Clone

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...and Dr. Mario's identical, derived animations.

A clone is a character with a moveset and physics that are considerably similar to another character's. Often, the clone's moveset will have a few tweaks made, and may have their physics altered to a degree, but on the whole the characters are similar and typically have the same special move mechanics, to such a degree that both characters can be played optimally using a very similar or even identical play style. Clones are a common inclusion in various fighting games, as for a developer it saves a good deal of time to copy a character's moveset and then tweak it than to generate a new one.

Semi-clone is a term used for characters who share some of their moveset with another character, with some similarity in physics, but have enough differentiating moves and characteristics that calling them a "clone" wouldn't be entirely accurate. "Semi-clone" status can differ among player's minds depending on their basis of the term; for example, one basis for dubbing a character a semi-clone would be their differences in Special moves from whichever character they are clones from. This process of a clone breaking away from its roots and establishing its own identity as it divergently evolves is known in the Smash community as Luigification, named after how Luigi originally was a clone of Mario but eventually came into his own in both the Super Mario and Smash Bros. series. Jigglypuff is the only character who started as a semi-clone and eventually became its own completely unique character.

Super Smash Bros. 4 introduces alternate characters that act as alternate costumes, namely Alph for Olimar and the Koopalings for Bowser Jr. They have their own voice clips and the Announcer refers to them by name. However, since they bear no gameplay differences and are not treated as separate characters, they are not considered to be clones.

The term "clone" is also used to refer to individual moves cloned from another character's move. For example, Falco's Blaster is a cloned move of Fox's Blaster, with the former being the same general type of attack with animations taken from the latter, but with altered properties and functioning so that makes it its own move. Usually cloned moves share animations, while altering the cloned move's function and/or properties in some way, though sometimes the inverse happens, such as in the case of Ness' and Lucas' down tilts; Ness' down tilt is a low rapid kick where he pokes his foot out, while Lucas' involves him rapidly spinning around while kicking, but both have identical functioning as extremely fast but extremely weak low kicks that semi-spike with a high tripping chance. Cloned moves can also happen between characters who otherwise have no other aspects cloned, such as Charizard's Flamethrower being cloned from Bowser's Fire Breath, both being the same type of move with identical animations and functioning, but with a minute property difference (Charizard's Flame Thrower reaches farther with thinner hitboxes).

Clones or semi-clones are almost always unlockable characters or downloadable characters rather than starter characters.

Clones in Super Smash Bros.[edit]

Smash 64 only had one clone in Luigi, and a semi-clone in Jigglypuff, with the rest of its cast consisting of unique characters. All of the unlockable characters were created with the premise of reusing some of the pre-existing characters' movements and models.[1]

Original Clone Differences
Mario Luigi Luigi's dash attack is a unique move. All three of his special moves have slight differences: Luigi Cyclone launches foes instead of sucking them in, Luigi's Fireballs are immune to gravity, and the Super Jump Punch either does massive damage or almost none. His taunt is also different. Overall, Luigi is faster but weaker than Mario.
Semi-clones
Kirby Jigglypuff Both share similar forward smashes, down smashes, neutral aerials, forward aerials (Kirby's hits multiple times, but he extends both legs in front of him as does Jigglypuff), down aerials, tilts, back throws, item animations, and ledge animations. Both also have near identical physics, with similar size, shape, weight, falling speed, and both possess five midair jumps. Their special moves, however, are all completely different.

Notes[edit]

  • The Fighting Polygon Team is composed of complete clones, sans special moves, of all 12 playable fighters.
  • Samus and Captain Falcon share neutral aerials, down smashes, floor attacks, forward and up tilts, and dash attacks, but have enough unique moves of their own, along with vastly different physics, to not be classified as semi-clones.
  • Mario, Luigi, and Ness all share a polygon form, a neutral attack, a forward tilt and a floor recovery attack.

Clones in Super Smash Bros. Melee[edit]

The selection screen places the six clones on the far right and left, adjacent to their counterparts.

