Within the video game community, PAL is a term used to refer to the region of Europe, Asia (minus Japan), Africa, most of South America, and Australia. The term comes from the analog television encoding system Phase Alternate Line, which was the primary method of encoding analog TV for these parts of the world.
Today, PAL is most commonly used as shorthand for "the European version of a game". Historically, Europe is usually the third and final region for games made in Japan to be released, as games have to be translated into several languages, a process that takes both more time and more space than the NTSC region. In addition, due to cultural differences, the English translation cannot always be simply copied from the American version of the game. As a result, PAL releases were often the final version of the game, with all known bugs fixed and possibly significant changes added, at least prior to the adoption of online play requiring copies of the games to be compatible with each other.
Summary of PAL releases of the Super Smash Bros. series
Super Smash Bros.
The original Super Smash Bros.'s PAL release is not notably different than its NTSC-U version, retaining all its changes while slightly buffing or nerfing a few characters. PAL systems only run at 50 hertz as opposed to 60 hertz on NTSC systems. Despite this, the game has been optimized to run at a similar speed as the NTSC versions. There are two separate PAL releases; an Australian and a European release. The European version has language options for French and German, and Link differs between the two PAL versions. Link was rebalanced in both versions, with Link being nerfed in the Australian release and buffed in the European release compared to his NTSC-U counterpart.
Super Smash Bros. Melee
The PAL version of Melee used the NTSC 1.2 version as its base, but then added balancing changes to several characters, resulting in dramatic metagame differences between the two regions. For example, Falco's down aerial can no longer spike opponents during the late hit, and so is harder to use effectively. Fox, Sheik, and Marth have also been nerfed in notable ways.
While the game still plays in 50 hertz by default, the PAL version can be played in 60 hertz by holding the B button during the boot-up of the game.
It should be noted that many of the PAL version's attributes—such as Falco's down aerial and the semi-spike being removed from the entirety of Link's Spin Attack—are used in all versions of Brawl. As a result, it appears that the developers used the PAL version of Melee as the base when developing Brawl. Some changes however (such as the reduced damage on some attacks and Marth's reduced weight) were not carried over to Brawl but instead kept their NTSC values.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
In order for cross-region online play to be possible, most of the differences between versions of Brawl are purely aesthetic, though they are still encoded differently. However, Masterpieces are slightly different in the PAL version, running at 50 hertz as opposed to the NTSC version's 60 hertz, thus making them slightly slower.
Super Smash Bros. 4 / Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Neither version of Smash 4, nor Ultimate, use analog connections; as such, the gameplay is identical in both the PAL and NTSC versions of these games, again accommodating for cross-region multiplayer. However, the PAL version of Smash 4 uses a variety of different names for characters, moves, and items, most notably Duck Hunt Duo, Mii Sword Fighters, Housewarming Party, Duck Jump Duo, and (in both Smash 4 and Ultimate) the Football. Some names and voices are also changed on the Spanish and French languages between both regions. In addition, both Wii Fit Trainers have different voices in the PAL versions, and completely different translations are used for incidental text such as trophy descriptions. Masterpieces, however, are now identical to the NTSC version, running at 60 hertz. As the Nintendo Switch is region free, Ultimate essentially only has one version, with all of its regional differences built into the cartridge.