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Released in December 2001, Super Smash Bros. Melee features 25 classic Nintendo characters. While it is a game primarily meant for 2-4 player versus battling action, there are many single player aspects to the game, including several mini games that are all about getting low time records!

 

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Classic mode as Ganondorf, Very Easy: 0:00:27.10 by Andrew 'Pokemonmaster888' D.

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Author's comments:

Written on December 13, 2020
Finalized on March 3, 2021

A look ahead to begin: a discovery about the random number generator entity in Super Smash Bros. Melee was found and used to create a software program in 2018. This aspect of SSBM can be manipulated and utilized to help you set up All-Star speedruns concretely. This is the resource for the program and I recommend viewing it as manipulating such video game code could be done in other parts of this game, which some have looked into. It would be a large change for Classic mode speedrunning if somebody does create software to do this because the speedrun would really only be based on skill at that point. All categories would be a lot easier to “optimize” and also save people a lot of time, but I would say records from both standard and manipulated Classic mode gameplay at such a point should be stored in separate areas due to how different this mode would then be. People have looked into doing this for Classic mode, but nobody has created any working tool yet because the random number generator there is harder to understand.

https://github.com/Savestate2A03/ssbm_rng_manip

Personal submission history for this category on Speed Demos Archive

00:00:32.77, achieved on May 17, 2009: https://archive.org/download/2009-06-SDA_Speed_Runs (the date is June 30, 2009 in that folder)
https://web.archive.org/web/20090816094805/http://speeddemosarchive.com/SuperSmashBrosMelee.html

Overview

I speak about moves and basic abilities in this text commentary that you may not understand if you don't play Super Smash Bros. Melee. I name the abilities using either their official names or highly common names for clarity. If you don't know what something is you can use the dedicated online wikis or websites that are public to read about it. Here is one that is useful: Smash Wiki

Classic mode in Super Smash Bros. Melee (abbreviated SSBM), in general, is straightforward and short. For speedrunning, it is the most time consuming and maybe the most difficult out of Adventure, Classic, and All-Star for getting a top ranked record because it has the most amount of random behavior out of these three main game modes. There are eleven Stages in Classic (these are basically parts of the mode; I will call the area you play on “levels” so I don’t confuse people with the same word for different entities, even though the place you play on in the Super Smash Bros. series is called a “stage”). Each Stage in the mode is randomly selected for you to play except for the third, sixth, and ninth Stages. Those all are the same Stage every time you play and don’t involve fighting opponents (they are Target Test, Snag the Trophies, and Race to the Finish). For the first two of that list, the fastest way to progress is to lose one life in the level itself because doing this completes the Stage successfully. For Race to the Finish you want to get to the first exit as fast as possible. The other Stages in the mode involve battling enemies on levels that are random each time you play the mode. Some level and character(s) combinations have more than one possibility in each given Classic Stage, while other characters only appear on one level (this depends on what Stage you face the character on, too). Classic is timed using the in-game timer by taking the starting value of the timer and subtracting the timer's state when you complete the Stage. This gives you the amount of time that elapsed, and you add each Stage's result up to get the total time at the end of the speedrun.

As you move onward in this mode, enemies get more aggressive, powerful, and have lower knockback values (which means they are harder to beat). The strategies for the same level and character fought during different points of the mode will be very different as a result. The behavior of an opponent you face can also vary on the same level in the same Stage from each attempt at Classic. Factoring everything here in, the mode is very random by nature. One benefit is that once you encounter a specific level and character you won’t encounter them again. You can plan and know what you might face during play when this occurs. A big structural plan that you have to follow for an optimal time is getting certain levels/characters at certain points in the speedrun. As the Stages contain stronger characters when you get later into the mode, you want to get the absolute fastest-to-beat characters that you recognized during your planning late rather than early. This makes it possible to still beat them quickly and also quickly beat the characters that are troublesome when you receive them later in the speedrun, as you now get those potentially troublesome characters earlier in the mode (when they are easier to beat quickly) and not later.

