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Giga Bowser (SSBM)

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This article is about Giga Bowser's debug-playable appearance in Melee. For the character in other contexts, see Giga Bowser.
Giga Bowser
in Super Smash Bros. Melee
Symbol of the Smash Bros. series.
Universe Super Smash Bros.
A boss in Melee
Availability Hacking
Tier Banned

Giga Bowser (ギガクッパ), is an unplayable character in Super Smash Bros. Melee and only playable via hacking. He has no voice actor, but uses pitched-down versions of Bowser's voice clips from Mario Kart 64.

When playable, Giga Bowser is considered to be one of the strongest characters in the game, expressed as such by notable players like Mew2King.[1] This is primarily because of his Whirling Fortress equivalent being intangible from frame 1 to 26 which, with extremely strong KO potential, makes it very difficult to pressure him. He notably has a better jumpsquat than Bowser, jumps higher, is invulnerable to being grabbed, and has vastly better hitboxes. However, with extremely high weight, once launched, Giga Bowser can struggle mightily against characters like Jigglypuff, in this case being one of the easiest characters to land Rest against in the game. He also has a very poor wavedash and has such slow aerials that conventional techniques like SHFFLing and l-canceling don't really benefit him that much.

In the event of winning in VS Mode or Special Smash, without additional modifications, Giga Bowser crashes the game upon the results screen being reached, due to lacking a winning animation. Losing allows the game to progress, where the game erroneously calls him Sheik.


Giga Bowser can be played as using the following Action Replay codes and choosing any character on the Character select screen. Alternatively, he can be enabled with Debug mode.

Player Slot NTSC PAL
4 ? TUPY-68YM-U4E5W
? N56B-3DN2-A0XDQ


Giga Bowser is the heaviest character in Melee, with zero contest. Thus, he is the best beneficiary of crouch canceling, and this allows him to make use of his frame 1 intangible Whirling Fortress with relative impunity. This makes numerous combos fail against him while giving him supreme out of shield game. It's even boosted by his 20 units of knockback-based armor, making weak hits glance off and allow for a quick punish. Giga Bowser's gigantic size also gives him incredible reach, even with his average movement capabilities. Thus, Giga Bowser can keep opponents at more than an arm's reach with ease, allowing for edge guarding without even going off-stage. Furthermore, it is notable that Giga Bowser possesses all the tricks that give Bowser his modicum of playability: He is capable of Fortress hogging just like the original, giving him bursts of movement, the ability to retreat to ledge, and, of course, ledgehogging to prevent recovery. This culminates into a strong defensive character that's difficult to contest in any capacity.

While forced into a defensive game plan, Giga Bowser's KO power is no joke, with his up tilt, Koopa Klaw back throw, and up smash all having incredible damage and knockback growth. Furthermore, Koopa Klaw's forward throw can confirm a devastating up aerial for some early percentage combo utility and swift KO confirms. With his massive threat zone, it's fair to call Giga Bowser very explosive.

Due to Giga Bowser's low base knockback on his attacks, as well as iffy frame data, his combos are limited. This makes building damage somewhat difficult, often goading him into a war of attrition to start out. However, what's truly the Achilles's Heel of Giga Bowser is his frame data. While Whirling Fortress is his fastest move at frame 1 and has intangibility, it also has 40 frames of endlag after its last hitbox goes away, leaving him fairly open to punishes if he can't fortress hog. Outside of this, his fastest moves are a frame 7 up tilt and jab, the latter of which isn't always safe on hit. All of his aerials are sluggish, with 45 landing lag (22 with l-canceling), leaving his fastest aerial from the ground being a neutral or forward aerial at frame 14. Ergo, Giga Bowser is extremely punishable if the opponent can get in, and once launched, due to this, his size, and extreme weight, he's not difficult to combo. His vertical recovery, much like the original Bowser, remains weak, capped out by his high double jump and Whirling Fortress, the former of which is easily taken away.

Ultimately, Giga Bowser is a very strong character, often overwhelming characters by virtue of his extreme statistics that make him almost impossible to launch and more than capable of retaliating in turn. Whirling Fortress thoroughly centralizes his kit and makes for, true to his size, a gigantic improvement to the original Bowser.

Version history[edit]

Giga Bowser performing a Flame cancel in version 1.0 of Melee.

NTSC 1.02



For a gallery of Giga Bowser's hitboxes, see here.

