- This article is about Falco's appearance in Super Smash Bros. Melee. For the character in other contexts, see Falco Lombardi; for information on the character of whom Falco is a clone, see Fox.
Falco currently ranks 2nd in the Melee tier list, making him the highest ranked unlockable character, clone character, and newcomer. Much like Fox, Falco has good speed and power to quickly overwhelm his opponents with a variety of approach options. However, he is a lightweight character with high falling speed and low air speed, making him vulnerable to horizontal KOs.
How to unlock
- Beat the 100-Man Melee mode with any character.
- Play 300 vs. matches.
Falco boasts the second fastest normal falling speed and the fastest fast falling speed. This means he resists being juggled and can perform SHFFLs well. On the downside, his recovery is shortened, and he is vulnerable to combos and chaingrabs that work on Fast fallers. However, he can chaingrab floaties.
Falco's excellent short hop makes him very good at combos and short hop lasers. His short hop lasers prevent most characters from approaching safely and can increase pressure on the opponent. His Reflector not only reflects projectiles, but can also be used for combo opportunities like pillaring. Falco also has the highest initial jump, the ability to wall jump, and a very effective Down Aerial spike. Additionally, he possesses the odd quality of having a higher top walking speed than running speed.
Though Falco's recovery covers less distance than Fox's, Falco retains the vast array of angles available when using Up-B (Fire Bird), however, his does not burn enemies during charging like Fox's. The bird's other main recovery tool, Side-B (Phantasm), is again shorter than Fox's, but it initiates quicker, and like his clone's can be shortened to provide further control over ending distance. These characteristics make for a recovery that is rich in options, but limited in distance. Falco's faster falling speeds are a drawback in this area, making him more susceptible to gimps.
Similarities/Differences with Fox
Since these characters' offer a wide variety of viable options in movement, neutral game, approaches, shield pressure, recovery, and defense, they can be played in many different ways, making them potentially less predictable. Overall, these characters have some of the most thoroughly exploited movesets overall in the game, with each of their moves used to great effect in competitive play in an assortment of ways. However, the end result of the different physics of Falco and Fox is two vastly different feeling, looking, and functioning characters that both generally perform well throughout Melee's competitive history.
- Falco has better vertical jumping prowess than Fox.
- Falco moves more slowly than Fox on the ground, due to lower walking and running speed.
- Falco is slightly heavier than Fox, allowing him to survive vertical KO moves at higher percents.
- Falco falls faster than Fox, making him more susceptible to combos and chaingrabs, and worsens his recovery.
- Falco's forward tilt, down tilt, forward smash, and down smash are stronger than Fox's.
- Falco's up tilt and up smash are weaker that Fox's.
- Falco's neutral and back aerials have more reach than Fox's.
- Up aerial is easier to sweetspot than Fox's. In exchange, it is much weaker.
- Although Falco's down air lacks multi-hit properties, it spikes opponents considerably more powerfully than Fox's.
Grabs and throws
- Falco's forward throw can chaingrab more efficiently than Fox's.
- Falco's back and down throws are also weaker than Fox's, in damage and knockback output, with the down throw being harder to meteor smash on the edge.
- Falco's up throw does not combo as well as Fox's, with a follow-up often being dependent on the opponent's directional influence.
- Falco's Blaster can make the opponent flinch, which allows for better combo setups and better capability at hindering an opponent's approach. It also fires faster when airborne, whereas Fox's can't.
- Falco's Falco Phantasm travels faster and possess meteor smash capabilities.
- Falco's Fire Bird is stronger than Fox's Fire Fox.
- Fire Bird's recovery distance is much shorter, travelling only half the length of Fire Fox. Fire Bird also lacks Fire Fox's charging hitboxes, making edge-guarding Falco much easier, especially with meteor smashes and spikes.
- Fire Bird's animation differs slightly from that of Fire Fox; Falco does not spin during the travelling section of the move, whereas Fox does.
- Falco's Reflector sends opponents straight upward, making it extremely useful for on-stage combos that can be hard to escape from; Fox's, however, semi-spikes the opponent with low set knockback, allowing for neutral resets, edge-guards, and guaranteed KO setups.
Like some other characters, Falco received minor changes in the PAL version of Melee. Although these changes slightly nerf him, they do not significantly impact his competitive viability.
