in Super Smash Bros. Melee
|Other playable appearances||in Brawl|
|Tier||S (4) (North America)|
S (3) (Europe)
Falco (ファルコ, Falco) is an unlockable character character in Super Smash Bros. Melee. He is a clone of Fox, with many of the same moves. However, some of his moves have different properties, making their playstyles somewhat different.
Falco is voiced in all regions of Melee by Hisao Egawa, who reprises his role from Star Fox 64.
Falco is currently ranked 4th on the Melee tier list, being the highest ranked clone character as well as his best placement in the series marginally. Falco has the most versatile combo game in Melee, as he possesses many combo starters and the options to extend them, most notably a frame 1 launcher in his shine and a frame 5 down aerial that spikes powerfully. These tools allow him to easily chain together highly damaging strings that are hard to DI out of. He also possesses very effective edgeguarding options, such as his back air, forward and down smashes, and his aforementioned down air. Falco also has one of the best neutral game options among the entire cast with his Blaster, as it allows him to pressure from afar and approach noncommittally.
Falco, however, is not flawless; he suffers from being light yet having extremely high falling speed and low horizontal air speed. These flaws make him extremely vulnerable to chaingrabs and combos, while his low weight makes him among the easiest to KO horizontally. Additionally, his primary recovery moves, Falco Phantasm and Fire Bird, both travel a short distance, leaving him extremely vulnerable to gimping, especially if he loses his double jump, and giving him one of the worst recoveries in the game. Falco also has mediocre movement options, due to his average dash speed, slow jump squat, and relatively short wavedash and dashdance distances. He additionally has one of the worst grab games, as the unpredictable knockback from the lasers in his throws gives him no guaranteed throw follow-ups, which incentivizes his opponents to stay in shield in the neutral game. This also hurts his ability to land KOs at high percents due to his lack of reliable KO confirms, especially on floaty characters. Regardless of these flaws, Falco's strengths greatly overwhelm his weaknesses and he has amazing matchups, possessing positive matchups on nearly the entire cast.
How to unlock
Players can unlock Falco by completing 100-Man Melee with any character within any time limit. Alternatively, players can take part in 300 VS. matches to unlock him.
Due to being a clone of Fox, he possess a similar archetype: he possesses rather high speed to quickly overwhelm the opponent as well as a slew of effective finishers both on the ground and in the air. Contrary to what Falco's in-game trophy says, he does not sacrifice offensive power at all to gain increased jumping prowess; in fact, Falco seems to have gained even more options for KOs, attacks, and combos at a variety of percentages over Fox. Falco's attributes include high traction (giving Falco a somewhat short but quick wavedash), the highest falling speed in the game, and low air speed without momentum from his dash accounted for.
Falco's primary strength is his raw ability to KO without compromising too much speed or combo ability; many of Falco's KOing moves are very fast yet powerful with relatively low startup and ending lag. Falco's sliding forward smash covers a good distance, KOs easily at 90% and makes for a good edgeguard option. Falco's down smash is a powerful semi-spike that is also useful for edgeguarding. Falco's down tilt can KO some characters at as low as 90%; although it is a short ranged attack, it also comes out quickly. Falco's aerial KOing options are also highly varied; Falco's neutral and back aerial attacks are fast with high knockback and duration, and his down aerial is among the most feared attacks in the game; with no sourspot, high speed, spike properties, and a long duration, Falco can quickly and efficiently KO almost any character at low percentages if used correctly. A grounded down aerial can easily combo into a forward smash for yet another deadly KO option.
Falco's approach is also highly effective; with a very versatile projectile in his Blaster, Falco can perform the short hop laser technique, either as a pressure option or as a way to approach. Performing this technique close to opponents almost guarantees free grabs, smashes, or ways to start shine combos. Coupled with low-lag aerials, a short short hop and a high falling speed, Falco has among the best SHFFLs in the game, giving him an incredible aerial approach. On the ground, many of Falco's attacks, while short-ranged, pack good power and relatively low ending lag; despite a short wavedash and an average dashing speed, Falco can still use these two to his advantage, with them being integral to his superb combo ability.