  Name Damage Description
Neutral attack   5% Giga Bowser slashes with his left claw, and then his right claw. Resembles a swiping action he performs in Super Mario 64. Some KO potential at higher percentages. One of the few moves Giga Bowser has that's on par with Bowser's respective move.
Forward tilt   13% Giga Bowser leans forward and throws a backhanded punch that can be angled up and down. Thanks to its sheer range, it can easily hit off-stage opponents. The attack is based on the second hit of his Drill Claw attack in Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars.
Up tilt   13% Swats the air above him with his left claw. Strong combo starter and kill tool, with wide range to act as an anti-air. Much weaker than Bowser's up tilt.
Down tilt   10% (hit 1), 9% (hit 2) Giga Bowser slashes along the ground with his claws. While not reliably connecting, it's more reliable than Bowser's by sheer hitbox size. However, unlike Bowser's down tilt, it lacks KO power (Bowser's can KO at around 150%, while Giga Bowser's cannot KO until about 260%). Can reach very far off-stage thanks to Giga Bowser's size.
Dash attack   13% (clean), 10% (late) Giga Bowser charges and slams on the floor. Has a very large hitbox and can combo into up tilt at later percentages.
Forward smash   20% (explosion), 16% (elsewhere) An explosive headbutt with a very large hitbox, but half a second of start-up lag. Among the strongest attacks in the game.
Up smash   20% (leap), 17% (landing), 12% (Landing) Giga Bowser leaps upwards with his shell, with an electric effect. Because of how high he leaps, this allows Giga Bowser to rise to higher platforms, such as those on Yoshi's Story. Upon landing, there's a hitbox that can launch players up and occasionally leave room for follow-up attacks.
Down smash   2% (hits 1-6), 10% (hit 7) Giga Bowser spins in his shell, with a freezing effect. The angle of knockback and freezing effect can lead to extremely early KOs, or even follow-ups against opponents with poor mashing skills.
Neutral aerial   13% Giga Bowser spins in his shell with an electric effect. Tied with forward aerial for his fastest aerial at frame 8, and makes for a strong landing tool with occasional combo utility. Like Bowser's neutral aerial, it lacks KO power.
Forward aerial   13% (left claw), 11% (left arm), 11% (right shoulder, unused) Giga Bowser slashes forward in midair. It has good knockback and good damage output throughout, which makes it a very viable edgeguarding and KOing option thanks to his massive range. Weaker than Bowser's. If edge canceled, it can lead into a grab. Due to a programming error, the second and third hitboxes (arm and right shoulder) share the same hitbox ID (1), so this renders the right shoulder hitbox effectively unused.
Back aerial   12% Bowser thrusts his shell backwards. It is a viable edgeguarding option due to being a semi-spike. Unlike Bowser, Giga Bowser's has no weak hit.
Up aerial   17% Giga Bowser whips his head above him horizontally. Among the slowest aerials in the game, but also extremely powerful, KOing opponents at extremely low percentages (exactly on par with Bowser's up aerial for the most powerful up aerial in the game). Additionally, if landed at a low percentage, another is possible to confirm; it's also possible out of a Koopa Klaw forward throw.
Down aerial   3% (hits 1-9) Giga Bowser retreats into his shell and spins while facing upside-down. Does a lot of damage if all hits connect, but has low knockback, connects unreliably, and can lead to a self-destruct if used offstage due to its long duration and Giga Bowser's weak recovery. Unlike Bowser's, it lacks a landing hitbox.
Pummel   3% Headbutts the foe. Moderately slow.
Forward throw   10% Giga Bowser throws his foe forwards; some KO potential.
Back throw   10% Giga Bowser throws his foe backwards. KO potential is good enough to be a threatening option near the ledge.
Up throw   1% (hits 1-8), 2% (throw) Giga Bowser throws his foe upward a short distance and on his shell, doing damage to the opponent while spinning with an electric effect. Unlike Bowser's, it doesn't have set knockback, but can still chain grab fast fallers like Fox and Captain Falcon.
Down throw   12% (hit), 0% (throw) Giga Bowser throws his foe on the ground and slams them. It has a hitbox which lasts for one frame and deals a rather high 12%. The throw itself deals no damage. Can set up a tech-chase. In NTSC 1.02 and prior, it does not work against Mr. Game & Watch and Jigglypuff.
Floor attack (front)   6% (2 hits) Giga Bowser leaps forward to strike with his head, then back to kick behind, and finally gets up into standing position.
Floor attack (back)   6% (2 hits) Giga Bowser gets up while swinging his right hand around.
Edge attack (fast)   8% Quickly spins onto the stage, then retreats back a bit. Gigantic range and fast start-up makes it one of the strongest ledge attacks in the game.
Edge attack (slow)   10% Slowly climbs onto stage and does a quick claw swipe.
Neutral special Fire Breath 2% Giga Bowser lets out fiery breath that unlike the originals, doesn't wear out over time. However, it suffers from similar drawbacks, such as being easily SDIed and having a 30 frame endlag penalty once usage is over. In NTSC 1.0 and 1.1, it has a unique advanced technique called Flame canceling. This attack has transcendent priority.
Side special Koopa Klaw 12%/10% (slash), 8% (bite capture), 4% (bite pummel), 6% (release), 4% (forward throw first hit) 11% (forward throw second hit), 10% (back throw) Giga Bowser swipes his claw, trying to grab the opponent. Once grabbed, B can be pressed to repeatedly bite the victim; however, if done too quickly against some characters, the bite will repeatedly fail to connect. Forward and back throws are available, with the former being a combo starter and the latter being an extremely strong KO tool. If the grab fails to connect, there is also a strong swipe hitbox that can KO opponents off the top blast zone. Excellent as a 50/50 against shielding opponents.
Up special Whirling Fortress Ground: 15% (hit 1), 5% (hits 2-5), 3% (hits 6-11)
Air: 10%/13%/13% (hit 1, depending on position), 3% (hits 2-5), 2% (hits 6-11)
Giga Bowser retreats into his shell and spins. Intangibility on frame 1 makes it extremely hard to contest; if grounded, Giga Bowser can swiftly move around the stage and hit whoever is in his way, allowing for an easy path to the ledge. In the air, it's a serviceable recovery tool, primarily horizontal, and its large hitboxes make it hard to stop without disjoints.
Down special Bowser Bomb 25% (drop) If used on the ground, Giga Bowser jumps up into the air, then plummets back down to the ground in a stall-then-fall, damaging anyone who's in the way and landing with an earthquake hitbox. If used in the air, the move functions the same, except there is no initial jump. Once falling, Giga Bowser can grab the ledge at any point, making for a decent tool in disadvantage with precise play.

