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Executed by moving the stick forward, down, and then down-forward (commonly referred to as a "Shoryuken motion"), the move is a jumping uppercut in which the user spins upwards with some horizontal movement as well, knocking the opponent to the ground and inflicting damage.
The Shoryuken is primarily used as an anti-air move. However, with some practice, it is possible to use it to counterattack almost any move. The trade-off for this is that the user is completely vulnerable to attack as they fall back to the ground, and for a split second after landing.
If the Shoryuken connects with the opponent at the deepest point of impact (i.e. while the user is still standing on the ground), it will inflict substantially more damage. Experienced players will often wait until the last possible moment before using the move as counter, even against air attacks.
In the Street Fighter II series, the Shoryuken is almost completely invincible while rising, meaning it can pass through projectile attacks, potentially striking the recipient in the act of throwing them. In later games in the series, this invincibility is mostly removed; however, the Shoryuken still has a massive hitbox, and will often beat out most other attacks.
Different Variants of Shoryuken
- Goshoryuken (豪昇龍拳 Gō Shōryūken?, "Great Rising Dragon Fist") - The original Shoryuken, which is a more powerful variation of the "regular" Shoryuken, used by Akuma.
- Shining Circuit Shoryuken - Cyber Akuma's enhanced variantion of the Goshoryuken.
- Shoryureppa (昇龍裂破 Shōryū Reppa?, "Rising Dragon Rending Breaker") - A series of two or three Shoryukens that progressively cause more and more damage to an opponent with each hit.
- Shinryuken (神龍拳 Shinryūken?, "Divine Dragon Fist") - A Shoryuken that corkscrews vertically into the air, causing a vacuum effect that sucks in the opponent and strikes multiple times.
- Metsu Shoryuken (滅・昇龍拳 Metsu Shōryūken?, "Destroying Rising Dragon Fist") - A legendary version of the move seen in the Street Fighter story, when Ryu was near defeat during the first Street Fighter tournament. Two different variations are seen in Street Fighter Alpha 3 and Street Fighter IV.
- Shin Shoryuken (真・昇龍拳 Shin Shōryūken?, "True Rising Dragon Fist") - The strongest non-lethal known variant of the Shoryuken, only known and used by Gouken and Ryu.
- Forbidden Shoryuken (禁じ手・昇龍拳 Kinjite Shōryūken?, "Forbidden Hand Rising Dragon Fist") - A potentially lethal variant based on Goutetsu's original Ansatsuken, it is used as a last resort technique by Gouken. An imperfectly executed Shin Shoryuken/Metsu Shoryuken resembles the Forbidden Shoryuken, but does not have the same killing potential.
- Soryuken (双龍拳 Sōryūken?, "Twin Dragon Fist") - A powerful pair of Shoryuken made at the same time which is strong enough to nearly kill an opponent. It was used by Ryu and Ken in the crossover Project X Zone.
- Messatsu-Goshoryu (滅殺豪昇龍 Messatsu Gō Shouryū?, "Annihilating Great Rising Dragon") - A stronger version of the Shoryureppa. The user delivers 2 or 3 Goshoryukens, depending on which punch button is pressed.
- Hado Shoryuken (波動・昇龍拳 Hadō Shouryūken?, "Surging Rising Dragon Fist") - A Shoryuken empowered by Hado energy. Two different versions of the move exist.
Ryu focused on making his Shoryuken hard-hitting, usually hitting in one blow and knocking the opponent on his back. Though a little weaker than Ken's, it is powerful; it has slightly less aerial range than Ken's, but better recovery time.
In Street Fighter Alpha, Ryu began using the Shin Shoryuken. The Metsu Shoryuken, which Ryu scarred Sagat with, also appears in SFA as well. It is visually similar to the Shin Shoryuken minus the second uppercut, and is right-handed instead.
Ken prefers to use the Shoryuken to finish opponents, as it is a stylish and graceful way to win the match, and has different powerful variants as a result. Ken has focused on this move in order to distinguish himself from his training partner (fitting that Ryu surpasses him with the Hadoken).
In most games, Ken's Shoryuken also covers a lot of horizontal distance, at the cost of a longer recovery time, leaving him open for counter-attack if he misses or is blocked. His fierce version also causes his opponent to burn when hit.
In Super Street Fighter II Turbo, Ken gains the Shoryureppa, which is a series of Shoryukens; specifically, a light Shoryuken followed by a medium one and/or a heavy one imbued with flames. During the Street Fighter Alpha series, Ken gains the Shinryuken, a Shoryuken that goes straight up, creating a flaming vacuum.
Of note is that in the Marvel vs. Capcom series, Ken is the only one capable of performing a Shoryuken in midair.
Akuma has a Shoryuken that strikes hard and can score multiple hits, like Ken's (though Akuma's fist doesn't become engulfed in flames), and has the range and overall function property of Ryu. Instead of crouching, however, Akuma launches differently; he directly hits them in the chest then in the chin, then he jumps up and hits them with the flying uppercut. This property makes the attack quick and hard to block. This property disappears when Akuma becomes Oni.
Akuma's cybernetically enhanced form, featured only in the crossover, Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter has much stronger variations of the Shoryuken in comparison to his former self. His basic Shoryuken, dubbed the Shining Circuit Shoryuken can connect up to 10 times up close and setup the opponent for a juggle. Cyber Akuma has his own variation of the Messatsu-Goshoryu, dubbed the Scramble Gou Punch. It surpasses the Messatsu-Goshoryu every way conceivable.
- Shining Circuit Shoryuken
- Scramble Gou Punch
Akuma's Goshoryuken became stronger when he became Oni, and it bears resemblance to the Shin Shoryuken. The first uppercut will hit the opponent in the midsection, while the jumping uppercut to the chin is performed with the other fist. It deals out 3 hits and good damage, although if the uppercut whiffs it, will turn into a regular Goshoryuken that can catch airborne opponents for less damage. The other trade off is that it doesn't go far horizontally. Oni's second Ultra Combo in the Street Fighter IV series, the Tenchi Sokaigen concludes with a Goshoryuken to the spine of the airborne opponent.
Gouken doesn not have the Shoryuken in his standard moveset, unlike his disciples, Ryu and Ken; his only Shoryuken variants are his Super Combo and first Ultra Combo.
Sakura developed her own variation of the Shoryuken, the Shouoken, in which she runs at her opponent and finishes with an uppercut. Her Shoryureppa-inspired combo Midare Zakura is three of these Shouokens back to back.
As he has not completed his training with Ken as of Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike, Sean's version of the Shoryuken is incomplete. His Dragon Smash involves him jumping like a Shoryuken, and throwing both fists into the air simultaneously. He does a proper Shoryuken as part of one of his Super Arts.
Dan uses his own version of the Shoryuken, the Koryuken. It is possible that he learned this move during his brief training under Gouken. Dan also has a super move similar to the Shoryureppa, the Koryu Rekka.
Since Seth can mimic the techniques of other fighters, he has developed his own modified version of the Shoryuken. His unique Shoryuken can be performed multiple times in midair if the initial Shoryuken hits (the motions must be repeated). Using both arms to launch two Shoryukens in rapid succession then finally ending with a spinning Shoryuken that looks somewhat similar to a flame-less Shinryuken.
- See Shoryuken/Sprites.
The move has been the subject of a very famous rumor and hoax revolving around Ryu's mistranslated quote, "You must defeat Sheng Long to stand a chance". Sheng Long would later become one of the most well known legends in video game history.
As for the Shoryuken itself, it has since been referenced in various forms of media. The full list can be viewed here.