Originally, Masahiro Sakurai was going to include significantly fewer playable characters in Melee. However, with fans wanting more characters while time was constrictive, Sakurai decided to add clones later in development to pad out the roster, as these characters would take a lot less time to develop than unique characters[2]. This led to Dr. Mario, Pichu, Young Link, Falco, Roy, and Ganondorf being added to the cast as clones. Luigi and Jigglypuff also returned, though Luigi was significantly decloned into a semi-clone, and Jigglypuff was decloned to the point of not even being a semi-clone anymore.

Original Clone Differences
Mario Dr. Mario While all attacks have identical animations, many of them have different properties, such as with Dr. Mario, the removal of the forward smash's sourspot while dealing electrical damage, a sex kick that gets stronger over time, and a forward aerial that doesn't meteor smash. Dr. Mario's attacks are also much stronger in general. Note that they also share identical physics with the exact same size, shape, weight, and falling speed, though interestingly Dr. Mario has faster air speed. Mario can wall jump, but Dr. Mario cannot.
Link Young Link Like the Mario/Dr. Mario pair, while all animations are essentially identical, some attacks act differently. Young Link's forward smash has weak, set knockback on the first hit and only combos into the second hit, while his arrows are on fire and his Spin Attack is a multi-hit move when grounded. Young Link also has some slightly differing physics (faster running speed and higher jumping height), and is generally a faster character with weaker attacks. Young Link is also a smaller character and can wall jump.
Fox Falco All attacks have near identical animations and functions, though many have had their knockback altered, changing which ones are good for KOing, such as Falco's forward smash and down tilt being considerably stronger than Fox's, while Fox's up smash and up aerial are considerably stronger. Falco's special moves have identical mechanics but have changed enough that they have different applications; for example his Blaster shots flinch and his Reflector produces vertical knockback instead of semi-spike trajectory horizontal knockback. Falco also runs slower and jumps higher than Fox, while being slightly heavier, and has a single-hit spike for a down aerial.
Pikachu Pichu Pichu's attacks are faster than Pikachu's but are also weaker. Its up smash is a headbutt instead of a tail flip, its down smash emits no electricity while only hitting once, and its forward smash is a multi-hitting attack. Their special moves, while identical in name and animation, have some differences, as Pichu's Skull Bash can be charged longer and gain more power, Thunder is a multi-hitting attack, and Agility travels further than Quick Attack, while not having hitboxes and being slower. Pichu also can wall jump and damages itself for every electrical attack it uses.
Captain Falcon Ganondorf While most attacks have near identical animations, many of them are carried out slower for Ganondorf, with many having altered functioning, and most if not all have elevated power. Ganondorf's forward air is unique (with an overhead punch instead of a knee) and has only one, moderately powerful hitbox, and Ganondorf's up tilt is radically altered to a point where it can be considered unique, where Ganondorf "charges" with his leg up while smoke is generated, before crashing it down in a large and extremely powerful explosion. Ganondorf's jab is only a single attack while Falcon's has three plus an infinite; Ganondorf's dash attack hits in a vertical trajectory behind him while Falcon's hits forward; Ganondorf's forward and down smashes hit vertically while Falcon's hit horizontally; each kick of Ganondorf's up smash and neutral aerial are individually powerful while the kicks in Falcon's are designed to hit into each other while the inverse applies to their down smash; Ganondorf can semi-spike with his late up aerial while Captain Falcon does not have a late up aerial hitbox due to a glitch; Ganondorf's back aerial is strong throughout while Falcon's functions like a sex kick; Captain Falcon's down aerial can nipple spike while Ganondorf's cannot; aerial Raptor Boost meteor smashes airborne opponents while aerial Gerudo Dragon does not; and aerial Wizard's Foot spikes airborne opponents while aerial Falcon Kick doesn't. Ganondorf is heavier and has a surprisingly higher ledge jump, but the rest of his physics are overall slower than Falcon's, with Falcon having space animal physics and wall jumping capabilities. This is the only clone pair where both characters do not come from the same universe.
Marth Roy As Roy's sweetspot is at the hilt of his sword instead of the tip as with Marth's, even attacks that appear to be unchanged in animation and function (that is, almost all of them) must be used differently. Non-sweetspot differences include Blazer being a multi-hit move with set knockback, Counter having a multiplier for determining the strength of the counter strike (as well as a different counter strike animation), Roy's jab consisting of one hit only, Roy's down tilt hitting opponents vertically instead of semi-spiking, and Roy's up smash being a multi-hitting move. Roy's physics, while similar to Marth's, also have some differences, such as Roy falling faster with a shorter jump. This is the only clone pair where both the original and the clone are unlockable characters. Roy is also slower and weaker overall.
Semi-clones
Mario Luigi Luigi's many changes from Smash 64 to Melee have distanced him from Mario considerably. In addition to his previous differences, he now has a unique forward smash, up tilt, down tilt, neutral combo, forward aerial, and side special; his other specials have also been further tweaked, such as the Super Jump Punch going straight up and no longer giving horizontal distance. Additionally, Luigi's down smash and neutral aerial have been altered to hit vertically while Mario's hit horizontally, and Luigi's down aerial consists of one strong hit (that can also meteor smash), while Mario's is a multi-hitting attack.

