The space animals in the Super Smash Bros. series have always had a love-hate relationship with the competitive scene. Fox McCloud dominated Smash 64 and Smash Melee, but took a big hit when Brawl released. He was one of the most feared characters in the first two installments in the Smash series and looks to be at least somewhat formidable in the upcoming 3DS and Wii U Smash title. Whether you love Fox or hate him, you have to respect his abilities in the series and the skill required to play him at the highest level.
Super Smash Bros. 64
In Super Smash 64, Fox was one of the best characters in the game. His speed made him a difficult match for most characters, and his ability to KO from his Up Smash and Up Aerial were unmatched. He had tremendous combo potential and was one the easiest characters to KO an opponent from zero percent. With this dangerous combination of speed and combo potential, you were never safe when facing off against a god Fox McCloud player, even with zero percent damage.
One of the big problems for characters in the original Smash was that their recovery was predictable and often times less than stellar. Fox was no exception to this, as he was known to have difficulty recovering and was very predictable. Still, this wasn’t enough to bring him down, as he was widely considered one of the top three characters in the game.
Super Smash Bros. Melee
Fox’s appearance changed in Melee, from his Star Fox 64 look to the threads he sported in Star Fox 2. There were a few changes to Fox’s moveset as well, but he climbed the tier list from top three to number one. He gained a new special move in the way of the Fox Illusion side special, which can also be used during recovery. Unfortunately, even with this addition, it didn’t help to make Fox’s recovery options any less predictable, which is still one of his main downfalls.
The Blaster special move underwent changes in that it now fires more rapidly but doesn’t cause an opponent to flinch anymore. The Fire Fox special move also travels further and he received a new Forward Smash and Forward Aerial. However, if you want to be able to use Fox effectively, you must have a strong grasp of advanced Melee techniques such as Shine Spike, Waveshine and SHL/SHB. Without these in your Fox arsenal, you’re just asking for punishment, but master these techniques and you’ll be a force in the game.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Once again, Fox’s appearance received a slight update from Melee to Brawl. This time around he resembles a cross between Star Fox Assault and Star Fox Command, with a touch of Star Fox 64. When it comes to gameplay, Fox is a mixed bag in Brawl. In the U.S., he dropped down to mid-tier, which is huge considering he was number one in Melee. However, in Japan he is considered top five with a number of tournament wins under his belt.
The biggest changes to Fox in Brawl are due to Brawl’s game mechanics. With the loss of wavedashing and L-canceling, Fox took a big hit and no longer has an infinite Shine combo at his disposal. He also lost a bit of attack power between the two games, his Blaster travels half the distance compared to Melee and his recovery was not improved. So he took big hits to his best attacks and abilities, but his main weakness was not addressed.
Super Smash Bros. Wii U/3DS
While the verdict is still out on Fox in the 3DS and Wii U Smash Bros. game, one of the biggest noticeable changes is that Fox can attack after the Fox Illusion special move. This is a significant buff to his recovery options that were his main weak point in all previous Smash titles. Fox’s Forward Smash is now slightly faster, but many of his other attacks were nerfed, including his Up Air and Shine.
Unfortunately, the Blaster can no longer be canceled when Fox lands. This is a huge blow to his ranged play style, and makes it difficult to attack opponents from across the screen. It does seem as though Fox is faster, and the additional speed will help him move around better, but it may not be enough to make Fox as good as he was in Brawl, which was nowhere near as good as he was in Melee.