- This article is about Falco's appearance in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. For other uses, see Falco Lombardi.
Falco (ファルコ, Faruko) is a character appearing in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. He reprises his role from Super Smash Bros. Melee, although his moveset has been somewhat altered. Hailing from the Star Fox universe, Falco serves as one of the group of mercenaries captained by Fox McCloud. Falco is an unlockable character, given to the player by playing 50 matches, defeating 100 Man Brawl, or having Falco join the party in The Subspace Emissary. In the first two cases, the player must defeat Falco after meeting the required criteria to unlock him. Falco currently clocks in at a very high 4th position out of 37 on the tier list, at the middle of the S Tier, and is now the highest-ranking unlockable veteran, along with being the only overall veteran in the S Tier. He is the only character to be top tier in both Melee and Brawl, and the only character to have the same postion on both the SSBM tier list and SSBB tier list. He is top tier due to his great metagame, follow-up ability (which includes a Chain Spike, Boost Smash, and, to a lesser extent, Laser Lock), great projectile, long range in his reflector, camping abilities, and about even match-ups with all other top tier characters. Many smashers feel his "decloning" may have saved him from being downgraded like Fox. Along with Marth, he is one of the only Top Tier characters in Melee not to have been majorly changed in Tier position.
Changes from Melee to Brawl
Falco exhibits some of the most significant change from Melee to Brawl, with his moveset being changed so that he is only a semi-clone of Fox, rather than a clone. He has a new up tilt (slashes arms upward twice), a new neutral combo (spins in a circle in front of him, slashing with his arms), a new forward smash (chops forward with his arms), a new forward aerial (spins around in front of him, slashing with his feathers and beak), and a new neutral aerial (spins around, slashing with his arms, which makes it no longer a good killing move). His down tilt is weaker, as well as no longer being a good killing move. His down throw can now chain grab, but can no longer spike through platforms or tech chase. His d-air can now only spike at the start, from the middle to lower hitboxes. His Falco Phantasm has an increased distance, which, combined with an increased air speed and decreased falling speed, means an overall better horizontal recovery. Unfortunately, his vertical recovery is worse because of Fire Bird's decreased distance, but it can now hit during the charging period. His reflector is used differently, with Falco kicking it rather than holding it like Fox. Because of this, it has better range, but it is harder to time, as well as not being as useful for recovery. His blaster now has a faster start-up time, as well as now firing blue lasers. He has a slower dash speed, which slightly adds to his nerfed finishing ability. In purely cosmetic terms, he has a new dash animation and voice actor for the NTSC and PAL versions.
Falco is gifted with a diverse moveset featuring quick attacks, great follow-up ability, capable finishers, the ability to wall jump, the highest initial jump in the game, and a fantastic projectile. Outside of his forward-air, all of his aerials cancel quickly upon landing, including his spike and the ending lag on aerial Blaster shots. This gives Falco an incredible ability to approach or shutdown approaches, as short-hopped Blaster cancels can be immediately chained into many of Falco's other attacks at close or mid range. Falco can also bolster his approach with his high-priority dash attack, a quick, strong move that is difficult to defend against. Falco has a chance to forcibly trip opponents with his quick down special, Reflector to further harass their approach. Reflector can go through walls and also has the ability to reflect uncommon projectiles, such as Pikachu's Thunder. Falco's blaster has great range, high priority, and decent speed.
One of Falco's most potent moves is his down-throw. Although completely incapable of killing, the down-throw instead provides Falco with an excellent and easy to use chain-throw, chaining into itself up to percents as high as 50% on most characters including the down aerial finish, and it affects more characters than King Dedede's down-throw chain. When Falco gets to the edge during the chain-throw, he can unavoidably spike opponents to their doom; should they be able to recover, he can simply ledge-hog at the right time to prevent their return (on some characters, it doesn't work against most characters). This attack chain is particularly fatal to all the Space Animals, including other Falcos, due to the delay and movement limitations in their up-specials. Falco's down-throw also combines well into d-air and dash attack, and a popular alternative finish to the chain-throw is to hit with dash attack before instantly canceling into an up-smash. In essence, when playing against Falco opponents can generally consider their first 50% of any stock forfeit should they get grabbed with rare exception.
