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Footsies, and….ummm…???

June 13, 2011 Leave a comment

Anonmyous scrub asked what Footsies are and how they apply to games.  We’ve actually been wondering when this question would come in.

Footsies are, as simple as can be put, your gameplay on the ground involving your knowledge of every character’s moves in all aspects (Range, priority, speed, damage, extra properties) and how you use them.  The goal is to out reach, out poke, out bait, and overall outplay your opponent on the floor.  While it may not sound like much at a glance, staring down a Ryu who is on point with fireballs and shoryukens will force you to play this way.

You can think of footsies as a strong game of chess where every player has a different set and number of pieces.  You could have a gimmick type of player with a weaker set of moves for footsies (El Fuerte in SF4) or a character whose pieces feel like they’re all queens (Chun-Li in SF3).  There is a TON of information that could take footsies into further detail but it has already been written well by Maj of Sonic Hurricane.

http://sonichurricane.com/?page_id=1702

You’ll get a ton of examples with video on some of the concepts and “tricks” of footsies.  This is an excellent read and it’s recommend you go through all of it.

As far as other games go?  It’s pretty general for any 2D fighter.  It’s a fundamental concept that applies no matter what type of movement system there is.  Certain games have unique systems that can avoid some types of footsies (Rolls in KOF or CVS2 and Parry in 3S are a few examples) but footsies can be applied to multiple games while those systems only work for their own specific games.  It is a skill that is invaluable and is best picked up by experience and smart practice (As in don’t mash cr. Jab with Yun/Balrog).

Mark Charteris asks…well…umm…hold on.

……

Okay, I think I found the question.  You want to know how to beat Zero, Wolverine, and Akuma and what you’re trying isn’t working.

Well for one, it seems like you’re thinking way too hard about this.  You’re getting into some Street Fighter style punishing in a game that has a significantly faster flow than that.  And you’re trying to punish a move that’s -1 with a 1 frame command throw, plus the dash.  That adds up to way more than 1 frame.  The general advice for starters is that those moves have a ton more recovery if you’re not there to block it in the first place.  Wolverine wants to close the distance so he can throw or cross you up, Zero wants to get in for his great mixups, and Akuma lands great damage off his Tatsu.  First solution?  Don’t be there to get hit by it.  Know what angles of approach these characters want.  Wolverine approaches from the ground or at a dive.  Know Zero’s teleport angles.  Know that Akuma is fishing for that tatsu straight on or from a regular jump.  Know what assists your opponent is using and be prepared to avoid the pressure.

When you do get put into the pressure, and it will happen with good players, the next step is to keep your defense up and be prepared for your moment to escape.  I’m guessing you’re getting hit a lot by repeating dive kicks or Zero’s magic series.  That is most likely a sign that you’re mashing Advance Guard or another move trying to get out.  Be patient.  Wait for the appropriate moment to advance guard.  Sit and take it for a moment if it means that you’ll be at a position to punish a laggy move.  Be ready to super jump to escape if that option is available.

Last, know what moves you have beat theirs.  You’re using Dorm, Wesker, Sent.  It’s true Sent has a bad matchup with Wolvie but that means you have to be smart about what you’re doing to get in.  You know he has an instant overhead, a fast dive kick, and a special that can cross you up on the ground, so that takes out some of your options in beams, holding down-back, .  By not doing those you’ll prevent a lot of damage.  You can blow up his dive kick with all three characters by using Sent cr.B, Dorm Flame Carpet, or even jump back gun with Wesker.

Zero?   You’re having trouble with his ground series, which again makes me think you’re mashing out and getting hit.  Go into training mode and record Zero to do it, then try advance guarding to get him off you.  Don’t look to punish just yet, just see how you can get him out to the range you feel best about fighting him.  And again, Dorm Flame Carpet.

Akuma’s Tatsu may eat fireballs but you can hit it from above.  Do so.  Or pushblock the last hit.

