Masahiro Sakurai displays a prototype of the game that would eventually become Smash Bros
Masahiro Sakurai is now a YouTuber, and in his most recent video, he showed “never-before-seen” footage of the prototype that became Super Smash Bros. You may see Dragon King: The Fighting Game starting at 1:25 in the video at the top of this page or go straight to that point by clicking this link.
The Dragon King clip is definitely early in production, but you can already see characteristics that are now important to the Smash series, such as percentages denoting health, the distinctive three-platform “Battlefield” stage structure, and characters flying over the borders of the screen to their deaths. Fighters were just polygonal people, not Nintendo characters, with abilities such as smash strikes, midair leaps, shields, dashes, and aerial assaults. “There were no special techniques, dodges, or even items yet,” Sakurai said, “but the game’s mechanics were roughly the same as Smash Bros.”