For finishing moves, one of Falco's few weaker sides, Falco can use his forward and up smashes to good effect, though his forward smash is slow and is weak in the tip while his up smash, weaker, has poor range. His up smash has strong, purely vertical knockback if it hits during the upswing of his kick, and can be used as a DACUS to gain the jump on opponents further away (while charging, even), though it has poor range. The forward smash has even more knockback (this time diagonally up and forward), at the expense of some noticeable start-up and ending lag. Falco is also armed with a fast and powerful spike from his down aerial that can kill at damages as low as 50%. However, this move has little range with a small sweetspot (sourspotting the attack knocks back horizontally) and lasts a long time while in the air, which makes it dangerous to use off the edge given Falco's fast falling speed. Falco's d-air excels at spikes near the edge and at spiking opponents above the stage, setting them up for a different finisher as they get up from the floor.
Falco's problem areas are recovery and finish ability. His lateral recovery, using Falco Phantasm, is decent, but his vertical recovery with Fire Bird has poor range and a large amount of lag. Successful recoveries for Falco depend upon using Falco Phantasm to grab the edge without leaving himself vulnerable, because when he is below the edge he is easily edge-hogged. His fall speed isn't as high as it was in Melee, but it still clocks in towards the top. He is also light, making him more vulnerable to low percent kills, though it does have its minor benefits like escaping King Dedede's Chain Grab. Even though he is a light character, he is still a candidate for Wario's 52-120% chain grab, Pikachu's 0-100% chain grab, and the Ice Climbers' infinite chain grab. KOing can also be a hard time against mobile characters due to low amount of KO moves and being his most reliable killing moves (except down smash, which is a very good counter attack, though it doesn't KO until relatively high percents) being slow, having relatively little range, or a small sweetspot, being his back air usually stale due being his best aerial and with good Directional Influence, it can take a long time to Falco's moves to KO due up smash being not very powerful and side smash having low angle knockback if not DIed.
Other than his recovery and poor finish ability, Falco has no critical problems.
- Neutral attack - Falco does a jab, another jab, and then tilts diagonally and spins, arms out quickly. This move can trap an opponent if they're in a corner. Good for racking up damage. If this is used on a character that is in the metal status it will constantly spin them around, as Mario's Cape does, but a lot faster. 1st jab is very fast and has high priority, can lead into a grab to start his chain grab.
- Dash attack - Identical to his dash attack in Melee (he jumps slightly off the ground while running and performs a kick). Vertical knockback allows to set up an Up smash, as it can be dash canceled into his Up smash. Good knockback.
- Strong Down - Tail swipe. Identical to his attack from Melee, except now an unreliable KO move. Average knockback.
- Strong Side - Kicks his leg out, like his forward tilt from Melee. Can be directed up or down with the control stick. Below-average knockback. Best used for spacing purposes or to counter another move due to its high speed.
- Strong Up - Swings both of his wings above his head. Hits twice. A good move for juggling to rack up damage, or as an anti-air attack. Average knockback but doesn't KO until very high percents.
- Side Smash - Falco swings his wings in an overhead powerful swipe, slashing anyone who is caught in it. Best smash for killing enemies, though it's slow and has sweetspot. If hit on the tip, it does very little knockback (though Falco is usually far enough to prevent a counterattack), but if arms hit opponent, there is high knockback. It's the strongest side smash out of all 3 Star Fox characters, similar to how Fox possesses the strongest up smash of the three and how Wolf possesses the strongest down smash of the three.
