Smash Bros. Brawl Media Update: Online Play, Friend Codes, Classic Stages, Pokemon, Fire, More...

It's obvious that the holiday spirit is strong with Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii) director Masahiro Sakurai, as he has issued a plethora of new details and screenshots via the game's official site.

First Sakurai brings word of returning classic stages from past games in the series, then he graces us with picutres of the many Pokemon that can be summoned during battle. nope

Along with sequential images depicting the Final Smashes of King Dedede and the pajama-clad Wario, the director has illustrated the process of acquiring the fabled Smash Ball that allows such powerful attacks. In short, players must first smash the container, and whoever grabs the Smash Ball can use it at their discretion. However, those that wait too long may find the be stolen by an opponent.

Other features shown include the return of single player challenge events, Friends Code entry, and online matchmaking. The exchange of Friends Codes allows players to see when their friends are online and easily play with them, and any opponent that drops from an online match will be automatically replaced by an AI bot.

"Oh! The pictures make it easy to understand," Sakurai wrote.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl arrives in North America on February 10, with the Japanese release slated for January 28. The European version is not expected until April at the very earliest.