Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Great Makoto Play (also: Daigo)

mak11bk plays one mean Makoto. He even gets Daigo to panic. Check it out below.

Alpha 3, the Evolution of Custom Combos

Alpha 3 never felt like a proper Street Fighter game to me. It was something quite different than even the prior two Alpha games. It had an abusable air-juggle system, one that necessitated aerial recovery for the first time in a Street Fighter game. The game's new V-ism mode allowed custom combos that could lead to 100% damage (see below). This was all facilitated by the game starting both characters with full meter. How did it come to this?

It all started, obviously, with Street Fighter Alpha. I really liked Alpha 1, especially the ability all characters had to perform chain combos. Alpha 2 took away chain combos and made the general gameplay feel more SF2-ish. There was one major difference: the introduction of custom combos, possibly to make up for the loss of chain combos. Custom combos made supers basically obsolete, as supers dealt less damage in most cases. Also, in certain situations, a properly-timed activation would lead to a completely unblockable combo. Alpha 3's take on custom combos, V-ism, was an even greater threat when combined with the new air-juggle system.

When you trace its heritage, you can see how the Alpha series evolved into something very different from the game it began with. Alpha 3 came a long way from Alpha 1. But even with all of its quirks, Alpha 3 can be fun to play, as it is certainly a unique take on the Street Fighter formula.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Vangief vs Magus1234

From yesterday's Shadowbrooke On Notice tournament, we have the grand finals match featuring everybody's favorite Zangief player. Can Vangief defeat Magus and avenge his loss to Ricky's Chun at EVO 2010? Also, pay attention to just how far he is able to advance while performing his patented walking 720.

Here Comes a New Challenger

Allow me to recount a personal story about street fighter players in the most unlikely places. Yesterday, I came into work, only to see the security guard at the front desk playing PSP. I noticed that the game he was playing didn't look like your typical Madden or SOCOM. It turned out to be Ys 7. I asked if he had any other games. His first response was "Street Fighter." When I told him I had it as well he said, "I challenge you!"

Later that day, we did have a showdown. Not only was he willing to play, he was willing to play random select. And his preferred mode was team battle. Playing with three random characters was fun, and he was competent with all of them!

I had a lot of trouble executing on pad and lost most of the matches. It got even worse when we stopped selecting randomly, and he started shamelessly using Shin Akuma. I was surprised how good he was with T. Hawk and even Ingrid! He did things with Ingrid that I didn't even know were possible. This guy totally knew his stuff, which I really appreciated.

There are dedicated street fighter players everywhere; don't discount anybody. As for me, I'll be practicing on PSP pad so I'm ready the next time I'm challenged.

Evans, the French Fei Long

Warning: The following videos feature a screaming Frenchman by the name of Ken Bogard. Un-mute at your own discretion.

I'm not posting this first video because Daigo lost. I'm posting it because of the spectacularly-played third round.

This next match is really interesting because of the battle for proper spacing. Fei and Makoto have no projectiles and are both effective from similar ranges. They both have quick dashes that they use to rapidly dance in and out of striking range. This match is like a ballet of flying fists and flaming feet. Also, it's a match-up you don't often see.

Evans actually took out Daigo's entire team in an OCV (one-character victory). You can watch the other three videos posted at Iplaywinner, if you're so inclined.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

RUMOR: C. Viper in MvC3?

I saw this "photographic evidence" for Viper being in MvC3 over at Shoryuken.com. I've assumed that it would make sense for Capcom to represent their new SF4 brand in MvC, and C. Viper is the perfect character. She already has mid-air specials, a Captain Commando-like ground-pound, and a couple of flashy ultra combos. The only other SSF4 character that comes close to being as Marvel-friendly is Juri. Does anybody disagree?

Friday, August 27, 2010

RUMOR: Yun & Yang Incoming?

Shoryuken.com is currently going gaga over the above image, which may or may not be fake. The obvious implication is that Yun (skateboard) and Yang (rollerblades) will be in arcade SSF4. I'm not convinced that this image is real; however, I did take a close look at the ol' "twin dragons" in comparison to the character-select silhouette that was previously shown.

The bald-looking head may be a red herring. If we look at Yun's face from the front, his hat hides his hair. Also, in a silhouette, you would not see the brim of his hat. The shady character also seems to have prominent ears, just like Yun. I did some high-tech sleuthing by blacking out Yun's face in an illustration and flipping it horizontally. I think that if we could see behind that select portrait, we'd find a ponytail. What do you think?

