From: hkong@unixg.ubc.ca (Henry)
Newsgroups: rec.games.video.arcade
Subject: [VF2] KAGE-MARU FAQ v2.0b4 (1/1)
Date: 21 Feb 1996 04:32:33 GMT


VIRTUA FIGHTER 2: THE KAGE-MARU FAQ
Version 2.0b4 (20 Feb 96)
Written by Tan Wu Meng
wumeng@pacific.net.sg

Copyright 1995 and 1996 by Tan Wu Meng. All rights reserved. No part of this
document may be reproduced for sale, profit, or commercial purposes without
the express permission of the author. Unauthorised reproduction by game
magazines is expressly prohibited. This FAQ may be freely distributed within
the gaming community, so long as it is on a non-profit basis.

The Kage FAQ, like any repository of information, is a work in progress. As
such, comments, corrections, and contributions will be greatly appreciated.
All correspondence can be sent to the above e-mail address.

This FAQ (and future updates) can be obtained as follows:

                                World Wide Web
                         "The Home of Virtua Fighter"
                        http://www.w3masters.com/vfhome
               (http://www.w3masters.com/vfhome/vf2/vf2kage.faq)

The above WWW site is a very cool source of VF2 information, and has a
comprehensive supply of VF2 guides and FAQs besides this one. Check it out;
it's definitely worth the visit!


+=================+
|Table of Contents|
+=================+

PREFACE TO THE 2ND EDITION
INTRODUCTION
VERSION HISTORY
MOVE LIST

TECHNIQUES, PART I
(a)   Escape from throws (Introduction)
(b)   Stances
(c)   Standing & crouching
(d)   Crouch dashing
(e)   Use of guard button
(f)   Counters
(g)   Reversals
(h)   Getting up

MOVE ANALYSIS

TECHNIQUES, PART II
(a)   Stance strategy
(b)   Getting throw opportunities
(c)   Practical use of crouch dashing
(d)   Modified crouch moves
(e)   Staggers
(f)   Dual purpose moves
(g)   Use of low punch

MANAGING THROW ESCAPES

GETTING UP & KEEPING THEM DOWN (OKI-ZEME)
(a)   Getting up process
(b)   Types of rising attacks
(c)   Kage's rising attacks
(d)   Oki-zeme
(e)   When you're grounded
(f)   The invincible getting up

THE SENBON PUNCH
(a)   What is the Senbon Punch?
(b)   Closing in
(c)   Senbon turn-around
(d)   After a stagger
(e)   Maximum float
(f)   Limitations of Senbon (Defeating the Senbon)

OPTION-SELECT

THE ART OF COMBINATION
(a)   Conventional Combos
(b)   10-Foot Toss Combos

GENERAL KAGE PHILOSOPHY

COMBAT CONQUEST

CPU GUIDE

RANKING MODE
(a)   Introduction to ranking
(b)   Required moves

LIST OF COUNTERS
LIST OF REVERSALS
LIST OF STANCE-DEPENDENT MOVES
LIST OF COUNTERS FOR RISING ATTACKS
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS


+==========================+
|PREFACE TO THE 2ND EDITION|
+==========================+

The second version of the Kage FAQ was originally conceived as a revision to
the original, with updates to reflect the latest discussions on the Internet
newsgroup "rec.games.video.arcade". However, it soon became clear that with
the many recently discovered aspects of the game, a complete rewrite was
needed.

Since I was constructing a totally new FAQ, I took the opportunity to
reorganise the structure. To strike a balance between the casual player and
the VF2 professional, I have placed the more elementary information in
front, with advanced techniques like the Senbon Punch and Oki-Zeme moved to
the back. Long and comprehensive lists, such as the lists for counters and
reversals, have all been shifted to the very end, out of sight from all, yet
still available to those who want to know.

When discussing the size of the new FAQ with one of my longtime VF2 friends,
I was warned that nobody would read the new FAQ because of its mammoth size.
It is my hope that this won't be the case. The aim of any VF2 FAQ, is to
help readers play the character to his fullest potential. In line with this
goal, I have tried to put in everything you will need to do that, without
making it overly difficult to read.

Credit must be given to all the VF2 experts from around the world who
contributed information and ideas to the FAQ, of which a list can be found
under the Acknowledgements. Much of the interesting and helpful information
was contributed by them. On the other hand, if there are any mistakes in the
FAQ, they are most certainly because of my limited skills and understanding.

To conclude, on behalf of everybody who had a part in the making of the Kage
FAQ, I would like to wish you an enjoyable time --- now go and start 10-Foot
Tossing those opponents! :)


+============+
|INTRODUCTION|
+============+

According to Sega, Kage has joined the World Fighting Tournament to find out
the fate of his mother, who was abducted many years ago by the mysterious
group which is now organising the event.

Kage's fighting style is jujitsu, which encompasses several styles of
fighting. Because of this, Kage has a very large array of moves to draw on
in VF2. Of all these moves, his most powerful is the Ten Foot Toss, which
has spelt the defeat of many players. While it takes a while to become
deadly with other powerhouses like Akira or Lau, even the average Kage
player can have a strong arsenal of follow-ups to the Ten Foot Toss.

If your local community does not approve of Ring Out as a way of winning in
VF2, you will not be able to play Kage to his full potential. The nature of
Kage fighting, is such that Kage can threaten RO from anywhere in the entire
ring. An opponent who keeps his back to the edge, can easily find himself
being pressured backwards until he falls out of the ring. In the reverse
case, any opponent who has followed Kage across the centre of the ring, is
seriously risking RO by Ten Foot Toss (TFT).

In general, Kage is up there with Lau as one of the most stressful
characters to play against, simply because Kage players are noted for making
miraculous comebacks, even when they only had a sliver of lifebar left. Of
course, if you are the one playing Kage, it means that there is always hope,
no matter how badly the first part of the fight went.

But enough commentary for now. The best way to discover the power of Kage is
to find out for yourself. With that in mind, I hope that you will find
reading the Kage FAQ as rewarding an experience as I had creating it.


+===============+
|VERSION HISTORY|
+===============+

1.00    Initial public release.

1.01    List of e-mail addresses reduced to just one, for simplicity.
        Expanded on d+P method to avoid throws.

1.10    Added Version History.
        Added info on where to get this FAQ.
        Expanded further on d+P method to avoid throws. Now includes P+G.
        Corrected a few typing errors for moves.
        Added caveat on low kick (d+K)
        Expanded section on turnaround attacks (back facing opponent)
        Corrected move analysis on Heel Kick (d+K+G)
        Expanded section on rising knee (crouch,f+K)
        Expanded section on backward kickflip (u/b+K)
        Corrected serious typo in throws section.
        Expanded combos for turnaround moves.
        Added some "semi-counters" to the counters list. These are counters
        that do not always work, but are included because of their potential
        usefulness in special situations.

2.00    Completely new version. Rewritten from scratch, and reorganised for
        better clarity.



+=========+
|MOVE LIST|
+=========+

In this section, the letters "u,d,b,f" denote the directions of up, down,
back and forward respectively. If the letter is in lowercase, then it
signifies a tap of the joystick in the appropriate direction. (e.g. d+P
means tap down and Punch together). Similarly, uppercase letters indicate
that you must hold the joystick in that direction. (e.g. U+P means hold up
and Punch together) Diagonal directions are indicated with a slash. For
instance, d/f would mean the diagonal direction between down and forward.

VF2 has three buttons: Guard, Punch and Kick. Their abbreviations here are
"G", "P", and "K" respectively. Moves where buttons must be pressed
simultaneously, are indicated with a plus sign. (e.g. f+P+K, means tap
forwards, Punch and Kick together).

Certain complex motions have abbreviations. SCR denotes a semi-circle roll
of the stick, and QCR denotes a quarter-circle roll. For example, "f,SCR,b"
would mean rolling the stick from forwards to backwards in a "U" shape.
Similarly, "b,SCR,f" would mean rolling the stick from backwards to
forwards, again in a "U" shape.


The move list also includes several categories of information:

Lvl: where the move hits
     (H=high, M=middle, L=low,  G=ground, n=non-defender or airborne)
Dmg: damage caused by the move (where Wolf's Twirl & Hurl is 100)
Ini: initiation time, or how long the move takes to come out
Hit: after initiation, how long the hit detection is active
Rec: how long it takes to recover
Pos: recovery position
     (S=standing, C=crouching, F=changes feet position, D=on ground)
Rev: who can reverse these moves, e.g. PA = Pai & Akira
     (A=Akira, P=Pai, K=Kage, W=Wolf)

In the Ini, Hit and Rec categories, the time is given in frames. In VF2,
time is measured in frames, and there are 60 frames of animation every
second. Using this internal clock, we would find that a recovery time of 20
frames is equivalent to 1/3 of a second, and vice versa.

You should also note that for combos (e.g. P,P,K) the move descriptions and
figures only apply to the last part of the move. For example, in the punch-
kick combo "P,K" the information given is only for the kick. However, to
help you with calculating combo damage, the total damage for the combo is
given in brackets --- e.g. for the punch-kick combo, the damage is listed as
"30(40)", which means that the kick in the punch-kick combo will do 30
points, and the total combo damage is 40 points.

During combos, there is no recovery time between moves. Thus for the punch-
kick, immediately after the punch hit detection time expires, the kick
initiation time will begin. Recovery time only begins after the last move in
a combo.

For hopping moves, you have to tap the joystick up in the direction of the
hop. If the hopping move is marked as "+P", it would mean hopping and
tapping the Punch button simultaneously. For those marked "asc" and "desc",
it means tapping the buttons during the ascending and descending part of the
hop respectively.

For jumping moves, you must hold the joystick up and in the direction you
want to jump. Thus a forwards jump would be accomplished by U/F, and a
forwards takeoff kick would be done with U/F+K. Apart from this, the same
notes for hopping moves will apply.

Certain moves can only be done from a crouch, such as Kage's rising knee.
These moves will be denoted with a "FC" beforehand. Thus Kage's rising knee
is "FC,f+K", which means that you must crouch before tapping f+K.


BASIC MOVES     Description            Lvl  Dmg     Ini  Hit  Rec  Pos  Rev
-----------     -----------            ---  ---     ---  ---  ---  ---  ---
P               punch                  H    10      8    2    10   S    PKA
d+P             low punch              L    10      10   2    8    C    A
K               roundhouse kick        H    30      12   4    22   S    PA
d+K             low sliding kick       L    14      16   3    24   C    A
d/f+K           sidekick               M    22      14   3    24   S    PWA

HOP MOVES       Description            Lvl  Dmg     Ini  Hit  Rec  Pos  Rev
-----------     -----------            ---  ---     ---  ---  ---  ---  ---
+P              hopping chop           n    30      43   6    22   S
P(asc)          hopping jab            L    24      48   6    30   S
+K              hurdling hop kick      n    20      10   4    29   S
K(asc)          hop kick               n    20      34   2    12   S    P
K(desc)         hopping sweep          L    20      52   4    39   S

JUMP MOVES      Description            Lvl  Dmg     Ini  Hit  Rec  Pos  Rev
-----------     -----------            ---  ---     ---  ---  ---  ---  ---
f+P             overhead hammer        n    30      97   2    43   S
+K              takeoff jumpkick       n    30      19   4    88   S
f+K             front dropkick         n    40      93   7    53   S
K(asc)          mid-air kick           n    30      10   4
K(desc)         landing kick           n    30      93   4    10   S
b+K             rear dropkick          n    40      95   4    43   S
U/F+K           2.5 roll & slam        n    30      91   6    45   S
(Note: The 2.5 roll & slam can only be done at long distance.)

TURNAROUND MOVES (OPPONENT IN FRONT)
Move            Description            Lvl  Dmg     Ini  Hit  Rec  Pos  Rev
-----------     -----------            ---  ---     ---  ---  ---  ---  ---
b,b+P           downward slap          H    14      13   3    14   S    PK
b,b+P+G         upward slap            H    14      14   3    13   S
b,b+K           back thrust            H    30      15   3    17   S    P
b,b+K+G         toe slide              L    12      18   4    18   S
(Note: The b,b+K+G will always knock down the opponent if it connects.)

TURNAROUND MOVES (OPPONENT BEHIND YOU)
Move            Description            Lvl  Dmg     Ini  Hit  Rec  Pos  Rev
-----------     -----------            ---  ---     ---  ---  ---  ---  ---
P               punch                  H    12      12   2    18   S    PKA
d+P             double low punch       L    28      *    *    22   S    A
D+P             punch from crouch      H    12      15   3    22   S    PKA
K               roundhouse kick        H    30      16   2    24   S    PA
d+K             sliding low kick       L    30      13   4    36   S
D+K             kick from crouch       H    30      19   3    28   S    PA
u+K             flipover knee          M    30      31   7    32
(*Note: The d+P does 14+14 damage. Ini-Hit values are 12-2, 19-3.)

POUNCES (WHEN YOUR OPPONENT IS DOWN)
Pounce          Description            Lvl  Dmg     Ini  Hit  Rec  Pos  Rev
-----------     -----------            ---  ---     ---  ---  ---  ---  ---
u+P (near)      head slam              G    30      41   9    59   S
u+P (near)      head slam (miss)                    41   9    59   D
u+P (mid)       foot slam              G    40      49   2    80   S
u+P (mid)       foot slam (miss)                    49   2    25   S
u+P (far)       knee slam              G    30      48   4    73   S
u+P (far)       knee slam (miss)                    48   4    68   S
d/f+K           heel smash             G    15      28   5    39   S

SPECIAL MOVES & COMBOS
Move            Description            Lvl  Dmg     Ini  Hit  Rec  Pos  Rev
-----------     -----------            ---  ---     ---  ---  ---  ---  ---
P,K             punch-kick             H    30(40)  12   4    22   S    PA
P,P             2 punches              H    10(20)  7    2    13   S    PKA
P,P,K           2 punches & kick       H    30(50)  14   2    28   S    PA
P,P,P           3 punches              H    12(32)  9    2    18   S    PKA
P,P,P,K         PPP & mid-kick         M    30(62)  16   4    32   S    PWA
P,P,P,u/b+K     PPP & kickflip         M    20(52)  10   3    34   S
f+P             elbow                  M    19      11   2    21   S    PA
FC,f+K          rising knee            M    38      14   6    36   S
d+K+G           heelkick               M*   35      14   4    28   S    P
u/b+K           kickflip               M    40      20   2    34   S
u/b+K+G         backward kickflip      M    50      10   4    56   S
f,f+K           backheel sweep         L    20-30   26   7    30   S,F
f,f+P+K+G       catapult kick          L    40      20   20   76   S
b+K+G           back thrust            H    30      22   3    21   S
b,QCR,d+K       sliding tackle         L    19      19   6    47   S,F  A
f,f+K+G         corkscrew kick         M    30      25   14   46   S,F
b/d+P           dodging swipe          H    14      12   2    16   S    PKA
u/b             backflip
b+G             backwards cartwheel
(Note: Kage's d+K+G heelkick will hit HIGH when in open stance.)
(Note: the b/d+P dodge punch can be used to start any punch combo.)

KAGE'S SLASH & CHOP MOVES
Move            Description            Lvl  Dmg     Ini  Hit  Rec  Pos  Rev
-----------     -----------            ---  ---     ---  ---  ---  ---  ---
FC,f+P+K        chopping shuto,        M    16      15   4    26   S,F
FC,f+P+K,P+K    .horizontal shuto      H    16      12   3    24   S
b,f+P+K         slash shuto,           M    16      18   5    25   S,F
b,f+P+K,P+K     .horizontal shuto      H    16      13   4    32   S
d+P+K           slash shikan-ken,      H    16      23   3    19   S,F  PKA
d+P+K,P+K       .back shikan-ken       M    16      6    3    25   S    A

KAGE'S ROLLING MOVES AND ATTACKS
Move            Description            Lvl  Dmg     Ini  Hit  Rec  Pos  Rev
-----------     -----------            ---  ---     ---  ---  ---  ---  ---
b,SCR,f+K       roll fwd & sweep       L    20-35   28   2    40   C
f,SCR,b+K       roll back & sweep      L    20-35   30   2    30   C
b,SCR,f         roll forward                                  45
f,SCR,b         roll backward                                 49
b,SCR,f+P       multiroll fwd                                 43
f,SCR,b+P       multiroll back                                48
(b,SCR,f+K)     roll fwd & sweep       L    20-35   54   2    40   C
(f,SCR,b+K)     roll back & sweep      L    20-35   59   2    40   C
(b,SCR,f+All)   roll & catapult        L    40      19   10   84   S
(b,SCR,f+P)     shinsodan              L    15                43

KAGE'S THROWS
Throw           Description            Lvl  Dmg     Ini  Hit  Rec  Pos  Rev
-----------     -----------            ---  ---     ---  ---  ---  ---  ---
P+G             shoulder throw         H    50                78   S
P+G (behind)    torso takedown         H/L  50                146  S
b+P             10-Foot Toss           H    40                83   S
P+K+G           toka throw             H    50                90   S
b,f+P           reaping throw          H    50                98   S

KAGE'S REVERSAL
Reversal        Description            Lvl  Dmg     Ini  Hit  Rec  Pos  Rev
-----------     -----------            ---  ---     ---  ---  ---  ---  ---
d+P             wrist grab                  50                75   S
(Note: Kage's d+P reversal will grab most single palm/fist attacks.)



+==================+
|TECHNIQUES, PART I|
+==================+

+--------------------------+
|Escape from throws (Basic)|
+--------------------------+

(i) What is a throw escape?
----------
In VF2, every character has a throw executed with P+G. All P+G throws can be
escaped, if the victim taps P+G within the first 10 frames after the throw
is initiated. (Jeffry's b+P+G body press can also be escaped, by tapping
b+P+G instead.) Since the 10 frames make out to only 1/6 of a second, it is
too late to react by the time the animation for the throw is displayed.
Throw escape is therefore a matter of anticipation. If you expect the
opponent to use a P+G throw on you, then you tap P+G beforehand in
expectation of it.

If two throws are keyed in simultaneously, things get more interesting. In
this case, a P+G throw will take precedence over a complex motion throw. For
example, if Wolf keys in his P+G suplex at the same time Kage taps b+P for a
10-Foot Toss, the P+G suplex will result.

In some situations, people often go for a P+G throw, such as after their
knee kick is blocked. At such times, you should enter P+G once you block the
knee. Even if the opponent doesn't go for a P+G throw, you'll get your own
P+G throw instead. Also, when going for a P+G throw or P+G escape against
Jeffry, you should always key it in as b+P+G. Once this habit is ingrained,
you won't have to think about it when fighting a Jeffry player who likes the
body press. This split-second advantage (of not having to think about the
b+P+G when playing Jeffry) can mean the difference between success and
failure, so be sure to use it.


(ii) P+G throw from crouch
----------
Kage can also P+G throw from a crouching position, and by extension, he can
throw with d+P+G. (This applies to all characters except Akira, Wolf and
Lion.) If the opponent crouches or is out of range, you get a low punch or G-
cancelled low punch instead. Whether you prefer to use d+P+G or b+P+G
against a Jeffry player is up to you, really --- d+P+G would help you duck
attacks (and throw Jeffry if you're fast), but would not escape the b+P+G
bodypress.

The d+P+G throw method is useful when you're in a position where the
opponent is going to standing throw you. Simply tap d+P+G rapidly. If you're
fast enough, you'll drop to a crouch immediately (due to the low punch
component) and the opponent's throw will fail. If you're not so fast (but
still fast), the opponent will get thrown with a P+G throw (due to the P+G
component). If you are slow, there is still hope, as you can still escape if
the opponent decided to use a P+G throw.

The "d+P+G escape" tactic becomes very useful when struggling out of a
stagger, especially if the opponent is waiting to throw you just as you
recover from the stagger.


(iii) The controversy over P+K+G escape
----------
There has been some controversy over whether P+K+G can act as an escape for
P+G throws. Apparently P+K+G works as an escape for some people, but fails
for others. Whether it works for you, will depend on your finger position
and how you tap the buttons. For some people, their fingers are positioned
such that when tapping P+K+G, the P and G buttons make contact a frame or
two before the K button does. Hence if the opponent was initiating a P+G
throw, Kage will perform a throw escape. If the opponent wasn't tapping P+G,
then the VF2 machine will be a little bit forgiving (as the P+G and K were
only a frame apart) and a P+K+G turnover throw will result for Kage.

What I recommend is that you experiment a bit in the arcade, especially
against CPU Wolf and CPU Jeffry. Start the round with a single kick (K).
Jeffry/Wolf will start a P+G throw against you. Immediately after the kick,
tap P+K+G repeatedly, the same way you normally do Kage's P+K+G throw. If
you find that most of the time, Kage escapes the P+G throw from Jeffry and
Wolf, then it should be safe to use P+K+G as your preferred escape method.

If it works for you, the "meta" P+K+G escape is very powerful, especially if
you do it as b+P+K+G. In such situations, if the opponent keys in a P+G or
b+P+G throw before you tap the buttons, you will still escape the throw. On
the other hand, if you key in before the opponent does, he'll eat a P+K+G
throw.

In a later section, we'll look at throw escapes in greater detail, and
discuss what to do when escaping somebody's throw, or if somebody escapes
your throw.


+-------+
|Stances|
+-------+

In VF2, there are two kinds of foot stance: Open and closed. These two terms
describe how your feet are aligned in relation to the opponent's feet. For a
quick explanation, just look at the following diagram:

        YOU     OPPONENT            YOU     OPPONENT
       *         o                      *    o
            *         o            *              o
        (CLOSED STANCE)              (OPEN STANCE)

As shown in the diagram, you can get much closer to an opponent in closed
stance, than when you are in open stance. Stance is an important factor in
throwing --- it is harder to throw opponents in open stance, because you
cannot get close enough as easily.

One good way of determining if you are in open stance or closed stance, is
to remember that in closed stance, you will see one person's front and one
person's back. In open stance, you either see both persons' fronts, or (more
rarely) both persons' backs.

In open stance, Wolf and Jeffry have an advantage because of their longer
throw ranges (1.5 versus 1.4 metres for the rest). Certain moves will also
fail to connect in open stance. Other moves change their attack level
depending on stance, and we'll examine this in a later section.

Certain moves will change your stance, such as Kage's heel sweep (f,f+K) and
his sliding tackle (b,QCR,d+K). If you find yourself in open stance and want
to switch back to closed stance, just release the Guard button and hold the
stick forward or backward. Kage will slowly inch into the closed stance
position.

It's worth noting that Kage's elbow has much better range when in open
stance. Against players who like rising sweeps and elbow-counterable
attacks, you should maintain the open stance.


+--------------------+
|Standing & Crouching|
+--------------------+

In VF2, you are either standing or crouching, unless you have been knocked
over and are lying on the ground. Depending on whether you are standing or
crouching, certain attacks and throws will not affect you. Another factor in
this, is whether or not you are pressing the Guard button when the attack
connects (i.e. touches) you.

However, no matter whether you're standing or crouching when you block,
there is no position where you are completely invulnerable. Low attacks will
hit an opponent in standing guard. Low attacks can be blocked with a crouch
guard, but then mid-level attacks will hit.

Similarly, a high throw ("standing throw") will work on you only if you're
standing, and a low throw ("crouch throw") only if you're crouching. The
following table should clarify matters:

   ATTACK LEVEL        STANDING GUARD         CROUCH GUARD
   ------------        --------------         ------------
       High                 Safe                  Safe
      Middle                Safe                  Hit
        Low                  Hit                  Safe
    High Throw             Thrown                 Safe
     Low Throw              Safe                 Thrown

Among all the playing characters, only Jeffry and Wolf have low throws.
Dural (the opponent on the Bonus Stage) has low throws from Jeffry and Wolf.

Guarding and un-Guarding are instantaneous, taking effect immediately when
you tap or release the Guard button respectively. However, if you simply
press the joystick (or release the joystick from the down position) the
transition between the standing and crouching states takes 20 frames. During
the transition the first 10 frames are in the beginning state, and the last
10 frames in the final state. So if you're standing, and you hold the
joystick down, you are still considered as standing during the first 10
frames.

Hence, if you start crouching at the instant your opponent starts a P+G
standing throw, you'll still get thrown. However, the low punch and low kick
will immediately put you into a crouching position, thus you can use them to
avoid a standing throw.


+--------------+
|Crouch dashing|
+--------------+

Once you start playing against intermediate VF2 players, you'll find that
conventional dashing with "f,f" and "b,b" motions has its limitations.
During a normal dash, you are considered as a standing non-defender. As
such, all attacks will cause damage if they hit you, as long as you're in
the middle of the dash. In close combat, conventional dashing can also be a
liability. If you're crouching at close range, an opponent can throw you the
moment you get up, long before you've had the chance to dash back.

Crouch dashing overcomes these limitations. Basically, a crouch dash is a
dash that's executed while in a crouching position. To execute a crouch
dash, the "f,f" and "b,b" motions are still the same. For a regular dash,
the joystick briefly springs back to neutral between the joystick motions.
So for a crouch dash forwards, you should use "d/f,d,d/f". For a crouch dash
backwards, you should use "b/d,d,b/d". If you do it right, you'll see Kage
stretch his legs out and take a step forwards or backwards, except that
he'll be crouching throughout the motion.

Another way to crouch dash is by tapping "d/f,d/f" or "b/d,b/d", whether
you're standing or already crouching. However, this method is less reliable
for some people, although it is the fastest way to crouch dash. Just pick
what works best for you.

Once you can crouch dash properly, it opens up many new possibilities in
VF2. By crouch-dashing forwards, you can duck under many attacks, while
still closing in effectively. For example, some players like to hold off
opponents by high punching. A well-timed crouch dash can slide under the
high punch, giving Kage a golden throw opportunity. In close combat, crouch
dashing is a means of retreating without standing up, thus denying the
opponent a chance to throw you.


+-----------------------+
|Use of the Guard button|
+-----------------------+

Proper use of the Guard button is essential for playing VF2 effectively.
Here are some of the uses:

(i) Distance control
----------
Normal dashing and crouch dashing do not give control over the distance
moved. This can be a problem when avoiding fast attacks like Pai's sidekick,
as a simple dash would avoid the attack, but leave Kage too far away to
close in and counterattack or throw the recovering opponent.

This problem is avoided by using the Guard button. During a normal dash,
tapping Guard will cause Kage to stop immediately, and assume a standing
guard position. The same applies for crouch dashing, except that Kage will
assume a crouching guard position, so long as the joystick is held in any of
the 3 down positions (b/d, d, or d/f) when the Guard button is tapped.

The Guard button is also useful when you want to stop in the middle of a
run. Normally, if you release the joystick during a forward run (you can run
by tapping "f,F"), Kage will stumble to a rather clumsy stop. By tapping
Guard during the run, your character will immediately assume the Guard
position. This allows very precise control of distances, even when running.

Making your opponent miss an attack through good distance control is a way
to get throw opportunities in VF2. And as we'll see later, Kage only shows
his true glory when he can get a throw.


(ii) Buffering joystick motions
----------
When using moves with complex stick motions, Kage twitches a little bit
before the move comes out. For example, when tapping f,f+P+K+G for the
catapult kick, Kage will twitch forwards slightly before the kick comes out.
A good opponent will be watching for this, and react accordingly.