In short?  Don’t mash during block strings, don’t mash out Advance Guard, don’t try to punish unrealistically, and most of all, don’t put yourself in a position where you have to block to begin with.  Then, fight back.

 

 

A Basic Guide to Anti-Air Attacks, Part 2

May 20, 2011 1 comment

Jumping right back into this.  Last time, we left off with using normal attacks for anti-airs.  But many characters, especially the shotos, use their special attacks in addition to normals for anti-airs.

~Special Attacks

These moves are generally known as dragon punches, Shoryukens, or flash kicks.  They are higher risk, generally higher reward anti-air attacks than normal attacks are.  The disadvantage to these moves as opposed to normals is that they require stricter timing and usually have some type of input requirement, such as a dragon punch motion or having a charged move stored.  There is a stricter timing involved as well because most special attacks have a brief period where they are most effective.  Finally, if your opponent blocks or baits you into whiffing a special anti-air attack you are left in a position for maximum punishment, costing you a huge chunk of your life, if not the round.  So what is the point of using them?

As a general rule anti-air specials have more priority, speed, and range than normal anti-airs.  For example, many Shoryuken attacks (including Sagat’s Tiger Uppercut) have a window of invincibility where it cannot be hit.  Even if your opponent’s jumping kick is overlapping your character, your attack will beat out theirs.  While the timing is stricter than a normal anti-air this will allow you to beat troublesome jump-in attacks like Honda’s jumping MP by using this invincibility.

Even with the added execution of having to perform a motion or having a stored charge, specials will also allow you to react faster to jump-in attacks.  Because certain normals must be done early enough to knock opponents out of the air you must do them earlier in your opponents jump.  Otherwise, your normal will get beat out before it reaches high enough to beat safely.  A special anti-air comes out fast enough (and with invincibility!) that you can actually react with one slower than with a normal anti-air, and still manage to beat out your opponent’s attack.  The extra speed also allows you to easily use these moves in ground combos.

There is an additional range that some variations of these moves offer.  Blanka’s Vertical Ball is better example, with the EX version in SSF4 traveling insanely far.  Even a neutral jump beyond sweep distance can still be tagged with a well placed up ball.  Guile’s Flash Kick may not reach behind his head in SSF4, but it does reach forward a good distance.  He also serves as the one of the most intense examples in a legitimate Capcom fighter, with his HD Remix Flash Kick traveling nearly half screen!

Finally, in some games anti-air attacks will allow you to follow up with other moves for more damage.  The classic Ryu comeback (Shoryuken, Focus dash cancel, Ultra 1) makes jumping at him a huge risk with up to 35% of your life lost in two moves.  Is your opponent willing to risk this when you’re in the lead?

~Fireballs

Juri and Gouken are the two obvious examples here.  They have fireballs that reach up!  But have you ever jumped to avoid a fireball, and jumped backwards right on top of it?  Some of the best players can make you fall on a fireball when you jump forward.

This is somewhat of a lost art and can only really be picked up with experience.  But it is incredibly frustrating for your opponent when even a full screen jump can get knocked out of the air.  Guile specializes in this with his wildly varying speeds of Sonic Boom as well as the move’s fast startup, but this does not mean that only Guile is capable of it.  If you know your opponent is going to jump to close distance, a well timed fireball can stop their landing easily.  Even some fireballs, like Sagat’s High Tiger Shot, is amazing to controlling air space.  While this qualifies more as part of one’s fireball game, it’s still an option to stopping jump-ins.  If you know your opponent’s going to jump, time a fireball to be where he’ll land.

~Air Throws

This is one last part of anti-airing, because only a few characters have an air throw.  But those that do have an air throw can use it very effectively.  Guile, again, is the best example here.  He can actually jump and grab an opponent out of the air fast enough to avoid most retaliation.  This is one of his most classic methods of anti-airing.

As with all things this requires more experience but not only nets you damage, but puts you at a prime spacing for most characters.  It’s important to remember there is a “minimum height” to air-throws.  If you input your air throw too low to the ground you’ll get an attack instead.  Make sure you take the time to see what this height is to avoid making a mistake and getting anti-aired yourself.