Falco sacrifices a bit of his clone's speed for power, but still excels at performing devastating combos. Many of Falco's approach options also make for great combo starters as well. The core of Falco's combo ability lies in his good SHFFLs and ability to waveshine. Falco's primary form of comboing comes in the form of his pillar, which is notorious for wearing shields down quickly. Pillaring, in its most basic form, is simply chaining the upward vertical knockback of Falco's shine into the spiking hitboxes of his down aerial. To keep his moves fresh, Falco can combo into his other moves, most notably his down and up tilts, wavesmashes, his up throw, and his back and neutral aerials. Falco's down tilt and up throw are viable substitutes for his shine, while his up tilt racks up damage and segues directly into more shines. His smashes also rack up damage quickly but also make excellent KO options after enough beatings from the pillars have been dealt. Jump-canceled shines combo directly into back aerials and neutral aerials. Should the opponent DI close the ground, Falco can chase his opponents with multiple waveshines, depending on the direction. Falco can alternatively wear down shields by weaving back and forth with waveshining.
Additionally, Falco's grab and throw game is decent. Falco's grab range is above-average (tenth longest in the game), and his throws have multiple options; his down throw can potentially combo into a down tilt or start a shine combo, his up throw can start up aerial combos, and his forward and back throws can start edgeguards. However, although he can chain throw floaty characters with his forward throw, he lacks a reliable chain throw, his throws have poor damage output, and his down throw can be teched, leaving him vulnerable. Furthermore, unlike Fox's up throw, which can reliably set up into aerials at certain percents, Falco has a harder time securing follow-ups from his up-throw. This is because the lasers Falco shoots during his up throw animation have hitstun; and therefore, they can be SDI'd by the opponent.
Falco's properties, however, also compose his weaknesses. As with Fox, Falco is light (the 6th lightest character in the game), and is therefore able to be KO'd through the sidelines without difficulty, despite Falco being difficult to KO through the ceiling because of said falling speed. Additionally, despite his high jumps and ability to wall jump, Falco's recovery is among the worst in the game; due to a low air speed and a high falling speed, Falco cannot maneuver effectively off-stage. His up special move, Fire Bird, is also short and easy to gimp; due to its linear nature, attacks such as Marth's Counter, Link's Spin Attack, and Mario's Cape can easily knock Falco away from the ledge when using the moves. Additionally, due to its inability to harm attackers while it charges, Falco is vulnerable to any attack while using the move, particularly meteor smashes or spikes; with correct timing, opponents with reliable spikes, such as Marth or even another Falco, can easily gimp his recovery. As such, Falco is primarily reliant on his side special, Falco Phantasm to recover; however, even that doesn't travel a significant distance, and it still suffers from the linear problems of Fire Bird. To his merit, however, Falco can angle his Fire Bird in many different directions, and he can additionally shorten his Falco Phantasm to avoid going on stage and into the edge, mixing up his recovery options and leaving the opponent guessing. Additionally, Falco's recovery moves have slightly shorter startup lag than Fox's, which can be useful when mixing up the opponent.
Falco's high falling speed also makes him a target for chain throws, especially from characters such as Marth and Peach, though it also gives him the 3rd highest vertical endurance among Melee characters, despite being tied for being the 5th lightest character in the game (only Captain Falcon and Donkey Kong, two much heavier characters by comparison, surpass him in this regard). Falco, along with Fox, has the dubious distinction of having an entire combo named for KOing him easily simply due to his high falling speed (the space animal slayer).
Overall, Falco can be considered to be a slower, but stronger and more combo-heavy version of Fox; while his overall speed is only average among the other characters in the game, his attack speed remains very fast and he can easily land very damaging combos in a short amount of time, sometimes even leading to death for the other player if they cannot DI correctly. Combined with relatively safe approaches against nearly every character in the game, it is possible to make defending against Falco difficult, even at top-level play. Falco has many tools for offense and defense, so players should use his arsenal accordingly to gain the upper hand.
Similarities with Fox in Super Smash Bros.
It has been said that Falco's play-style in Melee is very similar to Fox's in Super Smash Bros. His special moves are arguably the most obvious. Below is the list of similarities:
- Both Fox in Smash 64 and Falco in Melee are heavier than Fox in Melee.
- Both blasters are slower and cause hitstun.
- Both Fire Bird and Smash 64 Fire Fox travel less distance and lack a charging hitbox, but can KO vertically at a reasonable percent.
- Fire Bird can KO at the top at a reasonable percent, but does not have a hitbox while it is charging.
- Forward smashes are much stronger (Fox's in Smash 64 is a little stronger than Falco's in Melee).
- Down smashes have more semi-spike ability due to their stronger knockback.
- Down tilts are close in damage (13% and 12%) and both produce decent vertical knockback, both being much stronger than Fox's down tilt in Melee.
- Up aerials are easier to sweetspot, but are weaker.
