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    Zangief by OFernando

    Version: 1.0 | Updated: 06/01/96 | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

    Street Fighter Alpha 2 Guide to Zangief
    Version 1.0, updated June 1 96
    by Orlando C. Fernando
    This guide is meant primarily for beginners and intermediate players to
    try to learn the great Russian nightmare known as Zangief for the Street
    Fighter Alpha 2 game by Capcom.  Although generally considered an underdog
    to other much popular characters li ke Ken, Guile, Charlie, and Chun-Li,
    it's amazing how a character which has no charging moves, no ground-to-air
    special move, and no fireball can be so powerful.  You'll ALWAYS gain
    respect for learning this hard-to-master wrongfully-underplayed character
    , particularly on Alpha 2.  Hopefully the strategies in this guide will
    show how to account significantly for that.  This guide assumes you have
    prior knowledge of the arcade game or have at least read a faq like Dan
    Wells' extensive one (ladiflyer@aol.co m). 
    Section 1: Brief History
    Section 2: Moves
    Section 3: Overall Strategy
    Section 4: Player to Player Strategy
    Section 5: Misc
    Section 1: Brief History
    The character, originating from Russia, has been in all the Street Fighter
    2 series games since it's introduction in the late '80's.  (He was absent
    from Alpha 1 version) Over the versions we've seen him be able to move his
    Spinning Clothesline, gain a M ultiple Suplex, and gain some funky missed
    attack poses.  I'm a intermediate/expert player, and over the years of
    playing as him, Alpha 2 and prior, I've come to realize this:  his primary
    strengths are his throws and powerful normal moves.  His weaknesse s are
    slowness and poor distant offenses.  Get to learn that from the start. 
    Play him like a Ken or Ryu and you'll get burned miserably.  Accentuate
    the positive and you'll get a mighty powerful 'gief! 
    Section 2: Moves
    Although covered in the Alpha 2 FAQ, the moves (except the custom combo)
    are also presented and enhanced here for completeness and strategic
    purposes.  No terminology from any one particular Street Fighter FAQ is
    intentionally used. 
    (taunt: hit Start - Gief will hunch his arms over like Hulk Hogan)
    SPINNING CLOTHESLINE, LONG:  Hit all three punch buttons.
                      -you can move forward or back once executed.
                      -can go through fireballs.
                      -can hit most air opponents, even when they kick or
                       punch, although at times, depending on the character and 
                       timing of their attack, you can wind up trading hits. 
                      -WEAKNESS/COUNTER:  easily subject to low attacks, so
                       generally not recommended for very close opponents.
    SPINNING CLOTHESLINE, SHORT:  Hit all three kick buttons.
                      -same as above, but he spins faster and ends quicker.
                      -can go through Sagat's Low Tiger Shots.
    AIR HEAD BUTT:  Jump straight up, Down + Fierce Punch.
                      -a specialty regular move which makes Gief ram his head
                       into any jumping non-attacking character.  Replaces 
                       the Jumping Press move of previous versions.
                      -two or three successful hits of this move arguably
                       dizzies the opponent (has happened with Guy)
    BODY SPLASH: Jump foward or back, Down + Fierce Punch.
    	(remember to push down, otherwise you'll get the flying superman punch)
                      -a specialty regular move which brings Gief close to
                       opponent when landing from the attack.  Can be used to combo.
    GREEN HAND: Toward, Down, Down Toward + Any Punch
             (in other words, Ken/Ryu/Akuma/Sagat/Dan/Sakura's Dragon Punch motion)
                      -Best Practice:  do multiple Ken dragon punch motions to
                       get the hang of it. 
                      -travels body's length which knocks down opponent.
                      -stronger punches have longer delays, but travels further?
                      -can go through and cancel fireballs.
                      -can be used to combo with a throw, such as a Spinning 
                       Pile Driver.
    PILE DRIVER:  Towards or Away + Strong Punch when next to opponent.
                      -a throw which puts you some feet away after done.
    HEAD BITE:  Towards or Away + Fierce Punch? (needs more investigation)
                      -a hold remnant of Blanka's.  More punching & jiggling
                       joystick can prolong hold. 
    LOW STRANGLE:  Down Towards or Away+ Fierce Punch? (needs more investigation)
                      -a hold which Gief kneels as he strangles their neck.  More
                       punching & jiggling joystick can prolong hold.
    SPINNING PILEDRIVER:  When close, Spin Joystick 360 + Punch
                    -most effective when spin clockwise if to right of opponent;
                      counterclockwise if to left of opponent.  Arguably you needn't
                     spin the joystick the last 45 degrees.
