Super Smash Bros. series

Alternate costume

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Four of Mario's alternate costumes in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
Mario and Greninja with their alternate costumes in SSB4.
All eight of Steve's alternate costumes; three replace him with Alex, and the last two are a Zombie and an Enderman.

In the Super Smash Bros. series, each character has a set of alternate costumes (officially known as color changes[1], color variations, or costumes[2]). Alternate costumes are sometimes known as palette swaps, alternate colors, or just colors. In addition to changing the appearance of characters, they distinguish players from other players using the same character. For Team Battles in Super Smash Bros, Super Smash Bros. Melee, and Super Smash Bros. Brawl certain costumes also distinguish teams. In Super Smash Bros. and Melee, most characters have purely color-based alternate costumes, while Brawl, Super Smash Bros. 4, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate introduce a number of alternate costumes which change outfits and even swap out characters entirely.

Selecting costumes[edit]

In standard free-for-all matches, players can choose their character's costume on the character selection screen. Players cannot pick the same costume if they are using the same character. Every character has at least four costumes to choose from, one being their default costume and the rest being their alternate costumes. Starting from Brawl, randomly chosen characters may also have a random costume. Starting in SSB4, the standard amount of alternate costumes for each character is eight.

For Team Battles in Super Smash Bros., Melee, and Brawl, there are three teams: red, green, and blue. As such, each character has red, green, and blue costumes that double as team colors. Some characters' default costumes also represent a team color; for example, Mario's default costume is red, so he wears his default costume when fighting on a red team. In the original Super Smash Bros., some costumes are only usable in Team Battles, such as Samus and Captain Falcon's blue costumes and Mario, Kirby, Donkey Kong, and Captain Falcon's green costumes. Yoshi has six colors; green (default), red, light blue, and yellow are selectable normally, while dark blue and pink are only seen in the Yoshi Team. In Brawl, Wario has 12 alternate costumes with six color variations of his WarioWare costume and his classic overalls. Each variation has red, green, and blue colors usable for Team Battles, making Wario the only character in Brawl with two color choices when on a team.

If two or or more characters share the same alternate costume in Team Battles or online multiplayer, the second player will have a lighter tint in their appearance. A third player uses a darker tint, and in Melee, a fourth is completely black, while in Brawl, a fourth is a darker tint than the third player. In Melee, data suggests that a fifth player would be completely gray. This aspect was slightly altered in Ultimate, where if multiple players (up to a maximum of four) use the same color through Tourney Mode, their character will have a specific color filter depending on their port number: Player 1 has a red filter, Player 2 has a blue filter, Player 3 has a yellow filter, and Player 4 has a green filter.

In SSB4 and Ultimate, due to the increased number of possible players with introduction of 8-Player Smash, players can choose from four different teams. Teams are indicated by a red, green, blue, or yellow outline around the character (rather than using matching alternate colors for red, yellow, blue, or green), so players can choose whichever alternate costumes they like in Team Battles.

Mii Fighter colors match their colors chosen in Mii Maker. Players can unlock or download different outfits and headgear to select for their Mii Fighters to wear. Some outfits are only available for certain Mii Fighter types, and some outfits have minor differences depending on the gender of the Mii Fighter. Each Mii Swordfighter and Mii Gunner outfit comes with a differently designed sword or gun, though they all function the same. Identical Mii Fighters do not bear any visual differentiation.[3]

Costume appearances[edit]

The appearance of alternate costumes for the majority are simple change in hue, but some alternate costumes have more pronounced changes, like adding new patterns, textures, pictures, and text, and even the addition of accessories. Generally, alternate costumes reference the character's earlier or alternate renderings, such as Mario's "Jumpman" blue or Luigi's "Fire Flower" costume. They may also reference other characters, like Peach's "Daisy" alternate costume, Captain Falcon's "Blood Falcon" alternate costume, or Lucas's "Claus" alternate costume. A small number of costumes reference other costumes within in the Super Smash Bros. universe, such as Melee Jigglypuff's blue bow from the original Super Smash Bros., Pikachu's goggles previously worn by Pichu in Melee, and R.O.B.'s "R.O.B. Launcher" green.

