His Japanese voice actor, Shinobu Satouchi, reprises his role as Fox across all versions of the game, providing new and more energetic voice clips.
Fox currently ranks 1st on the Melee tier list, his best placement in the series to date. He is emblematic of speed, possessing fast attacks that also give him excellent comboing and damaging abilities. Overall, he can dominate foes with his quick movement and overpowering offense in all areas of his game. He also boasts numerous approaching methods, giving him some of the best neutral game options among the entire cast. He has access to effective, long-distance recovery options in Fire Fox and Fox Illusion. He has KO options and setups at a wide variety of percentages, and his high falling speed makes him resilient to vertical KOs. His aerial game also includes several low-lag yet effective and powerful moves to complement his ground game, especially when SHFFL'd, and is incredibly effective at approaching and edgeguarding. Fox's main tool in his success, however, is his Reflector (also known as the shine), which is one of the most versatile tools in the game. Aside from its intended purpose, the Reflector activates on frame 1 (making it the fastest move in the game), has set knockback, and can be jump canceled; this allows for shine spike gimps, neutral stance resets, getup option mixups, and even combos when wavedashing is incorporated.
Despite being ranked first, Fox is not flawless. One of Fox’s primary weaknesses is his rather short reach, due to his lack of disjointed hitboxes outside of his Shine. As such, he gets outspaced by other top tiers, especially in aerial combat, though his fast movement can compensate for this. His high falling speed makes him very easy to combo and chaingrab off of a single conversion from the opponent, and his light weight can result in extremely early horizontal KOs if the player's DI is poor. Although he boasts long-distance recovery options, their linear paths makes it easier for certain characters like Marth to predict his recovery path and edge guard or gimp him. Fox also has an extremely high technical learning curve, as most of his techniques require extremely nimble fingers and fast reaction time. Also, due to his aforementioned flaws, Fox is considered to be a glass cannon, where he could lose a stock if a single mistake is made, giving him a high cerebral learning curve. So while Fox has incredible fighting process and potential, many consider Fox to be arguably the hardest character to play as and master, requiring a lot of practice. Although Fox can rack up damage quickly, his combo game is rather unreliable, as many of his strings rely on tech-chasing and DI mixups rather than guaranteed hits. Fox also lacks a good combo finisher in his kit, as his shine spike is extremely situational and cannot be properly used to end his combos. Unlike other top tiers, such as Falco, Marth, Sheik, and Captain Falcon, who can net a kill off of starting a combo at mid percents, Fox's best option after a combo is to create an edgeguard situation (usually with his back aerial), which gives the opponent a chance to recover. As such, Fox relies on getting a kill confirm at high percents to net KOs if he can't successfully edgeguard or shine spike his opponents.
Regardless, his pros greatly outweigh his cons, and Fox’s excellent all-around offensive and defensive presence mixed with his blazing speed grant him a terrific matchup chart all-around.
Fox falls into a unique archetype: He is exceptionally quick, yet he is equipped with a plethora of viable finishers. He has the second fastest dashing speed (which remedies his low air speed somewhat), tied with Marth for the fastest walking speed, the third fastest normal falling speed, the second fastest fast falling speed, fast dash-dancing, and fast attacks. His low traction and fast jump (only 3 frames before he leaves the ground) gives him a fast, moderately long wavedash.
Fox's primary reason for his top-tier placing is his unparalleled comboing and damaging ability, helped by a powerful approach game. His fast fall and low, fast short hop contribute to an extremely quick SHFFL, which can let him almost effortlessly start combos or act as a deadly approach option. Additionally, Fox's specials act as powerful ways to aid this; his Reflector makes for a potential combo starter, as well as a potential infinite combo with his waveshine infinite, and his Blaster is an almost unstoppable damage-racking method, due to its long range, inability to cause hitstun, high speed and its ability to be combined with Fox's short hop as part of the short hop laser technique. Additionally, a majority of Fox's attacks inflict significant damage while being very fast as well; his neutral aerial, back aerial, and tilts are especially notable in this regard, with the remainder of his aerials having little ending lag.
