SUPER PUZZLE FIGHTER II TURBO HD REMIX FAQ
by MrMacross (Captain Flapjack)

v1.02

Revisions
9/7/10
- Corrected the damage bonuses in the "Chaining" section
- Added the Chun-li stage bug to "Common Bugs"
- Revised the Timer bug in "Common Bugs"

8/28/10
- Added ctrl-f shortcut for Acknowledgements section
- Changed "16-20" to read "17-20" in the Power Gem Damage Section
- Fixed various irregular line breaks and spaces throughout

Last updated 8/28/10

Table of Contents, plus (ctrl-F shortcuts)
I.	Foreword (0100)

II.	Controls (0200)
 A.	General (0210)
 B.	During Character Select + accessing hidden characters (0220)
  1.	Selecting “hidden” characters (0221)
  2.	Fighting “hidden” characters in arcade mode (0222)
  3.	Selecting alternate colors and super combos (0223)
 C.	During the Match (0230)

III.	Characters (0300)
 A.	Character roster (0310)
 B.	Individual Character Stats (0320)
  1.	Ryu (0321)
  2.	Chun-li (0322)
  3.	Sakura (0323)
  4.	Ken (0324)
  5.	Morrigan (0325)
  6.	Hsien-ko (0326)
  7.	Donovan (0327)
  8.	Felicia (0328)
  9.	Akuma (0329)
  10.	Devilot(DEVL)
  11.	Dan (DANH)

IV.	Breaking Gems (0400)
 A.	Standard bombs and gems (0410)
 B.	Diamond (0420)
 C.	Diamond glitch (X mode only) (0430)
 D.	Counter gems (0440)

V.	Power gems (0500)

VI.	Chaining (0600)

VII.	Counter Gem Damage (0700)

VIII.	Miscellaneous Bonuses (0800)

IX.	Common Bugs (0900)

X.	Frequently Asked Questions (1001)

XI.	Acknowledgements (ACWL)



I.	FOREWORD (0100)

I’ll make this short and sweet, since the rest of the FAQ is bloated and
verbose. If you’re already a solid player, chances are this FAQ won’t help
you improve. Most of this is to help new players, and give a few useful tips
to intermediate players. The only sections advanced players might find useful
are the CHAINING and COUNTER GEM DAMAGE sections, in case you want to know
exactly how many counter gems your attacks will send over.

So if you want to go straight to the CHAINING and COUNTER GEM DAMAGE Sections,
here are the ctrl-f shortcuts

CHAINING (0600)
COUNTER GEM DAMAGE (0700)
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (1001)

Covered in this FAQ are information pertaining to Super Puzzle Fighter II HD
Remix for Xbox 360 and PlayStation3. The only modes covered are X’ and X mode,
with emphasis on X’.


II.	CONTROLS (0200)

This section is painfully long because  a lot of new players only press one
button throughout the game.

 A.	The controls (general) (0210)

 This section seemed like it would be easy to write, but then I
 remembered this game came out on two consoles, and both console’s controllers
 have a button designated “X.” So, every time I refer to a PlayStation button,
 it will be in (parentheses), and any Xbox button will be noted in [brackets].

 (PlayStation 3 controller):[Xbox 360 controller]
 (SQUARE): [X]
 (TRIANGLE):[Y]
 (X):[A]
 (CIRCLE):[B]
 (L1):[LB]
 (L2):[LT]
 (R1):[RB]
 (R2):[RT]

 B.	The controls (during character select + accessing hidden characters)
 (0220)

 Classic Puzzle Fighter was intended to have 3 secret characters: Akuma,
 Devilot (spelled “Devilotte” in other games and media), and Dan. Previous
 games required a special input to select these characters. For HD Remix, you
 can select them using the following instructions.

  1.	Selecting “hidden characters” (0221)
  To select Dan, bring the cursor to Donovan, then press DOWN once.
  To select Akuma, bring the cursor to Hsien-ko, then press DOWN once.
  To select Devilot, you have two methods. Either bring the cursor to
  Morrigan and press DOWN once, or bring it over Felicia, and press RIGHT once.

  Note to owners of previous versions: the old codes to access these hidden
  characters no longer work.

  2.	Fighting “Hidden” characters in Arcade mode (0222)
  For the sake of completeness, I’m also including how to fight against Dan
  and Devilot in arcade mode.

  To fight Devilot, you must achieve each of the following before the start
  of the 7th match:
  1)	You need to destroy a power gem of size 20 or greater
  2)	You need at least one super combo finish
  3)	You need to win one round in under 60 seconds
  4)	You need to achieve one 4-chain
  5)	You can’t continue. You can lose a round if playing best of 3 or 5, but
  if you lose the match, you won’t face Devilot.

  If you meet all of these requirements, your seventh match will be interrupted 
  and you will face Devilot.

  To fight Dan, think of doing the opposite of the Devilot requirements, minus 
  the not continuing. These have to be accomplished before the 6th match.
  1)	You can’t destroy any power gem greater than 20
  2)	You can’t get any super combo finishes
  3)	You can’t win any round in under 60 seconds
  4)	You can’t get any 4-chains or greater.
  5)	You can’t continue.

  Seeing how you have to nerf your play but you still can’t continue, I’d say
  getting to fight Dan is much harder than getting to fight Devilot. I’ve
  actually never faced Dan, but from what I’ve read that if you fight Dan, and
  if you beat him in under 60 seconds while getting a 4-chain and destroying a
  power gem of 20 or greater with a super combo finish, you will fight Devilot
  in the next round.

  3.	Selecting alternate colors and super combos (0223)
  You also have the option to select alternate colors (automatic in mirror
  matches), as well as super combos. Selecting super combos does not affect
  gameplay, rather it just creates different graphical effects (usually
  flashier) if you get a Super Combo finish. Color select only affects the
  color of your character sprite in the background.

  To select alternate colors, press either (SQUARE)/[X] or (TRIANGLE)/[Y]. In
  a mirror match, if the first person to confirm his pick picks the alternate
  color, you are stuck with the default color. The default colors are selected
  by pressing (X)/[A] or (CIRCLE)/[B]. Alternate supers are selected by holding
  down (R1)/[RB] while pressing the confirmation button. For Morrigan, Hsien-ko,
  and Donovan, selecting the alternate super also changes their character
  sprite in the background. You also see a different confirmation animation for
  these characters, letting you know you picked the alternate super.

