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An EX Special (エクス スペシャル, Ekusu Supesharu) is a powered-up version of a special attack. Usually signified by the character in question flashing yellow, the EX Special grants additional properties. These properties can include Super Armor, knockdown, altered movement (such as greater distance covered), greater damage, less start-up, projectile evasion and more.
EX Special attacks have appeared in the series since their introduction in the Street Fighter III series, with different mechanics in each appearance. However, the execution remains consistent throughout; EX Specials are performed by pressing two or more of the necessary buttons during a special move input (e.g. an EX Hadoken requires a quarter-circle forward motion and at least two punch buttons).
Similar mechanics exist in many other fighting games, both before and after the introduction of the EX Special in the Street Fighter series. Thus, an EX Special would be a general term for a special move that uses up a specific portion of a super meter for extra properties and/or extra damage, not to be confused with a super, which functions almost similarly depending on the game. Some games feature EX Specials as mere enhanced versions of other existing moves, or as its own move altogether (with the "Converted Moves" example seen below).
The PlayStation and Sega Saturn versions of Street Fighter: The Movie introduced the "Super Special" mechanic; when the Super Gauge is at least half-full (noted by the gauge turning from yellow to blue), enhanced special attacks could be performed. However, unlike the EX Specials, once the Super Gauge is full, the Super Specials can be used an unlimited amount of times until the player uses his Super Combo. It also should be noted that not all of the Special Attacks have "Super" variations, and most projectiles are performed twice in a row with this method.
Additionally, the Darkstalkers games introduced EX and ES moves (Extra Special and Enhanced Special, respectively). Both can be used with at least one level of the nine-level Super Gauge filled; EX moves are an analogue of sorts to Street Fighter's Super Combos, while ES moves function most similarly to Street Fighter's EX Specials, and were a likely precursor.
Street Fighter III series Edit
Introduced in Street Fighter III: 2nd Impact, the number of EX Specials a given character can store depends on the number of bars in the Super Gauge of that character's chosen Super Art, and the size of those bars. For example, if Alex chooses the Hyper Bomb Super Art, he will have one bar in the Super Gauge; if he chooses the Boomerang Raid Super Art, however, he will have two. These two bars will also be shorter.
Street Fighter IV seriesEdit
EX Specials return in Street Fighter V, requiring a single section of the Critical Gauge. EX Specials in Street Fighter V are expanded to a degree, with several moves gaining completely different properties than their non-EX variations (such as Ken's EX Tatsumaki Senpu Kyaku rising at an upwards diagonal angle or his EX Shoryuken being executed as the Shoryu Reppa instead of a single Shoryuken).
Notably, several attacks, Super Combos and Super Arts from previous Street Fighter games act as EX Special versions of certain attacks. This trend began with the mechanic's introduction, but is particularly prevalent in Street Fighter IV, V and Street Fighter X Tekken (with the appropriate moves marked accordingly). Each of them are listed below.
|Shoryuken||Air Double Lariat||Double Knee Press||Shouoken||Monster Lariat|
|EX Special||Shakunetsu Hadoken|
Shinkuu Tatsumaki Senpukyaku
|ShoryureppaSFV||Siberian BlizzardSFV||Knee Press NightmareSFxT||Midare Zakura||Hammer MountainSFxT|
- Ryu's Hadoken hits once, while his EX Hadoken hits twice, is able to hit fallen opponents and ignites the opponent on fire, essentially becoming his Shakunetsu Hadoken move.
- M. Bison's Head Press does 120 damage. However, the EX Head Press does 200 damage, moves faster, and knocks the opponent down when it hits.
- Balrog's Dash Straight does 120 damage regardless of the buttons used, but the EX Dash Straight has Super Armor and a wind sound effect during the dash.
- Fei Long's EX Rekkukyaku can pass through projectiles, as shown at the top, while its normal version cannot.