*A GRABBER'S GUIDE TO SFZ3 (PS) ZANGIEF.* By "NT" (email@example.com) CONTENTS 1. About myself. 2. Intro to Zangief. 3. Key list. 4. Move list. 5. Basic strategies. 6. Advanced strategies. 7. Training with `gief, the "NT" way! 8. How to beat the crap out of opponents. 9. Anti-Shotokan techniques (if your arcade's a Shotokan paradise) 10. The end! 1. ABOUT MYSELF =============== Let's see now... I live in Pakistan (Islamabad) and have been playing SF for the past 6 years. The trouble in Pakistan is that there's only the concept of playing KOF at the arcades, so SFCE and EX are the only SFs you'll find here. Sucks. So, how did I train myself? There are a lot of good SFA players here but you have to look hard to find `em. Once you make friends with one, you start to learn a lot, plus, there's always the `net' for reference. Other than all that crap, I'm an insane manga fan. Animes are cheap here ($2 only and uncensored most of the time, thank God) so whenever there's this new anime out, I'm first in line to get it. I like to draw as well (started at 12 years of age. ARR!). Some of my works currently in the pipeline include a Dracula X comic, a Guyver/Evangalion mixture sorta dark comic and a hilarious mech battle filled book. You'll find them on the net as soon as I launch my web page. If you want to take a peak at some of the pages (yeah right!), e-mail me and I'll get `em pages scanned and mailed back to ya'! This is my first FAQ so let me know if I make a mistake, ok? Alright, enough @#$!@%, lets get down to serious pile-driving! 2. INTRO TO ZANGIEF =================== I'll be referring to our Russian killer as `gief so don't get confused. Right, first of all, let me tell you the reason behind this FAQ: yesterday I went thru these `gief FAQ's and although they had everything in them, move lists, strategies etc... they were all missing the point. I mean, why play `gief when you're sure to win by taking Ryu, Ken, Akuma, Sakura, Rose etc? In this FAQ, I'll try to get the point across that it is NOT possible to win everytime. You just have to play in a manner that increases the probability of you winning (get it?). Playing with this monster requires not only 360-degree stunts but a little bit of luck, ingenuity and intuition. Remember this: If you feel that playing with `gief gets to be a bore, STOP RIGHT HERE. (A Brief History.. blah, blah, blah.) `Gief has been in the SF universe eversince WW (world warrior). He earned the reputation of the gaming world's leading grabber when he appeared in SFCE. If you've played CE, you'll be aware of the awesome damage he inflicted with his pile-drivers (especially after the opponent's life had been drained 50%) and his invulnerable anti-air frame in the lariat. Unfortunately for `gief fans, the poor guy lost some of his "cheap" tricks when he appeared in the Zero/Alpha series. Now in SFZ3, he's back and meaner than ever. His old sucking range is back along with an improved lariat juggle. YES! Apparently, the Russian wrestler fights bears an' all, and then has a little chat with the president in every SF. In SFZ3 however, he gets to slam E-Honda around for one of the most hilarious endings ever! Ho ha ha ho ho hee hee! Funneeeiiyy! 3. KEY LIST =========== I'll be using the following abbreviations: ATTACK BUTTONS: JP = Jab punch MP = Medium punch (or the strong punch, whatever) HP = Hard punch (Ka-POW!) JK = Jab kick MK = Medium Kick (NOT Mortal Kombat!) HK = Hard kick (OOOF!) DIRECTION KEYS: F = forward (you're the first player, i.e. to the left) DF = down-forward D = down (you're getting the idea how this section works, right?) DB = down-back B = back UB = up-back U = up UF = up-forward I didn't feel like making the key map cuz everybody's doing that. Anyway, you know how the keys work so I don't need to elaborate on the subject. I'm including the basic attack descriptions in this section as well so hang on. BASIC ATTACKS ============= JAB PUNCH (standing) - A vertical chop sorta thingy. Don't use this much cuz the crouching version is much better. I think its interruptible in SFZ3 also (do the aerial grab super) but `gief's no combo machine. JAB PUNCH (crouching) - A straight thrust of the hand into the ^$%^#! Very useful move as it can be followed by two or three more. Adds to the tick factor when followed by a grab. THUMP! JAB PUNCH (jumping) - A jumping chop. Use it if you're a good ticker, otherwise forget it. MEDIUM PUNCH (standing) - A chop (again). I use this as an anti-air for fun. Mind you, it is NOT an anti-air attack! It doesn't have that much reach but its quick. Use it when the enemy gets too close for comfort and its difficult to grab. MEDIUM PUNCH (crouching) - Hee hee hee! The perfect anti-air! So, Gouki wants to jump, eh? Whack! Use this against over ambitious opponents who think `gief's target practice. MEDIUM PUNCH (jumping) - I don't use it to be honest. Maybe cuz it sucked the first time I tried it. HARD PUNCH (standing) - Yes! Finally I get to discuss `gief's heavy hitting punches. The hard (fierce) punch has great reach but can leave you open to supers cuz of the lag time. `Gief stretches out the whole of his massive arm and lets opponents have it, right in the kisser! BLAM! You can even use this as an anti-air (sometimes, NOT always.) and its great to connect retreating jumpers with. Cuz of its great range, its great to inflict guard meter damage as well. KEEP THIS IN MIND: Use it when you're FAAAAAR FAAAAAR away. Don't use it all the time cuz wise guys'll let you have it with super combos. HARD PUNCH (crouching) - Same range, same fist, same lag-time (hell). Use this against turtle players as they can't grab or trip you cuz of the long arm factor. `Gief's reach is just too good! Use this from a distance as well. HARD PUNCH (jumping) - It has good priority. I use it sometimes when the opponent's wise to my ticks. Use this when aerial battles heat up. You may not believe me, but sometimes `gief has helped me win cuz of his body splash/fierce punch variations. BODY SPLASH (d + HP) - THE aerial weapon. The classic splash has been retained in all SFs and SFZ3's splash is no exception. There's just one drawback. Y'see, as soon as the command is entered for the splash, `gief sorta starts to glide to the ground. Its not so slow, but characters with anti-air attacks (dragon punches) will see you in slow- motion! I'm a Shotokan player too and believe me, `gief's a big fat target when he misses splashes. Anyway, use this attack with tact. It's his best weapon provided you think before you leap. JAB KICK (standing) - Quick thrust of the right leg. Its got little range but can be used for poking. JAB KICK (crouching) - I won't waste space explaining this one cuz the punch version's better. Use it if you want to, but I don't recommend it. JAB KICK (jumping) - A leg thrust that comes out quick. I don't use this much. MEDIUM KICK (standing) - The right leg comes into play again. It's the