                    -best practice: jump into opponent, spinning joystick in
                     air so as you land, you go right into the driver.
                    -advanced practice: standing or ground jab into the driver 
                    (involves spinning the joystick as soon as you let the jab out.
                    -classic signature move which has less range than previous
                    -strength of punch determines height and damage of the driver.
                    -shows "missed" animation if doesn't connect. 
                    -brings you (understandably!) far away from opponent 
                     after landing.
    MULTIPLEX: When close, Spin Joystick 360 + Any Kick
                    -same practice applies as for Spinning Piledriver.
                    -arguably has less range than the Spinning Piledriver and
                     likely same range as from the Super Street Fighter versions.
                    -brings you moderately far from opponent after landing.
    MOVING FLYING DRIVER:  When not close, Spin Joystick 360 + Any Kick
                   -you really should practice doing from ground (do jab first)
                   -if you spin quickly enough, don't need a pre-move to do it and makes for much
                    better practice.
                   -has "missed" animation if doesn't connect.
                   -has moderate set-up time, and long recovery time if  missed.
                   -should be done no further than a "body" away from the opponent
    AIR THROW (Super Combo A):  Down, Down Towards, Towards motions twice + Any Kick
                             (in other words, Sagat's Low Tiger Shot 
                              motion, except do joystick part twice before Kick)
    	       -hit two kicks for level 2 stength or all three for level 3 (if
                    power is available)
                   -when opponent is jumping toward you (about body distance),
                    Gief will rise, catch opponent, and toss him/her down.  Near 
                    copy of Rose's Soul Catch Super Combo. 
                   -w/ lev 2, ?
                   -w/ lev 3, ?
                   -a good counter to a blocked Ken/Ryu Fierce or Super Dragon
                    Punch? (needs investigating)
    MULTIPLE MIX PILE DRIVERS (Super Combo B):  Spin Joystick 720 + Any Punch
    	-hit two punches for level 2 stength or all three for level 3 (if
             power is available)
            -done w/ level 1 strength, will do a Multiplex + Strong
             Spinning Piledriver
            -w/ lev 2, will do 2 Multiplexes + Strong Spinning Piledriver
            -w/ lev 3, very sweet!  2 Multiplexes + Strong Spinning
             Piledriver + Fierce Spinning Piledriver! 
    ORLANDO'S CUSTOM COMBO- Activate Custom Meter + Continuous Long Spinning
    	(easiest way to activate custom is by hitting Jab, Strong, and
             Roundhouse simultaneously)
                   -in my opinion the most effective custom combo use for both
                    computer and human opponents
                   -use AND ONLY USE when opponent is either jumping toward
                    you or jumping over you, regardless if attacking or not.  
                    Has significant anti-air priority. 
                   -not recommended to activate custom from the air as there's
                    no particular advantage. 
                   -Warning:  if you get hit out of the move (about 10-20%
                    chance), don't try to attempt it immediately then, since 
                    opponent will be able to duck by then. 
                   -the opponent will land into your clotheslines with will
                    air juggle for a significant amount of time. 
                   -strong advantage is, unlike other customs, you can direct
                    this combo forward or backwards,
                    since the Spinning Clothesline inheritently allows you to
                    do that! 
                   -do another Spinning Clothesline after the custom ends and
                    you'll get hits which make the combo look like it ends in 
                    slow motion (you'll probably do that automatically).  In
                    other words, don't stop clotheslining (word?) until the 
                    opponent is dirt on the floor! 
                   -w/ level 1 or 2 strength, can combo hit up to 12 times
                   -w/ lev 3, up to 17! (take out about 25% damage)
    Section 3: Overall Strategy 
    The Spinning Clothesline, Spinning Pile Driver, Green Hand, and Custom
    Combo should be your main arsenal, as the others aren't really that
    necessary to win a game.  In addition, getting to know the contact points
    of his regular moves is quite essential. 
    1) Normal Moves:  The crouching strong punch is a simple good anti-air
    move versus most jumping in opponents just before they land, with
    exception of Rolento and Chun-Li.  Take advantage of his far reaching
    crouching and jumping roundhouse kicks as well, as its necessary to
    approach certain very offensive opponents such as Charlie and Chun-Li. 
    His standing Fierce Punch has remarkable performance as well as it
    straight punches the opponent with slight forward motion.  Gief's standing
    Roundhouse kick is pr obably one of his useless moves due to its short
    range and long recovery. 
    2) Simple Combos: Use the Body Splash into one or two jabs, then do a
    crouching Roundhouse, or even do a crouching jab or short Kick - Spinning
    Clothesline (if the opponent is standing, not ducking).  Don't make it a
    habit vs. the computer or it will start Alpha Countering right after your
    Splash.  Unfortunately, Gief isn't really a combo king and never
     has been.