Know Your Tekken, Part 4: Kuma

Kuma is a bear, a fighting bear. As just a young cub, Kuma was discovered living in the woods on the Mishima estate. Heihachi took Kuma under his wing, provided him with living quarters, and taught him to fight. Kuma was an incredible learner, but never truly mastered these fighting techniques due to his laziness. In spite of his poor work ethic, Kuma was employed as Heihachi's bodyguard and was greatly feared for his taste for human flesh. Kuma's rival was Paul Phoenix, who defeated him in the first two Tekken tournaments. After Tekken 2, Kuma died of old age.

Kuma's son, also Kuma, takes up his father's mantle for the subsequent Tekken games. He too is Heihachi's pet and bodyguard. In fact, he is noticeably smarter than his father, making him an even more effective bodyguard. He also views Paul Phoenix as his rival.

After his loss to Paul in Tekken 3, Kuma feels that he has lost touch with his animal instincts. In an attempt to grow stronger, he leaves his domestic habitat for the wild mountains of Hokkaido. He does grow stronger and develops his own original fighting techniques, despite his love of watching way too much TV. His training paid off, and he finally beat Paul in Tekken 4.

After Heihachi's supposed death, Kuma enters Tekken 5 to honor his master and defend the Mishima Zaibatsu. And just as Rufus always wants to run it back against Ken, he also wants a rematch with Paul. He fails miserably, being defeated by both Paul and Jin. Kuma still doesn't give up and seeks revenge against Jin in Tekken 6.

Fighting Style
Kuma's style is called Heihachi-style Kuma Shinken, or Advanced Bear Fighting. Kuma's general strategy is to pressure the opponent with lunging swipes of altering heights. Many of his attacks start with a similar-looking wind-up that makes it tricky to know where to block. Though he usually fights standing upright, he can enter a stance where he walks on all fours. He is not very popular in high-level play, probably due to his lack of speed. His signature moves include:
  • Rock N Roll Circus, a command throw that has Kuma lie on his back, roll the opponent into a ball, and spin him with all fours
  • Dance With Me, a moonwalk that can step on downed opponents
  • Fatal Wind, the most damaging move in Tekken, an unblockable flatulence attack (with nearly no range) that is a 1-hit KO
I'm not sure how Kuma would function in a Street Fighter game. His command throw would translate well, but I'm not so sure about the moonwalking and farting. If I had to guess, his normals would be most like E. Honda's slow, damaging strikes. He'd probably make a good charge character, having some powerful lunges dedicated to down-up or back-forward motions. I'll be very interested to see how he turns out.

Likelihood of Appearance in SFxT
I'd say he's 90% likely to be in Street Fighter X Tekken. Harada has made a toy Kuma his official calling card on Twitter. It's also a good sign that both Harada and Ono have said that it would be very interesting to see bear-wrestler Zangief face off with Kuma.

(Sources: Tekkenpedia, YouTube)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Latest MvC3 Footage Features Slowdown

Dormammu and Viewtiful Joe are back and showing off some new tricks in this video. Dormammu has moves that light up each of his hands with different color flames. These seem to power up some of his attacks. For instance he can drop more flaming meteors over a wider radius when powered-up. Also, Viewtiful Joe has a super that puts an opponent into slow motion for a while.

Don't Believe in Tier Lists

I'd like to go on record and say that any tier list that puts Sakura below Dan and Hakan is complete malarkey. I'm looking at you, Iplaywinner. Proof is below, including a rare Ken played by Daigo (gameinn):

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Third Strike Limited Edition Special DVD

When Third Strike was released on PS2 in Japan, there was a limited-edition version available. It came with a Gamest mook (basically a super in-depth strategy guide), a jigsaw puzzle, and an instructional DVD. TheShend, relentless uploader of Third Strike videos, recently uploaded a set of excellent videos taken from this rare DVD.

Though some of the strategies are a bit outdated, most of the videos have really great tricks for a variety of characters. The first video starts out slow, with a tutorial on basic parrying, buts gets better as it progresses. Though the videos are in Japanese, it's not difficult understand what's going on, particularly when slow-motion is used to highlight small details. A quick pointer that will help you understand the captions better:

弱 weak
中 medium
強 hard

For example, "punch" means weak punch and " [move name]" means hard [move name].

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Death Button

Why I've always referred to c.HK as "The Death Button," courtesy of SonicHurricane.com:

Old-School Street Fighter Alpha Combos

Also known as Street Fighter Zero, the first was my favorite of the series. I'm not sure exactly what drew me to this game. I think it was a combination of the "tappy-tap" chain combos, along with the new twist on the Street Fighter gameplay and aesthetic. It probably also helps that this game was the first I took seriously in the arcade, along with my mentor who I knew at the time only as "Street Fighter Alpha Boy." Also, the game marks Dan's first appearance — as a secret character! He was actually at his best in this game, though he was a bit tricky to use well. Anyway, this video was posted only yesterday and shows some of the coolest combos I've seen performed in the 15-year-old game:

Know Your Tekken, Part 3: Heihachi

Heihachi Mishima is the biological father of Kazuya Mishima and Lars Alexandersson and the adoptive father of Lee Chaolan. He was the head of the Mishima Zaibatsu at the start of Tekken 1, though the company was founded by his elusive father, Jinpachi Mishima. Heihachi lost control of the company after his son Kazuya tried to kill him at the end of the first Tekken game.

