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Street Fighter: Get Hype? GTFO.

June 27, 2009

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My name is Ryan Truman, also known in many fighting game communities as Kurai Ryu. I hope to use this medium to educate and inspire fighting game players across the country, perhaps internationally, to take the next step in their fighting game careers, and learn how to play Tekken right. In order to do so, we need to take a look at the competition – the most popular of which is Street Fighter IV. I will do my best to observe this topic objectively. In the end, you may even be able to use SFIV as not just another fighting game, but a stepping stone into the 3d fighting game world.

Let it be known that this is the first and only time I will be comparing any two games to each other preemptively on this site. This is my rant on Street Fighter. Check this out: I have been playing fighting games since before I can even remember – wait, no I can remember. I had the option when I was in elementary school of picking up Vectorman or Super SFII for SNES at the local retail store, and I opted for Street Fighter. This may or may not have been a pivotal moment in my fighting game career. I got sucked into the game immediately, even though I was playing on pad etc. I could do hadouken, tatsumaki, and every now and then even scrub out a shoryu. I liked the game because it seemed pretty easy to me at the time. I will reflect upon this notion later.

Moving on, point is: I’ve been playing a long time, and they’ve always been my favorite games. Now, if anyone’s going to hate for this little rant of mine, so be it, but know that I love all fighting games (for the most part) and I mean everything I say sincerely, so hear me out.

Street Fighter is mad easy – especially Street Fighter 4. Oh snap, provocative material, eh? Yeah I figured. Why is it easy? Let’s break it down:

– Lack of versatility in the move list.
– Over-usefulness of special moves.
– Panic Moves/Get out of Jail Free Cards. AKA the EX cancel system.
– “Match-ups”
– Ridiculously simple execution.
– Parlor tricks, and how easy they are to pick up.
– The gap between Beginner, Intermediate, Expert, Pro, and JPN
– Damage Scaling and the problems therein.
– Lack of reward for the “harder” characters to play/No way to play one character unless it’s Sagat. See also *Matchups.

I’ll be reviewing all of these as much as possible. Not all will be covered in this blog in particular, mostly because it will just take too long – but I want to speak from the heart and not just college essay style blogging. It’s difficult to talk about it because a lot of my friends love Street Fighter very much – they took me under their wings when I was picking the game up for the first time and I learned with them. To be honest, though, I’m already sick of the game. I’ve totally lost all hype I had for it. I even look down upon it now that I know the system well enough. The fact that I’ve picked up one of the hardest characters (Crimson Viper) in such a short amount of time, can do any “pro” link or string I can find after just a couple of tries (even though I know it’s not the same as doing them in a tournament or whatever, but it’s still a bit of a turnoff that it’s so incredibly easy to pull off). The execution is, again, simple as hell. If any of these players picked up Tekken and saw the amount of movement you need to survive all the time, they’d probably just shrug the game off like they were too good for it (I’ve seen it happen). I’m not even going to start on VF, a game that I don’t play seriously anymore only because of the lack of scene.

Because of the lack of simplicity Tekken and VF have, the mind games become deeper. It becomes more than a cute little game of rocks/paper/scissors, which is what I currently consider SF. I know that’s really harsh, but I used to think the same about Tekken when I first picked up VF. I know the mind games get extremely deep, and your knowledge of the system and each character’s specific moves can make SF incredibly complex, but the line between Intermediate and Pro just seems like it isn’t really that big. Learn a few tricks against a certain character, and be able to somewhat hit confirm a few things, and suddenly you’re an anti-(insert character name). I don’t know… It just doesn’t spark my fancy. In Tekken, you can pick any character, and the tier list isn’t determined by what special moves beat out the biggest amount of other characters’ special moves. It’s based upon the quality of their moves as a whole – meaning who has the widest range of tools. Who has good quick tracking moves to catch side-steppers, who has a safer launcher, does it launch crouchers, who’s moves stun on counterhit, do they have good wall carrying moves, do they wall splat, do they crush high, crush low, sabaki (or parry) punches or kicks, give a certain amount of frame advantage on block or on hit, set up for a free hit, slam down for a bound combo, and more. See how many things I named just now off the top of my head? All of those things are natural things we (3d players) have to worry about all the time. You need to know every single move in any particular opponent’s arsenal, and their attributes. You literally have to memorize the frame data of everyone’s moves – or at least the practical, most used ones. It may seem unrealistic, but you just memorize as you go – you ask questions when you get hit by something, try to react, and suddenly you’re getting juggled. That’s how you learn: Trial and Error.

