The Star Fox series is one the better selling and more popular franchises developed by Nintendo. The series was created by Shigeru Miyamoto, whose inspiration for the games was inspired by the Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine and a television show known as Thunderbirds. The shrine was dedicated to a kitsune, and was accessible through a series of arches. The kitsune inspired the design for the main protagonist, Fox McCloud, whereas the arches leading up to the shrine inspired the gameplay. The TV show Thunderbirds inspired him to make a game with cinematic elements, and with characters all having unique personalities. Other characters from the series were also inspired by Japan. Characters Falco Lombardi and Peppy Hare, like Fox, were inspired by Japanese folk tales. The Japanese expression about fighting like dogs and monkeys is what inspired the Cornerian fleet of dogs fighting the Venom’s fleet of monkeys.
Super Smash Bros.
The Star Fox series was one of the original ten series represented in the first Smash Bros. game for the Nintendo 64. By the time Smash 64 was being developed, only two Star Fox games existed, the first being the original Star Fox for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and the second being Star Fox 64 for the Nintendo 64. It might be worth noting that a sequel, tentatively titled Star Fox 2 was cancelled for the SNES. The game was apparently very close to being finished.
This meant that, compared to some other series, there wasn’t that many officially released games to work with. Star Fox only had one playable character this iteration, series protagonist Fox McCloud. His in-game model is directly influenced by his appearance in Star Fox 64, but his moveset, however, isn’t. In both Star Fox titles, Fox is almost exclusively piloting his Arwing in gameplay. In Star Fox 64’s multiplayer, you can play as Fox on foot, but with a only a shoulder-mounted cannon to do combat with.
Sakurai had to be creative with Fox in order to create his moveset. Most of his moveset consists of standard attacks, with his specials involving the most of Sakurai’s creative liberty. Fox’s neutral-special attack was a small blaster that, when the special button was pressed once, fired off a single pink laser. The lasers did a fair amount of damage, and had good knockback for their overall speed. The blaster stems from official renders of Fox if Star Fox 64 promotional art. Fox’s up-special, Fire Fox, is a multi-directional move that propels Fox in a direction with a fiery blast. A possible reason for the fire could relate back to the supernatural kitsune. In mythology, kitsunes possess powers of one of thirteen possible elements, with fire being one of them. Finally, Fox’s down-special has Fox pull out his reflector. This gadget produced a blue hexagonal energy field that would deflect any reflectable attacks back where they came from. The reflector, however, is a Smash Brothers exclusive. The idea for the hand-held device may be inspired by the Arwing’s ability to deflect enemy fire by performing a Barrel Roll.
The Star Fox series also had a single stage in the original game, called Sector Z. The stage takes place atop the Great Fox, the Star Fox team’s mother base. In the Star Fox series, Sector Z is one of three nebulae located in the Lylat System. In the original Star Fox, Sector Z was a difficult on-rails course with lots of enemies and obstacles to deal with. In Star Fox 64, Sector Z provided an all-range mode experience when you must defend the Great Fox from missiles. In Smash Bros, the stage is more influenced by the Star Fox 64 version, with the Great Fox being the center piece. The stage is very large, stretching from the Great Fox’s cockpit all the way onto the end of the engines. While fighting on this stage, however, the fighters are not alone. On occasion, Arwings will come in close and begin to fire in set locations on the ship. When playing on this stage, only one piece of music plays. This piece is a remix of the main theme from Star Fox 64.
In the end, Star Fox had great representation in the first game, having on playable character, one stage, and one music track. The only thing Star Fox lacked was an item. Both Star Fox titles at this point, to some degree, were also included in Smash 64, with Star Fox 64 being by far the most prominent of the two.
|Total Music Tracks:||1|
|Referenced Titles:||Star Fox (SNES), Star Fox 64 (N64)|
Super Smash Bros. Melee
When Super Smash Bros. Melee was released, Star Fox still only had two pre-existing games to work with. Nonetheless, in the jump from Super Smash Bros. 64 to Super Smash Bros. Melee, Star Fox was given a generous boost in content. In Melee, Star Fox received a second playable character, two brand new stages, two new musical pieces, and fourteen of the brand new trophies. However, the drawbacks were that the Star Fox series still lacked an item, and had its Sector Z stage, as well as Sector Z’s track, cut from the game.