This video between Mike Ross and Fuson909, demonstrates all of these techniques at one point or another.

This finishes up our segment on anti-air attacks.  To everyone else with questions, we’ll get to them as soon as we can.  In the meantime if you have any other questions, just let us know!

Sticks, Picking a Character, and Beating Mind Block

May 12, 2011 Leave a comment

Here are a few questions asked by “Shadow Hado”.

– “Over time, a stick can wear out and start to feel loose.  When this happens, what do you recommend doing?  Should you replace the entire stick, or maybe just certain parts like the spring and actuator?”

Personally I recommend changing the entire stick.  If you change the spring only that’s quite a bit of work to add extra life to a stick that already has worn parts.  Since most sticks, both Japanese and American, are designed to be replaced as one unit fiddling with parts can be annoying.  Here’s a website that has provided good service to buyers since the release of the MadCatz line of products.

http://www.lizardlick.com/

Besides, you can always keep the more worn stick for personal projects.  You never know when the urge to start making frankensticks will kick in.

– “In SF4, I originally started playing M.Bison (dictator,) and then switched to Ryu to “learn the game.”  Since then, I have continued to play Ryu, but I’m not sure he is the perfect fit for me anymore.  How do you figure out which character you have the most potential with?”

By now you should have a good grasp of what the entire cast can do.  There are a few ways you can go about deciding who you’d like to use.

Try finding a character that fits the way you want to play the game.  Are you looking to play a fundamental, all purpose game?  To go balls deep in rushdown?  To annoy and frustrate your opponent?  Maybe knock down your opponent and force him to play the guessing game?  There are usually a few characters that fit how anyone wants to play the game, You can also pick a character to cover your own strengths and weaknesses.  This is one of the difficult parts of playing Ryu as his gameplay is based around having all-around skill.  For example, Rufus can make up for a lack of footsies, while Chun and Boxer benefit those with excellent footsies.  Higher health will cover defense, speed will cover mobility, ect.  Don’t forget the skill cap too; some characters are simply harder to use.  If you enjoy this challenge (C.Viper is a shining example of this) then you may find a very rewarding main.

-“I have a “mind block” when playing against certain characters, specifically Balrog (Boxer.)  How do I overcome this to play better against these characters?”

It’s good that you recognize this problem.  Consider the matchup with your character vs. your opponents.  Using your Ryu for an example, think about how your average match with a Balrog goes.  What is he doing (in general) that causes you to lose the most health?  Is there a range that he’s fighting at where he has control and you don’t?  Are you getting zoned, rushed down, baited, frame trapped, or turtled?  Try to figure out what these things are and work on fixing/removing them from the match, and see how it flows from there.  Make adjustments as necessary.  The hard part will be doing this during a match.  Remember what you’ve considered about the match before and use it as you play.  It’s very easy to learn everything about the match and forget it while you play.

Consider the matchup with your character too.  For example, Ryu has an amazing low forward that goes under and stuffs dash punches and turn punches, but will lose if they’re done EX.  But you could buffer in a tatsu or a dragon punch and in the case that is IS an EX, you could input the extra button to break the armor.  Your low forward can also duck under a wake up headbutt when done at the correct range.  If you have super stocked up any deep dash punch is no longer safe because you can reversal fierce super it.  Are you considering these things when you play against a character that gives you problems?  If you don’t know them take some time with a friend or an online player who can run the match with.  Nothing beats experience in terms of knowing matchups.

If you have any other questions, let us know!

A Basic Guide to Anti-Air Attacks (Part 1)

A question received by an anonymous writer asked about how to deal with people  jumping in SSF4.  Jumping is the basic starter for most combos in more traditional fighting games.  It moves you forward and allows you to attack while in motion.  It also travels over any low moves that are on the ground, so why not jump?

