The Myth of Prohibitive Difficulty

Prohibitive Difficulty is a term that gets thrown around fighting games a lot, and especially now with so many new games being released and new tactics being discovered. The term is used to describe when a tactic or combo is so difficult it cannot be done consistently or is considered unviable in competitive play. One of the most recent examples is El Feurte’s “Run, Stop, Fierce” combo that was discovered during the arcade release of SF4, and which was originally thought to be an infinite. Even while discussion was going on over whether or not it was an infinite, people were already dismissing its game breaking potential as an infinite by labeling it “prohibitively difficult.”

After all the years of fighters coming out and being played for decades, does anyone still believe that any technique/combo possible in a game is prohibitively difficult?

After seeing thousands of matches with incredible unfly/refly combo’s, A-Groove Bison Combo’s and half life Genei Jin?s, I don’t believe such a thing exists. If a tactic is good enough to give a player a strong advantage in a game, players will master that technique to the point that it becomes second nature, no matter how initially unrealistic or dexterously taxing it is.

I want to clarify. I am not talking about theory fighter. 100% parrying is prohibitively difficult in 3rd Strike because it involves flawlessly predicting an opponents actions, even though the potential is there. I am talking about tactics that rely solely on the execution of the player.

So do you believe that something can be prohibitively difficult in a game, and if you do, what examples have you seen that exist today? Is there any tactic that could be overpowering, but is simply too difficult to be considered viable? I would like to hear any instances of things once thought to hard to reasonable that are now common place for any game you can think of.

Edit: I was quickly proven wrong by this post.

Knowing is half the battle. :tup:

Lilica ah1 time loop.

Gah, i still mess that up.

Instead of worrying about whether or not something is prohibitively difficult, ask whether or not any such technique could have been made easier to perform WITHOUT negatively impacting a game.

Negative impact would be something like “a charge super being two quarter-circles with no change in recovery would make the character that possesses said super broken.” Negative impact ISN’T “I think games should be hard because hard games are better.”

HeartNana started off with a great example, any stuff with 1F is. I think the currently agreed minimal window from ASW is now 3 or 4F. Below that even top Japanese players tend to screw stuff up.
A lot of combo videos show off combos that are so tight and hard that you can’t reasonably do them in more than casual. Even if the stuff shown there seems breaking at times, it most often is not.

The game aka ???

Of course there are prohibitively difficult tactics. Otherwise, people would be constantly pulling off near-100% combos in iterations of SF2, which is certainly not the case. Take a look at the TZW Guile combos; it’s been 15 years and nobody has been able to perform them with any semblance of consistency in a real match so they’re never used.

I’d say Cyclops’ infinite in MvC2 is difficult enough to the point it’s not really viable.

You know what, your absolutely right. I hadn’t thought of those. I still think the idea of difficulty as a justification for a overpowering tactics is something that gets proven wrong more often than not, but I can’t deny that some do exist which haven’t become practicle.

I should change the thread title to more of a discussion than a statement.

I actually know a guy who goes for every chance he launches. He can keep it going for sometime too. Although its hard, I think its an example of a tactic that people would have mastered if it weren’t for the top four.

Even if you mess up Cyclop’s infinite, it does viable damage with a jump in and 6 or 7 hits.

Its in about the 50 range there, which is a bit less damage than a proton cannon.

If you can get it to 20, its pretty nice on top of being extremely flashy and one of those “Oh damn!” moves.

i dont think it’s so much whether or not the moves are really hard to do or not, as it is how hard they are to setup in the first place… some of those tzw combos cant even be performed consistently with a programmable controller. some make use of random glitches and many have absolutely stupid setups that NO ONE would get hit with.

but yeah the fuerte infinite was always gonna be mastered by people once console comes out, it just aint that hard. i was getting two reps of it in only one complete session against the computer.


It really depends on the person what is prohibitively difficult or not. The term is kind of moot. For me, a “prohibitively difficult” combo is anything in the neighborhood of 5 hits or more.

As far as what an opponent really CANNOT do in match, anything with a goofy/ridiculous setup. I have eaten some really nasty combos in Japan.