    3) Best Super Meter Booster:  Spinning Clotheslines, either one.  Keep
    building 'em of the opponent doesn't approach for a while or they keep
    fireballing to death. 
    4) Sucking into Spinning Piledrivers:  You can counter many special (&
    some normal) moves (granted you blocked it) which land them close to you
    with a Spinning Piledriver, especially Rose's crouching Roundhouse,
    Dhalsim's Head & Body Torpedoes, Dan's Triple Flying Kick, Ryu/Ken's
    "crazy" 2-hit kicks and punches, Ryu/Ken/Akuma's Hurricane Kicks (not
    Sakura's or Guy's), and Chun-Li's Cartwheel Kick.  Take advantage if you
    block and retalliate with a Spinning Piledriver (or less than half the
    time, you may mess up and get an Alpha Counter instead).  Als o
    interestingly enough, if someone ground blocks your Air Head Butt, and you
    see it time, you can go right into a Spinning Piledriver when you land. 
    Done it quite often versus Computer Guy and Sodom.  A good trick is to
    also jump over the opponent and Spinning Piledrive from behind (or Super
    if you're really good).  Astounds many intermediate players. 
    5) Alpha Counters:  I wouldn't voluntarily Alpha Counter with Gief, as I'm
    still not accustomed to it's use and purpose in the game.  This "combo
    breaker" feature similar to the Killer Instinct series seems unnecessary
    and a bit annoying at times for the Street Fighter series.  It annoys the
    executor as well as the opponent when you don't intend to let it out and
    it needlessly wastes your Super meter, plus the fact that (a) you can
    counter an Alpha Counter and (b) the Alpha Counter doesn't always connect,
    rendering it useless at times.  You'll find often that when you try to
    block and counter moves with the Spinning Piledriver that the Alpha
    Counter comes out instead, which is usually a standing Fierce (looks quite
    threatening actually).  If you get an Alpha Counter, consider it a gift
    and move on. 
    6) Using Custom Combos:  learn to mix strategy, even with my custom combo. 
    Some expert opponents can get used to what you're going to do if you're
    always letting out your Custom when you Super fills up to level 3.  Try
    some unexpected tactics.  In fact, if you're really ahead or are a mastery
    of his other moves, you could even WASTE it. (You heard me right) I've won
    one match versus a good player by activating the Custom and just ducking
    and sitting there.  Anticipating something else, he eventually jumped in,
    and I simply crouch strong punched him out of the air.  I highly don't
    recommend doing a multiple crouching jabs as a custom, as it's got limited
    range, as well as looking uninventive and ugly.  Also, don't put Spinning
    Piledrivers in your custom, as it just wastes time (leave that to the
    7) Receiving a Custom Combo:  If you're on the receiving end of a custom
    combo, it's usually best to crouch block it.  You can also jump over it if
    it's not someone with a Dragon Punch-like move, then crouch Roundhouse as
    soon as you land on the other side (they'll get away from you fast!).  In
    fact, for the Dragon Punch players, continuously jumping back has been a
    very effective defense for me.  They'll keep Dragon Punching and missing. 
    And in the event that one does hit, it will hit you too far away to have
    any real chaining effect.  DO NOT try to Spinning Clotheline through
    Ryu/Ken custom throwing a barrage of fireballs, you'll get easily burned,
    literally.  The best thing there is to jump back & air block, which
    usually prevents them from following-up with another move.  One tricky
    thing to look out for is Ryu/Ken players who use their "crazy" 2-hit kicks
    & punches, especially Ryu's moving fist, which hit crouching opponents. 
    Unfortunately, the custom combo speed is going to be too dang fast to see
    it (and if for some great miracle you do, stand block it).  The best I can
    say is that if you all of a sudden see yourself taking hits from these
    moves, try to stand block in the hopes that they miss a hit.  Always watch
    out when any player is on level 3, as they will almost always use it up
    when you're close to losing.  Sometimes jumping back or straight up makes
    them prematurely and uselessly start the custom and give you good time to
    anticipate a block/counter.  At times, a crouching Roundhouse kick has
    knocked them out of the custom! 
    Section 4: Player to Player Tactics
    Overall Zangief is strongest vs. short characters with limited range
    special moves, followed by those with charging moves, followed by those
    with fireballs, followed by those with Dragon Punchlike moves
    (ground-to-air special moves that usually lift the p layer off the
    ground).  Regarless of what "tier" he falls on the character roster, that
    is the bottom line how he fits in. 