It is vital to have a complete plan about what characters and levels you want to encounter in this mode, and then focus on making it as easy as possible to have that goal occur as often as possible. Do not speedrun this part of SSBM if you don't form a comprehensive plan before playing as you will probably end up wasting a lot of time and your own energy. Having such a plan drastically reduces the randomness attributes this speedrun naturally contains. The way to set up and implement what I am talking about is to start a new save file and only unlock what you need for the characters/levels; this is done because you won’t find things in Classic that you haven’t unlocked yet (unless it is hardcoded, unchanging content like the level in Stage 10). Narrowing down the “state space” in this regard is your biggest asset. I didn’t do that for my 2009 speedrun of this category, but I do here and it really helped save a gigantic amount of time. Let’s break down the Stages in this speedrun and my play. I’ll also explain my execution, any mistakes that happened, and other strategies/moves I didn’t do that could save some time. I won’t detail the other possible approach and setup strategies that exist for the speedrun (meaning how to set up the initial save file for your specific plans) because that isn’t the point of this commentary.

Stage-by-stage breakdown

Stage 1, completed in 0.86 seconds: The first level of this speedrun is a good one to get, in general. It is one of the fastest levels out of any of the available options for any Stage, so you definitely want to play it at some point within Classic. Donkey Kong on Kongo Jungle is best for time-purposes on Stage 7, as you can beat him under 2 seconds with one up tilt attack. He will almost always jump from the wooden ledges down into your attack on Stage 7, making the battle easy and consistent. The exact encounter I speak of occurred in my 2009 speedrun, so you can watch that on YouTube or archive.org for reference if you want to. Numerous other possible characters can cause problems in Stage 7 which is why that character/level is great to have there. For Stage 1 here, the time I got is 0.03 seconds slower than my best time for this character/level at Stage 1, and this strategy is just one forward air attack done as fast as possible after jumping towards Donkey Kong. In short, a solid fight at the first Stage. This time is 0.26 seconds faster than my 2009 speedrun’s Stage 1 time.

Stage 2, completed in 2.73 seconds: Mushroom Kingdom II is a strong asset for this speedrun and is why I focused on unlocking this level. As you see, the level is small and the enemies are located close to the blast line on the lefthand and righthand sides. There is a method to save time that I didn’t use – it is just wavelanding after Mario is defeated. Doing that perfectly is a bit tricky because you are jumping backwards as you go to land, and the level’s introductory text can throw you off by making it hard to see your own character. Two forward air attacks are commonly the only things needed to beat the stage and other than that omitted waveland, the plan and execution were great. This time is 2.73 seconds faster than my 2009 speedrun’s Stage 2 time.

Stage 3, completed in 0.14 seconds: You want to run off and fast fall as quickly as possible for the Target Test level. I did pretty well here, but I think the fastest I have ever completed the level was in +01:59.91 (I definitely completed it in +01:59.89 before), so my time was 0.03 to 0.05 seconds slower than those best times I have achieved in the past. This time is 0.05 seconds faster than my 2009 speedrun’s Stage 3 time.

Stage 4, completed in 2.31 seconds: Venom is the same level I had in my 2009 speedrun for Stage 4. However, here I fought Fox instead of Falco. The strategy to beat them is to use the up tilt attack once you roll dodge rightward. If you roll dodge and do your up tilt attack very fast (and Fox/Falco jump and land in the proper spot) you can have your attack send them leftward instead of up to the top of the screen. The latter happened in my 2009 speedrun, while I got the better result from my attack here. This time is great for Venom but compared to all of the possibilities, you definitely don’t want to encounter Venom in your speedrun because it isn’t as fast as other levels. It isn’t open and is somewhat big. Getting Venom isn’t a “bad” situation for this speedrun, though, and is why I kept playing instead of not accepting it. This time is 2.27 seconds faster than my 2009 speedrun’s Stage 4 time.

