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                 - Archived Entry -

05.23.2005 - CFE Prehistoric Link Combos

Game Version: Capcom Fighting Evolution (beta) / PlayStation 2 / North America / 2004

Even though the majority of its cast consists of recycled sprites from older games, Capcom Fighting Evolution contains some strange frame advantage distributions. The CFE beta version used in writing the Capcom Fighting Evolution Official Fighter's Guide included a game freeze feature with frame advance, allowing frame-by-frame command inputs with complete accuracy (with the exception of speed-based frame skips). I captured some one-frame link combos against Hauzer before having to return the CFE beta. I'm not doing anything else with them, so why not post them here?

Unfortunately, CFE has no Versus Mode Replay Save function, so the only available playback option is the Training Mode Dummy Record feature. The obvious restriction is the 10-second time limit. Still, it provides relatively consistent access to some otherwise impossibly precise link combos.

While these combos are kind of entertaining, the whole concept of a gigantic dinosaur occupying half the screen is somewhat insulting to combo makers. Nobody takes XSF Apocalypse-only combos seriously, so how impressive should Hauzer-only combos be considered? At least all Marvel game bosses had hyper armor, so there was incentive to avoid them. Nearly every CFE combo can be extended or improved by simply inserting Hauzer. Karin, Urien, Anakaris, and Felicia also provide interesting combo dummy features, but it's not enough. Having access to a character twice as fat as Zangief sort of ruins the challenge of constructing lengthy combos. In the long run, this only serves to reduce the number of unexpected setups composed by players to overcome obstacles. If Capcom wanted to make the whole endeavor more accessible to a wider audience, an interactive combo tutorial would have actually addressed the problem at hand.

Further distorting the situation are the immense hit box shifts resulting from Hauzer's various animations. For example, simply walking forward roughly doubles his horizontal hit box length. Similarly, Hauzer leans his head forward during hit stun animation, again extending his horizontal hit box. Since his feet stay in place, it's actually possible for Hauzer to be outside Ryu's c.MK range yet within Ryu's c.MP range while undergoing hit stun animation. Conversely, Hauzer's jumping animation greatly reduces his hit box width.

Every link combo in this set is a simple arrangement of frame data. A few cool things do happen apart from predictable number combinations, so clarifications follow.

Guile air throws Hauzer's forward dash for no other reason than to secure convenient knockdown spacing. Hauzer achieves the delayed meaty collision with Guile's reverse c.HP attack simply by walking forward. Guile's second c.LP attack is illegally canceled by first chaining into his s.LP and then kara-canceling into the LK Flash Kick. Among the SF2 cast in CFE, the renda-kara-cancel technique requires the use of a different weak attack as the intermediary. In this case, chaining into another c.LP attack would render it immune to kara-canceling.

M.Bison walks forward slightly inbetween two close s.LK attacks. It's completely unnecessary because chaining into the second s.LK yields the same results, especially since two is the maximum possible number of close s.LK attacks in any combination. Ryu also walks forward immediately after his F+HP attack, but the final s.MP does not connect otherwise.

Two side swaps take place during M.Bison's neutral LP+LK throw. When the throw connects, Hauzer instantly crosses over to the left side. At this point, M.Bison begins charging his Psycho Crusher via the Right directional input. The entire time they are bound together by the throw animation, the game engine considers Hauzer to be on the left side and M.Bison on the right. To maintain and extend stored charge, M.Bison must switch to holding the Left directional input as soon as Hauzer is released into the air. Since the goal is to fool the game into registering an uninterrupted charge buildup, the directional input shift demands seamless one-frame accuracy. If successful, M.Bison continues charging for the duration of his throw recovery animation, then capitalizes on Hauzer's full juggle state by landing the HP Psycho Crusher. This charge trick can work on other opponents, but the second side swap moment varies for each character.

As in CvS2, M.Bison's standard j.MP attack has zero juggle potential, while the second j.MP in his diagonal j.MP -> j.MP air chain has a juggle potential of one. Unlike CvS2, air chains in CFE contain no pre-programmed minimum delay periods between moves. Consequentially, M.Bison is capable of initiating his diagonal j.MP attack, releasing the MP button on the following frame, and pressing MP again as early as the 3rd frame to perform the secondary j.MP attack with only 2 frames added to its ST value. Such swift access to an attack with juggle potential presents M.Bison with several new combo opportunities. Of course, this updated property has no effect if the leading attack is required to connect, as with Yun's j.LP -> j.F+HP air chain.

Ultimately, these are all combos of the least commendable sort. They were formulated directly from frame data, incorporating no previously unavailable information. Therefore, they deviate least from the game designers' mold. Thus, they represent very little creative contribution by the combo maker. The unreasonable execution barrier preventing viewers from manually reproducing them certainly doesn't help. At best, the only valid compliment i would accept from a peer is that they look kinda cool. Please don't think that i'm being overly critical of my own efforts. In reality, i'm just trying to express my personal view of the distinction between impressive combos and uninspired ones.

  cfeguile01.jpg (320x224, 45 KB, JPG)
  cfeguile01.wmv (0:11, 1,004 KB, WMV9)
  cfeguile02.jpg (320x224, 49 KB, JPG)
  cfeguile02.wmv (0:09, 873 KB, WMV9)
  cfembison01.jpg (320x224, 49 KB, JPG)
  cfembison01.wmv (0:09, 879 KB, WMV9)
  cferyu01.jpg (320x224, 48 KB, JPG)
  cferyu01.wmv (0:07, 759 KB, WMV9)