Hajime no Ippo: THE FIGHTING

General FAQ/Gameplay Guide v0.04
Copyright Travis Fahs (Frogacuda) 2002-2003
tfahs@eden.rutgers.edu

This FAQ is intended to make this game accessible to english speaking players not capable of
reading the game's documentation. The goal is to provide everything neccessary to fully 
comprehend the game's play; basically what you would get from the manual if you could read
japanese. I'm not going to delve into strategy much, but this should get you started. The
game isn't complex, but it's not entirely self explanitory, so I hope this reference proves
useful. It's not well organized, but it's fairly short, so hopefully not a problem.

This guide was written in December 2002 and January 2003 exclusively by myself. It will always 
be availible at www.GameFAQs.com. I don't intend to update it at any site, but if you'd like 
to mirror it, feel free to do so as long as this file is not altered or edited in any way. If
for some reason it becomes unavailible at gamefaqs, and you would like the latest version, 
just email me. All trademarks and copyrights contained in this document are the property of
their respective trademark and copyright holders.

History:
v 0.01 -Initial release uploaded to GameFAQs
v 0.02 -Discovered the same moves required varying SP for diff. characters. Updated list.
       -Discovered powerup amounts are not affected by in-game performance.
       -minor spelling and wording fixes
       -added a short closing
v 0.03 -indexed more in the contents, to make it easier to naivgate. lowercase numerals
        indicate paragraph number within the section.
       -fixed a few odds and ends. More on powerups.
v 0.04 -corrected Volg's character info. Thanks to Tim Wen and Mike Lee for the correction.

Contents
--------
I) Intro
II) How to play
    1. What's on screen (Displays/Rules)
	i)  Health and Knockdowns
        ii) Spirit Meter
        iii)Positional meter
        iv) Distance guage
        v)  Round number, round time
        vi) Special items
    2. Controls/Basics of Fighting
        i)  Controls
        ii) Dodging
        iii)Spirit Moves
        iv) Defensive Spirit Moves
        v)  Blocking
        vi) Countering
        vii)Combos
III) Menus/Options/Modes
    1. Story Mode
    2. Tournament Mode
    3. VS Mode
    4. Sparring Mode
    5. Customise Mode
    6. Options Mode
IV) Characters/Moves
    1. Ippo
    2. Miyata
    3. Sendo
    4. Date
    5. Volg
    6. Mashiba
    7. Haymi
    8. Okita
    9. Saeki
   10. Shigeta 

I. INTRO
---------------------------
Hajime no Ippo: THE FIGHTING is 2D arcade-style boxing game for the Gameboy Advance. The
game is based on the popular japanese manga (comic book) "Hajime no Ippo" which also spawned
a recent animated TV series. The game was developed by Treasure, who have become widely
known for their cult following and critically acclaimed action games, and published by ESP.
North American gamers may recognize the liscense from the PS2 game "Victorious Boxers" which
was based on the same source. The GBA game is of a much more arcade styled title, and is my
preferred of the Ippo titles. 

The game was released on December 12, 2002 in Japan only, and is published by Entertainment
Software Pulishing (ESP), and sold for 5,500 Yen. A limited quantity of the first shipment
of the game came bundled with a special "manga box". This was a cardboard and foam storage
case which holds 2 GBA cartridges and is designed to look like a volume of manga. There are
currently no plans for a North American or European release of the game.

II. HOW TO PLAY
---------------------------
The game is not a particularly complicated one, but it does take some learning to get a feel
for the game. In this section I hope to explain the basics of the gameplay and control, and
some very general strategies to get you going.

1) What's on screen? (Displays/Rules)
-------------------------------------
Before getting into the controls, let me explain the displays. In the top left corner of the
screen is an icon representing the character you're controlling. The large bar accross the
top of the screen represents your health. As you take hits, you lose health. Your current
health is the yellow bar. This will regenerate to the oint where the bar turns red. Red
represents the healthiest you will be able to get until the end of the round. When the
yellow bar crosses little red marker (called your "Down Limit") 3/4 of the way down you will
go down. If the red bar crosses the Down Limit, if you go down for an entire 10 count or if 
you take 3 knock downs in a given round, you will lose the match. You can also lose or win
in a judgement if you both last through the designated number of rounds.