It is difficult to determine whether Falco is better or worse than Fox, as they are top-tiered clones. Falco is heavier and falls faster than Fox does, aiding in his vertical endurance. Falco's combo ability, particularly against fastfallers, is superior to Fox's; his shine and down aerial can extend combos in ways that Fox's moves cannot. Additionally, Falco's lasers are quite powerful in neutral because they cause hitstun, allowing them to be used as a powerful disruption and approach tool in the neutral game instead of just a passive maneuver to rack up damage.
However, Falco's ground mobility is inferior to Fox's, as he has slower ground speed and a shorter wavedash. Additionally, his recovery moves, despite possessing more power, travel much shorter distances than Fox's; while this does allow for a safer near-stage recovery, it makes it impossible to recover from afar. Fox's shine and down aerial can lead into an up smash, and up throw can lead to almost any aerial. However, since most of Falco's moves are geared towards comboing, he lacks many of these guaranteed setups into his own KO moves. This is especially prevalent against floaty characters, such as Jigglypuff and Peach; Fox hard counters them due to the ease in which he can combo them, then KO them vertically, while Falco must rely on his superior neutral game and edgeguards to keep the match even.
Overall, Falco's strategy at top-level play differs considerably from Fox's. Falco is more reliant on stage control and punishes; he is more suited to locking the foe down with lasers and damaging, guaranteed combos, and must maintain stage control at all times due to his poor recovery. Fox, on the other hand, is more reliant on edgeguarding and neutral resets due to the launch angle of his shine and his shorter, usually simpler punishes. Thus, while Falco and Fox may be indistinguishable from each other at low-level play, their general playstyles vary drastically at the tournament level.
- Falco's taunt, idle pose, sleep, and victory animations are different from Fox's.
- Falco is bigger than Fox, giving him more reach on almost all of his moves; however, this also makes him easier to hit.
- Falco has more jump-squat frames than Fox (3 frames → 5 frames); as a result, his jump and SHFFL are slower.
- Falco jumps dramatically higher (31.28 → 51.5) than Fox, going from the 8th lowest out of 26 characters to the highest by far.
- Falco's shorthop is also higher (10.65 → 11.58) than Fox.
- Falco has a much higher wall jump than Fox.
- Falco walks (1.6 → 1.4) slower than Fox.
- Falco dashes (2.2 → 1.5) significantly slower than Fox.
- Falco has less additional air acceleration than Fox (0.06 → 0.05).
- Falco's wavedash is slightly shorter than Fox's.
- Falco's rolls cover more distance than Fox's.
- Falco is heavier than Fox (75 → 80), allowing him to survive slightly longer, though he is the 6th lightest character in the game.
- Falco falls faster than Fox (2.8 → 3.1). Combined with his heavier weight, it grants Falco much better vertical endurance. However, his faster falling speed makes him more susceptible to combos and chaingrabs and worsens his already poor recovery.
- Falco has much less gravity than Fox (0.23 → 0.17).
- The second hit of Falco's neutral attack has a different angle than Fox's (70° → 50°).
- Falco's dash attack deals more damage than Fox's (7%/5% → 9%/6%).
- Falco's forward tilt has a slightly longer duration than Fox's (frame 5-8 → frame 5-9).
- Falco's up tilt deals overall less damage (12% (foot grounded)/9% (leg & foot aerial) → 9% (consistent)) and knockback (18 base/140 scaling → 30/120) than Fox's. This makes it unable to KO at realistic percentages, but makes it a much more reliable combo tool.
- Down tilt:
- Falco's down tilt deals more damage (10% → 13%), making it much stronger than Fox's and a viable KO move at high percents.
- Falco's down tilt has less range than Fox's despite his attacks generally having more range, due to his shorter tail.
- Forward smash:
- Falco's forward smash deals more damage (15%/12% → 17%/14%) than Fox's, and overall has more knockback (10 base/105 scaling → 40/90), making it stronger.
- Falco's forward smash has a slightly shorter duration than Fox's (frame 12-23 → frame 12-22).
- Up smash:
- Falco's up smash has one more intangible frame on his head (frame 1-10 → frame 1-11).
- Falco's up smash deals less damage (18%/13% → 14%/12%) and knockback (30 base/112 scaling → 25 base/100), making it drastically weaker than Fox's. It also has a shorter duration (frame 7-18 → frame 7-16) and more ending lag.
- However, its weaker knockback makes it a much better combo move.
- Falco's down smash deals more damage (15%/13%/12% → 16%/13%) and has more knockback scaling (65 → 70) than Fox's. It also gains more intangibility frames on his legs (frame 6 → frame 1-6).