same as the jab kick but inflicts more damage. I use it quite a lot cuz it's a decent poker. Its difficult to grab opponents after they get tagged by this cuz `gief take a little time to recover from it. I tried to suck this guy after the MK once and he dragon punched my @$$, so better be careful. MEDIUM KICK (jumping) - A football sorta kick which is good for aerial battles. Use its "knee press" version more often (d + MK) as the effect is rewarding. You either connect with it or if they block it, they're in the pile-driver. HARD KICK (standing) - A dorky looking kick. `Gief does a short flip with both legs, kicking with the left one, and lands on his back. When I first saw this move, I thought it was an anti-air. Well, the truth is that it sucks cuz of its pathetic lag time. Y'know, its this lag time crap that gets `gief down. Then again, he's a pretty big guy. HARD KICK (crouching) - A very important move. It has two variations so use `em wisely. The first one's the simple (d + HK). It has short range but little lag time. The second one's a more offensive sweep and goes like (df + HK). This time, `gief sticks out the whole of his leg, sweeping unsuspecting foes from a long distance. Its got terrible lag time so use it when they least expect it. Both these kicks play a key role in winning the match, as we'll see. HARD KICK (jumping) - Nice move. I use this when Gouki/Akuma goes into an air-fireball frenzy. The kick has great range and equally good priority, meaning that you'll tag `em first. Try it out yourself, but PLEASE time it. My friends complain that my methods don't work for `em. Well, all I have to say is that don't do CRAP moves and THINK for GOD'S SAKE! If you don't THINK, you might as well not play. Thank God that's over with. I hate going thru the basic attack section. Ok, let's get a move on: 4. MOVE LIST ============ Moves, moves, moves. Without special moves, there's just no impact left in fighting games. I don't like Tekken cuz it lacks cool special moves, like Kyo Kusanagi's Demon Scorcher and Ken's Shippuu Jenraikyaku. Let's go man! SPINNING LARIAT: The classic lariat's here with an improvement. It juggles. The down point's that it's not the most effective anti-air. Use it freely against missed attacks and against opponents who have executed their kick or punch way too early in their jump. You should be able to get in two hits atleast. 3's max. It goes thru fireballs like it should, and that gets to be a major pain in the @$$ for Shotokans. Heh heh heh! We'll see how to tick Ryus and kens to full effect with this move. The kick version of this move is a lot shorter in duration but you can't be swept while in its animation. Mix up the two to beat the crap out of arrogant players. MOTION : [PRESS ALL THREE PUNCES OR KICKS.] BANISHING PUNCH: `Gief turns around and then lets his right fist RIP with a green aura around it. This move's not supposed to inflict heavy damage (it should though) cuz it's primarily a fireball neutralizer. Most of my friends say that this move sucks. Well, they keep on forgetting that this is what I use most to kick their butts! All fireballs, including Sagat's low Tiger blast, will be neutralized by this move but NOT super fireballs. Read on and you'll soon find out why this move is so special! MOTION : [F,D,DF + ANY PUNCH] (Dragon punch motion + any punch) SPINNING PILE-DRIVER: Ahh, the grab of choice. `Gief picks up the opponent, places him between his legs (no, its not suggestive), takes him for a spin and then grinds his head into the ground. As painful as it sounds, you'll enjoy it more when you see the damage it inflicts. Have you been tagged by a 5-hit combo? Seems like all is lost? Just try to grab the opponent twice into this baby and the fight's pretty much equal. The trick lies in suckering the opposition. MOTION: [F,DF,D,DB,B,UB,U + P] (270 degrees on the stick and any punch) I know that doing this move is hard, but it all comes with practice. If you want to know how I do this move, go to section 7. "Training with `gief the `NT' way". SIBERIAN SUPLEX: Another grab. `Gief picks up his opponent, performs a nifty suplex, leaps into the air and crashes the victim into the ground upside-down, headfirst. I really like this move cuz it looks cool! Use this when you're very close or it'll transform into the RUNNING BEAR GRAB. That's not so cool. MOTION: [F,DF,D,DB,B,UB,U + K] (270 degrees on the stick and any kick) I forgot to tell you that it doesn't matter which button you press for the spinner or the Siberian sup. Only the height changes. RUNNING BEAR GRAB: An awkward running charge followed by a thumping body slam. This move is too predictable and you'll be cursing yourself even if it connects. See, it doesn't inflict decent damage and it takes ages for the poor wrestler to get to his opponent. Please keep in mind that the speed at which `gief charges has been increased in Z3 when compared to SFZ2. In Z2, this move really SUCKED! MOTION: [F,DF,D,DB,B,UB,U + K] (270 degrees on the stick and any kick) The strength of the kick varies the distance `gief sprints. The stronger the kick, the farther he runs. SUPER HEADBUTT: Surprised? No, no, this is not a new move, don't get your pants in an uproar! I included this in this section cuz, this is just my opinion, it should be here. All you have to do is press punch at the top of a straight vertical jump, holding `up' on the stick. `Gief should perform a quick headbutt followed by a grunt. If you connect two to three of these in a row (very rare), the opponent will get dizzy. Use it against missed dragon punches and if you're lucky, they just might get knocked out! SUPER MOVES (Super combos, whatever): ============ An improvement in Z3's that `gief's slams and multiple suplexes register combos. E.g. if your opponent gets dizzy and you perform a Level 3 FAB* (final atomic buster) on him, the combo meter will register 5 hits instead of the usual 4. Here are the Super moves- FINAL ATOMIC BUSTER: The most powerful grabbing super in the game. It takes about 50% off the opponent's bar (LV3) and its side effects are lethal (psyched out victim!). Unfortunately, it's very difficult to perform while standing. Hey, I forgot to tell you what he does! He grabs the opponent (ofcourse) and performs a quick suplex, followed by a spinning pile- driver. At level 2, he performs 2 quick suplexes instead of one and finishes with a spinner again. At Level 3, he lets it rip with 2 quick suplexes and 2 spinners, the first spinner being the jab-punch version and the finisher being the hard-punch version. In Z3, the sucking range of the FAB has been increased, evening the odds for `gief to win against pro Shotokans. Learn the method of setting up your opponent for this move in section 7 of this FAQ. MOTION: [s@#t, it's a fuc#$%g long motion so just do 360 DEGREES TWICE + any punch. Use jab for LV1, Medium for LV2 and hard for LV3.] AERIAL RUSSIAN GRAB: I don't know the correct name of this move. Does it really matter? No, it certainly doesn't! Its an air grab an' has been kept the same as Z2's. The priority has been increased I must say (this is just my opinion. Some people say that it sucks. I say, they suck!) and you should feel free to let it lose when someone's feeling too jumpy. In this super, `gief flies to the very top of the screen, one hand extended like Superman, and grabs anyone in his reach. His flight path is at about a 45-60 degree angle. You have to make the opponent touch `gief's hand in order to make this move work, whereas in the FAB, you need body contact. Timing is everything so practice this one a lot. The motion is simple (thank God this isn't like Guile's or Nash's jackknife super). No, you cannot combo with this move. MOTION: [D,DF,F,D,DF + any kick. Use jab for LV1, Medium for LV2 and Hard for LV3.] Now that we have all the required moves under out belt, its time to implement `em. Okay wrestler, get down and learn `em `basic strategies'! 