Beginner's Guide by AChang

Version: 1.1 | Updated: 01/19/97 | Printable Version

From: (Andrew Ryan Chang)
Subject: VF3: Beginner's Guide, v 1.1 (?)
Date: 19 Jan 1997 23:52:24 GMT
Organization: Simon Fraser University


	Hey, what's up?  This is the 2nd posting of this guide... it's
	archived on
	but if you look there, you'll find that that version is outdated
	cause I'm slow at updating stuff.

	Comments, corrects, additions, suggestions?


                           SO YOU'RE NEW TO VF3.

                            a beginner's guide.


[xx] changelist.
[00] notation.

[01] movement.
   [01a] dashing
   [01b] E-ing
   [01c] jumping
   [01d] crouch-dashing

[02] the basics.
   [02a] stance
   [02b] attacking
     [02bi] combinations
   [02c] blocking
   [02d] throwing
   [02e] reversals
   [02f] countering
   [02g] okizeme
   [02h] which character to use?

[03] strategy

[04] resources

[99] credits.

[xx]  Changes:

Nov 17, 1996: first posted.
Nov 18, 1996: stance diagram corrected,
	      dash-cancelling corrected (as in, you can't)
	      more strategy
	      updated credits section.
Nov 21, 1996: more dashing and dodging discussion.
	      blocking, attacking, throwing.
Jan 18, 1997: net-resources.

[00] Notation.

	the cardinal directions are expressed as:
forwards:	f		up:	u
backwards:	b		down:	d

	holding a direction, as opposed to tapping it, is expressed with
	an uppercase letter. So "F" means hold forwards.

	the diagonals are expressed as u/f, u/b, d/f, and d/b, and it is
	customary to use this precise notation, as opposed to f/d or b/u
	or whatever.

	commas separate distinct moves, and a plus sign means that
	the actions should be performed at the same time.

	f,F means tap forwards, then tap and hold forwards.

	The buttons are (from left to right), Guard, Punch, Kick,
	and Escape. The cabinet may make reference to Defense or
	Dodge, but "D" is already being used for holding down.
	So the buttons are G,P,K,E. It is customary to align them
	in your notation this way: P,K,G,E. So if you want to note
	that Punch and Kick and Guard should be pressed simultaneously,
	it would be best to write out P+K+G rather than any other order.
	Similarly, a Punch and Escape together is written as P+E.

	Many of the most commonly used combos (see below) are
	abbreviated to not use commas. Please read BigCat's notation
	FAQ for more details.

	But feel free to add extra comments to clarify extremely difficult
	motions. (ie TA for a turn-away attack, TT for turn-towards, etc)

	Bringing it all together:


 means literally:

tap down/forwards diagonal and at the same time, hit Kick and Guard.
Then, tap forwards and punch at the same time, then tap back, tap
forwards, tap forwards and hit punch and kick. The game uses time
units called "frames"; each frame is 1/60th of a second. So speaking
about a time length of 12-frames means 12/60ths, or 1/5th of a second.

{glossary to come later.}


[01] Movement.

	In the absence of any button presses, the joystick will move 
your character around. Holding down will make your character crouch.
Holding up with make him jump. Holding forwards or backwards will 
make him inch forwards.

	However, inching forwards is nearly useless.

[01a] Dashing.

	What you need is to get around quickly. Dashing is the way to
do that. Certain moves will advance your position, but you must know
how to move around the ring without using those attacks. The way to
dash is to tap forwards (or backwards) twice. Hence, f,f or b,b mean
forward or backward dash. In previous versions of VF, you could interrupt
a dash with a G press, which instantly stopped you.  In VF3, all dashes go
the full distance before stopping; no fine-tuning of dashes is possible.
This bites. =(

	You can buffer in forward dashes. That just means that you can
enter f,f,f,f into the command buffer, and when the first dash finishes
executing, you will immediately dash again. You cannot buffer in backward
dashes; so dashing backwards is less effective than it was in VF2.

[01b] E-ing

	Many times, whether it's to dodge an attack or simply avoid the
dangerous areas of a ring (such as a wall or ring edge), you will want to
move sideways. The E button will do that. Pressed alone (ie, with the
joystick neutral) you will move into the screen. Pressed with an upwards
tap (u+E), the same occurs. Pressed with a downwards tap, (d+E), you move
out of the screen. That is, your character will move closer towards you,
the player.

	Attacks can be classed into four categories: linear,
backside-to-frontside circular, frontside-to-backside circular, and
circular. It is nearly impossible to dodge the last. The first can
usually be dodged in either direction. Dodging an attack that comes
across the opponent's backside requires dodging towards their
frontside, and vice-versa. Combo attacks and G button taps will
align a player with a person who has just sidestepped.