- Falco's neutral aerial and back aerial have more reach than Fox's.
- The first four hits of Falco's forward aerial deal more damage than Fox (7% (hit 1)/5% (hit 2)/6% (hit 3)/4% (hit 4) → 9%/8%/7%/5%), thus, giving it more damage than Fox's if all hits connect (23% → 29%). It can also autocancel in a full hop due to Falco's higher jumping height.
- Falco's back aerial can autocancel in a short hop.
- Up aerial:
- The first hit of Falco's up aerial has different knockback properties (134 fixed knockback/120 scaling → 40/30 base/20 scaling), making it overall easier to connect with the second hit than Fox's.
- The second hit of Falco's up aerial is weaker (40 base/116 scaling → 22/30 base/120/20 scaling) and deals less damage (first hit 5%/second hit 13%: 18% total → 6%/10: 16% total) overall than Fox's, hindering its KO potential.
- Each hit of Falco's up aerial has different knockback angles (first hit 92°/second hit 85° → 90°/70°/90°).
- Down aerial:
- Down air only has one strong hit instead of seven weak hits.
- It has considerably more knockback due to not being set knockback (30 set/100 scaling → 10/20 base/100 scaling), significantly improving its combo and edgeguarding potential.
- It makes the move much more reliable; not being able to be escaped through SDI.
- It does not have 2 frame gaps where the move is not active (frames 5-6, 8-9, 11-12, 14-15, 17-18, 20-21, 23-24 → 5-24).
- It deals less damage than Fox's if all hits connect (19% → 12%/9%).
- It autocancels slightly earlier (frame 31 → 30).
- Down air only has one strong hit instead of seven weak hits.
Grabs and throws
- Falco's grab range is longer than Fox's.
- Falco's forward throw can chaingrab more efficiently than Fox's because of his longer grab range.
- Falco's back and down throws are weaker than Fox's in damage and knockback output, with down throw being harder to meteor smash on the edge.
- However, this considerably increases down throw's combo ability.
- Falco's up throw has less combo potential, with a followup often being dependent on the opponent's directional influence.
- Falco's Blaster causes hitstun, allowing for better combo setups and better capability at hindering an opponent's approach. It also fires faster when airborne and the lasers cover much more distance.
- Falco's lasers shoot slower than Fox's. (frame 10 → frame 13)
- Falco's Blaster animation is different. Whereas Fox holds it straight with both hands, Falco holds it sideways with one wing next to his head.
- Falco Phantasm:
- Falco's Falco Phantasm travels faster (frame 63 → frame 59) and possesses meteor smash capabilities.
- Falco Phantasm does not travel as far as Fox Illusion, hindering its recovery potential, but improving its safety near ledges.
- Falco Phantasm, however, has significantly more ending lag than Fox Illusion.
- Fire Bird:
- Falco's Fire Bird has much more base knockback (60 → 80) than Fire Fox, granting it KO potential.
- 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, dealing less damage (25% → 16%) and making edgeguarding Falco much easier, especially with meteor smashes and spikes. These changes drastically reduce its recovery potential.
- 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 vertically, making it extremely useful for on-stage combos that can be hard to escape from, unlike Fox's, which instead semi-spikes the opponent, allowing for neutral resets, edgeguards, and guaranteed KO setups.
- Falco's Reflector deals more damage than Fox's (5% → 8%).
- Falco's Reflector has less range than Fox's.
Falco received a nerf in the PAL version of Melee, with the late hit no longer spiking, slightly reducing the effectiveness of his most notorious edgeguarding tool. Additionally, he received another indirect nerf with Fox being able to tech out of his down throw due to his reduced weight.
- Down aerial's late hit no longer spikes opponents, now sending them at the Sakurai angle (290° → 361°). This significantly hinders its edgeguarding and followup potential.
For a gallery of Falco's hitboxes, see here.