Announcer calls[edit]

Giga Bowser has English and Japanese unused announcer calls, which can be accessed if made selectable on the character select screen.


  • Rears his head back and roars, in a pitched-down Bowser voice.
Giga Bowser-Taunt-SSBM.gif

Idle pose[edit]

  • Similar to his taunt, only slower. Leans back and roars, exhaling steam from his mouth.
Giga Bowser Idle Pose Melee.gif

Crowd cheer[edit]

Giga Bowser will use Bowser's crowd cheers.

English Japanese
Description Bow-ser! Bow-ser! Kooo-pa!
Pitch Male Male

In competitive play[edit]

Fighters only playable through hacking are generally banned in competitive play, and Giga Bowser is no exception. As with all unplayable characters of this nature, in the past, for Giga Bowser to be played on a wide scale, it required every setup to have cheats installed. Given the game is susceptible to crashing if Giga Bowser wins, it would require re-enabling these cheats with every reset, delaying the set and the event as a whole. While this has been alleviated with advancements in Melee modding, the requirement for mods to be installed on every setup presents logistical issues that tournament organisers have to handle in addition to technology like UCF, which isn't always affordable.

Logistical issues aside, Giga Bowser is seen as the poster child for banned characters due to his overwhelming characteristics, namely Whirling Fortress's spammable nature and it being nigh impossible to punish. Possessing full-body invincibility frames, easily travelling to the ledge, and having a huge hitbox, it is very difficult for most characters to even contend with the move. The inability to grab Giga Bowser also makes his shield game extremely potent, not only forcing engagement with Whirling Fortress, but also making for one-sided matchups against characters like Sheik and Marth. These two traits come together to make Giga Bowser's matchups extremely linear, boiling down to how well a character can pressure his shield before the situation resets. However, some players argue that Giga Bowser would be balanced, with Jigglypuff and Peach arguably mauling him. Additionally, some players cite Giga Bowser's poor performance at a disadvantage, chiefly his huge size and weight, make him much more balanced than he appears.

Nevertheless, coupled with the extent to which Giga Bowser could negatively affect the Melee metagame, the difficulty in modding setups is not considered to be worth it by tournament organisers. Ergo, Giga Bowser is an extremely rare sight in competitive play.

Despite the ban, out of all unplayable characters in the franchise, Giga Bowser has seen some of the highest levels of experimentation and discussion regarding a potential unban, with content creators like wusstunes covering the debate in recent times. Giga Bowser has been playable in some lower-level tournaments, such as Man on a Ledge #322 by Gumball and East Coast Smash Sundays #10 by DarkGenex. Giga Bowser also saw unintentional appearances in early versions of Project Slippi's ranked mode through hacking, but this was eventually patched out.

In 1-P Mode[edit]

In Adventure Mode[edit]

Bowser's trophy returns to face the Ice Climbers one last time.

In Adventure Mode, Giga Bowser initially appears as Giant Bowser, fought on the last stage, Stage 12: Final Destination. If the player defeats Giant Bowser on Normal difficulty or higher, after seeing Classic Bowser's trophy fall off the stage, it will rise again, be struck by lightning, and transform into Giga Bowser. He must be defeated, wherein his trophy will fall off-stage once more and break apart on the floor.

In Event Matches[edit]

Giga Bowser makes the following appearances in the following event matches:


Giga Bowser trophy from Super Smash Bros. Melee.
Giga Bowser's trophy in Melee
Giga Bowser
An even more imposing figure than the original King of the Koopas, Giga Bowser is roughly twice the size of his scaly, fire-breathing, spike-studded Super Smash Bros. Melee counterpart. Predictably, this monstrous creature's offensive and defensive powers are a grade higher than those of regular Bowser. Good luck defeating this colossus!
Super Smash Bros. Melee (12/01)



Left: Bowser after eating a Super Mushroom standing across from a normal sized Giga Bowser. Right: Giga Bowser after eating a Poison Mushroom standing in front of a normal sized Bowser.
Size comparison between Giant Bowser vs Giga Bowser, and Bowser vs Tiny Giga Bowser
  • Giga Bowser is as large as a Giant Bowser, while with a Poison Mushroom effect, he is as large as a regular Bowser.
  • Due to his size, Giga Bowser's down throw will not work against Pichu, even in the PAL versions; changing Giga Bowser's size to 0.5 will make it work correctly.