After Tekken 2, Heihachi gets revenge by tossing Kazuya into a volcano (which miraculously doesn't kill him). Heihachi then takes in his grandson, Jin Kazama, and trains him in the Mishima fighting style — shortly before turning on him. Heihachi betryed his grandson as part of a scheme to combine himself with Ogre's powers; however, he needed the Devil Gene that Jin possessed in order to do so.

After Tekken 4, Heihachi is assaulted by a group of Jack-4's that capture him and detonate themselves. The opening of Tekken 5 states "Heihachi Mishima is dead." But, as usual, it was not so. Luckily for him, the explosion did not kill him, but only threw him several miles. The resilient old man then makes his return in another attempt to regain control of his company.

Fighting Style
Heihachi, of course, practices Mishima-style Fighting Karate. For more on the general Mishima style, see Part 1 of this series.

Heihachi is the most focused on counter attacks of the entire Mishima clan. He has very powerful attacks for punishing his opponents' mistakes. Whereas Kazuya uses his strong defense to find openings for his long, damaging combos, Heihachi is more focused on short, powerful strikes. He has a wide range of very useful mid attacks, but lacks the variety of good lows that Kazuya has. His signature moves include all of the previously-discussed Mishima staples, including one I haven't mentioned yet, the Hellsweep. Performed with a Shoryuken motion and a hold of the Right Kick button, it is a multi-hit, spinning sweep-kick that can be followed up with a combo. This move immediately comes to mind when I think of Heihachi, perhaps because of how awesome his was in Tekken 1: he did three rotations, while Kazuya could only do two!

Likelihood of Appearance in SFxT/TxSF
I'd say he's 100% likely to be in both games. Harada has stated that Heihachi is his favorite character. He also said that his dream match-up is Heihachi versus Akuma.

Did I mention that Heihachi's dream is to murder his whole family?

Third Strike: Online Feedback Series

Iplaywinner.com has a series of articles proposing changes for the upcoming online edition of Street Fighter 3: Third Strike. Whether the game needs to be changed or not is currently hotly debated. I feel that while the game does not need to be changed, it could be changed, and this is our only chance to get a new revision. Third Strike is great as-is, but we already have that and can play it at any time. I'd love to see something new and different.

In this edition of IPW's series, Arlieth proposes quite a few specific changes, many of which I agree with wholeheartedly, as well as some that are probably game-breaking.

Change I Can Believe In:
  • Elena's c.MK special-cancelable: This is the single change I most want in the game. This alone will make Elena so much more competitive. She's got a great poking game, but it rarely leads to much damage. This will give her high/low guessing game serious power.
  • Q and Alex gain at least one low, cancelable normal
  • Alex f+HP sets up juggles: Great idea! Combo into Air Knee Strike or Stun Gun Headbutt.
  • Twelve having more ways to combo, and his dive move knocking down: I don't know about b+MK launching, but he needs something that lets him combo into more attacks
  • Yang's Senkyutai should be safer
  • Ryu's command normals improved: Make his f+HP, f+MP more useful
  • Dudley's Rolling Thunder damage buffed
  • Ken's Shinryuken improved: The solution is to revert it to the New Generation (original SF3) version. It a huge suction radius (like Rufus's EX Galactic Tornado), 2 stocks, and big damage
  • Chun nerfs
  • Yun nerfs: I think the Genei Jin may not need a longer bar, but there definitely needs to be restrictions on how meter builds during a post-Genei Jin juggle.
  • Generally making all Super Arts viable: It would be nice to have options with various uses.
Changes I Disagree With:
  • 25% projectile damage increase: This would make Urien and Akuma too powerful. It'd help Remy quite a bit though. Maybe a 15% increase just for Remy (and possibly Oro) would be more appropriate.
  • Yun/Yang Tenshin (flip-grab) puts them farther from opponent: This limits follow-ups to Tenshin to nothing but low attack x special, which almost defeats the purpose of using it.
  • Makoto stun nerfs: Her crazy stun potential is what makes her a threat.
  • Necro's Rising Cobra (overhead kick) throw invincibility: Why take away Akuma's and give it to Necro? Not necessary.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Tekken X Street Fighter X The Apocalypse

Ono and Harada have such a humorous rapport going on, as you'll clearly see in this interview. I love Harada's concept for the dejected Dan to cross over to the Tekken side in a bid for respect.