5. BASIC STRATEGIES =================== Ahhh.. finally its time to do the practical. Before I begin, let me ask you a straight question. Do you play SFZ3 for more than an hour? If the answer's `yes', it's a good sign. You should play the game for atleast an hour an' a half, reserving the `half hour' for `gief practice. If you're not able to execute a certain move for more than 5 minutes, forget it. Try next time or your controller'll get busted (happened once!). Let's begin: <NOTE>: You don't really need to go thru this section if you've been playing with `gief for some time cuz you'll probably be knowing these basic tricks. If I've missed something out, let me know. BASIC #1: (This basic lesson has nothing to do with special techniques. It's more of a preparation for the next lessons. PLEASE go thru this if you haven't played with the big guy before. It's a long lesson, but it's worth it.) Q. [What's your first objective when pitted against a cocky opponent?] To win, right? Well, I'm afraid that's not the right answer. Y'see, the real talent an' fun lies in frustrating your opponent to death! This is what the answer to the first question should be if you're playing as `gief:- "I HAVE TO CONNECT ATLEAST 2 PILEDRIVERS BEFORE HE HITS ME WITH SOMETHING!" Seems weird huh? Believe me its not. The truth is that `gief can't perform huge combos (custom combos don't count here) so you can't get aggressive. Remember that he's slow cuz of his size and he's a pretty big target as well. You can't get defensive either cuz he's so big, the guard meter'll crash when you start to block pokes. Q. [How do we get out of such a hopeless situation then?] Simple, we don't! Confused? Don't be, here's the solution. Grind this style of play in your head before playing with `gief. I guarantee you'll lose a lot less. Practice a bit more and you might never lose (that's impossible y'know). Here it is: Remember that the size is everything. Michaelangelo (Turtles) once said, "The bigger they are, the more bones they break!". That's exactly what counts here. YOU'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO FALL, WHATEVER THE COST! You have to break `em bones, an' keep on breaking `em! Whatever you do, try to block as little as you possibly can. This is the key to a `gief victory. When you block less, it means that you push the stick toward the retreating end (i.e. to the left) a lot less and conserve guard meter damage. You'll either be staying your ground or advancing toward your opponent. All you have to do is avoid being swept. Just do as I say and the reaction of the opposition will be to your favor most of the time. We'll discuss this in detail in section 7. Q. [Why do we have to connect 2 spinning pile-drivers at the start of the fight?] 2 pile-drivers mean almost 35% damage. Once connected, you can take it easy and wait for `em to make mistakes. Q. [How should we connect the pile driver?] Man, I'm asking myself a lot of questions here! Anyway, this one's important so listen up man. There are four ways to do this. The first one's the `sacrifice approach', but mind you its VERY risky. In this approach, let yourself get hit by a jumping or standing attack. While in the `stunned-after- being-hit' pose, buffer the motion for the pile-driver. If you're close enough to the opponent, `gief will perform the move as soon as he recovers from the animation. *RISK RISK RISK RISK - WARNING WARNING WARNING!!* If you fail to judge the point of impact of the punch or kick that's about to hit you, `gief will be left open to major combos. Remember to anticipate the opponent's next move, cuz if you keep on trading your life for the pile-driver, it would be a stupid transaction. The second method is a lot safer and requires you to buffer the pile- driver motion while you block. The results are not 100% + you tend to retreat, making this the lesser of my favorite options. It's very useful nonetheless. The third method is risky as well. Jump on your opponent without attacking, forcing `em to anticipate the block. Buffer the PD (pile- driver. I'll be using this abbreviation now cuz it's easier on my hands!) motion while in the air to grab `em as soon as you land. If you're up against seasoned Shotokans (most of `em are very good), I would strongly discourage using this method as they'll Dragon Punch your @$$. The fourth and last method is the `offensive approach'. Attack with body splashes and tick constantly with the crouching JP. Follow your attacking spree with a PD to conclude the festivities! This is the recommended style when you're up against novice players and you can use this against seasoned ones also. Very effective. Don't, at any point, stick to just one method of play. You need to practice variations and tricks to keep the opposition on its toes. This concludes BASIC LESSON #1. BASIC #2: This won't be as long as the previous lesson so you can take a breather. I call this strategy the `tick factor'. `Gief has a very good crouching JP and you should use it a lot. Because it comes out very fast, it usually breaks fireball animations and many command attacks as well. Another plus in your favor is that the JP will do wonders when the guard crush is required cuz it has excellent reach. Poke a lot with the JP and suck opponents into grabs when you get close. This is very simple to pull off and you should be able to get in a grab or two this way. Y'see, the JP animation doesn't allow you to jump, so doing the 270-degree motion for the PD becomes a piece of cake. Try this: Make `em block a standing JP anywhere on the screen and buffer the FAB. It's not a two-in-one, more of a chain. Most people I've faced seem to have an acute problem with this cuz its so damn effective! BASIC #3: Cross up, or just splash your opponent with the body splash (D + HP) and then do the PD. Crossing up opponents is very simple once you have swept or knocked them to the ground. Make sure to