Captain Falcon has become something of a meme hero these days, more iconic for his catchphrases and signature punch than his career of driving futuristic vehicles. His current status as a cheesy action hero is mostly due to his inclusion in Super Smash Brothers, where his racing skills proved to have no correlation to knocking opponents off of various platforms. But from the inception of the F-Zero series, Captain Falcon has been portrayed as more of a galaxy-renowned bounty hunter instead of a worlds-class racer.
When F-Zero was released alongside the Super Nintendo in November 1990, it came with a rather hefty instruction manual for a racing game. This is to be expected, as F-Zero was the first racing game to use the Mode 7 technology built into the Super Nintendo, and the start of the futuristic racing subgenre. However, there was more than just controller guides and gameplay mechanics featured in this manual. There was also an 8-page comic that told, “The Story of Captain Falcon.”
Written and drawn by Takaya Imamura, the character designer for F-Zero and Star Fox, this comic showcased Captain Falcon’s prowess as an intergalactic bounty hunter. Within these few pages, the Captain wins a laser pistol duel, defends his bounty from a rival hunter, and arrests a high-level crime boss. All of these feats occur mere moments before his first race in the Knight League, the initial competition that players face in the game.
Since this initial glimpse into Captain Falcon’s life outside of the races, Nintendo has greatly expanded the universe of F-Zero through a 51-episode animated series and various bits of storytelling in game sequels and cameo appearances. In spite of creating a rich science fiction world full of colorful characters and scenarios, there has not been an F-Zero game released since 2004.
Personally, I would love to see a F-Zero game with a combination of different gameplay styles. Instead of just sticking to tournament races, there could be action portions where players can take control of Captain Falcon as he hunts down the scum of the universe. The money earned through bounty hunting could be used to upgrade his signature racer, the Blue Falcon, as Captain Falcon tries to balance his careers as a renegade champion for justice and a Formula Zero racer.
As I continue to dream about a hybrid action/racing F-Zero game, be sure to check out the Video Game Art Archive, where “The Story of Captain Falcon” has been lovingly scanned and archived for your reading pleasure. There is plenty of other amazing official video game artwork featured on this site, most recently including rare EarthBound and Kirby’s Dream Land 2 scans. Please follow the Video Game Art Archive for plenty of gaming goodness, and if you’ve got a few bucks to spare, please support the VGAA through Patreon. Great archival work deserves some support.