Daigo is a Guiness World Record Holder

Daigo Umehara has been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's most successful Street Fighter player with 15 international tournament wins. He joins Justin Wong, who holds the record for most successive Street Fighter wins with 300.

Luffy Wins Super VS Battle 2010!

Super VS Battle, held in London, is Europe's biggest fighting game tournament. It's single-elimination, so anything can happen. Daigo, who played Cammy (poorly) for most of the tournament, lost to Ryan "Prodigal Son" Hart. Hart advanced to the grand finals against French Rose player Luffy, who took the championship. Check out the videos below to see how it all went down.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Turn the Tweet Back: German Feuding Continues

When we last checked in with Ono and Harada in Germany, their rivalry got heated. It became apparent that Seth was loyal to Capcom, having given Harada the wrong room number; however, Harada was not done yet.

Harada used his Mishima Zaibatsu funds to buy out Capcom's International Coordination Assistant, Mao Sugiyama. He proceeded to Ono's room and performed this atrocity:

Harada littered Ono's bed with copies of Tekken 6. Ono got revenge, though: he stole Harada's credit card!

Then he had some Street Fighter fans crush a copy of Tekken.

For the sake of the fans, I hope these guys don't kill each other before they can finish their games!

The New-Character Guessing Game

The Japanese SSF4 Blog brings attention to the silhouette shown in the arcade SSF4 location tests. Is this a generic placeholder or a hint as to what character to expect? All I see is a bald head and ears. It's definitely not Hugo or Elena. It might be Rolento, depending on how his hat is sitting on his head. It could even be Urien. Any guesses?

SFxT Will Delete Your Tekken Save Data

Street Fighter x Tekken won't actually delete your saves. However, Ono joked in an interview with IGN that the only feature he could confirm for SFxT at this time was that when you install the game "all Bandai-Namco save data will be erased."

Another revelation from this interview was that the two crossover games are not based on SF4 and T6, respectively. They are also not the sequels to those games. The "Cross" games will be all-new products drawing from the entire Street Fighter and Tekken series. Harada said, "I'm sure the graphical look of the game might change and the gameplay elements... will be quite different."

Also, Ono stated that his goal of having his game out in two years was heavily criticized by his boss, Keiji Inafune. Because of this, he will try to have the game out sooner.

Dormammu Looks Viewtiful in Motion

Here's video of Dormammu and Viewtiful Joe in action. Dormammu can combo at least two of his supers from full-screen, and HE CAN FLY!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Slightly New Street Fighter X Tekken Footage

In Germany, Capcom showed off their playable demo of SFxT. It appears to be the same as the demo shown at the game's Comic-Con debut; however, the match proceeded differently than before. You can see Kazuya land an overhead kick that bounces Ryu off the floor, allowing him to be further comboed. Does this mean that there are elements of Tekken's "bound" system in SFxT? Also, Chun-Li and Nina once again only appeared in team combos and not as individually playable characters.

Mortal Kombat Compilation for PS3?

Rumor has it that there is some sort of Mortal Kombat compilation (kompilation?) coming to PS3. Though its existence is widely accepted as fact, at this time no one knows what it will contain. The rumor is that whatever games are in the collection will be revamped, HD Remix-style, with new HD visuals. I'd personally love to see them include UMK3 with updated visuals, but without changing the gameplay. And if they work in online play, this will be a must-have.

MK2 HD Mockup by xXLightsourceXx

First Tekken x Street Fighter Images

The first ever images of anything Tekken X Street Fighter were shown this morning at GamesCom in Germany. The promo image above has got me really excited. You don't have to look too hard to see that both Devil Jin and Evil (or Satsui No Hadou) Ryu are present. Harada also showed off the first image of Ryu's in-progress model. He stressed that the model is very, very early and will change quite a bit before release.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

More Mortal Kombat Characters Revealed

According to a story on Shoryuken.com, the newly-announced characters are Liu Kang, Kano, Sonya, Jax, Kitana, Cyrax, and Smoke. They join Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Johnny Cage, Reptile, Mileena, Kung Lao, Sektor, and Nightwolf. You can check out a bunch of new screenshots at Gamersyde.

Turn the Tweet Back: Hotel Shenanigans

Tomorrow at 8 a.m. (Eastern Time), Ono and Harada will challenge each other in the European debut of Street Fighter X Tekken, likely featuring Chun-Li and Nina. They've been steadily building their rivalry with taunts shot back and forth across Twitter. The story so far:
  • Harada posted a picture of his hotel room. Ono expressed frustration that he was able to stay in a nice room (source). Harada claims that the Mishima Zaibatsu is sponsoring him financially.
  • Ono used the pictures against Harada, ordering Street Fighter fans to attack the room. Harada complained that people were banging on his door. (source)
  • Ono went to Harada's room and tossed a Hadouken at it:

  • Harada countered by buying out Seth Killian:

  • Seth gave Harada the location of Ono's room so that he could put him on notice, or rather put this notice on his door:

  • Harada completed his revenge with an Electric Wind Godfist:

Update: It turns out that Seth was loyal, after all. He told Harada-san the wrong room number!