	You can also forwards and backwards (f+E, b+E) dodge. Sitson
points out that you can in fact G-cancel these. Yupa sez that at some
points, a f+E gives a long diagonal dodge that covers approximately 2 dash
distances. This is in keeping with the general VF3 design that encourages
in-your-face gameplay.

	Moby and Saturn Fan point out the use of K+E dodging.  With this,
you E and then high kick.  The kick can be retracted, so basically hit
K+E, wait for the dodge to end and then cancel the kick.  This special
dodge has the advantage of leaning back far enough that crescent kicks (a
circular attack) can be escaped with this move, even when a normal E
won't.  Sweep attacks won't whiff someone trying this out.

[01c] jumping

	Jumping lets you avoid certain attacks, it avoids throws, and is
fairly useful. To hop, simply tap one of the three upwards directions.
(u/f, u, or u/b). To do a large floaty jump (the kind seen in VF1 and 
VF2), you have to first tap down, then up.

[01d] crouch-dashing

	It is possible to dash (and inch around) in a crouching
motion. The typical crouch dash is done with a d/f,d/f motion,
and I believe it requires that you already be in a crouching
position. Going from standing to crouching requires 20 frames.
(probably). During the first 10 frames, you are considered for
game purposes as standing, and the last 10 frames as crouching.
Tapping d/f,d/f while standing allows for a faster crouch,
however, allowing you to perform moves that normally require you
to be crouching from a standing position. These are called
"modified" moves.

	There is no backwards crouch dash; a (too?) useful feature from
VF2 has been removed from the game.  Hence, any modified moves make you
advance forwards. The crouch dash backwards was a great way to retreat
from people using a rush of high attacks. *sigh*

[02] the basics.

	The basics of playing the game.

[02a] stance

	When the round first starts, the combatants are facing each other.
Typically, both have their right foot forwards. This is shown below.

L         R

      R          L

	This is an example of closed stance; similarly, if both characters
had their left foot forwards, they would be in closed stance. In open
stance, the combatants are arranged so that their leading legs are the
opposite of each other.

L               R

      R   L

	You can see how the characters have a greater distance between
them in open stance. There are a lot of attacks which change the stance
from open to closed, or switch foot position. Throwing in open stance
tends to be harder due to the larger separation between the characters.
Some attacks even hit at different levels (attack levels are discussed
below) depending on whether the characters are in open or closed stance.

[02b] attacking

	You want to win. Winning a round means (1) knocking the other
guy out of the ring (2) having more lifebar at the end of the round, or
(3) knocking the other guy senseless. All of these require attacking
the opponent. Your character has a lot of moves available; they typically
involve some combination of button presses and joystick taps.

	An attack is broken into three stages: execution time, hit
time, and recovery time. During hit time, if the opponent is
vulnerable to your attack, he will be hit. Execution time is the
time just prior to hit time, and recovery time is just after hit time.

[02bi] combinations

	To really inflict significant damage, you will want to
use combinations (or big-damage throws). The term is used very
loosely in VF. In most fighting games, a combo means that if
the first move of the combo hits, the rest are guaranteed hits.
In VF, this is not always true, not even of preprogrammed

	A preprogrammed combo (also called a "canned combo") is one
in which a sequence of joystick motions and button taps results in
a combo. There is no recovery time between attacks in a canned
combo. The most basic of these is P,P,P (which is almost always
written out as PPP). PPP has execution time separating the punches,
but no recovery time. These pre- programmed combos can be entered
into the command buffer.  Moreover, after hitting PP, the computer
enters into a slighly different state from normal; it is waiting
for specified set of commands. If you were to try PP,f+P for a
punch, punch,elbow, (and were not playing Jacky), you would get a
straight PPP combo. To avoid this, flush out the command buffer and
return the command state to normal by using the G-cancel. That is,
hit PP,G,f+P to get a punch,punch,elbow. In this case, you will
have recovery time to deal with between the second punch's hit time
and the elbow's execution time.

	However, some moves have such a good recovery time compared
to the amount of hit stun time it induces, that another move has the
guaranteed opportunity to hit the opponent- it is unescapable. This
is called a "rolled" combo- (as in, "roll your own"). Some rolled
combos are true (guaranteed from the first hit) combos.

	Many rolled combos take advantage of hit stun, floats,
and staggers to get their guaranteed nature. A stagger results
in from a mid-level attack to a croucher; this knocks the victim
into a standing position and makes them stagger backwards. They
cannot be thrown during the stagger time, but they can be hit.
Similarly, a float refers to sending the victim airborne, during
which time they are completely vulnerable to attacks.  I'm told that
hitting a staggering opponent will always float him.

[02c] blocking

	The G button makes you block. All good movelists will list
what attack level the attack hits at. A high level attack is blocked
when standing. Crouching will make the high attack whiff. A mid
level attack is blocked standing; it will hit a croucher whether that
croucher is blocking or not. A low level attack is blocked low; a
stander is hit whether blocking or not.