connect the splash `on or about the mid-area' of the opposition. Don't make it too deep, as you'll never be able to grab them that way. As long as they're in the blocking frames, `gief cannot grab them and he's bound to execute the missed PD frames, setting him up for major damage. Connecting too early will no doubt reduce the chances of being hit by anti-air attacks. When you plan to connect early, the opponent can see `gief coming down on top of him. If he's very good, he'll knock you out of the air (he has to be very quick to do that) or he'll just block, not taking any risk. Even if he blocks or gets hit, you're bound to lose a fat chunk of your life bar cuz the opponent'll recover from the hit or block before you even make it to the ground. Sometimes, it helps to execute the splash early, but then its up to you cuz you're the best judge of the situation. Connecting in the mid-section is the best policy. This is because your opponent recovers as soon as you reach the ground, evening up the odds. When such a situation occurs, it's the survival of the fittest. The bonus hit goes to the player with the fastest reaction. Mostly, `gief wins these battles cuz the PD is buffered as soon as the splash connects the mid-section. The opposition has to be very quick to execute a super, as it's difficult to anticipate the timing of the splash. Practice this. BASIC #4: The banishing punch is one of your weapons against fireball users and it has to be used wisely. The actual hitting frames of this move come out very slowly (`gief turns around an' all) so anticipation is everything if you want to snuff out fireballs. However, it's not necessary that you execute this move when expecting fireballs. Use it as a diversion instead to get close to your opponent and then grab him. This strategy is actually a classic setup for the FAB. The trick lies in NOT connecting the banishing punch. Place `gief in such a way that when the punch ends, you're on or about the sweeping range of the opponent. This is actually the maximum range of the PD and for the FAB, it's even larger! Practice. BASIC #5: Another anti-fireball move is the `lariat'. This move is exceptionally irritating for Shotokans, take it from me cuz I'm an insane Shoto myself (although I discourage people from choosing them. It's no fun.)! This move is so very frustrating cuz `gief not only avoids fireballs completely, he also tags in a couple of hits (juggles now) WITHOUT LEAVING THE BLOODY GROUND! Not leaving the ground is what makes this move sooo annoying. It gives `gief ample time to PD, provided that the opponent doesn't recover. If they recover, do a couple of crouching jabs and then take `em for a little spin (corner only). BASIC #6: My brother's really good at this one. Get your opponent in a corner and make him fall down flat on his back (sweeping is a good option). Get into his sweeping range and crouch. As soon as they get up, do a crouching JP (jab punch) to force a block (anticipate supers please. THINK THINK THINK!). If your opponent blocks the jab, you're all set to carry out the plan. As soon as the jab is blocked, hold up on the stick to jump straight up and do a PD or a FAB when you land. Now, your opponent will either sweep you (intermediates fall for this every time) or do an anti-air. In case the anti-air is executed, block it and try to duplicate the pattern again. Please make a note that it is very difficult for even expert Shotos to connect a late anti-air when `gief jumps straight up after the jab. They take atleast a second to realize the situation cuz the pattern's too unorthodox. When they figure out the mess they're in, its too late. You'll be safe while carrying out this procedure provided that you mix it up with the others listed above. Don't become predictable. 6. ADVANCED STRATEGIES ====================== If you've gotten the hang of the basics, its time for you to get on with the more difficult strategies. Please don't think at any point that playing with `gief is difficult. This is what discourages so many players, making them go for Ryus and Kens instead. Think of him as different and try to get the feel of his style. I'm sure you'll enjoy playing with him after that. Hey, look at me, I used to be a Shotokan freak until this friend of mine taught me how to do the 270 without jumping. Ever since that day (its been 4 years now), I've been playing as everybody except Shotos. This shows that Shotokan karate is NOT what makes the SF series the more popular in the world when it comes to 2D fighting. ADVANCED #1: The JP (jab punch if you've forgotten) is not exactly an anti-air, but sometimes, you'll need to make a judgement whether to use it as one or not. Here's what you should try: When the opponent jumps at you and you think that your jab is going to beat his attack, do it. Just do it. Practice for somedays and you'll get the idea when to and when not to stick out the jab, Once you've got that reflex permanently in you brain, carry out the following procedure accurately. Hit a jumping opponent with the standing jab and follow it with the `Aerial grab super'. This is a two-in-one. In case you miss the super, try to lariat juggle in the corner. This strategy requires a fighting brain and quick reflexes. Its hard to get it right the first time (man, I almost busted the controller!) but once you get it right, it's a piece of cake. Have confidence in yourself and kick butt! ADVANCED #2: This one's a killer! Its my favourite attack plan cuz the probability of it succeeding's about 90%. Splash the opponent in the mid-section and do a couple of quick crouching JPs. After you've done that, stand for half a second, doing absolutely nothing. When the half second's over, do the PD. Almost all the players you face will either try to DP (dragon punch) you or super your @$$ while you're standing. What they don't know is that you're counting on them to execute such moves. Once this guy released a LV 3 shoryureppa while I was waiting, and `gief grabbed him in between the super charging pose! I was, like, WOW! You need timing for this one to work cuz if you do it wrong, you'll jump into the air missing the PD completely, or the missed PD frames will come into effect. I used a sparing partner to perfect this one and you should too. Remember, connecting the mid-section is everything. ADVANCED #3: Nullify projectiles using the banishing punch and do the FAB when close. For the FAB, unlike the PD, it won't make a difference if you do or don't connect the banishing punch. The range of the FAB is great and `gief should be able to suck the opponent into it easily. Another version of this that I try sometimes is making the opponent block the banishing punch and then doing the FAB. Because of the FAB's excellent (improved) range, your opponent will have no chance but to eat the super, unless he's skilled enough to get your trick. The easiest way out of this tick is to press and hold up so