Shadow Moses Island (シャドーモセス島 Shadō Mosesu Tou?) is a stage in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and returns in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, developed by Hideo Kojima. It was officially recognized in the October 2, 2007 DOJO!! update, having appeared before that in many trailers and screenshots.
The stage features giant watchtowers as destructible walls, as well as a spotlight that generates the infamous "!" over a player's head and the also infamous "Discovery" sound if it shines on them (although it does not affect the players, and it is not meant to be a threat). The stage also features a random Metal Gear that will occasionally jump out from the background: Metal Gear REX, Metal Gear RAY, or two GEKKOs. They do not interact with or affect the gameplay, and they do not attack other opponents. When a GEKKO jumps onto the wall of the stage and tries to get in, it always fails, and falls into the dark red abyss mist below, but still gets back up, unharmed or undamaged. When the stage's watchtowers are broken down, the edges of the stage are exposed, making it more difficult for lighter characters to stay alive. They have two sections each; if the bottom section is destroyed, the top section will collapse as well, but the bottom section can stand without the top. After about a minute or two, a broken watchtower (if the entirely is shattered, not just the top) will resurrect, forcing all edge-bound characters back into the center. However, though generally unknown, most characters can get over the towers by jumping multiple times as a watchtower is resurrected. The walls can also be bypassed by using a Warp Star near the sides and tilting past them. The characters will remain trapped (and largely unreachable) until the towers are destroyed again. Star KO's are banned in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate due to the background wall, even with hazards disabled.
When Solid Snake uses his Smash Taunt on this stage, his teammates (Otacon, Mei Ling, and Colonel Campbell) will communicate with him via Codec and give him information about fighters he's playing against, similarly to Fox, Falco, and Wolf's Smash Taunt. There is also a Codec transmission in which Slippy appears and tells Snake all about Falco. If Snake is KO'ed while on the Codec, the person on the other end stops their speech and gives the infamous "SNAAAAAKE!" Game Over shout.
The exterior of this stage, which is inaccessible in the game by normal ways, can be seen in this video .
The amount of snowfall on the stage is random, although some believe it varies depending on the music chosen.
Shadow Moses Island is banned in tournaments because of unfair advantages such as repeated abuse of chaingrabs (more notably in the case of King Dedede's chaingrab) against the watchtowers, the difficulty of landing horizontal KOs (meaning that players would have to resort to Star-KOs) and the removal of the bottom blast line, thus renderring spikes, edgehogs and similar techniques virtually useless.
The Shadow Moses Island stage draws its inspiration from Metal Gear Solid. The stage is made to resemble the helipad in front of Shadow Moses Island's nuclear weapons disposal facility's tank hangar. It is one of the first areas Snake ventures through in the facility, although it has some differences in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, such as the lack of the crawlspace, no staircases, the truck that was parked in front of the building is gone, and the height of the searchlight towers has been extended.
The stage's name is that of the fictional island the nuclear disposal facility is situated on. The island is revisited by Old Snake in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots where it has been abandoned by its original staff and fallen into disrepair.
Ever since Metal Gear Solid when the player would be seen by security the trademark sound would be heard and an exclamation point would be shown over the enemy. In Brawl, if a player got caught by the search lights the same sound can be heard and an exclamation point would be shown over the player who got caught. Also, in Metal Gear Solid when the player is caught by the search lights the lights would be focused on the player until he or she manages to find somewhere to hide. In this stage in Brawl the search lights would remain focused on the character.
Metal Gears weapons from the series appear in the background of the stage such as Metal Gear REX, Metal Gear RAY and a pair of Gekkos. REX, as seen in MGS1, was a nuclear equipped battle tank designed by Hal "Otacon" Emmerich, who was deceived into believing that he was designing a defense system. The machine was taken control of by Liquid Snake, before being disabled by Solid Snake with assistance from Otacon. Many years later, Snake returned to Shadow Moses Island to prevent Liquid Ocelot from stealing REX's railgun for his own ends, and would later pilot it himself against Liquid. RAY was an anti-Metal Gear machine designed by the US Marines to fight against derivative Metal Gears. The manned Marine Corps version of RAY was stolen by Revolver Ocelot, and the Patriots later created an army of unmanned units to defend their Arsenal Gear creation. Raiden would do battle against 25 unmanned RAYs during the events of MGS2 and many years later with his upgraded cyborg body and high-frequency sword, destroy a modified RAY on foot during the prologue of Rising. The Gekkos of MGS4 are mass-produced Metal Gears distributed among various PMCs, posing considerable threat even when lacking nuclear strike capability. Snake came across several Gekko variants during his many missions during the game, as did Raiden in Rising.
- If Falco (not tested with Fox or Wolf) gets his Landmaster, he can push other characters through the pillars, trapping them until it is broken.
- If a player is close to one of the side blast lines while either tower is repaired, the player will automatically be lifted to the top of the newly repaired tower, rather than staying trapped behind it.
- Super Smash Bros. Brawl was first released on January 31, 2008 while Metal Gear Solid 4 was released internationally on June 12, 2008 making Brawl the first game that the Gekkos appeared in. Brawl also included the song "MGS4 ~Theme of Love~ Smash Bros. Brawl Version" from Guns of the Patriots before its release.
- When the middle of the stage breaks a random Metal Gear is seen.
- Strangely, this stage is a starter, while its titular character is not, similar to Captain Falcon and Port Town Aero Dive.