To get around this twitching and tell-tale signs, just enter the joystick
motions while still holding the Guard button, but for the last movement,
release the Guard and enter the final stick motion required. This process is
called "buffering the move". Moves that can be buffered in are listed below.
The motions in brackets should be done while holding Guard, and the motions
outside the brackets are done without the Guard button:

Turning downward slap                  (b),b+P
Turning upward slap                    (b),b+P+G
Turning high back thrust               (b),b+K
Turning toe slide attack               (b),b+K+G
Backheel sweep                         (f),f+K
Flying catapult kick                   (f),f+P+K+G
Flying drill/corkscrew kick            (f),f+K+G
Slashing fist                          (b),f+P+K
Slashing fist, horizontal fist         (b),f+P+K,P+K
Reaping throw                          (b),f+P

Of these moves, the catapult kick (f,f+P+K+G) and turning toe slide
(b,b+K+G) can benefit the most from buffering. For the catapult kick, you
can buffer in the forward motion while blocking a flurry of punches, then
release Guard and tap f+P+K+G at the first opening to catch the opponent by
surprise. Buffering in the turning toe slide also minimises the backward
dashing effect of the "b,b" motion, thereby increasing the effective range
of the toe slide.

You can also combine distance control with the turning toe slide. As you
dash towards the opponent, tap b+G simultaneously once you're at the ideal
distance. Then release Guard and tap b+K+G to bring out the toe slide. From
the opponent's viewpoint, it's as if Kage dashed forward and did a near-
instant toe slide.


(iii) Attack cancellation
----------
The Guard button can also be used to cancel a simple attack motion (e.g.
kick, sidekick) if it is pressed shortly after the attack begins. Kage will
start the kick and then retract it almost immediately, returning to the
guarding position.

It is good for playing mind games with your opponent, once you get the
timing right for retracting the kick. Opponents with highly-strung nerves
can be provoked into action with this.

Using the Guard button to cancel Kage's punch-kick combo is also the
foundation of the Senbon punch, which is an advanced technique we will look
at later on.


(iv) Combo cancellation
----------
Also known as "Guard cancellation" or "G-cancel", it is a feature of the VF2
game that tapping Guard will interrupt any combos already in progress,
allowing the player to start a new combo or do something completely
different.

Why is G-cancel necessary? To understand the need for G-cancel, we must
examine how the VF2 arcade machine analyses your joystick movements and
button presses. Once you start the first move in a combo (e.g. the first
punch in Kage's P,P,K), during the next few frames the computer will be
watching for the next move. In our example of Kage's PPK, this will be the
second punch. As long as a given amount of waiting time has not elapsed
since the last move keyed into the machine, the computer will still link the
moves into a combo. After this wait time (e.g. if you waited 2 seconds), the
timer expires and the computer decides the user didn't want a combo after
all.

Because the computer is watching for the next move in a combo, it will not
react properly if you start a different non-combo move during this wait
time. An example would be doing a P,d+K with Kage, where the player wants
Kage to punch and then low kick. Because the computer is watching only for
the Punch and Kick buttons (as P can continue intp P,K or P,P,...) it
disregards the joystick-down component of the d+K, and blindly proceeds with
the P,K combo instead.

However, if you tap Guard after the punch, it signals to the computer that
you are intending to do something else, and the waiting time in the VF2
machine is cancelled. After that, you can continue with whatever you want.
So to perform a punch and low kick, you should use "P,G,d+K".

As a point of interest, Jacky's kickflip has a built-in Guard cancel. This
means that if Jacky wants to do a punch, followed immediately by kickflip,
he doesn't have to key "P,G,u/b+K". He can combine the G-cancel and kickflip
together, and do it with "P,u/b+K+G". This makes Jacky particularly deadly
in close combat, as there is no delay to tap the Guard button when G-
cancelling combos into a kickflip.


+--------+
|Counters|
+--------+

(i) Introduction to counters
----------
In VF2, you can counter people's moves. Countering is hitting the opponent
while he's still recovering from an attack. In this section, we'll
concentrate on countering moves that you have blocked (i.e. the move touched
you but did not cause damage).

What exactly is a block counter? Basically, there are certain moves whereby
you can always hit or throw the opponent after blocking them. An example
would be Akira's double palm. If you block it, you can always retaliate with
punch-kick, a throw, or a heelkick (d+K+G). These are therefore the counters
for Akira's double palm.

The mechanics of block counters can be quite interesting to study. To start,
after blocking a move, you are stunned for a short time --- "block stun".
Meanwhile, your opponent is also recovering from the attack. If the time you
spend in block stun is shorter than the opponent's recovery time, you will
have a window of opportunity to counter his move, also known as "advantage
time". If your character has an attack with initiation time shorter than the
advantage time, then that move can be used as a counter. To put it
mathematically, the condition for successful countering is:

   Your block stun + Your counterattack initiation < Enemy recovery time

Although it isn't accurate for aerial moves, a good formula is:

   Block stun = (2/3 of attack damage value) + 6

The block stun is also limited to a maximum of 22 frames, which occurs when
attacks reach a damage value of 24 points.

Certain moves are uncounterable if you block them, and are called
"uncounterable moves". Either the block stun is longer than the opponent's
recovery time, or the advantage time is too short to launch any
counterattack. However, this does not mean it is impossible to fight an
opponent who uses uncounterable moves. It just means that blocking the move
is not the way to win. You should instead try to make them miss these moves,
as the block stun will not apply (as the move missed and didn't have to be
blocked). If the opponent's attack is not blocked, the following formula
applies for successful countering:

   Your counterattack initiation < Enemy recovery time

As you can see, for any given move by your opponent, you are generally in a
better position if it misses, as compared to your having to block it. In the
case of fast attacks, this can make all the difference. Take Pai's sidekick
as an example; it recovers too quickly to be countered when blocked, but if
you dodge back so that her sidekick just misses, you can dash back in and
throw her, or punch-kick her for a knockdown and sweep.

Missed attacks can often be punished by a throw. However, certain attacks
are so fast that throws can be potentially risky for the counterattacking
person. In such a case, simply punch-kick. PK may not be the most graceful
way to counter, but it works well enough, especially against Jacky and Sarah
players who use their knee attack as bait. (More on this later.)


(ii) Kage's Counters
----------
There are four basic types of counters you can use with Kage:

(1)   Punch-Kick. Just tap P,K and the counter will come out. If it
connects, follow up with the f,f+K foot sweep as the opponent will be
knocked down. Don't wait until the attacker's limb retracts all the way back
before keying in PK. You should hold forward while blocking the move, then
immediately release the Guard button and PK the moment you see the
opponent's attack being blocked. This is important when countering moves
like Akira's sidekick, as the advantage time is quite limited. Holding the
stick forward while guarding also increases the PK range by quite a bit,
which is important when countering moves like Jeffry's sidekick, which push
you back.

(2)   Throw. Any throw will work in this case, although you might have to
buffer in a forward dash to close the distance. The best throw to use is the
Ten Foot Toss (b+P). The Reaping Throw (b,f+P) is also useful in borderline
cases where the opponent may already have recovered and entered a crouch to
avoid your throw. This is because the b,f+P comes out as an elbow (f+P) if
the throw fails, and the elbow will stagger a crouching opponent. The most
common reason for a failed throw at close range, is because the opponent
crouched before the throw was keyed in.

(3)   Heel Kick. Just tap d+K+G, and Kage will execute his heel kick. The
heel kick can often be followed up with a foot sweep, and sometimes by a
pounce. You can tell by listening to the normal sound of a heel kick
hitting, and the powerful heel kick sound you get sometimes. If you hear the
loud booming sound with a heel kick, then a pounce will have good chances
for connecting. If you hear the regular sound, then a sweep is better.

(4)   Elbow Strike. The elbow counters are less common, but are effective
for moves which leave the opponent in a crouching position upon recovery.
Just tap f+P to do the elbow. If the elbow staggers the opponent (as it
usually does), then follow up with a punch-kick and sweep. This is
particularly useful against sweeping moves like Pai's sweep (d+K+G), and
certain rising attacks.


(iii) Major & minor counters
----------
If we generalise and do not restrict ourselves solely to blocked moves,
hitting the opponent during the recovery time is also termed a "minor
counter". If you hit the opponent during the initiation time of his/her
move, it is called a "major counter". This is important, as minor counters
do 25% more damage, while major counters do 50% more damage. Major counters
also allow better pounce opportunities. You can tell apart major counters
from normal moves, as the sound is louder and more booming in most cases.


+---------+
|Reversals|
+---------+

Kage has a reversal (activated by down+P), and it works against single palm
and fist attacks --- he grabs the opponent's attacking hand and spins the
opponent around, landing the opponent at his feet and doing 50 points of
damage in the process.

As long as you are in a situation where you can block the incoming attack,
you can reverse it (assuming it's reversible of course). In short, a
reversal isn't going to save you if you miss a kickflip and Akira decides to
hammer you with his dashing palm --- since you wouldn't be able to block a
dashing palm while recovering from the kickflip, neither would you be able
to reverse it.

This works both ways of course. If Akira whiffs a double palm and you
immediately punch-kick him while he's in recovery, he can't reverse the
punch even though he may have already keyed in the reversal before you
attacked. You should bear this in mind when planning and using your
reversals.

Despite its limited range of applications, Kage's reversal can take the
steam out of many attacks. For example, Lion's lunging fist thrust (f,f+P)
cannot be countered by Kage, but you can reverse it. Virtually all of Lau's
fist and palm attacks can be reversed as well.

If you're interested, there is an exhaustive list of moves listed at the end
of this FAQ, covering which moves Kage can reverse.


+----------+
|Getting up|
+----------+

(i) Getting up quickly
----------
When you've been knocked down in VF2, it is possible to get up faster by
tapping the buttons and wiggling the stick. This is because the computer
calculates the time to get up as follows:

(1)   You are knocked down
(2)   Every frame, a counter "Y" is increased by 4, if a stick motion or
button press occurred in that frame.
(3)   If Y is larger than (D/2)-7, then you get up. Here "D" is the damage
you took in the knockdown move.
(4)   After a certain time, you'll get up anyway, even if you remain
inactive on the ground.

If we simplify this to a simple formula, you therefore need (D/8 - 3/4)
stick motions and/or button presses to get up. As you can see, the fastest
way of getting up would be to wiggle the stick in a circle and tap all the
buttons rapidly. This is how expert VF2 players seem to get up almost
immediately --- just watch the sheer amount of action going on at the
joystick and buttons.

However, when getting up so rapidly, you sacrifice a bit of intiative, as
this button-mashing forces you to lose control over which kind of rising
attack results. The best compromise is to wiggle the stick in a circle, and
tap only the Guard and Punch buttons. That way Kage will not launch a
spurious rising attack, which can give good opponents an opening.


(ii) Basic modes of getting up
----------
There are a few basic ways of getting up, all of which can be continued into
a rising attack except the handspring. They are:

(1)   Handspring: Tap the joystick up repeatedly.
(2)   Roll away: Tap the joystick back (away from the opponent) repeatedly.
(3)   Twist away (out of the screen): Hold the joystick down and tap Guard
repeatedly. Kage will roll towards the player, i.e. out of the screen.
(4)   Twist away (into the screen): Hold the joystick up and tap Guard
repeatedly. Kage will roll away from the player, i.e. into the screen.

For methods 3 and 4, it's best to experiment in the arcade to see what they
are, because they are rather difficult to describe in prose. As they say, a
picture is worth a thousand words.




+=============+
|MOVE ANALYSIS|
+=============+

+-----------+
|Basic Moves|
+-----------+

High Punch (P)
-----
Kage's high punch is the fastest punch in VF2, sharing this spot with
Sarah's and Pai's high punch. It is a useful tactic when setting up an
attack or closing in for a throw, as the high punch interrupts many attacks.
If the high punch connects, the block stun gives Kage initiative after that.
Kage can throw standing opponents after the high punch. If the opponent
crouches, a sidekick will work, although even better is an elbow (f+P), as
the resulting elbow stagger can be followed up with a punch-kick knockdown
and sweep.

The key to closing in with a high punch, is to guard-cancel the punch
immediately, so that you have flexibility with your follow up. Even better
than a punch is the Senbon punch, which has a section of its own in this
FAQ.


Low punch (d+P)
-----
Kage's low punch is useful, as it slowly chips away at the opponent's
lifebar, helping Kage to fight a war of attrition when at close range. The
low punch also keeps Kage in a crouch, so that standing throws will not work
on him. Jeffry and Wolf can crouch throw Kage after a missed low punch, but
it is not an easy task. The main risk to Kage when repeatedly low punching,
is Akira's low reversal.

The low punch can also bring opponents to crouch, so that Kage can sidekick
or elbow stagger. The elbow stagger should be used where possible, as the
elbow-PK-sweep combo does a good amount of damage.

At higher levels of VF2, Kage's low punch can be the winning factor in a
fight. This is because if the low punch hits as a major counter, a punch-
kick will connect thereafter. This is effective against Lau players, as they
are always on the offensive, and a low punch will therefore be more likely
to hit during Lau's move initiation phase. After the punch-kick knockdown,
you should of course follow up with the f,f+K sweep.


Roundhouse kick (K)
-----
Kage's roundhouse kick, though it is a knockdown move, is not really useful
except against beginners. Although opponents cannot counter after blocking
it, they can still duck underneath it and punish you after the kick. In any
situation where you would want to use this kick, a punch-kick would be
better. This is because the punch gives you an opportunity to stop the combo
and retreat if things are not going well for you, whereas the roundhouse
kick commits Kage completely.


Low sliding kick (d+K)
-----
Also known simply as the low kick, this is a very good harassment move for
Kage. It has very good range, and can slide under many attacks to nibble at
the opponent's feet. It can also trick opponents into crouching, giving Kage
an opportunity for the elbow stagger or sidekick. It is quite non-committal,
and you can decide on your course of action after that.

Just beware of Jeffry and Wolf. If your low kick misses, a powerbomb or some
other low throw is guaranteed. A good Jeffry/Wolf player can even crouch
throw you when they block the low kick. You should also use the low kick
sparingly against Akira, because he can counter with a single palm after
blocking it. Even if Akira chooses not to crouch and block it, he can also
reverse it. So be careful.


Sidekick (d/f+K)
-----
This should be a basic move for all Kage players. It staggers crouching
opponents, giving Kage just the correct amount of time to move in and throw
them. Alternatively, if the opponent doesn't know how to struggle out of a
stagger, you can punch-kick or heelkick for a knockdown.

Kage's sidekick cannot be countered if blocked; it can only be reversed by
Pai, Wolf and Akira. After a blocked sidekick, you only have to worry about
low attacks and throws. However, Kage loses a bit of initiative when his
sidekick is blocked, as the opponent is in block stun for 20.6 frames, while
Kage's recovery takes 24 frames. Thus Kage is safe if he does nothing after
his sidekick is blocked, but a punch (and therefore a punch-kick) from all
opponents except Jeffry/Wolf will interrupt any attack he tries after that,
as he is working on a 4 frame disadvantage.


+---------+
|Hop Moves|
+---------+

Hopping chop (hop+P)
Hopping jab (hop, P while ascending)
Hurdling hop kick (hop+K)
Hop kick (hop, K while ascending)
Hopping sweep (hop, K while descending)
-----
To initiate a hop in VF2, you tap the joystick back/up, straight up, or
up/for. Kage will hop a short distance forwards or backwards in the case of
up/for and back/up respectively, while he will do a standing hop if you
simply tap up.

Kage's hop moves are generally of limited use, as in VF2 players are very
vulnerable while airborne. However, the hopping chop is useful against
players who always like to get up with a rising sweep. Start the hop+P just
before the downed opponent starts the rising sweep, and Kage will chop the
opponent for another knockdown. This is what CPU Kage does so well against
players that rising sweep all the time.

The hopping sweep also works well on players that stand there not knowing
what comes next. Against a player who likes standing, the hopping sweep will
often connect. Don't do it against a decent VF2 player, as a punch-kick will
easily interrupt the hop.


+----------+
|Jump Moves|
+----------+

Overhead hammer (jump,f+P)
Takeoff jumpkick (jump+K)
Front dropkick (jump,f+K)
Mid-air kick (jump, K while ascending)
Landing kick (jump, K while descending)
Rear dropkick (jump,b+K)
2.5 somersault roll & slam (U/F+K)
-----
To jump in VF2, you again use the directions up/for, up, and back/for.
However, you must now hold the joystick in the direction you are jumping.
Jumping in VF2 is even more risky than hopping, as the opponent can start a
jump underneath you if your first jumping attack fails. Characters like
Kage, Sarah and Jacky can even kickflip you during the descent, for major
counter damage and a free pounce thereafter.

An up/for takeoff kick can be used as a desperation tactic, when Kage's back
is to the ring edge and he is in danger of being pushed out. The takeoff
kick can also be used to wait out the last few seconds of a round, when you
are leading in lifebar and waiting for the Time Out win.

The 2.5 roll & slam is not useful in real battle, but it is required for
Kage to attain 9th Dan (1st Grade) in ranking mode. This move must be done
from about 2-3 dash distances away from the opponent. Too near and the
midair somersault roll will not appear --- you will get a takeoff kick
instead. Too far away, and the slam will not connect against your opponent.
Apart from this, the jumping moves are not very useful.


+----------------+
|Turnaround Moves|
+----------------+

Turn & downward slap (Opponent in front: b,b+P)
Turn & upward slap (Opponent in front: b,b+P+G)
Turn & back thrust (Opponent in front: b,b+K)
Turn & toe slide (Opponent in front: b,b+K+G)
-----
These turnaround moves serve to confuse the opponent. The b,b+K+G is
particularly useful, as it comes out very quickly, knocks the opponent down,
and can be followed up with the turnaround d+K if a minor or major counter
resulted from the b,b+K+G.

The b,b+K+G is very useful against standing opponents, due to its initiation
time of 18 frames. Although this seems quite long, remember that it takes 10
frames to reach a crouching position by holding the joystick down. Until the
opponent is truly crouching, the toe slide will still knock him over. Thus
an opponent has only 8 frames, or 0.133 second to react to the b,b+K+G.

Furthermore, Kage's toe slide cannot be reversed. Thus an Akira trying to
reverse the move with G,d+P would be interrupted for major counter damage
instead.

Besides the toe slide, the turn & downward slap (b,b+P) is an integral part
in Kage's 10-Foot Toss combos, which have a section all of their own. If you
want to get fancy, close in with a b,b+P+G which is unreversible, and then
tap d+K to knock the opponent over. Not very secure, but definitely fancy.


Turn & punch (Back facing opponent: P)
Turn & double low punches (Back facing opponent: d+P)
Turn & punch from crouch (Back facing opponent: D+P)
Turn & roundhouse kick (Back facing opponent: K)
Turn & sliding low kick (Back facing opponent: d+K)
Turn & kick from crouch (Back facing opponent: D+K)
Flipover knee attack (Back facing opponent: u+K)
-----
All these are Kage's options if his back is facing the opponent. Against an
opponent at close range, Kage can either d+K to catch a standing defender,
or u+K to hit a crouching defender.

Against standing opponents, use the sliding low kick (d+K), which catches
opponents rushing in hoping for a behind throw. For those who crouch in fear
of the sweep, or who approach with a crouch-dash, use the flipover knee
attack (u+K). Overall, you should rely on turnaround attacks sparingly, as
none of them is really safe and reliable. The flipover knee attack (u+K) is
slow to come out, and can be interrupted, while the sliding low kick has
horrendous recovery time.

For safety, use the d+P turnaround. It does not knock over the opponent, but
has decent damage (14+14 points). Apart from this, the only time when you
should use these attacks is as part of the "b,b+K+G,d+K" combo mentioned
above.

Your joystick positioning must be accurate for the d+K and d+P turnaround
moves. This is because in addition to holding the stick down, the D+P and
D+K turnaround moves can be done by tapping the joystick d/f or d/b. A good
way of practising stick accuracy for the b,b+K+G,d+K move is to try doing
Lau's sliding tackle, which is f,d+K. Once you can do f,d+K on both the left
and right side controls, there should be no problem with Kage's combo.


+-------+
|Pounces|
+-------+

Head slam (near, u+P)
Foot slam (mid-range, u+P)
Knee slam (far, u+P)
-----
Kage has 3 types of pounces. All are triggered by tapping u+P when the
opponent is knocked down. Depending on how far the opponent is from Kage,
three different pounces will come out. The most useful is the midrange
pounce, as it does the most damage (40 points) and has the fastest recovery
time if the pounce misses. The midrange pounce also connects well after a
kickflip or major counter heelkick.

The short range pounce has less range than the f,f+K sweep, so you should
stick to the f,f+K sweep where possible. Following up knockdown moves with a
sweep helps Kage retain the initiative against the fallen opponent. In
contrast, the short range pounce has less range, and gives up the initiative
completely. The short pounce also leaves Kage vulnerable if it misses and
the opponent gets up in time --- good Akira players have been known to
bodycheck the living daylights out of a missed short pounce.

The long pounce should be avoided at all costs. The recovery is terribly
long. If the opponent lands that far away, Kage is better off dashing
forwards and doing the midrange pounce, or running forwards and doing the
heel smash.


Heel smash (d/f+K)
-----
There are some subtleties to Kage's heel smash, which hits opponents lying
on the ground. For instance, Kage always does the heel smash with his behind
leg. Although this seems like small trivia, it is important in deciding
whether or not to heel smash an opponent.

In some situations, you can be quite sure about which way the opponent will
roll, such as after a 10-Foot Toss, turnaround slap, PPPK combo (i.e.
TFToD). This combo, if it doesn't ring out the opponent, will leave him
lying at the ring edge, at a slight angle. To regain some breathing space
after a TFToD from *right* to *left*, most opponents will roll *into* the
ring, so that they will have more ring distance behind them when they get
up. Keeping this in mind, you can therefore decide whether or not to heel
smash. It so happens that in most cases, the situation just happens to
favour an additional heel smash from Kage.

Kage's foot alignment should always be kept in mind, because he is pretty
vulnerable if the heel smash misses and the opponent rolls away --- Kage
almost always gets hit by the rising attack in such cases.


+----------------------+
|Special Moves & Combos|
+----------------------+

Punch-kick (P,K)
-----
The punch-kick is one of the fundamental combos for playing Kage. It is a
fast attack, and counters many blocked moves effectively. Punch-kick is also
a guaranteed knockdown after an elbow stagger, and has good knockdown
changes after a sidekick stagger.

The key to getting good range for the PK, is to hold the joystick forwards
BEFORE entering the move. (Tapping f+P,K gets you an elbow instead.) You'll
be surprised at how much extra distance the PK can reach. One way of doing
this, is to hold the stick forward while holding the Guard button, then
release Guard and tap PK.


2 punches (P,P)
-----
This move can be used as a closing-in tactic. Just tap PP, then guard-cancel
and do something else like a throw if the opponent stands, or a sidekick if
he crouches. Or dash forwards and elbow the crouching opponent if you expect
him to act like a turtle.

But seriously, in any situation where you can PP, you might as well use two
Senbon punches to close-in instead. This is because alert opponents have
been known to duck under the punches and start a throw.


2 punches & kick (P,P,K)
3 punches (P,P,P)
-----
These moves are generally of limited use, except to push the opponent back
when he is close to the ring edge. Just remember that the punches can be
reversed high, and so can the kick. This is particularly risky against Pai,
as her reversal can pivot you right out of the ring and save her from being
pushed out of the ring. Furthermore, if the opponent ducks under the PPK or
PPP combo, you are asking for trouble, especially if you're pushing the
opponent to the ring edge. This is because all characters except Lion have a
throw to change places with you. In the case of Kage/Lau/Pai/Akira, you are
practically asking for a loss by Ring Out if you get thrown at this stage.


3 punches & mid-kick (P,P,P,K)
3 punches & kickflip (P,P,P,u/b+K)
-----
These combos are not very useful in close combat, as experienced players
will simply keep a standing guard, wait for the combo to finish, then
retaliate. However, the PPPK is effective in pushing opponents back at the
ring edge. Just be careful to judge distances, and ensure that the opponent
has been pushed out of the ring after the PPPK.

The PPPK can also be used as bait. After the PPP, it is possible to delay as
much as 28 frames before tapping the Kick button. Since there is no recovery
time between moves in a true combo like the PPPK, the final mid-kick will
come out in just 16 frames, which is quite fast. To set the bait, simply
delay the last kick, just like how some Sarah players delay the knee in the
elbow-knee combo. Many opponents will initiate an attack of their own after
the 3 punches, as they'll think that they have the initiative. If you time
the mid-kick correctly, it will interrupt the opponent for a major counter,
allowing a sweep thereafter.

Another use of the PPPK is as part of a 10-Foot Toss combo. The 10-Foot Toss
(TFT) combos will be covered in a later part of this FAQ.


Elbow strike (f+P)
-----
Kage's elbow strike comes out quickly, but has limited range. However, to
increase the range of the elbow strike, you can execute it as f,f+P which
combines the elbow with a short dash forwards. To distinguish it from
Akira's dashing elbow which is a true special move, we shall call Kage's
f,f+P the "dash-in elbow".

If Kage's elbow strike his a crouching opponent, he/she will stagger. A
punch-kick knockdown and sweep is guaranteed after that. Alternatively, you
can punch the opponent and then execute a throw.

Against certain moves that leave the opponent recovering in a crouching
position, Kage's elbow can act as a counter. A detailed list of counters can
be found later in the FAQ.


Rising knee (crouch, f+K)
-----
This attack is quite useless against a defending opponent --- careful
experimentation has shown that it is nowhere as useful as the knees of other
characters. It is mainly useful once the opponent is already airborne, such
as after the 10-Foot Toss (TFT).

To be truly effective in float combos, you should learn how to get an
"instant" rising knee, bypassing the requirement for a crouch before the
knee appears. Doing such "modified" crouch moves will be discussed in detail
later. For now, suffice it to say that some of Kage's most fearsome combos
depend on the rising knee, such as (in vaguely ascending order of
difficulty):

      TFT, knee, b+K+G, d/f+K
      TFT, knee, PPPK
      TFT, knee, P, PPPK

It may seem unbelievable, but they can actually be done!


Heel kick (d+K+G)
-----
Fast and damaging, this is one of the most useful moves in Kage's arsenal.
It will knock over opponents if it hits, allowing for a follow-up sweep. The
heelkick is particularly useful against players that crouch and low punch
all the time, such as Akira players who crouch and do nothing but the move
for mid-reversal (G,b/d+P). Just time your heelkick so it hits them in the
middle of the low punch, and you'll get a major counter, allowing a pounce
thereafter.

However, be careful not to use the heelkick against a crouching opponent in
open stance. This is because the heelkick hits high in open stance, and a
crouching opponent can punish you if this happens and they block it.

The heel kick is the basis for many of Kage's counters to blocked moves. Due
to the risk of being countered if the heelkick is blocked, this move is best
used as a counter to blocked moves.


Kickflip (u/b+K+G)
-----
This move is fast and does lots of damage, although it has extremely slow
recovery. Its main use is as an ambush move, since a pounce will almost
always connect after a kickflip as major counter. Just make sure you're
going to hit the opponent when you use this move, otherwise you're asking
for trouble. You can also easily follow up the 10-Foot Toss with this,
although you run the risk of being labelled a VF2 Pariah due to lack of
style.


Backward kickflip (u/b+K)
-----
With much less range than its kickflip cousin, the backward kickflip only
connects at very close quarters. It is therefore of limited use in actual
combat, although it can be followed up with a sweep if it hits.


Backheel sweep (f,f+K)
-----
Also known as "the sweep", this is one of Kage's primary moves. It comes out
very slowly, so opponents can see it coming, which reduces the sweep's use
as an attack. You should instead use it after knocking the opponent down.
Just make it a matter of habit, and you'll be surprised at how often the
extra 20-30 damage points result. Particularly good moves to follow up with
a sweep, are Kage's punch-kick, rising knee, heel kick, and his rising
attacks.

