Thursday, March 31, 2011

Meet Chris G, Marvel Master

Rumor has it that Chris G has never lost an MvC3 tournament. Whether or not that's true, he made Marn look like he didn't know how to play at last night's Guard Crush. The above video shows him putting Yipes through the wringer at a recent Battlefield Arcadia tournament. The most surprising aspect of Chris G's domination is his team.

While Amaterasu and Wesker are clear standouts, Ryu has generally been considered the worst character in the game. Chris uses his jumping hard into light air tatsu to get in safely, while simultaneously being able to break any air-throw attempts. He's able to do serious damage with Ryu in combos or as a DHC from Wesker or Ammy. During any block-string he can X-Factor cancel into Ryu's quick low short, which leads to a huge combo and, usually, a quick KO of the opponent.

Another tactic that other players rarely use is the simultaneous team hyper combo. Chris uses Wesker's OTG gunshot to lift any floored opponent, then cancels into the team hyper. Ryu's Shinkuu Tatsu holds the opponent in place while Wesker gets all of his hits in. If Ammy is included, Wesker even gets to move again before the combo ends. The team synergy is just amazing; each character's assist has uses in extending the other characters' combos. I expext to see a lot more of Chris G's team in the coming months.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Million-Damage Club: Tron

This is more of a reminder to myself to practice this combo than anything else. Unlike the combo I've been practicing, this one uses no DHCs and gains almost a whole meter. With the DHC trick, I could probably add 600k more damage at the end, but that would usually be a waste. I just wonder if this will work on smaller characters... To the lab!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

MODOK 9-Cube Combos

MODOK obviously had some serious potential all along. This video found on reveals some of his incredible touch-of-death combos.

E3, Here I Come

So, Kmart Gamer, I heard via Twitter that you're looking for someone to help you cover E3 this year. Let me tell you why I'm your man.

I've been a huge follower of video game industry news for as long as I can remember. It probably started with my first issue of the Nintendo Fun Club Newsletter in 1987. Years later, but before the Internet became mainstream, I'd spend hours in Borders, reading every gaming magazine on the shelves. Eventually, I made a habit of disseminating this news to my friends as quickly as I could. I created an XBAND account (called TheNews, if I remember correctly) as an early means of digital news distribution. I'd update the account profile with the latest info as often as I could. More recently, I started this blog as a way to keep my friends up-to-date with gaming news relevant to them and to myself.

I'm a huge fan of fighting games and have been since I first played Street Fighter II in a movie theater some 20 years ago. That undying passion was recognized by the folks over at, who promoted me to a moderator of the site's fighting game forums. I will bring a deep understanding of fighting games to Kmart Gamer's E3 coverage. As we enter the second golden era of fighting games, I look forward to covering the latest additions to the Street Fighter, BlazBlue, and Tekken series. Also, I'm interested in covering up-and-coming projects like Skullgirls. As an avid fighting gamer, I can break down exactly what systems make these games new, different, and interesting. I know the difference between a Roman Cancel, a Focus-Attack-Dash-Cancel, and a Kattobi cancel. My interests don't stop at fighting games, however.

I'm also a fan of role-playing and action games. I look forward to the next Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest games almost as much as the next Capcom fighting game. Metal Gear Solid 3 is one of my favorite games of all time, as is the excellent platformer-RPG Tomba! I'm an AR card-carrying Nintendo fan, and I'm excited to see anything Mario or Zelda-related that Nintendo may be cooking up.

I also look forward to the obscure and indie games, the hidden gems on the show floor. Warp, for example, was my favorite game on display at PAX East. Fez, which looks amazing, might have taken that honor, had there not always been lines and interviewers to contend with. I love the frenetic jumping and impeccable level design of Super Meat Boy, my favorite game in recent memory.

I'd like to put my eclectic tastes and hobby of sharing gaming news to use by helping Kmart Gamer cover E3 this year. If you want someone who can blog about all types of games, or even someone who will dive deep into the fighting genre, I'm your man!

[Thanks to friend of the blog, Brian, who dug up the above photo of me holding the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame Award at E3 1999. It had previously only been held by Shigeru Miyamoto and Sid Meier!]

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Final Mortal Kombat Select Screen?

This is the supposedly-leaked final roster for MK9 (via UltraDavid on Twitter). Who is that on the right-middle of the next-to-bottom row? (A: Kabal) Who is next to Quan Chi in the bottom row? (A: Sheeva) Not pictured are bosses Goro, Kintaro, and Shao Khan, and DLC characters Lady in Red and Kenshi.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

2D Fighter Backgrounds

NeoGaf has an amazing thread featuring people's favorite backgrounds from fighting games. There are some really beautiful ones posted there, especially some of the animated SNK stages. Do you have a favorite background? I'm partial to some original SF3 stages, particularly Alex's NYC stage; however, Vampire Savior's Fetus of God stands out in my mind as the most memorable (and haunting) of all time.

Monday, March 21, 2011

JoJo Match Videos

Another good old fighting game, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, was featured on A-Cho's YouTube channel. Watching this brings to mind a lot of similarities to MvC3, including a button scheme that includes three attack strengths and a special button. There is even a method of canceling block-stun, ala X-factor. Check out the video to see Chaka slicing and dicing and Dio stopping time to slam a steamroller on his opponent.

