HOW TO PLAY FUCKING FIGHTING GAMES.
And other miscellaneous shit…
This applies to all fighting games, but I’ll only be referencing SSF4
There are many different types of players and many different ways they play a particular character in a fighting game. However, just as you guessed, everybody follows a pattern that can be read, you idiot. However, that pattern can change depending on the person you’re fucking fighting.
SSF4 = Super Street Fighter 4 (Duh)
Shotokens [shoto(s)] = Characters who are identified wielding three particular attacks: Dragon Punch, Hadoken and Tatsu. (Dan is not a shoto because he does not have a tatsu - let alone a competent fireball)
Chip = To take small amounts of damage while blocking.
Whiff = To miss an attack that leaves you wide open for a counter.
Link = A link is an attack that you execute to combine two combos together. Often times you only are giving 1 or 2 frames of time to execute this attack, or the link will fail.
Chain = A chain is a series of reptitive attacks done in succession to form a combo.
FADC = Focus Attack Dash Cancel
FAC = Focus Attack Counter
K = Kick
P = Punch
L = Low
M = Medium
H = Hard
DP = Dragon Punch (also can describe an attack that features ‘attack frames’ during the launch phase of your character; Launch Phase meaning while your character is launching upward)
Frame(s) = The number of images a game renders within a second. Typically frames are used to describe how fast a character moves, attacks and defends.
No, I don’t mean Ninja Turtles. Turtles are people who use defensive moves ALL the time and shit. Usually, it involves them running away and hitting you with either projectiles or long range moves. If you attempt to get closer, they run further away. Guile and Dhalsim are considered super turtles because their move list works best when they run away from you like the little bitches they are. You can beat them several ways. The smartest way to is turtle on a turtle. Turtles lack an offense, because they focus so hard on their defense. Make them come to you, and then rape those fresh assholes.
They are people who wiggle the directional/stick in random directions (usually in the direction for a DP - the fuckers) while pressing every possible button. They are random. Their pattern is random. There is no rhyme or reason to their strategy. All they know is that if they wiggle it a certain direction while close to your character they will hurt you. You can beat them in several ways. The best way is to bait and wait for them to whiff (In case you don’t know, whiff means to miss). There are people who think this won’t work for every button masher. This is obvious. Just like shoes can’t fit every foot (but every foot fits an asshole). However, if you learn the person you’re fighting by baiting them, you’ll know where to start. Usually on wake up is the best place to start.
Yes, poking is fun. You can poke too! Poking is the process of using long range attacks while staying just far enough so the opponent can’t hit you. A lot of fuckers do this shit, so you should be doing the same thing! Zoning is the process of distancing yourself while pressuring the other opponent to approach you. Makes sense? For example, Sagat can throw high and low fireballs. He can do that shit all day long. His purpose is to chip you to death and make you approach him so he can rape you. It’s a mind game and it works well. Shotokens can do it too! Akuma loves to zone. There are ways to beat this. The best thing is to slowly inch up to the opponent. Use footsies if it helps (footsies means to move back and forth). You don’t footsie Bison (for example)! People who can fly make footsies utterly pointless. Anyway, push them into the corner and stay a particular distance away. It makes them super nervous and makes them want to jump over you to get out of the corner (or grab or whatever). That’s when you start POKING! Keep them in that corner until they turn blue in the face… Or until you KO them or time runs out with you winning. Akuma will try to jump over you or slide behind you. However, since you’re at that magic distance, you can dash at that and combo him!
What the hell are magicians? It’s a word I use to describe people who do all of the above, but not randomly. I’d have to say that “magicians” are the hardest people I ever fight. IT’S MAGIC, BITCHES!
So, what makes these people magicians? Ever fought a turtling Sakura in SSF4? Pretty weird right? Sakura’s defense is garbage. She has no options on wake except block. Her back dash is a joke. Her DP is slow and it’s very easy to cross her up. Her offense is utterly and ridiculously good, and she features some of the longest combos in the game! So, why would someone turtle with her? You’d think they’d try poking or simply attack like crazy, right? This is the work of a magician, and I’ll explain further.
