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    Cancel Combo FAQ by Goryus

    Version: 1.0 | Updated: 03/21/06 | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

    By Goryus
    Table of Contents
         A)  Introduction
         B)  Notation & Terminology
         C)  Basic Techniques
              1)  Charge Cancelling
              2)  Links
              3)  Juggles
              4)  Buffering
              5)  Energy Cancels
              6)  Attacking From Behind
              7)  Tornado Counters
         D)  Intermediate Techniques
              1)  Instant Cancelling
              2)  Aura Burst Cancelling
              3)  Sidestep Cancelling
              4)  Ki-Blast Cancelling
              5)  Force-State Moves
              6)  Deliberate Whiffing
              7)  Transformation Juggles
              8)  On-The-Ground (OTG) Attacks
              9)  Abusing the Buffer
              10)  The 18 Second Rule
         E)  Advanced Techniques
              1)  Kara-Burst Cancelling
              2)  Kara-Throws, Kara-Specials, Kara-Normals, Kara-Everything!
              3)  Transformations in Ground Combos
              4)  Resets
         F)  Conclusion
    This guide is intended as a resource for those who are interested in furthering
    their Budokai game, whether they be beginners, experts, or somewhere inbetween.
    What this guide is not is a giant list of combos.  This guide is intended to
    introduce players of all levels to concepts about the Budokai game engine of
    which they may or may not have been aware, as well as to discuss the import of
    these concepts.  If you are interested in learning more about this game, in
    blazing new territory all your own, in learning how to do the complicated and
    wonderful things you can do in this game all on your own, then this guide is
    for you. I have done my best to render everything in plain Englilsh as much as
    possible.  I hope you find it helpful!  Let the Budokai begin.
     s          Short form for Smash attack
     r          Short form for Rush attack
     e          Short form for Energy attack
     g          Short form for Guard
     R          The R button on the PSP, used to initiate Aura Burst attacks
    ( )         Denotes a chain, with each individual attack in the chain seperated
                  by a comma.  For example, (r,r,r) is a single chain composed of
                  three Rush attacks.
    This guide makes a distinction between a "Chain" and a "Combo".  Where you see
    reference to a "Chain", the guide is referring to a single series of attacks
    that are performed by pressing a certain sequence of buttons.  For example,
    (>r,s,<s) is a chain initiated by pressing towards the opponent and Rush, then
    pressing Smash, and then pressing away from the opponent and Smash.  The ">"
    character is used to indicate a direction towards the opponent, "<" means away
    from the opponent, "^" means the up directional button, and "v" means the down
    directional button.
    Where the guide references a "Combo", it is referring to a means of linking
    multiple chains together, or with special moves and supers, in a manner that
    is not escapable by any conventional means.
    The guide makes reference to three different kinds of attacks:  Normals,
    Specials, and Supers.  Normals are individual piece of a chain; for example,
    the (r) in (r,s,s,s) is a normal, as is each (s).  Specials are special moves
    your character has access to, usually initiated with the Circle button.  Supers
    are the ultimate attacks that each character possess.
    The intermediate and advanced sections of the guide make reference to "Frame
    Advantage".  Frames are a method of measuring time in video games.  Since most
    games play at 60 frames/second, one frame is a unit of time generally equated
    to 1/60th of a second.  When a move leaves a character with "Frame Advantage",
    it means that the character recovers a certain number of frames before the
    opponent recovers.  Similarly, "Frame Disadvantage" refers to how many frames
    slower than the opponent you recover after performing a particular move. 
    Charge Cancelling
    The bread-and-butter of the Budokai combo system is charge cancelling.  Many
    attacks, whether at the beginning, end, or middle of a chain, can be charged up
    by holding down the button used to initiate them.  This has several advantages:
    fully charged moves cannot be blocked, cannot be dodged, and do more damage.
    There is, however, one much bigger advantage you get from charging up a move:
    you can cancel it.
    A typical cancel is performed by pressing the Guard button while a move is in
    the process of charging.  This will cause your character to immediately abandon
    the attack and revert back to a neutral state.  This has many advantages; first
    and foremost, it is much faster than allowing the move to complete normally.