Stage 5, completed in 1.09 seconds: Giant Link is a great character to fight for Stage 5 because he can be beaten quickly and isn’t the best character to work with for Stages 1, 4, and 7. That means you can get better enemies in those stages if you get Giant Link here. He may be the ideal Giant character to face in this speedrun due to said reason. A well placed forward air attack (you need to hit him on the righthand edge of his character) can direct him leftward towards the nearer blast line of Great Bay. This side of Giant Link’s “hitbox” isn’t easy to contact due to the level introduction graphic obscuring Giant Link when you attack him. It’s a little finicky to do properly very consistently but it can be made somewhat straightforward with practice. The mean level completion time of ~1.10 seconds is near the best possible time for any Giant character, so aim for this possibility in Stage 5. This time is 1.32 seconds faster than my 2009 speedrun’s Stage 5 time (which faced Giant Bowser, a less efficient possibility).

Stage 6, completed in 1.46 seconds: Snag the Trophies is straightforward in approach. Aim to do it relatively fast without making a mistake. The Wizard’s Foot attack and then dashing with a fast fall off of the level is the fastest way to do this, but you can make a mistake when trying to fast fall off of the level; if you do it too soon before landing on the platform’s edge, you won’t move horizontally and you’ll have to waste time trying to do those inputs again to get off the level. The timing for that section is slightly tricky and if you make that error, you will lose enough time to affect the outcome of the speedrun. It’s something that can easily happen if you aren’t paying attention. This time is 0.02 seconds slower than my 2009 speedrun’s Stage 6 time.

Stage 7, completed in 2.46 seconds: Samus on Brinstar isn’t a good character and level to face in Stage 7 (or in the other Stages). The fight can be played well, as I did here with a correctly timed up tilt attack, yet you don't want to play this character/level at all. A character like Captain Falcon, Donkey Kong, or Peach is who you want to face. This particular occurrence is the output of remaining characters left in the mode that you haven’t seen; due to the small amount of total characters you can face compared to a save file with all characters and levels unlocked, there is less randomness to work with at this point of the speedrun. The game has less content to select at this point, to put it plainly. There is a high chance that you will get at least one non-optimal character/level in your speedrun, even when narrowing down the options by optimizing your own save file. This time is 0.53 seconds slower than my 2009 speedrun’s Stage 7 time.

Stage 8, completed in 6.63 seconds: Multi-Kirby on Fountain of Dreams may be the ideal character/level to obtain in Stage 8. You can beat this level in perhaps the fastest of any out of the available Stage 8 selections while still having optimal-like results for the other Stages. The combat here is not simple though, as you need to be quick by timing aerial and ground attacks properly to beat the ten Kirbys as fast as possible. They arrive on the level in groups of two or three, so beating them in a certain available pattern optimizes the reduction of the amount of waves you have to go through to beat all ten. I made a mistake here as you can see my attack miss one Kirby. This added 0.75 seconds or so to my speedrun. My execution in the whole situation wasn’t the best either because I didn't practice enough or research enough in the preparation sessions around this speedrun's accomplishment date. This time is 0.06 seconds faster than my 2009 speedrun’s Stage 8 time.

Stage 9, completed in 0.84 seconds: Race to the Finish is a simple level to do quickly, but since that is the case for many players, trying to get the fastest time possible is more important than it might be in other Stages. The best strategy here is to run, fast fall to the first goal and air dodge diagonally down to the left to go into the goal. You want to do that and not waveland into it as that will waste a little more time. I didn't quite do this methodology properly here, but I still got a good time. This time is 0.25 seconds faster than my 2009 speedrun’s Stage 9 time.

Stage 10, completed in 1.88 seconds: The metal character battle is the easiest Stage to execute out of all eleven parts in Classic. For each variant of this Stage’s content you fight a metal character on the Battlefield level. The character will change as you play the mode multiple times but the level and strategy is the same. You need to attack as fast as possible when the level begins to beat the metal opponent. The up tilt is used here and nothing else because it will beat the adversary effectively. The difference in time that you can complete this Stage in is a result of what character you end up encountering – lighter weighted characters generally reach the blast line faster than heavier characters, but it can vary. The key for beating characters faster here is your enemy's falling speed because characters that fall faster will be beaten faster. This time is 0.05 seconds slower than my 2009 speedrun’s Stage 10 time.

