Wolf O'Donnell (ウルフ・オドネル, Wolf O'Donnell) is a character from the Star Fox series. Wolf is the leader of Star Wolf, an infamous team of skilled mercenaries that have crossed paths with Star Fox on several occasions, and is the mutual rival of Star Fox's leader, Fox McCloud.
After making a cameo in Super Smash Bros. Melee during one of its opening movie's cutscenes, Wolf transitioned into an unlockable character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. He returned in that capacity in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate after being absent from Super Smash Bros. 4.
Wolf was originally going to appear in Star Fox 2 for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). In Star Fox 2, Star Wolf is introduced as a team of mercenaries consisting of its leader Wolf and his wingmates Leon Powalski, Pigma Dengar and Algy. Due to the team's tenacious and unscrupulous methods, they have become feared throughout the Lylat System, with Wolf in particular being noted as someone who is willing to betray anyone for the right price. In order to ensure that his second attempt at conquering the Lylat System succeeds, Andross hires Star Wolf to intercept and kill Star Fox.
Although Star Fox 2 was completely finished, it was canceled because of the Nintendo 64's impending launch and said system being more cost effective in regard to developing polygonal games. Despite this, some of Star Fox 2's features were carried over to Star Fox 64 (and Star Fox Zero by extension), including Star Wolf, while Star Fox 2 itself would later be included as part of the SNES Classic Edition in 2017.
Wolf made his proper debut in Star Fox 64, a reboot of the Star Fox series. As in Star Fox 2, he is both an elite pilot and the leader of Star Wolf. Unlike in Star Fox 2, however, Wolf sports an eyepatch on his left eye instead of a large scar on his right eye. Another noticeable difference is that Wolf's personality has more depth. Following James McCloud's death, Wolf took notice of his son, a gifted pilot by the name of Fox McCloud, and sought to prove himself as being just as capable as Fox. The official guide for Star Fox 64 also mentions that, in addition to being a rival, Wolf could have even become a friend to Fox had Pigma and Andross not influenced him for the worst.
Shortly before the Lylat Wars, Andross hired Wolf, Leon and Pigma to assist his army and, as a last resort, defend key routes to his base of operations on Venom. In addition to payment, Andross granted each member of Star Wolf a Wolfen, his most advanced model of fighter craft. However, Andross also placed his nephew, Andrew Oikonny, onto the team in order to keep the others in check. Throughout the game, the player can battle Star Wolf up to two times, though there are three different battles with them overall, depending on which routes are taken on the map.
Shortly after Andross' defeat on Venom, Star Wolf abandoned the Venomian Army and resumed their roles as mercenaries willing to accept any mission, regardless of legality. However, Andrew was kicked out of the team at some point, which prompted him to take control of the remainder of the Venomian Army and follow in Andross' footsteps by staging a rebellion against Corneria. At another point in time, Pigma was also expelled from Star Wolf, owing to his unreliability and insatiable greed.
Nine years after the events of Star Fox 64, Wolf reappeared in Star Fox: Assault. During these intervening years, Wolf assumed control over the Sargasso Space Zone, an illegal hub for criminals and former members of the Venomian Army. He also recruited Panther Caroso, a top-class pilot, to replace Andrew and Pigma. When Star Fox searched for Pigma in order to retrieve a Core Memory that he stole earlier, Star Wolf proceeded to face Star Fox in a dogfight over what Wolf presumed to be an invasion of his territory.
Upon being defeated, Wolf called off their dogfight, but would later arrive on Corneria alongside Leon and Panther in order to save Fox from the rising threat of the Aparoids. Although Wolf said the only reason for doing this was so he could defeat Fox himself, Wolf's advice and grudging respect toward Fox nevertheless signaled his transition from a full-fledged villain into an honorable, albeit still unlawful, anti-hero. Following this incident, Star Wolf provided backup to Star Fox at the Beltino Orbital Gate and the Aparoid Homeworld. After Star Fox successfully destroyed the Homeworld, Star Wolf was nowhere to be found. During Krystal's acknowledgement of their sacrifice as being among the many lives lost during the conflict, Fox speculated that Wolf, Leon and Panther were still alive.