Dormammu, Viewtiful Joe Announced for MvC3

My guess yesterday was half-right. We all knew Dormammu was in the game, but I didn't expect him to be playable. As SRK's Keits has already mentioned on his Twitter, Dormammu looks like an interesting zoning character. I'd say he looks a bit like this game's Blackheart. Until we have video, we won't know how quickly he moves, but it's a safe bet that he can dish out big damage from afar.

As for Viewtiful Joe, he was universally panned in TvC for being a boring, near-useless character. He did have an infinite combo in the original Japanese TvC, but even that didn't help him much. Just because he was terrible in TvC, however, doesn't mean that he won't be any good in MvC3. I think Niitsuma and his team will use this opportunity to fix Viewtiful Joe and make him as fun to play as he truly should be. Henshin-a-go-go, baby!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

More MvC3 Characters Incoming

The official Capcom Twitter account mentioned that we'll probably see some new Marvel vs Capcom 3 character reveals at Germany's GamesCom, which starts tomorrow. Get ready! I'm expecting Spider-Man (finally!) and Viewtiful Joe.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Elena & Q Make an Appearance in Philly

Philadelphia's Summer Jam 4 tournament took place this weekend. Though the focus was on SSF4, including the new-character-only tournament (T. Hawk's chance to shine, though the many T. Hawks were swiftly struck down), I got trapped in the new world of Street Fighter III. I saw some casual Third Strike play happening away from the SF4 action and decided I'd play one game, having not played the game at all in about a year and a half. I really enjoyed it. I was playing (poorly) as Elena, but I was in good company: Justin Wong played as Elena for the entire 3S tournament.

As I mentioned, I only intended to play in casuals, but Sweet Johnny Cage had other ideas. He expressed surprise that I played the game and urged me to join the $5 tournament, which I did. My Elena wasn't anywhere near as good as Justin's, and I couldn't parry anything due to my extended sabbatical from 3S. After each match loss, I would switch to Q for the second match. Much to my own surprise (as well as my opponents'), my rusty Q was actually quite potent. I was working on a perfect one round, complete with a Capture & Deadly Blow, Overhead Dash Punch, Dash Punch combo. I also taunted like a madman (taunts buff Q's defense significantly, up to a maximum of three per round) whenever I could. I didn't win any full sets, but I won a match or two and got some props from the Third Strike faithful. I even had Coach Johnny Cage dropping tips in my ear between rounds!

Here's hoping that Elena makes it into SSF4, since holding out hope for Q would be a lost cause. In the meantime, here's a 3S Elena combo video to tide us over:

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Why You Should Care About BlazBlue DLC

Since it is highly likely that Super Street Fighter IV will add new characters to the roster via download, we need to take a look at BlazBlue: Continuum Shift.

Even if you don't like BlazBlue, there is a very interesting development taking place with that game that you should know about. The game currently offers additional playable, downloadable characters. Currently, only one is available, though there are plans for at least two more, including Valkenhayn, pictured above.

The dynamics of adding characters to a fighting game via a download are very involved. First, there's the cost issue. The first character added to BlazBlue costs $7. Let me repeat that: $7 for a single additional character. While the cost of the upcoming characters has not been revealed, it is assumed that it will remain the same. Whether what you get is worth $7 or not is your decision to make, but that is no small investment relative to a $40 full game. Some would argue that an entire character is worthwhile, since people pay more for costumes in SF4 that serve no gameplay purpose (and are on the disc already, unlike the BlazBlue characters).

There's also the issue of being able to play as the character you purchased against people who did not make the purchase. BlazBlue accomplishes this by patching the entire game for all users. The data for the new character is installed into every player's game: paying customers can fight as the new character, while other players can only fight against it when challenging those paying customers. If you have not paid for the character, you cannot access it, even in training mode. The only way to get match-up experience against a DLC character is to fight someone who has paid for it or to buy it yourself.

This puts a burden on the players and tournament organizers. If you take issue with showing up to play SSF4 only to find that your favorite costume is not available, imagine your entire character not being available. Tournaments will have to be run with consoles that have purchased the DLC at a cost of $7 per character. This could get expensive for tournament organizers.