To be fair, let’s look at some of the gripes Street Fighter players have on Tekken. First and foremost: the juggle system. Tekken is a game where certain moves called launchers have properties to send you into the air upon hit. This sets up for a succession of moves that, if performed correctly, put together a nice beefy little combo. These combinations can do anywhere from 20-45% of your life bar normally, depending on a vast array of variables.  A lot of Street Fighter players get pissed at the idea that launchers are such an easy way to win. Perhaps at low to mid level play, this is true. However, at high-mid to high level play, Tekken is a game solely based upon pokes. First, though, let’s make a comparison; what is more boring? Launching an opponent into an involving combo that needs variation depending on the wall location, breakable ground location, and whether or not you want to initiate an okizeme mix up? Or scoring an ultra, which takes up just as much damage, but is free. Street Fighter players would argue: “But you don’t throw out random ultras!” This is true, but think about this for a moment. You can score an ultra from a safe, hit confirmable jab string! You will never see any damage this easy in Tekken. Every launcher in Tekken can either be punished hard, or is quite evadable in one way or another.  There is a risk/reward system inplicated in every single move you do in Tekken. There is 0 risk of throwing out a jab string, realizing the string connected, then EX canceling out of a Shoryu into free Ultra damage. The only launcher in Tekken that you are allowed to complain about (other than Bryan’s taunt f~b+2, but you won’t have to worry about that until high level play) are Hop kicks. Hop kicks serve as launchers, and what are called crush moves. Hop kicks serve as low crushers, meaning that if you throw out a low move, and some crouching moves such as a low jab, the move will be crushed by the hopkick, and you will be launched. Hopkicks are still punishable, but the risk/reward factor is almost non-existant here. Of course, good players will almost always block random hopkicks, but there are always random moments in any game where shenanigans happen. I call this the “Shoryuken/DP(Dragon Punch)” of the game, because it is the biggest source of shenanigans in the entire game. Still, weigh that against Shoryukens, which can be EX canceled at any time as long as you have bar, and it just adds more inconsistency to the game mechanics, thus inspiring less solid play. In Tekken, you have to work for your damage through accurate spacing, poking, punishing, and throwing out launchers only when you’re certain they will land. If you’re satisfied with free safe strings into half life combos, then by all means go back to SF.

Continuing, every character has an average of … let’s say for simplicity’s sake, about 65 moves. That’s a lot of shit to memorize, considering there are about 40 characters in the game. But that’s what makes this fun. The amount of knowledge you have in the game and your ability to react and execute properly in accordance to that knowledge determines your skill level, not how many parlor tricks can you counter on reaction. It’s very execution-intensive, not that Street Fighter isn’t… I just think Street Fighter gives you too much time to think. Half of each match is either spent on the other side of the stage throwing fireballs to check your opponent, or in the middle of a bajillion frame throw-break animation, or spent half a screen appart dancing to what some people call “spacing” and “footsies”, but to me just looks like well-placed jumping or moving back and forward. It’s very boring to me after the first thousand matches or so. The block string system is pretty retarded. You use a combination of “one frame link” attacks that aren’t really one frame links to put imaginary pressure on your opponent, while the only thing to be feared is a tick into throw, or… wait, that’s the only thing to be feared. Pretty lame.

That leads me onto another subject that I will expand on more in one of my later submissions. Just Frames. This is a term originally used for an attack that has exactly a one frame window as your margin of error to execute an attack. Now, this may not sound that crazy, but let’s break it down a bit. Modern games run at 60fps (Frames Per Second) for the most part. Now, if you have one frame to execute an attack, that means you have 1/60th of a second. Yeah, now is it sinking in? I can’t name a single thing in Street Fighter that has that strict of a window to execute anything. MAYBE El Fuerte’s infinite, but even that might be double-tappable. The fact that double tapping even exists in a game means that just frames aren’t even possible. The rewarding things about True JF’s is you must execute perfectly, or your desired result does not occur, and often even backfires – so it’s a make or break situation. This means, if you miss your mark, you get no reward, and you’re often put at a disadvantageous situation because of it. Not in Street Fighter! If you miss the first tap, you can just tap that button again and it will register as a hit. RETARDED. This promotes zero execution proficiancy. You’re basically scrubbing it out all day. Can you tell people’s jabbering on this issue has caused me some irritation? Let’s move on…

I feel the only way I can really know what Street Fighter is about is to throw the “unique, fun, personalized” towel of the game in, and just say fuck it and pick up Sagat(aka God). Then, the real mind games can begin, because I’ll be playing against people with the same abilities – because anyone who wants to be really good, in the end, knows they have to either pick up Sagat or learn some really good anti-Sagat strats. I was pretty disappointed to hear one of the best players in New England, Nestor, dropped the idea that he and I shared, to be incredibly flashy C.Vipers who just say fuck it and rush down all day with crazy mix ups… basically like Makoto from 3S (my character as well, hehe) all to become another player in the much-adored Sagat Army. I suppose I can’t blame him. Viper’s game has too many holes. The amount of times you have to out-guess your opponent is far greater than the amount of times they have to out-guess you for the most part. Not even going to start on the balance issues – mostly because there will never be a fighting game without them.