Starting in SSB4, it has become more common for alternate costumes to use entirely unique models, which may include a different outfit, voice, sounds, and for some characters, gender. A few characters have alternate costumes that change the entire identity of the character, such as Olimar switching to Alph, although gameplay-wise, they are exactly identical to their base character. The Ice Climbers are a unique case in that their alternate costumes determine whether Popo or Nana is controlled by the player.

List of alternate costumes with model changes[edit]

  • Bayonetta: Bayonetta has four costumes based on her appearance in Bayonetta 2, where she wields Love is Blue, and another four based on her appearance in the original Bayonetta, where she wields Scarborough Fair. The sounds their guns make are different, as they are in the Bayonetta series.
  • Bowser Jr.: All seven of his alternate costumes are the seven Koopalings, all who ride mass-produced Junior Clown Cars. They have their own unique announcer calls, crowd chants, voices, and, in Ultimate, use their wands in place of Bowser Jr.'s hammer.
  • Cloud: Cloud has four alternate costumes based on his appearance in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, with him wielding the Fusion Swords instead of the Buster Sword; two of these cover his Geostigma-infected left arm with a sleeve, and the other two reveal his left arm sans sleeve with Aerith Gainsborough's ribbon wrapped around it. From version 10.1.0 of Ultimate onward, Advent Children Cloud uses Omnislash Ver. 5 as his Final Smash, which is identical to his standard Omnislash other than its aesthetics.
  • Hero: There are four versions of the Hero, each with two color schemes, representing four different protagonists from different Dragon Quest games. The default is from XI and the others are from III, IV, and VIII.
  • Ike (Ultimate): Ike uses his Path of Radiance appearance by default, and his Radiant Dawn appearance as alternate costumes. His voice has a slightly lower pitch in his Radiant Dawn costume. Both of his designs have four colors each.
  • Isabelle: Half of Isabelle's costumes use her long-sleeved Winter outfit.
  • Joker: Joker has two alternate costumes based on his Shujin Academy school uniform. He removes his glasses as opposed to his mask when summoning Arsene.
  • Kazuya: Kazuya has four alternate costumes for which he wears a suit and trenchcoat, based on his default appearance in Tekken 7.
  • Link (Ultimate): Link has alternate costumes where he wears the Tunic of the Wild from Breath of the Wild, which closely resembles his classic design. Additionally, both his Champion's Tunic and Tunic of the Wild have four colors each.
  • Little Mac: Little Mac has alternate costumes that use his wireframe model which was used in the original arcade Punch-Out!. He also has an alternate costume that uses his pink sweatsuit, as well as another alternate costume with wireframe Mac wearing a green sweatsuit. In Smash 4, Little Mac had 8 costumes for both regular and wireframe versions, giving him the most alternate costumes ever among all characters with a total of 16. However, Ultimate removed half of his costumes, including all but two of his "wireframe" costumes, leaving him with just 8.
  • Mario (Ultimate): Mario has a costume where he wears his wedding tuxedo from Super Mario Odyssey, and another which uses his builder outfit from Super Mario Maker. They appear to have replaced his Wario- and Fire- based costumes in previous games.