Notes[edit]

  • In the transition from Super Smash Bros. to Melee, characters like Jigglypuff and Captain Falcon have been differentiated with new attacks. In Jigglypuff's case, it has kept some of its moves from Smash 64, while Kirby has received new ones.
  • As Luigi and Dr. Mario share a "parent" in Mario, it stands to reason that both of these "child" clones are technically semi-clones of each other.
  • Samus, Captain Falcon, and Ganondorf all share floor recovery attacks, and have dash attacks that are shoulder blocks and up tilts that are some form of axe kick.
  • Bowser and Giga Bowser are clones, having identical movesets, although most of Giga Bowser's moves have additional effects along with altered knockback.
  • Each clone characters' head sprites face the opposite direction than their original character's head sprite, including Giga Bowser's. This follows how Luigi's sprite faced the opposite direction than Mario's sprite in the original Super Smash Bros.
  • The Male and Female Wire Frames are clones of Captain Falcon and Zelda, respectively. They lack special moves, however, and their moves lack any special effects that Falcon's and Zelda's equivalent have, such as electricity and flame.
  • Master Hand and Crazy Hand can be considered clones, as they share most of their attacks.
  • When deciding a clone for Mario during development, Wario was considered; ultimately, Dr. Mario was chosen instead.[3]

Clones in Super Smash Bros. Brawl[edit]

Among the Melee clones, four were completely cut from the roster (Pichu, Young Link, Dr. Mario, and Roy). The two clones that returned, Falco and Ganondorf, were significantly decloned to being semi-clones. Luigi was also slightly decloned further, though mostly through Mario being given new attacks. Among the 18 new playable characters, none are complete clones, with Toon Link and Lucas being semi-clones. Wolf takes a couple aspects from Fox.

