Mario is the classic character from his respective series. He's overall quite balanced and has been a favorite among gamers and casual and pro players alike. He has seen some minor improvments since Melee, Such as his Down B being F.L.U.D.D, which simply pushes opponents into stage hazards, or across the boundry. His Dair is now his old Down B from Melee, the Mario Tornado.
Overall, Mario hasn't changed by much. He still is one of the most balanced characters in the game, but is a little better this time around.
Link wields the triforce of courage and has in possession the Master Sword. As the Hero's Shade says - "A sword wields no strength unless the hand that holds it has courage", and surely Link's got courage, hence he's got the respective triforce.
He's got a multitude of new moves, or rather improved ones based upon the core weapons from Twilight Princess. They've all been redone to resemble his attacks from TP; the Boomerang is now a Gale Boomerang, the Bow is now a Hero's Bow, and his Spin Attack can now be charged.
Don't be startled to learn this is a woman; her power suit affords her an arsenal of projectile-based special moves. She hasn't been changed much from Melee as a standalone character, aside from one colossal addition in the form of her Zero Laser final smash, which is a laser beam attack so powerful her own armor shatters and she becomes an all-new character from a gameplay-perspective: Zero Suit Samus.
Pikachu, the rodent mascot emblazoned on almost all Pokémon merchandise, is an all time Pokémon favorite. Not much has changed this time around, so you can expect the same solid action back by the electricity it has stored within its cheeks. Its new Volt Tackle final smash will shock and blow away everyone in its way.
When one thinks of pink, eight inch puffball Warpstar Knights from Dream Land, that person is sure to think of Kirby! Yes, he may be cute, but he's got a versatile arsenal and one special ability that is sure to entertain many - he's capable of "stealing" his opponent's abilities and using them, all the while wearing a "hat" themed after the opponent to signify what power he has.
Fox makes his third Smash Bros. appearance in Brawl wielding his trademark blaster and having a sort of shield or reflector that can cause projectile attacks launched at him to rebound and strike the attackers. Aside from an aesthetic revamp that is based off his Star Fox Command appearance, not much has changed about his arsenal and swift fighting ability.
His Final Smash is a landmaster from Star Fox 64 (and some games following it), which will be summoned out of nowhere and Fox will enter the driver's seat. It's huge, so it's hard to move around, and turning the thing around will prove a hassle. Still - you're capable of shooting out big blasts of power shots, which is certainly effective whenever they connect.
DK, Mario's rival since the beginning, is a veritable King Kong of a fighter with impressive power and range in his melee attacks, yet he is still faster than other official heavyweight characters like Bowser and Ganondorf.
Fans of the Donkey Konga games or Jungle Beat will appreciate his Final Smash - he'll bring out a pare of DK Bongos and will then start pounding on them. If you keep up with the rhythm, then you'll deliver more damage.
Yoshi returns in Brawl, boasting a little more then what he had in Melee. He is slitghly stronger, still uses Eggs as his attack theme, and his Final Smash gives him wings and fire-breathing abilities like a mythical dragon. Also, his upwards Special move now functions more like the recovery moves of most other characters, as his Egg Throw now elevates him somewhat.
Bowser is probably the most popular video game antagonist, and it's great to see that he's been greatly updated for Brawl. His moves have been upgraded, such as the fact that his fire breath move will now continue non-stop.
Peach, although constantly being captured by Bowser, is actually quite powerful. Some of her moves and her special power to float along the stage are from Super Mario Bros. 2.
Peach hasn't changed much at all, and thus retains all of her moves of before. Her neutral special is sort of sad; she takes out toad and lets him take damage. At least he can defend him self with the spores that spray out when attacked.
Her down special move is slightly like Link's bomb, and she picks a turnip from the ground. Each face has a different damage when thrown
The Ice Climbers are a young duo, and while not very popular in Melee, everyone admired the uniqueness of them. The names of them are Popo and Nana, and the two seem to be twins.
Zelda is the most admirable character in Nintendo's roster (opinion)! She's so wise (hence the fact that she wields the Triforce of Wisdom), and Smash shows that she's also a beast with magical powers. It'd be pretty sweet to see her use her sword from Twilight Princess, though there seems to be plenty of sword-users already, and not too many magic users.
So, who's the clone? Ness or Lucas? I'd say the latter since Ness was here first, despite the fact that you're required to unlock him this time around (as you were in the original title). His moves are similar to Lucas, though in a more Luigi to Mario type way. While not a direct clone as some were in Melee, I'm sure many will think he is.
Marth is the main character of the first Fire Emblem game. His moves have slightly changed, though basically not much. For example, his standard B charge move will, rather than smashing the ground, will slash sideways. His Up-B moved has been nerfed, and his Final Smash is considerably cheap - it's an instant K.O. if it connects with the opposing force.
Luigi is the guy in the clad green. He is the sole purpose of Luigification. His movea are similiar to Mario's. He is the only person in the game whose taunt inflicts damage (along with Snake, who can hurt you a wee bit when he lifts up his box, and you're close.). he has an overall good moveset and is a tad weaker then Mario. It wouldn't be Super Smash Bros. without him.
Falco is a bird, a stubborn hardheaded birdbrain. He tries to act all macho and he got expelled from Starfox. he uses his blaster to shoot mercerally. As a veteran, his move style has not been tampered but thei are some minor changes to his moveset.
Meta Knight is a valiant fighter and a mysterious character. Not much is known about him, though some fans falsely assume that he's a villain of the series, when in fact he's on multiple occasions went out of his way to save the world of Dreamland along with Kirby.