My conclusion: Street Fighter is mad easy. I don’t like easy games. It gets boring, really quickly. People get frustrated for the wrong reasons in this game. It’s a game backed up by some of the scrubbiest of casual players in the fighting game world. Anybody can pick up Street Fighter. Anybody. Why don’t you challenge yourself, and TRY a 3d seriously? Or, stay in ignorance. It’s your choice. You will never know what it’s like to practice a True Just Frame for days – weeks, then finally nail it for the first time at a tournament and have the crowd go wild.

Get Hyped fellas… Tekken 6 is coming.

more coming soon…

tekkurai

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45 Comments leave one →
  1. weazzyefff permalink
    January 3, 2010 8:54 pm

    Yeah and I’ve played every Tekken with a ps controller no sweat, but when I got SF4, i could easily tell I needed a stick for piano key chars and hit confirming with DP shortcuts. It’s harder than launching/juggling. And sf4 combos are way harder than your shitty Tekken ones. RSF? Gen mk hands fadc combos are extreme. ALL there links are way harder then juggles bro. And you get infinite launchers and juggles. You have to take risks to build metre to fadc and shit. SF4 is one hell of a risky game, you get stuck like a little shocked bitch much more than Tekken.

  2. Josh permalink
    January 7, 2010 2:50 am

    The lack of knowledge about SF and well, SFIV specifically is baffling. I know about Tekken and SF (Turbo and IV, some at 3S), VF, Mortal Kombat, hell I loved Killer Instinct, etc. to make a much better conclusion than this *cough* wall of senseless blabber.

    For example, there are a lot of 1 frame links/combos in SFIV, for example Boxer’s jab into ultra.

    This article has so many hypocritical statements. I could write something longer than what Mr. Truman has typed concerning the heaps of errors. But then again, I’m just going to shrug it off, take a hearty laugh, and pity Ryan for making himself another reason why I don’t plan to try to play Tekken competitively.

    P.S. Watch Uryo (C. Viper) on YouTube.

  3. Jordan permalink
    April 8, 2010 8:45 am

    Lol I felt you have reason to carry malice for the SF series, but prob in a different way than you’ve expressed. First, I don’t believe SF is exactly easier than Tekken since “easy” is determined by the player overall and that will constantly change. SF has alot of depth, and so does tekken, the main difference is that SF is 2D and will always have less depth than a 3D game because it can’t incorporate as much in a fight. Thus all of the expertise has to be crammed into the level of gameplay provided.

    It’s true that Tekken 6 has alot more combos than Street Fighter, nobody could argue that. Tekken’s Juggle system has the most depth of any current gen system, but in that sense, its where it becomes similarly limited to SF4. The juggles do a colossal amount of dmg dude, 20-40% is being nice about it, when you use walls to juggle or your in rage mode, and your combos do 50-70%. While Tekken focuses on large juggle strings, SF4 especially focuses on short limited ones with a heavy focus on spacing. To make it clear, Tekken has alot more in it than SF4 and so its got more variables to account for, but in essence it’s just as linear as SF 4 because your still only focusing on a couple of them. The main differences being that SF4 uses all of it’s variables for the most part, and Tekken only uses a portion.

    To put it nicely, Tekken 6 and SF4 are both challenging, and it’s hard for you to call out one for being different, when you weren’t a Pro SF4 player, and your interest in 3D games was considerably greater. Your essay should have focused on what many have already fought on, which is 2D vs 3D games. Your points could have only really gone somewhere from that.

    ~Cheers

  4. Ishikun permalink
    October 15, 2010 1:53 pm

    Haha, okay… So, “weazzyefff”… Your argument against Tekkurai’s assertion is that there are moves in SFIV that require stick? SFIV is harder to play because Gen has Forward xx Hands -> FADC? YOU’RE AN IDIOT. I’m sorry but I started NAILING that shit just shy of an hour of practice, the first DAY after picking up that scrub-friendly game. I STILL can’t nail Taunt to Jet Upper to this fucking day (To any rate of success over 35%).