  Note to owners of previous home versions: There are only 2 colors from
  which to choose, instead of 4. Also, there no longer are special win icons to
  earn. Everyone gets a boring ‘V’ these days.

 C.	The controls (during the match): (0230)

 This game plays like pretty much any traditional puzzle game built along the
 lines of Tetris. A piece descends from the top, always from the 4th column in
 this case, and you can move or rotate it as you please.

 The descending piece always is a combination of the following: two standard
 gems, one gem and a bomb, two bombs, or one gem and diamond. The order is
 mostly random, except every 25th piece, and only every 25th piece, contains
 one diamond. Both players get the same sequence of pieces. The piece always
 first appears in a vertical arrangement, with one gem/diamond/bomb on top,
 and one on the bottom. These pieces aren’t “fused,” so if you place one gem
 directly on top of stationary block on your side, and the other piece has
 nothing directly under and touching, the descending piece separates into two.

 On the directional pad, pressing LEFT will simply move the falling piece to
 the left. Pressing RIGHT will make the piece move to the right. Pressing DOWN
 accelerates the descent of the falling piece. Somewhat counter-intuitively,
 pressing UP does an instant slam. Pressing UP on the pad will make the piece
 descend faster than pressing DOWN. Be wary, though, once you press UP, the
 piece goes straight down, and you lose your ability to rotate the piece or
 move it to the left or right anymore. If you press DOWN, you have the ability
 to move the piece part way down the screen, rotate it, and slide it to the
 left or right.

 IMPORTANT TIP: Get used to pressing UP.

 The left analog stick does the same commands as the digital directional pad.
 The right analog stick does nothing.

 The (X)/[A] button rotates pieces counter-clockwise. That is, if you press
 the (X)/[A] button once, the top gem on the descending piece will move to the
 left of the bottom gem. Press (X)/[A] twice, and the gem now on the left
 moves below the gem that was on the right. A third (X)/[A] press moves the
 gem on the bottom to the right of the gem that was on top. A fourth press
 moves it back to the starting position.

 ASCII Illustration

 T = Top gem of a descending piece
 B = Bottom gem

 Here’s the descending piece, 0 button taps:
 T
 B

 After one (X)/[A] button tap:
 TB

 After two button taps:
 B
 T

 After three:
 BT

 After four:
 T
 B

 The (SQUARE)/[X] button has the same functionality as the (X)/[A] button.

 The (CIRCLE)/[B] button rotates the descending piece clockwise, i.e. mirror
 images the two aforementioned face buttons.

 IMPORTANT TIP: Get used to flipping clockwise and counter-clockwise.

 Finally, there’s the (Triangle)/[Y] button. When you press and hold this
 button, comic book thought bubbles appear beside the character sprites,
 showing what each character’s drop pattern looks like. This was supposed to
 be a useful tool for beginners to help guide them in building strategies. The
 button pretty much has only two real uses these days. The first is as a TAUNT
 button. If a guy thinks he’s going to beat you, and then you see the thought
 bubbles flashing repeatedly, he’s being a braggart. More sportsmanlike
 players would use the (Triangle)/[Y] button to say, “GG” (“good game”) in
 lieu of chat equipment (the game does support online chat, however). And as
 you know, nobody says “GG” unless he lost. Be warned that no top player uses
 this button for taunting, so besides looking like douchebags, taunters look
 like scrubs.


III.	The Characters (0300)

 A.	Character roster (0310)
 1)	Ryu
 2)	Chun-li
 3)	Sakura
 4)	Ken
 5)	Morrigan
 6)	Hsien-ko
 7)	Donovan
 8)	Felicia
 9)	Akuma
 10)	Devilot
 11)	Dan

 B.	Individual character stats (0320)

 There’s an infinitely better explanation of character stats available on
 David Sirlin’s site.
 http://www.sirlin.net/articles/balancing-puzzle-fighter.html
 You should check that out instead of this section of the FAQ, but I’ll keep
 this section if you need an offline reference or don’t like swapping windows.

 1)    Ryu (0321)
       X’ counter gem:
       RGBYRG
       BYRGBY
       RGBYRG
       RGBYRG

       X counter gem:
       RGBYRG
       RGBYRG
       RGBYRG
       RGBYRG

       Damage incurred: 100%
       Damage delivered: 100%

 2)    Chun-li (0322)
       X’ counter gem:
       YYRRGG
       YYRRGG
       RRGGBB
       RRGGBB

       X counter gem:
       Same as X’

       Damage incurred: 100%
       Damage delivered: 120% X’, 100% X

 3)    Sakura (0323)
       X’ counter gem:
       YBBBBG
       YRRRRG
       GBBBBY
       GRRRRY

       X counter gem:
       GBBBBY
       GRRRRY
       GBBBBY
       GRRRRY

       Damage incurred: 100%
       Damaged delivered: 100%

 4)    Ken (0324)
       X’ counter gem:
       YYYYYY
       BBBBBB
       GGGGGG
       RRRRRR

       X counter gem:
       Same as X’

       Damage delivered: 100%
       Damage incurred: 100%

 5)    Morrigan (0325)
       X’ counter gem:
       GRYYRG
       GRYBRG
       RGYBGR
       RGBBGR
       YBGGBY
       YBGRBY
       BYGRYB
       BYRRYB

       X counter gem:
       GRYYRG
       GRYYRG
       RGBBGR
       RGBBGR
       YBGGBY
       YBGGBY
       BYRRYB
       BYRRYB

       Damage incurred: 100%
       Damage delivered: 100%

       Note:  Morrigan is the only character whose drop pattern has 8 lines
       of variation. Everyone else has only the first 4 distinctly defined.
       Unfortunately, her drop pattern preview in the character select screen
       only indicates her first 4 lines.