An important component of Kage's elbow(stagger) into PK-sweep, the sweep
will also change your foot stance. This puts Kage into a slight dilemma
after sweeping a knocked down opponent: Most of the time, this leaves Kage
in open stance. To get back to closed stance, Kage must spend half a second
holding the joystick forwards or backwards (release Guard). The restoring of
closed stance sacrifices some initiative, but puts Kage in a better position
for throws when the fight resumes. The choice is really up to the individual
Kage player --- just use what works best for you and your playing style.


Flying catapult kick (f,f+P+K+G)
-----
This move ducks under virtually all attacks, including most sidekicks and
all high attacks. It will knock down all standing opponents. Unfortunately,
if the opponent crouches and guards, Kage will (1) fly overhead at short
range, or (2) land in front of the opponent, at long range.

Failing a catapult kick is a very bad thing to do, as in case (1) you will
get thrown from behind (e.g. Jeffry's backbreaker!) and in case (2) the
opponent has plenty of time to hammer you with the best throw he/she can
muster.

The catapult kick still has its uses --- against a Lau player closing in
with high attacks, the catapult kick neatly ducks under the assault and can
save the day. It can also be used to punish a slow-recovering attack that
misses, if the opponent recovers in a standing position, particularly since
the first instinct of many players is to dash back after their attack
misses. An example would be Jacky's sidekick when missed. However, it's
probably a better choice using a heelkick or punch-kick to counter a missed
attack, as both are comparatively safer if they fail.


Back thrust (b+K+G)
-----
Although it is uncounterable if blocked, this move has limited use as a
primary attack, since an opponent can duck under it and punish Kage
thereafter. It is mainly used on Wolf and Jeffry after a 10-Foot Toss ---
the combo is as follows:

      TFT, knee, b+K+G, d/f+K

Of all the combos applicable to Jeffry and Wolf, this causes the most
damage, although the Ring Out potential is not as effective as some other
combos, because the victim is pushed to the side byrather than straight
ahead.


Sliding tackle (b,QCR,d+K)
-----
Like the toe slide (b,b+K+G), this is a fast attack that hits low and knocks
the opponent over. Unfortunately, if blocked, the recovery is very slow and
Kage can be thrown quite easily thereafter. It is generally a better choice
to use the toe slide, as Kage is in a position to run away if it fails.
However, the sliding tackle ducks under many high attacks, so it still has
its uses.


Flying corkscrew kick (f,f+K+G)
-----
This move will knock down crouching opponents. However, if blocked by a
standing defender, it will leave Kage helpless due to its long recovery
time. One useful tactic is to do the corkscrew kick when the opponent is
standing on the "danger zone" border at the edge of the ring. Even if
blocked, it will still push the opponent back, and out of the ring.


Dodging swipe punch
-----
Also affectionately known as the "swipe" or "sideswipe", this move allows
Kage to dodge punches while simultaneously punching the opponent. The swipe
can be continued into any of Kage's punch combos, so it is possible to
perform combos like:

      b/d+P,K
      b/d+P,P
      b/d+P,P,K
      b/d+P,P,P
      b/d+P,P,P,K
      b/d+P,P,P,u/b+K

The most difficult Kage combo in existence also makes use of the swipe. It
involves a 10-Foot Toss followed by 3 swipes and a PPPK combo. However, even
without this incredible combo, Kage still does fine in VF2 matches.


Backflip (u/b)
Backwards cartwheel (b+G)
-----
Both movements have good options for a follow-up attack, especially if the
opponent dashes forwards unthinkingly, hoping to press the attack. While
backflipping, you can buffer in attacks like the catapult kick (f,f+P+K+G)
which will catch an opponent dashing in. Alternatively, you can mix up your
moves after the backflip or cartwheel, alternating between throws,
sidekicks, and punches. Beware of skillful opponents who will attack you
during the backflip itself, rather than wait and see. Due to its greater
range, the cartwheel backwards (b+G) is often the better option, as it also
presents a smaller cross-section for the opponent to hit.


+------------------+
|Slash & Chop Moves|
+------------------+

Slashing shuto (b,f+P+K)
Slashing shuto, horizontal shuto (b,f+P+K,P+K)
Chopping shuto (crouch, f+P+K)
Chopping shuto, horizontal shuto (crouch, f+P+K,P+K)
-----
These are the more useful of Kage's slashing/chopping moves, as the first
shuto (Japanese for "sword fist") hits mid-level and the 2-shuto combos will
knock down an opponent, allowing for a sweep. This is particularly so in the
case of the chopping shuto, as it comes out the fastest of the lot.

One use for the chopping shuto combo, is when both players are crouching
next to each other. Just roll the stick to forwards, and perform the
f+P+K,P+K motion to knock the opponent over.


Slashing shikan-ken (d+P+K)
Slashing shikan-ken, back shikan-ken (d+P+K,P+K)
-----
This set of moves is not as useful, since the first move hits high instead
of mid-level. Furthermore, the shikan-ken comes out slowest of all the
slash/chop moves (23 frames compared to 15 and 18).


+-----------------------+
|Rolling Moves & Attacks|
+-----------------------+

Roll forward (b,SCR,f)
Roll backward (f,SCR,b)
-----
Kage's rolls are all very fast, although the multiple rolls are a bit
difficult, as the entire stick roll must be accomplished within 12 frames,
which makes out to 1/5 second only. They are reasonably safe ways to escape
from a barrage of punches and high attacks. However, I do not recommend that
you reply on them, because the roll distance is easily predictable, and Kage
is defenceless during the roll. Furthermore, Kage cannot cancel the roll if
he sees an attack coming halfway through --- rolling is therefore a high-
commitment act that must not be undertaken thoughtlessly.

In general, before you decide to roll, you should consider the situation
carefully. Ask yourself what you want to accomplish by rolling, and whether
these goals can be more safely and effectively achieved by crouch-dashing.
After all, crouch-dashing can be controlled precisely, also ducks under high
attacks, and can be stopped anywhere during the crouch dash.

Rolling is mainly useful against opponents who wait till the roll is over
before acting --- in such cases, you can alternate between a punch, throw,
or sidekick when coming out of the roll. Beware the more experienced
opponents who will attack you during the roll itself.


Multiroll forward / Shinsodan (b,SCR,f+P)
Multiroll backwards (f,SCR,b+P)
-----
Kage can perform multiple rolls forwards and backwards, without returning to
a standing position between the rolls. For a multiple roll, you must do the
following:

(1)   Start a roll forwards or backwards, i.e. "b,SCR,f" or "f,SCR,b".

(2)   At the halfway point of the roll, Kage will have his back touching the
ground. You must start the second rolling motion before this halfway point,
and finish the second motion after the halfway point, but before the first
roll ends. The second roll can be forwards or backwards, but must be
executed as "b,SCR,f+P" or "f,SCR,b+P".

(3)   For further multiple rolls, simply repeat (2).

Most people find it easier to get the multiple rolls by starting from a
backwards roll.

One interesting feature of the multiroll forwards (b,SCR,f+P) is that it
also forms Kage's Shinsodan attack, affectionately known as the "hedgehog".
Kage basically rolls and rolls towards the opponent, attacking low and
chipping away at the opponent's lifebar with each roll. Each shinsodan roll
will cost the opponent 15 damage points, and the opponent will be knocked
over after the second roll. In VF2, a maximum of 3 shinsodan rolls can be
done in succession. After the third shinsodan, Kage will stop and stand up.

Another good reason for starting the multiple rolls with a backwards roll,
is that the shinsodan will come out on the *first* forwards roll. In
contrast, if you start with a roll forwards, the shinsodan will only appear
on the *second* forwards roll. This can be a good method for reading your
opponent's intentions --- if the opposing Kage does a backwards roll, it is
reasonable to assume that a multiroll attack will follow, so pursue
carefully.


Roll forward & sweep (b,SCR,f+K)
Roll backward & sweep (f,SCR,b+K)
-----
These attacks come out relatively slowly compared to the shinsodan, and are
therefore of limited use. Furthermore, Jeffry and Wolf can crouch throw Kage
after the roll & sweep.

Against opponents who like to stand when you roll, the sweeps have some use.
Like the shinsodan, the roll & sweep moves can be incorporated as the final
component of a multiroll.


Roll & catapult kick (b,SCR,f+P+K+G)
-----
This special move can only be performed as part of a multiroll. The
procedure for this move is the same as that for the shinsodan, as both moves
can only be done after a roll/multiroll. It is mainly effective against
opponents dashing in to chase Kage when he is rolling away.


+------+
|Throws|
+------+

Shoulder throw (P+G)
-----
This is the basic P+G throw for Kage. You should always follow up this throw
with a heel smash. However, this throw is not very useful compared to Kage's
other moves. Opponents can escape by tapping P+G a split-second after you
start the throw. As mentioned previously, you should always key b+P+G when
playing against Jeffry, if you want a P+G throw. This allows you to escape
Jeffry's P+G and b+P+G throws.

When playing against characters other than Jeffry, you should key in the
throw as d+P+G instead. If the throw fails (opponent crouched or was too far
away), you get a low punch or G-cancelled low punch instead. This is much
less vulnerable than the high punch which results from tapping P+G if the
throw fails. It may not seem like much, but good opponents have been known
to get a throw after a P+G throw "missed".


Torso takedown (facing opponent's back, P+G)
-----
Also known as "Kage's backbreaker", this move is actually a torso takedown.
In VF2, you will rarely get a chance to throw people from behind, unless the
opponent makes an extremely bad blunder e.g. another Kage flying overhead
with a missed catapult kick. It's worth noting that the behind throws will
affect both standing and crouching opponents. Hence an opponent exposing his
back to you is out of luck even if he crouches immediately.

Overall, Kage's torso takedown is not as fearsome a weapon as other behind
throws, e.g. Jeffry's backbreaker and Wolf's behind suplex.


10-Foot Toss (b+P)
-----
Often referred to as the "TFT", this is Kage's most useful throw, and is in
fact the most useful throw in the entire VF2 game. In the hands of a novice,
it can already do significant damage. In the hands of an expert, it can end
the round without the opponent even getting a single hit in.

The TFT by itself is not really formidable. However, the TFT puts the
opponent in the air, allowing Kage to follow up with an incredible variety
of combos, most of which will push the opponent all the way to a loss by
Ring Out.

You should develop the habit of doing the TFT at every throw opportunity.
The true Kage player rarely, if ever, uses the P+G throw. Instead, he uses
the TFT almost exclusively. Once you've seen some of the 10-Foot Toss
combos, the reasons will become quite obvious.

One important note about the TFT: The 40 points of damage only are awarded
if the TFT victim is not hit at all during his flight. For example, if you
punch the opponent once in midair after the TFT, he will take no damage upon
hitting the ground, and only suffer the damage of the punch. This is good
for "mercy rounds".


Turnover "Toka" throw (P+K+G)
-----
This throw has little use apart from adding variety to Kage's gameplay. The
main problem with its use, is that many players have ended up in a catapult
kick after dashing in for the P+K+G throw. These disasters occured because
the player tapped "f,f" to dash in for the throw, followed by P+K+G for the
toka throw. As a result, the computer interpreted the commands as f,f+P+K+G
and a catapult kick resulted. This is yet another reason why you should
stick to the 10-Foot Toss.

However, if you really must use the toka throw, you should key it in as
b+P+K+G instead of just plainly P+K+G. This avoids the possibility for
misinterpretation by the computer when you're dashing in.


Reaping throw (b,f+P)
-----
At first glance, this throw seems as mundane as the P+G and P+K+G throws.
However, there are several subtle advantages in the reaping throw,
especially at close quarters.

Firstly, consider the motion of "b,f+P". If the opponent is standing and in
range, Kage will execute a reaping throw, which can be followed up by a heel
smash. However, if the opponent is crouching or out of range, the computer
interprets the move as f+P, and Kage will execute an elbow instead. At
medium range, this is of course no good for Kage, as a missed elbow gives
the opponent an opening to throw and/or attack.

However, at close range combat, when faced with an opponent who mixes up
standing and crouching to confuse you and avoid being throw, simply execute
the b,f+P motion for the reaping throw. If the opponent stands, he will be
thrown. If the opponent crouches, the elbow will stagger him, allowing for a
punch-kick knockover and sweep. Or if you want to get fancy, you can throw
the opponent just as he recovers from the stagger. (More on these "fancy"
things later.)


+---------------+
|Kage's Reversal|
+---------------+

As discussed previously in the general section on reversals in VF2, Kage has
a reversal activated by d+P. Kage's reversal should always be followed up
with a heel smash for extra damage. Apart from this, most of our discussion
on the d+P reversal will be in the more advanced chapters.



+===================+
|TECHNIQUES, PART II|
+===================+

+---------------+
|Stance Strategy|
+---------------+

Although most moves in VF2 will have the same attack level regardless of
stance, certain moves change attack level with stance. Recognising these
changes can make the difference between success and failure.

Kage's heelkick (d+K+G) hits at high level in open stance, making it
ineffective against crouching opponents. You should always remember this
when fighting opponents --- one heelkick in open stance can spell the end of
a promising game, as the opponent will have a big counter opportunity.

Kage's PPPK combo also hits at high level in open stance, except at very
close range. When fighting another Kage, this fact can be used to your
advantage if the opposing Kage makes a habit of delaying the mid-kick.

A more comprehensive list of stance-dependent moves can be found at the end
of this FAQ. It is worth remembering, as the information can be used to
deadly advantage in close combat.


+---------------------------+
|Getting Throw Opportunities|
+---------------------------+

It would be pretty accurate to say that Kage thrives on throw opportunities.
Granted, having the most powerful throw combo helps in a battle, but the
Kage player with better skill at getting throw opportunities, is often the
one who will win the match, despite inferior skill with 10-Foot Toss combos
and so on.

There are several basic ways of getting a throw opportunity:

(i) Block counter
-----
Certain moves have such a long recovery time (compared to the victim's block
stun) that the opponent can throw the attacker even if he blocks the move.
Examples would be Akira's double palm and Kage's catapult kick, all of which
may be called high-commitment moves --- the user commits himself greatly to
a course of action, whatever the consequences may be.

This is the easiest way of getting a throw. However, throwing as a block
counter becomes less common as the standard of VF2 gameplay increases,
simply because good players will rarely use high-commitment moves unless
they are sure of a hit. A list of block counters, including throws, is at
the end of this FAQ.


(ii) Missed attack
-----
Many moves do not give the opponent a throw opportunity if blocked, as the
recovery time is too short. Examples of this would be Kage's sidekick and
Akira's dashing elbow. However, if the move misses, then it is possible to
throw the attacker. This is because the attack did not touch the would-be
victim, and the victim therefore does not suffer any block stun, while the
attacker must still ensure the recovery time for his attack.

At intermediate levels of play, this is the most common form of throw
opportunity. Akira players will miss their dashing elbows, Lion players will
miss their sidekicks, and so on. It is here that precision movement control
(with the Guard button) becomes important, as certain fast-recovering
attacks like Pai's sidekick leave only a small window of opportunity to
react, dash in, and throw.

If in doubt about whether you are fast enough to throw after a missed
attack, rely on punch-kick or the heelkick (d+K+G) where applicable. Below
is a list of common missed attacks, in rough order of big to small throw
opportunity:

      - Sidekicks
      - Elbows / Dashing Elbows
      - Heelkicks
      - Pai's downward chop
      - Punch missed overhead (defender crouched)
      - Punch missed (defender standing out of range)
      - Senbon Punch missed

Of all the attacks, it is hardest to get a throw after a missed punch or
senbon punch. However, the really good Kage players do precisely that. It is
this skill at getting throws which scares the daylights out of opponents ---
just imagine fighting a Kage who could 10-Foot Toss you after a missed
punch! Yet these tactics are not really that diffcult --- we will cover them
in a later section.


(iii) Missed throw
-----
This may sound wierd, but a missed throw can also create opportunities for
Kage. This works because with many characters, if their throw is out of
range or the opponent is crouching, some other move will come out. This is
what happens when you play against CPU Kage and try to 10-Foot Toss him when
he's slightly out of range. Because your b+P throw fails, a normal punch
comes out instead, allowing CPU Kage to close in and throw you.

A good example of missed throw, would be Wolf players who like to use the
f+P body slam throw. As long as the f+P throw is within range, everything is
fine. But if Kage maintains his distance properly and lures the Wolf player
into over-reaching his throw range and missing, a totally different
situation results. Upon missing the f+P throw, a body blow (also f+P) will
come out. The body blow takes 14 frames to come out and 24 to recover, for a
grand total of 38 frames (nearly 2/3 second). If the body blow misses, Kage
can easily dash in and throw. Even if Wolf's f+P body blow connects, Kage
can counter with punch-kick for a knockdown and sweep.


(iv) Punch & throw
-----
Whether he blocks or gets hit, an opponent who receives an attack will be
stunned for a short time, although he will recover more quickly if he
blocked the attack. During this stun time, he cannot be thrown. However, you
can use this time to close in and prepare for a throw.

The high punch and low punch are good for this. The punch will stun the
opponent for a split second, allowing you to close the distance and throw.
Even if you are in range, it is a good idea to buffer in a dash forwards ---
this automatically and naturally takes care of the stun period, so that you
throw the opponent just as he recovers.

A more advanced variation of the punch & throw technique involves the Senbon
punch, which will be described in full detail in another section.


(v) After a stagger
-----
When a crouching opponent is hit by an elbow or sidekick, he/she will
stagger for a period of time. A staggering opponent can be hit with any
attack, but cannot be thrown.

If timed properly, you can throw an opponent just as he recovers from the
stagger. Some people have a natural talent for the timing, and instinctively
know when to start the throw. For the rest of us, a good method is to punch
and throw during the stagger, in the same manner described above. The timing
will take care of itself in most cases.


+-------------------------------+
|Practical use of crouch dashing|
+-------------------------------+

Used properly, crouch dashing can be a very powerful tool in VF2. Presented
here are some of the more common uses:

(i) Retreat while crouching
-----
This is an important part of effective defense. A player who cannot crouch-
dash can easily be put under pressure the moment he starts crouching. This
is because the crouching player now has nowhere to go. If he stays
crouching, he'll get hit by a mid-level attack (e.g. sidekick or elbow). If
he stands up, the opponent will throw him.

Such difficulties can be overcome with a crouch-dash. The player just crouch
dashes backwards, ducking high attacks and most incoming assaults. This is
particularly important when facing a high-speed barrage from Lau players, as
normal dashing leaves Kage too vulnerable to the incoming rush of attacks.


(ii) Ducking high punches
-----
As mentioned in the section on "Getting throw opportunities", good Kage
players can throw after ducking a high punch. By crouch-dashing towards the
opponent, most of his attacks will miss overhead, giving an opportunity for
throwing. This method is particularly useful against players who like to
close in with a high punch.


(iii) Limiting the opponent's options
-----
When crouch dashing, Kage is immune to high attacks. Low attacks can be
successfully defended simply by pressing the Guard button. Thus the only
effective ways of attacking a crouch dasher is at mid-level.

This severely limits the opponent's attack options. Many characters have a
limited arsenal of mid-level attacks, many of which are risky or
ineffective. Even the uncounterable sidekick and elbow become precarious, as
the crouch-dasher can dodge them for a throw opportunity.

Because of this benefit, you should practise your crouch dashing so that you
can change direction "on a dime". With good control, a Kage player can
crouch dash out of danger, then crouch dash back in to retaliate.


+---------------------+
|Modified crouch moves|
+---------------------+

Certain moves in VF2 can only be executed from a crouching position. Such
moves include Akira's single and double palms (aka SgPm and DbPm), Lau's
upward knifehand (aka UpKn), and Kage's rising knee. Accomplishing these
moves by crouching can waste time, as it takes 20 frames to reach a crouch
position from standing, if the joystick is merely held down. Using d+P to
get an instant crouch is slightly better, but the low punch sacrifices
initiative, and is a dead giveaway that a crouch move might be coming.

These limitations can be overcome by doing what is called a "modified crouch
move". Instead of using the above methods, a crouch dash motion is performed
just before the move. Examples of suitable crouch dash motions are:

        f,d/f,d,d/f,f         d/f,d,d/f            d/f,d/f

In all the above examples, the stick should be rolled from point to point,
except for the "d/f,d/f" where the stick springs back to neutral for a split-
second between the d/f motions. The "d/f,d/f" method is the fastest but does
not work for all people. For most people, "d/f,d,d/f" seems to work best.
So, to execute Akira's single palm (SgPm) by the modified crouch method, you
could do either of the following:

        d/f,d,d/f,f+P        d/f,d/f,f+P

When using these modified crouch moves, it is the convention to prefix the
move name with "m-". Thus Akira's single palm would be abbreviated to m-SgPm
if it was performed using the above method.

The best part of these "m-moves" is that they come out virtually instantly,
as if they had been executed from a standing position. Lau players often use
the m-UpKn to deadly effect in their floats.

Although Kage does not need m-moves as much as Lau and Akira, this knowledge
is still important for combos like the 10-Foot Toss, m-knee and PPPK. The
fast but previously cumbersome "FC,f+P+K" moves can now be easily performed
in the modified manner, giving Kage another weapon against crouching
opponents.

If you encounter difficulty mastering the m-moves, try playing as Akira for
a while and practise doing modified single palms (m-SgPm). Akira has an
uppercut ("yoho") done with "d/f,d/f+P", hence you will know if your
joystick placement is incorrect, as either a low punch or yoho will result.
Incidentally, some Akira players use the surprise exchange followed by m-
SgPm for a deadly combo.


+--------+
|Staggers|
+--------+

In VF2, if you are hit with a sidekick or elbow while crouching, your
character will stagger. (If you are hit by a sidekick by Jeffry, Jacky, or
Wolf, you will be knocked over instead.)  While staggering, you are
defenceless and vulnerable to attacks, although you cannot be thrown. The
stagger duration can be reduced as follows:

(1)   Hold Guard.
(2)   Roll the stick in a circle very rapidly.
(3)   While still holding Guard, tap Punch and Kick as fast as possible.

This process (known as "struggling out of a stagger") works because the
procedure for stagger recovery is similar to that for getting up --- the
more controller inputs per second, the faster you'll recover from the
stagger. Quick recovery from a stagger is very important against players
like Jacky and Lau, who have very powerful follow-ups to elbow staggers.

Staggering forms the basis of many Kage combos, such as:

      Elbow (stagger), PK, sweep.
      Elbow (stagger), kickflip.
      Elbow (stagger), "b,b+K" turning kick, "d+K" turnaround sweep.

For these Kage combos, there is no way for the opponent to struggle out of
the stagger in time to avoid the PK-sweep. However, certain combos like
Lau's elbow(stagger) and m-UpKn can be struggled out of.

You can take advantage of an opponent's natural instinct to struggle --- if
the opponent likes to struggle, you can dash in and throw almost immediately
after the elbow stagger. Some opponents are aware of this and will
deliberately not struggle after Kage's elbow stagger.

A very effective way of following up a stagger, is with a punch and throw,
which is almost guaranteed if timed correctly. Senbon punch and throw works
even better. Use your judgement when deciding whether to follow up with PK-
sweep or punch-throw.


+------------------+
|Dual purpose moves|
+------------------+

Certain moves in VF2 come out differently, depending on the distance between
the players, and whether the opponent is standing or crouching. This occurs
because the motions can generate both a throw and a conventional move. Here
is a list of dual purpose moves for the various characters:

      Character         Move             Near/Standing       Far/Crouching
      ---------         ----             -------------       -------------
      Akira             b/d,f+P          headbutt            elbow
      Kage              b,f+P            reaping throw       elbow
      Jacky             f,b+P+K          trip & hammer       beat knuckle
      Jacky/Sarah       f,f+P            clothesline         elbow
      Lau               b,f+P            head slam           elbow
      Wolf              f+P              body slam           body blow
      Jeffry            f+P              body slam           elbow strike
      Jeffry            b,f,f+P+K+G      backbreaker         butt attack

The "b,f+P" and "f,f+P" throws are particularly useful. They will throw
standing opponents at close range. Against a crouching opponent, the move
will come out as an elbow, which has the potential to stagger them. However,
their use is limited if the opponent dashes out of range or crouch-dashes
away, as the resulting elbow provides a big opening for a throw.

At close range, it makes sense for Kage players to use the b,f+P throw,
especially when the opponent is mixing up standing and crouching positions.
DO not use it if the opponent is out of elbow range.


+----------------+
|Use of low punch|
+----------------+

The low punch (d+P) is an important move for Kage. Despite its lack of
damage and short range, it can be very useful at close range, because of its
speed. At close range, it will interrupt attacks like sidekicks, elbows, and
heelkicks, all of which are designed for hitting crouching players.

Kage's low punch is very special in VF2. If it hits as a major counter, the
punch-kick follow up is a guaranteed hit. This can be very useful at close
range, as many opponents will be initiating attacks against you. The moment
you see that the d+P has interrupted the initiation of an attack, just
follow up with punch-kick and sweep. The opponent won't know what hit
him/her.

Alternatively, you can take advantage of the stun time to close in and throw
the opponent instead --- the principle is the same as that for elbow
staggers. Basically, any time you can punch-kick the opponent, you can also
do a throw.

Best of all, Kage's low punch also doubles up as a reversal for incoming
single hand attacks. Because of these factors, there are few things more
irritating than a low punching Kage at close range. Just beware of Akira who
can reverse low punches (especially if you overdo it), and good Jeffry/Wolf
players who will throw you if a low punch misses.


+======================+
|MANAGING THROW ESCAPES|
+======================+

When a character escapes from a P+G throw (or b+P+G in Jeffry's case), both
characters will spend some time recovering. The escaping character ("the
escaper") will be recovering from the escape process, while the would-be
thrower must now recover from the trauma of his prey escaping. Deciding how
to handle the situation therefore depends on the throw and recovery times.
To help you in this, we have provided the timings for throw escapes:

      Throw (P+G)                                      Rec        Dist
      -----------                                      ---        ----
      Akira             trip & punches                46,46       1.12
      Kage              shoulder throw                42,44       0.97
      Jacky             brainbuster                   81,81       0.95D
      Sarah             belly suplex                  60,60       1.12
      Lau               waterwheel throw              91,94       1.64
      Pai               wrist twist                   55,55       2.04
      Wolf              backfall suplex               49,50       1.08
      Jeffry            fireman's carry               81,81       2.13
      Jeffry            *(b+P+G) body press          152,152      1.03
      Shun              dances with punches           55,55       1.28
      Lion              trip throw                    43,42       1.67

            Rec : The first number is the thrower's recovery time.
                  The second number is the escaper's recovery time.
            Dist: This is the distance between thrower and escaper.

Akira: trip & punches (P+G)
-----
Akira is at a disadvantage if is P+G throw is escaped from. Immediately
after the throw escape, Kage's punch-kick or sidekick connects well. Unless
the Akira player is experienced, the reversals for Akira will not work
properly due to the position of the players. Beware of Akira players who
will tap "G,G,b+P" and "G,G,b/d+P". The first Guard tap aligns Akira with
Kage in open stance, and the rest of the command triggers the reversal.

Against an Akira player who plays it safe and dashes away, you can simply
buffer in a forward dash and throw Akira as he tries to escape. Try to
perfect the timing for this, as Akira's backward dash can be quickly
followed by an elbow attack.

Veteran Akira players will crouch-dash back in anticipation of a
single/double palm opportunity. In such cases, a well-timed sidekick or dash
& elbow will stagger him. Be careful of mid-reversals.


