Adventure Mode: The Subspace Emissary (亜空の使者) is a mode in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, similar to Melee’s Adventure Mode. It was hinted at with the This world..., Dojo update on July 20th 2007, and fully unveiled on August 3rd of the same year.
On July 20th, Smash Bros. DOJO!!! was updated with a collection of enigmatic images that depicted Mario and Kirby transforming from trophies into fighters (akin to the introduction of Melee). After Kirby's apparent defeat at the hands of Mario, he is changed back into a trophy, but Mario reverses the transformation and Mario and Kirby shake hands. However, the sky darkens soon after, and Meta Knight’s ship, the Halberd, flies over the stadium, soon followed by the appearance of a mysterious character. The screen shots were accompanied with this description:
In this world, trophies fight. They know nothing but fighting. Fighting is the sole reason for their existence. Being turned back into a trophy, being unable to fight, is much like death. Those are the rules of this world. But...When someone...or something...breaks those rules, the world will pay a terrible price...
The post was placed under a mode referred to as “???” until August 3rd, when it was changed to "Adventure Mode." On August 3rd, Smash Bros. DOJO!! was updated again. This time, more information was given. The mode was dubbed “The Subspace Emissary,” and a multitude of screenshots were shown, as well as a cutscene related to the “This World…” update. In the cutscene, Mario and Kirby were seen shaking hands, as depicted in the screenshots, and after waving to the crowd, the Halberd appeared as it did in “This World…” The mysterious character from before was shown to be one of apparently many odd, robot-like creatures formed from some sort of shadowy matter. Princess Peach and Princess Zelda were seen watching from the sidelines, but rushed down to the middle of the stadium to assist Mario and Kirby in fighting the mysterious army. After Peach and Zelda reach the stage and help destroy the Primids, an entity from the sky called the Ancient Minister appears on the stage. The Ancient Minister drops a Subspace Bomb on the arena, then flies off. As Mario approaches the bomb, he is hit by a cannonball and is sent flying from the arena. Petey Piranha appears and captures Peach and Zelda in cages.
The various screen shots in the update depicted a multitude of new enemies, as well as a few familiar ones, such as a Hammer Bro, who was previously confirmed as an Assist Trophy, and Bullet Bills. There were also a new series of enemies that were introduced that are part of the Subspace army. Some enemies of the Subspace army appear to be helpful while other ones are dangerous.
Multiple stages are in Subspace. If more than two are listed, that means there are more parts of the story there. They are listed by order:
|#||Stage||Playable Characters||Characters Who Join|
|1||Midair Stadium||Mario, Kirby, Peach, Zelda||Kirby, Peach/Zelda|
|2||Skyworld||Mario, Pit||Mario, Pit|
|3||Sea of Clouds||Kirby, Peach/Zelda||N/A|
|4||The Jungle||Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong||Diddy Kong|
|5||The Plain||Mario, Pit||N/A|
|6||The Lake||Diddy Kong, Fox||Fox|
|7||The Ruined Zoo||Lucas, Ness, Pokémon Trainer||Lucas, Pokémon Trainer|
|8||The Battlefield Fortress||Marth, Meta Knight, Ike||Marth, Meta Knight, Ike|
|9||The Forest||Link, Yoshi||Link, Yoshi, Toon Link*|
|10||Research Facility I||Zero Suit Samus, Pikachu||Zero Suit Samus, Pikachu|
|11||The Lake Shore||Mario, Link, Yoshi, Kirby, Pit||N/A (Rescued Princess leaves)|
|12||The Path to the Ruins||Lucas, Pokémon Trainer||N/A|
|13||The Cave||Mario, Link, Yoshi, Kirby, Pit||N/A|