|Neutral attack||Jab (ジャブ) / Straight (ストレート) / Rapid Kick (ラピッドキック)||4%||Two quick jabs, which can easily be jab canceled into each other or other moves. The second jab moves Falco slightly forward and is followed by a flurry of fast kicks.|
|Forward tilt||Bird Kick (バードウィップ, Bird Whip)||9%||Sticks his foot out to the side. Fast, and has impressive range for a tilt. Can gimp opponents, though has limited use outside this. This move can be aimed up or down.|
|Up tilt||Back Kick (バックキック)||9%||Flips his leg behind him. Short range, but very fast, and has incredible combo ability, being a great move that can quickly knock opponents into the air and follow up with aerials or a Shine. Considered one of the best up tilts in the game, after Marth, due to said combo ability.|
|Down tilt||Bird Sweep (バードスイープ)||13%||Swipes his tail in front of him. Although it has somewhat short range (shorter behind him than in the front), it has unusually high damage and knockback for a tilt. It knocks opponents straight upwards. It can KO some characters at as low as 90% if fresh. The strongest down tilt in the game along with Mr. Game & Watch.|
|Dash attack||Jumping Side Kick (ジャンピングサイドキック)||9% (clean), 6% (late)||Runs forward and sticks his leg out. Sends opponents upwards.|
|Forward smash||Roundhouse Kick (回し蹴り)||17% (clean), 14% (late)||Flips his body in front and kicks in front of him. Similar to Fox's forward smash, but much stronger, usually KOing at around 90-110%. A good option against an opponent who is trying to get on the ledge, especially if they are above 100% damage. Considered to be one of the best forward smashes in the game, after Marth.|
|Up smash||Flip Kick (サマーソルトキック, Somersault Kick)||14% (clean), 12% (late)||Does a bicycle kick. It is drastically weaker than Fox's up smash, but is a better juggler. However, there are usually better options available for knocking opponents into the air (like an up tilt or a Shine). It can also hit behind Falco, albeit with significantly lower knockback. Falco's head is intangible during the early part of the animation.|
|Down smash||Falco Split (ファルコスプリット)||16% (feet), 13% (legs)||Does a quick split. High KO power, and with high knockback and semi-spike properties, it is an excellent edgeguarder, though it has rather short range. Both of Falco's legs are intangible whenever he starts up the move, even while he's charging, all the way until the hitboxes come out.|
|Neutral aerial||Flying Kick (飛び蹴り)||12% (clean), 9% (late)||A simple sex kick. Has high knockback when it first comes out, and it comes out quickly, good in a short hop. Not as good as Fox's due to the way shine works but still an amazing move.|
|Forward aerial||Cyclone Kick (サイクロンキック)||9% (hit 1), 8% (hit 2), 7% (hit 3), 5% (hit 4), 3% (hit 5)||Kicks forward five times. The move has high duration due to the number of kicks, and it is very difficult to connect all the hits. It also gives Falco quite a short time to react with another jump or recovery. Does incredible damage if all hits connect, much more than Fox's.|
|Back aerial||Reverse Spin Kick (リバーススピンキック)||15% (clean right leg), 9% (clean left leg, late)||Does a quick no-look kick backwards while recovering in a turn, with sex kick properties. Good KO power, and great for edgeguarding. Has more range than Fox's but riskier to use offstage due to his faster falling speed and worse recovery, still one of the best back airs in the game.|
|Up aerial||Falco Flip (テイル＆レッグ, Tail & Leg)||6% (hit 1), 10% (hit 2)||Whips his tail up and kicks immediately after. Can deal up to 15% damage if both hits connect. Weaker than Fox's up air, but still a powerful KO move (especially on floaties) and will kill near the top blast zone under 100%.|
|Down aerial||Air Drill (エアドリル)||12% (clean), 9% (late)||Spins around in place at a downwards angle while extending one foot. An extremely strong spike that can set up and follow out of Shine combos and KO characters quickly and efficiently. However, it is of extreme risk to use offstage, due to Falco's poor vertical recovery. Regardless, it is an excellent KO move and is among the most feared attacks in the game, with no sourspot and the hitbox lasting all of the move (however, in the PAL version of the game, the second half of the move produces weak horizontal knockback). Widely considered to be the best down air in the game due to its quick speed, spike properties, approaching ability, combo ability, amazing power, and good range.|
|Grab||Grab (つかみ)||—||Ranked as tenth largest grab range in the game.|
|Pummel||Knee (膝)||3%||Knees opponent.|
|Forward throw||Elbow Bash (エルボーバッシュ)||4% (hit 1), 3% (throw)||Punches opponent. Can force opponents offstage for edgeguarding, but other than that, it doesn't have many comboing follow-ups. Can chaingrab floaty characters at low percentages.|
|Back throw||Skeet Blaster (スキートブラスター)||2% (throw), 2% (shots)||Throws opponent backwards, then fires three shots from his Blaster. Can force opponents offstage for edgeguarding, but other than that, not too useful. It is possible to tech-chase an opponent with this move, depending on their DI.|
