Basics of Smash

This page will teach you the basics of Smash Bros. It's a good read if you are new to Smash Bros. or if you want to touch up on your knowledge. Smash is a simple game with a simple goal. The goal of the game is to knock your opponents off the stage in such a way that they can't jump back. Everytime you hit an opponent, their damage percentage on the bottom of the screen increases. The higher the percentage, the further they fly from a blow. Eventually a hit will send them far enough that they can't make it back on to the stage.

Starting the Game
Menu Navigation
Camera Angles in Smash
Types of Knock Offs
Damage Calculation in Smash
Points and Life Award System (Also a brief tutorial for the multiplayer mode)
Character Selection Screen
Basic Controls during a game
The Physics of Smash Bros.
The Crowd
General Cpu Behaviour
Smash Terms

Starting the Game

Super Smash Brothers starts like any other N64 game. Plug the cartridge into the system, connect your controller(s), connect the system to the TV, and plug the system into a power outlet. Turn the system on and Voila! If it is your first time playing smash, don't press anything and sit through the intro video. If you don't feel like seeing it, press start to go immediately to the start screen that shows the text "Super Smash Brothers." Follow the instructions near the bottom of the screen (which says press start), and you'll be in the main menu. If you leave the game at the start screen, a video will start teaching you the some basic game play techniques.

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Menu Navigation

Before you can start a game of Smash, you have to go through some menus first. The buttons used to navigate the menus are the control stick for highlighting items, the start button and A to select an item and use B to return to the previous menu.
The main menu has four options:
1P mode: Allows you to start a single player game, go into training mode or practice with bonus stages (break the targets and board the platform). I will explain this mode in the single player page.
Vs Mode: This is where the fun stuff is. You go in here to play a multiplayer game with cpus or your friends. In the Vs menu, you can set the rules for the game (time, stock, team or no team) and the vs options allows you to turn on handicaps, team attack, adjust stage select or manage the appearance of items. Item switch is only available after you played 50 multiplayer games.
Options: This menu offers you the choices of switching between stereo and mono sound, adjusting the screen and an option called backup clear. In backup clear, you can erase everything in the vs. record and all the secret options, characters, and stage. This option can revert the cartridge back to when you first bought it.
Data: The data menu offers three options. The first option called characters will let you scroll through every character in the game, telling you about their background and what games they were in. The screen also shows the characters doing their moves. You can hold Z and use the control stick to change the camera angle on the characters.
The second option in the menu allows you to see the vs record. The first screen in the vs record shows the characters in rows. The cells in each roll represents how many times the coloured characters on the left side KOed the grayscale characters on the top. On the far right is the total KO for each character. The character with the highest number of KOs will be at the top and the character with the least number of KOs will be on the bottom. Press A to get to the second screen, which shows each characters win % (% of all character's KOs added together), total KOs, total times getting KOed (listed as TKO), self destruct %, total playing itme, use% which is the character's share of playing time and the average number of opponents in the character's vs battles. Press A again and you can scroll through each character's stats individually. The individual stats shows the character's overall ranking, the character's total playing time, the total amount of damage the character has dealed and the total damage the character has taken. There's a table on the bottom that shows the character's win%, total KOs, total time KOed and average number of opponents.
The third option in the data menu is called sound test. It is not available until you beat every character's break the targets and board the platform bonus stages. You can play all the sounds in Smash in sound test. There are 45 pieces of music, 194 sounds and 244 voices you can play in this mode.
A lot of this information is in the instruction booklet, so I won't go into too much detail here. Read the booklet before you play if you are new to Smash.

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Camera Angles in Smash

The camera in Smash Bros will try its best to keep every player on the screen in at the same time. Unlike many other game camera, this one does not do split screen. It tries to keep all character in the battle inside the same screen. This sometimes will make your character hard to see, especially on a big stage when the characters are spread out. If a character gets sent beyond the camera's ability to stretch, his/her position will be inidcated by a circle with the character inside and an arrow pointing at the character's real position.