Stage 11, completed in 6.70 seconds: Master Hand on Final Destination is the last Stage in Classic. This battle can be troublesome if you don’t prepare properly or if you get bad randomness behavior. Master Hand has a hit points counter that you lower instead of a damage counter that you raise. The goal here is to use as many high-damage dealing attacks as fast as possible to beat it. Ganondorf is very strong damage-wise and can do such damage relatively fast, making him great for this Stage and the whole speedrun in general. You want to start by dashing rightward as soon as possible and you can start moving once the in-game timer starts decreasing. If you mistime the initial input, you will lose enough time where you likely won’t be able to attack Master Hand more than two times before it starts attacking you. This happens if you try to dash too early or if you start too late by accident. Starting early is very bad here; watch the in-game timer until it runs, then immediately start moving rightward. Master Hand will do some combination of attacks; some of his combinations are good for time purposes and some are bad. You want to minimize the amount of time Master Hand is off-screen or away from you – this will let you attack it more frequently. It is all down to randomness for that. You should try to attack with a down air when he attacks you from top of the screen to bottom, or from back of the screeen to front. If it is in an idle state on the level, use as many up smash attacks as you can towards the middle of its body. Those deal ~36 damage for each uncharged execution (two kicks connecting via the attack) and can be done quickly. This Stage’s conceptual strategy is learning Master Hand’s attacks and patterns, and then doing your attacks as soon as it is not attacking, or is open. My time was pretty good for this specific speedrun because I executed efficiently, but my 2009 speedrun’s time was the best time I have ever seen. This time is 0.67 seconds slower than my 2009 speedrun’s Stage 11 time.

Summary

This time was the World Record for 1.5 years and was just beaten a few days ago as of this commentary’s creation in early December 2020. The current World Record as of commentary publication is 25.33 seconds. This category has a lot of opportunity to be played faster. With focus, dedication, and good randomness outcomes, I think times in the 21 to 22 second range might be feasible (as a possible low-end value). Stronger and more effective documentation is the key to having faster times be acquired more often. I hope new strategies are found as that will make this game’s speedrunning history more optimized, and bring more accomplishment to this branch of Super Smash Bros. Melee. If you are interested in speedrunning this video game or want to compete in some other way, visit the Smash Stadium Discord group. Many old and new players are there that can help you learn how to compete and improve your game. Good luck, and I hope you enjoyed this speedrun.

Classic mode as Jigglypuff, Very Easy: 0:00:39.74 by Philippe Brisson.

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Author's comments: the funny part is I was trying to achieve such a time for hours that day, and a girl I know decided to call me and told me how lucky she was today, and I was like oh really? And continued to play... and this run is the fruit of me playing while talking on the phone.

Stage 1: 1:69
Stage 2: 2:27
Stage 3: 1:93
Stage 4: 0:94
Stage 5: 1:01
Stage 6: 1:16
Stage 7: 2:26
Stage 8: 8:07
Stage 9: 1:11
Stage 10: 1:27
Stage 11: 18:03

Total: 39.74

Little things to say:

1- I lost like half a second on stage 1, I know.

2- I usually restart at this stage. That time it was the second fastest stage I can do, after Mushroom kingdom II. And yeah I owned it. My average for this stage is about 5 seconds.

3- I love killing myself at BTT.

4- Yoshi got it in the nose. Glad it was one of the characters I can beat in less than a second.

5- If I rested link too soon, one of my partners would have stabbed link on his way to die, and link would have not died. My partners are fuckers and screwed many of my runs. But on this one everything went fine.

6- my bonus stage is at 0.08 from my personal record.

7- Out of the levels to complete in 1v1, the ones I hate the most in order are: Mushroom kingdom I (automatic restart), Hyrule temple (Automatic swearing at my TV screen), Fourside and Jungle Japes. On this run, only Jungle Japes appeared, I'm lucky.