Kage: shoulder throw (P+G)
-----
During an escape from Kage's shoulder throw, the escaper normally has the
advantage, because the escaper is facing Kage's flank. However, this problem
can be overcome, simply by RUNNING forwards immediately when the opponent
escapes. Do not dash forwards with "for, for". Instead, you must HOLD the
second forwards motion for the run to be effective, i.e. "for, (hold)FOR".

Once Kage starts running, he will run in a small circle and stop behind the
escaped opponent within a split-second. Although he must pass in front of
the escaping opponent during the run, it is extremely difficult to hit Kage
as the run is over in a split-second.

Deciding which way to run can be a problem, as both players are at a strange
angle because of the throw escape. To complicate matters, the machine
sometimes switches the screen. The key to picking which way to run, is to
look at the escaping opponent's feet. Run in the general direction that the
escaper's front foot is facing, and you won't go wrong very often. (i.e. if
the escaper's front foot is facing the left of the screen, then run LEFT by
tapping the joystick "left, LEFT".) Another way of remembering, is by taking
note that Kage must run a circle in FRONT of the escaper.

The result of this circular run, is that virtually all attacks by the
escaper will miss Kage. Furthermore, Kage will now be facing the opponent's
behind flank. A punch-kick and sweep works well after this (the sweep will
not always connect). If you're feeling confident, a kickflip will also do
the job, especially if the opponent tried an attack and is recovering
slowly.

Against Sarah, exercise caution --- her turnaround sweep is very fast and
has a very wide arc. It is best to crouch and wait, or crouch-dash
backwards. In some situations, discretion is the better part of valor. If
you are sure that Sarah will try a turnaround sweep, then try a hopping
attack. Bear in mind that if Sarah second-guesses you and tries some other
turnaround attack, you will be in deep trouble.


Jacky: brainbuster (P+G)
-----
Jacky's brainbuster leaves Jacky in a bad position if it's escaped. During
the escape, both opponents roll in a clump, with Jacky ending up on the
ground and the opponent standing up.

Why is the brainbuster bad for Jacky if escaped? Firstly, it is possible for
Jacky to lose by ring out if the players roll out of the ring during the
escape process. In VF2, the ring out loser is the player who touches the
floor outside the ring first. Because of the dynamics of the roll, Jacky
actually shields the escaper from the ring surface.

Also, Jacky is now on the ground, giving the advantage to the escaper. Worse
still, Jacky is lying perpendicular to the standing opponent, reducing his
chances of successful rising attack.

If you have escaped Jacky's P+G throw, Jacky can either get up with a "high"
rising attack (his rising two-leg kick), or a low sweep. In either case,
Kage can block the rising attack and throw Jacky thereafter.


Sarah: belly suplex (P+G)
-----
When Sarah's P+G throw is escaped from, Sarah has three options. We will
examine them, and how to counter them where possible:

(1)   Run forwards. Sarah can run in a circle until she is behind the
escaping opponent. This is quite similar to Kage's running technique when
his P+G throw is escaped. Sarah's best attack after the run is the toekick
(d+K), as it has good range, and a very short initiation time of 13 frames.

      Kage has a turnaround punch (tap P) and turnaround low punches (tap
d+P) that come out in 12 frames, and can therefore interrupt the toekick.
However, the error margin is only 1 frame, which is 1/60 of a second! Thus a
turnaround attack is not advisable unless you are very sure of yourself. The
best course of action is to dash forwards and *then* do a "senbon"
turnaround punch, by tapping PKG. The purpose of the turnaround punch is to
interrupt Sarah if she second-guesses you and dashes forward hoping for a
behind throw.

(2)   Turnaround sweep. Her low sweep is very fast, has good damage, and
cannot be countered. In this case, you should crouch, then wait and see.
This is because Sarah has no turnaround attack which hits mid-level, thus a
crouching opponent behind her is safe. Be prepared to crouch-dash backwards
once she turns around, as her full arsenal of mid-level attacks will then be
available.

(3)   Dash forward. If Sarah dashes forwards, she will be out of range from
most attacks. This situation occurs with Sarah players who do not know about
the running away technique, or if the run was not entered in properly. Since
you are already crouching in anticipation of (2), you can now pursue Sarah
with a crouch-dash. If your timing is correct, you can get a behind throw on
her without too much trouble. And the crouch-dash can be stopped at any time
with the Guard button, should you see her attempt a turnaround attack.


Lau: waterwheel throw (P+G)
-----
Lau's waterwheel throw, when escaped from, leaves both players about 1.5
dash distances away from each other. We will now examine Lau's options when
Kage escapes the P+G throw:

(1)   Takeoff kick. The takeoff kick is Lau's best bet if Kage attempts to
attack, due to its fast initiation time (10 frames) and Lau's slightly
faster recovery from the throw escape (3 frames faster). The takeoff kick
(UP/FOR+K) will interrupt any attack from Kage.

(2)   PPK. This will interrupt Kage's slower attacks like his sidekick or
heelkick. However, if Kage performs a high punch immediately (or even a
kickflip), it will interrupt Lau's PPK combo.

(3)   Sidekick. This will hit Kage if he attempts to reverse incoming high
punches with d+P.

(4)   Lifting Palm (UpKn). This will interrupt Kage if he tries a slow
attack.

>From the above options, we can see that Kage's best option is a punch or
senbon punch, except when the Kage player expects a takeoff kick from Lau.
If you expect a takeoff kick, you should stand and guard instead. The
takeoff kick will pass harmlessly overhead, allowing Kage to kickflip Lau
during the descent.

Incidentally, a kickflip also has good potential against Lau players who use
slower attacks like the sidekick and lifting palm, as a major counter will
result if the kickflip hits, allowing for a follow-up pounce. Just watch out
for Lau players who will simply stand and wait before attacking.


Pai: wrist twist (P+G)
-----
When escaped, Pai's wrist twist results in both players some distance apart,
and their backs facing each other. When Kage has escaped the throw, it is
best to dash away a bit and then turn around. Unless you try a turnaround
attack, the position is quite safe because of the great distance between the
players.


Wolf: backfall suplex (P+G)
-----
Wolf's P+G throw leaves him in the worst position of all when escaped, as
the opponent lands upright behind him. Wolf has two options:

(1)   Turnaround attack. Wolf can perform a turnaround punch-kick (P,K) or a
turnaround sweep (d+K). This will stop Kage if he dashes forwards for a
behind throw. But if Kage kickflips instead, a major counter will result,
and Kage can even pounce thereafter.

(2)   Dash or crouch-dash forwards. This will avoid Kage's kickflip. But if
Kage dashes forwards in hot pursuit, Wolf can be easily thrown from behind.
Even if Wolf runs away quickly, Kage can attack with the corkscrew kick
(f,f+K+G) for reasonable damage.

One interesting technique to use, when chasing after a runaway Wolf for the
behind P+G throw, is to crouch-dash forward instead of using the normal
"f,f" dash. The crouch-dash is very safe because Wolf's turnaround attacks
all hit at high or low level.

Also remember that Kage should NEVER attack an opponent from behind with the
catapult kick, especially at short range. This is because a smart opponent
will crouch, and Kage will fly overhead, leaving his back open to the
opponent's behind throw. In particular, you should never use the catapult
kick against Wolf after escaping his P+G suplex.


Jeffry: fireman's carry (P+G)
-----
Jeffry's fireman's carry, when escaped, leaves Kage with his back facing
Jeffry, but a substantial distance away. Jeffry's options are as follows:

(1)   Sidekick or axe kick (f,d+K). This will hit Kage if he attempts to
turnaround, or tries a turnaround attack. However, it is not effective
except against the CPU, as most people will run away instead.

(2)   Dash forwards. Jeffry can dash forwards and try for the behind throw,
which does severe damage (backbreaker, 100 damage points). However, the dash
can be easily interrupted by a turnaround attack, and Kage's turnaround
sweep (d+K) will knock Jeffry over, allowing a heel smash thereafter.

(3)   Hopping attack. This works well against Kage players who attempt the
low sweep, as it hops right over the sweep and attacks Kage during his
recovery phase. Kage can defeat the hopping attack by a simple turnaround
senbon punch (tap PKG quickly).

(4)   Crouch and wait. This is the most effective tactic for Jeffry. If Kage
attempts the turnaround sweep (d+K), Jeffry can block it and throw Kage
thereafter. Many Jeffrys will do the front backbreaker in such a case, for
sheer dramatic effect. Kage can defeat this with a turnaround senbon punch,
same as in (3), followed by a sidekick as the need arises.

You should tailor Kage's response to the throw escape, depending on how you
read the Jeffry player's skill and style. The two best options to choose
from, would be the turnaround sweep, and the turnaround senbon punch.


Jeffry: body press (b+P+G)
-----
This throw is escaped differently from the other P+G throws, in that you
must enter b+P+G for the escape instead. The body press escape leaves Jeffry
in a bad position, equally bad as the escape for Wolf's P+G backfall suplex.

Punch-Guard-sidekick works well if the Jeffry player tries to run away.
Alternatively, buffer in a dash and P+G behind throw just as Kage recovers
from the escape.


Shun: dances with punches (P+G)
-----
Shun's dances with punches is quite safe for Shun at first glance. Although
Shun's back is exposed to Kage after the throw escape, Shun can roll away
very quickly by tapping the joystick away from Kage.

However, Shun can be thrown during the first part of his roll --- the key to
achieving this, is to quickly dash forwards and throw immediately once Shun
escapes. Shun can also dodge forwards out of harm's way, but Kage can
overcome this by tapping Guard (to align himself with the dodging Shun),
followed by a punch-kick or sidekick.


Lion: trip throw (P+G)
-----
The balance is quite neutral if Kage escapes Lion's trip throw, as both
parties end up facing each other in closed stance. Lion players will either:

(1)   Sidekick. This is to catch Kage if he closes in for an attack or
throw. However, if Kage dashes backwards, the sidekick will miss, allowing
Lion to be thrown instead.

(2)   Dash backwards. If Lion dashes backwards, any attack unleashed on the
spot by Kage will miss. But Kage can dash forwards, chase Lion, and then
throw him during the dash.

Depending on the kind of Lion player you are facing, you should choose
between the defenses for (1) and (2). Against an aggressive Lion, you should
dash backwards. If the Lion player is defensive and likes to retreat, then
the forward dash & throw is quite promising.



+==============================+
|GETTING UP & KEEPING THEM DOWN|
+==============================+

Some of the most tense moments in VF2, occur when one party is on the
ground. Such situations have lots of potential --- once his victim is down,
a good opponent can often ensure that his victim hardly ever stays up
thereafter.

+------------------+
|Getting up process|
+------------------+

As mentioned earlier, you can get up faster by tapping the buttons rapidly
and rolling the stick in a circle as fast as possible. To recap, the methods
of getting up are:

(1)   Handspring: Tap the joystick up repeatedly.
(2)   Roll away: Tap the joystick back (away from the opponent) repeatedly.
(3)   Twist away (out of the screen): Hold the joystick down and tap Guard
repeatedly. Kage will roll towards the player, i.e. out of the screen.
(4)   Twist away (into the screen): Hold the joystick up and tap Guard
repeatedly. Kage will roll away from the player, i.e. into the screen.

Method (3) and (4) involve a bit of 3-D thinking, and are difficult to
describe in words. I recommend trying this out for yourself, to get the feel
of it.


+-----------------------+
|Types of rising attacks|
+-----------------------+

In VF2, there are many different types of rising attacks. However, they can
be classified according to the following:

(1)   Getting up in place, twisting away (tap G), or rolling away (tap
back).
(2)   Player is face up, or face down.
(3)   Player's head towards opponent, or head away from opponent.
(4)   "High" attack (tap K), or low attack (hold DOWN and tap K).

The "high" attacks actually hit at mid-level, but since they are often
referred to by that name, we'll retain the term "high" for consistency. Just
remember that in the case of rising attacks, "high" actually means mid-
level.

Each of the possibilities (1) to (4) mentioned above can be combined
independently. In short, there are 3 x 2 x 2 x 2 rising attacks in VF2 for
each character, a grand total of 18! In actual practice the figure is much
less, because items (2) and (3) are fixed --- once on the ground, the
player's orientation does not change.

In general, the "high" attacks will come out as a high sidekick or mule
kick, depending on the orientation. Low attacks will come out as a sweep or
sliding kick. In most cases, the person on the ground has better rising
attacks when the head is away from the opponent.


+---------------------+
|Kage's rising attacks|
+---------------------+

Here is the list of Kage's rising attacks. The column on reversals has been
omitted, because all rising attacks cannot be reversed. For recovery
positions, a "high" rising attack (tap K) will leave you in a standing
recovery. Low rising attacks (hold DOWN, tap K) will result in a crouching
recovery. Make note of this when playing against opponents like Jeffry and
Wolf, who can low throw you after a missed low attack.

IN PLACE                                    Lvl   Dmg    Ini  Hit  Rec
--------                                    ---   ---    ---  ---  ---
face up, head away (K,K,K)                  M     20     34   8    16
face up, head away (DOWN+K,K,K)             L     20     32   8    18
*face down, head away (K,K,K)               M     20     29   8    43
face down, head away (DOWN+K,K,K)           L     20     25   11   24
face up, head towards (K,K,K)               M     20     34   4    20
face up, head towards (DOWN+K,K,K)          L     20     32   6    20
face down, head towards (K,K,K)             M     20     30   4    26
face down, head towards (DOWN+K,K,K)        L     20     29   6    35

TWIST AWAY (tap G)                          Lvl   Dmg    Ini  Hit  Rec
--------                                    ---   ---    ---  ---  ---
face up, head away (K,K,K)                  M     20     20   16   24
face up, head away (DOWN+K,K,K)             L     20     15   10   15
face down, head away (K,K,K)                M     20     24   12   24
face down, head away (DOWN+K,K,K)           L     20     15   10   15
face up, head towards (K,K,K)               M     20     25   13   22
face up, head towards (DOWN+K,K,K)          L     20     15   10   15
face down, head towards (K,K,K)             M     20     22   15   23
face down, head towards (DOWN+K,K,K)        L     20     15   10   15

ROLL AWAY (tap back)                        Lvl   Dmg    Ini  Hit  Rec
--------                                    ---   ---    ---  ---  ---
face up, head away (K,K,K)                  M     20     24   4    22
face up, head away (DOWN+K,K,K)             L     20     17   7    28
face down, head away (K,K,K)                M     20     17   5    33
face down, head away (DOWN+K,K,K)           L     20     17   4    32
face up, head towards (K,K,K)               M     20     19   5    31
face up, head towards (DOWN+K,K,K)          L     20     19   4    32
*face down, head towards (K,K,K)            M     20     24   4    22
face down, head towards (DOWN+K,K,K)        L     20     17   7    26


Certain rising attacks differ from the norm, and have been marked with an
asterisk (*). Unlike the sidekicks and mule kicks for "high" attacks, and
the sweeps and sliding kicks for low attacks, these special rising attacks
look very different, and can catch opponents unawares.

Particularly useful for Kage, is the "windmill kick". This can be activated
by getting up in place and tapping Kick, when Kage is face down with his
head away from the opponent. The windmill kick is very deceptive and has
good surprise value. However, the recovery is very long (43 frames), so
consider carefully before using it.

Less spectacular but still useful, is the "rolling axe kick". This is
performed by rolling away and tapping Kick. However, it is less sudden in
its execution than the windmill kick, and a good opponent can see it coming
and react in time.



+--------+
|Oki-zeme|
+--------+

In VF2, there is a technique called "oki-zeme", which was first invented in
Japan (hence the Japanese name). The philosophy of oki-zeme, is that once
the opponent is knocked down and on the ground, the standing player has a
great advantage. Although this may not be immediately obvious, a oki-zeme
expert can be very dangerous indeed.

Successful oki-zeme requires a good knowledge of your opponent's rising
attacks. In particular, you must be familiar with:

      - What the rising attacks look like.
      - Effective distance of the rising attacks.
      - Recovery position (standing or crouching) of the rising attacks.
      - Which rising attacks can be countered when blocked.

The ideal position for oki-zeme, is to place yourself just beyond the range
of your opponent's rising mid-level attacks, such as the mulekicks and
rising sidekicks. This way, you need not worry about mid-level attacks, and
can concentrate on incoming low rising attacks.

Once in position, you simply crouch and hold the Guard button (i.e. crouch
guard). Your opponent on the ground has a few options, all of which can be
taken advantage of:

(1)   In place, rising "high" attack. If you have positioned yourself
correctly, the attack will miss. Since the opponent will recover in a
standing position from "high" rising attacks, immediately move in and throw
once the attack misses.

(2)   In place, rising "low" attack. If the low attack misses, close in and
elbow the opponent for a stagger. If the low attack touches you, then only
block counters are possible --- check the "List of counters for rising
attacks" to see which low attacks you can counter.

(3)   Twist away, rising "high" attack. Just as in (1), the attack will miss
with proper oki-zeme position. Dash in and throw once the attack misses, as
your opponent will recover in standing position.

(4)   Twist away, rising "low" attack. As in (2), if the low attack misses,
dash in and elbow for a stagger. If the low attack touches you, then refer
to the "List of counters for rising attacks" to see if you can counter it.

(5)   Roll away, rising "high" or "low" attack. When the opponent rolls
away, the roll is always of a fixed distance and time. Only when the roll is
complete, will the rising attack begin. As before, pursue the opponent, but
position yourself such that you are beyond the range of his "high" (mid-
level) rising attacks when the roll is complete. Once in suitable oki-zeme
position, crouch and block --- the procedure is the same as above: Throw a
missed "high" attack, elbow a missed "low" attack, and where possible
counter a blocked "low attack".

(6)   Get up without attacking. If the opponent gets up without a rising
attack, close in and perform Kage's reaping throw (b,f+P). The dual-purpose
"b,f+P" move will give your opponent trouble, whether he stands up or
crouches. If he gets up and stands, he'll be thrown. If the opponent gets up
into a crouch, the "b,f+P" will generate an elbow instead, and he'll be
staggered.

(7)   Invincible getting up. This only applies to opponents who are face up,
with their head away from you, and who are getting up into a crouching
position. This fascinating technique will be discussed in a later section,
due to of its major implications, and because it only applies to one kind of
situation.


+----------------+
|When you're down|
+----------------+

In VF2, once you're knocked down, the story's not yet over. Your opponent
can still pounce for extra damage, or close in and hit you while you're
down. Getting up quickly and in the correct manner can make all the
difference between an escape and being hit.

Here are a few guidelines for escaping pounces. Due to variables such as the
knockdown move's damage, the body position, and how fast you try to get up,
these methods may not always work. However, they are generally the most
effective ways of getting up --- i.e. if these methods fail, odds are the
pounce would have connected anyway.

      Character        Pounce                    Escape Method
      ---------        ------                    -------------
      Akira            jumping punch             twist away
      Jacky/Sarah      knee hammer               twist away
      Lau              foot stomps               handspring
      Pai              knee pounce               handspring
      Wolf             jumping elbow drop        handspring
      Jeffry           body splash (near)        twist away
                       body splash (far)         handspring/roll away
      Kage             near pounce               handspring
                       mid-range pounce          twist away
                       far pounce                handspring
      Shun             roll & elbow drop         handspring
      Lion             heel smash                twist away
                       cartwheel heel smash      twist away


+-------------------------+
|The invincible getting up|
+-------------------------+

Under special conditions, it is possible to get up and be invincible to
attacks for a few seconds. This technique was first discovered in Japan, and
has helped to equalise the balance in oki-zeme.

The invincible getting up is only possible when:

      - You are lying face up.
      - Your head is away from the opponent.
      - You have not touched the controls since the knockdown.

Once the above conditions are satisfied, you can activate the process. To
perform the invincible getting up, you must HOLD the joystick in the DOWN,
BACK/DOWN, or DOWN/FOR positions. Do not touch any of the buttons, or move
the joystick until Kage has started getting up.

If you have done it right, Kage will get up into a crouching position. Once
in the crouching position, Kage will be invulnerable to attacks for 0.3 to
0.4 seconds. Practice this with a friend, and you'll find that sidekicks and
even Akira's double palm will pass right through Kage. However, this
invincibility is only temporary --- once the 0.3/0.4 second limit is up,
Kage will once again be vulnerable to attack, like any other crouching
character.

The main advantage of the invincible getting up, is against opponents who
like to rush in and attack you when you get up. If the conditions are right
(i.e. you are falling into a face-up & head-away position), simply activate
the invincible getting up. More often than not, your opponent will attack.
Because the attack passed through you harmlessly, you will be able to
counterattack the opponent as if he/she missed the attack.



+================+
|THE SENBON PUNCH|
+================+

+-------------------------+
|What is the Senbon punch?|
+-------------------------+

(i) Introduction
-----
The senbon punch technique (aka "senbon") can only be performed on Virtua
Fighter 2 machines. In Japan, there is a newer edition of VF2 called Virtua
Fighter 2.1, in which the Senbon punch is not possible. However, since 99%
of VF2 machines outside of Japan are the 2.0 vintage, this should not be an
issue for most readers.

To recap, in VF2 it is possible to Guard-cancel ("G-cancel") certain moves,
such that the move is retracted during its initiation (aka "winding up")
phase. An example of this would be Kage's basic roundhouse kick --- if you
tap Kick, quickly followed by Guard, you will see Kage lift his leg up for
the kick, but retract it just after it leaves the ground, returning to the
Guard position. This G-cancel can be used to bait an opponent into attack.
However, by itself, Kage's G-cancelled kick cannot cause any damage --- it
is only a feint to play mind games with the opponent.

Certain characters can cancel their punch-kick combo. Akira, Sarah, Jeffry,
Wolf, and Kage can G-cancel the punch-kick, simply by tapping "P,K,G". This
is not possible with Lau, Pai, Shun and Lion --- tapping "P,K,G" will result
in the punch-kick combo, with no effect from the G-cancel. Jacky can cancel
his punch-kick, but the process is somewhat more complicated and is best
left for other FAQ authors to tackle --- after all, this *is* the Kage FAQ.

The "P,K,G" sequence (PKG) is significant, because the pulling back of the
kick does not have any animation and is instantaneous. It is as if the
kicking leg teleported back to its original position.


(ii) Mechanics of the PKG
-----
If you refer to the move list earlier in the FAQ, you'll notice that every
move has a recovery time, except when the move forms part of a combo. Even
Kage's punch takes some time to recover, 10 frames to be precise.

However, if the PKG technique is used correctly, and the kick is cancelled
on the first frame, then it is possible to generate a punch with absolutely
no recovery time at all. Consider the following diagram:

      KAGE'S PUNCH
      Frame 0         10        20
            |----|----|----|----|----|.....
      Move  P
      Phase  <-Ini-->Ex<--Rec--->
      Time   8.......2.10........

      KAGE'S PUNCH-KICK (tap PK)
      Frame 0         10        20        30        40
            |----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|.....
      Move  P..........K
      Phase  <-Ini-->Ex<---Ini----><Ex><--Rec--........
      Time   8.......2.12..........4...22..........

      KAGE'S SENBON PUNCH (tap PKG with correct timing)
      Frame 0         10        20
            |----|----|----|----|...
      Move  P..........K...G          (time between Kick and G-cancel
      variable)
      Phase  <-Ini-->Ex<---Ini---...
      Time   8.......2.12....

      Note: "Ini" - initiation phase
            "Exe" or "Ex" - execution phase
            "Rec" - recovery phase

As depicted above, so long as you G-cancel Kage's punch-kick before the 20th
frame, the resulting combo will have LESS recovery time than the normal
punch! This is the Senbon Punch --- a special punch which takes less time to
recover than the "normal" punch. Ideally, the kick would be cancelled on the
11th frame of the punch-kick combo, resulting in a punch with zero recovery
time!


(iii) How to do the Senbon Punch
-----
When starting out with the senbon punch, many players make the mistake of
tapping PKG as fast as possible. This is incorrect because the G-cancel must
take effect during the INITIATION phase of the KICK, for a proper senbon
punch. If the PKG is tapped too rapidly, the VF2 computer starts to execute
the punch-kick combo, but receives the G-cancel during the punch itself. The
result is a normal punch, complete with recovery time.

On the other hand, if the G-cancel is keyed in too late, the kick will not
be retracted on the first frame, and the full benefit of senbon punch will
be lost.

Here is a good method to learn the Senbon punch:

(1)   With a quick but steady rhythm, tap "P,K,G" repeatedly. Do not roll
the button presses --- the Punch button must be released before the Kick
button is pressed, and so on.
(2)   Time the number of button presses you are doing in one second. It
helps if you have a friend to do this. Also, you get more accurate results
if you time the number of button presses over several seconds, then divide
the number of button presses by the number of seconds elapsed.
(3)   Now calculate the number of intervals between button presses, that
occur during the space of one second. We shall call this number "N".
(4)   Calculate 60/N. This is the average number of frames between any two
button presses, e.g. "P,K" or "K,G".
(5)   Multiply this by two, to get the average number of frames for
executing your PKG.

Now refer to the initiation and execution times for your character's punch.
In the case of Kage, they are 8 frames and 2 frames respectively. Thus an
ideal senbon punch would be G-cancelled one frame after the punch's
execution --- on the 11th frame. As a matter of interest, here are the frame
rates for various characters' punches (only the senbon-capable characters
are shown):

      PUNCH              INITIATION       EXECUTION      IDEAL SENBON
      -----              ----------       ---------      ------------
      Akira              9 frames         2 frames       12 frames
      Kage               8 frames         2 frames       11 frames
      Kage (b/d+P)       12 frames        2 frames       15 frames
      Jacky              10 frames        2 frames       13 frames
      Sarah              8 frames         2 frames       11 frames
      Jeffry             12 frames        2 frames       15 frames
      Wolf               12 frames        2 frames       15 frames

If you find that your PKG is taking shorter than the Ideal Senbon Time (11
frames for Kage), then you are doing it too fast, and should slow down a
bit. If the PKG is taking several frames longer, then you should try to
speed up a bit. Do not be worried if your PKG is only 2 or 3 frames longer;
the difference is not significant except against experts who can also senbon
punch you. Remember, I cannot emphasize this more:

            "WITH THE SENBON PUNCH, BETTER TOO SLOW THAN TOO FAST."

As an example calculation, let's consider my personal experiences. I can
average 4 PKG per second comfortably, with very slightly more than 1 second
between the first Punch and the last Guard button press. This makes out to
12 button presses per second, and 11 intervals between button presses.
Calculating, we find that the interval time (60/N) makes out to 5.45 frames.
Doubling this, we find that my PKG time is 10.9 frames. Considering that the
actual PKG time will be slightly higher, as my 4 PKG sets took a bit more
than 1 second, we can safely assume that I'm running PKG at 11 or 12 frames
each, a reasonably good figure for Kage.


(iv) How to tell if you've got it right
-----
As mentioned earlier, there is no animation for the kick retraction in a
senbon punch (or PKG), if it is done properly. Therefore if you are doing
multiple senbon punches with correct timing, you will see Kage extend his
hand to punch, then suddenly flicker back to the guard position, only to
extend his hand to punch again.

This flickering and twitching is a very good guide to checking if you're
doing it right. Similarly, it is also a way of detecting if your opponent is
senbon punching --- the appearance is very different from the normal punch.


(v) Adapting your Senbon rhythm
-----
Once you have found a good rhythm for PKG presses with a fast character like
Kage, you don't have to worry about changing the timing for slower
characters.

Instead of mucking around with an already well-practised timing, simply
insert an additional button press between the PK and Guard-cancel. Imagine
that there is a fourth button apart from Punch, Kick and Guard. Further
imagine that one of your inactive fingers is over that button. I use my
thumb, index and middle fingers for PKG respectively; hence I would imagine
a fourth button below my ring finger.

