First of all, let me say thank you for purchasing the game. I'm sure you like it (otherwise you wouldn't be here), and I commend you for trying to improve. For this guide I will assume you've gone through the tutorials in-game, although I still plan on touching the topics covered a little more thoroughly. I also assume you don't know any fighting game terms or any notation for combos, so if you see: c.LP, c.MP, s.HK, j.MK, qcb+MK xx qcb+KK, and always wondered what the hell that is saying, we will go over that too!
Note, not all fighting game terminology will be discussed (yomi, abare, etc.), but once you understand the concept, finding the word for it will take you one google search.
Before we begin with the obvious things, let's get reading pesky notation out of the way. There's a notation using numbers (and I will show you) but the guide will be written using this notation mostly. First the directions. The directions correspond to an arrow in your game pad:
u = up (used for jumping straight up)
f = forward (the direction your character is facing, used for walking)
b = back (the direction behind your character, used for blocking)
d = down (used for crouching)
uf = up-forward diagonal (used for jumping forward)
ub = up-back (used for jumping back)
df = down-forward (used in complex motions)
db = down-back (used for blocking)
L is used for the word "light", M is used for "medium" and H is used for "hard" or "heavy". P is used for "punch", and K is used for "kick". These attacks are called "normal attacks", so for the rest of this guide they will be referred to as normals
. So now you can see that:
LP = light punch
MP = medium punch
HP = hard/heavy punch
LK = light kick
MK = medium kick
HK = heavy kick
PP = any two punches
KK = any two kicks
When a + sign is used, whatever's written at both sides of the + sign have to be hit at the same time.
LP+LK = light punch and light kick
LP+MK = light punch and medium kick
f+HP = forward with the directional pad, heavy punch
There are more complex motions you can do, and the special moves in the game use these motions. They are universal for many fighting games, so it helps to learn them.
qcf = quarter circle forward. This is done by rotating the directional pad from down until forward. Note that this is a smooth motion, so you will pass the diagonal down-forward. Thus, to do a quarter circle forward (qcf) motion, the motion is down down, down-forward, forward (d,df,f). Try not to tap each of these directions. Instead, let your finger move smoothly like if it was drawing the half circle on the directional pad.
qcb = quarter circle back. This is done by rotating the directional pad from down until back (d,db,b). Same as with qcf, one smooth circular motion.
dp = "dragon punch" motion. This was popularized by Street Fighter's Ryu, because his Dragon Punch (Shoryuken) has this motion. The motion can be hard for beginners so practice it often. It starts with forward, then goes down (does not have to go through the diagonal), but ends coming back to down-forward diagonal after all. So it's forward, down, down-forward (f,d,df). The key for this motion lies in two things: making sure you go to down from forward (instead of a back direction) and ending the motion in the diagonal down-forward.
rdp = reverse "dragon punch" motion. Same principle as dp, but replacing forward with back. Thus the motion is back, down, down-back (b,d,db).
charge = hold the direction or button that follows this word. Sometimes you'll see it in brackets. For example, charge d, u+HK means you hold the down direction for about half a second, then hit up and heavy kick at the same time. In other places, [d], u+HK would say the same thing, others use d*, u+HK.
360 = a complete circular motion. You may think, "how am I supposed to do this on the ground when up makes me jump?" I would answer but I don't need to. Thankfully for you, my friend, this game helps you do the motion by detecting your rotation and preventing you from jumping. If you're still iffy about the motion, then you may not want to play as Cerebella, the only character in the game who uses this motion (for one move).
Finally, let's go into other letters and symbols.
s. = standing. Meaning you're either walking forward, walking backward or just standing there. Example, s.LP means you hit light punch without hitting down or up.
c. = crouching. Meaning you are holding down while hitting that move, so your character is crouching. Example, c.LP means you are crouching when you hit light punch.
j. = jumping. Meaning you are actually in the air. Whether you got hit into the air and you recovered, or you jumped yourself, j. lets you know you need to be in the air for what follows.
sj = super jump. You may see this by itself or next to a normal. For example, sj means super jump, while sj.LK means super jumping light kick.
~ = hit the two buttons in between separately as fast as you can. This is often called plinking, but in Skullgirls it's not crucial to know most of the time. In Street Fighter, plinking helps you combo normals that would have a tight window to combo. In this game, it's normally used for situations where you're trying to do two things at once. Not used often.
hold/release - hold the following button, and release it when prompted. Sometimes you'll find "hold HP" expressed as ]HP[ and "release HP" as [HP]
xx = cancel into the next thing. If you see this, it means that you need to do the following move as soon as the move before the xx hits. For example, if you see qcf+LP xx qcf+PP, this means that after the move done with quarter circle forward light punch hits, you should be doing a quarter circle forward and hit two punches. It will take time to practice this. What happens is you don't recover from the first move, and instead the second move will come out.
About numpad notation: some placed will put numbers instead of letters for motions. To figure out what the hell is going on, look at your keyboard's numerical pad.
Consider 5 being neutral (not holding any directions), 6 is forward, 4 is back, 2 is down, 8 is up and the diagonals are 1, 3, 7 and 9. A motion is written out as the numbers that correspond to the directions. Thus, 236 is the same as d,df,f which is a qcf motion. 214 is qcb, 623 is dp, 421 is rdp, 2 is crouching, 5 is standing, 66 is dash, etc.
I'm sure this one was the easiest part in the tutorial. You should know that all characters (except for Parasoul and Painwheel) can double jump. This is done by hitting either u/uf/ub when you're already in the air. Double, Parasoul, Cerebella and Painwheel lack air dashes, but everyone else can do them. They are done by dashing (PP or tap f,f) while in the air.
Some characters have a running dash (Ms. Fortune, for example) while others have a set distance (Double, for example).
Movement isn't just using the directions and the dash. Some moves work very well for movement. This section will focus on that.
Ms. Fortune can use her qcf+P moves and its followup moves in order to cover much horizontal distance on the ground, and dp+K,K for additional "jumps". Cerebella can do charge b,f+K to run through an attack (to an extent), and can use its K followups (particularly LK to stop the run) and covers a lot of ground. She can also hold j.HP to glide, letting go of HP if she needs the attack to come out early, or holding it until the dash ends (although using this makes double jump unavailable for that jump, and the dash won't come out if she's double jumped). Peacock can do her teleports (qcb+K) to move to a different spot on the screen, although it's risky. Valentine has qcf+K, although it's risky because you recover slowly. Double can use Hornet Bomber and cancel it into Cattelite Lives (dp+K xx qcf+KK) and hit light attacks a lot to have the cat heads keep her safe while helping her approach. Painwheel's movement option of choice is unique to her, which is flight.
Painwheel's flight motion is qcb+K. Her flight can cancel any normal (for example, s.HP xx qcb+K) to get her in the air instantly, and will only end if 10 seconds have passed or if she hits a normal. While in the air, she can fly a total of two times. If she flew to get in the air, she can still fly twice more before landing. This is important in order to keep attacking the opponent and not letting him take a break. This is called pressure
, because you are indeed putting pressure on the opponent as he tries to block everything. A style that consists of constantly pressuring the opponent is referred to as rushdown
. The interesting thing about having extra flights available is that if she hits a normal in the air, she can cancel it into flight and stay in the air. Also, hitting a direction with a normal while flying will make the normal attack keep the momentum of your flight.
In the next post, I will go into detail on specials and blockbusters, as well as chains. And you will create your very first combo :)