Captain Falcon (キャプテン・ファルコン, Captain Falcon), full name Douglas Jay Falcon, is the main playable racer from the F-Zero series of futuristic Nintendo racing games and is the mascot of the franchise. He has been featured as a playable character in Super Smash Bros., Super Smash Bros. Melee, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and Super Smash Bros. 4. His highly offensive playstyle, his signature moves (most notably his Falcon Punch) and his memorable quotes have made him a fan favorite character across the SSB series despite F-Zero's status as a lesser-known Nintendo franchise. His voice actor throughout the SSB series is Ryō Horikawa.
Nintendo originally meant for Captain Falcon to be the flagship character of the then-new Super Nintendo Entertainment System. However, this never panned out, and Captain Falcon was rarely seen in Nintendo media.
The first F-Zero game was released in 1990 for the Super Famicom in Japan and its western counterpart, the SNES. It introduced the first character design of Captain Falcon along with the other three F-Zero series characters that appeared in the game as racing pilots, along with their respective futuristic racing machines, such as Captain Falcon's Blue Falcon. The manual to the game featured an eight-page comic featuring these characters, with the comic's story revolving around one of Falcon's trademark bounty-hunting missions in his Falcon Flyer transport ship. Captain Falcon's design and backstory would be revised in future iterations of the F-Zero series; his design in F-Zero X for Nintendo 64 would be used for his appearances as a playable fighter in 1999's Super Smash Bros. and 2001's Super Smash Bros. Melee, and his most recent "main" design is in F-Zero GX for GameCube. In all these appearances, Captain Falcon and his machine are touted as the most balanced and easy-to-play-with machine for that game, so players of a new F-Zero game almost always play as Captain Falcon first. He is also known as the game's main character.
Captain Falcon is described as "an accomplished F-Zero pilot, a renowned and talented bounty hunter", and is also an eccentric man in his late thirties (36 in F-Zero X and Melee, 37 in F-Zero GX). His "Captain" title is rumored to originate from his possible status as an officer in the Internova Police Force in the past. He is a resident of Earth, hailing from the city of Port Town. His bounty hunting exploits have yielded him enough of a reputation that he has gained many enemies across the galaxy; to avoid the constant danger from his adversaries, when he is not racing or bounty hunting he lives in seclusion in his personal archipelago off the coast of Port Town. His need to shield himself from outsiders borders on paranoia (albeit not necessarily unwarranted), as whenever he wins a race, he compulsively dashes to his archipelago with his award money before others can get him. Living comfortably in solitude on his archipelago, Captain Falcon practices his F-Zero racing with a separate track built on each one of his islands.
His outfit consists of a purplish-blue, form-fitting racing suit and a red helmet with an opaque visor as well as a single pauldron on his right shoulder and a scarf around his neck. He always carries a sidearm in a holster on his right hip, although he has only been shown to use it once. When Captain Falcon removes his helmet, a scar above his left eye can be seen.
The F-Zero series' chronology has many vague elements up for debate, but it is stated by F-Zero X that Captain Falcon was involved in a huge accident that caused the suspension of the F-Zero Grand Prix; while he was hospitalized, his DNA was stolen and used by someone else to create his evil clone Blood Falcon, who races against him in hopes of taking him out. The story mode of F-Zero GX shows Captain Falcon winning several races, then saving fellow pilot Jody Summer. He ends up in a heroic role when he races against and defeats the super villain Black Shadow, then a superior villain named Deathborn, and he goes on to even defeat the Creators of the F-Zero world.
Captain Falcon appears as a playable character in every Super Smash Bros. game in the series. As Falcon had almost never been depicted in combat in his home series, his moveset is largely original to the Smash series itself, where he is depicted as a pyrokinetic hand-to-hand brawler; his famous Falcon Punch made its debut in Super Smash Bros. and has been his signature move in the series ever since. Falcon's voice acting in the series is also part of this original portrayal (and inconsistent with his depiction in F-Zero GX), as he is voiced by the Japanese Ryō Horikawa speaking in simple, overenthusiastic English phrases; his taunt of "Show me your moves!" has become strongly associated with the character in general, as seen in Mario Kart 8. He appears as an unlockable character in SSB, but is made readily available as a starter in Melee, and in both cases he is modeled after his F-Zero X incarnation. He also appears in Super Smash Bros. Brawl as an unlockable character, with a design that mixes his F-Zero X and F-Zero GX designs, with a darker color palette and his scarf left loose like in F-Zero GP Legend. He reappears in Super Smash Bros. 4 as a starter character and retains his Brawl design, though with a brighter color palette.
In Super Smash Bros.
Main article: Captain Falcon (SSB)
Captain Falcon has appeared in the Smash Bros. series from the start, but as his incarnation from F-Zero X for N64. He is an unlockable fighter, and his unlocking condition is for the player to complete the One-Player mode within 20 minutes, and defeat him in a match to earn him. Like Ness and Jigglypuff, he does not make an appearance in the game's One-Player mode. His entrance into a battle is to zoom in on the Blue Falcon and park for him to jump out, and the machine zooms into the background to vanish. His default costume is purple as opposed to the usual blue. One of his alternate costumes is colored to resemble Blood Falcon.