Now, if we call this imaginary button "X", then we can do the following:

(1)   For a slower senbon like Jeffry's, tap it out as "P,K,X,G". As an
example, my average of 10.9 frames per PKG increases to 16.35 frames because
of the extra button interval, which is ideal for Jeffry and Wolf. This also
works well for the senbon variation of Kage's dodge punch (b/d+P).

(2)   For minimal slowdown, tap it out as "P,K,K,G" instead, with the two
Kick button presses in rapid succession as fast as you can. This delays the
final Guard-cancel, but not as much as the PKXG technique. Choose what works
best for you.


(vi) The senbon cheat
-----
When the senbon punch was discovered, it was found that you could senbon
punch an opponent to K.O. or Ring Out, if the timing was done perfectly.
This is because the senbon punch recovers so quickly, that it is possible to
hit the opponent again (with another senbon punch) during his/her block stun
from the first senbon. The overall result is that the opponent is pushed
back all the way to Ring Out. If the first senbon connects for damage, the
situation becomes worse, as the senbon series can be continued indefinitely
until the opponent's lifebar reaches zero.

This method is called the "Senbon Cheat". However, you should NEVER attempt
to win a VF2 match using this method. It is considered cheesy and cheap in
the worst possible sense of the words. In fact, if you tried it in Japan,
you'd probably start a real fight. Don't blame us if you get permanently
disabled because of a childish urge to cheat with the senbon punch.

Because of the senbon cheat, Sega released an updated version of VF2 called
VF2.1, in which several changes were made. One of the most substantial
changes is that you can no longer use the senbon punch to cheat.



+----------------------------+
|Closing in with senbon punch|
+----------------------------+

Due to the speed and virtually zero recovery time of the senbon punch, it is
an ideal method for closing the distance between close-range combat and
elbow/throw distance. Kage's senbon punch is fast enough to interrupt nearly
any attack by the opponent, giving Kage an opening for a throw or punch-kick
knockdown. Even if the opponent blocks the senbon punch, Kage gains a
massive advantage because the opponent must still suffer block stun (12
frames, based on our formula), while Kage is instantly ready for action.

This 12 frames can lead to an overwhelming advantage --- it is enough time
for Kage to close in and 10-Foot Toss the opponent. Even if the opponent
crouches in time, Kage can dash in and elbow, leading to a stagger, which
also is bad news.

Furthermore, the senbon punch causes Kage to advance a bit with each PKG.
Hence it is possible for Kage to close the distance with multiple senbons,
until he is within range for a throw or attack.

The senbon punch also zeroes in against Shun and Lion players who attempt to
dodge away --- this is because the final Guard button press will align Kage
with the dodging opponent. In particular, this makes Lion's dodges quite
useless against the senbon close-in.

It is recommended that you buffer in a dash between the senbon and a throw.
This is because an opponent cannot be thrown while still in block stun, and
the "for,for" motion of the dash will generate a natural pause just
sufficient for the block stun to end.

The senbon close-in technique is a very powerful weapon indeed. Players who
are accustomed to moving around with normal dashes will be mostly helpless.
Only those who can crouch-dash will stand a decent chance at all, once Kage
is within punch range.

In fact, this is one of the techniques used by the Tetsujin Kage in Japan.
Called Tetsujin "steel man" because of his incredible skill, this Kage
player (by the name of "T.S.") came in second in the recent all-Japan VF2
tournament. The Tetsujin Kage is so good that he even takes part in
Fight-100 tournaments, where he takes on the best 100 players in a city at
once. His average score in such tournaments is on the order of 95 wins out
of 100 games.


+------------------+
|Senbon turn-around|
+------------------+

Any punch move that can be comboed into a punch-kick kind of move, can be
retracted the senbon way. This becomes very effective for Kage, in the case
of his turnaround punch.

To perform a senbon turn-around, simply tap PKG when Kage's back is facing
the other player. (The rhythm should be slightly slower than for Kage's
senbon --- try the timing for Kage's senbon swipe or Jeffry's senbon punch
instead.) If timed properly, Kage will perform a turnaround punch with
absolutely no recovery at all. This is very useful, at the turnaround punch
will interrupt most attacks from players behind you, yet allow Kage to keep
his options open.

A good example is against Akira players who perform dashing elbow after the
surprise exchange. If Kage dashes away to avoid the dashing elbow, Kage
cannot turn around safely if Akira tries another dashing elbow. But if the
senbon turn-around is used, the punch will interrupt Akira, returning the
initiative to Kage.


+----------------------------+
|Senbon punch after a stagger|
+----------------------------+

When your opponent is staggered, the conventional options are:

(1)   After an elbow stagger, to punch-kick and (f,f+K) sweep.
(2)   Alternatively, you can throw him as he recovers from the stagger.

This has certain limitations. The punch-kick and sweep lacks the damage
possibilities of Kage's 10-Foot Toss, and a careful opponent can tap d+P
just as he recovers from the stagger, so that he will enter an instant
crouch and be immune to Kage's throws. Also, the punch-kick and sweep only
work well after an elbow stagger --- a sidekick stagger sometimes leaves the
opponent too far away for the punch-kick to connect reliably (the slower
recovery of the sidekick also plays a role in this).

To circumvent these problems, you can senbon punch the opponent immediately
once he is staggered. Although the stagger will end with the first hit of
the senbon punch, Kage can make use of the stun time to close in and throw,
without worrying about the opponent tapping d+P to duck.

In short, the senbon punch can turn any stagger opportunity into a throw
opportunity. Imagine the shock on your opponents' faces when after an elbow
stagger, they do not eat a PK-sweep, but get tossed out of the ring instead!

The senbon & throw technique has limitations, which we'll examine soon in
another section.


+-------------+
|Maximum float|
+-------------+

Another application of the senbon punch is in float combos. This again is
because the senbon punch has no recovery time at all. For example consider
Akira's combo:

      surprise exchange, single jumping kick, PKG, PKG, PKG, super elbow
                         (light characters like Sarah)

This combo would be impossible if G-cancelled punches were used alone. But
with the senbon punch (PKG) it becomes surprisingly easy against light
characters. In particular, CPU Sarah is the easiest to perform this on, due
to her long legs. (Don't laugh --- try it out and see.)

Similarly, the most difficult Kage combo in existence, also makes use of
senbon swipes (b/d+P,K,G):

                 10-Foot Toss, b/d+PKG, b/d+PKG, b/d+PKG, PPPK

Without the senbon technique, this combo would also be impossible, as the
reovery from the b/d+P swipe is too slow for reliable combos. Incidentally,
the Tetsujin Kage in Japan does this combo *every* time he gets a throw
opportunity, and has a reputation for doing it perfectly 99% of the time.
Mere mortals like us can only dream of such mastery. :)


+--------------------+
|Defeating the Senbon|
+--------------------+

Despite the fearsome power of Kage's senbon closing-in technique, it is
possible to overcome the senbon punch. The key is not to let the punch make
contact with you --- by avoiding the senbon, you also avoid all the problems
inherent with blocking or taking a hit from the senbon punch.

(i) Overcoming Senbon close-in
-----
The senbon close-in is the greatest weapon of the senbon-capable player.
Because of its speed and zero recovery time, the defender's attacks will get
interrupted, and the defender is at a disadvantage so long as the senbon
touches him/her.

Some methods of escaping are:

(1)   Low punch. This is particularly effective for Kage, because Kage's low
punch not only ducks under high attacks, but also doubles up as a reversal
for the senbon punch. In fact, getting predictable with the senbon punch is
a bad idea against Kage players because of the d+P reversal. One caution,
though: if the opponent *wasn't* doing a senbon punch after all, and your
low punch misses, you can get elbowed, sidekicked, or even crouch thrown.

(2)   Crouch-dash back. By crouch-dashing back, you can duck under the
senbon punches and retreat, all in one motion. If suitably timed, the
incoming attacker may overreach himself and unleash an elbow or sidekick
which may miss --- if this happens, quickly dash in and throw.

(3)   Crouch-dash forwards. This is more risky than the crouch-dash back,
because the attacker may follow his senbon punch with a mid-level attack
like the sidekick or elbow. However, getting within range allows you to
interrupt further attacks with a low punch, returning the initiative to you.

(4)   Crouch-dash forwards & throw. This can be performed with the moves
"d/f,d/f+P+G" for an instant crouch-dash and throw. The crouch-dash ducks
under the senbon punch, and the P+G will throw the senbon punching opponent.
Even if the throw fails for some reason, a low punch will come out, which at
close range will interrupt most attacks. Note that if you are confident, a
10-Foot Toss after the crouch-dash will also work, but if failed lacks the
security of the low punch as mentioned above.

(5)   Dash backwards. This is less effective than the crouch-dash back,
since there is still a chance that the senbon will make contact. However, it
is the only safe method of retreating, if your opponent does a senbon
followed by a sidekick or dashing elbow (in the case of Akira)


(ii) Overcoming Senbon at the start of a round
-----
Senbon punching at the start of a round can give the initiative to any
player. But with proper technique, Kage can seize the initiative back:

(1)   Low punch. As mentioned above, this will reverse the senbon punch,
while ducking high attacks. The main risk occurs when the opponent doesn't
open up with a senbon.

(2)   Crouch-dash forwards & throw. The "d/f,d/f,P+G" or d/f,d/f+P+G" are
very useful against a senbon puncher at the start of the round. More
confident Kage players can also use the 10-Foot Toss. Inexperienced senbon
punchers who think the senbon will solve all their problems can often be
freaked out with this method. However, a low punch will interrupt the motion
and neutralise this technique. Jeffry/Wolf players have also been known to
anticipate and perform a low throw.


(iii) Overcoming "Senbon & Throw" tactics
-----
When Kage is staggered, his low punch is a very powerful weapon for avoiding
throws and (to a lesser extent) senbon punches. As mentioned earlier, you
can struggle out of a stagger by rolling the stick and tapping Punch & Kick
while still holding the Guard button.

Another way of struggling is to continuously tap d+P as fast as possible.
This sacrifices some speed in the stagger recovery, but Kage will execute a
low punch immediately upon coming out of the stagger.

This low punch will put Kage in an instant crouch, allowing him to dodge
throws and senbons upon his recovery from the stagger. Even if the opponent
senbon punches Kage during his stagger, the struggle is still a good bet,
because if the opponent is even a bit slow in his dash-in & throw, Kage will
crouch with a d+P upon coming out of hit stun, and thereby duck the throw.

The d+P tactic is also applicable when a senbon punch connects with Kage. An
opponent can throw you if you simply stand after the block/hit stun ends,
but you cannot be thrown during the initiation phase of a move, except on
the 1st frame. Thus d+P will duck under the throw --- do anything but stand
still, especially against throwers like another Kage.



+=============+
|OPTION-SELECT|
+=============+

(i) Introduction
-----
In VF2, there is a technique called "option-select", whereby the player can
keep his options open until the last possible moment. This results in a
great advantage, because the opponent does not know what is coming.
Furthermore, the player can tailor his plans to the opponent's reactions and
behaviour.

Option-select is at its most powerful with Akira. For example, the best
Akira player in Japan closes the distance to his opponents as follows:

      G,b+P,K,G or G,b/d+P,K,G

These senbon (PKG) punches double as high and mid reversal respectively. The
senbon punch interrupts any attack that the opponent may be unleashing,
while doubling as a reversal if Akira is lucky. Since low attacks will
probably interrupt the senbon punch, this leaves high and mid-level attacks.
Overall, against high or mid-level attacks, this technique allows Akira to
interrupt the opponent 50% of the time, and get a reversal on the other 50%.

Furthermore, after the senbon punch, the final Guard button-press serves to
initiate another reversal if the Akira player so wishes it. Combined with
fast reactions, it can make for a very deadly Akira.

Because this technique allows Akira to pick his options and retain the
initiative, it has been given the name "option-select" (translated from the
Japanese term).


(ii) Kage's PKG option-select
-----
Although Kage is not as powerful as Akira in this respect, he also has a
healthy supply of option-select techniques. The most common technique is the
senbon close-in. The PKG senbon punch will interrupt any attack from the
opponent, especially if you enhance its range by holding the joystick
forwards before the PKG. Kage's options for the PKG close-in are as follows:

(1)   PKG, sidekick. This is very effective against opponents who attempt
anything besides standing still. If the senbon punch connects, the sidekick
will interrupt *any* attack by the opponent for major counter. Follow up the
major counter knockdown with an elbow and sweep. However, be wary if the
senbon punch does not connect because the opponent crouch-dashed. Of course,
if the opponent crouches after the PKG, he will get staggered --- proceed
with the usual follow-ups in such a case.

(2)   PKG, throw. Works very well if the opponent gets scared of the
sidekick and remains standing. However, bear in mind that the opponent
cannot be thrown while still in block or hit stun, so a very slight delay
must occur between the senbon punch and the throw. To avoid this problem,
buffer in a forward dash (f,f) before the throw. The forward dash will close
the distance and fulfill the requirement for a delay.

(3)   PKG, d+P. This should be used against Lau players who like to crouch-
dash under the senbon punch and unleash a lifting knife hand (UpKn) to
interrupt your sidekick. Most of the time, Lau players will do this at the
start of the round, so the crouch-dash will bring them very close to Kage.
Hence the d+P will interrupt any attack from them (check out the Combat
Conquest section for more on this) apart from the heelkick, which Lau
players won't use because they're dead if it's blocked. Furthermore, the d+P
will double as a reversal for his knife hand.

(4)   PKG, kickflip. The kickflip works well against opponents who crouch or
attempt to attack after the PKG connects. Most of the time, if the kickflip
hits, a major counter will result, allowing Kage to follow up with a pounce
for added damage. However, if the kickflip is blocked or misses, Kage is a
sitting duck, so use it sparingly.


(iii) Kage's crouch dash option-select
-----
Kage also has another series of option-select methods, which are activated
through his crouch-dash (aka "cd"). We will be referring to the forwards
crouch-dash here. The options are as follows:

(1)   cd, 10-Foot Toss. This is very useful against players who senbon punch
at the start of a round. Simply crouch-dash under the senbon punch and toss
them out of the ring. The motions are "d/f,D/F,b+P"

(2)   cd, P+G. Less deadly than the previous technique, the P+G throw is
more secure for players who are not fully confident of performing a crouch-
dash 10-Foot Toss. If properly executed, the final DOWN/FOR+P+G motion will
also double as a low punch if the throw fails, allowing Kage the chance to
interrupt the opponent.

(3)   cd, f+P+K, P+K. This is highly effective against Akira/Wolf players
who crouch and attempt nothing but mid-level reversals against Kage. This
option works well against them, as the attack cannot be reversed. Should the
combo hit, they will be knocked over and you can follow with a sweep. If
they stand up in time to block either chop, you may be in some trouble, so
don't overuse it --- it is mainly to discourage opponents from crouching and
attempting mid-level reversals all the time. Once you have conditioned them
to avoid the reversal, elbow and sidekick them as usual.

(4)   cd, kickflip. As mentioned, this works well against crouching
opponents, or those who will attack immediately after your crouch-dash. Not
as effective as the PKG and kickflip, but it can still be used against
Akira/Wolf players who crouch and repeatedly attempt mid-level reversal.
Once again, if the kickflip fails, Kage is dead meat.



+======================+
|THE ART OF COMBINATION|
+======================+

+-------------------+
|Conventional combos|
+-------------------+

elbow stagger, PK, sweep
(84.25 pts, works on all)
-----
This is Kage's best weapon against crouching opponents, or as a counter to
moves with crouching recovery. The punch-kick and sweep are guaranteed if
the elbow staggers the opponent. For maximum success, you should always use
the following procedure for this combo:

(1)   Tap and HOLD f+P for the elbow. Do not release the joystick to
neutral, but leave it in the forward direction even after releasing the
punch button.
(2)   While holding the joystick forward from (1), immediately tap PK. This
ensures maximum range for the punch-kick, especially against light opponents
like Shun which can get pushed quite far away by the elbow stagger.
(3)   Once the PK connects, immediately tap "f,f+K" as the opponent starts
falling. Kage will sweep the falling opponent on the ground for extra
damage.


elbow stagger, turn & back thrust, sliding kick
(74.25 pts, works on all)
-----
If you want something more fancy against crouching opponents, this is the
combo for you --- less damage, but more humiliating to the opponent than the
standard PK-sweep. The procedure is:

(1)   Tap f+P for the elbow.
(2)   Quickly tap "b,b+K" so that Kage will execute his turn & back thrust.
The opponent will be knocked over.
(3)   Immediately TAP "d+K" for the sliding low kick. Your joystick
positioning must be accurate for this --- "b/d+K", "d/f+K", will result in a
kick that hits high, and the opportunity will have been wasted. Holding the
joystick down will also produce this errorneous result.


elbow stagger, kickflip
(64.25 pts, works on all)
-----
Yet another fancy combo against crouchers. Just beware of expert players who
can recover from the stagger incredibly fast. The procedure is:

(1)   Tap f+P for the elbow.
(2)   Quickly tap u/b+K for the kickflip.


back thrust, kickflip
(95 pts, works on all, requires major counter)
-----
This combo only works if the back thrust connects for a major counter, i.e.
it interrupted the opponent during the initiation phase of their attack.
Even if the back thrust is blocked or ducked under, the kickflip is a good
bet, because it will catch a croucher who doesn't stand up immediately, as
well as opponents who try a slow attack --- only a fast punch can stop the
kickflip. The procedure is:

(1)   Tap b+K+G for the back thrust.
(2)   Immediately tap u/b+K+G for the kickflip. If the back thrust connected
as a major counter, the kickflip will be a guaranteed hit for good damage.


back thrust, PPPK
(107 pts, Pai/Sarah/Lion/Shun only, requires major counter)
-----
This combo requires that the back thrust hit as a major counter. The
procedure is:

(1)   Tap b+K+G for the back thrust.
(2)   The instant you hear the loud boom of a major counter, tap PPPK.


back thrust, low punch, corkscrew kick
(85 pts, Jeffry/Wolf only, requires major counter)
-----
This combo, like the back thrust & kickflip, also requires a major counter
to work properly. Furthermore, it will only work on Jeffry and Wolf.


sidekick, elbow, sweep
(82 pts, works on all, requires major counter)
-----
This combo requires that the sidekick hit as a major counter. Often you can
get this simply by using a PKG-sidekick combo. If the PKG connects, any
attack by the opponent will be interrupted by the sidekick. To get maximum
effectiveness, follow this:

(1)   Tap d/f+K for the sidekick, then slide the joystick to the forwards
direction and hold it there.
(2)   Once you hear the unusually loud noise of a major counter sidekick,
tap the joystick forwards for the f+P elbow.
(3)   Follow up with "f,f+K" for the sweep.


sidekick, PPPK
(95 pts, all except Jeffry/Wolf, requires major counter)
-----
Another combo that needs a sidekick to interrupt the opponents attack. As
above, any method to bait the opponent into being interrupted will work.
Once again, follow this procedure for maximum effectiveness:

(1)   Tap d/f+K for the sidekick, then slide the joystick to the forwards
position and hold it there.
(2)   Upon hearing the loud noise, indicating the sidekick hit as a major
counter, continue holding the joystick in forwards, and tap PPPK.


roundhouse kick, heelkick
(80 pts, all except Jeffry/Wolf, requires major counter)
-----
The roundhouse kick can be a plain kick (tap K), or the kick in a punch-kick
counter. Most of the time the roundhouse will hit as a major counter by
acccident --- Kage will try a punch-kick, and the punch will miss. The
opponent, trying an attack after the missed punch, will get caught unawares
by the kick and be interrupted for a major counter. Upon hearing the loud
booming noise of a major counter roundhouse, tap d+K+G for the heelkick.
That's all there is to it.


turnaround toe slide, sliding kick
(42 pts, works on all)
-----
This is a very effective combo, especially if buffered into a backward dash
from a pursuing opponent. Although it is not one of the more powerful
combos, it has excellent harassment effect. One particularly good use for
it, is to punish Lau after his sliding tackle "f,d+K" misses Kage. The
procedure is as follows:

(1)   Tap "b,b+K+G" for the turnaround toe slide. You can buffer this into a
backward dash to mask your intentions against a pursuing opponent.
(2)   Immediately TAP d+K for the sliding kick and Kage will turn again to
face the opponent. As mentioned earlier, you must not enter it as "d/f+K" or
"b/d+K". Neither must you hold the joystick down; a tap will do. If done
improperly, a turning crouch kick will come out, which has zero value after
the first move in (1).


+-------------------+
|10-Foot Toss combos|
+-------------------+

Kage's 10-Foot Toss is the most useful throw in the entire game. Easy to
execute with a simple "b+P", it is full of potential for follow-up combos.
There is also a good deal of time after the 10-Foot Toss to decide on your
course of action --- a vital consideration in the heat of battle. If the
Kage player is tired or unwell, he can pick the easier combos. If in prime
condition, he can go for the most difficult follow-ups. This luxury is not
available to any other character in VF2.

To save space and avoid excessive typing, the abbreviation "TFT" will be
often be used in this section, instead of "10-Foot Toss". Also to recap, you
should note that the 40 points of damage from the TFT are only awarded if
the falling opponent is not hit by any attacks after the TFT.


TFT, dash away from opponent, pounce
(80 pts, works on all)
-----
This is the most basic of Kage combos, and most novices will figure it out
on their own after some time. However, excessive use of this combo is
considered rather cheap in many VF2 communities, as it requires little skill
and does not have much style. Anyway, here is the procedure:

(1)   TFT the opponent with b+P.
(2)   As the opponent is falling, tap the joystick in the opposite direction
from the opponent --- if the opponent is on the left, tap the joystick
right, and vice versa. If done correctly, the distance between Kage and the
opponent's landing zone will increase.
(3)   Tap u+P for the pounce. The opponent will hit the ground for 40 points
of damage, then Kage will perform his mid-range pounce and stomp on the
opponent's head for another 40 points.


TFT, dash forwards, kickflip
(50 pts, works on all)
-----
This is another basic Kage combo that beginners pick up quickly. The
kickflip sends the opponent very high in the air, and can result in the
opponent losing by Ring Out. Again, excessive use of this combo is
considered cheesy in many circles. The procedure is as follows:

(1)   TFT the opponent with b+P.
(2)   As the opponent is falling, tap "f,f" in the direction of the falling
opponent. Kage will dash forwards into kickflip range.
(3)   Kickflip with u/b+P. The opponent will be sent flying upwards and
forwards, covering a good amount of distance in the process.


TFT, sweep
(70 pts, works on all)
-----
This combo requires careful timing to execute properly. If the sweep
connects too early, the opponent will not have hit the ground yet, and the
40 points of TFT damage will be forfeited. Too late, and the sweep will not
affect the opponent after he/she hits the ground. Here's how to time it:

(1)   TFT the opponent with b+P.
(2)   Wait until the opponent has fallen to about Kage's head level. Then
tap "f,f+K" for the sweep. Kage will sweep the opponent a split-second after
he/she hits the ground, giving the full 40+30 points of damage.


TFT, catapult kick
(80 pts, works on all)
-----
Although it is quite easy to connect the catapult kick (f,f+P+K+G) on a
falling opponent in mid-air, this combo is quite different. If done
correctly, the opponent will hit the ground a split-second before the
catapult kick. Because TFT victims bounce slightly upon hitting the ground,
the catapult kick will hit them upon the upward bounce for added damage. It
also looks very cool. To perform this combo:

(1)   TFT the opponent will b+P.
(2)   Tap "b,b,G" so that Kage takes a very slight dash backwards,
increasing his distance from the falling opponent. The Guard button must be
pressed a split-second after the dash is entered, so that Kage only moves
back about 1/8 to 1/4 the full dash distance.
(3)   Immediately enter "f,f+P+K+G" for the catapult kick. Properly
executed, Kage will catapult kick the opponent just as they bounce off the
ground.

If you cannot achieve this combo, adjust the timing as follows:

(1)   If Kage's catapult kick hits the opponent before he/she reaches the
ground, then you are entering the kick way too fast.
(2)   If Kage's catapult kick flies right over the opponent, but does not
connect, then the kick is a bit too fast.
(3)   If Kage's catapult kick does not fly over the opponent, but stops
short of his/her head without making contact, then you are doing it a bit
too slow.

This move requires a good sense of timing. Don't worry if you can't do it,
as it has little use beyond dramatic effect and slow-motion replays to
irritate your opponent.


TFT, PPPK
(62 pts, works on all)
-----
This is the first of the true Kage ring out combos, and the most basic.
Although it does less damage than easier combos like TFT-pounce, its ring
out potential is quite sufficient for novices and beginners. Here's how to
do it:

(1)   TFT the opponent with b+P.
(2)   Dash forwards with "f,f" but G-cancel the dash just after Kage is
within punching distance.
(3)   As the opponent falls to about one head's height above Kage's head,
tap in PPPK. If timed right, Kage will PPPK the opponent.


TFT, turnaround slap, PPPK [TFToD]
(76 pts, works on all)
-----
This is the most powerful of the "easy" Kage TFT combos, and has very good
ring out potential. Its damage is also on part with the TFT-pounce, making
it a vital component of any Kage's arsenal.

Also known as the TFT of Doom, or TFToD, this is the most powerful ring-out
tool available to Kage, that will still work on all characters. Stronger
ring-out combos exist, but either cannot be applied universally to all
characters, or are too difficult for all but the professional masters in
Japan. TFToD is the best balance between specialisation and ease of use, for
the average to above average Kage player.

To execute the TFToD, you must:

(1)   TFT the opponent with b+P.
(2)   Dash forwards with "f,f" so that Kage moves towards the falling
opponent. Immediately after tapping "f,f" you must buffer in the turnaround
slap, by tapping "b,b+P". The whole "f,f,b,b+P" motion should be quite
smooth. Adjust your rhythm according to the opponent's weight (do it
slightly faster for heavy players, and slightly slower for light ones).
(3)   Once the "b,b+P" slap connects, immediately tap PPPK. If your timing
was correct, both slap and PPPK will connect, and float your opponent about
halfway across the ring.

One warning: Never step out of the ring while executing this combo. Ring-out
in VF2 is decided on the basis of who touches the floor outside the ring
first. If you step out during the PPPK, Kage will touch the exterior floor
first, not the still-falling opponent, and you'll lose the round.


TFT, turnaround slap, double low punches
(42 pts, works on all)
-----
A watered-down alternative to the TFToD, this is a good alternative when
instinct or experience tells you that the PPPK is not going to connect after
the slap, or when you do not want to step out of the ring by accident. The
procedure is very similar to the TFToD:

(1)   TFT the opponent with b+P.
(2)   Perform the turnaround slap with "f,f,b,b+P" as described for the
TFToD above.
(3)   Once the slap connects, immediately tap d+P. Be precise about your
joystick motions --- holding the joystick down will give you an altogether
different move that is useless. "b/d+P" and "d/f+P" are also mistakes, so
watch that joystick.


TFT, turnaround slap, flipover knee attack
(34 pts, works on Jeffry/Wolf/Akira/Jacky)
-----
This combo is mainly for show, as there are many combos which are easier to
perform and do more damage. However, it is included here because of the
"coolness factor". The procedure is:

(1)   TFT the opponent with b+P.
(2)   Perform the turnaround slap with "f,f,b,b+P" as described for the
TFToD above. There is no clear-cut method to achieving optimal timing, but I
recommend practice --- obviously those with plenty of TFToD experience will
be able to control the timing better.
(3)   Once the slap connects, tap "u+K" and Kage will perform his flipover
knee attack. If step (2) was timed properly, the knee attack will connect
just as the opponent bounces off the ground upon landing.