Although game specific, most of the time a character in the air cannot block and loses all defensive options.  If you can repeatedly and consistently knock an opponent out of the air they will not only take damage but lose an approach to attack you.  The more you discourage them from jumping forward, the more annoyed your opponent may become and the more mistakes you will force them to make.  Combine this with the reduced damage and pressure you take and you’ll have a lot more breathing room to pull out wins.  There are several ways and specific situations for anti-air attacks to work, but for this guide we will divide them into 3 types.

1:  Normal attacks

2:  Special attacks

3:  Projectiles

Knowing your matchup will be very important in landing consistant anti-air attacks.  Keep in mind who you are playing.  Characters like Abel and Sagat are in a fixed arc once they jump, but others have ways of changing their jump arcs.  For example, Ken, Ryu, and Akuma can do hurricane kicks in the air to change their trajectory.  Rufus, Yang, Yun, Cammy, and Juri can dive kick, which will bring them down to the ground much quicker.  M.Bison, Rose, and Chun-Li have very floaty jumps, and will be in the air for a lot longer.  Blanka’s jump is very fast and short.  Zangief can punish you for trying to anti-air with the wrong move.

The other difficult part about stopping jumps is recognizing the distance of the jump.  Using a move that hits above your head won’t do you a lot of good when the opponent is planning on landing in front of you.  You must be prepared to use the appropriate move for the distance your opponent tries to jump from.  It’s like a fast game of rock-paper-scissors; you have to know which moves you have beat which moves your opponent is doing.

These are all things you have to consider before the match starts, so that you don’t get caught up in routine and get hit because your plan didn’t work.  This part can be worked on with practice.

-NORMAL ATTACKS

Normal attacks make up the simplest type of anti-air and are generally the easiest to react with.  Rather than input a motion all that is required is a little timing and the push of a button, while at the most holding the stick in a specific direction.  They’re not flashy by any means, and sometimes poked fun of (The Mexican Uppercut is an old nickname for crouching uppercut attacks).  But they get the job done; they knock the opponent out of the air while keeping you safe.  These moves work because their hitboxes rise far above the character’s hurtbox.  This means a character trying to jump in with an attack will get hit by your move before they can hurt you.

For many characters the common anti-air attack is crouching fierce.  If your character’s cr. fierce animation is an uppercut, you’re in business.  Akuma, Guile, and Balrog are a few prime examples.  These characters have excellent cr.fierce attacks that come out quickly and reach high, stopping anyone from jumping right on top of you.  For these moves to be most effective you want the move to connect when the punch is fully extended, to allow the hitbox to be as high over your head as possible.

Other characters have more unorthodox anti-air normals.  These are moves that don’t seem like anti-airs but work due to amazingly good hitboxes.  A few known examples of this are M.Bison’s standing roundhouse, Cody’s back+Strong, Dhalsim’s back+roundhouse, or Abel’s close standing fierce.  Again, each of these normals are great anti-airs but work at specific ranges, so practice and learn which normal works best for that situation.

There are moves that you may not even consider to use as anti-air but will fit the situation regardless.  These include standing jabs from Ryu for jump-ins that are just in front of you, or Guile’s standing forward for jump-ins that land too far in front.  Even if the move does little damage or seems awkward, remember your goal is to stop the opponent’s jump-in.  Who wouldn’t get frustrated after being jabbed out of the air several times?

Neutral jump normals with long reach or priority can also stop jump-ins, meeting the opponent before they expect to attack, or simply out-reaching the opponent’s move.  The best example for this is E-Honda’s neutral jumping fierce.  Done correctly, very few moves in the game will beat it air-to-air!

Don’t be afraid to experiment with your character to see what works.  A good way of testing this is to go into training mode and use record dummies with excellent jumping attacks (E-Honda’s jump in strong and Balrog’s jump-in fierce are two examples) to play over and over.  If a certain character’s moves jumps are giving you a hard time, record it.  Try all your normals and see which normals can beat, trade, or lose to certain moves.  Also try stopping jumps at different distances.  Once you find what works, find a way to use it in match.

Coming soon:  Part 2 – Specials and Projectiles!

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