In the top right of the screen, under the health bar is your spirit meter. The number
represents your spirit level, and the little bar to the left of the number builds as you
deal damage to your opponent. when it fills, your spirit level goes up one, and the bar
resents. Your spirit drains when you perform a "Spirit Move". the number of levels deducted
varies depending on the move.

Along the left edge of the screen is a meter representing your position in the ring. In this
game, left and right are irrellevant, but you can move forward and backward, and you can get
stuck against the edge of the ring, and similarly you can trap your opponent, so this is
important. The blue dot represents your character, the red dot represents your opponent, and
the top and bottom of the guage represent the edges of the ring.

In the bottom left corner of the screen is a number representing your distance from your
opponent. This is important because it affects the kinds of punches you can throw. If you
throw a punch when your opponent is out of range, you will automatically move in until you
are in range and throw your punch. This can leave you vulnerable. Some punches can be landed
from middle range (like jabs) and some can onlt be landed from cross range.

In the bottom right of the screen is the current round, and the time remaining until the
round's end. At the end of the round you and your opponent wil recover some health, and get
a chance to use some items to help your character. 

The 3 items you can use between rounds (from top to bottom) are Restore Health, Spirit Up 
(which does not raise your spirit, just lets you build it faster), and Increase Down Limit.
The number of these items varies, but it's not based on anything you can change in the 
current fight so don't worry about it. I beleive it's based on your performance in the 
previous match. During Sparring matches it will always be 5.

2) Controls/Basics of Fighting
------------------------------
The controls are pretty simple, but they take a little getting used to. There's only one
punch button (The B Button). If you press it alone, you throw a jab. Press it while holding
up on the d-pad and you'll throw an uppercut. Press it while holding down and you'll throw
a body blow. Press it while holding left or right and you'll throw a left or right hook.

Dodging is handled by holding the direction you want to dodge and tapping the A Button.
Dodging must be timed precisely in order to be used effectively. It takes some getting used
to. You can move forward and backward by pressing up and down, so long as you have room.

Spirit moves are genreally done by holding the Right trigger button, a direction, and 
tapping A or B. Spirit moves drain varying amounts of Spirit. Offensive spirit moves are 
done with the B button, defensive moves with the A button and a few chearacters have moves 
which requeire you to press both. The amount of spirit drained depends on the move, and many
spirit moves are character specific. 

Defensive Spirit Moves are not entirely character specific. There are, as far as I know, 3 of
them, and some characters will have them, and some won't, but they don't vary in function or
execution from character to character. G-Cross (While holding left + R, tap A) will restore
your guard to full and make in invulnerable for a short period. Special Defense (While
holding R + Right, tap A) will enable you to automatically dodge all incoming blows while
you are standing or walking. Down-Avoid (While holding R + Down, tap A) enables you to avoid
a knockdown for a short period. You will still take damage, however. This can also be used
to get up from a knockdown at any point. So if you think you are down for a 10 count, this
is your lifeline. Different character require different amounts of SP for the same moves.
See the moves list for more info about what moves each character has and how much SP they
require.

Blocking is automatic. If you are standing or walking, you will block all incoming blows. If
dodging or punching you are vulnerable. As you block hits, you will see your gloves gradually
turn from blue to red. When you've taken enough damage, your guard will break, leaving you
unable to block, which will make it very difficult to get in close to land a good punch.
Your guard will be restored when you've dealt a sufficient amount of damage to your opponent.
It can also be restored with a spirit move (G-Cross: Hold Left + R and press A). This is 
recommended if you're fighting an opponent with better reach than you since it can be hard to
get in close enough to deal the kind of damage needed to restore your guard.

Some characters (Namely Shigeta, Mashiba, and Miyata) have counters. These are performed
by tapping A and B simultaneously (In most cases in conjunction with holding R). This will 
cause your character to stop for a breif moment (this hiccup is visible) and if you are 
attacked during that breif moment, you will dodge and deal a powerful counterattack. 