Melee, like Smash 64, continued to pull most of its inspiration from Star Fox 64, but also took much more creative freedom when designing Star Fox’s content. For starters, Fox’s design was changed completely. Fox’s design was now an original design created by Melee’s development team that was simply based on his appearance in Star Fox 64, rather than being a one-to-one copy of it. With the introduction to side-specials, Fox also received a new move called Fox Illusion (Fox’s Melee introduction here). Performing this attack will send Fox darting forward with blinding speed. Rather than dealing damage directly, the move creates an afterimage effect that damages any enemies in his path. The inspiration for the move could be based on how the Arwing can use its thrusters to boost forward in gameplay.
Later in Melee’s development, six clone characters were made to increase the size of the roster. One of these clone characters was Falco Lombardi, the ace pilot of the Star Fox team (Falco’s Melee introduction here). In the Star Fox series, Falco is one of the main characters. He is smart-mouthed and arrogant, but trustworthy and a very experienced pilot. Falco debuted in the original Star Fox game for the SNES, and has had an important role in every Star Fox title since. Like Fox, Falco’s design in melee is based off his appearance in Star Fox 64, though an entirely original model. As a fighter, Falco is a modified version Fox who fights close to Fox’s Smash 64 iteration. His moves in appearance are almost identical to Fox’s, with some having different properties.
At the cost of Sector Z and its only track, Star Fox gained two new stages and music tracks. These were Corneria and Venom, with their respective tracks sharing the same name. Corneria is the first level in Star Fox 64, which is what the stage is based on. Like Sector Z, takes place upon the Great Fox. However, with Corneria, the Great Fox is much smaller in scale. Also like Sector Z, Corneria has stage hazards. On this stage, Arwings and Wolfens will both fly down and fire at players, usually coming in from the right side of from up above. Whenever they come in, they can also serve as additional platforms to fight upon. In addition to the Arwings and Wolfens firing lasers, the Great Fox will also occasionally charge up and fire two large laser cannons located on the front of the ship, below the cockpit. These can act as platforms as well, but they are very small. A unique feature this map has is an easter egg that only Fox and Falco can perform. By pressing down on the D-Pad for one frame, Fox or Falco will open up their communications array and contact other characters from the Star Fox games. Corneria’s matching music piece is an orchestral remix of the Venom area in the original Star Fox for SNES.
The second stage Star Fox has in Melee is Venom. Similar to the Corneria stage, Venom is based on a Star Fox 64 level of the same name. Opposite of Corneria, which was the first level in Star Fox 64, Venom was the last level. The stage Venom takes place upon the Great Fox, like both other Star Fox stages, however this time it is from a front view of the stip. Fighters can move around on either of the Great Fox’s four wings, and as well as on the tailpiece in the center of the ship. The top two wings are slanted inward towards the ship, whereas the two bottom wings are slanted outward. On occasion, an Arwing or a Wolfen will come in and begin firing at the ship before taking off. Venom’s music track is an orchestral remix of Star Fox 64’s main theme.
Super Smash Bros. Melee also introduced trophies to the franchise. Trophies were collectible items that represented various characters, items, and other elements from the many games and series developed by Nintendo. In Melee, Star Fox had a total of fourteen trophies:
- Fox’s character trophy
- Fox’s Smash Bros. fighter trophy
- Fox’s alternate Smash Bros. fighter trophy
- Falco’s character trophy
- Falco’s Smash Bros. fighter trophy
- Falco’s alternate Smash Bros. fighter trophy
- An Arwing from Star Fox 64
- The Great Fox from Star Fox 64
- Peppy Hare’s trophy based on his Star Fox 64 appearance
- Slippy Toad’s trophy based on his Star Fox 64 appearance
- A Landmaster tank from Star Fox 64
- Andross in his mechanized form from the original Star Fox on SNES
- Andross in his organic form from Star Fox 64
Overall, Star Fox’s representation in previous existing categories was essentially doubled, with the counts of playable characters, stages, and music pieces all going up from one to two. Star Fox also received fourteen trophies, making it the seventh place out of fifteen categories for the most amount of trophies. The only thing Star Fox continued to lack at this point was an item.