  • Meta Knight (Ultimate): Meta Knight's Galacta Knight-inspired costume slightly alters his model, removing the vertical ridge on his mask to accommodate for textural differences that better resemble his inspiration.
  • Mii Fighters: Unlike all the other characters, the Mii Fighters have customizable designs comprising of unique headgear and outfits allowing the player to customize their designs, instead of simply just recoloring their clothing.
  • Olimar (SSB4, Ultimate): Four of Olimar's alternate costumes replace him with Alph. Alph has his own unique announcer call and crowd chants.
  • Pac-Man: Five of his costumes have the Wing Shoes power-up from Pac-Land. Six of them add a colored armband.
  • Peach (Melee): Unlike in Brawl and SSB4, where her Daisy costume is simply a recolor of Peach with Daisy's colors (such as having long hair and gloves, while Daisy's hair and gloves are shorter), Peach's Daisy costume in Melee is an exact re-creation of Daisy's design at the time, aside from the bangs.
  • Pikachu, Jigglypuff and Pichu all wear colored hats and accessories instead of significantly changing color, although some of the former two's costumes still resemble their Shiny forms.
  • Piranha Plant: Piranha Plant has alternate costumes where it is in a Warp Pipe, whereas its default costume is in a flower pot.
  • Ridley: Ridley has two alternate costumes that use his Meta Ridley form.
  • Sephiroth: Sephiroth has two costumes with his coat and top off, referencing his appearance in the final fight of Final Fantasy VII.
  • Shulk: Shulk has an alternate costume based on his swimsuit armor set from Xenoblade Chronicles.
  • Sonic: All of his costumes have different modeled cuffs.
  • Sora: All of Sora's alternate costumes in Ultimate are based on how he appears in the various iterations of the Kingdom Hearts series.
  • Steve: Three of Steve's alternate costumes replace him with his female counterpart, Alex, who has thinner limbs in comparison. The last two costumes are Zombie and Enderman, the latter of which uses even thinner limbs. However, because Steve's simplistic design relies on textures for most of its detail, the rest of his palette swaps are more substantial than simple color variations.
  • Villager, Inkling: These characters have male and female variants, as well as additional changes between outfits, like hair and clothes. Villager's outfits are retextures of either a shirt or a dress, while Inkling has entirely different outfits for all variants. It should be noted that Inkling has different voice clips between the two genders, while Villager remains muted.
  • Wario: Wario has alternate costumes that use his classic overalls. His was the first instance of a major alternate costume change and the only such one in Brawl. Both his biker and classic outfits had six different colors each in Brawl, while both SSB4 and Ultimate reduced the number of colors each to just four.
  • Wii Fit Trainer, Robin, Corrin, Pokémon Trainer (Ultimate), Byleth: These characters have male and female variants as alternate costumes, which also results in new voice lines and different announcer calls in certain languages. The Pokémon Trainer's female variant doesn't affect the actual Pokémon, however. Additionally, both genders have four different color costumes each.
  • Zero Suit Samus (SSB4, Ultimate): Zero Suit Samus has two alternate costumes based on the crop top and shorts worn in the endings of Metroid: Zero Mission and Metroid Fusion.