Captain Falcon's special moves are the Falcon Punch, his neutral special move, a slow but powerful charge-up punch attack; the Falcon Dive, his up special, a repeatable move involving a jump upward, grabbing any opponent he comes in contact with, followed by an explosion of sorts; and the Falcon Kick, his down special, a maneuver where he shoots downward from midair or forward on the ground with a flaming kick extended.
Captain Falcon is 3rd on the SSB tier list due to his powerful and swift fighting ability. His dash is the fastest in the game, and his combo ability and grabbing ability are both nearly as good. He is heavy and thus harder to KO, his aerial attacks feature low lag, his up special is usefully deceptive, his short hop is good, and he can spike. However, he lacks a quick KO move, any sort of projectile, and has a bad recovery, leading to him being vulnerable to combos due to his large size. For this he must be able to short hop extremely well. But Captain Falcon in this game is famous for his versatility as both an offensive character and a counter-attacking character.
His in-game description is as follows:
In Super Smash Bros. Melee
Main article: Captain Falcon (SSBM)
Captain Falcon makes a return appearance in the sequel, still in his incarnation from F-Zero X. This time, he is a starter character as opposed to being an unlockable character in the previous game, and as before, one of his alternate costumes is Blood Falcon in both coloration and the logo on his suit's back. His new side special move is the Raptor Boost, a rushing uppercut attack. Newcomer Ganondorf is a clone of Falcon due to their similar moves, but they have different animations for several attacks.
Captain Falcon ranks 8th on the Melee Smash Back Room tier list. Captain Falcon remains the most maneuverable character in the game, with the fastest running speed which lends itself to a fast and long dash-dance as well as a short hop that can cover great distances, a high falling speed, and the longest moonwalk. This complements his attacks well, particularly his aerial attacks: his forward aerial, called the Knee Smash, is a powerful, low-trajectory finisher, and his aerial attacks in general are low-lag and good at comboing in tandem with his throws. Despite this strong aerial moveset, Falcon's ground attacks are generally slow and lack range, which is exacerbated by his lack of projectiles. Captain Falcon is a fastfaller which lends him the game's highest resistance to attacks of vertical trajectory, making him resistant to upward KO's but vulnerable to combos. Since his up special can not attack targets who may be hanging on a ledge, he can be easily edge-guarded.
Main article: List of SSBM trophies (F-Zero series)
Captain Falcon, as a playable character, is featured on three trophies. His normal trophy is acquired by beating the Classic mode with Captain Falcon on any difficulty, and his Smash Red and Smash Blue trophies are acquired the same way by beating the Adventure and All-Star modes, respectively. Note that his normal trophy depicts both Falcon and his vehicle, the Blue Falcon, and that his Smash Blue trophy depicts his Blood Falcon alternate costume.
Captain Falcon's Classic mode trophy says:
In Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Main article: Captain Falcon (SSBB)
In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, he has reverted back to secret character status and has since lost his title of fastest character to Sonic. His moves are largely unchanged from the previous games, except he can do a reverse Falcon Punch. His design is a mix between his F-Zero X and F-Zero GX design, with his scarf hanging out instead of being tucked in. His Final Smash is his Blue Falcon, which he calls for then rams into opponents. His home stages are Port Town Aero Dive and Big Blue.
Falcon's position has fallen from one of the highest in SSB and Melee to one of the lowest in the tier list in Brawl. He ranks 34th on the current Brawl tier list because his power and speed were reduced, the physics changes severely hindered his efficiency, and his Knee Smash's sweetspot is more difficult to land.
Main article: List of SSBB trophies (F-Zero series)
In Super Smash Bros. 4
Main article: Captain Falcon (SSB4)
Captain Falcon returns as a veteran in Super Smash Bros. 4. He appears in Robin's trailer fighting him, Chrom, and Lucina. He is once again a starter character like in Melee and retains his design from Brawl.
Captain Falcon has returned to a favorable position like in SSB and Melee, as he ranks 19th out of 55 on the SSB4 tier list, putting him in B tier. The changes to hitstun canceling greatly benefit Captain Falcon, as they notably restored his once-lost combo game. As usual, he combines speed with power, as well as an effective and vastly reaching dash grab. Raptor Boost saw an increase to its knockback, making it a reliable KO move. Nevertheless, Captain Falcon still saw some notable nerfs. His Knee Smash gained extra landing and ending lag, and it can no longer autocancel from a short hop. His trademark Falcon Punch also deals less damage and much less knockback. Additionally, his recovery remains average and easy to edgeguard against. Overall, Captain Falcon's appearance in SSB4 is seen as a return to his former glory thanks to the important buffs he received, earning him respectable representation and results in tournaments.
Main article: List of SSB4 trophies (F-Zero series)
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