5 start-up frames, a potential edgeguard, and a dangerous substitute to Bowser's poor defensive roll.
Bowser's extreme power that sacrifices speed, however, is what causes him to be considered a poor character. Due to a metagame that favours fast characters such as Fox and Marth over slower characters such as Bowser, Bowser can quickly find himself overwhelmed, with very few ways to effectively counter faster attacks. A very large hitbox and a high weight that prevents him from travelling far also invites frequent combos against him, leading to few opportunities to counterattack. This is exacerbated by a poor defensive game, with a small shield that invites shield stabbing, as well as slow defensive rolls and sidesteps.
Bowser's approach in both the air and the ground are poor, and in both cases, they're considered amongst the worst in the game. On the ground, a slow dash attack, slow attacks in general, and a short, situational wavedash prevent Bowser from effectively approaching the opponent without setting himself up for counterattacks; the lack of a long-ranged projectile also hampers this. His aerial approach is of equally poor quality, due to a very slow jumping speed and high-lag aerials, leading to a poor SHFFL that is, ironically, very easy to perform.
Bowser's lack of low-knockback moves, coupled with high ending lag, also lend themselves to a poor combo game; most of his combos require precise timing and L-cancelling, and even then, these combos are limited to two or three hits, with the last hit often not being one that can lead to a KO. Bowser's slow speed on both the ground and in the air also prevent him from easily "pursuing" foes after they've been sent back, leading to opponents to easily recovering from hits and being able to counter Bowser's further attempts at comboing.
- Neutral attack- Bowser scratches with his left claw, and then his right claw. 8%-11% damage when both hits connect. Noticeable KO potential at higher percentages.
- Dash attack- Bowser charges forward. Decent knockback, but easily countered due to starting and ending lag. 6%-11%
- Forward tilt- Bowser hits with his knuckle. Has a bit of start up lag and little range, fairly good knockback for a tilt. 6%-14%
- Down tilt- Bowser slashes along the ground with his claws. Two hits. First hit doesn't have much knockback, but the second hit is fairly slow. 7%-22%
- Up tilt- Bowser claws upward. Good knockback, good for setting up combos. 7%-11%
- Forward smash- Bowser rears back for a short moment, and hits incredibly hard with his head. Very high damage and knockback, though suffers from a lot of lag in general. It is the strongest smash attack in the game and KOs at around 18-38% when fully charged. 24%-32%
- Down smash- Bowser spins around in his shell, doing great damage with multiple hits from his spines. Subpar range, can be DI'd out of, and has noticeable ending lag, but still powerful nonetheless. 1%-27%, depending on number of hits.
- Up smash- Bowser jumps upward, hitting with his spikes. A powerful attack with a rather long-lasting hitbox. 11%-27%
 Other attacks
- Ledge attack- Swings many times inside his shell forwards to the stage. 8% damage
- 100% ledge attack- Gets up and swipes. 10% damage
- Floor attack- A laggy attack, Bowser shortly gets up and swipes in front, then gets back down for a second before thrusting both his feet out. 6% damage.
- Neutral aerial- Bowser spins around in his shell. Low knockback, but long duration. 7%-13%
- Forward aerial- Bowser slashes forward in midair. Good knockback and edgeguarding option. 9%-14%
- Back aerial- Bowser hits backward with his shell. Great knockback, good edgeguarding option when used in a SHFFL or ledge hop. It can semi-spike. 8%-13%
- Down aerial- Bowser spins downwards, hitting with the spikes on his shell. Not much knockback or damage, small hitbox, but releases a shockwave upon hitting the ground. 1%-15%, depending on number of connecting hits.
- Up aerial- Bowser hits upward hard with his head. Very high knockback, but one of Bowser's slower moves. It is the strongest up aerial and one of the most powerful aerials in the game (it is stronger than Ganondorf's down aerial on grounded opponents and being the second strongest aerial in Melee). 9%-17%
- Pummel- Bites foe. 2-3% per pummel.
- Forward throw- Bowser throws his foe forward. Can act as a potential KO move at high percentages. 5%-10%
- Back throw- Bowser throws his foe backward. 5%-10%
- Up throw- Bowser throws his foe upward a short distance and on his shell, doing damage to the opponent while spinning. Has set knockback and can chaingrab fastfallers. 5%-9%
- Down throw- Bowser throws his foe on the ground and lands on them with tremendous force. 6%-12%
|Neutral special||Fire Breath|
|Side special||Koopa Klaw|
|Up special||Whirling Fortress|
|Down special||Bowser Bomb|
- Roar (0%): Bowser roars while facing upwards.
 In Competitive play
 Notable players
- See also: Category:Bowser professionals
 Regional differences
Bowser is among few characters to be changed in all three versions of Melee. In the Japanese release, Bowser's name was "Koopa", a reference to how he was an evolved form of a Koopa Troopa. Likewise, Giga Bowser's name in Japan was "Giga Koopa". All such changes of his name can be seen if the game's language is set to Japanese.
Bowser, in the PAL regions, also received a few changes; he was made 1 unit heavier in PAL regions, from 117 to 118, and errors concerning his down throw, such as its inability to hit Mr. Game & Watch, were corrected. The PAL region version of the game also had a bug fix for Bowser from the American 1.2 version: he could no longer "Flame Cancel" by landing during the ending frames of Fire Breath, his neutral special move.
 In single-player modes
 In Classic Mode
In his appearances, Bowser appears on either Battlefield or Princess Peach's Castle. Unusually, if fought as a giant character, he will appear on Fountain of Dreams.