Combos are a big part of the game. They are fairly simple to execute in this one. The
punches in a combo don't neccessarily corralate to the direction your holding after the
first punch. A combo cannot be executed unless a punch connects, and the timing is right.
They are somewhat rigid in this respect, and they are all visble from the moves list
(accessible from the start menu). The main thing key to landing a combo is just getting the
rythm of the blows down, and not being to slow. Also make sure you are in close enough to
land subsequent punches in the combo. Combos leave your opponend very vulnerable to specials
and it's very easy to tack a special onto the end of a combo. To my knowledge there's no way
to put a special in the beginning or end of a combo.

III) Menus, Options and Modes
--------------------------------
When you press start, the game brings you to the "Mode select" screen. The options on this
menu are as follows, from top to bottom:

Story Mode
Tournament Mode
VS Mode
Sparring Mode
Customise Mode
Options Mode
EXIT

Story Mode is the main mode of the game. It lacks any options, so it doesn't have much
lasting power, but it's where you'll get started. Story Mode follows Ippo's climb through
the ranks as a pro boxer. There's nothing to embelish the story, but you do fight your
opponents in a prescribed order. When you defeat an opponent in Story Mode, he will become
playable in tournament mode (Note you must save by exiting either between or during rounds
for this). When Ippo begins Story Mode he will not have all of his moves. He will earn them
automatically as the game progresses. There is a branch int he path too. If Ippo wins
against Eiji Date, you will win and the game will be over, but if you lose, there will be an
additional 2 matches (which is the only way to fight/unlock Shigeta). Your best times will
also be saved in this mode, for later reference.

Once you've plowed through Story Mode a couple times, Tournament Mode will probably become
the main focus for you. Tournament mode allows you to select any boxer you've defeated in 
story mode or any you've made in Customize Mode, and play as him against all the other 
characters, in order or at random. It allows you to select difficulty, number of rounds and
stage. It's your basic fighting game format, pretty straightforward, and probably what
you'll want to spend the most time on. Unfortunately, Tourney mode does not save your best
times.

VS Mode is for linked multiplayer. It requires 2 cartridges, and since this is an import and
a relatively rare one, I've yet to find anyone to try it out with. I do know people that
are getting the game, so I'll update this section at a later point. Sorry. Hopefully it will
be somewhat self explanitory.

Sparring Mode is intended for practice and training. It lets you set up a match with dummy
characters, AI characters, or playable characters. You can set both to AI and watch (helps 
when you're starting) or control the 3rd person character while the AI controls the 1st
person view, or any combination. This menu is entirely in english, so I'm not going to break
it down. There's plenty of options, but they should be self explanitory.

Customize Mode is a very nice addition which adds some longevity to the game. It's not very
flexible, but it does give you a reason to keep coming back. The options in this menu from top
to bottom are Customize, Create Character, and Delete Character. When you create a character
you will choose from the opponents you have defeated in Story mode. The character will be
very weak and have no moves to start with. You can then go to Customize and level up your
character and buy him new moves. You can increase Attack, Defense, and Guard level. I really
have no desire to go through each of the moves and translate them, but just go to that
character's move list in sparring, tourney, or story mode to see what's what. The points come
from winning matches in Tournament or Story mode. You get 50 points for every match you win.

The Options Menu isn't terribly big or intimidating, but I'll break it down anyway. From top
to bottome they are:

Button Config - Attack, Dodge, and Special, and the buttons that correspond to them. 
Sound Test - Play the music and sounds from the game. Left and right select, A chooses.
Record - Display the best times from Story Mode and Versus mode.
Backup Clear - Deletes all saved data and records. Choose Yes to delete. Be careful.

IV) Characters, moves, and combos.

The character summaries are mostly what I've gathered from japanese sites on the game.
I'm not too familiar with the Ippo characters or storyline, so some of this is bound to be
wrong. Forgiveness please.