    This means that you can cut out the long recovery times and follow-up attacks
    that inhibit many otherwise useful moves.  In many cases, you recover so
    quickly that you can continue hitting your opponent before they've finished
    reeling from the last below you delivered!    This is the basic, most
    fundamental concept you need to grasp in order to start doing combos in Shin
    Budokai.  It is also one of the most flexible, and has important gameplay
    ramifications outside of doing combos.
    If you're interested in experimenting with charge cancels, a good starting
    place is Goku's (>r,s,s) chain.  Enter in the chain as three distinct button
    presses, and hold down Triangle when you enter the second (s) command.  When
    you see Goku's leg swing up and start glowing, use the meaty part of your
    thumb to press the X button (while still holding down Triangle).  If you do it
    right, you'll see Goku magically revert back to a neutral state, and get to
    watch as your enemy's head bobs comically from the kick he just took to his
    jaw.  Practice this a couple of times, and once you're confident in your
    execution, try following it up with another attack before he finishes
    recovering.  If you do it right, you'll see the combo counter increase, and you
    will have just performed your first successful Budokai combo!  Be aware that
    hitting twice with the same chain will knock the enemy down and end your combo
    prematurely, so try to look for ways to extend your combos with other chains.
    There is only one way to avoid taking massive amounts of damage from a properly
    performed combo.  Your character has an out in the form of a Teleport
    Counter (performed by pressing > + Guard at the moment of impact).  Consider
    these to be similar to bursting in Guilty Gear.  They act as a get of jail free
    card, but they take an enormous amount of Ki - three bars.  If you use up all
    your Ki with a Teleport, get outguessed, and get caught in a combo, there's
    nothing you can do but sit there and take it like a man.  For that reason, Ki
    is the single most important resource in all of Shin Budokai.  If your opponent
    catches you with less than three bars of it, you have no way to escape the
    impending pain.  At the same time, just about everything you want to do -
    dodging, special moves, throwing Ki-Blasts, using Aura Bursts - all consume Ki.
    Finding the right balance in this fundamental conflict is the key to being
    successful at Shin Budokai.
    "Link" is a generic fighting game term for a move that strikes an enemy before
    they can recover from the hit they took right before it.  Typically, they are
    done by performing a move with good recovery, striking the opponent with it,
    and then following up with a different move before they can recover.  Charge
    cancel combos are types of links, but not all links are done by using charge
    cancels.  Some moves have naturally good recovery, and leave the opponent
    stunned for long enough that you can follow up with another attack after it
    completes.  A good example of a move that has these properties is Frieza's
    (r,r,r,r) chain.  Try it out!  Be careful to only do four Rush attacks, stop,
    wait for the last one to complete, and then try to follow up with another quick
    attack.  If you do it right, it will combo, and you will be on your way!
    "Juggle" is a fighting game term for attacks that strike an enemy while they
    are in the air, typically after being knocked up there by a previous attack.
    This is a fairly basic concept that most of us have at least a rudimentary
    understanding of -  you knock the enemy into the air, and then hit them again
    on their way back down, before they smash headfirst into the ground.
    Juggles, beyond the very basic ones, have been made much more difficult in Shin
    Budokai than in previous games.  Every chain you hit an enemy with while they
    are in the air will cause them to fall to the ground faster and will knock them
    farther away.  This means that is typically hard to juggle an opponent through
    more than one or two additional chains.  If you'd like to experiment with some
    juggles, a good place to start is with Cell's (<s,<s) chain.  This will knock
    the enemy into the air, and leave you with plenty of time to try and hit them
    as they fall back towards the ground.
    "Buffering" refers to the process of entering new moves before you've finished
    the last one.  These moves are stored in a "buffer", and then processed one by
    one as they become available.  A good example of this is entering in (r,r,r,r)
    with Goku; you might have finished the entire input before the first (r) attack
    has fully completed, but Goku will still go on to finish the remaining three.
    The game "remembers" that you pressed (r) four times, and then executes four
    Rush attacks for you.  The Shin Budokai move buffer will only store input that
    forms a valid chain -- for example, after you enter in one (r), it will except
    either another (r), a (s), or (<r).  Anything else, it will discard.