In Star Fox Command, Fox's assumption of Star Wolf's survival was proven correct. Following the destruction of the Aparoids, Star Wolf resumed their status as mercenaries. In response, the Cornerian Military placed a bounty for each member, with Wolf having the highest bounty set at $30,000. To avoid attention, Star Wolf set up a base on Fichina before hatching a plan to simultaneously remove their bounties and improve their reputations. Soon after, Wolf recruited Krystal into Star Wolf following her expulsion from Star Fox, which was caused by Fox's fear of her dying while a part of the team like his father.
With the advent of the Anglar Empire, Star Wolf sought to remove their bounties by plotting a way to defeat them, which reaffirmed their status as anti-heroes. Although Command features multiple branching storylines that see Star Wolf achieve varying degrees of success in their bid to stop the Anglar Empire, Command's director Dylan Cuthbert stated that the game is non-canon because of said storylines rendering it as an alternate timeline-style game.
In Star Fox Zero, the second reboot of the Star Fox series, Wolf and his team are depicted almost identically to their portrayals in Star Fox 64. Despite this, Wolf's portrayal in particular received a few noticeable alterations. The Sector β mission can result either in him shooting down Fox's mentor and teammate, Peppy Hare, or retreating after he receives a sufficient amount of damage (in reference to his appearance in Star Fox 2). Zero also confirms that Wolf fought against Fox's father, James, whereas Star Fox 64 is ambiguous about Wolf interacting with James in any way. Lastly, the Wolfens are capable of assuming a wolf-like Hunter mode to counter the Arwing's bipedal Walker mode.
In the Nintendo Switch version of Ubisoft's Starlink: Battle for Atlas, exclusive Star Fox content features a crossover story that occurs some time after the events of Star Fox Zero. In Starlink, Wolf decides to fly solo in search of additional firepower to use for himself in the power vacuum caused by Andross' defeat. His journey ultimately leads him to the Atlas star system to acquire a Spin Drive for his conquest of the Lylat System. Soon after arriving in Atlas, Wolf forged alliances with a few notable Outlaws, such as Cash Guavo.
In response, Star Fox pursue Wolf to Atlas in order to thwart his plans, and forge an alliance with the Starlink Initiative on the common ground of protecting Atlas. Wolf's hideout is eventually discovered by Star Fox and Starlink, at which point they proceed to stop him. After Wolf's initial plans are foiled, he reforms Star Wolf alongside Leon, Pigma and Andrew in order to gain revenge. Despite their best efforts, Star Wolf are ultimately defeated and launched into a wormhole, which sends them back to the Lylat System.
In Super Smash Bros. Melee's opening movie, there is a brief cutscene where Fox, piloting his Arwing, crosses paths with Wolf in his Wolfen, which then concludes by quickly featuring mugshots of the two characters in their cockpits. Wolf is also mentioned in the Wolfen's trophy description. While the aforementioned cutscene led to very early fan speculation of Wolf having a role in the game, perhaps as a playable character, Smabura-Ken confirmed that this was not the intended purpose of his cameo.
As a playable character
Main article: Wolf (SSBB)
Wolf appears as a newcomer in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. He can be unlocked by playing 450 VS. Mode matches, clearing Boss Battles Mode with Fox or Falco, or entering a secret door in The Ruins after completing The Subspace Emissary. Like Fox and Falco, Wolf sports a modified version of his design in Star Fox: Assault and Star Fox Command.
According to Super Smash Bros. series creator Masahiro Sakurai, Wolf's inclusion was highly requested by fans because of his popularity within his home series. Although Krystal, another highly requested Star Fox character, was also a candidate for a roster spot, Sakurai said that the combination of time constraints and using Fox and Falco as source materials resulted in Wolf having much better potential to be a fully realized fighter in comparison to her.