|14||The Ruins||Lucas, Pokémon Trainer||Wolf*|
|15||The Wilds I||Marth, Meta Knight, Ike||N/A|
|16||The Ruined Hall||Lucas, Pokémon Trainer||N/A|
|17||The Wilds II||Mario, Link, Yoshi, Kirby, Pit||N/A|
|18||The Swamp||Diddy Kong, Fox, Falco||Falco, Jigglypuff*|
|19||Research Facility II||Zero Suit Samus, Samus, Pikachu||Samus (Zero Suit Samus can still be selected by highlighting Samus & pressing form change button)|
|20||Outside the Ancient Ruins||Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong, Captain Falcon, Olimar||Donkey Kong, Captain Falcon, Olimar (Fox & Falco leave)|
|21||The Glacial Peak||Meta Knight, Ice Climbers, Lucario||Ice Climbers, Lucario|
|22||The Canyon||Mario, Link, Yoshi, Kirby, Pit||N/A|
|23||Battleship Halberd Interior||Meta Knight, Lucario, Snake||Snake|
|24||Battleship Halberd Exterior||Peach, Zelda||Peach/Zelda|
|25||Battleship Halberd Bridge||Peach, Zelda, Fox, Falco, Lucario, Snake||Mr. Game & Watch|
|26||Subspace Bomb Factory I||Samus, Pikachu||N/A|
|27||Subspace Bomb Factory II||Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong, Captain Falcon, Olimar, Samus, Pikachu, R.O.B.||R.O.B.|
|28||Entrance to Subspace||Mario, Donkey Kong, Link, Samus, Zero Suit Samus, Yoshi, Kirby, Fox, Pikachu, Captain Falcon, Peach, Zelda/Sheik, Ice Climbers, Marth, Mr. Game & Watch, Falco, Meta Knight, Pit, Olimar, Lucas, Diddy Kong, Pokémon Trainer, Ike, Lucario, R.O.B., Snake||N/A (All fighters leave)|
|29||Subspace I||Luigi, Ness, King Dedede||Whoever is saved in the Subspace Emissary, Luigi, Ness, King Dedede, Bowser|
|30||Subspace II||Kirby||Whoever is saved in the Subspace Emissary, Wario (if trophy is saved), Ganondorf (if Link and Zelda trophies are saved)|
|31||The Great Maze||Mario**, Donkey Kong**, Link**, Samus/Zero Suit Samus**, Yoshi**, Kirby, Fox**, Pikachu**, Luigi, Captain Falcon**, Ness, Bowser, Peach**, Zelda/Sheik**, Ice Climbers**, Marth**, Mr. Game & Watch**, Falco, Ganondorf**, Wario**, Meta Knight**, Pit**, Olimar**, Lucas**, Diddy Kong**, Pokémon Trainer**, King Dedede, Ike**, Lucario**, R.O.B.**, Snake**, Sonic||Sonic|
The Subspace Emissary mode is a side-scrolling adventure in the style of a platformer, inspired by the Mario and Kirby games. However, it retains all basic mechanics of the Super Smash Bros. series, such as a damage meter, stocks, and Smash-style attacks. It can also be classified as a beat 'em up; often stages will pause at specific points and force the player to defeat all opposing enemies, which prevents one from simply running through everything. To incorporate the Smash Bros. mechanic of ring-outs with the scrolling-camera nature of platformers, the camera slows down in tracking tumbling players as damage increases.
The mode features a world map where stages are selected; once a stage is selected, the difficulty can be chosen, and the character(s) will enter the stage. The selectable characters will change depending on the plot. There is also a two-player option.
In the two player option, the first player must be present or have stock left, otherwise the game will offer a continue, regardless of whether the second player still has a stock or is alive (though when the second player runs the stock out, the first player can continue without him/her). The second player also has the option to warp to the first player (except in boss battles) by pressing the button that would normally pause the game. In addition, the first player has priority over the screen (unless it is scrolling), making it possible that the second player gets run off the screen if the players are not coordinated. In addition only the first player can navigate through doors (though the second player can still utilize keys).
