One player may compete against the computer, or two players may simultaneously compete against each other. Each player has an 8-way joystick and 4 buttons.
The buttons on the arcade are typically laid out in the following fashion:
Though they might as well be laid out like this:
The joystick works intuitively in that pressing left will generally move your character left, and pressing right will generally move your character right. But it is more important to think in terms of relative direction.
- If your character is facing to the right, then pressing left on the joystick means backward, and pressing right on the joystick means forward.
- If your character is facing to the left, then pressing left on the joystick means forward, and pressing right on the joystick means backward.
For this reason, all instructions are given with respect to forward and backward since the left and right directions change purpose when your character switches directions.
The following directions assume that your character is facing right, the starting direction of every fight for player one, who begins on the left side:
How to Play
Each battle consists of best-of-three round match between you and your opponent. At the start of each round, both player's life or health bars are full. The first player to drive the other player's health bar to zero wins the round. The first player to win two total rounds wins the match and moves on to the next opponent. If a single player loses to the computer, the game is over and the player must continue to rematch the recent opponent.
To win a round, the player must use his or her character's attack moves to damage the opponent, and block or dodge the opponent's attacks. Each player may attack from a standing or crouching position, or they may jump in to the air and attack. To attack from a standing position, press any single attack button. To attack from a crouching position, pull the joystick in a downward direction (including both diagonals) and press any single attack button. To attack from the air, direct your character to jump straight up, or jump in a diagonal position, and press any single attack button in mid-air.
To block an attack, a player must push backwards on the joystick when the opponent attacks (otherwise, pressing back on the joystick moves the player away from the opponent.) Blocking can be done standing which blocks middle and high attacks, as well as attacks in the air, but does not block attacks which are low to the ground. Blocking can also be down crouching by pressing the joystick diagonally down and back. A Crouching block will successfully block low and middle attacks. High attacks will usually go over your character's head if they are crouching, but a crouching block does not defend against air attacks or attacks known as overhead attacks which start high and travel down.
In addition to normal attacks there are attacks known as command moves and special moves. Command moves are special combinations of a joystick direction and a particular attack button that produces a different attack than when the button is pressed alone. A special move is a move that requires a more complicated joystick motion and an attack button to perform. For example, Sho's fireball attack, called Rekkou Ha, is performed by sliding the joystick in a circular sweeping motion from down to forward, and finished off with any punch button. In this example, the strength of the punch button used happens to dictate the speed at which Sho's fireball attack travels across the screen. Special attacks can be blocked like any other attack, but they do what's known as "tick damage." That is, even when blocked, they removed a single hit point from your health bar. Most special moves have a pause associated with them that leave you vulnerable to attack if you miss the opponent, or "whiff".
In addition to the health bar shown at the top of the screen, each player has a super meter at the bottom. As the player attacks and damages the opponent, and as the player takes damage from the opponent, the super meter fills up incrementally. The super meter fills up to three distinct levels of power. A player may execute a Super Move as long as the super meter is filled to at least one level of power. Super Moves are activated by inputting slightly more complex motions than special moves. When they are successfully executed, the game will freeze for a brief moment, and then the animation and attack associated with the super move begins. If the super move connects and is not blocked, it will do substantial damage to the opponent. Super moves can be used to turn the tide of a battle. Every player has more than one unique super move.
Every fighter can throw or hold an opponent by getting close to them and pressing or +. Some characters have their own throws which are done with different commands, or in mid-air. If performed correctly, your character will grab the opponent and toss them to the ground in a manner specific to your character's fighting style. Throws are unblockable.