 6)    Hsien-ko (0326)
       X’ counter gem:
       BRYBGG
       BGRYBG
       BBGRYG
       BYBGRG

       X counter gem:
       GGRRYY
       BGGRRY
       BBGGRR
       YBBGGR

       Damage incurred: 100%
       Damage delivered 100%

 7)    Donovan (0327)
       X’ counter gem:
       GGGBBB
       GGGBBB
       RYRYRY
       RYRYRY

       X counter gem:
       Same as X’

       Damage incurred: 100%
       Damage delivered: 100%

 8)    Felicia (0328)
       X’ counter gem:
       YBBRRG
       GRBRBY
       YRBRBG
       GRRBBY

       X counter gem:
       GBBRRY
       GBBRRY
       GRRBBY
       GRRBBY

       Damage incurred: 100%
       Damage delivered: 100%

 9)    Akuma (0329)
       X’ counter gem:
       RYBGRY
       YBGRYB
       BGRYBG
       GRYBGR

       X counter gem:
       Same as X’

       Damage incurred: 120% X’, 100% X
       Damage delivered 100% X’, 70% X

 10)   Devilot (DEVL)
       X’ counter gem:
       YRGBYR
       BYRGBY
       GBYRGB
       RGBYRG

       X counter gem:
       Same as X’

       Damage incurred: 100%
       Damage delivered: 85% X’, 70% X

 11)   Dan (DANH)
       X’ counter gem:
       He can only drop red counter gems

       X counter gem:
       Same as X’

       Damage incurred: 100%
       Damage delivered: 100%

 C.	Summary (0330)
 Ken, Donovan, and Dan are completely unchanged from X to X’. Chun-li has the
 same pattern, but now does 120% damage. Akuma has the same pattern, and now
 does 100% damage, but he has a 120% damage-incurred penalty. Devilot has the
 same pattern, and now does 85% damage. Everyone else has a slightly improved
 drop pattern from X to X’.

 Again, everyone’s drop pattern follows a 4-row sequence. The one exception
 is Morrigan, who follows an 8-row sequence. You can only see rows 5-8 of
 Morrigan’s sequence if you drop enough blocks to stack 8 rows in one attack,
 i.e. not including subsequent attacks in a chain.

 The intent of the changes to drop patterns and damage incurred/delivered
 ratios was to make all of the characters playable. The original (X mode) was
 notorious for having only 2 playable characters, Ken and Donovan, and in my
 opinion Ken was a lot better.


IV.	BREAKING GEMS (0400)

The point of the game is to break gems, send counter gems over, and then
outlast your opponent so that his screen fills up before yours.

 A.	Standard Bombs and Gems (0410)
 Other than bombs and diamonds, gems that the computer randomly feeds you and
 descend from the top are always regular gems. In order to break these gems,
 you have to do one of two things. The first is to get a bomb of like color
 and place it directly above, to the right, to the left, or (rarely) below the
 gems. Once that like-colored bomb is situated directly adjacent to the
 regular gem, the bomb and the regular gem gets destroyed, and a number of
 counter gems get sent to your opponent’s screen. Also, any like-colored gem
 directly touching (i.e.,  above, to the right, to the left, or below) the gem
 that was detonated will also be destroyed. Two adjacent like-colored bombs
 will also detonate.

 B.	Diamond (0420)
 Another way of destroying gems is via the diamond. As stated above, the
 diamond comes on every 25th turn, and only every 25th. Once the diamond
 appears, it will always start in this orientation:

 ASCII Illustration
 D=Diamond
 G=regular gem

 D
 G

 When you place a diamond, it will destroy any block of one color. That color
 depends on the color of the gem you place the diamond piece directly on top
 of. Diamonds are great for bailing you out when your screen is nearly
 completely filled, and also great for initiating chains. The drawback is that
 diamond move damage only does 80% of regular. The good news? Subsequent
 attacks in the chain (if you managed to chain off the diamond) go back to 100%
 regular damage, plus any chain bonuses.

 So here’s an illustration, because it’s somewhat hard to explain. Say I
 destroy some gems using my diamond. If I used a regular bomb, it would’ve
 created a counter gem of size 20. However, since I used the diamond, the
 damage is only 80%, or 16. The diamond “penalty” applies to all gems
 destroyed on the precise turn in which the diamond activated. So if I set the
 diamond on top of a red bomb, and simultaneously a blue bomb destroyed some
 blue gems, all of the damage you deliver gets cut by 20%. However, if the 
 diamond move sets off a chain, then the diamond “penalty” is no longer in 
 effect after the first attack in the chain.

 You also have the option to place the diamond on the very bottom of your
 screen, destroying no additional gems but the diamond. You get a “Tech Bonus”
 notification for this, but you send no counter gems over for this “bonus.”

 IMPORTANT TIP: Try not to destroy your largest power gems on the diamond
 attack.

 C.	Diamond glitch (X mode only) (0430)
 X mode has glitch associated with the diamond. In X mode, the diamond attack
 is only supposed to do 50% damage. You can manipulate the game in order to
 make that diamond attack worth 100%. In order to do this, you have to create
 an alley, of sorts, that’s precisely one regular gem wide. If you were to
 stick your diamond-containing piece into that alley, it only rotates like
 this:

 ASCII Illustration
 D=Diamond
 G=regular gem

 D
 G

 After one flip:
 G
 D

 To activate the diamond glitch, don’t rotate the diamond-containing piece
 and let it descend through the alley in its default orientation. Once you’ve
 lined up the diamond-containing piece into that alley, press DOWN (you can’t
 instant slam via pressing UP) and accelerate that piece to the bottom of the
 alley. As the piece touches down, you have a small window to rotate the piece
 once. If done correctly, you’ve activated the diamond glitch, and now your
 diamond attack does 100% damage. I don’t know why this glitch exists, it just
 does, and only in X mode as well as older versions of the game.

 D.	Counter Gems (0440)
 Counter gems will also fill part of (and with luck, not your entire) screen.
 When counter gems are sent over, they have a number in them. That number
 signifies how many descending pieces you have to go through before the
 counter gem becomes a regular gem.  When a counter gem still has a number in
 it, you can’t destroy it by using a like-colored bomb. Numbered gems can only
 be destroyed in two ways. The first is off a diamond attack. Diamonds will
 destroy all gems of one color, including both bombs and counter gems of that
 color. The second (and IMO, more important) way to destroy numbered gems is
 by destroying regular gems directly adjacent. So say you placed one blue gem
 on top of a numbered gem. If that number is 2 or greater, and you get a blue
 bomb on the next piece, and you placed that blue bomb directly on top of the
 regular blue gem, you would destroy the blue gem AND the numbered gem
 directly below it. If the number was 1, then that numbered gem would become a
 regular gem right after you set the bomb, and that particular gem would only
 be destroyed if it were blue. Counter gems don’t care what color the regular
 gem directly adjacent (above, below, to the right or left) that got destroyed
 is. If a regular gem directly adjacent to a numbered gem blows up, that
 counter gem will also be destroyed. As you could figure, numbered gems
 adjacent to exploding numbered gems do NOT get destroyed. An exploding bomb
 can also destroy a directly adjacent numbered gem.