When playing a level for the first time, many cutscenes will pause just before gameplay begins, showing a view of all available characters. A message will display how many stock the level allows, and a cursor will appear that allows choosing which characters to play. The order characters are chosen in is the order they will appear: they will cycle through in that order until all stock is depleted. Playing through a level again, there will be a screen before the level allowing choosing between any available characters instead of cutscenes during the level. This can be both an advantage and a disadvantage: there is a wider character variety to choose from, but one cannot (for example) choose only three characters for a four-stock stage. Additionally, no mid-level cutscenes will play, including ones that would normally allow a re-pick of characters which replenishes stocks. While on many levels this makes little difference, it is very problematic on long stages like the second Subspace Bomb Factory, where a replay provides only a fraction of the stock originally given.
The physics of many (if not all) characters are also tweaked slightly. In general, characters run slower, fall faster, and jump better than in brawls. Move mechanics are not altered, although the differing jump heights, jump timing, and gravity will change how effective aerial attacks are. The most significant change is the removal of stamina from Pokémon Trainer's Pokémon, which allows one to use one Pokémon exclusively. Characters are also able to swim for significantly longer. Characters retain their standard physics in boss battles.
In addition, grabbing mechanics are altered. Normal enemies cannot be held onto for any length of time; they will be thrown immediately after being grabbed, making it impossible to pummel them. This means that choosing which throw to use must be done with the Control Stick during the grab animation; inputting no direction will result in a forward throw (with the exception of Donkey Kong, who cannot carry enemies, and instead will utilize his up-throw). Special moves that involve grabbing will fail to grab; such moves have extra Subspace Emissary-only hitboxes (for example, Egg Lay will deal 13% damage, while Pikmin will deal damage when thrown). Bosses and large enemies cannot be grabbed, however Big Primids can be grabbed effectively. None of these changes apply when facing an opposing Fighter, though Kirby will be unable to copy their abilities.
Like other single-player modes, one can select different difficulty levels to play the Subspace Emissary. At the creation of a new game file a "default" difficulty is selected from Easy, Normal, Hard, Very Hard, and Intense. Stages normally use this default difficulty (which cannot be changed), although the difficulty of a stage can be altered before it is begun. The game keeps track of the hardest difficulty level each stage has been cleared at, and when a stage is selected, it suggests a difficulty higher than the highest completion level.
As one selects higher difficulties, the game makes these adjustments:
- Enemy health goes up, sometimes considerably.
- Enemies move and attack faster; especially noticeable with the vulnerability period of large enemies and bosses.
- Some enemies use different attacks.
- Enemies and obstacles do more damage and have more KO power.
- Some enemy hitboxes are slightly bigger.
- Enemies are harder to flinch.
- Enemies generally get smarter (such as attacking more often, or Bytans duplicating nonstop).
- More (and sometimes more dangerous) enemies appear during locked battles.
- Trackballs lose energy faster.
- Auroros can't be thrown as far, making it more difficult to use them against other enemies.
- Less favourable items appear, although more plentiful and stronger healing items appear when enemies are defeated.
- Stock Balls may get rarer (or, in the case of Very Hard and Intense, not exist).
- Barrel Cannons, Slide Launchers, Minecarts, and other vehicles (such as the orange platforms in The Research Facility) move faster, therefore being harder to control.
- Auto-scrolling areas scroll faster.
- Moving walls, floors, and ceilings move faster, making characters more easily crushed.
- Platforms move or fall faster.
- Bomb block explosion chains move faster.
- The effects of temporary switches last shorter.
- Wind speeds increase (including the wind from a Borboras), sometimes to nonsensical levels.
- Keys break easier.
- More, better, and rarer stickers appear.
- More collectibles (CDs, trophies, stickers) appear.
- More trophy stands appear (they appear early in boss battles-including Petey Piranha, Rayquaza, Porky, Galleom, Ridley, Duon, Meta Ridley, and Tabuu even before they are on low stamina).
- More coins are given at the end of each level.
See Also... Plot summary of The Subspace Emissary
These battles are fought with the bosses having a specific amount of health; once their health runs out, they are defeated.