    1) Worst Opponents:  Gief's main enemies are Charlie, Guy, and Chun-Li.  
          Charlie/Guile, from the beginning of time, has always been his worst
    enemy, forcing Gief to play a very defensive game and a waiting offensive
    game.  His biggest trap, as most should know by now, is to lay Sonic Booms
    until you jump in, then Flash Kick you.  And the fact that you can't air
    block Flash Kicks (unlike in Alpha 1 version) doesn't help either.  The
    best advice I can give you is (1) spin clothesline the sonic booms from a
    distance, (2) can try Green Handing Sonic Booms when close but watch his
    tripping; and every time you try it, go for a 2-in-1 Spinning Piledriver
    attempt, (3) take advantage of your rich anti-air arsenal when he jumps
    toward you with a crouching strong, Spinning Clothesline, or the custom
    combo (do NOT try any other kind of custom combo other than mine, for you
    have to be so precise where you want to hit Charlie or he'll easily
    counter.  Again, mix which method you use and trick him.  Remember you can
    activate the custom crouching as well as standing, jumping (4) from some
    distance, jump straight up once in a while to trick him into doing a Flash
    Kick or approaching.  His jumping straight up Roundhouse Kick is also
    quite prioritized. 
         Chun-Li has a very good mix of kicks which hit at various ranges,
    making it difficult to Spinning Clothesline her out of a jump.  You
    couldn't knock her out of the air like you could in the pre-Alpha
    versions.  Crouching strong out of the air still seems pretty effective,
    but I don't have anti-strategies on her down to a science. :(
         Guy, especially as the computer, due to speed and far-reaching moves,
    can be really effective against Gief.  Mix in Spinning Piledrivers
    whenever you block a close move and Spinning Clotheslines when he tries
    air charges into throws. 
    2) Other Opponents:
         Ken/Ryu.  Remember, low jabs still counter their ground hurricane
    kicks.  And I have also taken them out with the custom combo.  I think now
    that Ken's almighty dragon punch seems a bit vulerable now as I've
    straight-jump roundhouse kicked some of his strong dragon punches once in
    a while. 
         Sakura.  No effective way known yet to counter her hurricane kicks.  
    Do NOT counter her delayed fireball with a Spinning Clotheline (unless it's
    just when the hands-back animation is starting).  When approaching her on
    ground, always occasionally block to anticipate her excellent horizonal
    Fierce Dragon Punch. 
         Akuma.  Don't feel as threatened to approach him with his air
    fireballs as they are angled differently and don't reel you back too far
    if hit (a.k.a., counter him when he lands.  Always anticipate his Bison
    Killer/Raging Demon if on level 3.  Get ready to crouch Roundhouse kick or
    jump away the second you hear the Super sirens start. 
         Bison.  You can't Spinning Piledrive him when he remerges from a
    teleport close like you can with Dhalsim since he teleports much quicker. 
    His Spinning Clotheline may take out his Psycho Crusher Supers? (unknown)
         Dan.  Whenever computer Dan nails you with the triple flying kick, he
    always has some reason to taunt you afterwards.  Take advantage of its
    major recovery time. 
         Rose.  Just block/jump away whenever she does her multi-image Super. 
    I've never seen a computer or human Rose player attempt to throw while
    this way. 
         Birdie.  From the little playing I've had with this match-up, Birdie
    & Gief seem to have equal range on their 360 moves. 
         Gen. Just watch out for computer Gen's frequent use of the thrust
    kick from his Mantis style.  It's not too hard to counter his Dashing
    Punch Super if blocked.
         Dhalsim.  Watch out for his long range punches and kicks from afar. 
    It can still lead to the death of Gief vs. expert Dhalsim players.  Sagat. 
    Really watch your jumping with him, as it's tricky sometimes to air-block
    his Fierce uppercut.  His Tiger Knee is also really effective against him. 
    Counter the high Tiger Shots with Long Clothesline, the low ones with
    Short Clothesline. 
    Section 5: Misc
    -for the cosmetically aroused, Zangief's outfit colors are red, dark blue,
     yellow (why?), and black. 
    -ending the match with a Custom Combo gives him the treasured Russian flag
     for a victory symbol. 
    -he's much more vocal than the grunts from previous versions. 
    I hope this guide has benefitted anyone, particularly beginners of the
    game or experts tired of playing as everyone else, as Zangief for me has
    always been my favorite Street Fighter character.  If you have any Zangief
    strategy tips or corrections to include with this guide, or just to chat
    about him overall, feel free to e-mail at ocfernan@mailbox.syr.edu. 
    Distribution of this guide on whole or part is welcome, but please don't
    sell and respect and cite the credit of the original author, thank you. 

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