Magicians don’t use characters in a conventional way. It’s mostly psychological, and usually only the really skilled people play like this. A newbie to fighting games will never pick up on a person I label as a magician. So, this advice would be for intermediate to advanced players. As for the whole Sakura thing; everyone knows Sakura’s defense is crap, yet a magician would turtle with her. This is a mind game. The point of a magician doing this is to provoke you to attack so they don’t have to chase you. Once they have you in their trap, then they wail on you. From there, they could confuse the shit out of you even more simply by poking you the rest of the match. After losing a few matches of this Sakura, going back and forth from turtling to poking, you may get confused. I do know that most Ryus (for example) would simply turtle and throw fireballs all day in an attempt to zone her. However, what if she just jumps over every fireball and never attacks? Some people would get frustrated and attempt to get closer and perhaps measure the distance between their character and Sakura. From there, they’d try to time the instance in which they throw a fireball and when Sakura jumps (A FADC usually helps with this). In my personal experience, Ryus who do this, lose. Why? Because Sakura has the ability to jump forward and score an extra hit. She could also jump back. She could decide not to jump. She could FADC and etc. This is when it gets difficult to read a magician. This is why they’re so hard.
I know of one who plays with my head. I respect him a lot, but I can’t beat him consistently. Comboless Clown. Some of you guys know him. He’s annoying as hell, but he’s hard to read and I’d label him a magician. Essentially, he doesn’t do large combos (hence his name). He usually just jumps up and down repeatedly to confuse you and then randomly attacks you. That’s it!
So, how would one beat a magician? Like I said, it’s not easy. There’s no easy answer to this. The only way you can beat a magician is to trick them. You can condition them to follow a pattern you specify and then switch up. You can try fake cross ups during wake, or you can bait them. However, you really have to understand the person you’re fighting and recognize the tricks they’re using on YOU. If you don’t recognize the tricks they’re using, you will always lose.
Some advice! Patience!! Don’t be afraid to run the clock. Some times it beats getting fisted in the ass because you couldn’t just be patient and wait.
THE MAGIC DISTANCE!
It’s the magic distance! What’s the magic distance? The correct spacing your character should be standing away from your opponent at all times. It varies among different characters. I use bloody Sakura. When fighting against Bison, my magic distance is full screen. Bison tends to do a lot of zoning. However, every now and then he’ll get closer. Once he’s within range, that’s when I start attacking like a rabid crazed baboon in heat! Bison is deadly when he keeps his magic distance from you, but he’s dead when that distance is gone. Same goes with other characters. Zangief is deadly when he’s right on top of you, but if you stay slightly outside of his kicking range, you can beat him. Watch as Gief dances like a stripper when you simply bounce around outside of his max range.
READING YOUR OPPONENT/CONDITIONING!
Your opponent follows a pattern. Everybody does. Even if they are random, at least you KNOW they are! Understand that each pattern has a counter! You can read what a person will do next based on what they’ve done before. Usually it never fails. If they do one move, you’ll know another move is coming right after it. However, even if you can predict their movements, you can also TRAIN your opponent to think and do what you want. It’s called conditioning. Like I said before, everybody follows a pattern. Your opponent will be trying to read your pattern. The trick is, make him think your pattern is a certain way so he’d expect you to do a certain thing. Once he’s used to this pattern, switch up. For example: with bloody Sakura, I walk up to people and do a LK Tatsu on wake. I’ll do it a couple of times and train them to block or DP on wake. After I’m confident they’re doing that, I’ll walk up to them and then either cross-up or stop just shy of grabbing range and wait for them to do something. By doing that, I have already conditioned them to be nervous of me on wake up. Doing this to Makoto (for example) is easiest, because she’s a slut.
You can make yourself hard to read just by switching up the things you commonly do. If you normally jump in on wake, try throwing a fireball on wake or trying waiting it out. If you normally back dash on wake, try blocking or jumping. Just switch it up.
Thanks to Louiscipher for the video.
If you want to be any good in the fighting game you’re playing, then you’re gonna want to learn combos. You want to cause as much damage as possible as fast as possible. Combos let you do that. Learn a basic combo with your character (unless they’re grappling types or zoning characters like Sagat). Each time your fist hits your opponent, it should be a combo! Don’t just hit them one time and call it a day. They can easily FAC (Focus Attack Counter) those one hit attacks. Your combo can MESS people up and make them deathly afraid of you! Poking can involve you executing your combo on a person who is blocking. You can do some good frame traps just by combo’ing someone in the corner. If you pull off your combo effectively, you can make them want to hit you in the middle of your combo and FAIL. When they fail, you can just continue your combo and still score extra damage! Combos are good!