    Energy Cancels
    Street Fighter made the concept of buffering infamous.  By inputting a normal -
    such as a crouching forward with Ryu - and then quickly buffering a special
    move before the normal completed, you could cancel the normal into the special.
    That is, the game would detect that you buffered the motion for the special
    move, cut off the animation of the normal at some predetermined point, and jump
    straight into performing the special move.  This is how famous combos like 
    Ryu's crouching forward, cancel into fireball were done.  It's a good system,
    and is still in use by many fighting games today.
    In point of fact, Shin Budokai implements a similar system as a complement to
    charge cancelling.  Any normal of any chain can be cancelled into any move that
    starts with (<e), (>e), or (e) by buffering in the command before the normal in
    question completes.  Use it wisely.
    Attacking From Behind
    If you get a chance at your enemy's back, take it!  Not only do all your
    attacks do more damage from behind, but they cannot be dodged, and many moves
    have different properties when they hit the enemy in the back.  Typically, this
    means that they leave the enemy stunned for longer periods of time, making many
    new combos possible that simply don't work from the front.
    Tornado Counters
    Tornado Counters (TCs) are very flashy, and very, very dangerous.  Be careful
    when using these; spamming them constantly is probably the #1 Newbie Mistake
    That Gets You Killed.
    Many moves, most notably those that end chains, will send the enemy flying
    through the air.  When an enemy is struck with one of these moves, you can tap
    R to teleport behind them, smash them, and send them flying again.  You can
    also specify the direction you want to send them flying in by pressing either
    up or down as you do the TC.  This can be repeated for up to three iterations.
    The result is your character playing a game of ping-pong with the enemy
    character, bashing them back and forth lightning fast.  It looks quite cool,
    quite brutal, and quite damaging.  Looks can be deceiving.
    Each Tornado Counter you perform takes 1 bar of Ki.  It also gives your
    opponent back 1 bar of Ki.   And there in lies the rub.  Ki is the single most
    valuable commodity you possess in all of Shin Budokai.  Giving your opponent
    three bars of it - three bars! - and losing three bars of it yourself is NOT
    worth an extra 400-500 points of damage.  Using three Tornado Counters is a
    six Ki bar swing, and will almost certainly result in you getting Teleport
    Countered, and with no Ki left to escape.  The end result is you with no Ki,
    and your enemy with free access to your back.  This is a  Very Bad Thing(tm),
    and is likely to get you killed.
    I do not exaggerate when I say:  use at your own risk.  Keep a careful eye on
    how much Ki your enemy has before deciding to use one.  If you judge it to be
    safe, then go for it - extra damage is always good!  But if you have even the
    slightest bit of doubt, trust me and err on the side of caution.  You'll live
    much longer that way.
    Instant Cancelling
    The speed with which moves can be cancelled is at times quite deceiving.  Most
    moves can be cancelled instantly upon activation, before you ever see the
    attack come out and long before the greenish glow begins to form about the
    character's limb.  Cancelling as quickly as possible is a critical skill to
    master to do most of the techniques in this section.  Remember that the faster
    you can do the cancel, the faster you can recover and the more time you have to
    hit the opponent with something.  Learning the correct timing to do a near-
    instant cancel takes practice, but the payoff is well worth the work, as it
    allows you to connect all sorts of moves - even supers! - that you never would
    have believed you had enough time to hit with.
    Aura Burst Cancelling
    Aura Burst cancelling is quite easy:  just tap R while charging up a move.
    Making it actually do something useful, however, is not.  This is the first of
    several techniques in this section that requires mastery of the concept of
    instant cancelling.  The trick is to take a move that has a large amount of
    frame advantage after it, such as Goku's (>r,s,s), and instant cancel it into
    an Aura Burst/Smash.  This allows you to combo into the normally slow
    guardbreak attack, prepping longer combos or supers.  To do this, you need to
    first buffer (>r,s,s) and hold down the last (s).  As soon as the first part
    of the last move connects, while still holding down Triangle, you quickly tap
    R, immediately release Triangle, and quickly tap Triangle again.  If you do it
    right, Goku will cancel out of the axe-kick a frame or two after his leg
    swings up, and immediately dive into the Aura Burst/Smash, which will combo.
    This makes all sorts of interesting things possible.
