Ice Climbers

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For fighter info, see Ice Climbers (SSBM), Ice Climbers (SSBB), and Ice Climbers (SSBU).
Ice Climbers
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IceClimberSymbol.svg

The in-game sprites of Popo and Nana from Ice Climber.

Universe Ice Climber
Debut Ice Climber (1985)
Smash Bros. appearances Melee
Brawl
Ultimate
Most recent non-Smash appearance WarioWare Gold (2018, cameo)
Console of origin Nintendo Entertainment System
Species Humans
Gender Male (Popo)
Female (Nana)
Place of origin Infinite Glacier
Designed by Tadashi Sugiyama
Voice actor Sanae Kobayashi

The Ice Climbers (アイスクライマー, Ice Climber) are the pair of playable protagonists from the game Ice Climber, released in the pre-Super Mario Bros. era of NES games. When playing a one-player game, the player plays as Popo (ポポ, Popo). When playing a two-player game, player two plays as Nana (ナナ, Nana). In the Super Smash Bros. series, the player controls Popo by default, and certain alternate costumes will make Nana the leading, player-controlled climber. The other climber is CPU-controlled and follows the leader in both movement and attacks.

In Smash, the CPU-controlled Ice Climber has his or her own separate percentage or stamina counter, though it is not displayed on-screen. This factor alone contributes to the Ice Climbers' extremely high learning curve, as players must ensure the safety of not one, but two characters at the same time.

Character description[edit]

Ice Climber was one of the first NES games that allowed for two people to play simultaneously. Its playable characters are two climbers wearing color-coded parkas; a boy in blue named Popo, and a girl in pink named Nana. The Ice Climbers are depicted with cute, super-deformed proportions, and in their original game, it is ambiguous whether they are children or adults. They both wield wooden mallets, which they use to whack enemies and break ice cubes. Since hardware limitations originally limited the climbers to simple 8-bit sprites, their appearance in Melee gave them more elaborate designs, sporting eyes and blushes similar to Kirby. The two were also given unique hairstyles so that they can be distinguished within their alternate costumes.

The relationship between Popo and Nana is unknown, and was not elaborated on in Ice Climber. Their Melee trophy mentions that they are "rarely seen apart", and in their codec conversation, Mei Ling says that the Ice Climbers have a "blood bond"—a bond so unfathomably strong that they would die for each other. Regardless, the exact nature of their relationship has never been directly stated in any media. Some insight can be gleaned through related material; a brief shot in the opening of Melee features Nana and Popo high-fiving each other, with a small heart emerging from where their hands meet, and the Japanese title of Event 21: Ice Breaker roughly translates to "Those Who Interfere People's Romance". The Japanese homepage for Melee, Smabura-Ken, refers to them as "more than friends and less than lovers".

In Super Smash Bros. Melee[edit]

As playable characters[edit]

Main article: Ice Climbers (SSBM)
The Ice Climbers as they appear in Super Smash Bros. Melee.

The Ice Climbers made their debut appearance in the Super Smash Bros. series as a dual-controlled pair of fighters. They (as a singular entity) are one of the 14 (15 if Sheik is counted) default characters available from the start of the game. They are ranked 7th on the tier list, in the B tier. They are infamously known in Melee for a strategy called "Wobbling," in which an Ice Climbers player can keep an opponent grabbed while dealing damage infinitely, leading to a single grab being an instant K.O.

They were selected over Balloon Fighter from Balloon Fight, the main character from Urban Champion, Bubbles from Clu Clu Land, and the Biker from Excitebike, to be representatives of the Famicom/NES period in Nintendo's history.[1]

Trophy[edit]

Ice Climbers
That's Popo in the blue and Nana in the pink. These two stars of the game Ice Climber have scaled many an icy summit in their mountaineering careers. Back in their glory days, they chased eggplants, cucumbers, and other vegetables that inexplicably fell from frosty summits when a condor reigned supreme. They're rarely seen apart.