|Up throw||Star Blaster (スターブラスター)||2% (throw), 2% (shots)||Tosses opponent upwards, then fires three shots from his Blaster. Excellent for setting up an aerial combo (most particularly an up aerial, back aerial or neutral aerial), but can be DI'd out of at higher percentages.|
|Down throw||Floor Blaster (フロアブラスター)||1% (shots), 1% (throw)||Slams opponent onto the floor, then shoots them four times with his Blaster. If the player can predict the opponent's reaction, an up tilt is possible. This move can also set up a Shine combo. However, the move is relatively easy to tech out of. Like Fox's down throw, it meteor smashes over the ledge if Falco grabs the opponent at the very edge of the platform, however, it is much weaker. This throw, unlike Fox's, has the strange ability to chain throw extremely light characters, such as Pichu and Mr. Game & Watch.|
|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)||Throws himself onto the stage with both feet sticking out.|
|Edge attack (slow)||6% (body), 8% (legs)||Slowly gets up and kicks in front.|
|Neutral special||Blaster||3%||Falco fires a laser from his Blaster. Not nearly as fast as Fox's, but is more powerful and makes the opponent flinch. For this reason, it is excellent for stopping approaching opponents, and the lag can be canceled if the move is done during a short hop and Falco fastfalls to the ground (referred to as short hop laser. Can also stop opponents when they are offstage. If Falco does a short hop laser close to an opponent, they will be stunned momentarily, allowing Falco to get an easy grab or start an aerial combo with an up tilt or a Shine. This attack has transcendent priority. Considered to either be one of the best or the best projectile in the game and the best neutral special because of its approach and combo ability, as well as strong pressure offstage.|
|Side special||Falco Phantasm||7%||Falco dashes forward, leaving an afterimage behind him. Falco's quickest and safest horizontal recovery move. If it hits an opponent in midair, it is a very weak meteor smash. If B is quickly pressed again just after starting the move, it will be canceled and Falco will not dash forward. This also stops him in midair.|
|Up special||Fire Bird||16%||Falco charges up in flames and blasts off in a direction, which can be controlled with the control stick. Unreliable as an attack due to the charge time. Used for vertical recovery, however it travels a much shorter distance than Fox's Fire Fox. Unlike Fire Fox, it cannot damage opponents during the charge, leaving Falco vulnerable to meteor smashes during the charge - with the right timing, it is even possible to meteor smash Falco when he is moving.|
|Down special||Reflector||8% (startup), 1.5x damage for reflected projectiles||Falco's Reflector (informally referred to as the Shine) works just like Fox's, reflecting any projectiles that hit it right back at the opponent who fired them for more damage and knockback. Unlike Fox's Shine, it doesn't send the opponent on a semi-spike trajectory; rather, it knocks them straight upwards. This makes the move very useful for knocking opponents into the air and starting aerial combos, on par with the up tilt. Can be jump cancelled, to avoid the ending lag, which can lead to double or multi-shines, as well as pillaring combos. This allows Falco to use it repeatedly to wear down shields, continue aerial combos or save a teammate in doubles. Considered to be one of the best moves in the game and the best down special along with Fox due to its great combo ability along with down air.|
- 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！ ("Get your hands off my prey!") or 逃がすかよ！ ("You're not getting away with this!")
- Smash taunt: 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. Unlike in future installments, this is Falco's intital idle pose, meaning he will always perform this animation even if he is holding an item.
- Turns slightly to the side and waves his hand in front of his face.
- Does a bunch of kicks and says "Mission Complete!"
- Jumps high into the air and poses on the ground, scoffing. In the Japanese version, he may say either 逃がすかよ！ ("You're not getting away with this!") or 敵機撃墜！ ("Enemy plane down!").
- If the language is set to Japanese and Falco wins against Fox, he may say "お前の腕前ってのは、その程度か？", which roughly translates to "Is that all you've got?"
- Crossing his arms, he looks upward and says "Mission Complete!"; 俺の獲物に手を出すな！ which translates to "Get your hands off my prey!". This quote would later be translated into English for Brawl and SSB4.
In competitive play
Most historically significant players
See also: Category:Falco players (SSBM)
- Albert - One of the best players in Texas. His victory over #1 ranked player Hungrybox at Low Tier City 7 is known as one of the biggest upsets in Melee history.
- bobby big ballz - One of the best Falco players in the US, well-known for his combo videos and extremely flashy style of play.
- Bombsoldier - One of the most influential Falcos of all time, known for his match against Ken at the Jack Garden Tournament. He changed the playstyle of top-level Falcos, pioneering the very beginnings of his punish game by discovering pillar combos.