8- The only foes I hate to encounter are the DKs and the Pichus. I fell on Ness, something I rarely get, and did well enough.

9- That's the fastest I can get.

10- I can jump and rest fox about 0.30 faster, but I didn't.

11- 3 seconds of mistake here. But since the rest of my run had no real mistake, I kept it.

I had a lot of fun running classic mode. I thought it was 100% random and stuff, but at some point I figured out a lot of path in every character, depending on the stage etc. The only real random things are what character you'll face up, and your damn partners on stage 2 / stage 5. Beside that, Ice climbers in the icicle mountain are hard to figure out what the fuck they are doing, sometimes.

All that work bought me to a sub 40 seconds, which I'm more than glad because I didn't think enough luck in a run would be possible. My reach was something aroune 43 seconds to.

If you want to contact me, do it via my youtube channel: Wak017. You'll also find out a lot of interresting SSBM videos. Enjoy!

Best time, Very Easy: 0:03:15.27 by Peter Yeh.

Author's comments:

First I'd like to thank Gigafrost and pkmvodka for tips on some of the levels, as well as Wak who started the idea of a speed run in Adventure. I always liked to play competitively in the SSBM 1P Modes. But I wasn't sure if I would be able to finish this run because the randomness of the exit room in the Underground Maze made it very frustrating. I pulled it off anyway, but not without mistakes though. Sorry about the video quality in 2 instances, one in Big Blue and another in Icicle Mountain-apparently I recorded on a bad spot. They don't really occur at significant areas though.

Here is a breakdown of each level:

That's a game total of 3:15.27, with about 8 seconds worth of mistakes. Overall it was still a pretty clean run, much better than I expected, and under 7 minutes which was my goal; though I may try to do it again just because of that stupid Wire Frame battle. Optimal time would be about 6:43 / 3:06, including the 2.7 strat for Mario & Peach.

Individual-levels run of Break the Targets in 0:03:08.77:

Character Time Date Player
Doctor Mario 0:00:13.40 2003-03-01 achieved by many
Mario 0:00:08.35 2005-03-30 'SIGN'
Luigi 0:00:03.99 2004-04-25 'Senju'
Bowser 0:00:08.35 2005-09-23 Tom 'marth1' Radovich
Peach 0:00:10.16 2004-09-29 'Senju'
Yoshi 0:00:07.65 2005-11-17 Tom 'marth1' Radovich
Donkey Kong 0:00:08.57 2005-11-28 Tom 'marth1' Radovich
Captain Falcon 0:00:07.52 2006-02-01 Tom 'marth1' Radovich
Ganondorf 0:00:05.05 2004-01-28 'Senju'
Falco 0:00:05.55 2005-10-28 Tom 'marth1' Radovich
Fox 0:00:06.93 2005-08-03 'Doraki'
Ness 0:00:13.28 2005-05-08 Tom 'marth1' Radovich
Ice Climbers 0:00:11.57 2006-02-17 Tom 'marth1' Radovich
Kirby 0:00:11.80 2006-01-23 Tom 'marth1' Radovich
Samus 0:00:07.99 2005-12-16 Tom 'marth1' Radovich
Zelda/Sheik 0:00:06.33 2004-11-30 Tom 'marth1' Radovich
Link 0:00:03.55 2004-10-03 'TAKA'
Young Link 0:00:05.06 2004-08-07 'Senju'
Pichu 0:00:05.63 2004-10-21 Tom 'marth1' Radovich
Pikachu 0:00:07.30 2004-08-17 'Senju'
Jigglypuff 0:00:07.85 2005-12-01 Tom 'marth1' Radovich
Mewtwo 0:00:04.87 2005-07-22 Tom 'marth1' Radovich
Mr. Game & Watch 0:00:02.97 2006-02-04 Tom 'marth1' Radovich
Marth 0:00:08.95 2004-04-25 'Senju'
Roy 0:00:06.10 2004-01-28 'Senju'

