Snake (スネーク, Snake), is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. He was unveiled at E3 2006 at the end of the Brawl reveal trailer. Snake is one of the two third party characters in Brawl, the other being Sonic. He is voiced by David Hayter in the English version, and by Akio Otsuka in the Japanese version.
Snake currently ranks 6th on the tier list (the second-highest ranked unlockable character). One of Snake's strongest attributes is his ability to quickly deal damage and camp with his explosives; his Hand Grenades come out on frame 1 and explode when attacked (providing him protection from some combos), dealing 13% each while producing very large explosions with high knockback. His Grenades, C4, and down smash mines provide excellent stage control and can make the stage very difficult for opponents to traverse without being damaged. Snake has fast and powerful neutral and tilt attacks, and his forward tilt, up tilt, down tilt, and neutral attack all have low startup and ending lag, good range, and deliver high damage and high knockback (in particular his up tilt), giving him a strong ground game. His disproportionately high weight, strong momentum cancelling abilities, and far-reaching recovery make him one of the most difficult characters to KO, especially vertically. Snake can also use his DACUS to approach easily and give him very fast movement speed across the ground (sliding a very large distance at a speed similar to Sonic's dashing speed). Almost all of his moves have high KO power, and he can set up tech-chases with his down throw that can deal lots of damage if he can read his opponent's actions. Snake is not without his flaws, however; his air game, due to his slow aerial attacks, fast falling speed, poor jumping height, and slow air speed, is among the worst in Brawl. Due to his poor mobility and air game, Snake is very vulnerable to being juggled (although using Grenades can remedy this to some degree), edgeguarded, and gimped; his Cypher recovery, while far-reaching, provides him very little protection from being edgeguarded. Because of his weight, he is also vulnerable to chain grabbing by characters such as Pikachu and King Dedede. Regardless of these flaws, Snake has strong matchups against most characters (being countered only by Pikachu and losing to only three other characters) and has been the second most successful character in tournaments after Meta Knight.
How to unlock
With the exception of the third method, Snake must then be defeated on Shadow Moses Island.
Despite not being as large as other heavyweights, Snake is a super heavyweight character; therefore, he has excellent momentum cancelling abilities, giving him high endurance, especially vertical endurance. In competitive play, it is not uncommon for skilled Snake players to survive until 200%. His high weight also allows him to trade blows with opponents at little risk of getting KO'd, particularly with his self-damaging explosives, as few characters can survive at KO percentages as high as he can.
Snake has one of the best ground games, with many attacks that are quick to come out and retain high KO potential. His neutral attack is fast, has good range, and is easy to connect, making it a very easy-to-use and effective combo move. His forward tilt is arguably the best in the game, with very low start-up, great range, high knockback, and monstrously high damage. His up tilt is the best in the game, as it not only has all of the characteristics of his forward tilt, but it also has deceptively high horizontal reach that makes it Snake's most reliable finishing option. Snake’s dash attack shares the speed of his tilts, and unlike most dash attacks, can KO at realistic percentages. Snake has the lowest crawl in the game, which allows him to dodge many projectiles and some melee attacks. Snake's down throw is considered to be one of the best in the game, as it forces his opponent into a tech chase, keeping the opponent close to Snake and in range of his deadly ground game.
His aerials are also not lacking in utility. Both his neutral and down aerials are tied for the second-most damaging aerial in the game, and each also does strong horizontal knockback on the last hit. His up aerial has long vertical range and knocks opponents vertically, granting it slight juggling ability. His back aerial is the same as his up aerial, but its hitboxes and angle are positioned horizontally, meaning it can be used to perform a wall of pain. Lastly, his forward aerial is completely unique, as it is a very strong meteor smash when sweetspotted, making it great at edgeguarding, while its sourspot deals marginally weaker vertical knockback that can KO aerial opponents reliably under 120%.
Snake is as deadly from afar as he is when close to his opponent, as he has the most projectiles in the game (practically, five, or seven when counting his Final Smash and taunt). His Hand Grenade is arguably his most versatile projectile, able to be used as a shield-dropped throwable item, a defensive option while shielding by damaging nearby opponents caught in the explosion, or a deterrence to opponents from approaching (unlike other throwable explosives, Grenades do not detonate on contact with enemy players). His up smash, the mortar, has the greatest vertical reach of any attack in the game. C4, the Remote Missile, and his down smash claymores act as great edgeguarders in conjunction with his forward aerial meteor smash and his back aerial.
Putting all of the above together leads to Snake's greatest strengths: his camping potential and defensive game, which are some of the best in the game. Since his projectiles can deter enemy approaches, they contribute to his already strong ground game. His up smash is known to have a great DACUS that lets Snake cover about half the length of Final Destination very quickly, compensating for his slow dash speed while at the same time releasing another explosive projectile onto the battlefield. His C4 has a variety of applications, aside from placing it on the stage itself as a defensive move, as it can be used in team battles to create a "suicide-bomber" (where the C4 is placed on a teammate like a Gooey Bomb), as well as being used on Snake himself to regain his recovery move, the Cypher. Nearly all of his projectiles can be used for edgeguarding.
