Monday, August 23, 2010

FFYL: Round 2 - Standard Movement

Round 2: Movement and Buttons

This week we're going to talk about movement, and how it's vital to your overall strategy.

Movement is important. In order to fight we have to learn how to move. How to encroach, how to retreat, how to jump, how to crouch. These things are all important in better understanding performing, and defending against attack patterns.

Here we'll talk about the basic movements to get you accustomed to the controller or joystick. This isn't going to be your standard game manual in terms of content. I'm going to go into some things that will help you when performing some of the most basic attacks, so bear with me. Ready? FIGHT!!

Let's start out with the basic controls. We will be using the following graphic.

yes, you can make an arcade stick out of just about anything.
 Pretty simple, huh? Now let's break it down even further than that.

Forward: In the more recent fighting games we can perform a run or a dash by tapping the forward button (or tapping the joystick in the direction of the opponent) twice.Dashing isn't just for ground based attacks either, as games like Guilty Gear and Tatsunoko vs Capcom allow for midair dashing with a few added perks (some GG characters have slight invulnerability during frames of an airdash), and in other games like Tekken you can dash from a crouched stance, which if you can figure out how to link two crouch dashes together becomes a form of wavedashing which is immune to high attacks and in the case of some characters can auto parry low attacks. Here's a video of that

Running is beneficial for a number of reasons. Aside from what I stated here's some of the benefits noted from wikitonary 

By Running a player can:
  • Approach the opponent quickly but sticking to the ground
  • Stop at any moment, with freedom to block, to do a Low Attack, an Overhead Attack, a Throw, and any other type of movement such as Jumping or Rolling to evade, retreating, etc.
  • When timed well, it can be used to anticipate the opponent's movements by running and attacking (when they attack or try to jump)
  • Accomppained with backsteps, it can be used for zoning.
  • When a player does a Jump, it can actually pass below it, end in the back of a player, and the Running character can then turn and attack the opponent in the back, successfully punishing them for jumping.
Dashing and running can be more effective than jumping in quite a few cases; the biggest one being the fact that you're not as vulnerable on the ground as you are in midair. Dashes and runs also provide an opportunity to put the pressure on your opponent to either block which would leave them open for throws, or to attack, which leads to the chance of them making a mistake, or revealing an opening. Once this happens you are in an optimal position to deliver punishment. This is often referred to as a "Rushdown". because you're putting the pressure on the other guy to make a move. It's effective, but since  you're the one who's bringing the fight to them, it can also be risky as well.

Point of note: I've seen some sick Rushdown Makoto players in the arcade use her Karakusa into Ex Hyates or Oroshis and eventually into a Seichusen-Godanzuki. Karakusa, being a command grab has excellent range and priority, and is a great opening for other offensive possibilities. Ex Hayate has little recovery compared to it's normal state. Oroshis work because they have to be blocked high, but there are quite a few who forget and unknowingly leave themselves open for the next step which is usually another Kurakusa which leaves a small window to get off a super.

Back: Like forward dashing, you can perform a backdash by tapping the opposite direction you are facing twice. Backdashes give you the chance to retreat and regroup from an attack and sometimes you can even avoid arial bombings altogether and attack your opponent while they're recovering from the move.

Holding the back button places your character into a blocking stance. Blocking is essential to fighting games for the obvious reasons. When people start out in fighting games they think that staying in the blocked stance is the way to go, but this proves to be a big mistake, because when you indulge in excessive blocking you leave yourself open to throws, and unblockable attacks like Ralf's Galactica Phantom (or just about any recent KOF boss' super ever). We'll cover proper blocking procedure in next week's post.

Crouching: Players tend to crouch when they're playing footsie, going for the sweep or turtling (being stationary in block stance) to charge or defend.

Turtling isn't necessarily a bad strategy, because it does limit the amount of damage a person takes, while putting the opponent in a situation where they have to come to you. As stated in the previous post, there are quite a few charge characters who use this technique to their advantage, while carefully picking their moments to strike. The above video shows a match between two charge characters who are textbook turtlers.

 Turtling isn't always the best option, because you're still susceptible to attacks from above. This is because the invisible hitbox on your head is still vulnerable which leaves you open to cross-ups/mixups, and certain attacks that need to be blocked from a standing position like Honda's Sumo splash. 

Jumping: Let me make this perfectly clear; You want to limit the amount of jumping you do in fighting games. While some games allow you to air block, other games do not. The games that don't have air blocking leave you completely open when you're midair, so you want to only jump when you know you have the advantage, or can effectively counter whatever your opponent is planning to do, like using an air grab or a midair special (like Mai Shiranui's 'Musasabi no Mai jutsu or Athena's Phoenix Arrow or Kim Kapwan's Hishou Kyaku) Jumping in while your opponent has committed to a move is another option, but use this tactic at your own discretion, because you have to take in consideration the type of move and if it could be canceled into something more effective against your air strike.

One good strategy is to jump when you've successfully knocked down your opponent. This way you can close the gap and be on them when they get up. If you must jump in at least try to go for a jump-in combo or you can throw a projectile and follow up with jump-in. This will leave them having to either block one while being open for another incoming attack.  You still run the risk of being hit considering a skilled player can parry or block the hit then respond with an anti-air. Use your best judgement when considering a technique like this.

Advanced Strategy: Button button, who's got the button?

There are two types of button layouts for most 2D fighters; The Capcom six button layout, and the SNK four button layout. The Capcom layout has your standard punch and kick actions spread out into three buttons each; Jab, Strong and Fierce. SNK does things a little differently, with the four buttons playing out as Stong and Fierce buttons respectively. The stronger the attack the longer the recovery animation so you don't want to throw fierce attacks out with reckless abandon, otherwise you'll be punished often by higher level players.

Let's talk about these buttons and how to use them.

 Jab is your most basic attack. It has little to no recovery time. Jabs have weak damage, but are good for starting combos and leading into throws. A good way to learn to do this is by attempting a jab into a special move or Super. This basic strategy is called a “2-in-1

Strong attacks have short recovery time, and provide moderate damage. Strong attacks are used by many players for poking; which can stop an opponent from getting off specials, some supers, and force them to distance themselves to give you breathing room. You can also use a poke to catch sleepy opponents who drop their guard. Once you connect you could go for a 2-in-1 to give yourself a little room to set up another strategy or to get some distance from aggressive opponents.

You can poke while standing or couching (footsies). Certain characters strong punch or kick animation have them extending their arm or leg straight out at the opponent. Once you understand your character's range you'll be able to dish out safe damage, while establishing a means of setup for combos.

Fierce attacks give out generous amounts of damage. If you can land four or five of them you can easily dizzy someone and set them up for massive punishment. Due to their rather long recovery times you want to use Fierce attacks when you know you have a chance of landing them, or else you may find yourself as easy combo bait.Standing Fierce punches, like Ryu's have some anti air capability that you can use in split second reactions to jump-ins (that is if you were blocking a projectile and can't get off a Shoryuken right at the moment). You can also use low roundhouses as a method of knockdown to give yourself a chance to figure out your next strategy, or to give you time to dash towards them to keep the pressure on.

Take this time to try out these techniques using the practice mode of a fighting game of your choice. The best way to learn is to execute these moves and see what works for you

Bonus - Pad or stick?

. Next week we'll be covering the basics of Blocks Evades and Throws. Hope this guide has been helpful to you, and as always we await your return, warrior!

Game on.

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