 Counter gems made off a diamond only have a countdown of 3 instead of 5.

 IMPORTANT TIP: Learn the mechanics of how to destroy and combo off numbered
 counter gems.


V.	POWER GEMS (0500)

Power gems are the most important keys to success in this game. Power gems
form when you make larger, single-colored rectangles out of regular gems. The
smallest power gem you can make is size 4 (2 rows by 2 columns; I will refer
to all power gem dimensions in row by column notation, r x c). When you make
a power gem, you see the lines in between the individual regular gems disappear.
Power gems can then be extended both vertically and horizontally. So say I built
a 2x2 power gem. I can extend (increase the size of) the power gem by putting 
either 2 like-colored gems on top of or directly beside it, creating a 3x2 or 
2x3 power gem (size 6), respectively. The advantage of power gems is you get a 
bonus, to be fleshedout later, for destroying power gems instead of a series of 
regular gems of the same number. For instance, if I stacked 4 red gems on top of
each other, and then destroyed that stack with a red bomb, the damage would be 
5. If I made a 2x2 red power gem, and destroyed that power gem with a red bomb, 
I would’ve destroyed the same number of regular gems (4), but this time the 
damage I send over is 9. I’ll discuss the exact calculations in a separate 
section.

Obviously, the easiest power gems to create will be 2 columns wide (n x 2).
You can be a bit more adventurous and make them wider (n x 3, n x 4, n x 5, n
x 6), but in those cases it becomes a slower task to extend a power gem
vertically (since the board is twice as tall as it is wide, it’s easier and
more advantageous to extend vertically). For instance, say I made a green
power gem 2 rows high, and 3 columns wide (2 x 3). If I wanted to extend the
power gem vertically, I have to do one of two things. The first is put three
green gems on top of and across the width of the power gem. That would make
it a 3 x 3 gem. To extend vertically in this fashion, I needed an additional
green regular gem to increase the size of the power gem compared to a 3 x 2
power gem that required only 2 green, regular gems on top to increase the
size. The other option to extend the 2 x 3 power gem vertically would’ve been
to create a 2 x 2 green power gem directly on top of that 2 x 3. Like-colored
power gems that make direct contact with each other count as one larger power
gem. So if I stacked a 2 x 2 power gem on top of that 2 x 3, it would count
the same as a 5 x 2 counter gem. However, note that it would’ve required 4
additional regular green gems to extend that 2 x 3 power gem vertically.

For more clarification, here’s a demonstration that I hope helps you remember.
Say you built a 3 x 3 blue power gem. If you want to extend it, you don’t
necessarily have to keep layering it with 3 blue gems on top over and over.
You can put a 2 x 2 blue power gem on top and then extend off the 2 x 2. That
2 x 2 blue power gem doesn’t even have to be directly over the entire 3 x 3.
If just one regular gem that built the 2 x 2 power gem touches the 3 x 3,
that’s good enough.

You can also link non-adjacent power gems together with regular gems. You’ve
probably noticed this, even if you weren’t paying attention to the exact
numbers of your counter gem attacks. If you have a 2 x 2 yellow power gem,
with an empty column next to it, and then another 2 x 2 yellow power gem, you
can turn it into the equivalent of a 2 x 4 power gem (plus one extra regular
gem) by sticking one regular yellow gem directly in between. You can link
power gems horizontally, as described above, or vertically.

Actual dimensions do not affect the strength of your counter gem attacks.
That is, building a power gem 4 rows high and 2 columns wide is the
equivalent of building one 2 rows high and 4 columns wide. The game only is
concerned with the actual size of the counter gem, as defined above.

IMPORTANT TIP: Adjacent power gems, i.e. ones in direct contact with one
another, count as one large counter gem of the same size. The fastest way to
build power gems is to make them 2 blocks wide, and extending them vertically.


VI.	CHAINING (0600)

The other key to getting massive attacks is to create chain reactions, simply
designated as “chains” by the game. Each subsequent attack in a chain does a
little more damage than the previous attack, assuming you’re destroying a
similar combination of gems, bombs, and counter gems. How do chains work?
SEGA’s “Columns” created perhaps the first model of the chain reaction
mechanism in puzzle games. You destroy some gems/blocks on one move, causing
pieces on your board to shift and fall downward. In that shift, a bomb lands
next to a gem/power gem/bomb of the same color, forcing all of those to
explode, causing more shifting on your board, etc. The game will allow you to
chain as long as you want, if you have the required number of bombs to
continue the cycle, and those bombs and gems/power gems/other bombs rearrange
properly.

So far as I know, the bonus for chaining is additive, not multiplicative. I
am still working out the specifics of chaining, but here’s what I believe the
mechanics are so far:

Initial attack: no bonus, -20% if off a diamond
2nd attack of chain: no diamond penalty hereafter, +2 extra counter gems
3rd attack: +4 counter gems
4th attack: +10
5th attack: +16 
6th attack: +22
7th attack: +28
8th attack: +34

Note that after each round of a chain reaction attack, your counter gem
“resets.” What I mean is that you keep dropping gems,  the 2nd attack of the
chain will drop your first row first, your 3rd attack will drop your first
row first, etc. Here’s an example to illustrate. Say I was using Ken. I start
an attack that sets off a chain reaction. The first attack drops 5, so I drop
5 red gems  over. The second attack drops 12 counter gems, so I drop (from
bottom to top) 6 red and 6 green. The third attack does 8 damage, so I drop 6
red and 2 green, and the fourth attack does 18 so I drop 6 red, 6 green and 6
blue. Notice that the power gem sequence doesn’t continue from where the
previous counter gem left off, it starts over from the beginning on each
attack in the chain. Looking ahead at strategy, you can see how this mechanic
can hurt Ken (so much red!) or Morrigan (rows 5-8 of her counter gem rarely
come into play).