|Total Music Tracks:||2|
|Referenced Titles:||Star Fox (SNES), Star Fox 64 (N64)|
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
By the time the third game in the Smash Brothers series, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, was released, Star Fox had three games released. These were Star Fox Adventures and Star Fox: Assault for the Nintendo Gamecube, as well as Star Fox: Command for the Nintendo DS. This gave the developers much more to work with, allowing for more trophies, more music tracks, and more general ideas. When Brawl came about, it came with a much different art style compared to previous instalments. Fox and Falco both received re-designs, which were now a mix between their designs in Star Fox: Assault and Star Fox: Command. Along with a new artstyle, Brawl also brought along two more features. These were the new Assist Trophies, than would summon one of several different characters to aid whoever picked it up in battle, and stickers which could be used in the new Subspace Emissary mode to boost certain aspects or stats of a character. With this instalment, Star Fox gained another new fighter, one Assist Trophy character, another stage, an item, and several new music tracks, trophies, and stickers.
With Brawl, Fox and Falco both changed in some ways. Fox was mostly kept untouched aside from balancing, but received several cosmetic upgrades. Falco’s moveset, while similar to his moveset in Melee, was modified. This turned Falco from a complete clone of Fox into a semi-clone of him. Brawl also brought along the addition of the Smash Ball, which when obtained by a player, would allow them to activate a special ability. Fox and Falco both received Landmasters, which were giant tanks that filled up a huge portion of the stage. When in the Landmaster, Fox and Falco could drive around the stage, blast opponents with the Landmaster’s huge cannon, perform a roll on the ground, and hover in the air.
The new character that was added was Wolf O’Donnel, leader of team Star Wolf and rival to Fox McCloud. Unlike Falco, who was a semi-clone of Fox, Wolf was unique with only a few shared moves. These moves were his all four of his special moves and his Final Smash. For his neutral-special, Wolf fired off a single shot from his blaster before putting it away immediately after firing. Unlike Fox and Falco’s blasters, Wolf’s had a bayonet attached to the end which would damage opponents when drawn. Wolf’s side-special, like Fox Illusion and Falco Phantasm, would send Wolf to the side at high speeds. However, unlike the Fox and Falco, Wolf would be send at an upward angle as opposed to straight. Wolf’s up-special functioned much more like Fox and Falco’s, although was faster and lacked any actual fire effects. For his down-special, instead of a blue hexagonal shape, Wolf’s resembled a pink elliptical form. Lastly, Wolf’s Final Smash was a Landmaster, making the Landmaster the most common Final Smash, with three characters having access to it. Wolf’s Landmaster was red instead of blue, did more damage, but didn’t last as long.
Although not playable, a new character was added to the series in a different form. With the new Assist Trophies, Andross in his mechanical form the original Star Fox was added. When summoned, Andross would briefly appear on the stage before moving into the background of the stage. Andross would then target enemy players, spitting out polygon panels out of his mouth. The panels would to a moderate amount of damage to enemies, but would travel right through whoever summoned Andross in the first place. In a playable event match called Shadow of Andross, Andross permanently appears during the event, firing panels at human players trying to complete the objective. In addition to Andross as an Assist Trophy, Star Fox also finally received an item: the Smart Bomb. The Smart Bomb was one of the most powerful thrown items in the game. Once it lands, it would produce a large, slow explosion that covers a large range. Everyone caught within the vicinity of the explosion would take damage in 1% increments for three seconds, causing a total damage output of around 30%. There is a small chance that a Smart Bomb will fail to explode, instead making a distinctive echoing noise as it travels through its target. A dud Smart Bomb may still explode at a random time, when attacked, or picked back up.
Much like the move from Smash Bros. 64 to Smash Bros. Melee, Star Fox lost a stage in the move, but gained one in the process. Corneria from Melee stayed, whereas Venom was cut. In place of Venom, however, was a new stage called Lylat Cruise. Lylat Cruise took place upon an original spacecraft called the Pleiades, as it traveled around various areas of the Lylat System. These areas were: A space skirmish between opposing armies, a daring flight through an asteroid belt, a dogfight between Star Fox and Star Wolf, a calm flight through Corneria’s atmosphere, and a cruise through space in the same areas where the dogfight happens. Key features of this stage was that it would tilt to-and-fro as it made various turns for whatever reason, and its communications easter egg, similar to Corneria’s. This stage was based off different events in various Star Fox games, most of which are from Star Fox: Assault.
Even though the Venom stage was cut, its music piece stayed in the game. Not including the Star Fox characters’ victory theme, the Star Fox series had twelve pieces of music in Brawl. These tracks were:
- Space Armada – An arrangement of the Space Armada theme from the first Star Fox game
- Corneria – A remixed version of the background music from the Corneria stage in Star Fox for SNES
- Star Fox SNES’s main theme taken directly from the credit’s soundtrack
- Star Fox 64’s main theme with a techno-styled remix
- The Area 6 background music from the Star Fox 64 level of the same name
- A second, techno-styles remix of the Aera 6 music piece
- The Star Wolf theme taken directly from the Star Fox 64 soundtrack
- Star Wolf’s theme taken directly from Star Fox: Assault
- Break Through the Ice, a piece from the Star Fox: Assault mission: Fichina; Into the Storm
- The Corneria music from Melee
- The Venom music from Melee
With a new game came new trophies, bumping the number of Star Fox’s trophy count of fourteen from Melee to twenty-three with Brawl. The first six are playable character based, being Fox’s, Falco’s, and Wolf’s fighter trophies, as well as their respective Final Smash trophies. Other trophies included:
- Fox from Star Fox: Assault
- Falco from Star Fox: Assault
- Falco from Star Fox: Command
- Peppy Hare of the Star Fox team
- Slippy Toad of the Star Fox team
- Krystal of the Star Fox team
- Tricky from his brief appearance in Star Fox: Assault
- General Pepper of the Cornerian Defense Forces
- ROB 64 of the Star Fox team
- Panther Caroso of the Star Wolf team
- Leon Powalski of the Star Wolf team
- A classic Arwin
- The classic Great Fox
- The Great Fox from its appearance in Star Fox: Assault
- A classic Wolfen
- The Smart Bomb item
- Andross Assist Trophy… trophy
Super Smash Bros. Brawl also came with the sticker system, a system exclusive to the game. Stickers were used to give characters boosts to their stats, such as attack strength or damage resistance. The Star Fox series had a total of 32 stickers in Brawl, being:
- Andrew from Star Fox: Assault
- Arwing from Star Fox 64
- Bullfrog from Star Fox: Command
- Dash from Star Fox: Command
- Falco from Star Fox 64
- Falco from Star Fox Adventures
- Falco from Star Fox: Assault
- Falco from Star Fox: Command
- Fox from the original Star Fox
- Fox from Star Fox 64
- Fox from Star Fox Adventures
- Fox from Star Fox: Assault
- Fox from Star Fox: Command
- General Pepper from Star Fox: Assault
- Krystal from Star Fox Adventures
- Krystal from Star Fox: Assault
- Krystal from Star Fox: Command
- Leon from Star Fox: Assault
- Leon from Star Fox: Command
- Panther from Star Fox: Assault
- Panther from Star Fox: Command
- Peppy from Star Fox 64
- Peppy from Star Fox: Assault
- Pigma from Star Fox: Assault
- ROB 64 from Star Fox Adventures
- ROB 64 from Star Fox: Assault
- Slippy from Star Fox 64
- Slippy from Star Fox: Command
- Wolf from Star Fox: Assault
- Wolf from Star Fox: Command
- Wolfen from Star Fox 64
- Wolfen from Star Fox: Assault
Things couldn’t be better for the Star Fox series in terms of Smash Bros. representation at this point. Although the amount of stages stayed the same, Star Fox increased in every other department with its representation. Even with the stage number staying the same, Star Fox still gained a new stage anyways. Star Fox was growing incredibly well.
|Total Assist Trophies:||1|
|Total Music Tracks:||12|
|Referenced Titles:||Star Fox (SNES), Star Fox 64 (N64), Star Fox Adventures (GCN), Star Fox: Assault (GCN), Star Fox: Command (DS)|
Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U
The latest installment of the Super Smash Bros. franchise was actually split into two separate games: one for the Nintendo 3DS handheld system, and one for the Nintendo Wii U home console. Across both games, Fox and Falco are both identical in design compared to their appearances in Brawl, but with some slight tweaks in both character’s visual effects and voices. Wolf, unfortunately, was cut from both versions of the game, being left out of both the base roster, and left out of the DLC for both games. With the new games, the sticker system was cut entirely, but had several other feature where different series could obtain more representation. However, out of these features, the Star Fox series only gained representation in the form of a single hat and a single outfit for Mii Gunners. The hat is based off of Fox McCloud’s head, from his snout upwards. Contains Fox’s headset as well. The outfit is based off Fox’s outfit, right down to the tail. In this outfit, the Mii is constantly holding onto a replica of Fox’s blaster. As well as being the only Star Fox Mii costume, the Fox hat and outfit are also the only form of representation Star Fox received as DLC.
Across both versions of the fourth installment in the Smash Bros. series, the Star Fox franchise had the same playable characters, same Assist Trophy, same Smart Bomb item, three pieces of music, and fourteen trophies. Two of the three tracks were shared across both the Corneria stage from the 3DS version and the Orbital Gate Assault stage from the Wii U version, while the last was shared between the latter stage and the 3DS’s exclusive Smash Run mode. These three tracks were:
- The Corneria orchestral remix ported from Melee
- A combination track between another Area 6 remix and a remix of Missile Slipstream from Star Fox: Command
- The Star Wolf theme from Star Fox 64, followed by the Sector Z and Fortuna music from the same game.
The trophies the two games shared were:
- Fox’s fighter trophy
- Fox’s alternate fighter trophy
- Falco’s fighter trophy
- Falco’s alternate fighter trophy
- The Smart Bomb item
- Andross’s Assist Trophy trophy
- Peppy Hare of the Star Fox team based on his Star Fox 64 3DS appearance
- Slippy Toad of the Star Fox team based on his Star Fox 64 3DS appearance
- Smash Bros. veteran Wolf O’Donnel based on his Star Fox: Assault appearance
- Leon Powalski of the Star Wolf based on his Star Fox: Assault appearance
- Former Star Wolf member Pigma Dengar based on his Star Fox: Assault appearance
- Former Star Wolf member Andrew Oikonny based on his Star Fox: Assault appearance
- Krystal of the Star Fox team based on her Star Fox: Assault appearance
- Panther Caroso of the Star Wolf based on his Star Fox: Assault appearance
The Nintendo 3DS version of Super Smash Bros. didn’t have many exclusive features. In the 3DS version of the game, the Star Fox series had only one stage, being Corneria from Super Smash Bros. Melee. Both music tracks for the stage, however, were shared across both versions of the game. Outside of the Corneria stage, the only other thing to be exclusive to the 3DS version were a small handful of trophies. These seven trophies were:
- An arwing based on the Star Fox 64 3DS version
- The Great Fox based on its Star Fox 64 3DS appearance
- A wolfen based on the Star Fox 64 3DS version
- General Pepper from his Star Fox 64 3DS appearance
- ROB 64 from his Star Fox 64 3DS appearance
- James McCloud from his Star Fox 64 3DS appearance
- Andross’s true form from his Star Fox 3DS appearance
Wii U Version
The Nintendo Wii U version of Super Smash Bros. is what held the most exclusive content, although not by much in the first place. The Wii U version of the game had two stages to play on. The first being Lylat Cruise, a stage returning from Super Smash Bros. Brawl. This stage had a total of six pieces of exclusive Star Fox musical pieces, being:
- The Star Fox main theme from the original Star Fox game on SNES
- Brawl’s Corneria remix based on the first Star Fox game’s level of the same name
- A orchestral remix of SNES Star Fox’s Space Armada
- Venom from Melee
- Brawl’s Area 6 Ver. 2 remix
- A slight remix of Star Wolf’s theme from Star Fox 64
The second stage the Wii U version of the game had was a brand new stage called Orbital Gate Assault. Orbital Gate Assault was based on the eighth story mission from Star Fox: Assault, Orbital Gate; Incoming. In the Star Fox Assault mission, your objective was to fly around defending the Orbital Gate from a barrage of large missiles and enemy aparoids. This stage stays very accurate to the mission. On the stage, you start off riding atop the Great Fox. After some time has passed, the Great Fox tilts away, dumping you onto two arwings and an aparoid missile. Eventually, the missile hits the Orbital Gate’s shields and the arwings pull away. The arwings come back around, however, firing at the missile from behind the camera. After a few shots, the missile explodes, and three arwings swoop in a provide platforms for the players. Soon, another missile shows up, and the arwings pull away, dumping the players onto the second missile. The missile eventually comes into contact with the Orbital Gate’s shields, but gets blown up by the Arwings. The three arwings, yet again, catch the players. The arwings continue to travel on their way, as smaller missiles explode around them and the players. Eventually, the arwings fly past the Great Fox, dumping them onto it, and re-starting the stage. Like Lylat Cruise and Corneria before it, Orbital Gate Assault also has a Star Fox communications easter egg. This stage has five Star Fox music selections exclusive to it, being:
- The main theme from Star Fox 64 with a techno remix
- The Area 6 track from Star Fox 64 with a orchestrated mix
- Star Fox: Assault’s Star Wolf theme
- Star Fox: Assault’s Space Battleground music piece from the first mission
- Star Fox: Assault’s Break Through the Ice track
Outside of stages and their corresponding music selections, the Wii U version of the game has eleven exclusive trophies. With the exception of two, all of the trophies are based on Star Fox: Assault. These trophies are:
- Fox’s Final Smash
- Falco’s Final Smash
- An arwing based on Star Fox: Assault
- The Great Fox based on Star Fox: Assault
- The Orbital Gate stage
- Tricky from his appearance in Star Fox: Assault
- Fox from his appearance in Star Fox: Assault
- Falco from his appearance in Star Fox: Assault
- A wolfen based on Star Fox: Assault
- The Aparoid from the end of Star Fox: Assault’s first mission
- The Aparoid Queen from the final mission of Star Fox: Assault
|Total Assist Trophies:||1|
|Total Stages:||1 (3DS), 2 (Wii U)|
|Total Music Tracks:||3 (3DS), 14 (Wii U) [3 Shared]|
|Total Trophies:||21 (3DS), 25 (Wii U) [14 Shared]|
|Referenced Titles:||Star Fox (SNES), Star Fox 64 (N64), Star Fox Adventures (GCN), Star Fox: Assault (GCN), Star Fox: Command (DS), Star Fox 64 3D (3DS)|
Smash Bros. did justice to the Star Fox series across all installments, referencing each game that existed at the time of its release. Brawl had the most representation for Star Fox, with a total of seventy-four different pieces of Star Fox content, although this is mostly due to stickers. Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U combined come in second place, with 53 pieces of Star Fox content. Without stickers, the combination of the 3DS and Wii U versions actually come out on top. In a series like Smash Bros., hopefully Star Fox will get some more representation when the next installment rolls around, assuming it actually does.
What are your opinions on Star Fox in Smash Bros.? Do you think that the series has been under-represented, if so, what would you add? How about over-represented, and if so, what would you cut out? Or do you think that Star Fox is represented equally to what the series is in your eyes? Let us know in the comments below.
Special thanks to AlphaSSB for his amazing post!