	While the G button is held down, joystick motions can be
buffered. Hence, a b,f,f+P+G motion can be done as (hold G),b,
f,(release G),f+P+G. This will keep your character in a block pose
instead of the b,f twitch. Similarly, the f (or towards) motion
when turned away will turn towards. However, if you do this: (hold
G),f,f,(release G) you get a dash that is towards your opponent
while still facing away.

	Tapping d+G during the first few frames of an attack will
give you an instant crouch guard; this is called autoducking.
Similarly, neutral+G during the execution time of an incoming
attack will autostand. Tapping G will align you with an opponent
who is not directly facing you.

	G-cancels have one other purpose: retracting attacks. Thus,
K,G (tap G before K has finished executing) will retract the kick.
This is not the same as merely annulling the command state (which
might otherwise be waiting for another move). This is a good feint,
as your recovery time on a retracted kick is almost nothing.

	You cannot block while in recovery time. You cannot block in
the air.

	When hit, you will suffer "block stun", a period of time in
which you cannot do anything (except buffer in an attack which will
begin when block stun ends). If you were hit without blocking, you
suffer hit stun, which is longer than block stun.

	Unlike other fighting games, there is no damage taken for a
blocked hit. You simply suffer block stun, so if you can block a series of
hits, you will not take any damage at all.

[02d] throwing

	All characters can throw. You can throw a standing opponent 
with P+G (or other high throw), regardless of whether that opponent
is guarding or not. Any throw that ends in a P+G button press is a 
high throw: it will not work on crouchers. Any throw that ends in 
P+K+G is a low throw: it only works on crouchers (irregardless of
whether that player is blocking or not). Many characters do not 
have any low throws. 

	In addition to normal throws, which can be escaped with the
appropriate movement, there are side throws and back throws. A back
throw is one in which you throw the opponent who is turned away from
you. A side throw is one in which you are more than 30 degrees off
the axis of your opponent. Side and back throws cannot be escaped.

	Attempting to throw when the conditions are not met (ie out
of range, croucher) results in a missed throw animation. Previous
versions of the game simply gave an attack when the throw was not
possible, but this turned out to be a bad idea, because the player
could rely on the computer to autoselect the best option (throw or
attack). Missing a throw therefore makes you vulnerable.

	The full list of throw escapes is available at Jirawat's
homepage (address below.)  You have 10 frames from the time when your
opponent has finished inputting his throw to input your throw escape.
If you attempt to escape a specific throw, and your opponent used a
different one, you get thrown.  If you were early, you are registered
as a throw attempt- in this case, your opponent either gets thrown or
you miss your throw attempt and get punished.

	Most of the time, a throw attempt and attack attempt result in the
attacker winning. Attacking beats throws. In VF2, if a throw was executed
during the first frame of an attack's execution time, the throw would win.
As far as I know, this has not been a confirmed ability for VF3.

[02e] reversals

	Certain characters (Dural,Aoi,Akira,Pai,Kage,Taka,Wolf) have
the ability to reverse an incoming attack. This is a special command
and must be entered during the execution time of the incoming attack.
Each attack must be reversed according to its attack level, and
attempting to reverse a move at the wrong level results in a missed
reversal animation.

	A throw attempt and reversal attempt will result in a throw.  So
we can see that throws beat reversals.

[02f] countering

	A major counter (abbreviated as "MC" or "interrupt") is one in
which your attack hits the opponent while he was in the execution time
of his attack. This is rewarded with a 50% damage bonus. A minor
counter (also written "mC") hits the opponent while the opponent is in
recovery time. This is worth 25% bonus.

	The damage of an attack that floats is proportional to the
height of the float (which is the factor in how many hits you can get
on a floating victim). A major counter float hit, then, will often
allow you to do more damage on a float combo. On the other hand, an
attack that might normally stagger could, with the major counter
bonus, knockdown.

	Certain attacks are called "uncounterable".  Typically,
this means that Player A has used this attack but Player B blocked
it.  Due to the quick recovery time of A and the block stun that B
is in, B cannot fire off a P,K combo (a very useful combo) to
retaliate, as A has the time to block it.  Note: some attacks are
only uncounterable if they are blocked; whiffing it can make it
counterable.  Some attacks have such terrible recovery, or do so
little damage, that they are counterable after _cleanly connecting_.

[02g] okizeme

	Okizeme is the art of keeping pressure on a rising
opponent. By blocking a rising attack or attacking an opponent who
is rising without an attack, you are in a position to punish them.
Positioning is important. Jirawat has translated a guide to okizeme
already; I don't think I can do it any better. The key is simply
anticipating your opponent's rising action and reacting accordingly-
I don't believe there is any option for the downed player that is
100% safe.

