Ice Climber (universe)
The Ice Climber universe (アイスクライマー, Ice Climber) refers to the Super Smash Bros. series's collection of characters, stages, and properties that hail from Nintendo's old, classic NES game Ice Climber, released in 1985. The game was one of several classic NES games that HAL Laboratory was considering bringing back to modern attention by including it in Super Smash Bros. Melee, and it won out over the other games to include the Ice Climbers as playable characters.
Interestingly, it has made two crossovers with the Balloon Fight universe: the alternate music for Icicle Mountain, simply called Balloon Fight, and the fish that is a regular enemy when the iceberg drops into the water in The Summit.
In January 1985, one of the various original video games developed by Nintendo's Research and Development division for the Japanese Famicom was Ice Climber, as part of a stream of similarly "one-shot" games released in rapid succession in late 1984 and early 1985 (other games included Clu Clu Land, Excitebike, and Balloon Fight, which incidentally was released just a week earlier). It was the first game programmed by Kazuaki Morita, who went on to become the main programmer of the industry-defining Super Mario Bros. later that year, and became a prolific programmer for multiple titles in the Mario and The Legend of Zelda series, as well as for Star Fox 64. Like the other aforementioned Famicom games released before the world famous debuts of the Mario and Zelda series, Ice Climber was not necessarily any kind of breakout hit, and was never chosen as a recipient for sequels or follow-ups. The game was also arguably overshadowed by Super Mario Bros. when both games were among the fairly extensive launch library for the Famicom's Western equivalent, the NES. Nonetheless, the game can be said to have a particularly significant background role in Nintendo's early release timeline because Morita described his work on the game as a "warm-up" before becoming a main programmer on Super Mario Bros.
A little-known arcade version of Ice Climber entitled VS. Ice Climber was released in North America in the October of the previous year, which included some different stages; exclusive level hazards and enemies; and other mechanic changes, but otherwise, Ice Climber remained an isolated, historical relic from the early years of the Famicom/NES. Sixteen years later, however, Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. crossover fighting game series selectively picked its main characters, the Ice Climbers, as a playable character choice representing an exclusively "retro" game series among a sea of Nintendo characters well-known in Nintendo's modern lineup of IPs. The appearance of the Ice Climbers in 2001's Super Smash Bros. Melee - which developer HAL Laboratory chose over other retro NES games such as Balloon Fight and Kid Icarus - spurred on multiple rereleases of their game in a variety of formats, such as for the e-Reader, a Game Boy Advance cartridge, the Virtual Console featured on the Wii; the 3DS; and the Wii U, and as part of the Switch's online service. The arcade version has also seen a rerelease as part of the Arcade Archives series. Despite the Ice Climbers reappearing in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, though, there have never been any announced plans to produce some kind of modern-day follow-up.
In Ice Climber, the player controls a child in a blue Inuit parka and wielding a mallet, Popo, and in a two-player cooperative mode, a second, female Ice Climber in a pink parka, Nana, becomes a simultaneous second player-character. The Ice Climbers are motivated into jumping up through vertical, platform-heavy "glacial mountain" stages when all of their vegetables are stolen by a giant condor that retreats to the top of each stage, and along the way, they must smash blocks of ice either by jumping into them from underneath or using their mallets. In addition to randomly forming ice stalactites that fall down from above, several varieties of enemies native to the mountains threaten to reduce an Ice Climber's limited stock of lives: a flying bird named the Nitpicker, an upright-walking Polar Bear that wears pink shorts and sunglasses, and a Topi, which was famously changed from a seal to a rotund, yeti-like creature in the Western version, perhaps to avoid potential accusations of endorsing animal cruelty (in that the game depicts humans bludgeoning live seals for a point reward). Furthermore, the arcade version includes two enemies which were omitted from the NES release: the Bee, which wields a spear and flies across the screen, and the Butterfly, which replaces the Condor in some levels. The upper half of every stage is an enemy-free "bonus" stage in which the Ice Climbers have the opportunity to navigate a tricky set of platforms, collect vegetables for points, and potentially jump up to and grab the condor's talons (or the Butterfly's feet in some levels in Vs. Ice Climber) at the mountain peak, all for a massive point bonus.
Ice Climber is a franchise first introduced in the Smash series in Super Smash Bros. Melee, and it features a standard universe's worth of content from the franchise.
Melee features one stage based on the Ice Climber game. Two other stages, however, were left unfinished, though their data is still on the disc.
Melee features some easily KO'ed enemies hailing from the Ice Climber universe.
Main article: List of SSBM trophies (Ice Climber series)
The Ice Climbers return in Super Smash Bros. Brawl with little changes made to them and their representation other than a huge graphical improvement and a new stage in place of Icicle Mountain.
Main article: List of SSBB trophies (Ice Climber series)
Main article: List of stickers (Ice Climber series)
Main article: Masterpieces
The Ice Climbers are not playable in Super Smash Bros. 4. Masahiro Sakurai originally planned to include them in the game, but ultimately removed them, as the Nintendo 3DS version did not have the power to run them, and Sakurai did not want the Wii U version to have an exclusive character. As such, all Ice Climber content is labeled under the "Others" category.
Main article: List of SSB4 trophies (Others)
Main article: List of SSBU Music (Ice Climber series)
There are no new Ice Climber tracks in Ultimate.
Arrangements and remixes from previous Smash games.
Main article: List of spirits (Ice Climber series)