Additionally, Fox's KO ability is also among the best in the game, with numerous powerful vertical finishers in his arsenal, most notably his up smash and up aerial, both of which are among the most powerful in the game with huge hitboxes. Fox's Reflector also makes for a valuable tool for KOing, due to its set, semi-spike knockback properties that makes it extremely useful for edgeguarding or gimping. Its instantaneous startup time and its ability to be jump-cancelled also means that it is of very low risk to use off the edge. While not the strongest, Fox's forward smash is an effective horizontal finisher at higher damage percentages, capable of KOing even heavyweights like Bowser under 150%.
While not the best, Fox's grab game is decent. His throws' low knockback allow him to set up potentially lethal combos. His up throw can lead into a sweet spotted up aerial, one of Fox's primary KO methods, and can even chain throw fast fallers. His forward and back throws force opponents a fair distance off the stage, aptly setting up opportunities for Fox to use his smashes, aerials, or shine spikes to edgeguard. In rare situations, Fox can use his down throw to meteor smash his opponents off the edge of a stage. Despite this, Fox's grab range is average, though his high dashing speed gives him a potential method to "extend" its range. Fox also cannot reliably chain grab at higher percentages, though he retains his ability to hit most opponents out of his up throw with guaranteed aerials, depending on DI.
Despite being a top-tiered character and considered among the most powerful in Melee, Fox is not completely infallible. Because he is a light fast faller, he suffers more hitstun but less vertical knockback. As such, nearly every character can juggle or chaingrab him for decent damage or even to KO percents with little chance for Fox to escape (Marth and Peach being notorious for having deadly chaingrab combos on Fox at Final Destination). As a result, Fox can be considered somewhat of a glass cannon, as while his attack prowess is high, a single blunder by the player can cause the loss of a stock.
In addition to an ease of being comboed, Fox also suffers from a rather exploitable recovery. On paper, despite being a fast faller with poor air speed and the highest gravity value amongst the fighters, Fox has a good recovery overall, as his two options, Fire Fox and Fox Illusion, both travel extremely long distances. He can also mix up his recovery options by angling Fire Fox in nearly any direction, shortening his Fox Illusion, or wall jumping on certain stages, making the opponent second-guess themselves about where they should be on the stage to intercept Fox's recovery. However, such techniques are also extremely dangerous if incorrectly spaced, as if the opponent obtains the correct read or gets into a position where they can hit him out of his recovery, Fox will most likely not be able to recover again. A multitude of attacks can intercept both moves, such as Mario's Cape or Falco's down aerial, and top-tiered characters generally have the options to cover several of Fox's recovery options at once, or even chase Fox off-stage before he even has the chance to recover.
Changes from Super Smash Bros.
Fox received a mix of buffs and nerfs upon making the transition between games, but was buffed overall. Fox’s archetype as a fast faller is more pronounced with his fall speed and gravity significantly increasing. Fox now has stronger KO power, recovery, and movement options thanks to the introduction of wavedashing. Fox also received a new special move, known as Fox Illusion, which can be used as an alternate recovery option, allowing for recovery mix-ups and making up for his reduced air speed and increased falling speed. Another noteworthy buff is his Reflector, as it can now be jump-cancelled, enabling him to perform advanced techniques such as waveshining. Reflector also no longer knocks down opponents whose weight is above 85 units, allowing for followups and even potential infinites.
Fox has also received notable nerfs, however. Although Blaster's projectile travels faster and can fire rapidly, it deals less damage overall and can no longer deal knockback, making it slightly less effective for camping. This also means that Blaster can no longer be used to gimp opponents or lead into followups. Fox also suffered a decrease in his air speed, limiting his recovery. Despite some of his moves becoming more powerful, some of his toolkit has become noticeably weaker: while his up smash is still a deadly finisher, its lower KOing power means that he will need to rack up more damage in order to close out stocks faster. Lastly, Fox's weight was significantly decreased, hindering his horizontal endurance. While his higher falling speed and gravity make up for his vertical endurance, they make him even more susceptible to combos, and the inclusion of up and down throws have made him very susceptible to chain grabs.
