Super Smash Bros. Characters Then and Now: Captain Falcon - Prima Games

Super Smash Bros. Characters Then and Now: Captain Falcon

by Bryan Dawson

Captain Falcon hails from the F-Zero racing series and is one of the more popular characters in the Smash Brothers games. He battled in every iteration of Super Smash Bros. and started off as a solid character. He improved in Smash Melee but took a huge drop in Brawl. As one of the recently announced characters for Super Smash Bros. Wii U, we don’t know how he’ll fair in the latest addition to the series. However, no matter where he lands on the tier list, Captain Douglas Jay Falcon will always have fans.

Super Smash Bros. 64

The Smash 64 version of Captain Falcon is based on his appearance in F-Zero X for the Nintendo 64. While the Captain wasn’t the best character in Smash 64, he’s definitely considered near the top. He has great air mobility and aerial attacks in general, including his down air attack that spikes opponents. His main setbacks are a lack of projectile and no good way to deal with projectile attacks from other characters. He also has poor recovery options and is easily susceptible to combos due to his size and heavy weight class.

Captain Falcon is considered better in doubles play than one-on-one combat. He can easily combo other players and has one of the fastest movement speeds in the game. Because of this, if your partner gets in trouble, the Captain can quickly move to help out. Falcon’s kick attacks have relatively long reach, and while some of his more powerful attacks aren’t all that fast (Falcon Punch), they do pack quite a punch and are fun to use in casual play.

Super Smash Bros. Melee

There weren’t a lot of changes to Captain Falcon from Smash 64 to Smash Melee, but Melee is the game in which the Knee of Justice became popular. The Captain’s forward air attack is one of his best moves and a staple in competitive play. It has considerable knockback, and if you hit it just right (sweet spot), you can actually follow it with an aerial Falcon Punch that virtually guarantees a KO.

In Melee, Captain Falcon moved up in the tier list, although down in overall character ranking. This is primarily because of the new characters introduced to the series in Melee. While he had a very good dash dance (advanced movement option) in Smash 64, it’s even better in Melee.

He remains very much the same character from Smash 64, with great aerial attacks but a lackluster ground game. His Falcon Dive covers more distance vertically and horizontally, making it slightly better for recovery, but it loses much of its power and gets slower in the process. Falcon Punch is also slower, but hits even harder than in Smash 64, and has longer range. The Captain also gained use of the Raptor Boost as a side special. In the air it’s a great Meteor Smash, while on the ground, it can help negate projectile attacks in some situations.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl

In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Captain Falcon’s design changed slightly to resemble that of F-Zero GX. Unfortunately, Captain Falcon lost a lot of power in Brawl, and the general system mechanics really hurt his overall gameplay style. He lost a lot of damage, power and speed as general nerfs, but his biggest loss may be the drastic reduction in movement options from Melee to Brawl (lackluster dash dancing, no moonwalking, etc.). He doesn’t have nearly as many combo options as before, and his combos are considerably weaker.

While Falcon retains many of his attacks from Melee, the hitboxes are considerably smaller. This makes it far more difficult to hit opponents, and extremely hard to connect with sweet spots for big damage and knockback. His lack of projectile attack hits him even harder in Brawl because of the small hitboxes on his attacks and generally lower hit stun of all attacks in Brawl. In competitive play it’s very difficult to approach most characters without taking damage.

On the positive side, the Falcon Dive can grab edgehoggers (characters hanging from the edge to prevent you from grabbing it) for the first time in the series. It also moves higher, but loses a bit of horizontal distance. Most believe that Captain Falcon was nerfed the hardest out of any character from Melee to Brawl. Because of this, he dropped to almost the bottom tier and is considered one of the worst characters in the game.

Super Smash Bros. Wii U

Captain Falcon was only recently confirmed as a playable character in Smash Wii U. Therefore, we know very little about his abilities at the moment. Most characters seem to have improved (even if only slightly) from Brawl to Smash Wii U, and with Falcon’s low tier placement in Brawl, it’s hard to imagine him getting any worse. However, we do know that the general system mechanics of Smash Wii U do not allow for the advanced movement options from Smash Melee, which is one of the big things that hurt Falcon in Brawl. Hopefully he gets some buffs to compensate for this, but we’ll have to wait until we can play the character to find out.

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