One combo that seems to be “impossible” is Charlie’s stand mk flash kick combo in A2. I can’t remember the specifics, but you need to have the stick in neutral to hit the MK on the way up from the charge, and then cancel that to the FK. It read “LA Players Only” in the A2 guide and I think that has to be a real bitch to hit in game.

Most of the time in actual matches like Grits said it’s usually not more than 5 hits for most people. But it’s gotten higher over the years. TZW is at the top, but a lot of that stuff isn’t even necessarily possible to do on a consistent basis (assuming perfect Execution in training/practice) so therefore not worth the risk/reward.

'Sall bout Execution.

btw to get better at Execution, check out Execution Aid a free tool to … yeah ok does anyone NOT know about this by now?

Just because a combo is hard and possible doesn’t mean it needs to be hard.

The biggest problem with combos is they can actually offer a strategic element to the game, yet rarely actually do, with a few exceptions (Marvel is a huge one, actually).

There is some level of prohibitive difficulty. Dhalsim in MVC2 is in the same tier as Iron Man and Dr. Doom, but it’s quite rare to see him. In theory, if someone has great execution with him, he is a threat.

In practice he is so execution dependent that he’s very difficult to master. Magnetro’s combo video show some nice SJC/AD cancels with him, but the average SJC with Dhalsim is 2 frames. The timing is so strick that it’s not possible to do it in an actual match.

With that said, the are some cases where somethings have a less than a 3 frame window and are quite plausible in practical play.

Akira’s 1 frame knee in Virtual Fighter is a practical move. And while it’s not used in VF5 in the same manner is VF4, the move isn’t considered useless. If the move isn’t used, it’s because Akira simply has better options.

another example of a 1 frame move, I believe is Heitchi in Tekken.   In addition to the EWGF, he also has an Omega Godfist which is one frame.   It leaves you at a better advantage on block, and it has very fast startup.   however this is a rare move, and far too difficult to do during mid match.

I believe prohibitive difficulty exist.  At some point, it's simply not possible for humans to execute certain things.  One frame moves are such an example. Akira's knee is more possible with 1 frame because you simply need to scrape the K and G button, giving you the proper 1 frame timing.

Dhalsim 2 frame SJC would requre you cancel his normal then lp+mp then k. This is much harder to time with such a short window.

I believe that 3 frames grant you the lieniency to input any command or cance any move. Under 3 frames, then it’s much more difficut to do it consistently. With that said it’s rare to see many games that require such strick timing. Most Roman Cancels require the moral 3 to 5 frame windows. Roll cancelling is a good example of the max execution for a cancel, as roll cancels are all 3 frames. Anything less would make it impractical.

Well, that’s one of the reasons why you see so few Extra mode Kyos in OG KOF '98.

aren’t yuns kara-palms considered kind of too hard to consistently pull off in a match?

The thing is, if it’s possible, there’s always a chance someone might learn it. You should never design anything so that a character becomes a one-trick gimmick pony. Fuerte may be an example, I don’t know for sure yet, but it seems that way. To me, if Capcom patches- it would make sense to me to power him up across the board some, but tone down or take that away to make him better but more versatile, which is what Fuerte should be.

One definite character that fits this gimmick character- SamSho Special Enja. He has a move that can kill you in one combo- 100% damage, but the combo is insane to time. I think the best players only get it 30-40%, and if he misses it, it only does about 20%, and the other guy has all day to decide how to rape you. Outside of that, he isn’t that good- he has insane damage, but crap everything else. (Raging Pants isn’t too bad though) I don’t like designs like that.

As for why you don’t see OG98 EX Kyo so much, it’s because it’s a 3 character team, and if your char can’t abuse extra, you lose a lot. Unless you also pick Brian and Mai, you going to put yourself at a disadvantage if Kyo goes down.

Execution Aid version 2

Hm yeah 3 frames sounds about right I suppose for “practicality limits”. That’s 0.05 seconds. That is about Ryu’s juice kick timing window (ST) I think. Note that this is different than doing a reversal DP at an important time, because while getting up or landing etc. just before it, you can buffer the move, and just worry about timing just the button press mostly.

btw did you know “Aid” is too common a word for srk’s search engine? eg searching “Execution Aid” will ignore Aid altogether. Hrm.

And because you can count the people who can consistently pull that thing off in a match with the fingers in your hand.