- The latter half of down aerial doesn't spike but instead hits opponents on the Sakurai angle with drastically lower horizontal knockback, halving the time the move is able to spike.
- Several characters can now tech out of Falco's down throw.
|Neutral attack||4%||Two jab attacks that transitions into a flurry of rapid kicks.|
|Forward tilt||9%||Falco performs a front kick attack. This attack can be aimed up or down.|
|Up tilt||9%||Falco flicks one leg upward behind him while leaning forward. Short ranged, but is very fast and has incredible combo ability.|
|Down tilt||13%||While crouching, Falco quickly spins, using his tail to attack.|
|Dash attack||9% (clean), 6% (late)||Falco performs a running jump kick attack at the opponent.|
|Forward smash||17% (clean), 14% (late)||Falco flips his body forward and performs a flying hook kick. Functions similarly to Fox's forward smash, but is much stronger and can KO enemies at earlier percents.|
|Up smash||14% (clean), 12% (late)||Falco performs a flipkick attack that not as powerful as Fox's up smash, but has a better juggling ability to compensate. Falco's head has some invinciblity frames during the early part of the animation.|
|Down smash||16% (feet), 13% (legs)||Falco drops into the splits, using both of his feet to attack nearby enemies. Despite its short range, this attack has high KO power and launches enemies at a semi-spike trajectory, making it an excellent edge-guarding move. When using this attack, both of Falco's feet are invulnerable.|
|Neutral aerial||12% (clean), 9% (late)||Falco performs a jump kick attack that is a sex kick. This attack comes out quickly, being a useful spacing move.|
|Forward aerial||9% (hit 1), 8% (hit 2), 7% (hit 3), 5% (hit 4), 3% (hit 5)||Falco rapidly kicks forward five times. It is extremely difficult for all hits to land, especially against lightweight characters. This move is also dangerous to use off-stage due to Falco's fast falling speed, which makes it difficult for him to return to the stage.|
|Back aerial||15% (clean right leg), 9% (clean left leg, late)||Falco does a quick kick backwards. Has high KO potential, good for edge-guarding.|
|Up aerial||6% (hit 1), 10% (hit 2)||Falco whips his tail upwards and attacks with an upward kick immediately after.|
|Down aerial||12% (clean), 9% (late)||Falco spins around at a diagonal angle while stick one foot downward, performing a downwards drill attack. A powerful spike that contains no sourspot, being one of the most feared attack in the game due to setting up combos and edge-guards. However, it is extremely risky to use off-stage due to Falco's awful vertical recovery. In the PAL version of the game, the second half of the attack produces weak horizontal knockback.|
|Pummel||3%||Knees the opponent.|
|Forward throw||4% (hit 1), 3% (throw)||Falco delivers a punch that knocks the opponent forward. Doesn't contain much follow-up options besides forcing the opponent off-stage for edge-guarding.|
|Back throw||2% (throw), 2% (shots)||Falco throws the opponent behind him and shoots them with his Blaster. Can force opponents off-stage for edge-guarding, but other than that, not too useful.|
|Up throw||2% (throw), 2% (shots)||Falco tosses the opponent upwards and shoots them with his Blaster.|
|Down throw||1% (shots), 1% (throw)||Falco slams the opponent onto the ground and fires at them with his Blaster. Like Fox's down throw, this throw can meteor smash the enemy near the edge of the stage only if Falco is overlapping one. This throw can setup a Shine combo.|
|Floor attack (front)||6%||Gets up and kicks on both sides.|
|Floor attack (back)||6%||Punches forwards, then kicks backwards.|
|Edge attack (fast)||6% (body), 8% (legs)||Falco quickly get onto the stage and performs a spiral dropkick.|
|Edge attack (slow)||6% (body), 8% (legs)||Falco slowly gets onto the stage and performs a downward kick.|
|Neutral special||Blaster||3%||Falco fires a laser from his Blaster. Compared to Fox's Blaster, Falco doesn't fire as fast as he does, but each laser can make the opponent flinch, making Falco's Blaster more useful for stopping enemy approaches. Falco fires slightly faster while he is airborne. The lag from using this move can be cancelled quickly by using the short hop laser technique.|
|Side special||Falco Phantasm||7%||Falco dashes forward and leaves behind an afterimage that launches anyone caught into the air. If Falco hits an opponent when using this move in midair, they will be meteor smashed with weak knockback. If the B button is quickly pressed again just after starting this move, it will be cancelled and Falco will not dash forward. This also stops him in midair.|
|Up special||Fire Bird||16%||Falco engulfs himself in flames before firing off in a direction which can be controlled with the control stick. Mainly used for vertical recovery move; however, it travels a much shorter distance than Fox's Fire Fox and cannot damage opponents during the charge.|
|Down special||Reflector||5% (startup), 1.5x damage for reflected projectiles||Falco activates his Reflector, creating a energy shield that can reflect projectiles. The Reflector can also hit nearby enemies when activated, dealing vertical knockback. This makes is possible to start aerial combos at low to mid percents. Often called the Shine in competitive play.|
- Spins once and crosses one arm while scoffing. In the Japanese version, he speaks one of two phrases: 俺の獲物に手を出すな！ ("Hands off my prey!") or 逃がすかよ！ ("I won't let you escape!")