While your chain is activated, your opponent’s counter gems will not fall on
your side until the last attack in your chain completes. Counter gems you
send over, however, will fall in between his computer-fed descending pieces,
or add up if his turns are a little slower.


VII.	COUNTER GEM DAMAGE (0700)

This is a bloated section, so I’ll skip to the conclusion first and let you
read the details afterward.

*****The amount of damage you deliver shoots up every time your power gem
becomes 1 more than a perfect square number (e.g. 9, 16, 25…). You also get a
small boost for every 10n +1 (11, 21, 31, etc.) gems you break.*****

That’s the TL;DR version. Read the rest at your own peril.

The counter gem calculation was the entire reason I made the FAQ. I never
found an adequate explanation for how damage is calculated. I even found that
some of the sources out there are flat out wrong. So, with the help of
training mode, staring at a lot of numbers, and a bit of patience, I was able
to figure out some of the specifics.

Regular gems have a 1:1 ratio of destroyed to sent over. So if I destroy 1
regular gem, I will send 2 blocks over (the bombs you destroy count). This
1:1 ratio continues until I hit 11 regular gems. If I destroy 11 regular gems,
I will send over 11 counter gems for those 11, 1 for the bomb, and +1 because
I surpassed 10 gems, for a total of 13 counter gems sent. Regular gem bonus
occurs whenever you hit a (10n + 1) number of gems destroyed. So, if you
destroy between 11 and 20 gems, you get a +1 in addition to whatever you
destroyed. If you destroyed 21-30 gems, it’s +2, and so forth. Bombs do not
count toward the (10n + 1) total, but to be honest I’m not totally sure what
happens if 2 bombs were involved in the attack. There appears to be a bonus
for setting off two bombs simultaneously.

The decade exceed bonus also applies if power gems contribute to that total.
Say I destroyed a 3 x 2 power gem that was connected to 5 regular gems. I
destroyed the 11 regular gems (6 in the form of a power gem), plus the bomb.
The amount of damage I do would be a sum of what I get for the power gem (12)
plus what I get for the 5 regulars (5) plus what I get for the bomb (1) plus
a bonus of one for destroying in the 11-20 range, for a grand total of 19
counter gems.

But who cares about destroying regular gems? You guys want to know what you
get for destroying POWER gems. As stated, power gems do more damage when
destroyed than regular gems, you can form them and link them in many ways,
and the actual dimensions don’t factor into it. Power gems have a funny
formula that depends on exceeding perfect squares. Four (2 x 2) is the
smallest. Any time you destroy a power gem sized 4-9 (the only possible values
here are 4, 6, 8, and 9), the multiplier is a simple 2x, relative to the 
number of regular gems necessary to build that power gem. So if it’s a 3 x 2, 
just multiply the number of regular gems needed (6) by two, and then add one 
for the bomb. You do 13 damage.

2 x 2: 9
3 x 2: 13
4 x 2: 17
3 x 3: 19

Numbers above reflect detonating with 1 bomb.

The number 9 is obviously a perfect square. Just like with the decade bonus,
the power gem bonus kicks in when you reach the next whole number after a
perfect square. So, a 5 x 2 power gem doesn’t just do 20 + 1 for the bomb.
The multiplier actually becomes an equation:

2n + 0.5n,
Where n is the size of the power gem, i.e. the number of regular gems
required to make the power gem.

So, that 5 x 2 power gem does 2(10) + 0.5(10)=25. You also get +1 for the
bomb, making it 26.

The next largest power gem is 6 x 2 (or 2 x 6) for a power gem size of 12.
Plug in the new equation:

2(12) + 0.5(12)

The damage you get for this power gem starts at 30. Add one for the bomb to
make it 31. But look, we surpassed a decade (we’re up to 12 now), so add
another 1. The total damage done now is 32.

5 x 2: 26
6 X 2: 32
3 x 3 + 2 x 2: 34 (34.5 rounded down)
7 x 2: 37
5 x 3: 39 (39.5 rounded down)
8 x 2: 42

The last power gem in that list was size 16, so as you guessed, the next
larger power gem is going to get another bonus for exceeding a perfect square.
Here’s the new equation:

2n + n

So if you had a 9 x 2 power gem, the damage is as follows:

2(18) + 18 = 54

Add +1 for the decade exceed, then +1 for the bomb, for a grand total of 56.

Continue this trend for power gems sized 17-20. When you hit a power gem of
size 21 or more, you now get a +2 for exceeding 20 gems destroyed.

An 11 x 2 power gem does the following damage:

2(22) + 22 + 2 + 1 = 69

Power gems sized 21-25 continue through this pattern. As you can guess, power
gems sized 26-36 will get a new equation. So here it is:

2(n) + 1.5n

We’re getting into pretty big territory here. Testing becomes a little
difficult because it’s hard to get those 26+ sized power gems at will. I 
tested a 7 x 4 power gem, with an estimated value as follows:

2(28) +1.5(28) = 98 + 2 + 1 = 101

Astute readers will point out that the playing area is only 12 x 6 and the
counter only reads up to 99, so how can I confirm 101?

The visible grid is 12 x 6 = 72 gems in area. The playing area actually
extends beyond the borders. The top two rows directly above the upper border
technically are in play. You can partially see the first row, the second is
totally off screen, but those pieces count. In other words, if you set off an
explosion at this effective 14th row, it will go off. If you destroy rows
beneath, those pieces on the 13th and 14th row come back into the visible
field of play. So essentially it’s a 14 x 6 field, but once row 13 column 4
of your opponent’s side gets filled, it’s game over unless a bomb below
destroys a few pieces in column 4 and gives him a little more real estate. 
Anyway, if you destroy that size 28 power gem, the opponent’s screen will warn 
him that you’re dropping 99. As the screen fills, that number will start going
down. After the attack finishes, it will show excess pieces that continue 
stacking beyond the playing field. For the size 28 power gem, the excess number
was 17. That reflects filling the 14 rows in play, and then whatever’s left 
over. 14 x 6 = 84, 84 + 17 = 101. The calculation seems to hold.