  • Ice Climber, 10/85 (NES)

In Super Smash Bros. Brawl[edit]

As playable characters[edit]

Main article: Ice Climbers (SSBB)
The Ice Climbers, as they appear in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

The Ice Climbers return in Brawl, in which they once again act as a two-in-one fighter. Both Ice Climbers can now hang on a ledge at the same time and their down special in the air is no longer an auto-freeze. The Ice Climbers' Final Smash, Iceberg, consists of a large iceberg taking up a large portion of the screen. It deals damage and can freeze those on or near it. Players can still choose between Popo or Nana as the leader of the duo depending on which color of costume is chosen. The threat of the Ice Climbers' 0-death chain grabs puts them in 2nd on the Brawl tier list in S tier only behind Meta Knight.

Trophy[edit]

Ice Climbers trophy in Brawl.

Ice Climbers
The one in blue is Popo, and the one in pink is Nana. They use their incredible jumping powers and hammers to break blocks and climb to the summit. They grab veggies, and if they can catch the condor at the end, they conquer the mountain. Other than breaking blocks, their hammers are good for sending foes flying, climbing down from blocks, and destroying icicles.

NES: Ice Climber

Sticker[edit]

Name Game Effect Characters
Nana Ice Climber AttackSpecialsDirect+029SpecialsDirect.png Attack +29 Ice ClimbersIceClimbersHeadSSBB.png
Brawl Sticker Nana (Ice Climber).png
Nana
(Ice Climber)

In Super Smash Bros. 4[edit]

The Ice Climbers do not return as playable characters for Super Smash Bros. 4, though they do make a cameo as a collectible trophy. In a column for the Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu, Masahiro Sakurai stated that technical limitations of the Nintendo 3DS prevented their inclusion; the two were reportedly difficult to implement on the system, and since the characters were unlikely to have a new game in their series, Sakurai deemed the Ice Climbers low-priority characters. While they would have been fully functional on the Wii U, Sakurai decided to cut them in order to keep the playable roster between the games identical. [2]

Trophy[edit]

The Ice Climbers' trophy in Super Smash Bros. 4.
Ice Climbers
Ntsc This pair of adventurers starred in an action game released in 1985. Popo wears blue, and Nana wears red. The goal of their adventure was to reach the top of the mountain, collecting vegetables and defeating animals along the way. Grabbing the condor earned them a nice bonus too!
Pal Popo (in blue) and Nana (in pink) are the daring adventurers from the two-player platformer Ice Climber, released in Europe in 1986. In that game, your goal is to head up a mountain, breaking blocks and taking out pesky critters along the way. When you get to the top, you can collect veg and grab on to the condor to get bonus points! Nice!
NES: Ice Climber (10/1985)

In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate[edit]

As playable characters[edit]

Main article: Ice Climbers (SSBU)
The Ice Climbers as they appear in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

The Ice Climbers return as playable characters in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, after having been absent from Super Smash Bros. 4. Unlike their previous appearances in the series, they are unlockable characters. The Ice Climbers in Ultimate are considered to be nerfed, as they can no longer Wobble or Chain Grab, in addition to having relatively poor mobility and range. However they can still perform very complicated desync combos with very situational setup which can lead to a K.O. relatively early.

Spirits[edit]

Trivia[edit]

  • In both Melee and Brawl, the Ice Climbers appear to be left-handed, as they wield their hammers using their left hands. This is not the case in the in-game version of Ultimate, in which they are shown to be ambidextrous, though they appear to be left-handed in the artwork.
  • The Ice Climbers are the only characters to have been cut after appearing as playable in multiple Super Smash Bros. titles.
    • The Ice Climbers are one of two starter characters to be cut from Brawl to Smash 4, with the other being Pokémon Trainer.
    • The Ice Climbers and Snake are the only characters from single-character universes to not return until the sequel.
    • Nana is currently the only female character to have been cut in the series.
    • The Ice Climbers and Pokémon Trainer are the only cut veterans who have trophies in SSB4 that use their models from the previous Smash Bros. game.
  • The Ice Climbers are the first playable character whose name starts with a vowel.
  • In Germany, Popo is named Pèpè, as "Popo" can mean buttocks in German.
  • In terms of game releases, Nana is the oldest playable female character, being older than Peach who debuted in Super Mario Bros. 7 months later.
  • In Palutena's Guidance, Pit suggests that the Ice Climbers were kicked from Super Smash Bros. 4 for illegal teaming; while the duo worked fine on Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Sakurai was not able to get them to work in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS because of their mechanic.
  • Nana is the only character that can dash through characters in Ultimate.

References[edit]


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