- Falco can do a Star Fox conversation that can only be used on Corneria or Venom by quickly tapping Down on the control pad (for one frame). This taunt can only be used once per match.
- Turns slightly to the side and waves his hand in front of his face.
SHL/B stands for "Short-Hop Laser/Blaster" and is very disruptive to opponents. In order to do a SHL/B, one must short-hop, fast-fall, and shoot a laser. When fast-falling correctly, there is no lag and the player is free to move about while shooting. A player can send flurries of SHL/Bs while approaching an opponent. This can somewhat substitute Falco's average speed dash, as it is a very fast and effective way to move around due to his fast jump and fall. SHL/B is considered to be the best approach tactic in the game and one of the most annoying moves in the game. It is imperative that Falco players learn to SHL/B since it is Falco's main method of opening up opponents' defenses.
Falco's D-Air is one of the best Spikes in the game, and can usually kill at around 50%. His Up Tilt can be used to start combos. His Down Tilt can usually kill at high percentages. His F-Smash is fast, comboable into from a Laser, and kills at pretty low percentages. His B-Air is also considered a Sex Kick.
A basic combo of Falco players is grabbing the opponent, throwing them down, immediately shining them and chasing them upward for a spike. This can be done several times to build up damage, forcing the opponent near the edge, and spiking them a final time. This combo is a guaranteed kill around 100% or 110%. It works on nearly every character except other Fox and Falco, and on floaters or lightweights (although with C. Falcon it is imperative to SHL or SHFFL the down aerial).
Like Fox, Falco can Down Throw an opponent at the very edge of a stage which can't normally be passed through, and the lasers from the throw send the opponent down extremely quickly. It is almost impossible to Meteor Cancel it or recover from it at any percent, due to the speed. This tactic will only work if Falco is facing inward when he is on the edge.
Along with Fox and Sheik, Falco can use a boost for his grab. To do it, perform a dash attack and right after, press the grab button, and Falco will be able to reach out more when he grabs. It can't be jump cancelled. This can be used to increase grab range.
In addition to the normal trophy about Falco as a character, there are two trophies about him as a fighter, unlocked by completing the Adventure and All-Star modes respectively with Falco on any difficulty.
- Falco Lombardi
- A Star Fox team pilot, Falco's constant air of casual indifference belies his precise piloting skills. He avoids discussion of what he did before joining the team, but many consider it likely that his past was filled with reckless behavior. He's not much for cooperation, but he does respect those more skilled than he is.
- Star Fox 3/93
- Falco Lombardi (Smash Red)
- Where his leader, Fox, has blinding speed, Falco has his own distinct skills and advantages. He has both a higher jump and a longer reach than Fox, and although his Blaster lacks rapid-fire capabilities, it strikes with shocking force. Unlike Fox, Falco can stop enemies in their tracks with his Blaster fire.
- Falco Lombardi (Smash Blue)
- Falco's amazing jumping abilities have many merits, but it's vital to realize that it comes at the cost of some attack power and defensive strength. He falls at a high speed, which disrupts potential attackers, but this also prevents successful recoveries occasionally. Hit an opponent with Reflector, and he or she will fly straight up; this is Falco's quickest attack.