[02h] which character to use?

	I would recommend Kage, Lau, Pai, Lion, Sarah or Jacky as the
first character. Yes, that is 1/2 of the possible chars. =)  I favour
a fast character for newbies. This isn't one-size-fits-all advice, but
in general, those are the easiest to learn with. As you learn, try to
analyze why you win or don't win, and adapt accordingly.  These
characters all do relatively well at the low end of the learning

	Eventually, as you reach a plateau, you may want to pick up a
second character. Now is when I recommend trying a slower character
such as Wolf, Jeff, Shun, or Takaarashi, so that you can learn about
when to throw and when to attack. Without the benefit of quickness,
the slower guys don't have as large a margin for error as do some of
the quicker chars.

	Aoi and Akira and Pai are the very best at reversals (in that
order), and you may want to pick them up to learn the usefulness of

	Kage has many options available to him, but his biggest gun is
the TFT (ten foot toss) and Kage players should develop a strong
repetoire around this (and the way to use it without it being

[03] strategy

	A predictable player is one who can easily be defeated by
use of reversals, dodges, interrupts, and power throws. Basically,
you as a player need to mix it up.

	In terms of merely attacks, this means using attacks that
entice your opponent to crouch, then hit mid-level. Or, hit low when
your opponent is standing up. You will probably have to use rolled
combos and the threat of throws to really capitalize on this.

	In general, mixing it up means not doing the same thing all
the time. Mixing it up means using throws, but not always the same
one. It means using different methods of rising. In general, it means
a creative style.

	Fast recovery attacks (uncounterable) can sometimes be used
for bait. Don't rely on canned combos too often, especially when not
in a float or stagger situation. Moby points out that many traps rely
on the _threat_ of completing the canned combo. For this to work, your
opponent must know about the correct way to handle a canned combo in
order for you to manipulate them into that response, which you then
take advantage of. I suppose a complete button masher isn't going to
notice your starting a canned combo, so I honestly can't see why not
just finish the canned combo.

	The PKG (P,K,G) is a punch-kick with the kick retracted in the
first frame of execution. Care must be taken not to annul the kick
entirely. Doing the PKG correctly gives you a punch with a one-frame
recovery. This has several benefits. The G press aligns you with
sidesteppers. The extremely short recovery and speed of the basic
punch make it very difficult to interrupt a person who is constantly
using PKG. Once you connect with one PKG, the resulting block or hit
stun is so long that you can land another PKG. Using repeated PKGs
like this is pretty cheap, though. I think that once two PKGs touch
your opponent, doing a third will result in a simple PK since the
computer will not let you perform an inescapable grind.  (whew!)

	Once you have connected the PKG, another option you have, due
to the hit stun that gives you an advantage time of several frames, is
throwing the opponent. I don't think any throw escapes can be inputted
during hit stun.  While the PKG-throw works partly due to absurdly low
recovery time, P-throw or low kick-throw can work if the hit was a
major counter (in the case of the MC low kick, Lion, Shun, and Taka can't 
throw afterwards.), as the increased damage leads to a longer stun time,
letting you get an free throw.  When a person is staggered, struggling
(that is, pounding the buttons and twirling the joystick) will shorten
the stagger.  You cannot throw a staggering opponent, but if you know
he is struggling, you can throw him as soon as his stagger time ends.

	*sigh* the PKG stuff above is more or less cribbed from VF2
strategy guides 'n' stuff.  Yupa and Brian Mak both now say that PG is
faster than PKG.  So I suppose you can just substitute PG for PKG in all
the above.  (PG and PKG are not quite the same in terms of where and when
to use it, don't get me wrong).

	Hyun posted once about the three bases of the gameplay engine in
VF. This is attacking, throwing, and blocking. Blocking beats an attack,
throwing beats blocking, and attacking beats throwing. For this purpose,
we can more or less think of reversals as blocking. This is the basic
idea; in order to come out ahead in an exchange with your opponent, select
the correct reaction for their action. This is a heavy oversimplification;
I would believe that prediction and mind games are a large part of the
game; that is, lightning reflexes are not the only thing you need for this

[04] resources
	The Home of VF.
	Best English movelists and full of info.
	My personal, slow-to-update site.
	"Hardcore VF3".  Nice site, updates well, low-bandwidth (good!)
	home of the Jargon FAQ.  Look here for unfamiliar terminology
	to be explained.
	Still the best site for Japanese translations.
	The most useful English newsgroup for VF3.


Andrew Chang

Moby		for lots of strategy additions I didn't know about
Yupasawa	for corrections
Ian Schirado	for writing the VF2 beginner's FAQ
Sitson		for dodge-cancels
Hyun		for VF philosophy mentioned above

with of course, lots of info from RGVA and all the helpful folks
out there, esp the ones who wrote up all the information for VF2.

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