Trivia[edit]

  • While visually most alternate costumes are simply different textures on the same model, mechanically they are all independent models, even if identical. File replacements can exploit this quirk to replace alternate costumes with unique models.
  • The average number of alternate costumes per character is roughly 4 in Super Smash Bros., 5 in Melee, 6 in Brawl (excluding Wario, who has 12), and a standard 8 per character in SSB4 (excluding Little Mac, who has 16) and Ultimate.
    • Ultimate is the first game where all characters (not counting the Mii Fighters) have the same number of alternate costumes.
    • Wario (in Brawl) and Little Mac (in SSB4) are the only characters who have ever had more than 8 alternate costumes.
  • In Ultimate, the game loads default costume character portraits on the character selection screen first, and then loads alternate costume portraits in character order. This can result in characters' alternate costume portraits not being displayed for several seconds, as the game is still loading them.
  • Peach is the first non-Pokémon fighter to sport an alternate costume that changes their appearance altogether instead of simply just changing their colors, although only in Melee.
    • Mewtwo is the first playable Pokémon whose alternate costume simply just changes its colors.
  • In Melee, each of Captain Falcon's costumes slightly changes his character model's width, minutely affecting when he collides with stage elements and gameplay.[4]
  • In SSB4, Dr. Mario, Dark Pit, and Lucina were originally intended to be alternate costumes for Mario, Pit, and Marth, respectively. However, they were separated into different characters once they were given differentiating gameplay characteristics.[5]
  • In SSB4, Alph was intended to be a clone of Olimar, complete with the ability to pluck and command Rock Pikmin. In the final game, however, Alph became a model swap for Olimar.[6]
  • In Brawl, there is a glitch that allows the player to use the same costumes as each other offline.[7]
  • Zelda is the only fighter to sport an alternate costume that would inspire their default design in a subsequent game. In this case, in SSB4, her Twilight Princess incarnation from Brawl returns, but now has an alternate color based on her incarnations in A Link to the Past and A Link Between Worlds, which eventually became her current design in Ultimate. Consequently, her Twilight Princess incarnation is relegated to simply a basis for an alternate color in Ultimate.
  • Yoshi is the only fighter to sport an alternate costume based on a then-upcoming game, being his Yoshi's Crafted World alternate costume in Ultimate, which replaces his black costume from SSB4.
  • SSB4 is the only game where the entire playable cast from Super Mario 3D World (excluding Toad, who is part of Peach's Toad move) has alternate costumes based on the Fire forms from that game.
  • Ike, Little Mac, and Bayonetta are the only characters whose sound effects and voice clips (specifically in the Japanese version for Bayonetta) change depending on the costume but do not change into separate individuals.
  • Wario in Brawl, and Cloud, Bayonetta, Joker, Sephiroth, Kazuya, and Sora in all of their appearances are the only characters who have different artwork for their alternate costumes, but do not change them into a separate individual.
  • Wii Fit Trainer, Inkling, Ike, Byleth and Pokémon Trainer are the only characters to have alternate costumes with different animations. Pokémon Trainer and Byleth's alternate costumes have different idle animations, victory poses, and taunts; Inkling has an altered idle animation, victory pose, and Screen KO; Ike has a different clapping animation, and Wii Fit Trainer has a different hitstun animation.
  • Ike and R.O.B. are the only characters whose default costume became an alternate costume in a later installment.
    • This is not counting characters such as Ganondorf, Wolf, and Zelda, whose former default costumes are now alternate palettes rather than costumes. Additionally, R.O.B.'s default costume remains unchanged in Japanese versions of SSB4 and Ultimate.
  • R.O.B. is the only character whose default and alternate costume are switched depending on the language, although not in Brawl: in Asian languages, his default is based on the Famicom variant and the first alternate on the NES variant, in Western languages, it's the other way around.
  • Pikachu, Jigglypuff, Mewtwo (in Melee), Squirtle, Ivysaur, and Incineroar's alternate costumes include one color based on their Shiny forms. The other playable Pokémon (Pichu, Charizard, Lucario, and Greninja) do not have a shiny-based alternate costume.
    • Greninja does have a black alternate palette that slightly resembles its shiny form; however, Shiny Greninja's tongue is red rather than orange, and Shiny Greninja also has a pure black skin instead of retaining Greninja's yellow-side coloration by default.
  • Jigglypuff's alternate costumes are unique, in that two of them feature models that do not originate from the Pokémon universe: one of its Melee costumes uses the model of Peach's crown, while another costume introduced in Brawl uses the model of Kirby's Sleep cap.
    • Additionally, Pichu's green Melee costume has a model that resembles the backpack of Ness.
  • Link is the only fighter to sport an alternate costume that inspires a Kirby hat: in Ultimate, Link's Hero of the Wild costume is used for Kirby's Link hat rather than the Champion's Tunic.
  • Ganondorf and Ike are the only fighters to have their initial design in their debut appearance removed in the next game, only to eventually have their prior designs reverted back to being the default in yet a later game.
  • Cloud is the only fighter to have a different attack depending on their costume.
  • Discounting Bowser Jr. and Hero (whose alternate costumes consist of different characters), Sora is the only character with more than two poses for his alternate costumes.

See also[edit]

References[edit]