1. Ippo Makunouchi
----------------------
The title character, this guy is the little fighter that could. He was picked on in High
School, so he's used to dealing with pain. He's got a determined mind, and the desire to
fight his way through the ranks. He's an easy character to start with. His combos are nice
and slow. His Dempsey Roll is really powerful, but hard to land since you can see it a mile
away.

Move               |Execution                   |SP Used  |Comments
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Long Upper         |(Holding Up+R) tap B        |1 guage  |Strong Uppercut
Rib Blow           |(Holding Down+R) tap B      |2 guages |Strong Body Blow
Smash              |(Holding Right+R) tap B     |2 guages |Strong Face Blow
Gazelle Punch      |(Holding Left+R) tap B      |3 guages |Nice left Uppercut
Dempsey Roll       |(Holding R) left, Right+B   |4 guages |Try it at the beginning of a round
Guard Cross        |(Holdinng Left+R) tap A     |2 guages |Restores guard
Down Avoid         |(Holdinng Down+R) tap A     |4 guages |Avoid knockdowns, or get up

2. Ichiro Miyata
-----------------------
Miyata is the son of a former pro boxer who trained at the same gym as Ippo before going pro.
Not alot of moves, but an effective character. Good fast combos, and his counters are deadly.

Move               |Execution                   |SP Used  |Comments
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Long Upper         |(Holding Up+R) tap B        |1 guage  |Strong Uppercut
Cross Counter      |Tap A+B                     |2 guages |See counters section for more.
Jolt Counter       |(Holding R) tap A+B         |4 guages |Deadly counter
Guard Cross        |(Holdinng Left+R) tap A     |4 guages |Restores guard
Special Defense    |(Holdinng Right+R) tap A    |2 guages |Auto dodging
Down Avoid         |(Holdinng Down+R) tap A     |5 guages |Avoid knockdowns, or get up

3. Takeshi Sendo
-----------------------

A Kansai rookie known for his deadly offense. His defense is weak however.

Move               |Execution                   |SP Used  |Comments
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Long Upper         |(Holding Up+R) tap B        |1 guage  |Strong Uppercut
Smash              |(Holding Left+R) tap B      |2 guage  |Not unlike Ippo's
Advanced Smash     |(Holding Down+R) tap B      |3 guage  |Stronger than Smash
Right Smash        |(Holding Right+R) tap B     |4 guage  |Stronger still
Guard Cross        |(Holdinng Left+R) tap A     |3 guages |Restores guard
Down Avoid         |(Holdinng Down+R) tap A     |4 guages |Avoid knockdowns, or get up

4. Eiji Date
----------------------

Japanese featherweight division champion, known for his formidable offense and defense. His
Cork Screw blow can tear right through his opponents guard.

Move               |Execution                   |SP Used  |Comments
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Long Upper         |(Holding Up+R) tap B        |1 guage  |Strong Uppercut
Cork Screw Blow    |(Holding Right+R) tap B     |2 guages |Powerful frontal jab
Heart Break Shot   |(Holding Down+R) tap B      |4 guages |Very very strong.
Guard Cross        |(Holdinng Left+R) tap A     |3 guages |Restores guard
Special Defense    |(Holdinng Right+R) tap A    |2 guages |Auto dodging
Down Avoid         |(Holdinng Down+R) tap A     |4 guages |Avoid knockdowns, or get up

5. Alexander Volg Zangeif
-------------------------
Volg is a Russian boxer who entered the ring to support his ill mother. After 10 years, Volg
remains an undefeated powerhouse, easily a match for Ippo. He is a versitile fighter with a 
powerful attack nicknamed "White Fang". It's a 2 part attack, and each blow takes off 2 guages.
It can tear right through a guard. 