that you leave the ground as soon as you recover. I'm telling you this cuz someone may try this on you as it's not the most difficult strategy to implement. ADVANCED #4: The MOST IRRITATING one of `em all and also the most demanding in terms of practice. Keep on walking into your opponent and grab `em from THEIR LIMBS! Weird huh? This is a very effective weapon against that stupid son of a @&^%$ Dhalsim (this guy can destroy `gief!). If you think someone's about to poke you or is just retreating to start the fireball frenzy, this is your ultimate weapon. Walking and pile-driving in a smooth motion is very important for this to work. Your opponent, AT NO POINT, should get the idea that you're about to twist the stick (gamepad) all the way to 270. While walking, If you can see `gief get into the sitting pose when you perform the PD, you've done it wrong. The PD should seem like coming out of thin air. If you predict a sweep or fireball while you're in range, take a step forward and PD in a smooth flowing motion. It destroys opponents, and especially, Shotokan cheaters! ADVANCED #5: The Shotokan killer! All credit goes to my brother for inventing this little gimmick. It seems like `gief's crouching MP (medium punch, the anti-air one) misses all Shotos when executed from a very close range. I'm talking about body contact here. If you're damn close to a Shoto sprite and do a crouching MP, it will miss `em completely! They'll try to block it ofcourse, but it'll be of no use as it'll never hit them. When they're blocking the fake hit, buffer the FAB BEFORE the animation for the punch ends and you'll be the happiest anti-Shoto player on Earth! I've included this one in the advanced section cuz the trick lies in getting close to the fireball tossers. They'll keep you at bay so jump in occasionally, mixing up banishing punches and lariats on the way. We'll see this in detail in section 9. "anti-Shotokan techniques". 7. TRAINING WITH `GIEF, THE `NT' WAY! ===================================== Now that you have gone thru the basic and advanced strategies, its time to train like a true fighter and get all `em tricks right. As I've mentioned before, `gief's not a combo machine. If you keep on mashing the controls to pull off a fluke PD or FAB, forget it. You'll need to have a cool head and an acute intuition, the basic attributes that can only be earned after practicing. Here we go: [THE PILE-DRIVER](PD) Practicing the PD `without jumping' is very important and explaining how to do it is one of the most difficult things. I'll try to help you out as much as I possibly can but then its up to you to develop your own unique style or method. Look at it this way. People execute the Dragon Punch, one of the most popular moves in fighting games, in a million different ways. People hold sticks differently, some let go of the stick before doing the motion, some quiver their wrists and some don't even let you get the idea what's gonna happen next. See what I'm getting at? You have to develop you own style, an attribute nobody can integrate with your psychology. I learned to do the PD in a month, after hours of practicing (I'm a slow learner, I admit it). I begin the motion from the direction `gief is facing, e.g. If he's on the left side of the screen, I start the motion with the right arrow key. The motion goes something like: right, right/down, down, down/left, left, left/up, up + any punch. You can do the motion by first pressing the left key also, there's no restriction as long as the motion is done correctly and quickly. I use the right key cuz it forces `gief to advance toward the opponent before the grab, reducing the space between the two sprites and making the attempt successful. If you use the left key first (its perfectly ok), there might be a chance that the sprites may get too far away (in case your opponent's retreating) and the missed PD frames might be executed. Having a PlayStation at home definitely helps cuz there's no limit to credits. Just practice for as long as you like (if your fingers start to ache, let go and try some other time). It would be excellent if you have a partner with you to help you out or to experiment with you. This exercise should help you to do the PD correctly, but let me remind you that its all up to you in the end. My brother and I have completely different styles of pile-driving, even though we've trained together! [BUFFERING] Buffering means to input the command for a move while in the animation phase of another move. E.g. if you've executed the banishing punch (or jab) and want to connect a PD after it, do the motion for the PD while in the animation of the punch. Remember to time the second move in such a way that its motion ends as soon as the animation phase of the preceding move ends. To buffer effectively, I would advise you to practice against the computer, not a human. There's a reason for this. Computer opponents attack according to a pattern and they're usually wise to ticks when the difficulty's at LV8. Even if you're dead sure that a CPU opponent's going to do a stupid move (ken usually does 3 dragon punches in a row, no matter where he's standing) and you miss time a buffer, the CPU's going to kick your @$$. This exercise should help you to become an accurate ticker as it will be required against good/worthy opponents. [RANGE DETERMINATION] Knowing the exact range of `gief's punches, kicks and grabs is a vital asset. I practiced this in the `training mode'. Remember to set the dummy to the `guard only' position as it will make it harder for you to grab him effectively. This will make you a better grabber. Crossing-up can be included in this section. Practice crossing up the dummy with the splash (D + HP). I don't know the exact range of the cross-up, but I can tell you that it has to be done when you're standing relatively close to your opponent. Just jump toward when you're close and execute the splash halfway down the jump. You only need two to three splash cross-ups to get the timing right in your head. I'm also including the sweeps here as they're very important. `Gief has two sweeps and both are very important. The first one, D + HK, is shorter in range but quick. Use it when you're close so that there's little chance of getting open to attacks. The second version, DF + HK, makes `gief extend his left leg to full length, knocking opponents out from far away. Use it as a long range weapon only but remember, `gief will take damage if hit on the foot. `Gief also has a new kick (DB + MK) which is interruptible. You can connect a banishing punch after this move to set up a FAB or a PD, which brings us to the next topic: [SETTING UP] This is very important. Everybody who plays with `gief has complete knowledge of this art. `Setting up' means that you have to trap your opponent in such a way that a grab becomes inevitable. I'll tell you a few set-ups I do regularly. You have to discover the rest by