TFT, rising knee, sweep
(68 pts, works on all)
-----
This is the most basic of Kage's TFT-knee combos. However, it is of limited
use compared to Kage's other TFT-knee options. You should use this only if
the rising knee connects in such a way that no other follow-up is possible.
However, if you do not have ambitions for TFT-kneePPPK and other such
combos, here is a sure-fire way of getting the TFT-knee-sweep:

(1)   TFT the opponent with b+P.
(2)   Hold the joystick in the DOWN/FOR direction. Wait for Kage to get up.
(3)   Kage will slide forwards slightly. After a short pause, bring the
joystick to the forwards direction, and tap f+K for the knee.
(4)   Once the knee connects, carry on with the sweep (f,f+K).


TFT, rising knee, PPPK [TFTKoD]
(100 pts, all except Jeffry/Wolf)
-----
Due to its superb ring-out potential and very high damage value (on par with
Wolf's Twirl & Hurl), this combo is fast replacing the TFToD as the weapon
of choice for Kage players. Even more deadly than the TFToD, it has acquired
the nickname of TFTKoD, i.e. TFT-knee of Doom. (Special thanks to Lars
Sorenson for the name!) However, it is more difficult to achieve than the
TFToD, as the motions must be carefully adjusted depending on which
character you have tossed. Furthermore, it will not work on Wolf or Jeffry.
Careful research has distilled the following procedure which should help
you:

(1)   TFT the opponent with b+P.
(2)   As Kage starts to get up from the ground and recover from the effort
of the TFT, buffer in a crouch dash towards the falling opponent. "d/f,d/f"
and "d/f,d,d/f" are both good choices. The second "d/f" motion should be
entered just as Kage finishes getting up. You should also hold the second
"d/f" motion.
(3)   Upon recovering from the TFT, Kage will crouch-dash forwards. Here is
the difficult part. Watch Kage's front foot carefully: After his front foot
has moved forwards a certain distance (check the table below) during the
crouch-dash, you must immediately slide the joystick to forwards and tap
Kick for the "f+K" rising knee. The guideline for foot movement distances is
as follows:

      Victim                  Crouch-dash distance
      ------                  --------------------
      Pai, Sarah, Lion        1/2 to 2/3 foot length
      Kage, Lau, Shun         1/3 foot length
      Akira, Jacky            1/6 to 1/4 foot length

      For example, if you were tossing Pai, you would only engage the rising
knee after Kage's front foot had moved forwards 1/2 to 2/3 foot length. In
the case of Lau, you would start earlier, at the 1/3 foot length point.

      To fine-tune the timing, you should study the "contact point", i.e.
which part of the victim's body gets hit by Kage's knee. The ideal contact
points are as follows:

      Victim             Contact point
      ------             -------------
      Pai, Sarah         shoulder level
      Lion               bottom of neck
      Kage, Lau          middle of neck
      Shun               top of neck
      Akira, Jacky       bottom of head (hairline)

(4)   Do NOT release the joystick to neutral after the rising knee. Continue
holding the stick in the forward position.
(5)   Upon hearing the sound of the knee connecting, tap PPPK. If you timed
the knee correctly and got the crouch-dash distance right, Kage will PPPK
the falling opponent. (If you mucked up the timing and it looks like the
knee hit too late, then immediately follow up with the sweep instead.)



TFT, rising knee, P, PPPK [TFTKPoD]
(110 pts, all except Jeffry/Wolf)
-----
More difficult than the TFTKoD, this version may appear to be a case of
overkill. However, the extra punch is good for another 1/4 to 1/3 body
length of float after the knee, so don't dismiss it right away. This combo
has been nicknamed the TFTKPoD --- TFT, knee, punch combo of Doom. The
procedure is similar to the TFTKoD:

(1)   As above, TFT the opponent with b+P.
(2)   As Kage starts to get up from the ground and recover from the effort
of the TFT, buffer in a crouch dash towards the falling opponent. "d/f,d/f"
and "d/f,d,d/f" are both good choices. The second "d/f" motion must be
entered just as Kage finishes getting up. Again, you should also hold the
second "d/f" motion.
(3)   Upon recovering from the TFT, Kage will crouch-dash forwards. After
his front foot has moved forwards a fixed distance (check the table below)
during the crouch-dash, immediately slide the joystick to forwards and tap
Kick for the "f+K" rising knee. The tables for foot movement and contact
point are the same as those for the TFTKoD; it is only the error margin
which has gotten more exact.
(4)   Do NOT release the joystick to neutral after the rising knee. Continue
holding the stick in the forward position.
(5)   Once the knee connects, wait for Kage to recover from the knee and
descend to the ground.
(6)   Just as Kage touches the ground (i.e. fully recovers from the knee),
immediately perform a senbon punch with "PKG". Continue with PPPK for the
rest of the combo.
(7)   Pick up the opponent's jaw from where it has dropped. :)


TFT, rising knee, back thrust, heel smash
(83 pts, Jeffry/Wolf only)
-----
Although the TFTKoD combos will not work on Jeffry and Wolf due to their
weight, there is an alternative combo that only works on them! It provides
better damage than the conventional TFToD, but the ring out potential is not
as great. The procedure is as follows:

(1)   TFT the opponent with b+P.
(2)   As Kage starts to get up from the ground and recover from the effort
of the TFT, buffer in a crouch dash towards the falling opponent. "d/f,d/f"
and "d/f,d,d/f" are both good choices. Hold the second "d/f" motion.
(3)   Upon recovering from the TFT, Kage will crouch-dash forwards. Wait for
Kage's front foot to move forwards about 1 foot length, then immediately
slide the joystick to forwards and tap Kick for the "f+K" rising knee. The
contact point should be right between the shoulder blades; there is a lot of
room for error in this combo, so don't worry too much about it.
(4)   When you hear the sound effects of the rising knee connecting,
immediately tap b+K+G for the back thrust. If you timed the crouch-dash
properly, the back thrust will hit Jeffry/Wolf just as they bounce off the
ground.
(5)   Tap d/f+K, so that Kage does a heel smash on the fallen Jeffry/Wolf.


TFT, swipe, swipe, swipe, PPPK
(104 pts, works on all)
-----
This is the ultimate Kage combo, and the most difficult Kage combo in
existence. It does less damage than the TFT,knee,P,PPPK combo, but has
better ring out power. Despite intensive research, I have not been able to
achieve this combo. However, the following facts may help the reader:

(1)   The swipe punches are executed with the senbon technique, in the
manner of "b/d+P,K,G" and with suitable senbon timing.
(2)   It is suspected that the joystick must be quickly switched to forwards
during the "K,G" component, then rapidly tapped again to back/down for the
"b/d+P" component.
(3)   After the final "K,G" the joystick should be left in the forwards
position from (2), when tapping the PPPK.

If anybody actually succeeds in performing this combo in the arcade, please
e-mail me and tell me how you did it!



+=======================+
|GENERAL KAGE PHILOSOPHY|
+=======================+

There is really not much to say about general Kage philosophy. But important
things are:

(1)   Always have an eye for throws. Kage is only functioning at 50% of his
full potential when he cannot get a throw opportunity. Knowing how to get
throw opportunities becomes even more important when you challenge other
players, who will fight tooth and nail to deny Kage the chance to throw.

(2)   Retain the initiative, especially against powerhouses like Akira and
Lau. Using the senbon close-in can help greatly in this respect.

(3)   Play a mixture of aggressive and passive techniques. Some players are
good at fighting an aggressive Kage, but will make mistakes more often when
faced with a passive Kage.

(4)   Above all, practise your throws and follow-ups to the 10-Foot Toss. If
you can pull off Kage's advanced TFT-knee combos consistently, all your
opponents will be in deadly terror of Kage.



+===============+
|COMBAT CONQUEST|
+===============+

Now that we have covered the various moves and tactics for Kage, we can put
them to good use against actual opponents. In this section, we will present
general guides to fighting each character, as well as how to counter their
more common techniques.

In each character-specific discussion, there's a section on how to stop
them. This lists methods for interrupting attack combos, which can be the
only way of winning at higher levels of VF2. For example, consider the
following table:

      After blocking Akira's sidekick,
      (1)   dashing elbow: punch or low punch
      (2)   high reversal: low punch.

Looking at the table, we can see that after blocking Akira's sidekick, if
Akira tries a dashing elbow, Kage can interrupt it with a punch or low
punch.

When the tables refer to situations after a low punch or high punch from the
opponent, they will also apply to cases where the opponent attacks without
the d+P or punch as an "appetiser". However, anticipation is more critical
here.

Some interesting things to note are:
(1)   If the interrupt is listed as "punch", then it means that all punch
techniques will work against the opponent after the interrupt, such as punch
& throw, or punch-kick (if you're sure the punch will interrupt). Similarly,
an interrupt listed as "punch-kick" would mean that "punch" and "punch &
throw" also will work.
(2)   An interrupt listed as low punch has good potential. This is because
if it hits as a major counter, a punch-kick will definitely knock the
opponent down after that. Be sure to follow up the knockdown with a sweep.

Just remember that in all cases, the first move in the opponent's combo must
be blocked for the interrupt to be effective. Returning to the above table,
if you got hit by the sidekick, then the punch would no longer be a good
idea. In fact you might even get in deeper trouble.


+--------+
|vs Akira|
+--------+

Akira's greatest weapons are his elbows, reversals, and throws. At mid-
range, good Akira players will try to dominate the game with the super
dashing elbow, especially since it hits crouch-dashers trying to close in.
At close range, Akiras will go for throws, with reversal attempts mixed in
for good measure.

Akira's elbows/sidekick
-----
Akira is actually at a disadvantage against Kage if he attacks after a
dashing elbow, which does 20-40 damage. This is because the dashing elbow
takes 23 frames to recover, which is 1 frame more than the maximum possible
block stun. In short, Kage has a 1 frame advantage against Akira after the
dashing elbow is blocked.

Now, Akira's fastest attack takes 9 frames to initiate, while Kage's punch
takes 8 frames. Add on the 1 frame advantage, and we can see that Kage's
punch-kick will knockdown Akira for a major counter, if Akira tries anything
other than guard or reversal after the dashing elbow. If Akira tries a
slower attack, Kage's kickflip will also interrupt for a major counter and
pounce. This leaves Kage with only the high reversal to worry about.

Akira's sidekick is counterable with Kage's PK, if the joystick is held
forwards while guarding, and the punch-kick is entered in before the
sidekick animation ends.

Best of all, any of these punch-kick knockdowns can be modified into a
senbon punch and throw. So unless Akira goes for a high reversal or
retreats, he is in a very bad position after using his elbow attacks against
Kage.


Akira's reversals
-----
Akira has the following reversals for all three attack levels: "G,b+P" for
high, "G,b/d+P" for mid-level, and "G,d+P" for low. However, Akira is
disadvantaged against Kage when going for reversals. Here's why:

(1)   "G,b+P" High reversal. This will catch Kage's punch-kick and senbon
close-in, and the resulting punch can interrupt slow attacks. Kage's options
against a predicted high reversal are the heelkick, elbow, sidekick, low
punch, or low kick. The heelkick does good damage if it hits Akira while the
reversal is coming out as a punch, but can be countered if blocked. Kage's
best bet in this case is to crouch-dash under the reversal and P+G throw
Akira, because this will also work against a mid-reversal from standing.

(2)   "G,b/d+P" Mid reversal. This will catch Kage's elbow and sidekick.
This is generally bad for Kage, as the elbow and sidekick are his only fast,
uncounterable attacks. The best bet against a mid-reversal from standing
Akira is to crouch-dash forwards and P+G throw, as the mid-reversal will
leave a standing Akira still standing. If you don't mind the risk of Akira
blocking and countering, then the heelkick is also a good bet because of its
damage potential --- make sure you time the heelkick properly, so it hits
Akira while his punch is still being displayed.

(3)   "G,d+P" Low reversal. This is actually Akira's best bet against Kage.
The low reversal will catch Kage's low punch and low kick. Even if the low
reversal fails, it will duck under Kage's senbon punch or punch-kick, and
can even interrupt attacks at close range. Kage's best option is to avoid
the low punch, and then quickly elbow Akira for a stagger.


Akira's throws
-----
Akira's most useful throws are the Stun Palm of Doom (SPoD) and the Surprise
Exchange. If the SPoD is performed on Kage, there is nothing much you can do
because the lifebar will get shortened at one go. However, Kage has a
fighting chance after the Surprise Exchange.

After the surprise exchange (SE), Akira's options are:

(1)   Bodycheck. Kage can quite easily escape the bodycheck by dashing
forwards. If the Akira is slow to react, Kage can even turn around and 10-
Foot Toss after the bodycheck misses. Against a smart Akira who will dashing
elbow after the bodycheck, Kage's senbon turnaround punch works well. Just
beware of high reversals.

(2)   Dashing elbow (f,f+P). The dashing elbow can be escaped with a dash
forwards. This normally occurs because the Akira player tried for a super
elbow but did not enter the "f,f,f+P" properly. Most Akira players will
follow up with another dashing elbow if the first one misses, simply because
Kage cannot turn around (without an attack) safely. In this case, the senbon
turnaround can be used again. Just make sure you do it immediately once
Kage's dash is complete --- don't wait until Akira has recovered from the
dashing elbow.

(3)   Deep bodycheck (b,f,FOR+P+K). Akira does this by holding the second
forwards move a fraction of a second, before tapping P+K. This gives the
bodycheck extra range. Kage can escape this by running, but it is more
diffcult to flee than the normal bodycheck. However, a G-cancelled run will
often leave Kage in a reasonable position after the deep bodycheck. You must
time the G-cancel properly, so that Kage gets extra distance beyond the
normal dash, yet does not run all the way into the sunset.

(4)   Super dashing elbow; double palm. None of these SE-followups are
escapable. It's best to just sit there and take it, although some Akiras
have been known to do a crouch-dash before the double palm for extra damage
(ouch!).

(5)   Crouch dash & single palm. This special case is discussed separately.


Akira's SE-cd-SgPm
-----
Abbreviated as the "SE-cd-SgPm", this is one of Akira's deadliest combos.
after the surprise exchange, Akira crouch-dashes forwards and performs a
single palm. The crouch-dash gives the palm added damage, and makes it
useless to run away. Opponents who run away will get floated nearly halfway
across the ring, and Akira can even tack on a super elbow for extra damage.
Against a running opponent, this combo can eat up 70-80% of the lifebar.

Kage can escape the dashing palm completely by rolling forwards or
backwards. However, for the roll to work, it must be buffered in while
holding the Guard button, with the Guard button immediately released after
that. Otherwise Kage will only turn around, which does not bode well for
escaping.

One disadvantage of the roll, is that other attacks like the deep bodycheck
and super dashing elbow will connect for major counter damage, if Kage
guesses wrongly about the SE-cd-SgPm. Overall, the victim is still in a bad
position after Akira's surprise exchange.


Stopping Akira
-----
After blocking Akira's dashing elbow,
(1)   dashing elbow: punch or low punch.
(2)   single palm: punch or low punch. Elbow possible, but must be fast.
(3)   high reversal: low punch or kickflip.
(4)   mid reversal: low punch or kickflip

After blocking Akira's low punch,
(1)   dashing elbow: punch or low punch.
(2)   single palm: punch or low punch. Elbow possible, but must be fast.
(3)   sidekick: punch or elbow.
(4)   throw: low punch or elbow.

After blocking Akira's sidekick,
(1)   dashing elbow: punch or low punch.
(2)   high reversal: low punch.

After blocking Akira's slow PKG,
(1)   dashing elbow: punch. Elbow possible if Akira is slow.
(2)   sidekick: punch. Elbow possible, but must be fast.
(3)   low reversal: stand and guard, then elbow if Akira's low punch misses.
(4)   throw: low punch or elbow.

After blocking Akira's single palm at close range:
Note: at close range, Akira's single palm cannot be countered with PK!
(1)   throw: quickly throw Akira first!
(2)   high reversal: low punch, or elbow.


+--------+
|vs Jacky|
+--------+

A good Jacky can be a very difficult nut to crack. Jacky players will mix up
their attack levels and generally try to confuse Kage, especially with
pauses after moves, that may or may not be safe to attack with.

At mid-range
-----
At midrange, Jacky players will often close-in with the "P,P,elbow" combo.
Alternatively, they will attack with the sidehook kick, because Kage cannot
counter it. Kage is best advised to control movement carefully until the
sidehook kick misses, then retaliate with a heelkick, punch-kick, or punch &
throw.

Jacky's sidekick has good range, so watch out for it, especially when crouch-
dashing back or closing in with a crouch-dash. However, you can counter it
with PK if you block it. If instead, Jacky misses the sidekick, unleash your
TFT.


Stopping Jacky (mainly close range)
-----
After blocking Jacky's low punch,
(1)   2 punches & elbow: low punch.
(2)   "f,f+P" elbow/clothesline: punch or low punch.
(3)   low backfist: low punch; sidekick; or elbow
(4)   kickflip: punch.

After blocking Jacky's low backfist:
(1)   low backfist: low punch or sidekick (less safe).
(2)   elbow: punch or low punch.
(3)   2 punches & elbow: punch or low punch.
(4)   kickflip: punch or low punch.
(5)   throw: punch, low punch, sidekick, or elbow.
It is clear from this that d+P is the safest option after blocking Jacky's
low backfist.

After blocking Jacky's elbow:
(1)   2 punches & elbow: punch or low punch.
(2)   elbow: punch or low punch.
(3)   sidehook kick (b+K): punch or low punch (d+P at close range only).
(4)   delayed heelkick: punch or low punch (d+P at close range only).
(5)   kickflip: punch or low punch.
In general, a punch is a good bet after Jacky's elbow.


+--------+
|vs Sarah|
+--------+

With her speed and range, Sarah is one of the best characters to play a
"machi" game, where she waits for opponents to come to her rather than
attack directly. Because of this, you should always engage Sarah at very
close range (i.e. within range of a high punch), so that you can interrupt
her fast powerful attacks before they can hit you.

Keep up the pressure on her, and seize the first opening you get. Mistakes
are very costly for Sarah when playing against Kage, because the TFT-knee
combos are very easy to perform against her --- compared to heavier
characters like Akira & Jacky, it is relatively easy to get TFT-kneeP-PPPK
against Sarah.

Sarah is notorious for delayed elbow-knee combos, which have spelt defeat
for many players. Try to judge the style of the Sarah player, to see when
the delayed knee will be used, and when it will not. The knee can be delayed
by up to 31 frames (over half a second!) so be careful. Alternatively,
senbon punch Sarah immediately when you block the elbow. Sarah cannot press
guard between the elbow and knee, if she wants do perform the delayed combo,
and you can take advantage of the hit/block stun to throw her.

Beware of her instant turnaround (aka "shun-puri") --- her sweep after that
is fast and uncounterable. However, she will recover from the sweep in a
standing position, so it's best to avoid the sweep completely and unleash a
catapult kick when you see her sweep begin. Alternatively, if you're fast,
then dodge the sweep and then quickly dash in for a throw.


Stopping Sarah
-----
After blocking Sarah's punch & sidekick (P,d+K) combo:
(1)   any punch combo (e.g. PK): low punch.
(2)   hopping roundhouse kick (u+K): punch-kick.
(3)   toe kick (d+K): punch or punch-kick.
(4)   elbow: punch or punch-kick.

After blocking Sarah's turnaround sweep:
(1)   kickflip: punch.
(2)   elbow: punch.
(3)   any punch combo (e.g. PK): low punch.

After Sarah's shun-puri, or blocking her turnaround punch (b,b+P):
(1)   turnaround punch combo: low punch.
(2)   turnaround sweep: hopping kick.

After blocking Sarah's high punch or low punch:
(1)   low punch: elbow.
(2)   sidehook kick (b/d+K+G): punch-kick.
(3)   shun-puri & turnaround sweep: sidekick.
(4)   kickflip: punch-kick.
(5)   low kick: elbow
(6)   toe kick (d+K): punch; punch-kick; or low punch.
(7)   toe kick [blocked], sidekick (d+K,K): punch-kick.
(8)   elbow: punch-kick.
(9)   elbow [blocked] & delayed knee: punch-kick.
(10)  full turning roundhouse (FC,b+K): punch-kick.
(11)  turnaround punch (b,b+P): elbow.
(12)  hopping roundhouse kick (u+K): punch-kick.
(13)  punch: low punch.
(14)  punch [blocked] & kick combo: punch-kick.
(15)  throw: low punch.
Despite the complicated possiblities for Sarah to initiate an attack, we can
see that punch-kick is the weapon of choice against Sarah at close range,
followed by low punches and elbows. This is why it is so important to fight
Sarah within punch range, otherwise these interrupt techniques will be
useless.

After blocking Sarah's sidehook kick (b/d+K+G):
(1)   elbow or elbow-knee combo: punch-kick.
(2)   high punch: low punch.
(3)   toekick or toekick-sidekick combo: punch-kick.

After blocking Sarah's hopping roundhouse kick (u+K):
(1)   low punch: elbow.
(2)   punch: low punch.
(3)   kickflip: punch-kick.
(4)   elbow or elbow-knee combo: punch-kick.


+------+
|vs Lau|
+------+

Due to his incredible float capacity, Lau is one of the main powerhouses of
VF2. While Kage floats people backwards with the 10-Foot Toss, Lau's lifting
knifehand floats will push people forwards and out of the ring. Due to the
speed of his hand attacks, it becomes very difficult to get an attack in.
Lau can also mix up elbows against opponents who like to low punch --- and
elbow staggers are ripe float opportunities for Lau.

The key to fighting Lau, is to remove his initiative. Lau thrives on the
close-range game, where he can keep opponents guessing and in fear of his
attacks. If you are being pressured by Lau, then dash (or crouch-dash)
backwards and unleash Kage's heelkick, "b,b+K+G" toe slide, or his sliding
tackle. In particular, many Lau players buffer in their moves, making them
easy prey for a smart Kage who escapes out of range and heelkicks. If the
heelkick interrupts for a major counter (which it normally does), Kage can
add on a pounce for added damage.

Crouch-dashing is another essential skill against Lau. Without the crouch-
dash, it becomes nearly impossible to dodge in and out for throw
opportunities. So make sure you master the art of precision crouch-dashing,
and after a few TFT opportunities, Lau will no longer be as fearsome.

Be wary of using the senbon close-in against an expert Lau. Expert Lau
players will crouch-dash under your senbon punch, and then unleash the
lifting knife hand (UpKnP) to interrupt your move thereafter. In such
situations, the balance of power is restored, and you should carefully
crouch-dash backwards a bit after the senbon. This way, elbows and "UpKn,P"
combos will miss, and Kage can crouch-dash back in for a throw.


Stopping Lau
-----
In this section, we will abbreviate Lau's lifting knife hand to UpKn.
Similarly, Lau's downward knife hand will be DnKn. By extension, the
infamous UpKn,P combo will be abbreviated to UpKnP, and the DnKn followed by
punch will be written as DnKnP.

After blocking Lau's low punch, or if it misses:
(1)   UpKnP: low punch.
(2)   elbow: crouch-dash back and throw if Lau's elbow misses.
(3)   sliding tackle (f,d+K): low punch.
(4)   throw: low punch.
(5)   sidekick: punch.
(6)   heelkick: low punch.

After blocking Lau's UpKnP:
(1)   UpKnP: punch.
(2)   crouch-dash forwards: low punch.
(3)   DnKnP:punch.
(4)   sidekick: punch.
(5)   throw: low punch.
(6)   low punch: dash back and elbow/sidekick if Lau's d+P misses.
(7)   sliding tackle: crouch and guard.
(8)   elbow: crouch-dash back and throw if Lau's elbow misses.

After blocking Lau's DnKnP:
(1)   DnKnP: low punch.
(2)   elbow: low punch.
(3)   sidekick: punch.
(4)   low punch: low punch.
(5)   hopping knife hand (u+P): punch.
(6)   throw: low punch.
(7)   sliding tackle: crouch and guard.

If Lau crouch-dashes forwards:
(1)   UpKnP: low punch.
(2)   elbow: low punch.
(3)   low punch: low punch.
(4)   throw: low punch.
(5)   heelkick: stand and guard.

If Lau blocks your rising mid-level attack:
(1)   UpKnP: crouch-dash back and throw if UpKnP misses.
(2)   DnKnP: stand and guard.
(3)   heelkick: stand and guard.
(4)   low punch: stand and guard.
(5)   throw: low punch.
(6)   croch-dash forwards: low punch.
(7)   sidekick: stand and guard.
(8)   elbow: stand and guard.


+------+
|vs Pai|
+------+

Despite her light weight, Pai has the distinction of being the fastest
character in VF2. Her speed allows her to fight like a mosquito, dashing in
to attack one moment, and escaping from danger in the next.

Pai is the master (mistress?) of harassment attacks, and she thrives on
major counters, which allow her to get a pounce in. Her DDT throw (f,d+P)
does good damage, so do not dismiss her as a walkover.

At mid-range, you should try making Pai's downward chop and sidekick miss,
so that Kage can throw her. Once the fight approaches close range, be very
careful --- she has a slight advantage over Kage in speed, and has much
greater harassment potential. However, careful play, combined with
anticipation and the use of the following tables, should remove most of her
sting. Remember: the TFT-kneeP-PPPK combo is *easiest* to perform against
Pai.


Stopping Pai:
-----
After blocking Pai's downward chop (d/f+P):
(1)   low punch: elbow.
(2)   hopping scissors kick (u/f+K): punch-kick.
(3)   snap kick (tap K): low punch (must connect to be effective).
(4)   high reversal (b+P): low punch.
(5)   mid reversal (b/d+P): low punch.
(6)   throw: low punch.
(7)   downward chop: punch-kick.
(8)   sidekick: punch-kick

After blocking Pai's sidekick:
(1)   sidekick: punch-kick.
(2)   heelkick: low punch (must connect to be effective).
(3)   high reversal: low punch.
(4)   mid reversal: low punch.
(5)   throw: punch-kick.
(6)   low kick: elbow.
(7)   downward chop: punch-kick.

After blocking Pai's hopping scissors kick (u/f+K):
(1)   low kick: elbow.
(2)   downward chop: punch-kick.
(3)   sidekick: punch-kick.
(4)   snap kick: low puch (must connect).
(5)   hopping scissors kick (u/f+K): punch-kick.
(6)   throw: punch-kick.
(7)   high reversal: low punch.
(8)   mid reversal: low punch.

After blocking Pai's low punch:
(1)   sidekick: punch-kick.
(2)   downwards chop: low punch.
(3)   low kick: elbow.
(4)   heelkick: punch-kick.
(5)   throw: punch-kick.
(6)   high reversal: low punch.
(7)   mid reversal: low punch.

After blocking Pai's punch:
(1)   heelkick: low punch (must connect).
(2)   downward chop: punch-kick.
(3)   low punch: low punch.
(4)   snap kick: low punch (must connect).
(5)   hopping scissors kick (u/f+K): punch-kick.
(6)   sidekick: punch-kick.
(7)   throw: low punch.


+-------+
|vs Wolf|
+-------+

Wolf's main weakness is in his lack of speed and range, especially for the
normal standing dash. However, he makes up for it with his powerful throws,
of which the Twirl & Hurl is the most feared. Furthermore, Wolf has the
capability to throw a croucher, which makes it risky to avoid standing
throws by crouching. Kage is at a slight disadvantage against a crouch-
dashing Wolf. This is because Kage's only attack against a croucher at
medium range is the sidekick, which Wolf can reverse for good damage.

