Representation of Pokémon Games with Stages in Smash [Part 1]
Warning: While most of the content in this article is factual, there is some mild speculation.
Pokémon is not just one of Nintendo’s biggest series, but a worldwide pop-cultural phenomenon. Due to the sheer size of the franchise, it is one of very few series that consistently receives more than one new stage in each iteration of Smash. I have already done stage analysis articles for both Mario and The Legend of Zelda, so it only makes sense to do one for the last of what is known as “The Big Three” by fans. Just as before with the previous analysis this article will be divided into two parts, with Part 1 featuring stages from Super Smash Bros., Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
Representation of Pokémon games with Stages in Smash [Part 1] (Smash 64, Melee and Brawl)
Representation of Pokémon games with Stages in Smash [Part 2] (Smash 3DS, Smash Wii U and Statistics, Trivia and Speculation) [Come back tomorrow!]
Super Smash Bros.
In the original Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo 64, there is only one stage for the Pokémon series, just like all series with stages besides Mario.
The sole Pokémon stage of Smash 64 is Saffron City from Pokémon Red and Blue (or to be more accurate, first appearing in the Japan-only Pokémon Red and Green). Unlike other series in Smash 64, Pokémon only had one main series instalment at the time, so there really wasn’t many other options to go with. Saffron City is one of the largest cities in the Kanto region and is home to the Silph Co. building, which was an important location in the game. The fight on this stage occurs high above the city on top of that particular building, with other tall buildings and some floating platforms making up the rest of the stage. Occasionally, the door on the right side of the Silph Co. building will open, from which a Pokémon will appear from and attack. These include the helpful Chansey, the fire-breathing Charmander, the explosive Electrode, fast-moving Porygon and the Razor Leaf-using Venusaur. In the background other skyscrapers and a mountain range can be seen, possibly Mt. Moon. The other skyscrapers are somewhat notable as in the games Saffron City’s Silph Co. building is the only tall building in the city. This could also possibly be a reference to the Pokémon anime, where Saffron City has plenty of tall buildings and skyscrapers as first seen in the episode “Abra and the Psychic Showdown”. The building on the left notably features a banner that reads “Gotta catch ’em all!”, which is the slogan of the Pokémon franchise. Pokémon can also be seen flying in the background on occasion, which include Butterfree, Pidgey, Fearow and the legendary bird Moltres. The theme for the stage is a remix of the Pokémon Main Theme, which first appeared on the title screen of the first Pokémon games and has continued to do so in every main series game since. It also takes some mild cues from the anime’s rendition of the theme.
With only one set of mainline Pokémon games out at the time, despite having only one stage Pokémon was pretty much able to represent the entire series. Generation II was almost a year away from release, and the only other Pokémon games around were the Japan-only Pokémon Stadium, Hey You, Pikachu! and the Pokémon Trading Card Game adaptation, none of which are really viable for a Smash Bros. stage setting. What is notable however is how the Pokémon anime is referenced in the game (something that doesn’t happen for other series regarding their animated adaptations), perhaps due to the anime’s popularity and relevance to the franchise as a whole. Bizarrely, the next iteration of Smash wouldn’t represent any specific games at all.
Pokémon Red and Blue/Pokémon Red and Green
Other media referenced:
Super Smash Bros. Melee
Like most series present in Super Smash Bros. Melee, Pokémon has two new stages to represent it. Most unusually however, is that neither of the two stages are actually based on any specific Pokémon title, and are instead both original creations that represent aspects of the series.
The first of Pokémon‘s two new stages is Pokémon Stadium. Despite the name, this stage is not based on the game Pokémon Stadium, and the name, while possibly a reference, might even be a just a coincidence. Set in the arena of a large stadium, the stage features a rather simple layout that periodically transforms into one of four different variations, each of which represents a different Pokémon type and changes the layout drastically, which will return back to the normal layout after a while. These types are Grass, Fire, Water and Rock, and the type which the stage will transform into is indicated by icons on the jumbotron in the background. The type transformations of this stage seem to be influenced by the Pokémon anime, where some arenas (such as the one that appeared in the Indigo League) had its terrain changed between battles. Another notable feature of the stage is that the large jumbotron in the background displays the names of fighters, the match time remaining and even footage of the very fight occurring. As with Saffron City, the main theme for this stage is the Pokémon Main Theme, this time heavily based on the anime’s rendition of it, but with some noticeable differences such as the inclusion of a choir. The stage’s alternate theme is known as Battle Theme; a remixed medley consisting of the Wild Pokémon Battle! theme, Gym Leader Battle theme, and Champion/Red Battle theme all from Pokémon Gold and Silver.
The second and unlockable Pokémon stage in Melee is Poké Floats. Taking place high above the skies of Kanto, the fight takes place on giant Pokémon-shaped platforms. Sakurai said the reason for the existence of this stage was because he wanted to see how many Pokémon he could fit into one stage. The stage starts on top of a Squirtle float’s arms and head, and the fight constantly moves from one Pokémon float to the next. After Squirtle comes Onix, followed by Psyduck, Chikorita, Weezing, Slowpoke, three Porygon, Wooper, Sudowoodo, Snorlax, Venusaur, Seel, Wobbuffet, a multitude of Unown, Goldeen, Lickitung, Chansey, and finally Geodude before Squirtle returns immediately after Geodude vanishes, causing the cycle of the stage to begin again. While these Pokémon all appear in order, some remain around longer than others do, while others appear very briefly. The Unown are particularly notable with how they continue to appear throughout the rest of the stage after they first appear until it reaches the start again. The models of the Pokémon floats are actually reused from the Pokémon Stadium games, some of which even display the same facial expressions and poses that they have in that game. In the background a mountain range can be seen, which is most likely either Mt. Moon or Mt. Silver. The song for this stage is a medley featuring remixes of most of the Trainer Battle theme as well as segments from the Gym Leader Battle theme and Wild Pokémon Battle! theme all from the first generation games, which caps off with one more part from the first song before looping.
Unlike last time, Pokémon fell behind in representing new games in the series despite the great head-start it had in Smash 64. The new second generation of Pokémon games Pokémon Gold and Silver were only referenced in stages through a song on Pokémon Stadium and balloons of Gen II Pokémon on the Poké Floats stage. In fact, no specific game was covered at all this time, with both stages being original creations set in the Pokémon world. While it did cover aspects of the series such as types and the monsters themselves, there was certainly a missed opportunity to show off any new interesting locales from the games. Still, the two stages we got are certainly memorable, one of which was expanded upon in the next game, and two new medleys gave us several battle songs from both generations of Pokémon, representing another core part of the series. Pokémon would fortunately return to having a stage based on a specific entry in the series in Brawl.
Pokémon Red and Blue/Pokémon Red and Green
Pokémon Gold and Silver
Pokémon Stadium (series)*
Other media referenced:
*Pokémon Stadium being referenced is somewhat debatable, as the name of the stage could easily just be a coincidence. Additionally, the reuse of models from Stadium in Poké Floats was most likely for saving time rather than a shout-out.
Carry on over to Page 2 for a look at the Pokémon stages in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.