yourself cuz that's all the fun! a) The basic set-up has been discussed all over this FAQ. Splash, PD. b) Banishing punch (missed), PD. If the punch connects, do the FAB. c) Close crouching MP, PD or FAB (against Shotos + few others) d) JP (Jab punch) from a little distance, PD. The art lies in deceiving the opponent. The JP hits the opponent from a shorter range than expected. Stand at a distance which will make opponents believe that they have to block the hit. After the missed punch, buffer the PD. e) Straight up jump, PD upon landing. Very irritating but not very effective. Most people I play against can see this one coming very well. f) Eat an early hit, buffer FAB. Difficult but awesome! [DON'T FALL DOWN!] Ok, lets see now. Not falling down is very important for `gief. Why, you ask? Y'see when he's down, the opponent gets the chance to flee from `gief's grabbing range quickly (keep in mind that `gief's very slow). Keep a steady advancing strategy, keeping eyes open for fireballs and sweeps. I use the kick version of the lariat to move in safely. That way its difficult to be swept and fireballs miss you completely. Please don't execute the lariat without thinking. Do it only when required and you should be home, safe and dry. Mix up your advance by doing different moves to avoid fireballs and sweeps to make the opponent think two times before attempting an attack. A banishing punch / lariat and jump mixture can confuse even the best Z3 players. [DIFFICULTY SETTINGS] If you have no brothers or friends who would like to play the game with you (happens), this is for you. CPU's the only thing keeping you company so crank up its difficulty to make you sweat and play faster. Playing fast is important as it'll make the action against a human opponent seem in slow motion. I would advise you to start playing at the normal `4 star' difficulty if you're a beginner. After a few weeks of regular practice, crank up one star each week until the difficulty reaches 8. Try to beat the game with `gief without losing a single round and if you manage to do that, you can kick the hardest butt! Hey, don't think that it's over man, here's more. After beating the game on difficulty 8, play the survival mode and complete every category (very tough to end it with `gief). Once you've done that, go to your arcade and KILL EVERYBODY! To see the action at the arcade in slow motion, play the game at home on a `turbo 5' setting. Works everytime. These are enough to get you started. Once you get `em right, I'm sure you'll invent some of your own. Please share them with me. 8. HOW TO BEAT THE CRAP OUT OF OPPONENTS ======================================== In this section, I'll deal with the general strategies against every character (I'm assuming you're playing against a human). (in alphabetical order) 1. ADON: People playing as Adon take advantage of his speed. Jumping on him is useless as the jaguar kick not only stops aerial attacks, but hits two times as well. I've noticed that Adon users jump in occasionally when they're up against `gief. Keeping this in mind, try to grab them in the air using the aerial grab super (requires lots of practice and timing). If your opponent's not the jumping type, remember that he has to come close to you cuz Adon's no fireball tosser. They'll either tick you with his long range HK or with the Jaguar crescent kick. Try to grab Adon's foot if they stretch out for the HK tick and everything's gonna be cool. 2. BIRDIE: An equally poised battle. Birdie's an equally good grabber and has the advantage of long range, quick moves (charging horn). Try to make Birdie come to you cuz staying close to him can be bad for your health. Make him charge from a distance and grab him when he comes close to you in the charging animation. Keep an eye out for his jumping, grabbing super. I simply grab him from the air when he does his super, looks cool. Tick him a lot WITHOUT jumping. He has a very good anti-air standing HP. 3. BALROG: This guy's too quick for his own good. Against the CPU, its very easy to beat him, even on difficulty 8. Against a human, it's a different story. Balrog players like to take advantage of his long range claw attacks (ofcourse) and his quick jumping pokes. I beat this guy using my instincts. Predict the jumps and spot early hits quickly. Most Balrog players confess that they have trouble controlling him in the air. Its hard to place an accurate hit with Balrog against a skilled opponent. He tends to overshoot or fall too short most of the time. Use this to your advantage and try to pin him to the ground using your long and short range sweeps. Once he's down, pounce on him and keep him down using your splashes and jabs, doing the occasional PD in the process. 4. BLANKA: A tough fight. Blanka's a good offensive player and has an evasion move to boot. He can zone in and out of your grabbing reach effortlessly by rushing back or forward, but there's an easy way to beat him. Just block one of his tumbles and sweep him with the long- range sweep. Pounce on him and attempt a tick and grab. If you miss, play defensively and let him do something stupid. Another tumble or a jump should help you open him up again. If he jumps, do the crouching MP, or if you're good, the JP + aerial grab combo. Remember that he rushes quickly and that's a big problem. 5. CAMMY: She's an excellent character with superb attacks and a lot of balance, but that doesn't mean she has no weaknesses. Cammy users tend to play a lot like Shotos. Jump in, combo, grab, combo, tick, combo, that sorta jazz. Your advantage lies in exploiting Cammy's greatest weakness, her inability to throw long range projectiles. She has to come close to `gief now and then, and its up to you to make that count. Don't try to advance toward her, make her come toward you and when she makes a mistake, grab her! 6. CODY: Cody players suck in Pakistan (don't know why) so its simple to beat `em. Keep one thing in mind that Cody's an excellent air- attacker and his jumping HK has great priority. He tends to leave himself open when he performs any of his special moves so capitalize on that. Avoid jumping and block his rock tosses while advancing for the grab. The block/buffered-FAB combination is very useful against him cuz his jumping attacks point downward, increasing the chances of an early hit. Keep your eyes open for a stupid jump to connect an easy aerial grab and everything's gonna be cool. 7. CHUN-LI: God, I hate this fight! In Z2, it was very hard for `gief to K.O Chunners but now in Z3, the fight's pretty much equal. She can't combo after that irritating crouching MK anymore so you can afford to eat it once in a while. Just keep ticking and remember to mix up your sweeps. Once she falls to the ground, it's very hard for her to counter the splash. Keep her pinned and grab her when you get the chance. Her fireballs aren't very effective so just jump over them or neutralize them with the banishing punch. Chun-Li players are usually very good pokers so grab `em from their limbs. It's a very effective weapon. 