Move               |Execution                   |SP Used  |Comments
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Long Upper         |(Holding Up+R) tap B        |1 guage  |Strong Uppercut
White Fang         |(Holding Right+R) tap B)    |4 guages |Nasty 2 parter
Guard Cross        |(Holdinng Left+R) tap A     |3 guages |Restores guard
Special Defense    |(Holdinng Right+R) tap A    |3 guages |Auto dodging
Down Avoid         |(Holdinng Down+R) tap A     |4 guages |Avoid knockdowns, or get up

6. Ryo Mashiba
-------------------------
Badass fighter with a hit man style. This guy keeps a solid defense, and has the best range
in the game, can keep opponents at bay with his incredibly speedy jabs. You'll need to get in
closer to combo and do some real damage, though, so it's not too abusable.

Move               |Execution                   |SP Used  |Comments
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Long Upper         |(Holding Up+R) tap B        |1 guage  |Strong Uppercut
Flicker jabs       |(Holding Left+R) tap B      |2 guages |Flurry of punches
Chopping Right     |(Holding Right+R) tap B	|3 guages |Downward right hook. Stylish.
Down Avoid         |(Holdinng Down+R) tap A     |4 guages |Avoid knockdowns, or get up

7. Ryuchi Hayami

A young boxing prodigy known for his charisma. Pretty straightforward fighter.

Move               |Execution                   |SP Used  |Comments
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Long Upper         |(Holding Up+R) tap B        |1 guage  |Strong Uppercut
Shotgun Left       |(Holding Left+R) tap B      |1 guage  |Powerful left
Shotgun Right      |(Holding Right+R) tap B     |2 guages |Powerful Right
Guard Cross        |(Holdinng Left+R) tap A     |3 guages |Restores guard
Special Defense    |(Holdinng Right+R) tap A    |3 guages |Auto dodging
Down Avoid         |(Holdinng Down+R) tap A     |5 guages |Avoid knockdowns, or get up

8. Keigo Okita
------------------
An up and coming boxer who models his style after Eiji Date. He has even managed to master
Date's cork screw blow. 

Move               |Execution                   |SP Used  |Comments
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Long Upper         |(Holding Up+R) tap B        |1 guage  |Strong Uppercut
Cork Screw Blow    |(Holding Right+R) tap B     |2 guages |Powerful frontal jab
Guard Cross        |(Holdinng Left+R) tap A     |3 guages |Restores guard
Down Avoid         |(Holdinng Down+R) tap A     |4 guages |Avoid knockdowns, or get up

9. Takuma Saeki
A fast and powerful ex-olympian turned pro, Saeki's strength lies in his maneuverability. He
lacks any useful special moves, but for the player who likes to dodge and weave, he's where
it's at. Good range too. 

Move               |Execution                   |SP Used  |Comments
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Long Upper         |(Holding Up+R) tap B        |1 guage  |Strong Uppercut
Guard Cross        |(Holdinng Left+R) tap A     |4 guages |Restores guard
Special Defense    |(Holdinng Right+R) tap A    |2 guages |Auto dodging
Down Avoid         |(Holdinng Down+R) tap A     |5 guages |Avoid knockdowns, or get up

10. Akira Shigeta
---------------------
A young street fighter who is able to change up his fighting stance from left handed to 
right handed. He's the closest thing the game has to a secret characer. He can be reached
only by losing to Date. He has a super taunt, which will allow your opponent to a land an
easy hit, but it recovers you guard, and uses less spirit than a G-cross. Also has an 
incredibly fast jab.

Move               |Execution                   |SP Used  |Comments
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Long Upper         |(Holding Up+R) tap B        |1 guage  |Strong Uppercut
Right Cross        |(Holding R) tap A+B         |2 guages |Powerful counter (see counters)
Taunt              |(Holding Down+R) tap B      |2 guages |restores guard
Guard Cross        |(Holdinng Left+R) tap A     |3 guages |Restores guard
Down Avoid         |(Holdinng Down+R) tap A     |5 guages |Avoid knockdowns, or get up


Closing
---------------------
That's all there is. Hopefully by now you should know what you need to know, and if not,
just email me and I'll see what I can do. I'd like to keep this FAQ updated and
corrected if and when I learn more, but at present, I'm satisfied with it's completeness.
I'd like to thank the posters on TNL and Gamefaqs for their help as well as those who sent
me corrections, and of course Treasure for making yet another great game.