Cruel Melee, Cruel Brawl, and Cruel Smash are Multi-Man modes in Super Smash Bros. Melee, Brawl, and Wii U/3DS, respectively. To summarize Cruel Melee/Brawl in one sentence, the tables are turned and you are the Alloys (and they are you only in higher numbers). The game challenges the player to defeat as many opponents, with high handicaps and increased aggressiveness, as possible (Fighting Wire Frames in Melee, Fighting Alloys in Brawl, and the Fighting Mii Team in Wii U/3DS) before the player is KO'd. In Cruel Brawl, the Fighting Alloy opponents mimic the characters Mario, Kirby, Zelda, and Captain Falcon, though they cannot make use of the corresponding characters' special attacks, making them slightly easier to knock-out as they have little ability to recover using their own moves and can't grab ledges. This mode is unarguably the most challenging of all Multi-Man Melees and Brawls, as the opponents faced are immensely harder than those who appear in the other modes.
The high scores of Cruel Melee and Brawl are recorded by the amount of opponents knocked out.
In Super Smash Bros. Melee
In Super Smash Bros. Brawl
- Defeating five opponents in Cruel Brawl will result in unlocking a trophy depicting the Red Alloy.
- Defeating ten opponents in Cruel Brawl will result in unlocking a sticker depicting Liquid Snake.
In Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS
- Playing Cruel Smash for the first time earns the Spiny Hat. (Panel 1)
- Getting 2 or more KO's in Cruel Smash earns the Shield Exploder Protection Badge. (Panel 3)
- Getting 4 or more KO's in Cruel Smash earns the Lion Hat. (Panel 3)
In Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
- Getting 1 or more KO's in Cruel Smash unlocks Duck Hunt (stage), Which subsequently causes Duck Hunt (character) to challenge them. If defeated, the character Duck Hunt is unlocked.
- The Super Smash Bros. Melee incarnation of this mode is famous for its involvement in the Sonic and Tails Rumor spread by Electronic Gaming Monthly magazine. The rumor suggested that after defeating 20 Fighting Wire Frames in a single round, the player would be challenged to defeat Sonic and Tails of the Sonic series, where victory would result in unlocking the characters. To further fuel to the rumor, EGM even asked players to record performing this feat and sending the video to EGM. This rumor was proven false both in premise and in practice. Cruel Melee strategies proved very quickly that Sonic and Tails did not actually appear after knocking out 20 opponents.
- In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, if the player trips at the start of a Cruel Brawl, it is very unlikely but possible that they will survive the following few seconds. This is because every way of recovering from the trip takes a long time, and the player cannot move very far to either side until they have fully recovered. This gives the Alloys enough time to drop from their spawning points and KO the player. If the trip was to the right, it will be the Blue Alloy that attacks, and if the trip was to the left, it will be the Red Alloy.
- In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the song Cruel Brawl that plays while in Cruel Brawl is the only song missing from the Sound Test.
- Super Smash Bros. for Wii U is the first game in the series to have a stage and character unlock related to Cruel Smash.