On the downside, Snake suffers from severe mobility problems, particularly in the air. He has a high falling speed and high weight, which makes him extremely vulnerable to juggling and chain grabs, although his Hand Grenade, which comes out on frame 1, can ameliorate this. Although all of his aerials deal both high damage and knockback, they have long ending and landing lag, making them very punishable if missed. Being multi-hit attacks, his neutral and down aerials can be escaped by players with good SDI, which prevents him from getting the last hits on the attacks with strong knockback while also leaving him open for punishment. Snake also has the slowest ground jump in the game (10 frames). With the disadvantages of having a fast falling speed, very slow ground jump and long start-up, ending and landing lag in his aerial attacks, Snake has one of the worst aerial games (although his aerials themselves are stronger than his tilts) which makes him vulnerable to counter-picking on stages like Rainbow Cruise and Norfair where he is forced to attack in the air.
Snake also has difficulty recovering, especially from below the stage, as Cypher is very slow and predictable. The inability of the Cypher to deal damage to edgeguarding opponents leaves Snake vulnerable to meteor smashes when recovering. Snake's high falling speed also shortens his recovery potential. However, Snake can strategically damage himself with a C4 dropped in the air to allow him to use Cypher again, making his recovery nearly infinite. Also, grab releasing him (even with special grabs such as Wario's Chomp) after he has used his Cypher but before he has landed on the stage will make him lose his Cypher, which forces him to detonate C4 to attempt to recover again.
*A reference to the Metal Gear Solid "game over" screen
In competitive play
According to the current SmashBoards matchup chart, Snake's matchup spread has the seventh highest unweighted rank and the eighth highest weighted rank. Snake's matchups are overall very positive. He is only countered by Pikachu, soft countered by Meta Knight, Olimar and King Dedede, and has even matchups with seven characters. He soft counters twelve characters, counters seven characters, and hard counters six characters. Snake's ability to camp and to have great stage control with his explosives are very effective, and along with his fast, powerful, and greatly ranged ground moves, helps him have favorable matchups against most of the cast. Being a super heavyweight and having fast falling speed acceleration, he tends to be a target to characters who can chain grab fast fallers well, such as Pikachu, who can repeatedly use its down throw and forward throw on him and can finish with a Thunderspike, and King Dedede, who has an infinite chain throw on Snake with his down throw (however, the infinite without a wall requires a buffered pivot grab which is extremely difficult to consistently perform). With his recovery being predictable, which makes him easy to edge guard, and his slow and sluggish air game, characters who have a great air game and who can gimp well, such as Meta Knight, have an advantage over him.
Tier placement and history
At the very beginning of Brawl, Snake was seen as a mid-tier character due to his slower speed and laggy attacks. However, with the quick discoveries of multiple techniques as well as his very high and disjointed power, Snake skyrocketed to being a top tier. Snake was ranked 2nd on the tier list shortly after Brawl's release, right below Meta Knight, although some believed that he was 1st instead; Snake was one of the most commonly used characters at tournaments, and it was not uncommon for the top-placing players to all use Snake. However, as Snake's vulnerability to juggling and gimpable recovery became exploited, and other characters' powerful abilities were discovered, Snake has fallen to 6th place. Despite this, he is still in the top tier and has been the second-most successful character in tournaments after Meta Knight, often allowing many players to believe he should be ranked higher, and above Marth.
Role in The Subspace Emissary
Snake has stowed away somewhere on the Halberd, hiding inside a cardboard box. When his time comes, Snake emerges from his box and begins to investigate, but when he sees Lucario and Meta Knight, he hides again inside his box. Lucario sees through the box by looking at his aura and pulls off Snake's disguise. Snake is surprised to see that he has been discovered (an exclamation point appears above his head along with the Metal Gear "Discovery" sound) and quickly assumes a fighting stance.
Meta Knight is glad to oblige, when Lucario senses security Primids coming from the corridor behind him, so they end up forming a partnership with Snake. After battling through the onslaught of Primid, Snake and the others meet up with Zelda and Peach. Shadow bugs make clones of Peach and Zelda, which the trio fights. The princesses are freed and Snake tells them to stay, but they went out against his order (Zelda turns into Sheik to hide from him). Later, Snake, Lucario and Meta Knight find the bridge of the ship and are surprised to see a group of Mr. Game & Watches are controlling the ship. Snake and Lucario throw all of the Mr. Game & Watches out of the window, and they all land on the front deck. The Mr. Game & Watches revert into Shadow bugs and combine into a giant metallic monster called Duon. Lucario, Snake, and Falco join Fox, Sheik, and Peach to battle and defeat the monster. Snake shows up with everyone else at the Entrance to Subspace and, like everyone else, he is turned into a trophy by Tabuu's off waves. He can be revived by collecting his trophy in Subspace (Kirby portion), making him eligible for the final battle against Tabuu.
Snake is one of the few characters in the entire SSE storyline to have dialogue. When he reveals himself, he states to the player "Kept you waiting, huh?". This is a reference to the fact that he was seen earlier in the storyline in his box during the epilogue of The Forest. At the same time, it's also a direct reference to both Snake and Naked Snake's lines in the beginnings of Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3. Both games were eagerly anticipated by fans. Naked Snake's line also plays on the fact that MGS fans were excited to find that the main character of MGS3 was to be a Snake, after being disappointed with Raiden's appearance in the previous game.
The following stickers can only be used by Snake:
In Event Matches