    Sidestep Cancelling
    The motion to perform a sidestep is up/down + Guard.  This is convenient,
    because Guard happens to be the button you press to perform a traditional
    cancel.  By using the sidestep motion to perform your cancel, you can cause
    your character to abandon their attack and quickly jump around the enemy.
    When combined with the concept of instant cancelling, this can actually happen
    quickly enough to get you behind your enemy with enough time to link another
    attack, and continue your combo behind.  This is a powerful tool, as attacks
    that strike from the back do more damage and frequently leave the enemy stunned
    longer, opening all sorts of new combo possibilities.
    To do this, you need a move with excellent frame advantage when cancelled, that
    also keeps you close to the enemy character.  Once again, Goku's (>r,s,s) chain
    shines as a good starting place.  Instant cancel the last hit into a sidestep,
    and then follow up with a quick attack (try just a Rush ot two at first,
    although you can get much, much more to connect once you're used to it).
    The timing is slightly strange; there is a small pause at the end of the
    sidestep, so be sure to hesitate slightly once you get behind them before
    pressing your attack.
    Ki-Blast Cancelling
    Regular Ki-Blasts can all be charged up and cancelled in this game.  Since any
    normal can be cancelled into a Ki-Blast via buffering (as explained in the
    beginner section), it then becomes possible to cancel a normal into a Ki-Blast
    and then cancel the Ki-Blast to return to neutral.  This allows you to cancel
    moves that are normally not chargeable with a minimum of delay, and opens up
    all sorts of interesting combo possibilities with moves that you normally would
    be unable to use in a successful combo.  Probably the best example of this is
    Brolly's (<r,<r,r) chain.  Try it.  You can't charge the last hit, so all it
    does is knock the enemy on the ground for minor damage.  Now try (<r,<r,r,e),
    and hold down the (e).  Cancel it, and follow up with a combo.  Ki-Blast
    cancelling lets you do all sorts of strange things like this, at a nominal
    charge in Ki (note that you do actually lose Ki for the Ki-Blast you tried to
    Force-State Moves
    Some moves force the enemy into a particular state once they hit.  For example,
    Goku's (vs) chain, which bounces the enemy off the ground, forces them into a
    falling state.  The important thing to note is that this move will force the
    enemy into that state regardless of when, where, or how it hits them.  This is
    particularly useful when it comes to juggles, where you can abuse moves like
    this one to reset the enemy's position back to something manageable so you can
    continue your combo.  Each of these will only work once - sorry, no infinites
    abusing these - but are still extremely useful, and make all kinds of
    interesting and complicated juggles possible.
    Perhaps the best example of this phenomena is Gotenks (r,r,r,r,r) chain.
    The last hit of that chain forces the enemy into a crouching position on the
    ground.  Try this:  walk up to an enemy with Gotenks.  Enter in (<r,<r,r) to
    pop them into the air, and then juggle with (r,r,r,r,r).  Like magic, they
    appear on the ground, stunned and in front of you!  This allows you to juggle
    them for a while, and then put them back on the ground once you can no longer
    manage the juggle to continue your combo further.
    Deliberate Whiffing
    This is another powerful technique, and is usually associated with Aura Burst
    cancelling.  The reason is that you generally need a very large amount of frame
    advantage to make this technique work, as well as a small amount of distance
    between you and the opponent, which are both conveniently offered by the
    effects of an Aura Burst/Smash.
    In Shin Budokai (and the Budokai series in general), striking an enemy with the
    same move twice will knock them down.  This prevents infinites with the
    character constantly cancelling back into the same move.  Some characters,
    however, have multiple different chains they would like to use in a combo that
    just happen to start with the same command.  When that same starter connects
    for the second time, it will knock the enemy down, ending your combo
    prematurely.  To avoid this, you can deliberately allow the starter to whiff,
    and hit with the rest of the chain; and then later on, when you go back and
    use the second chain, they don't get knocked down, since it's the first time
    they got hit with this starter.
