Bonus, referred to as decision in the debug menu and by the Announcer, is a type of Versus mode match in which the winner is determined by the amount of points they have obtained via bonuses. It only appears in Super Smash Bros. Melee; it does not return in subsequent games due to their lack of Bonuses, making it the only versus mode unique to Melee.
In general, gameplay can be treated somewhat similar as a Time match, as there are bonuses for KOs (which adds points) and being KO'd (which subtracts points), and the match ends when time runs out. However there are several bonuses that players may choose to pursue instead of fighting normally based on their value, difficulty, and risk:
- Many bonuses exist for playing offensively - Offensive Artist, KO Master, Beserker, and so on. Some of these are relatively large and not at all difficult (such as All Variations).
- Defensive bonuses such as Impervious and Heavy Damage tend to be larger than offensive bonuses, but one mistake may lose all the points and result in lots of catching up to do.
- Some bonuses are pointless or can gimp the player too much and are usually of little help, if any, towards winning - No R 4 U and Stiff Knees heavily limit one's options and are worth only 300 points each.
- Some bonuses are trivial to earn and gain equally trivial amounts of points, which may be pointless in most cases but could be the difference when earned multiple times in a close match. Instant Poser is an example of this.
- Some bonuses gain sizeable points on completion but activate other unwanted "anti-bonuses" worth negative points should the player commit and fail, or which always activate and reduce the bonus's effective value. For example, failing to achieve Specialist will result in being given Stale Moves, while trying to get Switzerland may saddle the player with Coward and Opportunist whether they succeed or not.
- Various bonuses can be based on opponents' actions. Players may want to avoid giving other players Blind Eye by attacking from in front, or use horizontal attacks to avoid the chance of giving out Foresight (which is worth more for the target than the Star KO bonus the attacker gets).
If there is a tie when time runs out, Sudden Death occurs. Bonuses earned in Sudden Death do not apply to the final scores; whoever wins Sudden Death wins the match.
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