Wolf is also the only character in VF2 that can reverse an attack when it's
already halfway out; in short, his reversal is more reaction than
anticipation. That can spell bad news for sidekickers like Kage, as a good
Wolf player can still get the reversal while your sidekick is partly out,
without having to anticipate it.

The key to victory is keeping up the pressure on Wolf. As long as Wolf isn't
given a moment's rest, Kage can preserve the initiative and harass Wolf to
death. If blocked, counter his sidekick with punch-kick and sweep.
Similarly, if he whiffs the f+P throw and a body blow results instead, also
counter with PK.

Beware the Wolf player who steps back and waits while you're getting up. He
will definitely be going for the crouch throw if you try a rising sweep.
Your best bet is to get up without any rising attacks.

Against Wolf players who crouch all the time and tap b/d+P, hoping to keep
Kage at sidekick range while simultaneously reversing incoming sidekicks,
crouch-dash in and unleash the "FC,f+P+K" slashing chops. It equalises the
odds greatly, and will discourage them from such cheap tactics.


Stopping Wolf
-----
If Wolf crouch-dashes forwards:
(1)   P+G throw: low punch.
(2)   low punch: low punch.
(3)   uppercut (d/f+P): crouch-dash back and throw if attack misses:

After blocking Wolf's uppercut:
(1)   P+G throw: low punch.
(2)   low punch: low punch.
(3)   knee: low punch (must connect!)

After blocking Wolf's high punch or low punch:
(1)   knee: low punch.
(2)   "f+P" bodyblow/bodyslam: low punch.
(3)   sidekick: stand and guard.
(4)   sliding attack (f,d+K): crouch-dash backwards and block.
(5)   uppercut from crouch: low punch.
(6)   throw: low punch.
(7)   two-hand upward slap (failed twirl & hurl): low punch.
(8)   low throw: stand and guard, or high punch.


+---------+
|vs Jeffry|
+---------+

Good Jeffry players know how to keep the opposition guessing, baiting the
enemy to close in, before unleashing the full power of Jeffry's arsenal. In
particular, Jeffry has good float power after his knee, so be wary and
cautious against him.

Much like Sarah, Jeffry has a delayed combo. The second attack in his
"f,f+P,P" combo can be delayed substantially, so be careful --- the same
principles against Sarah's delayed elbow-knee still apply here.

As with Wolf, keep up the pressure, and do not allow Jeffry to gain the
initiative. Carefully and slowly push him backwards; this increases the
change he'll panic and make a mistake which you can take advantage of. His
sidekick can be countered with PK-sweep, as can a failed f+P throw. Above
all, make full use of Kage's speed advantage, and be careful of those low
throws.

Again, beware the Jeffry player who steps back and waits while you're
getting up. This is a clear sign that the Jeffry player is going for a
powerbomb or some other crouch throw. Don't get up with a rising attack in
such cases, especially don't get up with a sweep.

If you get hit by Jeffry's toe kick (d+K), don't worry. The dreaded Toe Kick
of Doom (TKoD) will only work if Kage remains standing. What you should do,
is wiggle the joystick between the down and down/back directions. This
generates a backwards crouch-dash that will neutralise the TKoD, and give
you a good chance of avoiding Jeffry if he gets smart and rushes in for a
powerbomb.


Stopping Jeffry
-----
After blocking Jeffry's foot thrust (f,f+K):
(1)   punch-kick: punch.
(2)   knee: punch-kick, or sidekick.
(3)   piledriver (d/f,d/f+P+K): sidekick or elbow.
(4)   crouch-dash forwards: sidekick or elbow.
(5)   low throw: stand and guard.

After blocking Jeffry's high punch or low punch:
(1)   knee: punch.
(2)   sidekick: punch.
(3)   "f+P" power slam / elbow strike: low punch.
(4)   uppercut: punch.
(5)   throw: low punch or sidekick.
(6)   low throw: standing throw.

After blocking Jeffry's dashing elbow (f,f+P) or elbow (f+P):
(1)   low punch: sidekick or kickflip (more risky).
(2)   sidekick: punch.
(3)   delayed uppercut (after f,f+P only): punch or kickflip (more risky).
(4)   hammer (after f+P only): punch-kick.
(5)   throw: sidekick or elbow.

After blocking Jeffry's elbow (f+P):
(1)   PKG: dash backwards to dodge.
(2)   PKG [blocked] & throw: sidekick.
(3)   PKG [blocked] & sidekick: punch.
(4)   dashing elbow (f,f+P): stand and guard.
(5)   dashing elbow [blocked] & uppercut (f,f+P,P): stand and guard.
(6)   throw: low punch.

After blocking Jeffry's uppercut (d/f+P):
(1)   low punch: sidekick or elbow.
(2)   sidekick: punch; elbow or sidekick.
(3)   throw: low punch; elbow or sidekick.
(4)   low throw: standing throw.

After blocking Jeffry's knee:
(1)   low punch: sidekick or elbow.
(2)   throw: sidekick or elbow.
(3)   elbow or dashing elbow: punch-kick; sidekick or elbow.

If Jeffry stops after a double headbutt:
(1)   punch-kick: stand and guard.
(2)   knee: punch-kick.
(3)   throw: sidekick or elbow.


+-------+
|vs Kage|
+-------+

Kage vs Kage matches are generally filled with long moments of harassment
and relative inactivity, punctuated by short bursts of furious and
spectacular action.

Try to maintain the initiative, preferably by opening the match with a
senbon punch, and by using the senbon close-in technique. Stay close to the
other Kage, and don't let him escape if you're behind in the match, or else
you'll have a hard time catching him.

If you make a mistake and get tossed, don't be disheartened --- use the
opportunity to gauge what kind of TFT combos you are up against. If the
opponent does nothing but TFT-pounce and TFT-kickflip, odds are he's not
entirely confident of himself, and might crack under further pressure from
you. On the other hand, if your opponent is pulling off TFT-kneeP-PPPK with
exact precision every time, then you are in for an uphill battle.

At medium range, watch out for the Kage player who tries to be fancy and
mixes up the corkscrew and catapult kicks. To distinguish between the two,
remember that the catapult kick has a ROLL at the beginning, while the
corkscrew kick does not. With this in mind, you should be able to block the
two with confidence --- punish him with your best TFT combo after that,
since there's so much time to get ready after a failed "f,f+K+G" or
"f,f+P+K+G" attack.


Stopping Kage
-----
After blocking Kage's punch or low punch:
(1)   sidekick: punch.
(2)   elbow: crouch-dash backwards and throw if attack misses.
(3)   heelkick: stand and guard.
(4)   dodge punch: throw.
(5)   punch: low punch.
(6)   turning toe slide (b,b+K+G): crouch and guard.
(7)   low punch: elbow.
(8)   throw: low punch.

After blocking Kage's turning toe slide (b,b+K+G):
(1)   turnaround sliding kick (d+K): crouch and guard, then throw.
(2)   turning punch or turnaround kick: low punch.
(3)   turning punch [blocked] & sidekick/elbow: throw.

After blocking Kage' elbow:
(1)   elbow: punch.
(2)   sidekick: punch.
(3)   roundhouse kick (tap K): low punch.
(4)   turning toe slide (b,b+K+G): crouch guard or low punch (close-in only)
(5)   low punch: elbow.
(6)   crouch-dash forwards: sidekick.

After blocking Kage's hopkick (tap K while ascending):
(1)   punch: low punch.
(2)   elbow: punch.
(3)   turnaround toe slide (b,b+K+G): sidekick.
(4)   kickflip: punch.


+-------+
|vs Shun|
+-------+

Shun is slower than Kage, and his attacks all have much shorter range, so
use this to your advantage. Because he is particularly vulnerable to mid-
level attacks when closing in, keep him at a safe distance with the side
kick, and force him to take the initiative when attacking, so that you can
use your counters. Beware if he dodges forward or sidesteps.

If Shun relies too much on fancy moves like the cartwheel kick or sitting
down and then slide kicking, use your throw counters and turn him into
target practice for the TFToD.

Because he lacks truly powerful moves or high float potential, the good Shun
player will try to stagger you, and then follow up. However, with careful
decision making and choosing between standing guard and d+P after the
stagger, you should be in good stead against even highly qualified Shuns.


Stopping Shun:
-----
After blocking Shun's low punch:
(1)   sidekick: punch or sidekick.
(2)   dashing fist (FC,f+P): sidekick or elbow; punch or low punch.
(3)   backward hopkicks (b+K+G): punch.
(4)   low back kick combos (b/d+K,[K]): punch or sidekick.
(5)   breakdance sweep, other low attacks: sidekick.
(6)   scorpion kick, other mid-level attacks: punch or sidekick.
(7)   throw: low punch or sidekick.

After blocking Shun's backpush:
(1)   sidekick: sidekick.
(2)   backpush: sidekick or kickflip (more risky).

After blocking Shun's sidekick or dashing uppercut (d,d/f,f+P):
(1)   any mid-level attack: sidekick.
(2)   low punch: sidekick.
(3)   backpush: sidekick.

If Shun dodges forwards:
(1)   throw: punch or sidekick.
(2)   sidekick: punch or sidekick.
(3)   dashing uppercut (d,d/f,f+P): punch or sidekick.

If you are staggered by Shun and are struggling:
(1)   sidekick: struggle, then standing guard.
(2)   cartwheel kick (f,f+K): struggle, then standing guard.
(3)   m-dashing fist (FC,f+P): struggle, then standing guard or d+P(risky).
(4)   punch-kick: struggle, then standing guard or d+P(riskier).
(5)   throw: struggle, then d+P.


+-------+
|vs Lion|
+-------+

Lion will play a mainly dash-in/dash-out game, taking advantage of his speed
to harass you and lure Kage into making a mistake. Kage is quite
disadvantaged against Lion, especially because his elbow will not connect
against a crouching Lion, leaving him with only the sidekick as a fast mid-
level attack. Fight the urge to elbow a crouching Lion --- it could prevent
an embarrassing frontal piggyback throw and high pounce.

Lion's fast low thrusting pecks (b/d+P,[P]) are reversible by Kage, so
against a Lion that overuses these, reverse or interrupt them with d+P. His
lunging fist thrust (f,f+P) is uncounterable, but has such a long initiation
time (28 frames, about 1/2 second) that you can easily see it coming.

If you get a throw opportunity, go for the ring out --- Kage's TFT followed
by knee, punch, and PPPK can float Lion across nearly 3/4 of the ring, in
addition to doing excellent damage. Furthermore, because of Lion's light
weight, the timing for performing TFT-knee combos on Lion is very easy.

Against a Lion who dodges backwards at the start of the round, use PKG to
"radar" into him, then dash forwards and throw. Keep pressuring him
backwards, especially since Lion doesn't have a throw that easily switches
sides --- if you've got his back to the ring edge, just hammer away and push
him out.


Stopping Lion
-----
After blocking Lion's low punch, or if it misses:
(1)   sidekick: elbow or punch.
(2)   low handstand kick (d,d+K): low punch.
(3)   elbow: punch.
(4)   low sweep (d+K+G): low punch.
(5)   hopping kick (u+K): punch.
(6)   throw: punch or low punch.

After Lion's double low pecks (b/d+P,P):
(1)   sidekick: sidekick.
(2)   elbow: punch.
(3)   dodge forwards or backwards: low punch, or throw him first.
(4)   hopping kick (u+K): punch.
(5)   long range low wind-up attack (d/f+P+G): punch or sidekick.
(6)   throw: punch.



+=========+
|CPU GUIDE|
+=========+

A general method for beating the VF2 CPU easily, is to run back slightly,
wait for the opponent to run towards you, then dash forward and throw. With
some practice, you'll be able to time it properly.

All you really need to win with Kage is the Ten Foot Toss to ring them out.
And if you can get any of the PPPK or more advanced follow-ups consistently,
you don't even have to dash backwards very far. I have seen people with
winning times of 1:40 or better on a machine set to best 2 of 3. If you want
to be more fancy, here's a short guide to all the CPU characters.

Lau: The CPU Lau is very easy to defeat. Practice all your fancy moves
against him, especially the shinsodan, rolls and sweep, somersault butt
bomb, toe slide & turning sweep combo, and other cool things. Practice the
moves which you have trouble getting.

Sarah: Continue working on your fancy moves and difficult combos. She's also
good practice for the TFT followed by knee[P] and PPPK, because of her
height and light weight.

Shun: Work on your counters, and practice your movement control. He's a bit
smarter than the first two, so you have to plan a bit if you want to do the
fancy stuff.

Pai: Stick with the counters. As long as you block high for her triple
punch, she'll do a low sweep thereafter. Continue your TFToD training, and
keep on practising the TFT-knee combos.

Lion: Play a midrange game, and watch out for his side kicks, which can be
quite irritating. Practice your counters, as well as the TFT-knee combos.

Jeffry: Easy to kill with P,P,K followed by a pounce, or with non-stop
heelkicking (d+K+G). If he tries a rising attack while getting up, throw him
and practice your throws, especially the TFToD and the special Jeffry/Wolf
TFT-knee combo. But be careful, because if you miss an attack and give him a
throw opportunity, Kage is going to be hammered. If through bad luck or foul-
up, Jeffry piledrivers (d/f,d/f+P+K) you, immediately hold the joystick
downwards and tap Punch and Defend alternately as fast as you can. You'll
have a pretty good chance of rolling away to the side, and his pounce will
then miss.

Kage: He's the first of the difficult opponents. Don't miss an attack or
throw against him, because he'll grab you like magic. Most of your attacks
also won't connect, although a sidekick at the beginning of the round works
about 2/3 of the time, after which you can dash in and TFT the computer,
which struggles rapidly out of staggers, but is not smart enough to escape a
stagger-throw technique. Use your counters, and make sure you remember what
you can counter and what you can't. You'll probably have to start relying on
throws from here onwards.

Jacky: Remember your counters and make use of them. Let Jacky take the
initiative, then punish him. Avoid getting too close, as he'll grab you.
Also beware of his kickflip, and don't rush in. Let him come to you instead.
If you want to get fancy, try practising "oki-zeme" against him, by
countering his rising attacks. At the start of a round, he often opens up
with PP-elbow-heelkick or PP-elbow. If you block the combo, throw him with
the TFT. If the elbow whiffs, do the same but dash back a bit if the elbow
connects, so that you can bait him to advance into your throws.

Wolf: You can beat him easily with P,P,K followed by a pounce. Another way
to win easily is by heelkicking (d+K+G) non-stop. Alternatively, start the
round by tapping Kick once, followed by P+G several times. Wolf will suplex
you, but you'll escape. After this, you can either kickflip him (but
quickly, before he turns around) or tap d+P and try to reverse an incoming
turn-around punch. The reversal is harder to get, as he may either turn
around with kick or punch, but it looks cool when it works. Watch out for
his twirl 'n' hurl as well as the piledriver suplex (d/f,d/f+P). Don't get
too close, and if you want to practise the TFToD, ambush him after a missed
rising attack --- as with Jeffry, he always remains standing after rising
attacks.

Akira: This is one nasty guy to handle without throws, as Kage doesn't have
a large variety of reversals. Counters can work, especially against his
bodycheck and dashing palm. Just stick to practising the TFToD on him, if
you want to look good. If you feel qualified enough, try the TFT-knee combos
and wow the crowd.

Dural: Dural is too heavy to float much, and the water resistance slows Kage
down, so the TFToD won't work. Rely on simple TFT follow-ups like the
kickflip, or the toe slide & turnaround sweep combo. PPPK also works well
after the TFT, but you have to time it right --- start entering PPPK just as
she's slightly above Kage's head level. Alternatively, you can follow up the
TFT with a rising knee and sweep. Depending on position, a heel smash might
or might not connect after that. Another fancy combo against Dural, is to
follow up the TFT with Kage's "crouch-dash, f+P+K, P+K" combo and a sweep.



+============+
|RANKING MODE|
+============+

+-----------------------+
|Introduction to Ranking|
+-----------------------+

If your machine supports it, Ranking Mode can be activated by holding down
P+K+G when pressing the Start button. Depending on the language settings for
your machine, the ranking grades will be as follows:

      Japanese:    6th Kyu (worst) to 1st Kyu, then 1st to 9th Dan (best).
      English:     15th Grade (worst) to 1st Grade (best).

In order to achieve the best grade, three criteria must be fulfilled:

(1) Achieve 100 technical points
-----
Certain moves from Kage must hit the CPU a requisite number of times, to
qualify for the technical points. Each required move is allocated 2 marks.
The first time you hit the CPU with the move, 1 mark is awarded. The
remaining 1 mark is awarded based on how many times you performed that move.
For example, Kage needs 3 d+P reversals to get the full 2 marks. The first
time Kage gets the reversal, 1 mark is awarded. At the end of the game, if
Kage has done 2 reversals altogether, he will receive an additional 2/3
mark.

Connecting a move multiple times against the same opponent does not count.
If Kage performs the d+P reversal 3 times against Pai, it will only be
counted as a single performance. However, Kage's P+G throw will still score
the points even if the CPU escapes.

Once the game is over, your technical points are the percentage of the total
marks you could get. In short, if you scored 83% of the total possible
marks, then your technical points rating would be 83.

(2) Win the game in 6min 30sec
-----
This needs no explanation. Kage has an advantage over some other characters,
in that he can resort to winning by Ring Out if pressed for time. As an
example of how much time can be saved in an emergency when the clock is
running low, it is possible for Kage to easily win by ring out against the
CPU, in 4 seconds or less! On a machine set to 2 of 3 rounds, Kage can win
the game in 1:40 easily, leaving nearly 5 whole minutes to get the technical
points and humiliate the CPU.

(3) Defeat Dural
-----
As mentioned in the CPU guide, this is quite easy. At the start of the
round, dash back and wait for Dural to approach. As she dashes in, throw
her. Repeat as needed. If you want, you can play around with Dural, since
time spent on the Bonus Stage does not count towards your 6min 30sec time
limit for the ranking. Also note that special moves performed on Dural will
still count towards the ranking score.


+--------------+
|Required Moves|
+--------------+

The required moves for full marks, along with the number of times Kage must
perform them, are as follows:

      4 x shoulder throw (P+G)
      4 x 10-Foot Toss (b+P)
      4 x catapult kick (f,f+P+K+G)
      4 x corkscrew kick (f,f+K+G)
      4 x kickflip (u/b+K+G)
      4 x float (hit opponent 4 times in midair)
      3 x reaping throw (b,f+P)
      3 x toka throw (P+K+G)
      3 x reversal (d+P)
      3 x rising knee (FC,f+K)
      3 x roll forwards and sweep (b,SCR,f+K)
      3 x full shinsodan (3-hit shinsodan)
      1 x midair 2.5 roll & slam (UP/FOR+K)

Some things you should note are:

4 x 10-Foot Toss (b+P)
4 x catapult kick (f,f+P+K+G)
4 x corkscrew kick (f,f+K+G)
4 x kickflip (u/b+K+G)
4 x float (hit opponent 4 times in midair)
3 x rising knee (FC,f+K)
-----
All these moves can be tacked on after the 10-Foot Toss, so make full
advantage of this. If you can perform Kage's TFT-knee-PPPK, then it's even
better, as this will fulfill the rising knee and 4-hit float requirements.
Similarly, use the TFT to achieve the other moves.

4 x shoulder throw (P+G)
3 x reaping throw (b,f+P)
3 x toka throw (P+K+G)
-----
All these moves can easily be connected against any opponent, so don't waste
your time performing them on the early CPU opponents --- save them for later
opponents like Lion, Kage, Jacky and Akira.

3 x reversal (d+P)
-----
This can best be achieved against Lau, Sarah and Pai. Tap d+P when you see
them start a punch combo, and you'll get the reversal. Be patient --- it
sometimes takes a few tries, and you can always resort to lighting-fast ring
outs if you're running low on time later on. The d+P reversal also works on
Wolf sometimes, after his P+G suplex is escaped. Work on the timing for the
reversal, as good timing helps a lot.

3 x roll forwards and sweep (b,SCR,f+K)
3 x full shinsodan (3-hit shinsodan)
-----
These rolling moves are best used on the early opponents like Lau, Sarah,
Shun and Pai. Later opponents are too smart to fall easily for such tactics.
You should take careful note of the shinsodan requirement --- the shinsodan
must be a full triple shinsodan for the attack to work. In short, you must
enter it as: (f,SCR,b);(b,SCR,f+P);(b,SCR,f+P);(b,SCR,f+P).

1 x midair 2.5 roll & slam (UP/FOR+K)
-----
The best opponent to perform this move against is CPU Lau, but you will need
to practise the positioning --- too near and the roll & slam will not come
out. Too far and Lau will be out of range when you land. A good way to
achieve this, is to knock Lau over with a heelkick. Then start the move just
as Lau finishes getting up. If you get the positioning right, Kage will
complete his somersault mid-air roll just behind Lau, and Lau will get
slammed from just behind.



+================+
|LIST OF COUNTERS|
+================+

Here are the moves Kage can counter. As mentioned earlier, the counters
apply to cases where you block the attack. Some of the counters may be more
difficult to execute than others, especially the throw counters. In such a
case, you should try buffering in a dash before the actual throw. This list
of counters is also not guaranteed to be 100% complete or accurate.

As in the original move list, the hit level indicated is always for the
final move in the combo. Counters marked with a question mark "?" are not
considered as guaranteed, and may not be reliable. Moves marked [back] apply
when your opponent's back is facing you.

If it's not listed as counterable here, then the odds are it's not
counterable. However, if you discover a new counter, please let us know so
that we can update the list.


AKIRA'S attack                                  Hits   Counters
---------                                       ----   --------
sidekick (d/f+K)                                M      PK
knee kick (K+G,release G)                       M      PK
jumping kick (f,f+K)                            M      PK   throw
double jumping kick (f,f+K,K)                   M      PK   throw   heelkick
dashing palm (crouch,f+P)                       M      PK
bodycheck (b,f,f+P+K)                           M      PK   throw   heelkick
double palm (crouch,b,f+P)                      M      PK   throw   heelkick
hopping downward punch (hop+P)                  n      PK
hopping side kick (hop,K-desc)                  M      PK
[back]turn & crouch punch (D+P)                 H      PK
[back]turn & sweep (D+K)                        L      PK

JACKY'S attack                                  Hits   Counters
---------                                       ----   --------
sidekick (d/f+K)                                M      PK
2-punches, spinning backfist (P,P,b+P)          H      PK   throw
2-punches, straight kick (P,P,K)                H      PK?
2-punches, elbow, heelkick (P,P,f+P,K)          H      PK   throw   heelkick
elbow, heelkick (f+P,K)                         H      PK   throw   heelkick
knee (f+K)                                      M      PK
spinning backfist, crescent (b+P,K)             H      PK   throw
spinning backfist, sweep (b+P,d+K)              L                   elbow
spinning low backfist, sweep (b/d+P,K)          L                   elbow
beat knuckle (P+K)                              M      PK   throw   heelkick
roundhouse kick, heelkick (K,K)                 M      PK   throw   heelkick
punt kick (f,f+K)                               M      PK   throw
spinning mid-kick (b,f+K+G)                     M      PK   throw   heelkick
lightning kick (d+P+K)                          M      PK   throw   heelkick
2 lightning kicks (d+P+K,K)                     M      PK   throw   heelkick
3 lightning kicks (d+P+K,K,K)                   M      PK   throw   heelkick
4 lightning kicks (d+P+K,K,K,K)                 H      PK   throw   heelkick
5 lightning kicks (d+P+K,K,K,K,K)               H      PK   throw   heelkick
kickflip (u/b+K)                                M      PK   throw   heelkick
crescent (K+G)                                  M      PK?
punch, sweep (P,d+K)                            L                   elbow?
crescent, sweep (K+G,d+K+G)                     L                   elbow?
crouching sidekick (d+K+G)                      L
sidekick?
hopping elbow hammer (hop+P)                    n      PK
hopping side kick (hop,K-desc)                  M      PK   throw
[back]turning backfist (P)                      H      PK   throw   heelkick
[back]turning low punch (d+P)                   M      PK
[back]turning crouch hook (DOWN+P)              H      PK   throw   heelkick
[back]turning half crescent (K)                 H           throw   heelkick


SARAH'S attack                                  Hits   Counters
---------                                       ----   --------
sidekick (d/f+K)                                M      PK   throw   heelkick
3-punches, rising knee (P,P,P,K)                M      PK   throw   heelkick
3-punches, kickflip (P,P,P,b+K)                 M      PK   throw   heelkick
3-punches, hopping toe kick (P,P,P,u+K)         M      PK   throw   heelkick
elbow-knee combo (f+P,K)                        M      PK
knee (f+K)                                      M      PK
knee, rising knee (f+K,d/f+K)                   M      PK   throw   heelkick
rising knee (crouch,f+K)                        M      PK   throw   heelkick
lunging knee (f,f+K)                            M      PK   throw   heelkick
toe kick (d+K)                                  M      PK   throw
toe kick, side kick (d+K,K)                     M      PK   throw   heelkick
double shadow kick (d/f+K,K)                    M      PK   throw   heelkick
triple shadow kick (d/f+K,K,K)                  M      PK   throw   heelkick
double kick (b+K)                               H      PK
downward crescent kick (K+G)                    M      PK   throw
crouching side kick (d+K+G)                     M                   elbow
kickflip (u/b+K+G)                              M      PK   throw   heelkick
tornado kick (u/f+K+G)                          H      PK   throw
hopping elbow hammer (hop,P-asc)                n      PK
[back]turn/low punch (d+P)                      L      PK
[back]turn/crouch punch (D+P)                   H           throw
[back]turn/back thrust (K)                      H      PK
[back]turn/high back thrust (b/d+K)             H      PK   throw   heelkick
[back]turn/crouch roundhouse (D+K)              L      PK

LAU'S attack                                    Hits   Counters
---------                                       ----   --------
sidekick (d/f+K)                                M      PK
punch, heelkick (P,K)                           H      PK   throw   heelkick
3-punches, crescent (P,P,P,K)                   H      PK   throw   heelkick
3-punches, sweep (P,P,P,d+K)                    L      PK   throw   heelkick
3-punches, backward kickflip (P,P,P,b+K)        M      PK   throw   heelkick
DnKn, 2-punch, crescent (d/f+P,P,P,K)           H      PK   throw   heelkick
DnKn, 2-punch, sweep (d/f+P,P,P,d+K)            L      PK   throw   heelkick
DnKn, 2-punch, backward kickflip                M      PK   throw   heelkick
rising heelkick (crouch, release+K)             M      PK   throw
sweep (d+K+G)                                   L                   elbow
backward kickflip (u/b+K)                       M      PK   throw
sliding attack (f,d+K)                          L                   elbow
hop and sweep (hop,K-desc)                      L      PK   throw
[back]turning heelkick (K)                      H      PK
[back]turning attack (DOWN+K)                   H      PK   throw   heelkick

PAI'S attack                                    Hits   Counters
---------                                       ----   --------
snap kick (K)                                   H      PK   throw
punch, heelkick (P,K)                           H      PK   throw   heelkick
3-punches, crescent (P,P,P,K)                   H      PK   throw   heelkick
3-punches, sweep (P,P,P,d+K)                    L      PK   throw   heelkick
3-punches, backward kickflip (P,P,P,u/b+K)      M      PK   throw   heelkick
punch, crescent (P,K+G)                         H      PK
punch, sweep (P,d+K+G)                          L                   elbow
high lunging leg thrust (f,f+K)                 H      PK   throw   heelkick
jabbing footwork (b,b+P)                        H      PK
sweep (d+K+G)                                   L                   elbow
reverse crescent kick (b+K+G)                   H      PK
rising heelkick (crouch,release+K)              M      PK   throw
backward kickflip (u/b+K)                       M      PK   throw
double hopping scissors kick (u/f+K,K)          M      PK   throw   heelkick