- Down Smash - Split kick. Less range than his Melee down smash. Has primarily horizontal knockback, but its minimal range and relative weakness limit its kill potential. Although it has minimal knockback at percentages like 100%, at higher percentage its large horizontal knockback is key in fights against horizontal-recovery challenged opponents, it's almost no start-up makes it great used right after a sidestep or out of a shield when the opponent is at percentages like 150%. Hits simultaneously on both sides, and will send opponents vertically should they descend upon the attack's hitbox from the air.
- Up Smash - Flip kick, like his Melee up smash. While weaker and having a smaller sweetspot than Fox's, this move can be used to cancel his dash attack for a swift combo, or for a far-reaching, sliding up-smash (DACUS). The knockback is entirely dependent on where it hits; stronger in the front, fairly low in the rear. Moderately high knockback.
- Ledge attack - Drop kicks onto the stage whilst holding onto the edge. Quick with good range, and returns Falco closer to the edge upon completion.
- 100% Ledge attack - Climbs up over the edge and does a forward kick while holding the edge.
- Floor attack - Kicks in front of and then in back of himself.
- Neutral Aerial - Falco does a series of windmill swipes with his wings, hitting five times. Last strike has medium knockback. High-priority wing strikes makes this an excellent close-range setup move, as well as for hitting from beneath platforms.
- Forward Aerial - Falco turns horizontally and spins, hitting multiple times with his beak, similar to Pikachu's or Sonic's Forward Air. Knockback on all the hits but the last is fixed, and is minimal regardless of damage. Last strike is the most powerful, providing a small amount of knockback, which hasn't set knockback, but has very low knockback scale. Long aerial duration and landing lag makes this move dangerous to use at any time, though significantly high priority gives it situational utility on ledge-hops and high-flying edge-guarding. A poor move in general. However, if used in a short hop it can knock your opponent to the ground and set up perfectly for a Laser Lock.
- Back Aerial - Falco sticks his leg out horizontally behind him, similar to his Back Air from the previous game. Very good knockback, high speed and long duration make it very useful. Can be followed by a midair-jumped second bair in some situations. Useful for aerial-intercept edge guarding, and can be used effectively with the Reverse Aerial Rush. This attack also hits slightly in front of Falco, so it can be used as a surrogate forward aerial in some situations.
- Up Aerial - Overhead vertical flip kick. Exhibits different knockback properties depending on when and where you hit the foe. Best knockback directly above Falco when foot is furthest extended. Moderate speed.
- Down Aerial - Falco turns diagonally and spins. At the start of his attack and hitbox from knee to lower body part, he can execute a spike at his spinning heel. Extremely fast start-up, with a long-lasting normal hitbox, and only has 12 frames of landing lag upon hitting ground, making it good at initiating ground-based juggles.
Grabs & Throws
- Pummel - Falco grabs and knees opponent. 2% damage.
- Forward Throw - Grabs opponent and punches them forward. 7% damage.
- Back Throw - Throws opponent backwards and shoots them diagonally with his blaster. Damage dependent on how many shots hit.
- Up Throw - Throws opponent upward and shoots his blaster straight up. Damage dependent on how many shots hit.
- Down Throw - Throws opponent on the ground and shoots them three times with his blaster. 8% damage. Can chain grab most characters up until 42% finishing with a Dair air spike (most characters survive the chain grab if the recovery is timed correctly) or dash attack canceled with up smash for 60% damage, making this a better option than the spike finish against most characters. Less effective on floaters, but can still chain it with his other attacks on those characters.
Shelling- This move can only be done with Fox and Falco but it is more prominent with Falco. In Brawl (green shell in hand), jump over the edge of a level (preferrably Final Destination or Temple), hold down and tap A twice. The first tap should show Falco or Fox throwing the shell downwards and the second tap show them grabbing the shell back and performing their D-air while moving up. This move really has no practical use but just to have fun with. Sometimes Fox or Falco will just bounce off the shell resulting in it falling off the level and other times the shell will just fall despite attempts to grab it back.