    A good example of this is Cooler, who has excellent charge cancellable options
    in both his (r,s,s) chain and his (r,r,s,s) chain.  But if you try to do
    (r,s,s~)*(r,r,s,s)...the second chain will knock them down, since the same (r)
    is used twice.  To avoid this, back up a little and allow the first (r) to
    whiff.  Like magic, the combo now works!  You can even do this in the middle of
    a combo, providing you can put sufficient distance between you and the
    opponent, and have enough frame advantage to follow up with another attack
    after the first one whiffs.
    Transformation Juggles
    Transformations in Shin Budokai are generally not that useful as part of a
    ground combo.  If you hit an enemy who is already in hit-stun with a
    transformation, it will  knock them down.  If you transform first and then hit
    them with a ground based attack while they are reeling, it will also knock
    them down (there is one exception, listed in the advanced section).  As a
    result, it's generally not a good idea to try to combine ground-based combos
    and transformations.
    The same is not true, however, of juggles.  If you can get close enough to an
    enemy you are juggling in the air and transform, the blast from the
    transformation will knock them up much higher than usual.  This allows you to
    continue your juggle and connect with some interesting attacks that normally
    wouldn't connect.
    On-The-Ground (OTG) Attacks
    Normally, a character that comes into contact with the ground is able to
    immediately Breakfall and thus prevent further combo damage.  There are,
    however, several exceptions to this.  Most supers, most specials, and a
    handful of normals will smash the enemy into the ground, and not permit them a
    chance to Breakfall.  When this happens, if you can get close enough to them
    before they get up, it is often possible to tack on an On-The-Ground (OTG)
    OTG attacks do half the damage normal attacks do.  In addition, after any OTG
    hit, the enemy is immediately able to Breakfall.  This means that only one OTG
    hit is ever guaranteed, and this includes moves that are inherently multi-hit
    (so, for example, if you hit the enemy with a 10 hit super, they would recover
    and be able to block immediately after the first hit connected).  Because of
    this, if you are going for an OTG attack, you want the attack to be the single
    biggest, most painful hit you can make it, since you're only guaranteed the
    If your enemy fails to Breakfall when they get they opportunity, you can
    continue hitting them extra times.  Some moves - like Janemba's super - can
    even pick the enemy up off the ground if they miss their chance, for a lot of
    Abusing the Buffer
    Buffering in moves is something that comes very naturally to most of us.
    However, understanding how the Shin Budokai move buffer works can allow you to
    simplify some of the more complex series of button presses, and for that reason
    deserves a fairly close look.  This section is actually comprised of several
    tips on using the move buffer:
    1)  To end a chain at a certain point and tell the buffer not to accept any
        more input, buffer Guard.  This is useful when you are trying to perform a
        tight link, and are afraid of accidentally continuing the chain too far if
        you miss the timing.  For example, trying to link (r,r,r)*(s) with a
        character who happens to have a valid (r,r,r,s) chain.
    2)  The buffer allows you some leeway in entering in moves that also require a
        directional button press - you don't have to press them quite
        simultaneously.  Because of this, it is possible to press forward, pause
        extremely briefly, then hit (r,s,s).  The end result is your character
        stepping forward a space and then doing (>r,s,s).  This is much easier and
        less error prone than trying to convince your thumb to do it the hard way.
    3)  If you hold down a direction for an extended period of time, the buffer
        will apply that direction to every move in a chain except the first (as
        long as it is able).  For example, you can do Goku's (r,<r,r) chain by
        pressing and holding away from your opponent, and then buffering (r,r,r).
    4)  The buffer will store dash commands (<< and >>) for about one full second,
        or until the next move starts, whichever comes first, before it abandons
        them.  This allows you to buffer in and hold a dash command during the
        last attack in a chain, which will cause your character to immediately
        begin dashing at the earliest possible opportunity.  This is useful if you
        need to move somewhere fast.
    5)  Many multi-hit attacks - such as Kid Buu's (<s) and Vegito's rapid kick
        moves - can have each individual hit cancelled seperately into an energy
        attack.  You have to be patient to this, as simply buffering the command
        as fast as possible will only result in the first one being cancelled.
        To cancel the second, third, fourth, etc. hit, wait until all the previous
        attacks have completed, and then quickly buffer the command.  Some combos
        can only be performed this way.
    The 18 Second Rule
    The final concept that deserves a place in the intermediate section is the 18
    second rule.  This rule states that no combo that lasts 18 seconds of game time
    or longer can ever truly be guaranteed.