Original Semi-clone Differences
Mario Luigi The main new difference is Mario Tornado changing from Mario's down special to his down aerial, which makes two more of their attacks completely non-cloned. For some additional new differences, Luigi's up smash has a clear sweetspot and sourspot hitbox while Mario's is the same strength throughout, Luigi has a slight tweak in animation of his neutral aerial, and Luigi's up aerial hits vertically while Mario's hits horizontally. Other previous similarities/differences not addressed still apply in Brawl. For an aesthetic change, Luigi has for the first time been given his own voice, instead of Mario's sped up voice samples. Luigi's general animations have also been differed from Mario's, most notably his helpless animation.
Link Toon Link One of the more disputed pairs, as some players believe they have enough similarities to be considered clones rather than semi-clones. Toon Link's unique attacks include his up smash, neutral aerial, forward aerial, back aerial, forward throw, and back throw, while his down aerial is a stall-then-fall that meteor smashes, and his forward smash functioning like a multi-hit smash, despite both having similar animations to Link's counterparts. Other moves of theirs have function differences: Toon Link's down tilt hits horizontally while Link's hits vertically and meteor smashes, Toon Link's dash attack semi-spikes and trips while Link's hits vertically, and Toon Link's down smash functions as a multi-hit attack while each slash in Link's is individually powerful. On the other hand, Toon Link's special moves are based on Link's, though his arrows and Boomerang have different aesthetics and functioning (Toon Link's arrows travel much more slowly while hitting vertically, which also applies to Toon Link's Boomerang and additionally doesn't have the tornado effect of Link's boomerang). Unlike Link, Toon Link can wall jump. Toon Link's grounded Spin Attack functions identically to Young Link's in Melee, though the aerial Spin Attack's hitboxes are almost exactly identical to Link's. For an additional oddity, Toon Link's forward throw was not programmed properly (Toon Link's forward throw is considered a Leg attack like Link's even though it is a shoulder tackle). However, they are completely different in their physics and other statistics, such as size, shape, weight, and walking/dashing/falling/air speed.
Fox Falco Falco now has a different dashing animation, neutral combo, up tilt, forward smash, neutral aerial, forward aerial, and up aerial, while Fox was given a different back aerial. Both Fox's and Falco's down throws were altered, where Fox's hits opponents far away diagonally, while Falco's hits opponents a short distance horizontally. Falco's down special now involves him kicking his Reflector, which can also trip opponents. Additionally, Falco's physics were altered, where he falls slower with faster air speed and less gravity in comparison to Fox (though their physics are still similar). Other similarities and differences that existed in Melee not addressed here still apply in Brawl.
Captain Falcon Ganondorf Ganondorf's forward tilt, down tilt, up smash, up throw, and side special are now unique, along with other attacks receiving an alteration in animation, such as Ganondorf's dashing, rolling and crouching animations, up tilt, forward throw, down aerial, Warlock Punch, Dark Dive, and Wizard's Foot. His final smash is also unique, where he transforms into Beast Ganon. Captain Falcon's down aerial is also now different, with a shorter duration and gained a hitbox that launches at the Sakurai Angle. However, other standard attacks, such as forward smash, up aerial, back aerial, back throw, down throw, and their special moves outside their side special and final smash remain identical or near identical in function. Other differences they had in Melee not addressed here still exist in Brawl.
Ness Lucas Lucas' standard attacks are unique with the exception of his down tilt, forward smash, and up aerial (while the down tilt has a different animation, and Lucas' forward smash utilizes a different type of weapon, they are identical in function to Ness's). Their special moves however, are very similar in name, appearance and have similar mechanics, but differ functionally. PK Freeze freezes opponents instead of being a very powerful vertical KO move like PK Flash. Lucas' PK Fire differs to the point where it can be argued to not be cloned, as it is a single hit projectile that knocks opponents away, while Ness' hits multiple times and traps opponents (additionally, Lucas fires his PK Fire with a different animation, and Ness can fire his down diagonally in the air). Lucas' PK Thunder can go through opponents while Ness' cannot, and his PK Thunder 2 is a multi-hitting move, while Ness' hits once. However, while the similarity in their moveset can be argued to not be quite enough to label them as semi-clones, they have very similar physics, with them having identical size, shape, weight, and falling speed. They additionally both suffer from 10 additional frames of lag when being grab released that no other characters in Brawl suffer from. Weirdly, Lucas (the semi-clone) is a starter character, while Ness (the original) is unlockable, rather than the other way around as with most clone pairs.

Notes[edit]

  • The Alloys are all clones (sans special moves): Red Alloy of Captain Falcon, Blue Alloy of Zelda, Yellow Alloy of Mario, and Green Alloy of Kirby.
  • Fox and Wolf are sometimes seen as semi-clones due to their special moves and Final Smash being mostly identical in operation. However, closer inspection of their full movesets shows that even calling them semi-clones is difficult to rationalize, as the characters' physics are radically different, none of their standard attacks are similar, and even their similarly named special moves have different particle effects and function differently.

