|Star Fox character|
Falco Lombardi as portrayed in Star Fox Command
|First appearance||Star Fox (1993)|
|Created by||Shigeru Miyamoto|
|Designed by||Takaya Imamura|
Falco Lombardi (Japanese: ファルコ・ランバルディ Hepburn: Faruko Rambarudi) is an anthropomorphic bird character from the Star Fox series of video games. He was created by Shigeru Miyamoto and designed by Takaya Imamura. Falco acts as the wingman and friend of title character Fox McCloud for the majority of the series.
Falco first appeared in the 1993 video game Star Fox. Since then, he has appeared in multiple Star Fox games. A variety of voice actors lend their voice to the character in the English language releases, but Hisao Egawa portrays Falco in all Japanese language releases except for Star Fox 64 3D where he is voiced by Kosuke Takaguchi. Besides the Star Fox games, Falco has starred in his own manga, and also appears as a playable character in three Super Smash Bros. titles.
Falco was based on the model designer of the original Star Fox game. Reception to the character has been mixed, with popularity among fans high. Falco has been mainly criticized for his appearance and contentious attitude, but praised for being far less annoying than other characters in the series. Reaction to his appearance in Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Bros. Brawl has been similarly mixed, with some reviewers objecting to his moveset being cloned from Fox, citing it as an example of low effort on the part of the developers. However, that is not entirely true, since Falco can jump higher than Fox McCloud and uses a blaster that can stop opponents in their tracks.
Falco's species is that of a raptor, most likely a falcon called a red-throated caracara. His general head shape suggest that of a raptor, but one interesting characteristic, which traces back to the early character designs, is his color. While his shape is that of a bird of prey, his colors are that of a pheasant. Material recently revealed in interviews with designers reveals that Falco was actually originally intended to be a pheasant.
Falco's body feathers are blue, with dark red around his eyes. His beak is large, yellow and hook-shaped. His build has varied from being somewhat stocky in Star Fox to more of a slim build in Star Fox Assault.
Falco originally wore a jumpsuit with a flight jacket and gray tanker boots in Star Fox, like the other characters. His jumpsuit was orange in color, which he retained in Star Fox 64. In Star Fox Adventures, he wore a leather vest over a white shirt, leather pants, a white headband, and sunglasses. In Star Fox Assault, he wore a flashy red and silver long-sleeve jumpsuit with exaggerated shoulder guards. In Star Fox Command, he returned to his Star Fox and Star Fox 64 attire, although his jumpsuit is red instead of orange.
"Lombardi" is the only surname for the original Star Fox team that Dylan Culbert of Q-Games did not come up with. Instead, it came from 2D artist and scenario designer Takaya Imamura. He has been referred to as both a falcon and a pheasant by Nintendo. While the character's first name, "Falco," is the genus for raptors that includes falcons, caracaras and kestrels, Falco's surname in the Japanese versions, "Rambaldi", was taken from Carlo Rambaldi, an Italian special effects artist who worked on films such as Close Encounters of the Third Kind and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. The original four members of the Star Fox Team are based on the team for the first game. Falco in particular is based on the model designer, Watanabe. During the events of Star Fox 64, Falco is 19 years old.
Falco started as the head of a galactic gang, and possesses an uncooperative attitude, though he is devoted to the pilots he flies with. Falco is one of the most respected and skilled pilots of the Star Fox Team. His personality in general is brash and cocky. Falco has incredible nerves and is able to accurately predict the tide of battle on most occasions.
Falco initially appeared in the first Star Fox game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. He subsequently appeared in the sequel, Star Fox 64 for the Nintendo 64. In both games, he served as a member of the Star Fox Team, but a minor character nonetheless. Falco often acts as backup for Fox in the games, spinning in to take up Fox's flank. After the defeat of Andross at the end of Star Fox 64, Falco disappears, and is not seen for a significant time.
Falco does not appear during the majority of Star Fox Adventures, as he could not be properly integrated into the plot in time for the game's release. Near the end of the game, however, Falco arrives to aid Fox with the final boss, and appears in the last cutscene of the game where he rejoins the Star Fox Team.
In Star Fox: Assault for the GameCube, Falco appears as a main member of Star Fox Team once more, this time labelled an ace pilot. Unlike other characters in the game, Falco never leaves his Arwing to fight on the ground, instead providing air support.
Star Fox Command has Falco isolating himself from the rest of the team, including flying a new vehicle called the Sky Claw, a slimmer version of the Arwing. The nature of Falco's membership within the Star Fox Team changes depending upon the path the player chooses. In one ending, he joins Fox's son Marcus McCloud and forms a new Star Fox Team.
Farewell, Beloved Falco is a manga series that detailed the eight-year gap between Star Fox 64 and Star Fox Adventures. In the manga, Falco receives a request for help from Katt Monroe, leaving the Star Fox Team. At the end of the manga, he stays with Katt Monroe, while Fox returns to the team, and stays away for a long absence.
Falco Lombardi made his first appearance in the Super Smash Bros. series in its second installment, Super Smash Bros. Melee, with a similar set of moves to that of Fox. In Melee, Falco is the second-most viable character in competitive play.  Falco returned for Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U as both a playable character and several trophies. Falco is one of the game's fastest characters, and performs his moves very quickly. He jumps higher than Fox and uses a similar reflecting shield, blaster, and Landmaster tank. In Melee, Falco's appearance is based on his design in Star Fox 64, whereas in Brawl and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS, it is based on his appearance in Star Fox: Assault and Star Fox Command.
Falco is a favorite among Star Fox fans, and among Nintendo fans in general. Though he could be described as "cranky", Falco gained esteem as a counterpoint to the seemingly annoying Slippy Toad and the older Peppy Hare. UGO Networks listed Falco as one of the top twenty-three second in commands in entertainment, characterizing him as a "dick", but the most reliable character in the Star Fox series. They also ranked him fifth on its "25 Most Memorable Italians in Video Games" list. CraveOnline ranked Falco as the tenth "Greatest Nintendo Characters" describing him as the Han Solo to Fox McCloud's Luke Skywalker. Falco was also placed among by GamesRadar in a list of 10 sidekicks that deserve their own games. On other hand, he has been labeled as a "douchebag"; Complex listed him on their list of 25 "douchiest" video game characters, as "Falco's ego was too big for the team", and he was ranked sixth on Joystick Division's "The Top Ten Biggest Douchebags in Video Game History" for the same reason.
The portrayal of Falco in the Super Smash Bros. series has been both praised and criticized. While IGN noted that Falco operated a bit differently than Fox in the game, and did so in a "cool black jacket" (in reference to one of his alternate costumes), he was essentially a simple clone of the controllable Fox McCloud. IGN also cited Falco as proof that Masahiro Sakurai did not appear to care about producing original characters with unique move sets. UGO Networks called Falco a lame "purple-feathered bird who wears a white jacket and silver boots", but still recognizes the effectiveness of his fighting style.
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