Kick, Punch, Punch, Kick, Punch, uuh… HADOUKEN!

I like a good fighting game, especially the one-on-one, martial arts showdowns. They can be very tense and invigorating and can make or break friendships. However, I’ve never really been able to successfully play or enjoy a real fighting game. Why? THE FREAKIN C-C-C-COMBOS!!!!

Ok, so the basic idea of a fighting game is that you have four directions of movement and anywhere from two to six attack/block buttons. Each button generally does a specific attack and if you combine it with a movement direction, you’ll get a variation of that attack. Well, apparently that wasn’t enough for the geniuses behind most classic and modern fighting games. Apparently they all were gifted with photographic memories and total recall because, honestly, I think that’s what you need to successfully play these games. Why? Because each character (and any respectable fighting game has at least a dozen) has his own unique set of moves and… Combos.


I think I got all that…..or not

Combos are the bread, butter, steak, potatoes and Creme Brulee of fighting games. If you don’t know how to execute all the combos for your specific character, then you will lose. A lot. This wouldn’t be so bad if said combos didn’t consist of thirteen different buttons that must be entered in sequential perfection, sometimes with variable pauses in-between and the length of the pause can determine which attack you perform. And if each character didn’t have at least a dozen different combos. And if each character didn’t HAVE THEIR OWN UNIQUE SET of combos.

Let’s look at an example: Akira from Virtua Fighter. She has a large handful of moves, one of which is over six buttons long! (Forward, forward, punch+kick, punch, punch, kick) Then we look at Kage or Jacky and they each have half a dozen unique moves that are at least three or four buttons long, sometimes longer. Seriously, how does one pick-up and play these kinds of games at an arcade or even a friend’s house? (If you want a really extreme example of combo overload, check out the move list for Sonic The Fighters, a little known arcade fighter that was basically Virtua Fighter with Sonic the Hedgehog)


HADOUKEN!! HADOUKEN!! What? That’s the only one I know.

Or how about Street Fighter 2? Each character again has his own unique set of moves, again often three or more button long. But that’s not all; most of the combos involve holding the directional pad or joystick in a certain direction for several in-game seconds before entering a combination of button presses. So not only do you have to memorize the series of button presses for each move, but which ones have pauses and how long each pause is. FOR EACH CHARACTER!  HOW DO YOU DO THAT? A STOPWATCH?

Ollong, the original T-bagger

Oolong, the original T-bagger

This is why I almost exclusively play fighters with more simplified or unified controls such as Super Smash Bros, Karate Champ (despite its broken collision detection), Yie Ar Kung Fu & Sonic Battle. Just give me a couple attack buttons and a directional pad/joystick and let me make up my own combos.

Sorry if I rambled a bit, but this topic really gets under my skin. I’d really enjoy classic arcade fighters if they weren’t so complicated and un-intuitive. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to see if there’s any news for DiveKick.