Types of Knock Offs

There are two types of KO, or knock offs (official Nintendo lingo), in the game. The first and more common type is the explosion KO. Explosion KOs happen if a character goes over the left, right or bottom boundaries. Every arena has four boundaries: top (north), left (west), bottom (south), right (east). When a character crosses the left, right or bottom boundaries, there will be a big explosion and the character who flew out will yell in pain. The person loses a life and/or a point instantly as he/she goes over the boundary. If the person have a life left or if it were a time match, it will take about two seconds before they can re-enter the game.
The other type of KO is called the star KO, or star finish. This happens when an opponent is sent over the top boundary. The victim will scream in pain and disappear from the screen for a short time. The scream is longer and different from the explosion scream. Then the character will either fly into the background and become a star (hence the name star KO) or he/she will fly into the foreground and then disappear from the screen. Life and points are lost when the character becomes a star, so it will take a few seconds. This means that the KO might not count, especially in time mode when there's like 4 seconds left when someone gets sent over the top boundary. The time will expire before the life and point is lost and the guy who should have gotten a point will be pissed off.

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Damage Calculation in Smash

Every time your character gets hit by an attack, his/her damage will increase depending on which move hit the character. Each attack has a maximum amount of damage that it can deliver, but the moves don't always deliver their maximum damage like in most other fighting games. If you use the same move repeatly, the damage and power of the move will decrease until it reaches its minimum damage. Depending on which move you are using, the move might have a partial hit that occurs if you don't time the move correctly or if you just hit with the tip of the blow. The damage of an attack will return to its maximum after you have used some other attacks. The damage won't go back to max if you just use one other attack and use the weakened attack again. You need to do several other attacks in order to get back full damage. Only attacks that hit an opponent counts. The count of whether you use an attack repeatly is carried over even if you die. This means if you use one attack many times before your death, after rebirth, that attack will still be weak unless you use some other moves. If you keep missing an opponent, the damage and power of your attack won't diminish. Another thing of note is that when an opponent is lying on the floor, he/she will only take half the damage percents from hits. While on the floor, the opponent will also fly less distance than if the opponent was standing.

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Points and Life Award System (Also a brief tutorial for the multiplayer mode)

In a multiplayer game, the factors that determines who wins and who loses are the points and lifes. In a stock battle, every player is given a set number of lives (or stock). The player who survives at the end wins the game. The players duke at out and try to kill each other. In a stock battle, one could win just by standing around and let the others deplete their stock, then go in and kill the last one with the advantage of having more lives. A life is lost when you get KOed, or get a TKO. A stock match ends when only one play survives. The announcer will yell "Game Set!" and these words will appear on the screen. After a stock match, the winning character's symbol will be shown and then the summary screen will show only the number of KOs each player got. The winning character stands closest to the screen and the other players stand further away depending on their place. In a team battle, the symbol of the winning team member that has the most KOs will be shown. If it is a tie between the two characters, I think the computer just choose randomly on the symbol that is shown. Email me if you know how it's determined. The winner in a stock match can have less KOs then the losers and still win.
In time matches, players play for a set amount of time. Players have an infinite amount of lives. The system used to determine the winner in time mode is the point system. A point is awarded to the player who KOs another player, and a player that gets KOed loses a point. The condition for getting a point is that the player must be the last person that hits (or breaks the shield of) the dying character before the dying character dies. This leaves room open for cheap tricks and so called stealing KOs. For example, a character knocks another character out far enough that he/she can't make it back on to the stage. According the human school of thought, the KO should be awarded to the person who knocked the victim out since he/she did all the work. But a person can come along and hit the doomed character with a projectile and steal the KO. Another situation is when a weak move hits a character right after or at the same time that person has been hit by a very strong attack. The victim flies away due to the power of the strong hit, but the KO is awarded to the player who delivered the weak hit because he/she touched the dead person last.
Another thing about KOs is if a person touches the ground and then still gets killed, no points will be awarded to anyone. This happens a lot on Mushroom Kingdom where you try to kill someone inside the left tunnel. The person will bounce on the ceiling, then the floor and roll over the boundary. You don't get a point for that KO even though you are the one who hit the person over the boundary. Situations like this is equivalent to a self destruct. The person that died will still lose a point, but no one gets awarded with a point. This only happens if the victim hits the floor. If the victim bounces off a wall and dies, the point is still awarded to the person who hit the victim last.
At the summary screen after a time match, the KO number (points earned) will be subtracted by the TKO number (points lost) to find a final number that determines who wins and who loses. The player with the highest number wins. Of course, the player will know by the character symbol that appears first when the summary screen appears. So in time mode, players must participate or they'll have no chance of winning. When two or more opponents have the highest score, the results screen will not appear and the opponents will duke it out again in SUDDEN DEATH mode, where the characters only have 1 stock and starts with 300% damage. In sudden death, one hit is enough to kill. The player who wins in sudden death wins the match.