HOW TO COUNTER DIFFERENT PLAY STYLES
This is the absolute most important aspect of the game. It deals with reading your opponent and then finding the suitable counter to their strategies. A person who doesn’t combo you can STILL beat the cranberry stuffing out of you if they have a working strategy against yours. So, how do you identify these people and develop a strategy to beat them? I’ll tell you:
a) The turtle. As a said before, turtles run, but they lack an offense. You can run and wait for them to come to you, or you can zone them. You can throw fireballs and chip their health. They will be forced to attack you before the timer runs out, and that’s the best way to beat a turtle.
b) Randoms and button mashers. I’ve mentioned this as well. You need to bait them. That means, go up to them and just block. It’s easy to do this when they’re waking up from a knock down. They’ll whiff an attack and leave themselves wide open. From there, you can punish them. You can also do a combo, but not finish it and just block. Often times you may catch them whiff a DP or an Ultra. Just block it and continue the punish.
e) Offense Whores. I didn’t mention this earlier because there’s a lot of different play styles. I didn’t want to dedicate a paragraph for each one, but in a nut shell, an offense whore is a person who is the opposite of a turtle. All they do is attack. Sakura is a character a lot of offense whores use. The best way to beat someone like this is… To attack. They are the opposite of turtles, so their main focus is not blocking, but attacking. So, just attack them and majority of your hits will work. Mix up some tricks and mind games and it’ll be like cake.
f) Pokers. People who use long distance attacks to harm you. Some people use Sim in this regard. Majority of his long range attacks can be FADC’ed (unless its EX). Remember that! In regard to fighting Sim, you have to chase him in most cases. For other characters, you can poke them back. Barlog, for example. If you poke him back or even zone him (fireball him to death), he will be forced to either jump or use one of his little charging dash punches. However, this gives you time to counter, so it’s easy (because his dash punches are about 7 to 8 frames. Very slow). The answer for pokes is to zone and poke back.
g) Fake randoms. These are very very tricky. I’d call this part of being a magician (IT’S MAGIC!). It’s a psychological game. They are pretending to do random attacks to confuse you and throw you off guard. The only way you can beat them is to treat them like randoms. When I use Sakura and I’m fighting a Bison who pretends he’s random, I’m pretty much stuck. All I can do is block, guard counter and back dash. I have no idea what he’s going to do because he hasn’t made his pattern obvious to me (which is the trick). So, I have to catch HIM off guard. You can try pretending you’re random too so he doesn’t read you, but his random attacks could hit you while you’re busy being random and then you lose. The only thing I can suggest is to either turtle, become an offense whore, become a fake random yourself, or poke the living hell out of them. You’ll need a mixture of all of those to really beat someone of this caliber.
h) A cheese ball. Cheese balls are people who use very lame zoning techniques to beat you. They typically hit you and run and wait for the timer to count down to zero. Cheese balls have an excellent defense most of the time and focus on using lame strategies to frustrate you. Bison’s Devil Reverse is filled with cheese. Most characters are powerless to stop him from doing it, all the while, he’s building meter while you’re not. You can fireball him, but Bison can do a head stomp or devil reverse out of the way of your DP. It’s cheesy as hell! To beat someone like this, you have to trap them into a corner, but keep enough distance so they can’t use a long range move to hit you. Sim can be a cheese ball as well. You have to be on top of him like white on rice. Trapping him into a corner is the best scenerio for you. So, the answer is to be all over them and/or trap them into the corner so they can’t get out.
i) Zoners. People who use long range attacks from a far away distance to keep you from reaching them. The best way to beat them is to slowly inch up to them and trap them in a corner.
j) Tick Throwers/Delayers. People who delay their chains to either grab you after you attempt to tech or catch you off guard with another combo. You have to time your tech grabs so they do not grab you. You can also try back dashing as well, or even doing a FADC or FAC.
WATCH YOUR CHARACTER ON YOUTUBE!
When Street Fighter II came out, there was no Youtube! You couldn’t watch some of the greatest players perform online and wreak havoc. However, now you can! Watch combo videos and learn how to perform combos. Learn how to avoid bad situations by watching the top players play! Learn how to execute maneuvers and tactics simply by watching youtube. Trust me, you will only get better.