WOLF'S attack                                   Hits   Counters
---------                                       ----   --------
sidekick (d/f+K)                                M      PK   throw   heelkick
2-punches, uppercut (P,P,P)                     M      PK
2-punches, high elbow strike (P,P,f+P)          H      PK
uppercut (d/f+P)                                M      PK?
body blow (f+P)                                 M      PK
knee (f+K)                                      M      PK
backhand slap (b+P)                             H      PK   throw   heelkick
two hand upward slap (crouch,f+P)               M      PK   throw   heelkick
flying knee attack (f,f+K+G)                    H      PK   throw
sliding attack (f,d+K)                          L      PK   throw   heelkick
dashing shoulder ram (b,f+P)                    M      PK   throw   heelkick
hopping side kick (hop,K-desc)                  M      PK
[back]turning sliding attack (d+K)              L      PK   throw
[back]turning crouch kick (DOWN+K)              H      PK

JEFFRY'S attack                                 Hits   Counters
---------                                       ----   --------
sidekick (d/f+K)                                M      PK   throw   heelkick
uppercut (d/f+P)                                M      PK
double uppercut (d/f+P,P)                       M      PK
dashing low elbow, uppercuit (f,f+P,P)          M      PK
toe kick, hammer (d+K,P)                        M      PK   throw   heelkick
knee (f+K)                                      M      PK
elbow strike (f+P)                              M      PK
elbow-hammer combo (f+P,b+P)                    M      PK   throw
drop elbow (b,f+P)                              M      PK   throw
lunging drop elbow (b,d/f+P)                    M      PK   throw   heelkick
heel axe (f,d+K)                                M      PK
thrusting head butt (b/d,f+P+K)                 M      PK   throw   heelkick
hopping side kick (hop,K-desc)                  M      PK
[back]turning heel slide (d+K)                  M      PK   throw   heelkick
[back]turning crouch kick (DOWN+K)              H      PK

KAGE'S attack                                   Hits   Counters
---------                                       ----   --------
3-punches, spinning mid-kick (P,P,P,K)          M      PK   throw   heelkick
3-punches, kickflip (P,P,P,b+K)                 M      PK   throw   heelkick
rising knee (crouch,f+K)                        M      PK   throw   heelkick
heelkick (d+K+G)                                M      PK
backward kickflip (u/b+K)                       M      PK   throw
kickflip (u/b+K+G)                              M      PK   throw   heelkick
backheel sweep (f,f+K)                          L      PK   throw   heelkick
catapult kick (f,f+P+K+G)                       L      PK   throw   heelkick
sliding tackle sweep (b,b/d,d+K)                L           throw   heelkick
drill kick (f,f+K+G)                            M      PK   throw   heelkick
chopping fist (crouch,f+P+K)                    M      PK   throw   heelkick
chop, horizontal fist (crouch,f+P+K,P+K)        H      PK
slashing fist (b,f+P+K)                         M      PK
slash fist, horizontal fist (b,f+P+K,P+K)       H      PK   throw   heelkick
slashing chop, downward chop (d+P+K,P+K)        M      PK   throw
shinsodan (b,SCR,f+P)                           L           throw
hopping jab (hop,P-asc)                         L      PK   throw   elbow
hurdling hop kick (hop+K)                       n      PK   throw   heelkick
hop and sweep (hop,K-desc)                      L      PK   throw   heelkick
[back]turn & double low punch (d+P)             L      PK
[back]turn & sliding low kick (d+K)             L      PK   throw   heelkick
[back]turn & crouch kick (DOWN+K)               H      PK   throw   heelkick
[back]flipover knee attack (u+K)                M      PK   throw   heelkick

SHUN'S attack                                   Hits   Counters
---------                                       ----   --------
punch, elbow (P,P)                              H      PK   throw   heelkick
punch, elbow, uppercut (P,P,P)                  M      PK   throw   heelkick
running punches (f+P)                           H      PK   throw   heelkick
low back kick (b/d+K)                           L           throw
cartwheel kick (f,f+K)                          M      PK   throw
two-handed push (P+K)                           M      PK
scorpion kick (d+K+G)                           M      PK   throw
backward hopping kicks (b+K+G)                  M      PK           heelkick
slide kick (sit down, K)                        L      PK   throw   heelkick
handstand kicks (handstand, K)                  M      PK           heelkick
dodge back, two-handed push (b/d+G,P+K)         M      PK   throw
twisting hook punch (u/f+P)                     n      PK   throw   heelkick
mule kick (u+K)                                 M      PK   throw
hop and slide (hop,K-desc)                      L           throw   heelkick
[back]turn/sit and punch (d+P)                  L      PK   throw   heelkick
[back]drunken stupor kick (K)                   H      PK
[back]turn/sliding low kick (d+K)               L      PK   throw
[back]turn/roundhouse (DOWN+K)                  H      PK

LION'S attack                                   Hits   Counters
---------                                       ----   --------
punch, kick (P,K)                               H      PK   throw   heelkick
punch, elbow thrust, backfist (P,P,P)           H      PK   throw   heelkick
uppercut (d/f+P)                                M      PK
uppercut, downward swipe (d/f+P,P)              H      PK   throw   heelkick
armspin strike (u+P)                            M      PK   throw   heelkick
knee (f+K)                                      M      PK   throw
sweep (d+K+G)                                   L      PK   throw   heelkick
spin forward and kick low (d/f+K+G)             L      PK   throw   heelkick
spin forward and kick high (f,f+K+G)            M      PK   throw   heelkick
handstand double low kick (d,d+K)               L      PK   throw   heelkick
spin to side with low trip (G,d/f+P)            L      PK   throw   heelkick
dancing kicks (u+K,K)                           M      PK
cartwheel spin kick (u/f+K)                     M      PK   throw
hop and slide (hop,K-desc)                      L      PK   throw   heelkick
[back]turn/double punch (P)                     H      PK
[back]turn/low punch (d+P)                      L      PK   throw
[back]turn/kick (K)                             H      PK
[back]turn/ back thrust (D+K)                   L      PK


+=================+
|LIST OF REVERSALS|
+=================+

Here are the moves Kage can reverse. If a combination of several moves is
listed, then the reader should concentrate on the last move of the combo as
reversible. e.g. For Sarah's kick-punch combo (K,P) only the last punch can
be reversed. Once again, this list may neither be complete nor accurate.


vs. Akira
---------
punch (P)
double punch (P,P)
dashing palm (crouch,f+P)
turn around punch (back to opponent, P)

vs. Jacky
---------
punch (P)
double punch (P,P)
triple punch (P,P,P)
2-punches, spinning backfist (P,P,b+P)
smash hook (d/f+P)
spinning backfist (b+P)
double spinning backfist (b+P,P)
beat knuckle (P+K)
dodge punch (G,P)
turn around hook (facing opponent, b,b+P)
turning backfist (back to opponent, P)
turning hook (back to opponent, b+P)
turning crouch hook (back to opponent, DOWN+P)

vs. Sarah
---------
punch (P)
double punch (P,P)
triple punch (P,P,P)
downward backfist (d/f+P)
kick,punch (K,P)
dodge punch (b/d+P)
turn around punch (facing opponent, b,b+P)
turning backfist (back to opponent, P)
turning crouch punch (back to opponent, DOWN+P)

vs. Lau
-------
punch (P)
double punch (P,P)
triple punch (P,P,P)
knife hand (d/f+P)
knife hand, punch (d/f+P,P)
knife hand, 2-punches (d/f+P,P,P)
lifting palm (crouch, d/f+P)
dashing knife hand (d/f,d/f+P)
forearm strike (b/d+P)
turning punch (back to opponent, P)

vs. Pai
-------
punch (P)
double punch (P,P)
triple punch (P,P,P)
dodging punch (b/d+P)
downward chop (d/f+P)
jabbing footwork (b,b+P)
turning punch (back to opponent, P)
turning crouch punch (back to opponent, DOWN+P)

vs. Wolf
--------
punch (P)
double punch (P,P)
double punch, uppercut (P,P,P)
double punch, high elbow strike (P,P,f+P)
uppercut (d/f+P)
uppercut from low position (crouch,d/f+P)
backhand slap (b+P)
drop elbow (b+P+K)
turning punch (back to opponent, P)
turning low punch (back to opponent, d+P)

vs. Jeffry
----------
punch (P)
double punch (P,P)
double punch, uppercut (P,P,P)
uppercut (d/f+P)
double uppercut (d/f+P,P)
uppercut from low position (crouch,d/f+P)
dashing low elbow, uppercut (f,f+P,P)
dodging side jab (d+P+K)
turning punch (back to opponent, P)
turning low punch (back to opponent, d+P)

vs. Kage
--------
punch (P)
double punch (P,P)
triple punch (P,P,P)
slashing chop (d+P+K)
dodging punch (b/d+P)
turning downward slap (facing opponent, b,b+P)
turning punch (back to opponent, P)
turning crouch punch (back to opponent, DOWN+P)

vs. Shun
--------
punch (P)
punch, elbow (P,P)
punch, elbow, uppercut (P,P,P)
uppercut (d/f+P)
lunging punch (crouch,f+P)
twisting back hook fist (b+P)
running punches (f+P)
twisting fists (d,d/f,f+P)
twisting hook punch (u/f+P)
turning backfist (back to opponent, P)
turning crouch backfist (back to opponent, DOWN+P)

vs. Lion
--------
punch (P)
punch, elbow thrust, backfist (P,P,P)
low thrusting peck (b/d+P)
double low thrusting pecks (b/d+P,P)
lunging fist thrust (f,f+P)
turn around punch (facing opponent, b,b+P)
turning double punch (back to opponent, P)
turning crouch punch (back to opponent, DOWN+P)


+==============================+
|LIST OF STANCE-DEPENDENT MOVES|
+==============================+

In VF2, certain moves will change attack level, depending on the stance of
the opponents. Such stance-dependent moves are listed below. Key points to
note are that Kage's heelkick hits high in open stance --- many inexperience
Kage players have suffered greatly for not considering this.

AKIRA's move                                 Closed       Open
----------                                   ------       ----
elbow (f+P)                                    H           M

LAU's move                                   Closed       Open
----------                                   ------       ----
air tiger kick (u/f+K+G)                       H           M
hopping chop (u/f+P)                           M           H
heelkick (FC, neutral+K)                       M           H
*Lau's heelkick hits high at very close range, even in closed stance.

KAGE's move                                  Closed       Open
----------                                   ------       ----
3 punches & mid-kick (P,P,P,K)                 M           H
heelkick (d+K+G)                               M           H
*Kage's PPPK will hit mid-level at long range at all stances.

WOLF's move                                  Closed       Open
----------                                   ------       ----
flying roundhouse (f+K+G)                      M*          M
leaping kick (u/f+K)                           M          M**
*Wolf's f+K+G hits high at very close range in closed stance.
**At very close range, Wolf's u/f+K hits high in open stance.

JEFFRY's move                                Closed       Open
----------                                   ------       ----
elbow (f+P)                                    H           M
axe kick (f,d+K)                               M*          M
*Jeffry's axekick hits high at very close range in closed stance.

SHUN's move                                  Closed       Open
----------                                   ------       ----
body blow (u/f+P)                              M           H

LION's move                                  Closed       Open
----------                                   ------       ----
lunging fist thrust (f,f+P)                    M           H
armspin strike (u+P)                           H           M


+===================================+
|LIST OF COUNTERS FOR RISING ATTACKS|
+===================================+

Here are the rising attacks Kage can counter. To make it easier for
reference, we have also indicated which rising attacks are uncounterable.
However, if you discover a new counter, please let us know so that we can
update the list.


AKIRA'S rising attack                           Hits   Counters
---------                                       ----   --------
[in place]face up, head away (high)             M      *uncounterable*
[in place]face up, head away (low)              L                   elbow
[in place]face down, head away (high)           M      PK   throw
[in place]face down, head away (low)            L                   elbow
[in place]face up, head towards (high)          M      *uncounterable*
[in place]face up, head towards (low)           L                   elbow
[in place]face down, head towards (high)        M      *uncounterable*
[in place]face down, head towards (low)         L                   elbow
[twist]face up, head away (high)                M      PK   throw
[twist]face up, head away (low)                 L                   elbow
[twist]face down, head away (high)              M      PK   throw
[twist]face down, head away (low)               L                   elbow
[twist]face up, head towards (high)             M      PK   throw
[twist]face up, head towards (low)              L                   elbow
[twist]face down, head towards (high)           M      PK   throw
[twist]face down, head towards (low)            L                   elbow
[roll]face up, head away (high)                 M      PK   throw
[roll]face up, head away (low)                  L                   elbow
[roll]face down, head away (high)               M           throw
[roll]face down, head away (low)                L                   elbow
[roll]face up, head towards (high)              M           throw
[roll]face up, head towards (low)               L                   elbow
[roll]face down, head towards (high)            M      PK   throw
[roll]face down, head towards (low)             L                   elbow

JACKY'S rising attack                           Hits   Counters
---------                                       ----   --------
[in place]face up, head away (high)             M      *uncounterable*
[in place]face up, head away (low)              L      *uncounterable*
[in place]face down, head away (high)           M      PK   throw
[in place]face down, head away (low)            L      *uncounterable*
[in place]face up, head towards (high)          M           throw
[in place]face up, head towards (low)           L           throw
[in place]face down, head towards (high)        M      PK   throw
[in place]face down, head towards (low)         L      *uncounterable*
[twist]face up, head away (high)                M      *uncounterable*
[twist]face up, head away (low)                 L      *uncounterable*
[twist]face down, head away (high)              M      PK   throw
[twist]face down, head away (low)               L      *uncounterable*
[twist]face up, head towards (high)             M      PK   throw
[twist]face up, head towards (low)              L      *uncounterable*
[twist]face down, head towards (high)           M      PK   throw
[twist]face down, head towards (low)            L      *uncounterable*
[roll]face up, head away (high)                 M      PK   throw
[roll]face up, head away (low)                  L                   elbow
[roll]face down, head away (high)               M      PK   throw
[roll]face down, head away (low)                L                   elbow
[roll]face up, head towards (high)              M      PK   throw
[roll]face up, head towards (low)               L                   elbow
[roll]face down, head towards (high)            M      PK   throw
[roll]face down, head towards (low)             L                   elbow

SARAH'S rising attack                           Hits   Counters
---------                                       ----   --------
[in place]face up, head away (high)             M      *uncounterable*
[in place]face up, head away (low)              L      *uncounterable*
[in place]face down, head away (high)           M      PK   throw
[in place]face down, head away (low)            L      *uncounterable*
[in place]face up, head towards (high)          M           throw
[in place]face up, head towards (low)           L           throw
[in place]face down, head towards (high)        M      PK   throw
[in place]face down, head towards (low)         L      *uncounterable*
[twist]face up, head away (high)                M      *uncounterable*
[twist]face up, head away (low)                 L      *uncounterable*
[twist]face down, head away (high)              M      PK   throw
[twist]face down, head away (low)               L      *uncounterable*
[twist]face up, head towards (high)             M      PK   throw
[twist]face up, head towards (low)              L      *uncounterable*
[twist]face down, head towards (high)           M      PK   throw
[twist]face down, head towards (low)            L      *uncounterable*
[roll]face up, head away (high)                 M      PK   throw
[roll]face up, head away (low)                  L                   elbow
[roll]face down, head away (high)               M      PK   throw
[roll]face down, head away (low)                L                   elbow
[roll]face up, head towards (high)              M      PK   throw
[roll]face up, head towards (low)               L                   elbow
[roll]face down, head towards (high)            M      PK   throw
[roll]face down, head towards (low)             L                   elbow

LAU'S rising attack                             Hits   Counters
---------                                       ----   --------
[in place]face up, head away (high)             M      *uncounterable*
[in place]face up, head away (low)              L      *uncounterable*
[in place]face down, head away (high)           M      PK   throw
[in place]face down, head away (low)            L                   elbow
[in place]face up, head towards (high)          M      *uncounterable*
[in place]face up, head towards (low)           L      *uncounterable*
[in place]face down, head towards (high)        M      *uncounterable*
[in place]face down, head towards (low)         L                   elbow
[twist]face up, head away (high)                M      *uncounterable*
[twist]face up, head away (low)                 L      *uncounterable*
[twist]face down, head away (high)              M      PK   throw
[twist]face down, head away (low)               L      *uncounterable*
[twist]face up, head towards (high)             M      PK   throw
[twist]face up, head towards (low)              L      *uncounterable*
[twist]face down, head towards (high)           M      PK   throw
[twist]face down, head towards (low)            L      *uncounterable*
[roll]face up, head away (high)                 M      PK   throw
[roll]face up, head away (low)                  L                   elbow
[roll]face down, head away (high)               M           throw
[roll]face down, head away (low)                L      *uncounterable*
[roll]face up, head towards (high)              M           throw
[roll]face up, head towards (low)               L                   elbow
[roll]face down, head towards (high)            M      PK   throw
[roll]face down, head towards (low)             L                   elbow

PAI'S rising attack                             Hits   Counters
---------                                       ----   --------
[in place]face up, head away (high)             M      *uncounterable*
[in place]face up, head away (low)              L      *uncounterable*
[in place]face down, head away (high)           M      PK   throw
[in place]face down, head away (low)            L      *uncounterable*
[in place]face up, head towards (high)          M      *uncounterable*
[in place]face up, head towards (low)           L      *uncounterable*
[in place]face down, head towards (high)        M      *uncounterable*
[in place]face down, head towards (low)         L                   elbow
[twist]face up, head away (high)                M      *uncounterable*
[twist]face up, head away (low)                 L      *uncounterable*
[twist]face down, head away (high)              M      PK   throw
[twist]face down, head away (low)               L      *uncounterable*
[twist]face up, head towards (high)             M      PK   throw
[twist]face up, head towards (low)              L      *uncounterable*
[twist]face down, head towards (high)           M      PK   throw
[twist]face down, head towards (low)            L      *uncounterable*
[roll]face up, head away (high)                 M      PK   throw
[roll]face up, head away (low)                  L                   elbow
[roll]face down, head away (high)               M           throw
[roll]face down, head away (low)                L                   elbow
[roll]face up, head towards (high)              M           throw
[roll]face up, head towards (low)               L                   elbow
[roll]face down, head towards (high)            M      PK   throw
[roll]face down, head towards (low)             L                   elbow

WOLF'S rising attack                            Hits   Counters
---------                                       ----   --------
[in place]face up, head away (high)             M      *uncounterable*
[in place]face up, head away (low)              L      *uncounterable*
[in place]face down, head away (high)           M      PK   throw
[in place]face down, head away (low)            L      *uncounterable*
[in place]face up, head towards (high)          M      *uncounterable*
[in place]face up, head towards (low)           L      *uncounterable*
[in place]face down, head towards (high)        M      PK   throw
[in place]face down, head towards (low)         L                   elbow
[twist]face up, head away (high)                M      *uncounterable*
[twist]face up, head away (low)                 L      *uncounterable*
[twist]face down, head away (high)              M      PK   throw
[twist]face down, head away (low)               L      *uncounterable*
[twist]face up, head towards (high)             M      *uncounterable*
[twist]face up, head towards (low)              L      *uncounterable*
[twist]face down, head towards (high)           M      PK   throw
[twist]face down, head towards (low)            L      *uncounterable*
[roll]face up, head away (high)                 M      *uncounterable*
[roll]face up, head away (low)                  L                   elbow
[roll]face down, head away (high)               M           throw
[roll]face down, head away (low)                L                   elbow
[roll]face up, head towards (high)              M           throw
[roll]face up, head towards (low)               L                   elbow
[roll]face down, head towards (high)            M      *uncounterable*
[roll]face down, head towards (low)             L                   elbow

JEFFRY'S rising attack                          Hits   Counters
---------                                       ----   --------
[in place]face up, head away (high)             M      *uncounterable*
[in place]face up, head away (low)              L      *uncounterable*
[in place]face down, head away (high)           M      PK   throw
[in place]face down, head away (low)            L      *uncounterable*
[in place]face up, head towards (high)          M      *uncounterable*
[in place]face up, head towards (low)           L      *uncounterable*
[in place]face down, head towards (high)        M      *uncounterable*
[in place]face down, head towards (low)         L      *uncounterable*
[twist]face up, head away (high)                M      PK
[twist]face up, head away (low)                 L      *uncounterable*
[twist]face down, head away (high)              M      PK   throw
[twist]face down, head away (low)               L      *uncounterable*
[twist]face up, head towards (high)             M      PK   throw
[twist]face up, head towards (low)              L      *uncounterable*
[twist]face down, head towards (high)           M      PK   throw
[twist]face down, head towards (low)            L      *uncounterable*
[roll]face up, head away (high)                 M      PK   throw
[roll]face up, head away (low)                  L      *uncounterable*
[roll]face down, head away (high)               M           throw
[roll]face down, head away (low)                L                   elbow
[roll]face up, head towards (high)              M           throw
[roll]face up, head towards (low)               L                   elbow
[roll]face down, head towards (high)            M      PK   throw
[roll]face down, head towards (low)             L                   elbow

KAGE'S rising attack                            Hits   Counters
---------                                       ----   --------
[in place]face up, head away (high)             M      *uncounterable*
[in place]face up, head away (low)              L      *uncounterable*
[in place]face down, head away (high)           M      PK   throw
[in place]face down, head away (low)            L      *uncounterable*
[in place]face up, head towards (high)          M      *uncounterable*
[in place]face up, head towards (low)           L      *uncounterable*
[in place]face down, head towards (high)        M      PK   throw
[in place]face down, head towards (low)         L      *uncounterable*
[twist]face up, head away (high)                M      *uncounterable*
[twist]face up, head away (low)                 L      *uncounterable*
[twist]face down, head away (high)              M      PK   throw
[twist]face down, head away (low)               L      *uncounterable*
[twist]face up, head towards (high)             M      PK   throw
[twist]face up, head towards (low)              L      *uncounterable*
[twist]face down, head towards (high)           M      PK   throw
[twist]face down, head towards (low)            L      *uncounterable*
[roll]face up, head away (high)                 M      *uncounterable*
[roll]face up, head away (low)                  L      *uncounterable*
[roll]face down, head away (high)               M           throw
[roll]face down, head away (low)                L                   elbow
[roll]face up, head towards (high)              M           throw
[roll]face up, head towards (low)               L      *uncounterable*
[roll]face down, head towards (high)            M      *uncounterable*
[roll]face down, head towards (low)             L                   elbow

SHUN'S rising attack                            Hits   Counters
---------                                       ----   --------
[in place]face up, head away (high)             M      *uncounterable*
[in place]face up, head away (low)              L      *uncounterable*
[in place]face down, head away (high)           M           throw
[in place]face down, head away (low)            L                   elbow
[in place]face up, head towards (high)          M      *uncounterable*
[in place]face up, head towards (low)           L      *uncounterable*
[in place]face down, head towards (high)        M      PK   throw
[in place]face down, head towards (low)         L      *uncounterable*
[twist]face up, head away (high)                M      *uncounterable*
[twist]face up, head away (low)                 L      *uncounterable*
[twist]face down, head away (high)              M      PK   throw
[twist]face down, head away (low)               L      *uncounterable*
[twist]face up, head towards (high)             M      PK   throw
[twist]face up, head towards (low)              L      *uncounterable*
[twist]face down, head towards (high)           M      PK   throw
[twist]face down, head towards (low)            L      *uncounterable*
[roll]face up, head away (high)                 M      PK   throw
[roll]face up, head away (low)                  L                   elbow
[roll]face down, head away (high)               M           throw
[roll]face down, head away (low)                L                   elbow
[roll]face up, head towards (high)              M           throw
[roll]face up, head towards (low)               L                   elbow
[roll]face down, head towards (high)            M      PK   throw
[roll]face down, head towards (low)             L                   elbow

LION'S rising attack                            Hits   Counters
---------                                       ----   --------
[in place]face up, head away (high)             M      *uncounterable*
[in place]face up, head away (low)              L      *uncounterable*
[in place]face down, head away (high)           M      PK   throw
[in place]face down, head away (low)            L      *uncounterable*
[in place]face up, head towards (high)          M      *uncounterable*
[in place]face up, head towards (low)           L      *uncounterable*
[in place]face down, head towards (high)        M      PK   throw
[in place]face down, head towards (low)         L      *uncounterable*
[twist]face up, head away (high)                M      *uncounterable*
[twist]face up, head away (low)                 L      *uncounterable*
[twist]face down, head away (high)              M      PK   throw
[twist]face down, head away (low)               L      *uncounterable*
[twist]face up, head towards (high)             M      PK   throw
[twist]face up, head towards (low)              L      *uncounterable*
[twist]face down, head towards (high)           M      PK   throw
[twist]face down, head towards (low)            L      *uncounterable*
[roll]face up, head away (high)                 M      PK   throw
[roll]face up, head away (low)                  L      *uncounterable*
[roll]face down, head away (high)               M           throw
[roll]face down, head away (low)                L      *uncounterable*
[roll]face up, head towards (high)              M           throw
[roll]face up, head towards (low)               L                   elbow
[roll]face down, head towards (high)            M      PK   throw
[roll]face down, head towards (low)             L                   elbow



+===============+
|ACKNOWLEDGMENTS|
+===============+

God
Sega                Thanks for creating such a fantastic game.
GamestMook          An incredible source of data and information on VF2. If
                    you don't have the three volumes of GamestMook on VF2,
                    you should get them now!
Gamest Video        For more Kage tricks and tactics.
VF Comics           Kage's history can be found here.
Lars Sorenson       For checking through this so thoroughly, and for
                    contributing ideas and information, especially on the
                    rolling attacks. The nickname "TFTKoD" is also due to
                    him. Thanks are also in order, for his agreeing to waste
                    server drive space with this FAQ. :)
Henry Kong          For comments, and helping to post this to USENET.
Mason Wood          For many deep and profound discussions on VF2.
Sitson Lee          For his analysis of staggers, and other VF2 intricacies.
Lan Bui             For his suggestions on crouch-dashing and its
                    applications.
Yupasawa            For suggestions, discussions of Sarah, and overall
                    encouragement.
S. Hyun Yim         For looking through the FAQ and providing corrections &
                    contributions.
Takeshi Morozumi    For providing detailed information on Kage's rising
                    attacks, as well as helping to translate portions of the
                    GamestMook.
Brendan Hunt        For the hint on quickly determining stance.
Chia Jin Ngee       Checking and verifying everything, even though it must
                    have given him a monumental headache. And for writing
                    the *original* VF2 FAQ!
Alan Tan            For being such a great teacher. This is the guy who
                    taught me how to play VF2 properly.
Juri Munkki         For looking through this, for his encouragement, and
                    input on the Kage players in Europe.
The DugMan          For the Combo FAQ and for his input.
Joji Suzuki         For his comments on the TFToD and Shinsodan, and for
                    writing the first ever character-specific Akira FAQ.
Colin Leong         For providing expert VF2 gameplay to prototype attacks,
                    defenses and counters against. There ain't no substitute
                    for testing out your arsenal against a master VF2 player
                    like Colin.

A big note of thanks also goes out to all the people on
rec.games.video.arcade who gave me support for this. This FAQ is dedicated
to all of you, especially the Kage players. :) Have fun!

---------------------------
Tan Wu Meng

Email to:    wumeng@pacific.net.sg
---------------------------