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Cruel Melee, Cruel Brawl and Cruel Smash are Multi-Man modes in Super Smash Bros. Melee, Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Super Smash Bros. 4, respectively. Like the other modes, this game challenges the player to defeat as many opponents as possible. But in this case, the Fighting Wire Frames, Alloy Team and Mii Team have extremely high knockback in their attacks in their favor while the player has a handicap against them, essentially making this mode a complete reversal of what is normally encountered in other Multi-Man modes where it is much easier to knock out a team member.
The high scores of Cruel Melee and Brawl are recorded by the amount of opponents knocked out. Attaining very high scores in either game is considered one of the toughest actions in the game. Due to the relentless difficulty, players have to exploit the AI in both games to obtain high scores. In Cruel Melee for example, very high scores (such as in the thousands) can be obtained by exploiting an AI standstill bug, performed by standing absolutely still on the rightmost edge of the small right platform. This causes any CPUs, including the Wire Frames, to cease all movement and stand indefinitely unless the player is within attack range. Exploits with the AI in Cruel Brawl, such as by planking, or any other form of stalling under the stage, often cause the Alloys to self destruct when attempting to edge-guard the player.
- Defeating five opponents in Cruel Melee will result in unlocking the Mr. Resetti trophy.
- Defeating five opponents in Cruel Brawl will result in unlocking a trophy depicting the Red Alloy.
- Defeating ten opponents in Cruel Brawl will result in unlocking a sticker depicting Liquid Snake.
- Simply playing Cruel Smash once will result in unlocking the Spiny Hat for the Mii Fighters.
- Defeating two opponents in Cruel Smash will result in unlocking the Shield Exploder Protection Badge Equipment.
- Defeating four opponents in Cruel Smash will result in unlocking the Lion Hat for the Mii Fighters.
- Defeating one opponent in a Solo Cruel Smash will result in unlocking the Duck Hunt stage.
- This will also challenge the player to defeat Duck Hunt in order to unlock them.
- Surviving for 1 minute as Luigi unlocks the Mr. L trophy.
- Defeating four opponents as Pit will result in unlocking the Reaper trophy.
- Defeating eight opponents will result in unlocking the Toadsworth trophy. Doing this as Lucina will also unlock the Vampire Brawn Badge.
- The Super Smash Bros. Melee incarnation of this mode is famous for its involvement in the Sonic and Tails Rumor spread by Electronic Gaming Monthly magazine as an April Fool's Joke. The rumor suggested that after defeating 20 Fighting Wire Frames in a single round, the player would be challenged to defeat Sonic and Tails of the Sonic series, where victory would result in unlocking the characters.
- In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the track Cruel Brawl that plays during a Cruel Brawl cannot be played from Brawl's Sound Test, and it cannot be even selected as music for custom stages; it would later become available in Smash 4's sound test.
Videos of characters in Cruel Brawl.