We need to watch this situation closely. Will $7 remain the de facto price for a downloadable character? Are different characters worth different amounts, based on their tier status? Should the cost vary with how intricately designed a character model is or how difficult the character's moveset is to program? Would you pay $7 for Hugo? How about Elena?

Dragon Quest IX at Nintendo World

Dragon Quest IX's Tag Mode rewards players for meeting each other. Nintendo has had official meet-up events recently, but the only recurring meet-up is at the Nintendo World Store in Rockefeller Center. Tuesdays from 5 - 7 PM, the most hardcore DQ fans in the country gather and share some of the most elite maps available. Aside from the players sharing items, Nintendo also wirelessly distributes new maps at the store. Last night was a particularly large gathering, coordinated via message boards and Facebook. I was able to snatch about 50 tags, which is amazing considering that most of us in the U.S. will barely ever see one tag outside of something like Comic-Con.

Since I only work about a block away from the Nintendo World Store, I'm going to try to make a habit of rolling though there on Tuesdays. I'll make sure to gather up plenty of maps to share, and I might need some co-op partners to get though them. Is anyone reading this playing the game — or even planning to get it?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Know Your Tekken: Level Up Your Game

I've been posting these Know Your Tekken articles as a way to familiarize myself, a Street Fighter player, with the ins and outs of Tekken in anticipation of the upcoming Street Fighter x Tekken. An excellent resource (found on I Am Tekken) is a series of YouTube videos called Level Up Your Game. The videos cover Tekken 6 in excruciating detail, from basic movement to advanced strategies for each character. If you are unfamiliar with Tekken, I highly recommend at least watching the first episode to get an idea of how the game actually plays.

Know Your Tekken, Part 2: Nina


Nina Williams is a contract assassin of Irish descent. Her father was an assassin for the IRA, and her mother was a champion Aikido fighter in Britain. She was born and raised to be a talented fighter and a ruthless killer. Her sister Anna is her greatest rival, and not in a friendly Ryu-vs-Ken way. Their rivalry is bloodthirsty, much like Kazuya and Heihachi's, as the Tekken universe is full of murderously dysfunctional families.

Nina was sent to the first tournament to assassinate Heihachi Mishima. Kazuya basically took care of that for her. For the second tournament, her target was Kazuya, whom she failed to take down due to Anna's interference. Between Tekken 2 and Tekken 3, she and her sister Anna were put into cryogenic sleep for nearly 20 years. During this time, Nina was impregnated through in-vitro fertilization and gave birth to Steve Fox. Nina's and Anna's bodies did not age, while Steve and the rest of the fighters did.

Nina was awakened by Ogre's power during Tekken 3. She had lost all of her memories, but had a new target, Jin Kazama. During Tekken 4, she was hired to kill Steve Fox, though she fails to do so upon discovering that he was her own son. Nina entered the fifth Tekken tournament in hope of restoring her memories by encountering her sister Anna. Nina was successful in recovering her memories and defeating Anna; however she spared her sister's life. In Tekken 6, she is recruited by Jin Kazama to be his personal bodyguard.

Fighting Style

Nina focuses on quick strikes with her jabs and a variety of high and low striking kicks. She pokes at her opponent and uses her quick recovery to bait counter attacks. While pressuring, she can surprise her opponent by ticking into a throw. She has an entire array of multi-part throws that snap her opponents' limbs and neck. Multi-part throws start as a normal command throw, but can be extended with additional inputs during the different parts of the throw. While they are damaging, the throws can be countered while initiating any of their parts, making them rare in high-level play. Unless I'm forgetting some oddity, there have never been multi-part throws in Street Fighter, though they'd definitely make an interesting addition.

Some of Nina's signature moves:

  • Ivory Cutter, a quick 2-hit flip-kick
  • Blonde Bomb, a 2-handed palm strike often used as a combo ender
  • Hellbringer, a forward stepping launcher performed with QCF+1
  • Twisted Mind, which has Nina grind her heel into a downed opponent

Attacks like Twisted Mind raise the question of whether or not you can attack a downed opponent in SFxT. Attacks on downed opponents, as well as the various methods of rising from the ground, play a prominent role in Tekken. It will be interesting to see how or if any of this is incorporated in a Street Fighter-style game.

(Story via Tekkenpedia, moves via Tekken Zaibatsu and YouTube)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

SSF4 Korean National Championship

The Super Street Fighter 4 Korean National Championship just took place, and I'm pretty sure this video is of the championship match. Infiltration is featured, but he's not playing Akuma:

Chinatown Fair in the NY Times

Chinatown Fair is a big deal these days. The arcade was featured on Kotaku, in a music video, and now in the New York Times. The article recognizes the importance of the dwindling arcade scene, as well as the hardcore community at CTF. It even includes choice quotes from Yipes.