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Character Selection Screen

You'll encounter the character selection screen when you try to start a one player game, go into training mode or start a vs. game. This section talks about the selection screen for a vs match, but there are many similarities between all the character selection screens. On the upper left corner, there will be text that says free for all or team battle. You can click on the text to switch the rules. You can also set these rules in the Vs. menu. Beside that in the middle top, there's a yellow button that either says time or stock. You can click the arrows on the button to change the amount of time or stock, but you can't change from time to stock or vice versa on this screen. You must go back to the vs menu to change it. Stock offers a choice from 1 to 99 in both the selection screen and the menu. In the menu, you can set time from 1 to 60 minutes or infinite minutes. In the selection screen, however, you can only choose from 2, 3, 5, 10, 15, 30 ,60, or infinite minutes. On the top right is the back button that allows you to return to the vs menu.
Below these three buttons are the characters pictures. They are arranged in two rows of six. The first row from left to right consists of Luigi, Mario, DK, Link, Samus and Captain Falcon. The second row from left to right consists of Ness, Yoshi, Kirby, Fox, Pikachu and Jigglypuff. Depending on your progress, the secret characters in the ends of each row may or may not be available for use. To select a character, first turn the player on the rectangles below the character picts. There's a button on the upper right of the rectangles. Player 1 is turned on by default. To turn more players on, press the upper right button of the other rectangles so they way "HMN" or "CP." "HMN" stands for human and is only available if there's a controller on that slot. "CP" is a computer controlled player. If you choose to turn a computer controlled player on, the system will automatically pick a character for it and put the character at the default level 3 difficulty. You can pick the character for cpus or your own by putting your hand thing over the character pics and putting the token in the hand on the character you want. For comps, just pick up the token that says CP and put it on the desired character. At the bottom of the cpu's rectangle, you can adjust the difficulty of the cpu from level 1 to 9. Human players pick their own characters.
After locking in on your selection, the announcer will announce the name of your character and your character will do some funny animation in your rectangle. You can change the costume of the character by pressing the C buttons if it's free for all. You can only use the costumes that has not been taken. In team battles, you have to change your team colour to change the costume. If two or more members of the same team chose the same player, the player that locks in first gets a darker costume. The player that locks in last gets a very light costume.

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Basic Controls during a game

Unlike other fighting games where each character needs a different combination of buttons to do moves, in Smash, all the character basically have the same controls. When playing Smash, you should use your right hand to hold the right side of the controller and hold the centre part with your left hand. Here are the controls. Note that the symbol + means press the buttons beside the symbol at the same time