Added another video below. The more I watch it, the more I am in awe at how interesting this game is. The different characters are all capable of very different things, yet they all kind of fit together. Specifically, the way that "stands" work stands out (no pun intended). Some characters have non-active stands that are basically only used for single attacks when pressing the Stand button. Other characters have active stands that are summoned to fight alongside the caller. The final stand type can be dispatched to fight at a distance from the caller (e.g. Devo's Ebony Devil puppet).

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Sagat, Is That You?

Hickory, dickory, dock
I trow dem Tiger Shots.
If one hits you,
I Ultra 2,
And knock you down the block!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Grappler Baki is a Great Game

I especially like the seizure-inducing brain-juice meters. Via

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Toppling Sentinel

Say what you will about the humor in this video by Novril, but pay attention to the valuable advice.
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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Final Round XIV: Marn vs Combofiend

This was probably the best match outside of grand finals. Spencer has too much damage potential. Is it time for me to switch out Hulk for Bionic Commando?

Hulk Smash!

So, I've been wanting to post my Hulk combo for a while now, but I've been too busy. Essentially, the "trick" was that I was comboing both into and out of DP+L~M. Though you can get a jump combo, ground bounce, and relaunch afterwards, I found s.M-S to work best because of hitstun scaling. I was never able to get DP+H to connect properly. Trag figured out that it works if you dash after DP+M~L, then jump-cancel the dash into DP+H~H. The combos above utilize this technique and make mine obsolete, so I'll definitely be practicing the new method.

PAX Picks: Warp

Warp might be my favorite game shown at PAX. Though I'd never even heard of it before, it caught my eye on the show floor. Additionally, there was no line at all to play it — unlike Portal 2, LA Noire, and 3DS. The demo could be played through in under five minutes, but it totally demonstrated how the core mechanic of warping works. It also showed off the various uses of the warp, while simultaneously hinting at future uses that would be required in later challenges. To say the game is like "Metal Gear Solid if Snake could warp" would be accurate, although that probably oversimplifies it a bit.

You play as a little orange guy (see screenshot above), an alien that has been locked up in some sort of high-security facility. That small, bright dot in front of him is where he can warp to. There's only one button used in the demo, the warp button. Because you can warp, it is trivial to bypass walls and locked doors. Enemies patrol the area and can kill you almost instantly upon sight. You can avoid them altogether via stealth, or you can teleport into them. While in an enemy, other enemies cannot see you. You also immobilize that enemy while you are inside him, and even for a brief period after you warp out. You can jump from enemy to enemy in order to quickly escape unseen. You can also kill enemies by getting inside them and then shaking the left analog stick.

You are also able to warp into certain objects, generally those about the same size as your character. This includes power generators that supply warp-resistant barriers. When you arrive at such a barrier, you'll need to find the power source, warp into it, and shake the left stick to destroy it. You can even use these explosions to knock out or kill enemies. In fact, the last scene in the demo is a cliffhanger in which enemies are shown surrounding themselves in warp-resistant shields. Luckily, the room is full of power sources to leap between and explode.

I'm a big fan of stealth-based games, so this game seems to be just my style. I love the ability to warp in quick succession through walls, enemies, and obstacles. If the developers are able to extend the uses of the warp throughout the game, it will definitely be a must-have title.

PAX Picks: Skullgirls

Over the weekend, I attended PAX East and got to play a few upcoming games and to talk with some developers. By far, the most enthusiastic developer was Mike Z, who you may know from his old-school Marvel videos or his impressive Tager in BlazBlue. He's also a Long Island native and was really excited to talk fighting games (and particularly grapplers) with me. Mike's designing and programming Skullgirls, an upcoming fighting game that uses tons of clever design to preemptively prevent players from breaking the game.

The main innovation for preventing abuse is detection of infinite combos. The game does not try to inhibit characters' abilities in order to prevent repeatable loops. Instead, the game will detect if a loop is being performed more than once. If it is, the defending player can simply press any button to do a burst-like combo breaker. If players are creative and find long combos that do not repeat simple patterns, then that combo would be unbreakable.

There are a bunch of other innovations that Mike was proud to point out. The game uses dynamic lighting. The 2D sprites are lit by lights in the background and the attacks' hit-sparks. There's also a neat programming trick involving 360 motions. If your character has a 360 attack, performing a proper 360 motion will not make her jump! You can safely buffer a 360 without taking to the air, as long as you don't press a button. In most games, 360 characters already have hindered mobility, and then they are required to have a slow jump in order to pull off 360 motions. In Skullgirls, grapplers aren't required to have a slow-as-molasses jump. It's a small innovation, but it shows how Mike Z just understands how fighting games can be subtly improved. I'm looking forward to the finished game, which should be out on XBLA and PSN this year.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Countering Hidden Missiles

I just wanted to share a quick note on Doom's Hidden Missiles assist. The main problem with it is that some missiles will get past and hit you even when you are punishing Doom with a combo. The solution I have right now is performed thusly: With Sentinel on point, I can tag Doom with s.H or c.H as soon as I see him. Some missiles will already be launched. Dormammu Purification assist will eat up those missiles while they are way up in the air. I can then continue my assault. Hulk can do the same with Gamma Wave and Dormammu assist. Hulk can continue hitting the downed Doom with Gamma Waves for as long as the opponent lets you get away with it. Dormammu can do repeated Purifications in much the same manner as Hulk can with Gamma Wave. Just perform the first one as soon as you see Doom. If a missile or two gets by, you can still hit Doom with more Purifications, even if you take a slight hit.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Haggar Assist + Sentinel + X-Factor = 7-Second KO

It is already obvious that Sentinel is a beast, but did you know that Haggar's assist is amazing?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

There Are No Words

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