BlazBlue: CS Super Battle Opera Qualifiers

Check out these intense BB:CS matches from Arcade UFO in Texas. The winning team gets to represent the U.S. at Japan's biggest fighting game tournament, Super Battle Opera.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Know Your Tekken, Part 1: Kazuya


Kazuya Mishima is the son of Heihachi Mishima (see Part 3) and father of Jin Kazama. Kazuya entered the first Tekken tournament to challenge his own father. He defeated Heihachi and threw him off of a cliff in a failed attempt at patricide. Kazuya then took over the family business, the Mishima Zaibatsu, only to become more corrupt than his father ever was. This was due to a Devil Gene controlling him, a result of Kazuya essentially selling his soul while succumbing to hatred for his father.

After Tekken 2, Heihachi gets revenge by tossing Kazuya into a volcano. The G Corporation recovers and regenerates Kazuya's remains in order to perform research on his Devil Gene. Through this research, Kazuya eventually learns to control the Devil Gene and activate its transformative powers at will. After some time, Kazuya rises to control of the G Corporation and uses it to battle the Mishima Zaibatsu, which is now run by his son Jin.

Fighting Style

Kazuya, like his father and son, practices Mishima-style Fighting Karate. The Mishima characters all share a very similar moveset, though it has become increasingly differentiated with time. The situation is very similar to the "shotos" Ryu and Ken in the Street Fighter series. The signature moves of this style include the Wind Godfist and Thunder Godfist.

Wind Godfist and Thunder Godfist are both performed with a shoryuken-type motion, albeit with separate punch buttons. Rising Uppercut is the right-punch version and functions as a launcher. Dragon Uppercut is the left-punch version and is basically Tekken's shoryuken. It has a forward-stepping crouch that leads into the rising punch that can be used to advance under attacks and counter them. It also knocks the opponent down in most cases, which actually inhibits its use, as it cannot be used to launch or start combos.

There is a variation of the Wind Godfist called the Electric Wind Godfist (EWGF) that is superior in every way to the original. The catch is that it is more difficult to perform due to a very narrow input window. The EWGF is an electrified version of the Wind Godfist that has faster startup and recovery, gives frame advantage on block, has a bigger hitbox, and does more damage. It is arguably the best launcher in all of Tekken, and it is a prerequisite skill for any Mishima player to have.

Kazuya's style of play seems to center mostly around counter attacks. The Kazuya player will focus on baiting the opponent into an attack and punishing with a move like EWGF. From there, he gets a launch into a damaging combo. In the Street Fighter X Tekken gameplay demo, we see Kazuya doing this by ducking through fireballs or backdashing through normals before punishing with a combo ending in a knockdown. His style should translate well to the new game, without making him play exactly like a projectile-deprived Ryu.

(Source of story background and moveset info: Tekkenpedia)

Chinatown Fair Represent!

Rapper Trademark brings his lyrical flow into Chinatown Fair, with plenty of the hometown favorite, MvC2, thrown in for good measure. The only thing missing is the suffocating heat and squalid odor. I also love the dollar-bills papering the walls in 69 Restaurant. So gangsta!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Know Your Tekken, Prologue: The Deceased

I'm sure most 2D fighting game fans have at least dabbled in Tekken; however, how much do we really know about Tekken's cast? What makes these characters tick, not only in terms of story, but also in terms of gameplay? This series of articles will examine Tekken's characters in anticipation of their inclusion in Street Fighter X Tekken. Today's article focuses on the Tekken characters that have died. With SFxT being an alternate-universe game, none of this may matter, but this is how the story currently stands in the Tekken universe.

Kuma died of old age after Tekken 2. His son, Kuma, takes his place in later games.

King was killed by Ogre. His student became the second and current King.

Armor King was killed by Marduk in a barroom brawl. His younger brother became the second and current Armor King.

True Ogre was killed by Jin Kazama after Paul Phoenix defeated Ogre.

Kazuya was thrown into a volcano by Heihachi after Tekken 2, but was later "regenerated" by the G Corporation.

Bryan Fury was killed in a shoot-out in Hong Kong, but reanimated by Dr. Abel.

Jack has had several iterations which were destroyed then later rebuilt, upgraded, or duplicated.

Jun Kazama, contrary to popular belief, is not dead. She was attacked by Ogre prior to Tekken 3 and has been missing since.

Now that we know the current state of the Tekken universe, the first characters announced for SFxT will be featured in future editions of Know Your Tekken.

(Most of this info was obtained from Tekkenpedia.)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

King of Chinatown Review

Do you recognize this man? If you do, you probably know most of the plot of the new documentary, King of Chinatown. Despite the film's title, it doesn't focus so much on the titular king, Justin Wong, as it does on his relationship with his manager. This is not, however, a disappointment.