    You mentioned 1 frame links? Ever heard of plinking? There are no true 1 frame links. SFIV’s gameplay is fucking RIDDLED with input shortcuts & the fact that I cleared everyone’s challenge mode in less than a week with minimal effort is evidence enough of that.

    I challenge this scrub to construct a valid argument against the bullet points Tekkurai presented in his statement. This dude fucking speaks the truth about SFIV & that’s coming from someone who’s loved & played the shit out of both series since… Since fucking “Since” haha. Seriously, SFIV is a grievous step backwards from the progress the series made with games like CVS2 & SFIII.

    I, personally, am not taken to comparing 2D fighters to 3D fighters as I enjoy both & find either genre challenging for different reasons. You want a complex 2D fighter, play Guilty Gear. SFIV–which (Let’s face it) is veritably Street Fighter 2.5–is a fucking cop-out compared to GG, Melty Blood or even BlazBlue & last but not least, TEKKEN. Sorry, but it’s fucking true.

  5. boebie permalink
    October 19, 2010 3:20 pm

    well.. i have to agree…street fighter is lame and boring and easy to master..i played street fighter 2 way back in the 90,s and when i played street fighter 4 for some time its sad to see not much has changed..doing ultru special( that do insane dmg on hit) moves is so easy.. so what moves are there to study in the game thats hard to do???

    tekken 6 fucking insane.. just to study one juggle in the game is way harder than to study an whole char in street fighter…and pro players dont get juggeled easy in the game anyways..U HAVE TO REALY WORK FOR YOUR DMG…with a proper mind game..tekken is like playing chess at the speed of light:P

  6. cagedreptile permalink
    November 19, 2010 7:36 am

    Okay. This is Street Fighter 4 in a nutshell;

    Jump back, Hadouken, Hadouken, Hadouken, Hadouken, Hadouken, Hadouken, Hadouken, Hadouken, Hadouken, Hadouken, Hadouken, Hadouken, Hadouken, Hadouken, Hadouken, Hadouken, Hadouken, Hadouken, Hadouken, Hadouken, Hadouken, Hadouken, Hadouken.
    “Yeah my stratery is too good”

  7. powaa permalink
    December 19, 2010 7:39 am

    Actually the interesting thing is, i find tekken to be MUCH easier to play than street fighter. Not saying one is more or less challenging than the other, but I actually like playing SFIV more than Tekken, simply because its harder for me. Then there’s all the other fighting games (GGAC, BBCS, KOF) which are aweseomely fun but way to easy to play, lol. Street Fighter focuses a lot on playing the right balance of defense and offense in my opinion. I do love tekken as well, but it seems the competition in the states is just lacking, i’ve crushed most ppl I come across and i barely play the game =( It’s the complete opposite for me in SF, lol, i play a lot but get my ass beat still. Just my two cents.

  8. tekken < sf 4 permalink
    December 20, 2010 2:48 pm

    tekken = jugle attack attack attack bound attack attack attack wall splat attack attack attack

    WTF where is the fucking balance?? its obviuos for any fighting games impossible to have 100% balance but lets see this tekken game takes 2 years and still jack 6 can do fucking combo 90 -100% damage you can check it on youtube and still there are characters who need nerf

  9. F0x permalink
    February 6, 2011 5:54 am

    I used to be a tournament level SFIV player who is coming into the world of Tekken once again. I played 3, and Tag, and got good with Hwao and Eddy (Yes, Hwao and Eddy without button mashing) and have started to really get tired of SSFIV and gravitating heavily towards Tekken 6. I played Dictator (M. Bison) in SF, and I am picking up Drag more or less because he is the closest I can find to Bison in terms of looks and style. I was a Shadowloo character player (Boxer, Dictator and Claw FUCK Sagat though) and I am liking Drag, Bruce, Bryan and Leo at the moment just by experimenting in T6. As a returning player to Tekken and a comp level player in SF, I dont find either one “easier” then the other since they are really quite different, and the mindgames are just not really the same. Jordans comments are pretty valid, yes, as an SF player and basically new to Tekken again, I hate the juggle and wall system, I find the damage reward from it hugely unfair, but recognise that at high level, its probably not as bad as I find it right now. Conversely, you might find the “Easiness” of an Ultra stupid, but if you get hit by one at high level, you only have yourself to blame, same as getting launched, its not a “sure” thing, and playing Bison for one DEFINITELY shows you that since his Ultra is nigh on useless as a “raw” Ultra, cannot hit confirm to it, too slow as a reversal unless your punishing something with massive recovery, and the opp has 10 years to do something to you if its blocked. Others do have much more useful Ultras (Boxer) but the damage scaling takes care of anything too outrageous, and also, you can only use an Ultra when you have one. You can launch at any time in Tekken if you have the chance. I’ll talk about some of your bullet points as well:

    – Lack of versatility in the move list.
    Against the mighty command lists of Tekken, this is a valid point, but SF has never needed as big a list, its been doing perfectly fine on its own.