PLAYING ONLINE VS. PLAYING OFFLINE
There’s really only one difference between playing online and playing offline, however, this difference is so important that it’s actually considered huge. Believe it or not, it deals with physics. It’s called lag. Lag is a term used to describe undesirable latency. Latency is the amount of time it takes for information from your machine to reach your opponents machine and back. This can determine how fast your attacks execute, your maneuvering and etc. registers on your screen. With a game such as SSF4, lag changes the entire mechanic and the entire physics of the game itself. SSF4 relies on super precise timing. The game runs 60 frames per second. Some links can only be executed within 1 frame within that second. So, that means your timing has to be accurate to 1/60th of a second. So, if a lag spike comes whistling through (a lag spike is when the game freezes for a frame or two and/or jitters), that one frame time span you had is suddenly gone. Your attack may not have registered, or better yet, the attack/button you did afterward would’ve registered in exchange for what should’ve came before it. This would mean your character can drop a combo, perform an attack that leaves you wide open, or gives your opponent time to block/counter/punish, etc. Lag can determine whether you win or lose.
Now, playing offline has no lag whatsoever (unless you’re playing on PC and your PC sucks or your console is having major trouble). This is the night and day difference between playing online and playing in a tournament. People who are used to playing online tend to lose horribly when fighting in tournaments, because without lag, a TON of different strategies are now open. Tourney players who are used to no-lag conditions can open up a whole 'nother can of whoop-ass you’ve never seen and rape you. You’d be left star struck. Of course, the same applies for those who aren’t used to playing online.
HOW TO PLAY ONLINE!
Playing offline is easy. There’s no need to talk about how to do that. However, how the HELL do you play online when there’s lag?! There’s no simple answer, but, there are a few things you can do to compensate for the lag.
Execute your attacks early. I play SSF4 on both the PC and the PS3. The PC (being the obvious superior version) enjoys much less lag than it’s PS3 sister. So, many times I do not need to compensate as much. However, on PSN, the lag is a JOKE. You have to attack early. Many times 2 or even 3 frames early with all green bars. This means you have to play the game differently. Certain attacks and strategies just won’t work. Slow-ass DPs after landing suddenly gain magical priority over sweeps and other attacks that would normally force your opponent to block or get hit by. Delaying your chains can sometimes not be an option, because now people can DP you when you resume, or grab you, or catch you off guard with a chain themselves. It’s like throwing dice on the ground and whatever the dice says is what happens.
Either you attack like a mad man, or you run like a bitch. Attacking and going all out can easily overwhelm your opponent. It’s very hard to time a counter when you’re lagging, so often times you’re forced to block, block, block! Meanwhile, your health is chipping slowly away as your opponent wails on you. Then, as in many cases, your opponent can surprise you while you attempt to counter and then they win the match. This happens a lot. You can run away as well. Running away allows for you to gain your bearings and better observe the match as it happens. This may allow for you to make more precise movements and attacks and sometimes even frustrate your lagging opponent.
Troll the HELL out of your opponent. Sure, you can taunt them all day long. Some people aren’t affected by taunts. But, if you get on your microphone and call your opponent a little bitch-ass scrub, or insult them in whatever manner you choose, it will usually piss them off. This works very well on children who play this game… Sometimes better than you would think . Trolling someone who is standing right next to you is a bad idea because it could lead to a physical confrontation, but online, no one can touch you at that given moment. So, what advantages would it have to piss off your opponent? Most people, when angry, just charge like wild boars. This makes beating them very easy since you know they will just try to attack. Often times, their anger will affect how well they play and you will noticeably see how worse they become. This will make them even more angry and lose even more until they decide to kick you or drop out of the game entirely. Of course, it goes without saying, that this doesn’t affect everyone. There are people who will just simply laugh at your insults and trolling. If the player is godly and they were just going easy on you, trolling them could just make them not go easy on you anymore, and then they may start trolling you. Not a good position to be in.
If it works once, keep doing it again and again and again. This may apply to certain gameplay mechanics offline, but this works like a charm online. Sometimes you can spam the same move over and over and over until the opponent figures it out. Usually, it’s easier to counter spam when offline, but countering online is much much more difficult. Therefore, things such as Bison spamming Devil Reverse away from you each time he jumps in the air can be highly effective against turtles. It’s hard to tell when Bison won’t do his retarded Devil Reverse on you and score a few extra hits.
Use an arcade stick! Pad players, when playing offline, you are forgiven. There’s no lag, so you shouldn’t have a hard time executing moves in a timely fashion. However, when online, plinking and double tapping ARE YOUR FRIENDS! Your chance of executing a move is greatly increased when attempting these arcade stick maneuvers. I’M NOT EVEN JOKING. You can be a lazy bastard all your life. If you pick up an arcade stick, you will PWN. If you pick up a pad, you will be working twice as hard to get raped by 12 year old bastards. Don’t be the person shrugging his shoulders with a frown on his face. Take charge and use an arcade stick.