    The reason for this is that Teleport Counters, as mentioned earlier, can be
    used to escape from combos.  In fact, they are the ONLY way to escape.
    Teleport Counters, though, cost a hefty price:  3 full bars of Ki.  Since Ki
    recharges naturally over time at a rate of 1 bar/6 seconds, any combo that
    lasts 18 seconds or longer will guarantee the enemy a chance to escape.  This,
    combined with damage scaling, functions as a hard cap on infinites (should any
    be discovered).
    Remember this well:  If your enemy is at two bars of Ki, you get 6 seconds of
    unrestricted combo time before they can escape.  If they are at one bar of Ki,
    you get 12 seconds to hammer them while they recharge.  If they are at exactly
    zero bars of Ki, you get a full 18 seconds to beat their brains in before they
    will be able to get away.
    Kara-Burst Cancelling
    As I mentioned earlier, normal cancels are generally performed by pressing the
    Guard button while charging an attack.  There are also two other ways to cancel
    a chargeable move: initiating an Aura Burst, and doing a Special.
    There is a small problem with this system, though.  As in many games, throws
    in Shin Budokai are performed by pressing Guard + Rush at (approximately) the
    same time.  That (approximately) is the problem.  If you begin charging a move,
    tap Guard to cancel it, and immediately try to punch, you may end up doing a
    throw instead.  This happens because there is a small amount of leeway allowed
    in when you press the button combination (this is very typical in fighting
    games, and is necessary if you want to be able to perform throws reliably).
    This puts a limiter on how quickly it is possible to cancel a move and then
    attack with a Rush attack (note that this is not a problem for Smash attacks).
    This is a very, very small window - a couple of frames - and is generally not
    something you need to worry about.
    However, there exist some otherwise very tight links (1- or 2-frames) that are
    made impossible by this limitation.  In order to perform these links, it is
    necessary to remove these frames of forced delay.  And the way you do that is
    by eschewing the 'normal' way of canceling, and using a Kara-Burst cancel
    The Kara-Burst actually makes use of the same "leeway-in-button-presses"
    principle that limits the speed with which you can cancel normally.  It is
    remarkable in that, when performed correctly, it looks exactly like a normal
    attack.  It is, however, different in that it can be used to cancel a charging
    move, where a normal attack generally cannot.  When you perform an Aura Burst
    (typically by tapping the R button), it immediately cancels any currently
    charging attack.  However, as with doing a throw, the game gives you a small
    amount of leeway.  Aura Bursts have large time and ki commitments associated
    with them, so you generally don't want to do them by accident.  As a result,
    when you do a normal attack and an Aura Burst at (approximately) the same time,
    the normal attack takes precedence.  This principle leads to the Kara-Burst
    cancel.  To perform one, you need to hold down the button associated with the
    move you wish to cancel (typically a Smash or Energy attack), and then (while
    holding down the button) press the R button, a direction, and the Square button
    (almost) simultaneously.  If done correctly, the charging move will
    miraculously cancel into the normal, even though you never hit block!
    This allows you to remove the speed limitation, and perform your cancels-into-
    rushes at the speed of thumb, instead of the speed of throw.  This technique
    can also be used to stop you from sidestepping when you try to do something
    like (s~)*(^s) very quickly, and can make otherwise tight links easier to hit
    by broadening the window available to you.
    Kara-Throws, Kara-Specials, Kara-Normals....Kara-Everything
    In many games, most notably the Street Fighter series, it is possible to add
    additional range to a move at the cost of several frames of execution time by
    doing a traditional Kara-cancel.  This basic principle also applies to Shin
    Budokai, although the implementation is somewhat different.  Many characters
    have single move Smash chains that can be charged up and immediately cancelled
    in any of the traditional methods.  Some of these chains move your character
    forwards or backwards in their first couple of frames.  It is quite possible -
    and even recommended! - to cancel these moves before the blow ever comes out
    into a throw, special, normal, or whatever.  The advantage is (sometimes
    substantially) increased range, at the cost of a couple of frames of execution
    time.  Be warned, you need some very fast fingers to pull this off
    It should be noted that these are not quite traditional Street Fighter style
    karas, although the impact is the same.  The technique can only be applied to
    moves that meet all of the following criteria:  1)  they are the first/only
    attack in their chain;  2)  they are chargeable; and 3) they move you forward
    or backward noticeably in the first several frames of their execution.  As in
    Street Fighter, most every character can do this, but not all of them will
    find it useful.