I didn’t do a lot of testing beyond here. Those sort of situations become
hard to simulate, and really, you won’t be getting too many power gems in
excess of 30. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume that once you hit a
power gem size 37-49, the equation changes to 2(n) + 2(n) + 3 (or 4,
depending on decade exceed bonus) + 1. But really, huge power gems are pretty
hard to come by unless you’re playing against Dan.

And if all of this info wasn’t fun-filled enough for you, there are more
power gem detonation facts you should know. As you know, you can
simultaneously blow up 2 power gems, so long as you have two bombs that
detonate on the same move or chain sequence, destroying power gems. What you
really should take note of is that the game treats simultaneous explosions of
power gems as destroying one power gem of similar size.

Let’s use a really basic example. I have a red 2 x 2 power gem, and next to
it is a 2 x 2 green power gem. The computer feeds me a descending piece that
consists of 1 red bomb, and 1 green bomb. I chose to destroy both power gems
on the same move, without chaining. Normally, destroying a 2 x 2 power gem
does 8 damage, +1 for the bomb, amounting to 9. Since I destroyed two
different power gems, I could reasonably assume, albeit incorrectly, that I
get 9 + 9 = 18 damage. That is actually not correct, which is good for you
opportunistic players. The game mechanics here aren’t 100% clear to me, but
this much I know. Destroying both of those 2 x 2 power gems simultaneously is
favorable to summing destroying 2 different 2 x 2 power gems (18 damage), or
even doing a 2-chain (9 + 11 =20, see the chaining section for more details)
and does a 22. I tinkered around with other size power gems. I did a
simultaneous destruction of 2 different 4 x 2 power gems. The value
approximated destroying one 8 x 2 power gem, which does 42 damage including
the bomb. The value for simultaneous destruction  was 47. That surpasses what
you would get for doubling a 4 x 2 (17 + 17 =34) or chaining (17 + 19 = 36). 
The game will reward you extra for building several big gems concurrently. 
Even without the specifics, this knowledge should greatly affect your attacking
strategy.


VIII.	MISCELLANEOUS BONUSES (0800)

David Sirlin, the lead designer for HD Remix, mentioned on his personal
website that you get a bonus for destroying gems near the top of your screen.
I don’t know how high you have to be to for this bonus to kick in, and I
don’t know the value of these bonuses. It’s not really surprising, though. If
you’ve played a top player (or are one yourself), being pinned close to the top
doesn’t spell doom. Good players last a long time near the top, because they act
quickly and still continue to build power gems and chain properly, making 
attacks against them especially weak at this critical time.

There’s also a damage bonus related to time. If you’ve played a really long
game, the attacks becomes stronger, while damage mitigation gets harder to do.
I don’t know the exacts on this, either, but just know the game wants you to
finish a round in less than 3 minutes or thereabouts, 3 and half usually
being the upper end.  I once played a match that lasted 7 minutes, possible
only because of a bug that sometimes makes it such that only one or two
colors of gems appear. At around the 2 minute mark, every piece was a green
gem and green bomb, so neither of us could make much headway until someone
got the diamond at the 7 minute mark.

If you clear your entire screen of all gems and bombs, you get a bonus called
“All Clear,” which adds a +6 counter gem drop at the end of you attack.


IX.	COMMON BUGS (0900)

Unfortunately, there are some bugs in this game that create cosmetic
incoveniences, and some that hurt your playing experience. There are bugs
specific for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions, as well as bugs present
in both. Bugs are not limited to what you see here.

1)	Mentioned above, sometimes the game’s random number generator for
feeding descending pieces doesn’t work. You might get an abundance of one or
two colors. The game pretty much becomes a race as to who can build fastest,
and if both players are fast, then it becomes a matter of who blinks first.
Prepare for tired hands if you see this and are facing a quality opponent.
2)	If you get a super combo finish with Chun-li, Felicia will briefly
appear on the center of your screen.
3)	If you pick Donovan’s alternate super combo, Donovan will throw his hat
away upon the start of the match. However, his hat doesn’t completely leave
the screen.
4)	On the PSN side, online lobbies always drop the last letter of the
screen names. I went from “MrMacross” to “MrMacros,” for instance.
5)	Also on the PSN side, the servers don’t create separate pools for
Friendly (called “Player” on XBL) matches and Ranked matches. Players who
choose Friendly matches can get matched against players who choose Ranked,
and vice versa. If you’re wondering how this affects the Leaderboards, the
match counts as a friendly for both players.
6)	If the above wasn’t confusing enough, the game can also misinterpret
your Friendly matches as Ranked matches. This happened to me a few times,
back when I actually cared about the Leaderboards, and I noticed I was
racking up losses. If you play ranked matches, and then make a room with
friends immediately afterward, the servers still think you’re playing Ranked.
Not only that, but it double counts your losses! It’s been reported on
message boards, such as GameFaqs’, that this bug appears on Xbox 360 as well.
So if you care about the Leaderboards, be aware of this bug. That said, I
don’t care about the Leaderboards anymore because…
7)	…disconnecting to avoid losses and drops in player scores still works.
This works on both the PSN and XBL side. Anyway, I’d advise you not to take
the Leaderboards too seriously. You should never take any video game
scoreboard too seriously, but just be prepared for disappointment if you worked
your butt off to become good at this game, but some chump you beat 14 times 
last week in ranked matches is still ranked above you and only has 2 losses. 
If you’re a PSN player, my advice is to forget the Leaderboards and always 
choose Friendly matches. On either network, if you play enough, you’ll know 
who’s really good and who’s cheating.
8)	The Xbox version has its idiosyncrasies, too. The All-Time Leaderboards
don’t seem to update correctly anymore. My friend and I were piling on wins,
but his player rating is still 0 or thereabouts. Oh yeah, the top score was
achieved by disconnecting, so the lifetime numbers are worthless, anyway.
9)	Lobbies have a tendency to fail. It’s random as far as I know, I don’t
think there’s anything that precipitates this error. If you choose an online
match, in the game lobby will indicate that player 2 is ready, and the host
just has to hit the start button and to commence. If the bug is in play, you 
won’t be able to proceed. The second player’s status will change back and forth
randomly between waiting and ready, and you can never get to the character 
select screen. Pressing the start button by either player does nothing. The 
lobby gets emptied, and both players get the message that the other player is 
no longer connected or left the room. Now in case you’re wondering how that 
affects online rankings, player 1 will get saddled with the loss and player 2
gets a free win (and rating points). If you care about your weekly ranking, as
soon as you notice this bug leave the lobby if your player 1, or just let the 
game boot both of you if you’re player 2. I don’t recall seeing this bug on the
PSN side.
10)	On both PSN and XBL, Friendly/Player match invites occasionally fail.
11)	If you get the lobby bug on Xbox 360, don’t be surprised if in the next
screen you hear the wrong background music. The default BGM of Puzzle Fighter
is Sakura’s theme instrumental from Street Fighter Alpha 2, remixed (the PS1
and Dreamcast versions have lyrical versions of the song as a “Goodie”).
Sakura’s theme plays until you get to the player select screen,  where the
background music is different tune. If you got the bug above, sometimes in
the next room the BGM  you start hearing is the player select music instead
of the default.
12)	On the Xbox 360 side, there is still that bug that reports the length of
the game in seconds and then minutes. So, if you played a game that lasted 1
minute and 45 seconds, the game time will read “45:01.” This used to be a bug
on the PlayStation 3 side, but it was eventually patched (that patch created 
the letter drop bug listed above, incidentally, while also shrinking the in-game
text). After rounds, the PlayStation 3 version doesn't have the word "seconds"
after reporting how long it took the round to complete.
13)	When attacks are dealt, the computer will give one of three messages:
“Caution” for a small attack of 10 or less, “Warning” for attacks that drop
between 11-30, and “Danger” for attacks greater than 30. HDR reverses “Warning”
and “Caution.”
14)	Like many games, Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix will 
occasionally crash your PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 console.
15) In Chun-li's stage, there's a graphical bug that occurs during Sumper Combo
Finishes. Normally (i.e. in the older versions), the player who gets KO'd would
have the section of the Great Wall of China carved out, leaving a statue in 
place. That still happens in HDR, but now both sides momentarily have a statue
carved out, and then shortly afterward the winner's side reverts to the
normal wall. Incidentally, I missed having Mike Haggar getting carved out on
the second player's side, and I don't know why he was replaced with some
nondecript baldy. Maybe that guy is a Capcom character, but pairing Mayor Mike
Haggar and Zangief made a lot more sense.