- DaShizWiz - Once known as one of the best Falco players in the United States; formerly ranked 30th on the 2013 SSBM Player Rankings.
- Fiction - Switched to Falco during the COVID-19 pandemic, and achieved rank #14 on the 2022 SSBMRank. Known for his heavily laser-based playstyle.
- Forward - Formerly the best Falco player in Arizona, and one of the best in the world back in 2007. Pioneered Falco's punish game further, particularly by extending punishes using platforms.
- Ginger - The best player in Michigan and one of the best Falco players in the current metagame. Popularized the “Ginger nair,” which uses Falco’s neutral aerial against spacie up-B’s to prevent opponents from teching against the stage.
- Magi - One of the best Falco players in the world, famous for upsetting Mang0 at GENESIS 6. Known for her creative combo game and popularizing Falco’s up aerial as a combo extender.
- Mang0 - One of the Five Gods; considered the best active Falco player in the world and the greatest Falco player of all time. Duals mains Fox and Falco. Known for his aggressive and read-heavy playstyle, DI mixups, and an unforgiving punish game, especially vs. fastfallers, having a nearly perfect record against Captain Falcon in tournament.
- PC Chris - Once considered one of the best players in the world while dual maining Falco and Fox; won MLG Las Vegas 2006.
- PPMD - One of the Five Gods, once considered one of the best players in the world, known for his analytical and effective playstyle, based around using lasers to control opponents in the neutral game, as well as his patience and strong punish game vs. floaty characters. His victory at Pound V in 2011 was solo Falco’s first supermajor win.
- Rob$ - A notable competitor in the MLG era; co-mained with Sheik.
- Westballz - During his prime in 2014-2016, was considered a top ten player in the world, just behind the Five Gods. Known for his extremely technical and sometimes over-stylish playstyle.
- Zhu - The recipient of the famous Wombo Combo, Zhu was one of the best Falco players in the post-MLG era, notably defeating Mew2King at the first GENESIS.
Tier placement and history
Throughout the Melee tier lists, Falco has always been in the high/top tiers along with Fox and Sheik, with his lowest position being fifth place. In the beginning of Melee's metagame, Falco players had not yet discovered his strong combo potential. As such, they relied only on zoning out the opponent with his Blaster in the neutral game, while largely ignoring his punish game. While this defensive style of play was reasonably effective and gave Falco the results he needed to stay in the high tiers, Falco was widely considered to be not only inferior to Fox, but to other top tiers such as Sheik and Marth as well, as those characters' metagames were advancing faster than his.
However, this perception changed drastically after the Jack Garden Tournament, where players worldwide were introduced to Bombsoldier and his extremely aggressive interpretation of what was once considered a purely defensive character. Falco players soon realized that their approach to the character was suboptimal, and began implementing many of Bombsoldier's strategies into their own game. In turn, Falco's results began improving dramatically. New Falco mains, most notably PC Chris, soon began pushing him to levels of play exceeding that of even Bombsoldier's. PC Chris was even able to win some of the most prestigious tournaments at the time, proving that Falco had all the tools to succeed and come out on top at the highest level of play.
With PC Chris retiring soon after Brawl was released in 2008, and with the concurrent rise of KoreanDJ and Mew2King (who both played Fox, among other characters), Falco saw a dip in popularity for a brief period of time. There was noticeable debate over his position at 2nd on the tier list, and he fell to 4th in a 2008 revision. However, his metagame was revitalized by new world class players, such as Mango, PPMD, Westballz, and DaShizWiz, who all gave Falco results at the top level once again. Falco players continued to place extremely well, and for some time until 2014, even won more large tournaments than Fox players. This led some players at the time, such as Mew2King, to believe that Falco was a better character than Fox, with the argument that Falco succeeds in notable tournaments more consistently than Fox, while Fox's perceived superiority was based more on potential than performance.
However, since then, there have been very few majors, if any, won by a Falco main; Fox players have since taken 1st place in many more majors, even in PAL. This is mainly due to PPMD's hiatus, the rise of Fox mains such as Leffen, and more top players electing to pick Fox in high-level tournament matches for his superior matchups against floaty characters. The Falco counterplay metagame has also advanced considerably, as professionals have greatly improved their DI and powershielding skills that make it much harder for Falco players to win the neutral game and combo opponents. As such, Falco is ranked 4th on the thirteenth and current tier list.