Compared to his fellow Star Fox fighters, Wolf both derives and deviates from them in a variety of ways. Like Fox and Falco, Wolf's walking and falling speeds are both very fast, and his gravity is very high in spite of his size. However, Wolf is taller, heavier, and overall stronger than they are. By extension, he has the slowest dashing speed among them (especially compared to Fox's), yet his air speed is drastically faster in comparison. Unlike Fox and Falco, Wolf uses a feral fighting style; in addition to keeping his basic stance low to the ground in spite of his taller height, it results in the majority of his moveset noticeably differing from theirs aesthetically and mechanically.
Despite having special moves similar to Fox and Falco's in regard to both naming and mechanics, Wolf's respective versions nevertheless deviate in very noticeable ways. His Blaster fires shots one at a time like Falco's, yet features a bayonet that damages opponents if they are close enough. Fire Wolf hits multiple times like Fire Fox and Fire Bird, yet lacks a flame effect and consists of a flying kick instead of a headfirst dash. Wolf Flash quickly propels Wolf, similarly to Fox Illusion and Falco Phantasm; it is also capable of meteor smashing like the latter when sweetspotted. However, it propels Wolf diagonally instead of horizontally.
Compared to Fox and Falco's Reflectors, Wolf's Reflector has a lower damage multiplier and higher travel speed multiplier when used against projectiles. Unlike theirs, it can also function as a pseudo-counterattack because of the significant number of intangibility frames it produces, while the barrier itself is ovoid instead of hexagonal. Finally, Wolf's Landmaster has greater firepower and mobility at the cost of a shorter duration. It also features a red and gray color scheme akin to the Wolfen's, instead of the standard blue and white.
Due to Wolf's excellent aerial mobility, fast and long-ranged attacks, and plethora of options, his overall matchup spread is slightly favorable. Most notably, this includes a manageable matchup against Meta Knight despite being soft countered by Meta Knight. However, Wolf has a poor recovery and a severe susceptibility to chain grabbing, the latter of which results in him being countered by a few characters, most notoriously King Dedede. Overall, Wolf's strengths and respectable tournament success have resulted in him being currently ranked 14th out of 38 on the tier list. This places him at the top of the C tier, and posits him as a mid tier character.
A pilot whose real name is Wolf O'Donnell. He leads a group of mercenaries called Star Wolf. He's crossed paths with Fox many times, and each acknowledges the other as a competent rival. Wolf's constant interference with Fox is a result of Wolf's history with Fox's dad, James. Wolf's long history of criminal enterprise has resulted in a large bounty on his head.
Unlike Fox and Falco, Wolf does not return as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. 4. His only direct appearances are as a trophy in both versions of SSB4, and via Lylat Cruise's Smash Taunt. Outside of these cameos, Fox himself makes two direct references to Wolf: one of his new alternate costumes highly resembles Wolf's color scheme, and Wolf Flash is one of Fox Illusion's custom variations. On a related note, Star Wolf's three songs can also be played on Corneria, Orbital Gate Assault, and Lylat Cruise.
Main article: List of SSB4 trophies (Star Fox series)
As a playable character
Main article: Wolf (SSBU)
Wolf returns as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. He was formally announced alongside the rest of the cast via Ultimate's E3 2018 trailer on June 12th, 2018. Jay Ward reprises his role as Wolf's voice actor for the overseas versions, while Kōsuke Takaguchi now voices him in the Japanese version.
Like Fox and Falco, Wolf's design has been updated to reflect his appearance in Star Fox Zero. In Wolf's case, he has a longer snout and a normal eyepatch, while his visible eye is slightly larger and has a red iris. Unlike Fox and Falco, however, Wolf's attire is entirely original to Ultimate.
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