8. DAN: Just kill him! Beware of skilled Dan users though, they can kick butt sometimes. If that happens, treat him like any other Shotokan. (Go to Section 9 for details) 9. DHALSIM: A tough fight! Dhalsim's got the advantage of long limbs and extremely irritating Yoga Spears. Both cause considerable damage to the guard meter, making life very difficult for `gief. He's even got projectiles so watch out. I try to grab him from his limbs, but you have to be very quick to do that. When he goes for the spear, block and do the PD. You just might grab him. Remember to keep your cool cuz this is a very demanding fight. Skilled Dhalsim users will not let you rest for a second! 10. DEE JAY: I don't know much about this guy cuz no one uses him here. Please wait for the FAQ upgrade. 11. E.HONDA: This one's a lot of fun. Honda's just as slow as `gief but has a Sumo Torpedo to speed things up. Fortunately, it does little damage so don't worry about that. He does, however, have long range kicks and punches to keep `gief at bay so use your lariats and banishing punches to force him in a corner. Once you have him pinned to a wall, start mixing up the ticks and Honda's another sitting duck! 12. FEI LONG: What an excellent fighter! His moves not only kick ass but look awesome as well. Fei Long has the ability to attack very quickly (Rekka Ken combo) so don't try to poke at him mindlessly. Intelligent Fei Long players make good use of his Dragon Kick, which can break thru ANY `gief move! Beating him is tough so keep your cool and wait for him to Rekka Ken. Every punch in the Rekka Ken has a slight delay following it when it ends so try to buffer a FAB. This should take about 50% life, making life much easier. For the next 50%, wait for mistakes and use your standing MK against Long's crouching HP. 13. GEN: The master of chain combos is as vulnerable as ever! Gen players need to get close to `gief when they want to perform chain combos so use that to your advantage. Grab them everytime they get close and pluck `em from the air using the aerial grab super. Don't use the long-range hard punches against him cuz your lag time will allow him to connect his ultra quick supers. Splash him occasionally and tick him a lot. 14. GOUKI: Go to Section 9. 15. GUY: He used to be more powerful in Z2 so beating him is much easier now. His jumps are the easiest to spot cuz they're in the shape of long arcs. When he rushes toward you, do the PD without looking and he'll be there for the taking! Watch out for his Final Fight chain combo and grabbing super. Very lethal! His turn punch provides the perfect setup for a block/buffered-FAB when `gief's in the corner. Just block it and do the FAB! 16. GUILE: Turtle players love to use Guile against `gief. Guile's just as quick as Nash but his somersault isn't that effective (hits only once). He also has a terrible sweep lag-time so use it to your advantage. Make Guile sweep at you and miss so that you can pounce on him to inflict major damage. Keep an eye out for his jumping MK. Use your crouching MP against it to hit him most of the time. Read NASH for more details. 17. JULI/JUNI: Both of them are basically Cammy so treat `em like her. Juli (my favorite!) however has a lunging straight flying kick that can get to be a pain. It takes a bit of time to come out, but when she gets in the kicking pose, she flies really fast. Watch out for the kick and don't try to counter it. Block and buffer a grab to get rid of her. 18. KARIN: Her Rekka-ken combinations are a pain in the ass. I always keep a low block and wait for it cuz its extremely easy to grab her when the punches end. Use the standing HP to knock her out of the air (lariat will do) as both are very effective against her. Jump with care as she has an anti-air super and a crouching uppercut to keep jumpers at bay. Use `gief's crouching LP to tick her, and sweep her from a distance using DF+HK. Its very easy to grab her after she has been pinned. 19. KEN: Go to Section 9. 20. NASH: One of the most dangerous opponents you'll face. Like Guile, Nash's an excellent turtle player and can scramble your brains! You can try to guard-crush him but making him block your attacks is the most difficult part. He has a quick and long sweep to keep `gief away and the backfist just makes things worse. Like Guile, all his basic attacks are very fast so you'll have to think in advance to sucker him into a grab. Execute well-timed lariats along with banishing punches to get close to him, and remember to keep an eye out to see if he's charging. If you believe that the charge is incomplete, jump on him and try to tick him. It's the only way to damage him if you can't think of anything else. This fight requires a lot of patience and skill so keep your cool. 21. R.MIKA: This should be an easy fight. Her sliding sweep and standing HK can get to be a pain but its no big deal. She's not the most effective grabber so you don't need to worry about that. Keep your cool and tick her with the splash/JP combination. She'll give up pretty soon. Splash her rushing super everytime. 22. ROLENTO: His knives can be troublesome as you can't lariat thru `em. I use the JP to deflect knives but you need timing for that. It's no big deal if you block `em though cuz you don't lose much ground. Other than that he's a good and fast poker. Grab him in the air using either the super or the normal air-grab. His off-the-wall jumps make it very easy to grab him in the air. Keep an eye out for his low-block super (I would advise a low block at all times in this fight). The rest of his supers are easy to avoid and he's very vulnerable to ticks. The block/buffered-FAB works here so trap him and then grab him! 23. ROSE: I haven't seen many people use Rose effectively. She has long-range kicks alright but she lacks speed. The Soul Spark is her primary weapon against `gief as it pushes opponents all the way back to (almost) the end of the screen, making them cover all that ground again. Lariat (NOT Banishing punch) thru it to hit her as she requires quite sometime to recover from the move. Just keep splashing (watch out for the soul throw!) and ticking to set her up for the FAB. Works everytime! 24. RYU: Go to Section 9. 