In the Super Smash Bros. series, each character has a number of palette swaps (also color changes) - alternate costumes that they may wear, usually for the purpose of distinguishing themselves from other players who are using the same character. These different costumes usually alter only the character's colour scheme in a true palette swap fashion, but some, namely Pikachu, Pichu, Jigglypuff, and Sonic, incorporate modeled accessories.
Colour change selectionEdit
Players may choose their character's costume on the character selection screen, and, with the exception of team battles, two players may not pick the same colour if they use the same character. In Brawl, choosing Random, will randomise the character as well as the character's costume.
Each character in every Super Smash Bros. game has a default colour, and at least three alternate colours, making for a minimum total of four colour choices. Three of these four colours are red, green and blue, one of which a character must wear when participating in a team battle, in order to represent the red, green or blue team. Some characters possess a default colour that also represents a team colour; for example, Mario's default colour is red, so he wears his default costume when fighting on a red team.
In the original Super Smash Bros, Samus and Captain Falcon's blue costumes, and Captain Falcon, Mario, Kirby, and Donkey Kong's green costumes could not be selected during regular matches, and were only usable for the purpose of team battles.
The appearance of alternate costumes varies from a simple change in hue (e.g Yoshi, Mr. Game & Watch) to the incorporation of patterns, pictures and text (Snake, Ness, R.O.B), to the addition of accessories, sometimes animated, as is the case with Jigglypuff's waving green ribbon in Melee, Sonic wearing different color bands in Brawl, Pikachu's different hats (all three games), and many others.
Some characters have costumes that are derived from earlier or alternate renderings of themselves, such as Mario's "Jumpman" blue, Brawl Samus' "Fusion Suit" blue, various commercial versions of R.O.B, and Squirtle and Ivysaur's "shiny Pokémon" green. Some costumes make references to other characters who may or may not appear in Smash games, such as Peach's "Daisy" palette swap, Mario and Luigi's "Wario" and "Waluigi" costumes, Lucas' "Claus" outfit, Jigglypuff's green hat in Brawl which resembles Kirby's Sleep hat, Bowser Dark Bowser outfit, and Captain Falcon's Blood Falcon costume.
A small number of costumes make references to other costumes from elsewhere in the Smash universe, such as Brawl Pikachu's blue "Pichu goggles", Melee Jigglypuff's blue "bow", and R.O.B's "R.O.B Launcher" green. Other costumes appear to be created primarily for the purpose of team battles, (Pichu's red, Diddy Kong's green), or for no particular reason (Ness' yellow, Bowser's black, Wolf's white).
Range of choicesEdit
Brawl includes a significantly larger number of alternate costumes than its predecessors, with the average number of colour changes per character being roughly 4.7 in the original Super Smash Bros. and Melee, and 6.0 in Brawl.
Pikachu is the only character to appear in all three games with only four colour options, and the only character in Brawl with only four colour options. No character in any game has more than six palette swaps, with the exception of Wario. Wario's outfits are special, in that the player may choose colour variations of either his biker costume from the WarioWare series, or his classic overalls. Both costumes have six palette swaps, making for a total of twelve choices.
Additionally, the red, green and blue variations of both the biker costume and the overalls may be used in team battles, making Wario the only character with two colour choices when on a team.