Falco is one of only four characters to speak in all three taunts in Brawl, the others being Zero Suit Samus, Peach and Pikachu (though Peach uses real words in only one of her taunts, and Pikachu, like all Pokémon, only ever says variations of its name).
Up: Kicks his reflector around like a hackey sack, and says "Piece of cake."
Side: Stands on one foot and raises a wing while saying "Don't try me."
Down: Spins once and poses (same as in Melee), and says "Hands off my prey" often jokingly said as "Hands off my bread".
Smash Taunt: When fighting as Falco on the Lylat Cruise stage or Corneria stage, quickly tap down on the directional pad once and he will kneel down and seem as though he's trying to communicate with someone through a device, and then stand back up, at which point a conversation will begin with another character from the Star Fox universe.
In competitive play
Role in The Subspace EmissaryEjecting from his Arwing, Falco shows up in the nick of time to save Fox from trophy-ization at the hands of Bowser and a Shadowbug clone of Diddy by flip-kicking the Dark Cannon from Bowser's hands and destroying it with dual lasergun fire, forcing Bowser to leave. This makes Falco the only character who destroys a Dark Cannon in SSE, no matter which princess the player rescues. The Diddy clone begins to absorb more Shadowbugs, becoming gigantic, and after Fox revives the real Diddy, the three fight the giant clone. Falco then turns to leave, but is dragged back by Diddy and reluctantly comes along. A stupefied Fox shrugs his shoulders and walks off after them as he received the same treatment from Diddy earlier.
As Captain Falcon and Captain Olimar look down at the ship carrying Donkey Kong's trophy, Falco's Arwing shows up, ejecting Diddy Kong from the cockpit. Diddy then activates his Rocket Barrel Jet Pack and shoots the ship with his Peanut Popguns. Landing on the ship, he quickly de-trophifies DK, and after DK, Diddy, Captain Falcon, and Olimar defeat the Primids that board the ship, Falco gives Diddy and Donkey Kong a thumbs up as he leaves.
He makes his next appearance in the battle against Duon on the Halberd, where he teams up with Fox, Peach, Sheik, Snake, and Lucario. When it's defeated, Peach revives Game and Watch as Meta Knight takes back control of his ship. He uses his Arwing during the attack on the Subspace Gunship and maneuvers effectively to avoid the cannons. He enters Subspace and stands loftily, as if he is above this. When he is turned into a trophy, he is rescued by Kirby and Dedede, and joins them in the Great Maze. He aids them in the fight against Tabuu.
A Team Star Fox pilot whose real name is Falco Lombardi. He once roamed the starways as the head of a galactic gang, and his piloting skills are superb. He affects an air of cool disdain and is sometimes uncooperative, but in reality his passion for the Star Fox team is second to none. He once left the team to fly solo for a time.
Star Fox (Super Nintendo)
Star Fox: Command (Nintendo DS)
- Falco is one of the only two clone characters from Melee to return in Brawl along with Ganondorf.
- In Super Smash Bros. Melee, if one switched the language to Japanese, Falco would say, "Hands off my prey" (in Japanese, of course). In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, one of his taunts involve him spinning like he did in Melee while saying (in English), "Hands off my prey."
- In the SSE, when Falco first appears he is shown to use two blasters, but only uses one when he is used in-game.
- Falco holds the world record for Level 2 Target Smash, by completing it in 3.95 seconds. He also holds the Co-op Target Smash world record for Level 1 with Toon Link (2.66 seconds), and holds the top two records in Level 2 (Co-op) with:
- Strangely, the official game guide gives Falco a "10" ranking on speed, even though his dash speed is actually moderately slow (although his fall speed and attack speed are fast).
- If one were to calculate the sum of each character's tier rankings in Melee and Brawl, Falco would have the lowest total with 8, as he is currently fourth in the tier list for both Melee and Brawl.