While holding the B button, Bowser continuously exhales a stream of fire in front of him, which gradually decreases in length over time. In Brawl, the flames can also be angled up and down, and they will never completely recede, as they will in Melee, where Bowser will eventually begin to exhale smoke instead.
Bowser's ability to breathe fire has been demonstrated in many games he's appeared in, including his debut in Super Mario Bros., where he would shoot fireballs at Mario. These fireballs are also the inspiration for Fire Shot, one of his customizable moves in Super Smash Bros. 4. However, it wasn't until Super Mario 64 and many games after that he was shown to breathe continuous streams of fire.
The move's long duration is useful for staving off opponents and preventing their return to the stage. Unfortunately, an opponent using DI can escape the flames fairly easily in most directions. However, Donkey Kong in Brawl has no chance of recovering if this move is used in the correct spot. The fire will flow off of floors and walls, and can actually split in two directions, if the angle is perpendicular.
This special attack is shared by Giga Bowser, both in his boss appearance in Melee and in his playable appearance in Brawl and Smash 4. There is no time limit to how long the attack can be held in his Melee incarnation.
Special Move customization was added in Super Smash Bros. 4. These are the variations:
In NTSC versions 1.0 and 1.1 of Melee, Bowser can cancel the startup lag of this move if he lands during its initial frames, in a manner similar to the spacies' short hop laser. This technique is not possible with Bowser in the NTSC 1.2 and PAL versions, though strangely it remains possible with Kirby. Flame Cancelling results from the frame conversion between aerial and grounded Fire Breath. Thus, landing in general will trigger it.
Through Flame Cancelling, it's possible to get some unique movement with Bowser; including some options such as jumping from the ledge and initiating the tech. In this context, Bowser can get out of some difficult ledgetrap situations, which is vital given his large hurtbox. Given landing as a whole will cause a Flame Cancel to occur, it's possible to initiate it through dropping through platforms, simply landing with it, and more. As a result, there are a plethora of options the tech provides, giving Bowser an edge he otherwise wouldn't have.
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