25. SAGAT: Tiger, Tiger, Tiger! Watch out for the low tiger and lariat the high ones to get close to him. Skilled Sagat users (quite a lot of `em) won't Tiger Blow mindlessly so forget about them making stupid mistakes. Sagat's a very effective weapon against `gief cuz he has this thing NO OTHER FIGHTER HAS: The ability to walk back faster than walking forward. Try it out yourself. He can get out of your reach faster than you can say... well.. anything! Jump over his low Tiger blasts and PD or FAB him. If you've jumped mindlessly, don't attack. Just keep blocking cuz super expert Sagat players are bound to execute a Tiger blow, which can be easily blocked. Y'see, most of `em play so fast, they forget to connect deep so capitalize on that. Sagat doesn't need to jump much so forget the air throws. Play a modest, defensive game to get close to him and then murder him! 26. SAKURA: Very simple to beat her. Her hurricane kick can get to be a problem so block it everytime cuz its shit hard to counter. Block the hurricane and buffer the grab of your choice (works only in corners). When you're up against Sakura, it can be rewarding if you're stuck in the corner. Most of her attacks have lots of lag so you'll have ample time to buffer. Lariat thru her fireballs and poke her with the crouching JP. 27. SODOM: My brother uses him with insane effectiveness! Sodom's jumps are quick and he rushes with those sais a lot. Blocking the sai attack is of no use as he pushes `gief out of grabbing range. When the super gauge is at LV3, I prefer to eat a rushing attack and buffer the FAB. This causes 50% damage and the tides turn to your favor. Jump carefully when he's down as his crouching HP is an excellent anti-air. Look out for those irritating slides. Anticipate `em. 28. VEGA: Vega's head-stomp has been improved so don't try to air grab him everytime he jumps. His fireballs aren't very effective so lariat thru `em everytime and try to hit Vega in the process. In a nutshell, try to corner him and then set him up. One other thing: In this fight, it doesn't matter if you get stuck in the corner. Use `gief's standing and crouching MP to get out of corners easily and quickly. 29. ZANGIEF: Aha! Don't get aggressive, don't play turtle. Maintain a balance and let others make mistakes, e.g. silly splashes, missed aerial super, missed PD etc. Use the crouching and standing HP a lot to keep your counterpart at bay and try to dictate terms. Remember that `gief users are usually smart players. They can come up with all these funny counters and weird grabs so mix up your attacks and strategies. 9. ANTI-SHOTOKAN TECHNIQUES =========================== Why does everybody love Shotos? Cuz they're effective and powerful, end of story. Its ok to admit that they're the best fighters in the SF circuit and that's what makes it fun to beat `em up. Expert Shoto players usually think of themselves as unbeatable so it feels good to ridicule `em when they've been beaten by `gief. Most people I know hate Shotos and don't play as them. Personally, that's not the way it should be. You should play with every character in the game to learn their strengths and weaknesses. I love to play as Shotokans (including Dan) cuz this way I can learn their weaknesses. Some of the stuff I learned is listed below. Use these tricks against Ryu, Ken, Akuma/Gouki and even Dan. Anti-Shoto 1: The lariat is the move Shotos hate to eat when executed properly. Use it against normal and super projectiles + hit them to really piss `em off. I've noticed (this happens to me also when I'm playing as a Shoto) that Shotos will jump most of the time this happens. Maybe it frustrates the hell out of them or something. Anyway, keeping this in mind, do the aerial grab super to really let `em have it. Remember that for this to work, you have to get into your opponent's combo range so that he's compelled to jump toward you as soon as he gets up after being knocked down by the lariat. Anti-Shoto 2: The banishing punch is an effective transporter (meaning it takes you a bit toward the opponent) and its effect stays for a long time on screen. What I mean to say is that when you do this move, it will continue to neutralize projectiles until `gief completely ends the move, and that takes quite a while. Cuz of this, you can afford to do the move early if you're expecting a fireball, and recover from the move before the opponent does. When this move is blocked, Shotos will not be pushed back a long way so it helps to setup the FAB. Use the banishing punch sparingly, only against anticipated fireballs and use its LP version to fill up your super gauge. Anti-Shoto 3: The crouching MP misses Shotos completely when done up close. You have to be quick to buffer a FAB after this so practice in the training mode. This is by far the most effective anti-Shoto of `em all as it forces a missed block. Remember that you have to be very close to pull this off. Anti-Shoto 4: This works against Gouki nicely. Use the jumping HK to hit Gouki when he goes into an air-fireball frenzy. You should hit him most of the time. Please for heaven's sake, DON'T jump into the fireball. Jump over it and do an early HK. You should land safely as `gief's jump is shorter in height, making both characters land at the same time. If Gouki's in a corner, this is a great setup to suck him into a FAB. Anti-Shoto 5: Works against Ken and Gouki. Whenever you block their Shoryureppa super (whatever level), block the first 2 hits and buffer the FAB before they go into the next frames of animation. `Gief should break out of the block and the super sparks will appear, after which Ken/Gouki will lose 50% life instantaneously! Anti-Shoto 6: Ryu players hate it when this happens. If someone executes the Shinkuu- Hadoken while you're standing in front of them, keep pressing the three punch buttons simultaneously. You'll be surprised how quickly `gief can get into his spinning lariat frames and miss the super even at close range, juggling them 2 times in return. Keep mixing up these anti-Shoto tricks to get on player's nerves. Remember to poke constantly with the crouching LP (breaks the fireball animation most of the time) and splash carefully. Shotokans are not easy to defeat so use your head a lot and don't get too aggressive with them. Let `em make mistakes and capitalize. If you're able to sucker `em into two PDs at the start of the fight, stay cool and let `em come to you (exception: keep Ken away at all costs! Use long range HP and splash his irritating standing HK). The rest is a piece of cake, good luck! 10 THE END! =========== This is my first attempt at an FAQ so please let me know how good (or bad) it is. E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Other than that I would like to thank Uzair, a very special SF fan, who introduced me to `gief four years ago. Playing SF has not been the same since he left (he's in Russia). My brother (ofcourse), for playing and practicing with me for dunno how many hours. He's a more dedicated SF fan. And last but not the least, Suleman, who voluntarily became a punching bag so that I could practice on him! Please visit Kao Megura's home page (members.xoom.com/megura) for the detailed SFZ3 general FAQ. It's the best and you should have it if you're playing this great game for the first time. The above mentioned FAQ can also be found at www.gamefaqs.com. Finally, thanx a lot for reading this FAQ. I hope that sharing my little knowledge helped improve your game with `gief. Until next time, keep piledriving!