Overall, Fox's strengths clearly outweigh his flaws, and the changes to Melee's mechanics greatly benefit him overall. As a result, he is considered to be one of the few characters that were truly buffed, alongside Samus and Jigglypuff and many believe that he is the greatest character in the game at his maximum potential. He has seen immense representation in tournaments with excellent results.
Fox has received a bunch of nerfs in the PAL version of Melee, being arguably the most nerfed character. The nerfs mainly impact his survivability, as he is lighter and his recovery less effective, and slightly weaken the KO power of some of his moves. Additionally, although this is not a direct nerf, Fox is no longer able to waveshine Marth, due to the latter's reduced weight. Despite this, his tournament viability is not severely affected, as he is also ranked 1st on the PAL tier list (though recently, this has become more debatable).
For a gallery of Fox's hitboxes, see here.
In competitive play
Tier placement and history
Fox has been a top-tiered character, along with Falco and Sheik, since the very first Melee tier list, and has never fallen below third place. However, he was not at the top of the list for the first seven revisions, as Sheik was then considered to be the best character in the game. Many of the top players in the early metagame, including Ken and Azen, used Fox only as a secondary for specific matchups; solo Fox mains such as Chillin, on the other hand, were not as successful nationally. Eventually, more dedicated Fox mains, such as PC Chris, FASTLIKETREE, KoreanDJ, and Mew2King, began to revitalize his metagame by pushing Fox's technical ceiling. They began placing within the top 8 of MLG-sponsored tournaments, and their consistency and dominance in the scene resulted in Sheik's dethroning from first to third place on the eighth revision of the tier list in July of 2006, with Fox taking the top spot. Later that year, PC Chris and KoreanDJ placed 1st and 2nd, respectively, at the MLG Las Vegas national championships, using Fox primarily in Grand Finals, which cemented his position on the list.
During the Brawl era, however, some smashers began to dispute Fox's standing on the tier list. They argued that Fox was only the best character theoretically, and that other characters had become much more consistent than him over these years of play. Many of Fox's best players had retired, with the exception of Mew2King, who began using other characters more often. There were certainly still many solo Fox mains in the top cut of Melee players, but without the strongest players of the MLG era spearheading further Fox development, few of them could actually win supermajor-level events. Players began developing rigorous counterplay to Fox, such as SDI-ing out of his up throw to up aerial combo, making it extremely difficult for newer players to find tournament success with him. Of the "Five Gods" who rose to prominence in the era, only the aforementioned Mew2King and Mango used Fox during this time; the latter did not even start as a Fox main, making his name with Jigglypuff and Falco.
Without updates to the tier list for years after 2010, Fox seemingly remained at the top; however, Mango's dominance with Falco, as well as many top 10-level Falco mains emerging such as Zhu and fellow "God" PPMD, made many believe that Falco would become the superior character. Although solo Fox mains showed glimpses of brilliance, such as Jman's top 3 finish at Apex 2009, none of them could match the overall consistency of the Five Gods until Mango himself picked Fox up in 2011. Once Mango began succeeding with solo Fox in 2013, however, opinions on Fox began to change once again; after Mango's victories at Kings of Cali 2, Zenith 2013, IMPULSE 2013, and EVO 2013 with nearly only Fox, the Smash Back Room panelists voted Fox as 1st on the eleventh tier list, albeit by a small margin (an average rank of 1.39 to Falco's 1.68) due to lingering opinions about Falco from years past. These notions would soon completely fade as metagame trends resulted in more Fox usage at the top level than had ever been seen before. He became the most common character in doubles matches by far, and the most common character in singles matches as well.
The meteoric rise of Leffen in 2014 and 2015 as a solo Fox main, along with Mango's continued dominance, solidified many players' opinions about Fox's place at the top of the metagame. Many players who mained a lower-ranked character, most notably Hax, even abandoned their former character in favor of using only Fox, and other players, such as Armada, picked up Fox as a co-main to alleviate trouble against certain opponents. This heavily increased presence led panelists to rank Fox as decisively 1st on the tier list, which caused him to be placed in his own tier at the top of the most recent tier list (much akin to Pikachu in the previous iterations of the 64 tier list or Meta Knight in Brawl). However, his tier placement was met with some backlash; community members argued that designating Fox as "SS-tier" implied that he was overwhelmingly superior to the rest of the cast, when the true power gap between the top 3 characters was not actually that large, and that Fox was merely the most common and clear #1 out of them.