    Transformations in Ground Combos
    In the intermediate section, I mentioned that transformations do not generally
    work well with combos performed on the ground.  This is true, but - as noted
    above - there is one exception.  When you hit an enemy who is not currently in
    hit stun with a transformation effect, it sends them reeling.  Normally, if you
    attack them during this period, you will knock them down.  However, there is a
    "sweet spot" at the very end of the reeling animation, right as they regain
    their feet and their head bobs, during which you can score a guaranteed hit
    without knocking them down.  This is a relatively risking trick to pull in a
    match, as transformations are not what they used to be and the timing is
    tricky, but the rewards are definitely there if you can master it.
    The last technique that needs to be covered is technically not a combo, but is
    a related concept.  It is possible for your opponent to escape even a perfectly
    performed reset with a well timed transformation, side step, or dodge
    (depending).  However, when performed correctly the reset is often very
    difficult to escape, and the damage rewards are frequently worth the risk.
    Typically, you will attempt to do a reset from behind the opponent.  By
    deliberately breaking your combo and delaying the next hit, you can reset the
    combo counter (and with it, the damage scaling).  This allows you to do much
    more damage than you would normally get from the combo.  This works because
    most people reflexively hold Guard while they are being hit with a combo, and,
    when you are behind the opponent, there is a brief animation of turning around
    their character has to go through before they can block.  If you strike the
    enemy during this period where they are turning, they will fail to block and
    you can continue to combo.
    Beware that they "remember" what they were hit with until slightly after each
    combo, so you still cannot repeat chains you used previously.  The benefit to
    doing a reset like this one is enhanced damage.  The downside is, you offer
    them a chance to escape.
    The Budokai series gets a bad rap.  Admittedly, it's not entirely undeserved.
    Budokai 1 was a terrible fighting game, plagued with easy infinites, poor
    balance, cookie-cutter characters, and gimicky gameplay.  This game did a
    fantastic job of turning the greater fighting game public off of the Budokai
    series, and Atari and Dimps have made exactly no strides in a beneficial
    direction with their advertising.
    Budokai 2 was a far better game, improved in just about every way.  It may
    still not have been a fighter on the level of Street Fighter or Guilty Gear or
    Tekken or VF, but it was a lot of fun, much better balanced, and the expansion
    on the combo/cancel system and the differentiation of characters added a lot
    to the gameplay.  Had Budokai 2 been the first game in the series, people might
    at least have taken it seriously.
    Then came Budokai 3, which was as massive a leap forward gameplay wise as
    Budokai 2 was.  The introduction of baseline Ki, dodges, and teleport counters
    introduced a commplicated Ki-centered metagame that made Ki management one of
    the most important aspects of the game.  Further differentiation in characters
    and ever more options for the combo/cancel system gave players freedom with
    combos they had never had before, and made each character a unique experience
    that was worth playing.  Budokai 3, although it still had some gimicky gameplay
    features, was the first of the Budokai games that should really be classified
    as a serious fighter.  Unfortunately, by this point, no one was taking it
    Now we have Shin Budokai, an amazing game that is once again a huge leap
    forward in the quality of the series as a serious fighting game franchise.
    Gone are the gimmicky supers.  Gone are the bizarre button-pressing mini-games,
    the button mashing beam wars, and the (horribly unbalanced) customizable
    capsule set ups.  In their place we have real time supers like something out
    of Street Fighter, guard breaks and set ups and cancels and spiffy new tricks.
    It's all the fighter with none of the gimicks, and really does deserve respect
    as a quality fighter.  It has deep, engaging gameplay, complicated combos,
    tricky mind games, and requires good execution and the ability to think on your
    feet.  Its time for the hate to end.
    I hope this guide has proven helpful to those of you who are interested in
    plumbing the depths of this game.  Please join in me in wishing for a PS2
    port, replete with Online play.

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