Clones in Super Smash Bros. 4[edit]

Super Smash Bros. 4 reintroduces true clones, adding two new clones, Lucina and Dark Pit, and one returning clone from Melee, Dr. Mario. These clones, unlike the Melee clones, were originally developed as alternate costumes of the characters they were cloned from, similar to Alph and the Koopalings. Later in development, they were given moveset alterations from their originals - according to Sakurai, Dr. Mario had to have the differences from Mario he previously possessed in order to avoid disappointing fans of his Melee appearance, Lucina was given no tippers to act as an easier-to-play version of Marth, and Dark Pit was given a different Final Smash, as Sakurai did not like the idea of him using the Three Sacred Treasures. Once these changes were made, however, it was decided that they each would be promoted to full characters, as "even a small difference in abilities" requires a unique roster slot.[4] SSB4 groups these clones in their own area together on the character select screen, rather than placing them with their respective franchises.

None of the newcomers are semi-clones. Luigi, Falco, Toon Link, and Ganondorf remain as semi-clones, though they were only minimally decloned. Wolf, whose moveset partially derived from Fox, was cut from the roster, while Lucas and Roy return as DLC. Roy is now a semi-clone, as his moveset is further distinguished from Marth's.

Most clones and semi-clones also share at least one custom move, though true clones (Dr. Mario, Lucina, Dark Pit) have more custom moves in common.

Original Clone Differences
Mario Dr. Mario Dr. Mario is largely unchanged from his appearance in Melee, but due to changes to Mario in Brawl in his absence, he is now less of a clone. This includes retaining the Dr. Tornado as his down special, keeping his drill kick down aerial as a result. New differences include much slower movement speed (fulfilling his design intention in Melee of being a "slower but more powerful Mario"), a Super Jump Punch that only hits powerfully once and produces no coins at all, and a completely different entrance; on the other hand, he can now wall jump like Mario (removing a difference), and his Final Smash is a fully-cloned move, simply using giant Megavitamins instead of fire. In addition, all of his custom moves are shared with Mario or Luigi. Unlike Mario's Fireballs, Dr Mario's Megavitamins are not absorbable.
Marth Lucina Marth and Lucina share effectively all the same animations, normal attacks, special moves, and custom moves. Aside from Lucina being negligibly shorter, the only differences between them is that the hitboxes of almost all of Lucina's attacks are equally strong across her sword, whereas Marth's are more powerful at the tip. Lucina's down aerial is an exception, whereas instead the sweetspot placing is reversed. Lucina also has a different, more exaggerated charging animation for Shield Breaker, and has a faster dashing animation; however, this is purely aesthetic.
Pit Dark Pit Both characters use the same animations and weapon types for all attacks, and almost all are functionally the same, even dealing the exact same knockback with the exact same frame data. The few differences are Dark Pit having a smaller hitbox on his jab's rapid finisher, his forward tilt dealing weaker knockback, the arrows fired from his neutral special traveling with less control but being strong and faster, and his side special dealing electrical damage while hitting opponents at a diagonal trajectory. He also has a different Final Smash - though it is cloned from Zelda and Sheik's Light Arrow.
Semi-clones
Mario Luigi Luigi has a new down throw, where he throws opponents downwards and ground pounds them. He also has a new jumping animation that differs from Mario, now being his scuttle jump and new animations for his first two jabs. Luigi shares no custom moves with Mario, although one fireball variation makes his fireballs act like Mario's default ones.
Link Toon Link Link now has a new dash attack, being his jump slash, his up aerial has an altered animation, and his backwards dodge is now his back flip from Ocarina of Time. Toon Link's Spin Attack now produces green attack trails, and has a new edge attack where he rolls onto the edge and swipes his sword at the ground. Toon Link's down aerial now goes through opponents instead of bouncing on them like Link's. All of Toon Link's custom moves are distinct from Link's, except for Quickfire Bow/Piercing Arrow which is shared between them though the charging speed, range, and hitting animation are different.
Fox Falco A few of Falco's moves were altered; up smash has an altered animation and now hits twice, Falco flips on the horizontal axis when using up aerial, and his back aerial is a new move, being a backward kick similar to Wolf's back aerial. The latter two moves however were no longer cloned in Brawl, so these changes did not affect Falco's cloned status. No custom moves are shared, although one Blaster variation makes Falco's blaster act like Fox's default one and vice versa.
Captain Falcon Ganondorf While Ganondorf did not receive any new moves, he did receive minor functional and animation changes that further distinguish him from Captain Falcon. His grounded Warlock Punch and dash attack received some super armor and invincibility, respectively. Ganondorf's pivoted forward smash no longer has extra reach. His down smash now flips opponents. Dark Dive and Warlock Punch were also further decloned in animation. On the other hand, his down aerial and neutral aerial now behaves almost exactly like Captain Falcon's, albeit the latter having no set knockback on its first hit and an added hitbox on the foot with increased knockback. Captain Falcon's up aerial now deals vertical knockback like in the original Super Smash Bros, and his down tilt now semi-spikes instead of vertical knockback. Unlike other semi-clones, neither characters share any custom moves.
Ness Lucas Lucas retains his moveset and attributes from Brawl, with the only change being made to his down throw, which temporarily buries his opponent, though this is merely aesthetic. Ness has several custom moves that act similarly to Lucas's default ones while Lucas, like all DLC characters, has none.
Marth Roy Roy has now been given a different jab, dash attack, forward tilt, up tilt, forward air, down air, and forward smash, while his other moves received alterations in animation and visual effects. Roy's retains his neutral special, Flare Blade's, overhead slash from Melee, but it can now be considered unique due to the radical altercations to Marth's Shield Breaker starting in Brawl. Roy's up special, Blazer is now performed while holding his sword with a reverse grip and can be angled, unlike Marth's. However, Roy's Double-Edge Dance no longer has exceptional knockback on the forward third hit, meteor smash hitboxes on the upward third hit, and multi-hitting properties on the low third hit (removing a difference.) and as of Brawl, Marth's Counter works on a multiplier as well, albeit by a lesser factor. Roy's physics are also slightly different from Marth's; with faster air and dashing speed, though with much faster falling speed in comparison to Marth. None of Marth's custom moves have any identical function to Roy's standard moves.

