Norfair (ノルフェア, Norfair) is a stage in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. It was confirmed by Masahiro Sakurai on the Smash Bros. DOJO!! on November 9, 2007. However, it was selectable for play in the Brawl demo available during many events in Q4 2007, being the only stage not announced for the demo.
Norfair has five small platforms in the air, arranged in a V formation, with a volatile sea of lava at the bottom of the stage. The pass-through platforms are ideal for characters with far-reaching ground attacks or for characters with a good air game/up special.
As the player fights on Norfair, lava will rise every so often and cover the platforms, similar to the acid in Planet Zebes in Super Smash Bros. and Brinstar in Super Smash Bros. Melee. It can rise to three different levels and causes strong fire damage, but prevents KOs via the lower blast line. Lava sometimes falls from the sides too - this hazard covers over half of the stage. A wave of lava will also appear from time to time, slowly approaching the stage from the background. When this wave forms, a safe area will pop up on a random platform, with the design based on the bubble doors from the Metroid universe. It is unnecessary to fight for this safe haven as all lava hazards can be dodged, air dodged, shielded, and perfect shielded with decent timing; players can also take advantage of invincibility frames from edge-grabbing the numerous platforms. The safe haven can also be a hindrance since characters can still be hit through the refuge by those on the outside. It is also possible with characters with many short jumps such as King Dedede, Kirby, Meta Knight, Pit and Jigglypuff to completely avoid the wave by jumping over it. If items are turned on, an item will always spawn in the safe zone after appearing. Sometimes, the safe zone won't open until after the lava wave hits. The final stage hazard of Norfair are the occasional showers of lava that spurt in an arc and land on the middle platforms, which are better avoided than shielded given the difficulty in determining where they will hit.
The omega form is the lower platform stretched out. Lava will not engulf the stage.
Currently, Norfair is officially ruled as a "counter-pick/banned" by the Brawl Smash Back Room, but is nearly universally banned in tournament play. Proponents of banning the stage claim that the increased number of edges promotes stalling the game by constantly alternating between edges for invincibility, and that the lava plumes provide an unnecessary degree of unpredictability. Those who believe the stage should be a counterpick insist that ledge-stalling is not that effective, and that the uniqueness of the stage is not brought down by the hazards, which can be defended against fairly easily. Regardless, the stage can assist characters who are easily gimped, since they are given more opportunities to grab an edge (especially tethers). In later Brawl tournaments, the stage has been banned much more frequently. It is also jokingly referred to as No(r)fair, regarding its legality.
In Smash 4, Norfair has seen no use at all in tournaments for the aforementioned reasons, with every major since Smash 4's inception banning the stage.
In the original Metroid for the NES, Norfair was one of the six areas Samus Aran had to venture through. It was situated at the lowest point of Planet Zebes and consisted of large, volcanic caves. Samus required numerous suit upgrades to be able to withstand the extreme heat. The area similarly appeared in Super Metroid for the Super Nintendo and retained most of the original characteristics. In addition, the volcano theme has recurred throughout the Metroid universe. The design of this stage resembles the Norfair in Super Metroid rather than the one in Metroid. In Metroid and Super Metroid, there are doors that open when damaged. In this stage those doors are for the entrance to the safe zone during the lava wave and they can also be seen in the background.
In Super Metroid's Norfair, there is a room which features rising lava. Samus has to try to get to the other side of the room, climb up platforms, and enter another room before the lava kills her. The rising lava in this stage could be a reference to the room with the lava continuously rising. Also, the idea of opening the bubble doors to escape from the lava could also be derived from this room.