When people think Smash Bros., they think multiplayer — people huddled around a TV, furiously pressing Gamecube controller buttons as characters like Fox and Marth dart across the screen. But playing against the computer can be plenty entertaining too.
You may know Omega Tyrant as the person behind the video where Luigi wins Smash matches by doing absolutely nothing. This is but one video in a series where Omega Tyrant exploits the Melee AI, often for comedic effect.
Notably, he has a few videos showcasing the “insanity” of certain characters who get stuck in suicidal loops against players who stand completely still.
Fox, for example, just can’t get over to Luigi’s platform in the Donkey Kong level:
That’s a level-9 computer. It’s supposed to be the smartest in the game, and yet it can’t help but kill itself over and over! I can’t believe I used to have trouble with these things. To be fair, Jungle Japes is kind of the worst…
Fox isn’t the only one. Roy also gets stuck in the same loop:
And so does Luigi:
Samus can also get stuck on an infinite loop:
Hell, you can even repeatedly troll the AI in certain levels:
Melee was released in 2001. Brawl, 2008. Yet Omega Tyrant keeps playing the single player of both these games, eager to see what makes the computer tick.
“When I was younger, back during the days before Brawl, I had way more of an interest in Smash than anyone else I knew…I ended up playing Melee’s single player mode and its CPUs a ton,” Omega Tyrant explained over email. “As such, I picked up on the AI’s quirks, and learned of various ways to exploit them.”
“Nowadays, even though I’m involved with my region’s competitive scene, I still genuinely enjoy most of Smash’s single player modes, so I still play them on a regular basis, and I’ll still practise against the AI to remain sharp, while now keeping an eye out for any weird AI things that happen.”
Omega Tyrant keeps playing the single player of both these games, eager to see what makes the computer tick.
After spending so many hours with the AI, Omega Tyrant does have some theories about why characters will act in such bizarre ways.
“Each specific character’s AI is programmed to do certain things depending on where the opponent is and what opponent is doing,” Omega Tyrant said. “For example in Melee, if the opponent is away from you on the same platform, all characters are programmed to walk towards you, throw out a projectile periodically if they have one, and then start throwing out attacks when near you (mostly jabs and dash grabs, the latter especially if you shield).
“Melee’s AI though is pretty rigidly designed (as demonstrated by their very basic and unwavering approaching), and fails to account for many of the unusual things that happen in Smash (as well as stage structure beyond flats and plats). This leads to the AI acting weirdly when faced with Smash’s many variables outside the basic stuff, and because of their very rigid programming, the AI’s behaviour is very repeatable (which in some cases, can lead to the AI getting stuck in an indefinite action loop that they will not break unless interrupted, examples of which can be found on my channel).
“There are also things the AI was simply just not programmed to recognise (such as slopes, pits, walls, hazards, and even hostile Pokemon ), exasperating the AI’s ability to handle many things farther.”
To be clear, Omega Tyrant does think that Brawl’s AI is better than Melee’s, but it can still fall prey to the same problems. Some examples…
Level 9 CPUs will also repeatedly jump into Captain Falcon’s punch at the start of a match in Brawl:
Ganondorf can’t seem to handle King DeDeDe’s inhale move:
It’s kind of hilarious, really. Of course, every so often the AI will surprise Omega Tyrant by doing something brilliant and brutal…
You can check out more of Omega Tyrant’s AI videos here — especially worthwhile if you’re interested in the newest Smash. Yes, he’ll be messing with the AI there too.
“I’m especially interested in how the Amiibo’s learning AI will work, how good the Amiibo AI can get, and I’m going to be getting a Luigi Amiibo asap to test it (as Luigi has traditionally had the best AI in the Smash games),” Omega Tyrant said.