X.	FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (1001)

Q: Is there a tier list for this game?
A: Puzzle Fighter isn’t Street Fighter, meaning it won’t ever be dissected by
a large population of top players like SF games are. If you want to know
who’s  best, your first clue should be what characters are you always coming
up against when you go online? Next, when you face a guy who appears to be
really good, what character is he using (this can be misleading, though,
because a lot of people tend to screw around with different characters)?

My best advice would be that there are only 4 characters I’d avoid using
under competitive settings. Dan sucks for obvious reasons. Felicia and Sakura
are tough to use because they can only drop red and blue in the middle, and
once your opponent gets a diamond he’s got a gigantic power gem readily made.
Devilot’s lack of drop power is VERY noticeable.

I’m still on the fence about Morrigan. Basically, I find the first four lines
of her drop pattern easy to defend against (surround column 4 with red), but
if you consistently drop 8 lines of damage you have to deal with a lot of
different colors. So while I think she’s safer than Sakura and Felicia, I feel 
she’s certainly not as safe as the others because dropping 48’s or greater 
consistently and often isn’t always very feasible.

Everyone else has a slightly safer drop pattern, except Chun-li and Akuma.
Chun-li’s 120% damage can come in very handy. I’ll address Akuma in a bit.
That’s not to say there isn’t a best character, which is subjective, but if
you concentrate on getting better at the game whom you choose becomes less
and less important.

Q: What do you mean don’t use Devilot? She has the best drop pattern!
A: Yeah, she and Akuma have the best drop patterns (they’re mirror images).
However, for whatever reason, I’ve noticed it’s hard to beat good players
using Devilot, or at least it’s hard for me. I’ve come up with some theories,
but only one really seems to stick.

Obviously, with only 85% drop power, it’s going to be harder to trap your
opponent at the top of his playing area, let alone fill the screen. That’s
problem number one. The next thing that compounds Devilot’s problems are that
when you actually manage to get your opponent near the top, you temporarily
increased his drop power (see the Miscellaneous Bonuses section) so he can 
nullify your ensuing attacks. It’s hard to finish off any good player when he’s
near the top of his screen, imagine how much harder it gets when your damage is
nerfed.

So here’s the cascade of frustration for Devilot. You do less damage, so you
have to destroy more gems  to trap your opponent near the top, or you end up
not pressuring your opponent at all. Destroying more means you have less
“ammunition” in reserve, so it takes longer to build again and manage a
strong attack to continue the pressure. You get fewer super combo finishes
thanks to 85% damage, so you give your opponent space to operate. If your 
opponent is near his top, his damage multiplier increases, turning your already
weak attacks even weaker. Since you had to destroy more power gems to mount a 
decent attack and get your opponent close to the top, there’s a good chance you
don’t have enough power gems stored to detonate and finish him off. If you have
to build again, your opponent buys time to clear space. Now you, as Devilot, 
have to prepare to be on the defensive. If your opponent pins you near the top 
of your screen, you still get an attack multiplier, but your attacks are weaker 
than anybody else’s. You have a harder time to clear space.

In short, your ability to defend yourself when you’re pinned isn’t very good,
and your ability to finish off a trapped opponent is also pretty shabby.

Q: So does that mean Akuma also sucks?
A: Akuma will feel some of the same pitfalls when he’s near the top of his
screen, thanks to his 120% damage incur rate. However, he doesn’t necessarily
have the same pitfalls when he’s trying to finish off his opponent. He can
get more super combo finishes, he doesn’t have to destroy as many gems to pin
his opponents, he’ll likely have more ammo after  a big attack to fire a 
continuation attack.

Empirically, most people understand that Akuma’s decent, which is why you
fight so many of them online whereas Devilot is a rarer opponent.

One more thing. There’s an old FAQ floating out there that claims Devilot is
better than Akuma in classic versions and X mode. They’re functionally the
same damn character, other than the mirror image drop pattern.  The only
reason one would be tougher to beat than the other over the long run is if
your brain is wired so that it can’t handle a mirror image of Akuma’s drop
pattern. One might also be easier to face than the other match to match, as
in the random computer-fed drops favor fighting one over  the other, but
they’re the same strength and don’t believe anything that claims otherwise.
The real reason to pick Devilot in X mode over Akuma is purely aesthetic and
non-competitive. Seriously, in X mode pick Devilot because you’re player 1
and prefer her stage, or you just like her animations and sound effects.