 In Adventure Mode
In Adventure Mode, Bowser acts as a final boss of sorts, fought on the last stage, Stage 12: Final Destination. In this appearance, he is larger than usual, and as a result, he is more resistant to knockback. When played on Very Easy and Easy difficulties, or if the player spent too much time in the Adventure Mode, then the game is concluded there. Bowser's trophy falls off the stage, and the player's selected character celebrates with one of his or her Victory poses.
If the player, however, arrives at Stage 12: Final Destination on Normal difficulty or higher in less than 18 minutes, Bowser will appear with his black colour scheme instead of his ordinary green colour scheme. After he is KO'd and the ordinary cutscene is played, another cutscene shows Bowser's trophy returning to Final Destination to face the player's character. The trophy is then struck with lightning, and Bowser turns into Giga Bowser. As a last challenge for the player, they must defeat Giga Bowser in order to clear the Adventure Mode. After he is defeated, a cutscene shows Bowser's trophy falling off the stage again; this time, however, it explodes.
 In All-Star Mode
In All-Star Mode, Bowser and his allies are fought on Yoshi's Island.
 In Event Matches
Bowser makes the following appearances in the following event matches:
- Event 1: Trouble King: Bowser is the first opponent of the event mode. The player plays as Mario, and Mario and Bowser have 2 stock each in an untimed match on the Battlefield stage. KO Bowser twice to win, which is an easy objective because Bowser is lighter than usual and has less competent AI.
- Event 10: All-Star Match 1: Bowser is the last of five opponents the player must fight in this series of staged battles. The player's character battles him on the Rainbow Cruise stage, and their character has 2 stock while Bowser has 1. With a timer of four minutes, the player must defeat him and the other four characters one-by-one with the overall time and life the player has: Mario, Donkey Kong, Yoshi, and Peach beforehand.
- Event 17: Bounty Hunters: In this original scenario, the player plays as Samus teamed up with Captain Falcon (with Friendly Fire turned off), and the shared opponent is Bowser on the Jungle Japes stage. With everyone receiving one stock and 2:00 as the time limit, the goal is to be the one to KO Bowser. The player fails if Captain Falcon delivers the finishing blow or if Bowser SDs.
- Event 19: Peach's Peril: A scenario designed in homage to the standard plot of traditional Super Mario games of Bowser being after Peach and Mario saving her. The player plays as Mario teamed with Peach, whose AI is set on walking to each end of the stage aimlessly, and they each have 1 stock while the enemy Bowser has infinite stock. Bowser is especially strong and durable in this match, and he will attack either of them in the area on the Final Destination stage. The objective is to last a full minute with both Mario and Peach surviving by the end, and high score is determined by how many times Mario can KO Bowser.
- Event 25: Gargantuans: A scenario designed in homage to old, campy monster movies like Godzilla and King Kong. On the Fourside stage, with unlimited time, the player plays as a giant-sized Bowser (as "Godzilla") with 1 stock against a giant-sized Donkey Kong (as "King Kong") with two stock. Two other characters on the match are a tiny Mario and a tiny Peach, who will be K.O.'d within seconds of the battle between the two main monsters.
- Event 42: Trouble King 2: This tough event takes place in Poké Floats. The player controls Luigi against a giant Bowser in an untimed match where the two of them have a stock of two each.
- Event 51: The Showdown: In the game's final Event Match, the player has to square off against Ganondorf, Mewtwo and Giga Bowser on a team. With no time limit, the player is tasked with defeat all three, and everyone is given three stocks.
 Ending Images
 Trophy descriptions
In addition to the normal trophy about Bowser as a character, there are two trophies about him as a fighter, unlocked by completing the Adventure and All-Star Modes respectively with Bowser on any difficulty:
- Bowser has a long history of kidnapping Princess Peach to lure his nemesis, Mario, into traps. He leads an enormous group of mischievous creatures, not the least of which are his seven children. With outrageous strength, flammable breath, and more spikes than you can shake a Star Rod at, Bowser is a constant threat.
- Bowser (Smash Red)
- In many ways, Bowser is the toughest character around. Not only does he have near-impervious hide, but his great mass makes him almost impossible to hurl offscreen. Of course, his weight also makes him rather slow to maneuver, so when facing him in battle, it's best to press your attack and not give him a chance to counter.
- B: Fire Breath
- Smash B: Koopa Klaw
- Bowser (Smash Blue)
- Bowser's Fire Breath strikes continuously, but it grows gradually smaller over time until it's barely smoldering. The Koopa Klaw rakes enemies at a distance and pulls nearby foes in close for a good gnawing. Bowser's Whirling Fortress moves laterally over the ground; it works in midair as a recovery. The Bowser Bomb is powerful and paves the way for more attacks.
- Up & B: Whirling Fortress
- Down & B: Bowser Bomb
- In the Super Smash Bros. Melee mini movie, Bowser is the only character not to appear with his series. Bowser is from the Mario series and he appears right after Captain Falcon.
Characters in Super Smash Bros. Melee
|Veterans||Captain Falcon · Donkey Kong · Fox · Jigglypuff · Kirby · Link · Luigi · Mario · Ness · Pikachu · Samus · Yoshi|
|Newcomers||Bowser · Dr. Mario · Falco · Ganondorf · Ice Climbers · Marth · Mewtwo · Mr. Game & Watch · Peach · Pichu · Roy · Young Link · Zelda (Sheik)|