Super Smash Bros. Melee is a crossover fighting video game developed by HAL Laboratory and published by Nintendo for the GameCube video game console. It is the second game in the Super Smash Bros. series, following the 1999 release of the original game. It was released in Japan and North America in 2001, and in Europe and Australia in 2002.
The game features characters from Nintendo video game franchises such as Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Star Fox, and Pokémon. The stages and gameplay modes make references to, or take their designs from these franchises as well. Melee includes all playable characters from the first game in the series on the Nintendo 64 and also adds characters from franchises such as Fire Emblem, of which no games had been released outside Japan at the time. Melee's gameplay system offers an unorthodox approach to the fighting game genre with a counter that measures damage with increasing percentages, rather than a depleting health bar seen in most fighting games. It builds on the first game by adding new gameplay features and playable characters. Following the popularity of its multiplayer gameplay, Melee has been featured in many competitive gaming tournaments, and is one of the most popular fighting games for competitive play.
The game received critical praise, as well as awards and acknowledgements from gaming publications. It achieved strong sales upon release, and is the GameCube's best-selling game, with more than 7 million copies sold by March 2008. It is considered to be one of the best video games of all time.