Q: How big should I chain?
A: Chaining is important, but in my opinion not nearly as important (or at
least not as reliable) as building good power gems.

Chains require a level of precision that can easily be stymied by factors
beyond your control. You mostly can’t control the randomness of the pieces
that the computer feeds. Counter gems your opponent sends can disrupt  your
chain sequence. You need a lot of bombs on your screen to get a big chain.
Really, if you’re relying completely on getting that killer 8-chain to beat 
your opponent, best of luck to you.

The chaining mechanics section should really tell you in an objective fashion
what you need to know about the efficacy of chaining. The second attack in the
sequence only nets you 2 more counter gem blocks. The third only nets you 4 
more. The fourth starts to pick it up at +10, the fifth +16, the sixth +22 and 
so forth. So if you perfectly plan out a 7-chain, then by all means fire
away, because regardless of how many actual gems you destroy, you’re going to
do some significant damage. Long chains are super cost-effective attacks,
because the last few steps in the chain can do a lot of damage without
needing a lot of gems to be destroyed. Just know that it’s probably easier to
build good arrays of power gems than it is to plan out a 7-chain. Good reward,
high risk of coming up short.

Another thing I would note is that it’s hard to build large power gems by
accident, but it’s not that uncommon to get a 5- or 6-chain by accident. If
you make sure not to waste bombs, and don’t blow up small gems every chance
you get, then even if you’re not carefully planning a chain reaction you can
stumble into one fortuitously.

The next bit of info can be inferred from the Counter Gem Damage section, but
is worth repeating. Chain-attack counter gems go at an opponent in waves,
instead of one quick, powerful attack. Because it comes in waves, you might
be giving your opponent just enough time and space to mount a counterattack.
For instance, say you have forced your opponent near the top, leaving only 3
rows of space for him to operate. You have two different 4 x 2 power gems. 
The next piece the computer fed you had two bombs, giving you the option of 
blowing those power gems up simultaneously and sending 47 counter gems your 
opponent’s way all at once. Chaining it would go in two waves, 17 and then 19.
Now imagine for some reason, whether it be a counter gem finished counting 
down and was next to a like-colored bomb or he had an impending diamond, that
in between those 17 (a little less than 3 rows) and 19 (a little more than 3)
counter gem attacks he was able to clear space. He’s going to survive. Had
you destroyed the pieces simultaneously and dropped a 47 (almost 8 full rows),
his screen would’ve been overloaded and his chance to counterattack would’ve
come one move too late. This type of scenario isn’t all that uncommon, and 
should weigh in on your attack strategies.

Because chains can be time consuming, if you’re concerned about lagging in
the computer-fed piece sequence, chaining can hurt you here. That time-
consuming feature of chaining can come in super handy, however, particularly
at the end of a long match. If the match gets long, attacks you send start to
do a lot more damage, whereas attacks you receive become harder to soften. 
Late in a long match, then, it sort of becomes a race as to who can get that 
strong attack first. If you’re deep into a long match, and you’re opponent is
about to send a fatal attack your way, the only way to defend yourself might 
be by instigating a long chain. Remember, his attack won’t fall on you until
your chain is done. Each attack in your chain sequence will fall on him 
whenever he finishes a turn and nothing is being blown up. Your long chain 
plays offense and defense for you. You’ve stalled his attack all while mounting
a good offensive to finish him off.

Since chains have additive bonuses instead of multiplicative, it doesn’t
increase the total amount of counter gems you send over if you save your
larger power gems for the back end of a chain.

Q: What do you mean by “mostly can’t control” the computer-fed pieces? Isn’t
it more “completely can’t control”?
A: You can never control what specific pieces will fall your way. You can’t
just summon a red bomb, or a lot of blue regular gems, whatever. However,
players have a minor influence on the sequence of computer-fed pieces. If you
are pinned near the top, the probability of getting a bomb on your next turn
increases slightly. Will it be the bomb you need? Maybe, maybe not, but at
least you’re more likely to get any bomb, which are obviously needed to clear
space. There’s just one catch, though. You have to be going through the 
computer-fed piece sequence faster than your opponent. Recall that you and your
opponent will always get the same sequence. If your opponent is ahead of you in
the sequence, you are at the mercy of whatever piece your opponent received on
the corresponding turn. In other words, that increased probability of getting a
bomb can only  help you if your opponent didn’t pre-determine the sequence by
playing faster than you. If anything, he’ll be the one to get extra bombs when
he’s almost buried.

Q: What are some good strategies when playing against [character name here]?
A: I may add a strategy section in the future, but for now the best place to
get those answers are on the GameFaqs message boards. Also, regardless on
which character you use, you want to keep the same principles. Act quickly.
Build power gems. Don’t waste bombs on small gems. Account for the diamond.
Keep column 4 relatively empty if you’re at a massive speed disadvantage.
Utilize the whole screen if you have the speed advantage. Don’t destroy your
biggest power gems with the diamond. Understand how to destroy numbered counter
gems if you’re trapped near the top.


XI.	ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS (ACWL)
-	GameFaqs.com for publishing my FAQ
-	djajsta, because this FAQ is almost all his fault
-	David Sirlin, for designing the game and sharing game mechanics info on 
        his site
        www.sirlin.net
-	Michael Boccieri, Thomas Grove, and Eric Eberhardt, old friends who did a
        great job on PF HDR
-	Backbone’s other employees and former employees who worked on the game
-	The guys at strategywiki.org for some key game facts here and there
-	All the good PSN and XBL players, for the GG’s and knowledge sharing on
        the GameFaq’s board.
-	Pretty much anyone on the internet who dropped pieces of info about
        Puzzle Fighter here and there
-	Capcom

My PSN is MrMacross, GameFaq id CaptainFlapjack. For questions, please post a
message on the Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix message boards on
gamefaqs.com. I lurk at both the PSN and XBL message boards there, so if you
leave a message I’ll see it.

Copyright 2010 J. Jhee