In the modern metagame, the rise of Hungrybox and Zain as contenders for #1 in the world have made the Melee community re-evaluate Fox's status as the undisputed best in the game. Zain's dominance over Fox professionals with his Marth, in particular, has called into serious question the pre-existing notion that Fox had no losing matchups. As the technical requirement of the game at a competitive level grows, many players view the stamina aspect of playing over a long tournament as growing in importance, citing that Fox players tend to burn out in later stages due to having to play a technically demanding character across many sets, and that such external factors should be taken into consideration on a tier list. Regardless of this discussion, most of the community still places Fox in the highest tier, still citing his great potential and the ever-growing volume of top Fox players. However, many of them now believe that he shares this tier with Jigglypuff and Marth, and should no longer stand alone at the top.
Fox was nerfed in the PAL version of Melee. While his nerfs seem insignificant, they actually affect his matchups more than most other nerfed characters. The nerf to his up smash allows several characters to barely survive in that version where they would not have been able to in NTSC, forcing Fox mains to learn later KO percentages for it; at those percentages, however, some up smash setups are no longer guaranteed. Fox's nerfed recovery also weakens his off-stage game, as he can no longer travel as far off-stage to intercept enemies, and hinders his survivability, especially against characters who retain their edgeguarding ability, such as Sheik and Marth. The nerf to his weight exacerbates his decreased survivability, but as a positive note, allows him to escape combos more easily.
Fox's matchups against other top-tiered characters become slightly less advantageous in PAL. For example, many professionals believe that Falco wins against Fox overall, as Fox's nerfs allow Falco to survive much longer and KO Fox earlier, while Falco himself is not significantly hindered by his own PAL nerfs. Fox's matchup against Marth, in particular, is much harder, as he is no longer guaranteed a grab out of a waveshine due to Marth's weight changes. Thus, Fox needs to work much harder for a grab setup, hindering his damage racking ability against equally skilled players. However, Marth retains his fantastic punish game against fastfallers and has a much easier time edgeguarding Fox due to his aforementioned recovery nerfs. Along with harder matchups against Peach and even Captain Falcon, some PAL professionals have vouched that Falco or Marth is the best in that particular version of Melee instead. Regardless, Fox still performs very well in PAL regions of Melee, and maintains first place in his own tier on the most recent PAL tier list.
Fox players who travel to attend large tournaments, such as Leffen, are forced to adjust to these changes in gameplay, which can be an obstacle when fighting in a foreign country or continent. A handful of these players own copies of both the PAL and NTSC versions of the game to allow practice before international tournaments, mainly to practice executing certain Fox-specific setups that are impossible in the PAL version but present in the NTSC version, or to practice accommodating for the lack of these setups with backup strategies.
In Classic Mode, Fox can appear as an ordinary opponent, an ally or opponent in team battles, alongside Falco, Captain Falcon, Donkey Kong or Samus, or as a metal opponent. In Fox's appearances, he appears on Corneria or Venom as a regular opponent, and on Battlefield as a metal opponent. In team battles, he appears on Mute City with Captain Falcon, on Kongo Jungle with Donkey Kong, and on Brinstar with Samus.
Fox appears on Stage 6 of the Adventure Mode on Corneria. In the first part of the stage, the player battles Fox, who will try and avoid the player. After defeating Fox once, the player will have to face him again, this time on offense donning his red costume and featuring "trigger happy" Arwings, which fire at the stage considerably more often. Additionally, there is a chance that the player will fight Falco instead of Fox, if the former is unlocked.
Fox and his allies are fought on Corneria.
Fox is featured in the following event matches:
In addition to the normal trophy about Fox as a character, there are two trophies about him as a fighter, unlocked by completing both Adventure and All-Star modes respectively with Fox on any difficulty: