Thursday, 25 October 2012

Great Arseholes of Gaming: Falco Lombardi

Welcome to the inaugural edition of Great Arseholes of Gaming, where we celebrate the biggest wankers ever to grace our magical playboxes. Today, we look at a large pheasant who flies a spaceship and spends his time insulting a fox.

Falco Lombardi has a chip on his shoulder. This is more or less his only characteristic. According to his official biography, he was a 'gang member' who went on to join Star Fox, a semi-elite squadron of animal space privateers. Clearly Falco would rather be back on the mean streets gang-bangin', given how much he whinges about everything.

In the Star Fox games that count (Star Fox, Star Fox 64 aka Lylat Wars, NO OTHERS) you play as Fox McCloud, who is a fox. I will definitely be naming my firstborn child Human. Fox is the leader of Star Fox, a band of pilots for hire who are definitely the cuddliest mercenaries I can think of. As Fox, you go on a variety of missions in your Arwing (an X-Wing in all but copyright specifics) and blast away at any nasty thing that crosses your path. Your 3 wingmen accompany you, offering you aid and agitation in severely unequal measure.

Falco is a hotshot pilot who thinks he should be the leader of the pack. He hates Fox. I mean, really hates him. And as you control Fox, that means he hates you. I suppose since he is a pheasant and Fox is a fox, this may be a racial thing. Or perhaps Falco's gang roots jibe with Fox's clean-cut fox image. Either way, Falco has a clear distaste for you that is expressed constantly.

Anything you do, anything at all, is enough to earn Falco's scorn. If you accidentally shoot Falco, he goes mental. "HEY, EINSTEIN! I'M ON YOUR SIDE!', he bellows, never explaining how he is aware of a physicist who lives in a different galaxy. Anger at friendly fire is, of course, understandable. But Falco is just as perturbed if you save his life. "GEE, I'VE BEEN SAVED BY FOX! HOW SWELL!", he spits, his voice dripping with avian sarcasm. 

At first, you might be confused. Why would Fox hire someone who lives only to hurl insults at him? Granted, he's a pretty talented pilot, but you would think that there would be other animal pilots with sunnier dispositions out there. But when you take a closer look at the other squad members, Fox's reasoning becomes somewhat clearer.

Much has been written on the all-encompassing awfulness of Slippy Toad, the youngest and punch-needingest member of Star Fox. He's annoying. He's useless. He's only in the team because his mum and Fox's mum are friends. All these things are true. Peppy Hare, on the other hand, is useful. He gives you gameplay tips. He gives you encouragement. He starts memes. But there's something else Peppy does. He constantly brings up your dead father.

According to the backstory, Peppy was a member of James McCloud's original Star Fox crew. He was there when James was betrayed and killed. And brother, he is going to go on and on and on about it.

"Your father would be proud."
"You're becoming more like your father, Fox."
"Hey, Fox, remember your dead father?"
"Do a barrel roll (like your father, who is dead, would have done, if he were still alive, which he is not)!"

He is relentless in reminding you that your father is dead. It is depressing. And in this, we reach the truth, the dark heart of Fox McCloud.

Fox is, of course, deeply depressed. He is filled to the brim with self-loathing, consumed by suicidal self-hatred. Why else would he accept such an obvious suicide mission as the one to take on Andros? Why else would his crew consist of a hateful bird, an incompetent frog, and a rabbit who constantly reminds him of his father's sacrifice, and therefore implicitly his own inadequacy?

Falco Lombardi has a chip on his shoulder. And his boss wouldn't want it any other way.

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