Buttons Function and Explanation
Tilt Stick Sideways when on ground Walk
Tap Stick Sideways when on ground Run
Tap Stick Upwards or Press the C buttons Jump. Most characters have 3 jumps in total: one from the ground the get in the air, one jump in the air and the special up B move that gives them move distance. After doing the third jump, the character cannot do anything else until he/she lands. If the character is hit during the third jump or after the third jump, the damaged character can attempt the third jump again.
Tilt Stick downward while on ground Crouch
Tap Stick downward while on platform Go through platform
Move Control Stick left, right or down in air Change drifting direction or falling speed
Press Z or hold R on ground Shield. You can press up or down to move the shield since in most cases the shield doesn't cover the whole body. Your shield will protect you from all attacks except throws, grab moves, electro and the exploding lasers from teh Arwing. Your shield can only take a certain amount of punishment. If you shields take more damage than its intended limit, then the shield will break and your character will be stunned for a few seconds. Your shield will regenerate when you are not using it, but if you hold it continuously, your shield will slowly decrease.
Z + A or tap R on ground Grab. Grabs can be long range or short range depending on the character. The only opponents you can't grab are people who are invincible or people who are lying down on the floor. Your victim doesn't have to be on the ground when you grab him/her.
move stick left or right while using shield Roll. Rolling is an important part of Smash. Characters are invincible during the roll. However, for most characters, the shield will be down a short moment after the roll, leaving the character vulnerable to a hit.
L while on the ground Taunt. Taunts are used to piss off an opponent. Do this if you KOed someone or want some attention.
A on ground Weak attack. As the name indicates, these attacks are weak. Press A continously and some characters will do their infinite combo. If there's an item nearby, your character will pick up the item. If the item is a container or a throwing item, pressing A will throw the item.
Tilt Stick sideways, up or down + A on ground Strong Attack. These range from near Smash attacks to very weak and useless attacks.
Tap Stick sideways, up or down + A on ground Smash Attack. Usually a powerful ground attack that is used to KO people.
Press A while running Running Attack
A or R, and A or R + move stick up, left, down, right in air Aerial Attack
B, B+ tilt stick up or down Special Attack. Every character has three special attacks.
Tilt stick forward, press A or R after grabbing someone Forward Throw. Throws are the only moves that can turn other players into living projectiles used to damage other enemies.
Tilt stick backwards after grabbing someone Backward Throw
Press A when lying on the ground Recovery Attack
Press Z or move stick up when lying on the ground Get back up to your feet
Move stick left or right when lying on the ground Recovery Roll to get back on your feet
Press Z immediately after you fall to the ground or use a down + A air move Short recovery. You get back to ready postion immediately. Also known as Z cancel.
Press A when hanging on an edge Edge Attack
Move stick down when hanging on an edge Let go of the edge
Move stick forward or up when hanging on an edge Climb back on to the stage
Z when hanging on an edge Roll back on to the stage
Start button Pauses the game and focuses the camera on your character. If you have no lives left in a stock team battle and your partner(s) have more than one life, pressing start will take a life away from your partner and give it to you.
Move Stick while paused Moves Camera around your character
Z+A+B+R during pause End the match

That wasn't that bad, was it? It seems like a pretty long list but you probably will remember every button combination after playing for a while.

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The Physics of Smash Bros.

Everything in Smash Bros behaves according to certain rules. The physics of Smash is a mix of real world physics and fantasy. In a game of Smash, gravity exists and pulls players downwards, but characters fall at constant speed and the characters can jump a lot higher in the game than anyone could in the real world. How far a player flies due to a blow is determined by several factors. You'll know you've been sent flying if smoke comes out of your character's behind, your character is screaming in pain and sailing through the air. The factors that determine how far a character flies include the character's natural weight, how much damage the character has taken, the character's position (whether or not he/she is standing up or lying down), the power of the attack and the launch angle of the attack. A more powerful hit will send victims further than a weaker hit and a heavier character like DK will fly less than a light character such as Jigglypuff. If a character gets sent flying into a wall, the character will bounce off at the appropriate angle and lose momentum. If a character is sent to ground at an angle, he/she will roll in the direction of the hit just like in the real world. Characters sent flying into the ground will not bounce like if they hit a vertical wall. The laws of friction also comes into play in smash. Sometimes characters don't have a lot of traction, like when Kirby is in his stone form. Character that has been hit will always face the opponent or the object that hit them. This is so that the character wil be able the face the edge when he/she tries to recover. Projectiles will also deflect at an angle sometimes when they hit a shield and there're many other examples of physics in Smash.

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The Crowd

Every time a match comes on, there will be an invisible crowd cheering the players on. The crowd in Smash is pretty cool. They will woo and aahh if someone gets hit and sent flying really far. They will gasp if a person that has been knocked off the stage makes it back to safety. They will cheer if a character hit multiple opponents in one move or manages to pull off a combo. The crowd will sometimes also chant a character's name. This happens when that character has over 100% worth of damage and this character sends another character flying with a power move. The crowd will start chanting the character's name and the chanting can go on for a while.