    – Over-usefulness of special moves.
    I have to disagree with this one from an SF side. If theres one thing “universal” on all 2D fighting games its that “normals” generally win the game more then special moves. 3D fighters are a little different since all moves are considered really “normals” but you get the idea, Special’s always carry inherent risk of use depending on how you use it. Normals NEVER carry the same risk, which is why at higher levels you see all that moving back and forth and sticking normals out. Its safe footsies play. Sure a Fireball from full screen is safe…. and so is the opp if they arent retarded.

    – Panic Moves/Get out of Jail Free Cards. AKA the EX cancel system.
    Again from an SF side, have to disagree. Nothing is without cost, and while you might think the EX cancel system is “free” remember it costs 2 bars (which you had to build in the first place) which could have been used for other purposes. I cant think of anything like it in Tekken, though I guess the psychological side of it is comparable to a Bind, your given a choice to use it when you feel appropriate. You need to weigh up whether its worth using your bars for a “get out of jail” or just copping the retaliation to keep the bars there either for mindgames or offence, depending on your characters movelist, and again, the EX cancel can be used either way, to get out of trouble or to keep the opp under pressure.

    – “Match-ups”.
    I get that against Tekken’s roster and variables, the SF matchup’s can seem childlike. I guess its true in a certain sense. While there certainly isnt the whole “wtf” factor when facing a totally new character in SF given that the movelist is small, and you can work out what they do within a few minutes of playing as a seasoned player, at high level, matchups become really important, and the “lower” your character is, the more important I feel this is. Example, Rufus and Chun in SFIV are COMPLETELY different characters before and after they gain super meter (not ultra). Without meter, you can rush either of them down like a fucking red flag. Once they are juiced, forget it, you will eat EX. A player who doesnt know this for example will loose everytime. Matchups are about understanding exactly what the opp can do with his character, and yeah while its not as hard as Tekken given the amount of variables there, its still considerable.

    – Ridiculously simple execution.
    Really depends on how you look at this. I see it this way, I mash and yank the stick around in Tekken like I was trying to get a refund on a sloppy blowjob and come out with combo’s and basic juggles moves etc. I do the same in SF and I usually end up coming out with bunch of normals and jumping around all over the place, if I am playing shoto’s then I may end up pulling off random SRK’s etc. Yeah, theres shortcuts, but the movements themselves are not as easy as Tekken’s basic F+?? B+?? d\f 1~2 etc. its an input of one direction, either once or multiple times with button press(es). Appreciate you were a Viper player (who is probably one of the most intensive execution characters without shortcuts) but from an outsiders point of view, simply showing them the command list, I am sure that SF would seem harder, even if there is less to remember. Plinking and Neg Edge are more high level tools which newbies wont really know about, much like frame data. Also, to me Tekken seems to buffer for much longer then SF, meaning I can input the next part of a combo in Tekken while the guy is still in mid animation to hit, and the next move will come out (in some cases) whereas in SF it feels much shorter.

    – Parlor tricks, and how easy they are to pick up.
    Parlour trick may be easy to pick up, but like all parlour tricks once you know the idea behind it, it doesnt work. Shenanigens get you only so far. A good Bison example is an empty headstomp to throw, I could probably only do it about 3 times in a match with someone experienced before they would figure it out and start teching or countering.

    – The gap between Beginner, Intermediate, Expert, Pro, and JPN
    I have to agree on this, Tekken’s gap between even beginner and intermediate is pretty vast, I would say just say just from personal reflection that juggles are what draw the line between those two. Intermediate to Expert probably introduces the element of environment into it, understanding Wall carry and the idea of proper Oki. SF’s gap is not as vast, but more because its not as big really. A decent player can carry an ok Game against someone much higher level.

    – Damage Scaling and the problems therein.
    Tekken also Damage scales, not sure whats meant here ?

    – Lack of reward for the “harder” characters to play/No way to play one character unless it’s Sagat. See also *Matchups.
    More or less agree, Claw for example one of the characters I play has pretty shit matchups all over. All his moves are horrible unsafe, and way too slow and he has an even more useless first ultra then Bison (2nd one in Super is good though). He is basically fucked if he gets pinned. The risk reward on lower characters is disgusting sometimes.

    Thats my take. Its late.

    Goodnight.

    – Fox

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