This article is about Bowser's appearance in Super Smash Bros. Melee. For other uses, see Bowser.

Bowser (クッパ, Kuppa: Koopa), is a character in Super Smash Bros. Melee and is available from the start. Announced at E3 2001, a stronger form of Bowser also appears as the "final" boss in Adventure Mode. His design is based off Super Mario 64.

He is currently ranked 24th in Melee' tier list, located on the G tier. This is due to his large size and weight, making him extremely easy to combo. His moves are also sluggish, and although he does have a projectile, it does not help him against foe's projectiles, particularly Falco or Fox's lasers.


Bowser is the heaviest and largest character in the game. This means that it takes many hits to KO Bowser, but landing those hits is easy, although having by far the largest shield in the game can help this problem. As one would expect from a large heavyweight, Bowser has very powerful, yet very slow, attacks. In the air, Bowser's Forward Aerial has great power, and his Up Aerial is one of the most powerful Aerial Attacks. However, all of his aerial attacks are laggy if not L-canceled.

Bowser has decent range and large hitboxes for most of his moves, but his standing grab range is awful, resulting in a terrible shield grab. Bowser's Side Special Move, Koopa Klaw, can grab opponents and throw them with 1.3 times the normal throw power, or can slash opponents, which launches them into the air. Bowser is relatively slow on both the air and the ground, and his wavedash is very slow and near useless (except when used as a waveland) due to his very slow jumping. In fact, this very slow jumping and landing animation is one of the major (if the not the biggest) reasons he is so slow.

Bowser has good edgeguarding tactics (e.g. Fire Breath), but a lot of his KOs are dependent on his ability to edgeguard opponents, which means they must first be off the edge. Bowser's Up Special Move, Whirling Fortress, is useful and very fast. However, like Donkey Kong's Spinning Kong, it mostly only goes horizontally and has poor vertical recovery. Bowser's Neutral Special Move, Fire Breath, acts as Bowser's projectile. However, Bowser lacks a reliable way to deal with opponents' projectiles.

What really hurts Bowser the most, however, is combos, or susceptibility to thereof. Bowser is one the easiest characters (if not the easiest character) in the game to combo, due to being large, extremely heavy, and falling relatively quickly. He also has very poor combos, and the few combos that he has only work on three characters, are not guaranteed (they can be escaped with proper DI), and are generally only two hit combos. Having such problems with combos are truly problematic at high level play.


Ground Attacks

  • Neutral Attack - Bowser scratches with his left claw, and then his right claw. Noticeable killing potential at higher damages. 8%-11% damage when both hits connect.
  • Forward Tilt - Bowser hits with his knuckle. Has a bit of start up lag and little range, but high priority and fairly good knockback for a tilt. 6%-14% damage.
  • Down Tilt - Bowser slashes along the ground with his claws. Two hits. First hit doesn't have much knockback, and the second hit is fairly slow. 7%-22% damage.
  • Up Tilt - Bowser claws upward. Good knockback, good for setting up combos. 7%-11% damage.
  • Dash Attack - Bowser charges forward. Decent knockback, but easily countered due to starting and ending lag. 6%-11% damage.
  • Forward Smash - Bowser rears back for a short moment, and hits incredibly hard with his head. Very high damage and knockback, though suffers from a lot of lag in general. Strongest Smash Attack in the game. 24% uncharged, 32% fully.
  • Down Smash - Bowser spins around in his shell, doing great damage with multiple hits from his spines. Subpar range, can be DI'd out of, and has noticeable ending lag, but still powerful nonetheless. 1%-27%, depending on number of hits.
  • Up Smash - Bowser jumps upward, hitting with his spikes. A powerful attack in general. 19% uncharged, 27% fully.
Other attacks
  • Ledge Attack - Swings many times inside his shell forwards to the stage. 8% damage.
  • 100% Ledge Attack - Gets up and swipes. 10% damage.
  • Floor Attack - Bowser shortly gets up and swipes in front, then gets back down for a second before thrusting both his feet out. A laggy attack. 6% damage.

Aerial Attacks

  • Neutral Aerial - Bowser spins around in his shell. Low knockback, but long duration. 7%-13% damage.
  • Forward Aerial - Bowser slashes forward in midair. Good knockback and edgeguarding option. 9%-14% damage.
  • Back Aerial - Bowser hits backward with his shell. Great knockback, good edgeguarding option when used in a SHFFL or ledge hop. 8%-13% damage.
  • Up Aerial - Bowser hits upward hard with his head. Very high knockback, but one of Bowser's slower moves. It is the most powerful Up Aerial, and one of the most powerful aerials in the game, being the 2nd strongest overall and stronger than Ganondorf's Down Aerial on grounded opponents. 9%-17% damage.
  • Down Aerial - Bowser spins downwards, hitting with the spikes on his shell. Not much knockback or damage, small hitbox, but releases a shockwave upon hitting the ground. 1%-15%, depending on number of connecting hits.


  • Pummel - Headbutts foe. 2-3% per pummel.
  • Forward Throw - Bowser throws his foe forward. KO's at high percents. 5%-10% damage.
  • Back Throw - Bowser throws his foe backward. 5%-10% damage.
  • Up Throw - Bowser throws his foe upward a short distance and on his shell, doing damage to the opponent while spinning. 5%-9% damage.
  • Down Throw - Bowser throws his foe on the ground and lands on them with tremendous force. 6%-12% damage.