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General Cpu Behaviour

If you play Smash, chances are that you'll come across battling computer controlled characters at some point. Cpu characters are pretty easy to beat if you know how, but they can be a challenge to newbies. I list cpu behaviours according the character in each character guide and stage specific behaviours on the stage guides, but all cpus share many common behaviours. I will list them all here. These are based on my experiences with level 9s. Hope these pointers will help you have an easier time with the comps.

-When respawning (getting back to the game after being KOed), cpu will always jump off the glowing platform instantly, even if there is a guy with a hammer around.
-Cpus will go for items no matter what, even if the item is a useless fan or a bomb-omb that has been there for a few seconds.
-If the item a cpu has is a container or a throwing item, the cpu will chuck it at the nearest opponent. If the item is a container and if no opponent is near, the cpu will jump up and throw the container down on to the ground if it is a small container or just chuck the container randomly if it is a big one. Stand very close to a cpu holding a crate or a barrel will make the cpu freeze on his/her spot because the cpu can't decide how to throw the container.
-Cpus will usually go after the nearest opponent
-Cpus will never purposely go after someone like the way humans do
-Cpus are very good at using ray guns and fire flowers, so make sure they don't get those items
-Cpus will run away from people with hammers or people who are invincible, even if the cpus themselves have hammers or are invincible
-Cpus will never purposely edge guard or spike an opponent
-Cpus will roll like mad if you try to use your down smash on them. In this situation you can either keep smashing or get away because the cpu will attack you at the first opportunity
-Cpus will also roll like crazy if you try to grab them, or they'll grab you first and throw you. If you miss several grab attempts, get away because you'll likely get thrown.
-Cpus usually don't use power moves on incapacitated people, like people that are stunned after shield break or a sleeping Jigglypuff. The cpus will sometimes roll around and do nothing
-Cpus will never attack when they are above a pit and they won't avoid any attacks made by you when they are above a pit
-Cpus will always taunt when they think that they have KOed someone
-During comeback, Cpus usually will only attempt the third jump once. If the third jump is interrupted while they are still entirely over the pit, they usually don't bother trying again.
-Cpus will never notice motion sensor bombs or bumpers that have been deployed.
-Cpus will never block or dodge a barrel rolling towards them if they threw it themselves. This happens when the cpus try to thow a barrel uphill.

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Smash Terms

Here will list a bunch of terms and definitions that I will use throughout the guide and some stuff you should know about Smash.