- Petey Piranha (fought by Kirby)
- Rayquaza (fought by Fox and Diddy Kong)
- Porky (fought by Ness and Lucas)
- Galleom, Part 1 (fought by Marth, Ike, and Meta Knight)
- Galleom, Part 2 (fought by Lucas and Pokémon Trainer)
- Ridley (fought by Samus and Pikachu)
- Duon (fought by Fox, Falco, Lucario, Snake, Peach, and Sheik/Zelda in a party of 4)
- Meta Ridley (fought by Samus/Zero Suit Samus, Pikachu, Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong, Captain Falcon, Olimar, and R.O.B. in a party of 4)
- Tabuu (fought by King Dedede, Luigi, Ness, Bowser, Kirby, Sonic and any rescued characters in a party of 6)
Due to these battles being against Fighters or slightly modified versions of same, they are fought like regular brawls.
- Kirby/Mario-(fought by Mario/Kirby)
- False Bowser-(fought by Diddy Kong and Fox)
- False Zelda/False Peach-(fought by Mario and Pit/Link and Yoshi)
- Link/Mario and Yoshi/Pit-(fought by Mario/Link and Pit/Yoshi (1 is CPU controlled unless Co-op Mode))
- Wario-(fought by Lucas and Pokémon Trainer)
- Charizard-(fought by Ivysaur, Lucas, and Squirtle)
- Giant False Diddy Kong-(fought by Falco, Diddy Kong, and Fox)
- 2 False Samuses-(fought by Zero Suit Samus and Pikachu)
- Lucario/Meta Knight-(fought by Meta Knight/Lucario)
- False Peach and False Zelda-(fought by Meta Knight, Lucario, and Snake)
- Bowser-(fought by King Dedede)
- All Bosses and Clones of all characters but Sonic and below characters (fought by any characters rescued in Subspace in a party of 4)
- Toon Link-(fought by 1 character that entered the Forest) (optional)
- Wolf-(fought by 1 character that entered the Ruins) (optional)
- Jigglypuff-(fought by 1 character that entered the Swamp) (optional)
Note: When only one character is available to fight a boss or mini-boss in Co-op mode, the second player plays as a color change of that character.
Other special enemy battle
- Porky Statue (The Ruined Zoo)
The vast majority of character interaction in the Subspace Emissary takes place through gestures and expressions, augmented by short grunts or exclamations. The only spoken words besides a quick "Hey!" or "Yeah!" are those that are a distinctive part of a character's attacks, like PK Thunder or Falcon Punch, or taunt-like sounds that have been put in key places. The only character who speaks in more than one cut scene is Pikachu. In Jigglypuff's only scene the crowd chants, making them the only non-playable characters to say a line.
Only one character in all of the Subspace Emissary ever speaks in a full sentence; in 'Battleship Halberd Interior', Solid Snake, after revealing himself to the player, directly says to the player, "Kept you waiting, huh?"
Similarities to Kirby Super Star and other Kirby games
Because the Kirby and Smash Bros. games were both developed by Masahiro Sakurai, The Subspace Emissary contains gameplay elements similar to the sub-games of Kirby Super Star and other elements from Kirby games. One should keep in mind that the Kirby series and Smash Bros. franchise are two different things.
- The Halberd plays a very strong role in both games, and in both, it's destroyed and crashes in the ocean.
- Being chased down by the Pig King Statue is similar to being chased down by the Heavy Lobster (including the enemy, activating switches, the foe destroying anything in its path and a small delay from the foe).
- Both feature cart rides and special devices that propel characters forwards. The latter's design and function comes directly from KSS. Additionally the slide launchers puts characters in a shield position, just like in Kirby Super Star.
- The Space Jump is just like how P2 from Super Star comes back to P1.
- The final boss (Tabuu) teleports around the stage repeatedly (a common feature in most final bosses in Kirby games, such as Marx and Nightmare).
- Bosses from the Kirby games, such as Dyna Blade and Marx, have similar moves to bosses in Brawl, such as Ridley and Tabuu.
