Koopa Klaw in Melee.
Koopa Klaw is a claw swipe that grabs enemies close to Bowser, with an additional slash hitbox outside of its grab range. This makes it the only move in the game that can either grab or deal direct damage in the same action, adding some unique options to Bowser's gameplay. As a command grab, it can also grab opponents while Bowser is airborne. Upon capturing an opponent, Bowser can bite them repeatedly by pressing the special move button, accumulating damage akin to a pummel, or throw them either forward or backward with the control stick. The forward throw has Bowser slash the opponent upwards, while the back throw has him hurl the opponent backwards with a large amount of knockback. The slashing hitbox at farther range instead launches opponents upward with high knockback, serving as a KO option.
When grabbing an opponent, Bowser automatically bites them once if a throw isn't chosen, and they can be held for a maximum of 250 frames, after which they are grab released. Unlike standard grabs, the move's duration is not affected by the opponent's damage percentage, nor their placing in the match relative to Bowser. However, they can still escape faster via button mashing, with each input reducing the grab's duration by 12 frames.
Koopa Klaw's swipe hitbox comes out on frame 17, ending on frame 18. After this, the Grab hitbox comes out for 2 frames. The forward throw has a FAF of 41, and the back throw a FAF of 43. As a result of this, is very possible for Bowser to combo from the forward throw Koopa Klaw provides, usually with up aerial or another Koopa Klaw at lower percentages. This is a large aspect of his advantage state, being able to juggle opponents on a semi-consistent basis, especially fast fallers. The back throw serves as a strong kill option - especially off-stage - and its speed makes it hard to react to. The slash can provide mixup options at low percents as well, although it typically serves as a kill option or safety net for poor spacing. As a result, Koopa Klaw is a centerpiece of Bowser's moveset in Melee.
This special attack is shared by Giga Bowser, but it does have a small issue if played with through hacking; the pummel can miss against Yoshi and Pichu if the button is mashed too fast. Giga Bowser can combo from the Koopa Klaw forward throw with a jump-canceled up smash; alternatively, up tilt is also an option on fast fallers such as Fox. However, it is very possible to self-destruct when using it in the air, unlike with normal Bowser, due to Giga Bowser's large hurtbox.
In Super Smash Bros. Brawl onwards, Koopa Klaw is replaced with Flying Slam. The two are rather similar in that they involve Bowser doing a claw slash to grab enemies. In the Subspace Emissary, Flying Slam will deal claw swipe damage instead of serving as a throw, likely as a throwback to Koopa Klaw. Also, one of Bowser's custom side specials in Super Smash Bros. 4, the Dash Slash, is a similar move to Koopa Klaw, in which Bowser rushes at an opponent before slashing them.
|Grab and bite enemies or slash those who are further away.
Koopa Klaw has no true origin from the Mario series. While Bowser does have claw and bite attacks in Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars and Paper Mario, the two are never combined into one attack nor paired with a grab. However, Koopa Klaw could be based on the first hit of Bowser's Drill Claw attack in Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars.
Bowser gnaws on Fox after grabbing him with Koopa Klaw.