Like several other characters who, by coincidence, would years later be known to be top tier, Falco was nerfed in the PAL version of Melee. His powerful down aerial spike now only has the spike hitbox during the first 10 frames of the move, while the weaker hitbox sends opponents on the Sakurai angle instead. This makes timing Falco's down aerial more key to success in tournament play. However, this nerf does not significantly affect him, as most Falco professionals train to hit with the strong hitbox anyway, and the duration of said hitbox is still enough to approach the enemy with it and wear down shields. Thus, Falco's viability in PAL is more or less the same as in NTSC, barring a slightly easier matchup against Fox due to Fox's own nerfs in that version.
In 1-P Mode
In Classic Mode
When unlocked, Falco can appear either in ordinary one-on-one matches, in a team with Fox or Captain Falcon, as an ally in team and giant battles, or as a metal opponent in the game's penultimate battle. With the exception of being on a team with Captain Falcon and the metal battle, Falco appears on either Corneria or Venom.
In Adventure Mode
In the game's Adventure Mode, Falco can appear in Part 2 of Stage 6; when unlocked, the player has the possibility of fighting against Falco in the stage, instead of Fox again. However, Falco wears the red Alternate costume (his first alternate costume); instead of default color.
In All-Star Mode
In All-Star Mode, Falco and his allies are fought on Venom.
In Event Matches
Falco appears in the following event matches:
- Event 23: Slippy's Invention: In this event, the player must fight against Fox and Falco on Venom, in a standard two stock match; however, the two are under the effects of a Cloaking Device during the entire match, though they can still be damaged.
- Event 32: Target Acquired: As Falco, the player must KO Jigglypuff as many times as possible in one minute on Corneria. However, Arwings also fire frequently at the stage, and Falco must KO Jigglypuff more often than the Arwings to win the event.
- Event 36: Space Travelers: As Ness, the player must defeat five opponents in a row: Samus, Kirby, Fox, Captain Falcon, and Falco. In the first three opponents, the fights are done on Fourside; after this, the player is then sent to Battlefield to fight against the last two.
- Event 43: Birds of Prey: In this event, the player, as Fox, must fight against a team of Falco and Captain Falcon on the stage Big Blue. Everyone has two lives, but there is also a time limit of two minutes.
- Event 49: All-Star Match Deluxe: Falco is the second opponent fought in this series of staged battles. The selected character battles him on the Venom stage with a stock of 2 while Falco has 1. With a timer of four minutes, the player must defeat him and the other five characters one-by-one with the overall time and damage: Dr. Mario, Pichu, Young Link, Roy and Ganondorf.
In addition to the normal trophy about Falco as a character, there are two trophies about him as a fighter, unlocked by completing both 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]
- 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.
- B: Blaster
- Smash B: Falco Phantasm
- Falco Lombardi [Smash]
- 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.
- Up & B: Fire Bird
- Down & B: Reflector
- Falco's voice actors, Ben Cullum and Hisao Egawa, are credited in the credits even if he has not been unlocked yet. This is due to his appearance in the intermission of the Corneria stage in Adventure Mode.
- Falco is the only character who isn't first on his respective tier list that has no disadvantageous matchups.
- Super Smash Bros. Melee is the only game where Falco is not fought on one of his home stages when being unlocked; instead he is fought in Battlefield.
- Falco, Mario, Peach, Yoshi, Young Link, Kirby, and Pikachu are the only characters whose portraits on the character select screen match their official artwork.
|Fighters in Super Smash Bros. Melee|
|Veterans||Captain Falcon · Donkey Kong · Fox · Jigglypuff · Kirby · Link · Luigi · Mario · Ness · Pikachu · Samus · Yoshi|
|Newcomers||Bowser · Dr. Mario · Falco · Ganondorf · Ice Climbers · Marth · Mewtwo · Mr. Game & Watch · Peach · Pichu · Roy · Young Link · Zelda (Sheik)|
|Star Fox universe|
|Fighters||Fox (SSB · SSBM · SSBB · SSB4 · SSBU) · Falco (SSBM · SSBB · SSB4 · SSBU) · Wolf (SSBB · SSBU)|
|Assist Trophies||Andross · Krystal|
|Stages||Sector Z · Corneria · Venom · Lylat Cruise · Orbital Gate Assault|
|Other||Leon Powalski · Panther Caroso · Peppy Hare · ROB 64 · Slippy Toad|
|Vehicles||Arwing · Great Fox · Landmaster · Wolfen|
|Trophies, Stickers, and Spirits||Trophies (SSBM · SSBB · SSB4) · Stickers · Spirits|
|Music||Brawl · SSB4 · Ultimate|
|Masterpiece||Star Fox 64|