Special Moves

Bowser's Special Moves
Melee Brawl SSBWU/3DS Ultimate
Standard Special Fire Breath
Side Special Koopa Klaw Flying Slam
Up Special Whirling Fortress
Down Special Bowser Bomb
Final Smash Giga Bowser Giga Bowser Punch


  • Bowser roars while facing upwards. The roar hails from Super Mario 64.


Super Smash Bros. Melee Character Matchups
  Fox Head 01 (SSBM)Falco Head 01 (SSBM)Marth Head 01 (SSBM)Sheik Head 01 (SSBM)Jigglypuff Head 01 (SSBM)Peach Head 01 (SSBM)Ice Climbers Head 01 (SSBM)Captain Falcon Head 01 (SSBM)Pikachu Head 01 (SSBM)Samus Head 01 (SSBM)Dr. Mario Head 01 (SSBM)Yoshi Head 01 (SSBM)Luigi Head 01 (SSBM)Ganondorf Head 01 (SSBM)Mario Head 01 (SSBM)Young Link Head 01 (SSBM)Donkey Kong Head 01 (SSBM)Link Head 01 (SSBM)Mr. Game & Watch Head 01 (SSBM)Roy Head 01 (SSBM)Mewtwo Head 01 (SSBM)Zelda Head 01 (SSBM)Ness Head 01 (SSBM)Pichu Head 01 (SSBM)Bowser Head 01 (SSBM)Kirby Head 01 (SSBM)Avg.

In Single-player

Bowser appears as the general "final boss" of the Adventure mode, and he will be slightly larger, heavier, and stronger than normal. When defeated, the Adventure Mode would normally be complete, but if he is reached on Normal difficulty or harder within the elapsed time under 18 minutes without using a continue, Bowser's trophy will come back to life and the Giga Bowser fight will initiate. An easy way to know if Giga Bowser will be fought is that Bowser will have the black color scheme.

Bowser also makes several appearances in the Event matches:

  • Event 1: Trouble King: Bowser is the opponent of the first Event Match. Mario is the players' character, and Mario and Bowser have 2 stock each in an untimed match on the Battlefield stage. KO Bowser twice to win, which is an easy objective because Bowser is lighter than usual and has less competent AI.
  • Event 10: All-Star Match 1: Bowser is the second opponent the player must fight in this series of staged battles. Their character battles him on the Rainbow Cruise stage, and their character has 2 stocks while Bowser has one. With a timer of four minutes, the player must defeat him and the other four characters one-by-one with the overall time and life they have: Mario, Donkey Kong, Yoshi, and Peach beforehand.
  • Event 17: Bounty Hunters: In this original scenario, Samus is teamed up with Captain Falcon (with Friendly Fire turned off), and their shared opponent is Bowser on the Jungle Japes stage. With everyone receiving one stock and 2:00 as the time limit, the aim is to be the one to K.O. Bowser. If Captain Falcon delivers the finishing blow, the event is failed.
  • Event 19: Peach's Peril: A scenario designed in homage to the standard plot of traditional Super Mario games of Bowser being after Peach and Mario saving her. Mario is teamed with Peach whose AI is set on walking to each end of the stage aimlessly, and each has 1 stock while the enemy Bowser has infinite stock. Bowser is especially strong and durable in this match, and he will attack either in the area on the Final Destination stage. The objective is to last a full minute with both Mario and Peach surviving by the end, and high score is determined by how many times Mario can K.O. Bowser.
  • Event 25: Gargantuans: A scenario designed in homage to old, campy monster movies like Godzilla and King Kong. On the Fourside stage, with unlimited time, the players control a giant-sized Bowser (as "Godzilla") with 1 stock against a giant-sized Donkey Kong (as "King Kong") with two stock. Two other characters on the match are a tiny Mario and a tiny Peach, who will usually be K.O.'d within seconds of the battle between the two main monsters.
  • Event 42: Trouble King 2: This tough event takes place in Poké Floats. Luigi has to fight against a giant Bowser in an untimed match where the two have a stock of two each.

Trophy Descriptions

In addition to the normal trophy about Bowser as a character, there are two trophies about him as a fighter, unlocked by completing the Adventure and All-Star modes respectively with Bowser on any difficulty:

Bowser has a long history of kidnapping Princess Peach to lure his nemesis, Mario, into traps. He leads an enormous group of mischievous creatures, not the least of which are his seven children. With outrageous strength, flammable breath, and more spikes than you can shake a Star Rod at, Bowser is a constant threat.
  • Super Mario Bros., 10/85
Bowser (Smash Red)
In many ways, Bowser is the toughest character around. Not only does he have near-impervious hide, but his great mass makes him almost impossible to hurl offscreen. Of course, his weight also makes him rather slow to maneuver, so when facing him in battle, it's best to press your attack and not give him a chance to counter.
Bowser (Smash Blue)
Bowser's Fire Breath strikes continuously, but it grows gradually smaller over time until it's barely smoldering. The Koopa Klaw rakes enemies at a distance and pulls nearby foes in close for a good gnawing. Bowser's Whirling Fortress moves laterally over the ground; it works in midair as a recovery. The Bowser Bomb is powerful and paves the way for more attacks.

Palette Swaps


Bowser's palette swaps in SSBM

Appearance in Melee

Bowser is one of the few characters who has a different name in the Japanese version of Melee. In the English version, his name is "Bowser", but in the aforementioned Japanese version, his name is "Koopa". The name "Koopa" comes from the fact that in the original Mario series, he evolved from a Koopa Troopa.

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