The film apparently started as an attempt to chronicle Justin Wong's meteoric rise through the Street Fighter 4 ranks. Due to his losses to Daigo in 2009 and his mediocre EVO placement this year, the film was forced to take a different course. It follows his career as a professional gamer, as well as the man that supported Justin along the way. The interplay between Wong and his manager is pure entertainment. The filmmakers captured some candid moments that had the crowd gasping, laughing, and cheering throughout.

Street Fighter fanatics looking for insights into high-level play should look elsewhere. There is little focus on gameplay, save an exquisitely-edited past-meets-present scene featuring Justin and Daigo. Generally, the gameplay is shown only in brief flashes within scenes focused more on the players' faces and reactions. This really adds to the enjoyability of the movie in a couple of ways. First, fans of the game have probably already seen most of the in-game footage, and this gives them a chance to see things from a different perspective. Second, this makes the film more enjoyable and understandable to a mainstream audience.

As a huge Street Fighter fan, I really enjoyed it. My gaming-illiterate wife, however, absolutely loved it. She found the plot and characters utterly intriguing and couldn't wait to discuss it afterwards. Regardless of your interest in gaming, King of Chinatown is a quality film that you definitely should not miss.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

How Far We've Come

Check out this footage of B5, the 2001 precursor to EVO. It's amazing how many familiar faces are present. What would these guys be doing today if we weren't in the middle of a fighting game resurgence? It's as if their purpose in life is to play fighting games.

B5 Championship from Marcus W on Vimeo.

Ahh, they were simpler times: Arcade cabinets, CvS1, A-ism Chun, and the best team in MvC2 was "Cable, Cammy, Another."

EA's NBA Jam Scam

Warning: If you are a fan of NBA Jam, this news may seriously anger you. Reader discretion is advised.

EA is releasing NBA Jam on PS3 and 360, in addition to the previously-announced Wii version! Great news, right?! Not really...

NBA Jam for PS3 and 360 will be available ONLY as a downloadable extra included with NBA Elite 11. What's NBA Elite 11? It's the newly retooled and renamed NBA Live. You don't care? Of course, you don't! No one does! NBA Jam is an arcade game, not a simulation. I seriously doubt that NBA Jam fans have any interest in NBA Elite. This is just EA strong-arming people into buying their sub-par basketball game by holding NBA Jam hostage.

Oh, and did I mention that the PS3 and 360 versions are not the full game? EA, you have a new NBA Jam game! Sell it to your customers! I can't believe that something as anticipated as a new NBA Jam launch could be so completely mishandled.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Is Makoto Really THAT Bad?

I always believed that Makoto wasn't that bad in SSF4 and that there was some untapped potential that would eventually be figured out. I was sure that her Hayate cancel (canceling the recovery of a normal attack with a fake Hayate) would be broken in a way that made her a real threat.

Recently, Justin Wong has won two tournaments using Makoto! The video below shows how Justin plays Makoto, and it turns out that the cancel may not be as useful as I thought. He does use it to cancel the recovery on a c.MP at least once, but does not use it in combos. He uses MP, MP links very often. In fact, he uses standing and crouching MP constantly. If standing MP gets a counter-hit, he links the c.HP sweep afterwards. He constantly uses Oroshi (the overhead chop) not just as anti-air, but as a counter to many attacks. It also lets him mix up the opponent with an occasional c.LK into Hayate combo. Then, when they least expect it, he can grab them with the Karakusa.

Another interesting technique is Justin's use of Makoto's amazingly fast dash. He dashes towards and away at key moments, often putting himself into perfect range for a c.HP sweep. He dashes under jump attacks to completely avoid them. Makoto's dash may be her best asset; you can totally rush the opponent down or quickly retreat as the situation permits. I think it is safe to say that she is NOT worse than Hakan!

Dragon Quest IX Live Events

One of the main features of Dragon Quest IX is a treasure map sharing system. These maps give the player access to additional quests, featuring additional bosses and, of course, additional loot. There are a few events planned in the coming weeks, and one that recently passed (and I missed) where special maps will be distributed long before they become available anywhere else.

The Gamestop Event happened Saturday, July 31. The map distributed at this event will not be available otherwise until March 2011.

The Best Buy Event will be this Saturday, August 7. Participating Best Buy stores in the NYC/Long Island area include: Union Square, Levittown, Westbury, and Valley Stream. It runs from noon to 4pm.

The following weekend, there will be an event at Roosevelt Field Mall. I'll be out of town and miss this one as well. It runs from noon to 6pm on both Saturday and Sunday, August 14 and 15.

There were some Dragon Quest goodies given away at the Gamestop Event, so be sure to check these out if you have even a passing interest in DQ9.