- The Subspace Emissary has a map that allows the player to re-enter a stage anytime they want, this was also in Milky Way Wishes.
- Golden boxes are inspired from the treasure chests from Great Cave Offensive; in both games, when the player takes the prizes, it will not appear again.
- Bosses do not flinch.
- Enemies cannot survive underwater; they will be KO'd immediately upon touching it.
- Jyks are similar to Kirby's Gordos, they sit and some move in a repeated pattern, invincible and have spikes.
- The planet Floria in Milky Way Wishes has a similar concept to the day-changing doors, except that it has four rooms and they are based on seasons instead of day and night.
- King Dedede first appears to be evil but later turns out to have good intentions in most Kirby games.
- All the Kirby characters play a significant role in the game.
- Destroys the Subspace Gunship
- Frees a good fraction of the Fighters turned into trophies by Tabuu
- Meta Knight:
- Retakes the Halberd
- King Dedede:
- His Dedede brooches
- Stole Wario's cargo & trophies
- Also frees a good fraction of the Fighters turned into trophies by Tabuu (helped by Luigi & Ness)
- Moreover, there are a few others who played big roles.
- Was under the guise of the Ancient Minister and its kin lead the Subspace Bombs.
- Mr. Game & Watch:
- Shadow Bugs were extracted from him, creating the Subspace Army.
- Lead his army, used a Dark Cannon, and worked under Ganondorf.
- Lead the attack on the Subspace Bomb Factory and worked under Master Hand's orders.
- Went around attacking fighters using his Dark Cannon and collecting them as trophies with his Dark Cannon until King Dedede stole his cargo & trophies.
Gameplay differences from other modes
Despite characters using the same moves and using much of the same engine as in the other modes of Brawl, the overall feel of the Subspace Emissary differs from that of ordinary brawls. For instance:
- When charging Rocketbarrel Boost, Diddy Kong will continue to drop downwards, while in a normal brawl, he would be briefly suspended in the air.
- The running speed of most characters has been altered; slower characters now dash faster, and faster characters dash slower.
- The Stamina mechanic of the Pokémon Trainer's Pokémon does not exist.
- The jumping ability of some characters is altered, either buffing or nerfing a character's aerial prowess. This can easily be seen with Jigglypuff, who now has a very poor vertical recovery, while in ordinary games, it's very long and effective. Some Up B attacks have also had their recovery capabilities nerfed, such as Wings of Icarus.
- Everyone can swim considerably longer in any of the bodies of water the player can find.
- In the Subspace Emissary, the player cannot get Star KO'd - the player crashes past the top of the screen, leaving behind the colourful explosion. Players, however, are still Star KO'd or Screen KO'd in ambushes, boss battles and against Subspace clones.
- Mario and Kirby fighting might be a reference to the Super Smash Bros. intro, which Mario and Kirby are seen fighting in a field. Another similarity is to the opening of Super Smash Bros. Melee, which included a Mario trophy "coming to life" as it lands in a stadium; in the same opening sequence, one of the competitors in the stadium was Kirby.
- It is possible to complete the Subspace Emissary using as few as twelve characters: Kirby, Pit, Lucas, Marth, Zero Suit Samus, Snake, King Dedede, Diddy Kong, either Link or Yoshi, either Olimar or Captain Falcon, Meta Knight, and either Peach or Zelda.
- If the player chooses to play as Kirby in the Kirby vs. Mario match at the beginning of the Subspace Emissary, once the player defeats him, there will be an error in the cutscene which shows Mario turned into a trophy: While the left eye of Mario's trophy is present, the right eye is missing. In all other cutscenes which show Mario's trophy, though, the right eye is present.
- If no trophies are rescued in Subspace, the player will still have six characters to choose from in The Great Maze: Ness, Luigi, and Kirby are revived by the Brooches, King Dedede is revived by Luigi and Ness, Bowser is revived by King Dedede, and Sonic appears at the very end of the Great Maze.