Notes[edit]

  • As of Smash 4, Luigi's position as semi-clone of Mario is heavily debatable, as the characters' physics are noticeably different, over half of their standard & special attacks are unique, and even several of their shared moves have different hitbox placements and function differently from each other.
  • As he is mostly unchanged since Melee Dr. Mario shares more similarities to both Mario and Luigi than either do to each other and can be considered the true "parent." He has similar down aerials and down specials with Luigi, but shares forward specials and most other normal moves and animations with Mario.
  • Many standard and special attacks of the Mii Fighters are cloned moves from existing characters. Several of Mii Gunner's moves are similar to Samus's or Fox's (with a couple similar to Ness's and Robin's). Similarly, Mii Swordfighter shares moves with the swordsman characters (specifically Link and Ike), while Mii Brawler shares moves with Mario, Little Mac, and Captain Falcon.
  • As Luigi and Dr. Mario, as well as Lucina and Roy, share a common "parent" character in Mario and Marth respectively, both pairs can be considered semi-clones of each other.
  • The Fighting Mii Team operate like Mii Fighters but lack special moves like previous Enemy teams.

Cross-generation[edit]

Original Semi-clone Notes
Young Link Toon Link Both younger Links share very similar set of differences with Link - they are both smaller, faster, have less reach in their attacks, swords which make "smacking" sounds instead of "slashing" sounds for most of their attacks, can wall jump, and both have more controllable Boomerangs and multi-hitting Spin Attacks, while having a forward smash that is identical in function (both being true multi-hitting attacks). It is commonly assumed by players that Toon Link is simply an evolution of Young Link, in the same way that Link's design was changed between Melee and Brawl, with the differences between them (such as leg-based aerials being changed to sword attacks) being attributable to a decloning process rather than attempting to make a new Link variation from scratch. Notably, one of Toon Link's Custom Special moves in SSB4 is Young Link's Fire Arrow.

References[edit]

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