Term Definition
Cancelling This is a phenomonon that happens when two ground attacks of similar strength go at each other at the same time. The two moves will hit each other and cancel out. Neither character takes damage but they may move backwards due to the force of the opposing attack. The cancelling moves can be different in power. For example, a strong attack can cancel out a smash attack, even though the smash may be much stronger. Cancelling also means when an attack's effect gets canceled out by another attack, such as if you try to hit Samus during a screw attack. She sometimes won't take damage because her screw attack cancelled your attack out. Air moves usually don't cancel, they just go through each other. Cancelling also occurs between two projectiles and between projectiles and a physical attack.
Comeback Move, Recovery Move, Third Jump, or Triple Jump An attack (usually up + B) that helps a character gain more horizontal and vertical distance so the character can make it back on to the stage. Most characters have this move. The only two characters who have no comeback moves are Yoshi and Jigglypuff. This move is also known as the recovery move or the third jump. Triple jump refers to using all of a character's available jumps, including the comeback move.
Damage Damage can refer to the number of % an attack can deal to an opponent or the total amount of damage a character has taken.
Deflection Deflection is different than reflection, where a projectile is reflected back at its launcher. Deflection is when a projectile bounces off a shield at an angle without breaking or disappearing. This happens when the target shields just before the projectile is about to hit. If the deflected projectile kills someone, the orignal launcher fo the projectile still gets the KO.
Double and Second Jump Double Jump means using the characters ground jump and the air jump(s). All characters have double jumps. Second jump refers to the air jump(s) after the initail jump from the ground.
Duration This refers to how long the hit phase of an attack lasts.
Edge An edge is usually the part of the stage that is right beside a pit. When you are knocked off the stage, you can jump back and hang on to the edge. You are invincible for a short period of time when you hang on the edge. Hanging on the edge gives you a better chance for survival since you have several options. Only one character can hang on one edge at the same time. This means if one character is already on the edge, no other characters can grab that edge until the hanging character leaves.
Edge Guarding A common technique in Smash where a player knocks another player off the side and then stands near the edge to try to hit the recovering player back out again. Edge guarding can involve jumping out to hit the player further out or spiking the player down, or it can be hitting the victim player back out when he/she has landed or before he/she lands. Edge guarding is one of the best ways to get KOs. Edge guarding is considered to be cheap by some but you know what, every Smash player that knows what he or she is talking about does this, so don't be ashamed. It's better to win than to be honourable.
Edge Hogging This is a technique used to make it hard for opponents to make it back to the stage. Due to the fact that only one character can hang on an edge at one time, it's possible for a player to purposely grab on to the edge so that an recovering opponent cannot get back on the stage.
Flight or Launch Angle/Path This is the angle that a character is sent flying after being hit by a certain move. There are many launch angles possible in Smash.
First or Single Jump The first jump of a character. This is the jump from the ground.
Grab You grab an opponent so you can throw them. A character can only grab while he/she is on the ground. This is done by tapping R or using Z + A. There are also a bunch of moves that exhibits the characteristics of a grab (like Falcon's up B move) called grab moves. Grabs cannot be blocked by the shield.
Hazard A hazard is something on a stage that can hurt characters. An infamous and hated hazard would be Planet Zebe's acid. Some hazards will deal direct damage while other may not, but all of them are dangerous to the players.
Hit Phase Hit phase is the portion of an attack that delivers damage. Hit phase comes after the startup time and ends before the recovery time of a move.
Hold A hold is a move that traps a player so he or she cannot move at will. An example of a hold would be Kirby's swallow. If you are trapped in a hold, mash buttons and wiggle the analog stick furiously to get out.
Juggle A technique in many fighting games when you keep your opponent in the air by hitting the person upwards. This limits the opponent's attack options and allows you to have the upper hand.
Launch If your character is sent flying, then the character got launched.
Partial Hit Happens with certain moves (almost all aerial attacks) when you hit an opponent with the tip of the blow or at the end of the hit phase. The damage and power will be decreases and the sound is noticeably different too.
Power or Strength or Knockback Power is defined as being how far a certain attack can launch a player. The more powerful an attack is, the further the victim will fly. Usually the more damage an attack do, the more power it has, but there is no direct relationship between power and damage. Two moves doing the same damage can have different powers. For example, both Falcon Dive and Jigglypuff's rest do 20% damage. While the Dive is pretty strong, the rest attack can easily kill at below 50% damage, which makes it a lot more powerful than the Dive.
Priority Priority means how dominant a move is. If two (air) moves are initiated at the same time, the move with the high priority will more likely hit first. For example, Samus' screw attack has an extremely high priority. It will go through almost any other move and hit the opponent. Priority counts less for ground moves because they tend to cancel out.
Recovery Recovery can mean the act of trying to jump back on to the stage after being knocked off, trying to get back on your feet after lying on the ground or the time it takes for an attack to finish. Recovery can also refer to the between the hit phase of an attack and when the character can perform another action again.
Send Down or Spike Spiking refers to hitting an opponent over a pit in such a way that the opponent flies at a downward angle. Depending on the spike move and the recovery ability of the victim, a spike can kill at very low damages. Not all characters can spike, but a good number of them can.
Shield Stun Certain powerful attacks cause shield stun. If the attack hits and the target blocks it, the target won't be able to release the shield for a short time. Attacks that cause shield stun include the hammer, a full charge shot and a full giant punch.
Startup The time it takes for a move to go into its hit phase after the player presses the appropriate buttons.
Z Cancel A technique used to shorten the recovery time of certain down A aerial attacks when the character hits the ground. Press Z immediately as the character hits the ground and the recovery time will be shortened dramatically. Works most noticeably with Link's down A sword stab.

Well, this is all you need to know so you can play Smash. You don't have to memorize everything here but it is good to remember these things. Many operating instructions can be found on the instruction booklet that came with the game and you can also go to other sites for more information.

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