Individual-levels run of 10 Man Melee in 0:02:58.76, 100 Man Melee in 0:47:30.20:

10 Man Melee 100 Man Melee
Character Time Date Player Time Date Player
Doctor Mario 0:00:06.63 2004-07-06 'Ravenyte' 0:01:47.78 2005-01-29 Peter 'pyh189' Yeh
Mario 0:00:06.70 2004-02-08 'Ravenyte' 0:01:47.77 2004-12-11 Peter 'pyh189' Yeh
Luigi 0:00:07.41 2004-07-18 'Ravenyte' 0:01:56.80 2005-10-11 Peter 'pyh189' Yeh
Bowser 0:00:07.40 2004-06-13 'Ravenyte' 0:01:57.58 2005-11-05 Peter 'pyh189' Yeh
Peach 0:00:06.97 2004-02-25 'Ravenyte' 0:01:54.72 2004-08-10 Peter 'pyh189' Yeh
Yoshi 0:00:07.25 2004-06-17 'Ravenyte' 0:01:52.60 2005-10-13 Peter 'pyh189' Yeh
Donkey Kong 0:00:07.45 2004-02-20 'Ravenyte' 0:01:54.13 2004-07-28 Peter 'pyh189' Yeh
Captain Falcon 0:00:07.46 2004-10-25 'Taka' 0:01:55.18 2004-08-12 Peter 'pyh189' Yeh
Ganondorf 0:00:07.36 2004-07-15 'Ravenyte' 0:01:54.99 2005-11-23 Peter 'pyh189' Yeh
Falco 0:00:07.15 2004-03-09 'Ravenyte' 0:01:57.43 2004-07-25 Peter 'pyh189' Yeh
Fox 0:00:07.18 2004-06-16 'Ravenyte' 0:01:56.23 2005-01-08 Peter 'pyh189' Yeh
Ness 0:00:07.52 2004-10-25 'Ravenyte' 0:01:58.97 2005-10-20 Peter 'pyh189' Yeh
Ice Climbers 0:00:07.53 2004-07-22 'Ravenyte' 0:01:58.60 2005-10-21 Peter 'pyh189' Yeh
Kirby 0:00:07.52 2004-03-21 'Ravenyte' 0:01:58.08 2004-12-18 Peter 'pyh189' Yeh
Samus 0:00:06.63 2004-06-24 'Ravenyte' 0:01:56.67 2004-08-09 Peter 'pyh189' Yeh
Zelda/Sheik 0:00:07.25 2004-10-25 'Ravenyte' 0:01:58.13 2005-10-10 Peter 'pyh189' Yeh
Link 0:00:06.92 2004-07-11 'Ravenyte' 0:01:51.11 2005-10-22 Peter 'pyh189' Yeh
Young Link 0:00:06.82 2004-10-25 'Ravenyte' 0:01:52.90 2004-12-12 Peter 'pyh189' Yeh
Pichu 0:00:06.75 2004-07-01 'Ravenyte' 0:01:46.11 2004-12-11 Peter 'pyh189' Yeh
Pikachu 0:00:06.83 2004-03-26 'Ravenyte' 0:01:44.77 2004-07-25 Peter 'pyh189' Yeh
Jigglypuff 0:00:07.57 2004-03-26 'Ravenyte' 0:01:56.43 2004-07-25 Peter 'pyh189' Yeh
Mewtwo 0:00:07.43 2004-07-25 Peter 'pyh189' Yeh 0:01:53.26 2005-11-22 Peter 'pyh189' Yeh
Mr. Game & Watch 0:00:07.15 2004-03-27 'Ravenyte' 0:01:55.15 2005-10-13 Peter 'pyh189' Yeh
Marth 0:00:07.33 2004-07-13 'Ravenyte' 0:01:53.13 2004-12-19 Peter 'pyh189' Yeh
Roy 0:00:06.55 2004-06-18 'Ravenyte' 0:01:51.68 2004-08-10 Peter 'pyh189' Yeh

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