He has unique sword techniques that rival that of the most potent players in the game. He's capable of gliding as well, which should become helpful at times.
It's a wonder why the Kid Icarus series didn't become as successful as Zelda or Metroid, as the original titles all came out in the same year. I've always wanted Pit in the series, and I'm sure everyone assumed that he'd be in Brawl. He wields an awesome bow that can transform into two swords. His arrows can be guides, similarly to Ness and Lucas's PK Thunders, though without as much control. His ridiculous recovery will prevent such things as suicides and "cheap smashes".
Wario is a gluttonous beast, though everyone's favorite mini-game host for sure. In Brawl he arrives in his WarioWare outfit, though you're also free to change his costume so that he wears his classic overalls uniform. While big, he has a super fast side-B move that works in a similar fashion to Yoshi's Egg Roll, however a tad bit more interesting and nostalgic (I mean, seriously, Yoshi never was capable of doing that Egg Roll move in the games). When executed, Wario will bring out his motorcycle from WarioWare and zoom around on it across the stage.
Ike is the protagonist of Path of Radiance. He's a mercenary hired by the princess of Crimea, and his goal in the game was to bring this country to the way it was before Daein (an opposing nation) assassinated all but the before-mentioned princess. He's my favorite Fire Emblem character, probably since Path of the Radiance was the first game in the series that I managed to complete (though not to worry, I beat the rest of them later on! What, you don't care? You're saying that I'm just trying to brag! Blasphemy!). He's on FE: Goddess of Dawn for the Wii, as an adult and much stronger, but he only appears in his young adult appearance in Brawl.
Hmmm, maybe a bit too big... Nevertheless, I congratulate you if you're capable of pronouncing his name correctly on the first try. If not, then you're just like everyone else! The enlarged (well, actually, he's miniature and only a few inches tall) penguin is joining the fray (never heard that before) and is bringing his big mallet with him. He's slow and gluttonous,but aren't all antagonists? Anyway, for those wondering, his name is actually King Dedede, with three "de's"...
While his standard B moves are notable, he has an amazing grab down move that he can perform consecutively, sending characters off of the stage even if they've barely been harmed.
Olimar will start out with three pikmin, though he'll be able to pull out a total of six Pikmin from the ground. The Pikmin's colors differ, and each possess their own unique abilities. The colors include Red, Yellow, Blue, White, and Purple, with the former three first being revealed in the original Pikmin and the latter two being revealed in Pikmin 2, each for the GameCube. In reality they should each be a few inches tall, but so should Kirby...
Lucas is the protagonist of the recent video game Mother 3. The game was released in Japan in 2006, though was being developed way back, even on the Nintendo 64. The game was planned to be released on the GBA during the beginning of its life, though was pushed back towards the end of it. Little known fact - Lucas was actually going to replace Ness in Melee, though this was altered once the game was drastically delayed. His moves are similar, and for those wondering - Ness is in the game too!
Diddy Kong is weak, though at the same time agile. His moves mostly reflect the attacks he performed in the Country series, though some also mirror that of Donkey Kong 64 such as the Peanut Popgun.
Lucario is the fighting pokemon that has the power to control aura. (the life energy given off by all living things) It is obviously meant to replace Mewtwo, but it has a number of differences in it's moves. The best example would probably its down special move, Double Team in which it splits into two clones and returns countering the opponent's attack, whereas Mewtwo's hypnosis simply put the opponent to sleep. One special attribute is unique to Lucario and Lucario only: its ability Steadfast makes it more powerful the more damage it takes!
R.O.B plays an important role in the Subspace Emmisary, but that would be a big spoiler. R.O.B may seem like an odd choice; he came from the NES game Gyromite, where he actually responded to the lights and sounds on the television. His moves are very fitting of a robot, and his up special, robo burner, lets him fly with a jetpack-like mechanism. He also comes with the move Gyro, where he charges one up and let's it go on command.
Toon link is a direct clone of Link, and he replaces Young Link from Melee. With an expressive face, a cel-shaded animation, and many other qualities of cartoons, he can be an enjoyable character to play with. Being a cartoon, his speed surpasses the original Link's, and his final smash has less damage, but more knockback.
Sonic, the super speedy sarcastic hedgehog wants a taste of Brawl! Like in his series, he is the fastest character in the game, and easily beats Captain Falcon. At first, when one sees his moves, that person would think that each move is the same, although each one has a distinct property.
Seriously, even more shocking than Sonic is Snake, probably because of the "WTF Factor". No one could've guessed that such an outsider would appear, and he was announced during a time when no one even knew that third-parties would be featured in the game, and even if it were, none would conclude that Snake would be in the game contrary to powerful gaming prophets! Plus, he has some awesome kung-fu martial arts!
Also this is a really interesting feature to the game that can only be executed by Snake while playing on his stage, Shadow Moses Island. If you have your taunts set to the d-pad on either the Gamecube controller or the Wii controller, press down on the d-pad repeatedly. This must be done extremely fast. If executed properly, Snake will take a knee and get on his Codec, where he'll speak with familiar characters from the Metal Gear Solid series, including Otacon, Colonel Campbell, and the like. You'll have a completely unique, often humorous conversation with the person on the other end of the Codec depending on who you're fighting. That's right -- there are completely unique conversations for each character, including character variants (Shiek, Zero Suit Samus, the various Pokémon). Give it a try! Additionally, if Snake is KO'd when using the Codec, another interesting sequence occurs:
"Snake?! Do you copy?! Snake?! SNAAAAAAAAAAAAAKE!!"