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Special attacks (必殺技, Hissatsuwaza, "Finisher Technique" or "Sure-Killing Art") are moves available to all fighters in the Street Fighter games. Some circles and other fighting games merely refer to them as "special moves" instead.
The Japanese name is often used as a term for a type of special move associated to a certain fighter or fighting style, and is often traditionally the Japanese name for "special attacks" in many fighting games.
Special attacks act differently than normal attacks; when blocked, they usually inflict chip damage, whereas normal attacks inflict none. Furthermore, they showcase the fighter's martial arts style and their specialty of offense when engaging combat.
Special attacks often require the input of "complex" motion controls with directional commands (e.g. quarter-circle forward) and a button (e.g. punch). Relatively few "motionless" special moves exist in the series as a whole; some examples of such moves are the Double Lariat and Hundred Hand Slap.
However, some special attacks inflict no damage at all, hence the usage of the term "special move" instead since not all "special attacks" are actually attacks depending on the character and their move in question.
In the very first Street Fighter game, the playable character Ryu had three special moves: the Hadoken, Shoryuken, and Tatsumaki. However, these moves were considered "secret moves" for a few reasons:
- The moves were particularly powerful in this game; the Shoryuken was, in fact, usually a one-hit kill.
- The controls for most versions of the game were not particularly responsive.
- Fighting games that existed during the time of the game's initial release lacked command lists, meaning that the only way a player could attempt the move was to learn the command from watching another player; this was problematic, particularly for the reason above.
Street Fighter II seriesEdit
From Street Fighter II on, every character would have their own set of special moves. The special attacks also vary slightly based on which button is used. For example, certain moves may do more damage but take longer to execute, or else leave the user vulnerable longer. As a specific example, Ryu's Hadoken moves faster if heavy punch is pressed as opposed to light punch, but he takes slightly longer to recover from it. Command lists were also included in later games, so players could look up a character's moves.
The Street Fighter II series also introduced Super Combos, attacks that are usually much more powerful versions of special attacks, and the Super Combo Gauge. The use of special attacks fills the meter slightly, as does landing any attack and taking damage, and characters can use their Super Combo once the meter is filled completely. Chip damage was also introduced; special attacks would still do minimal damage when blocked, giving them another advantage over normal moves.
Street Fighter Alpha seriesEdit
Street Fighter III seriesEdit
The Street Fighter II system was reused in Street Fighter III: New Generation, with the newly introduced parry mechanic adding another method of building the Super Art Gauge. Street Fighter III introduced EX Specials with 2nd Impact, which allowed characters to power up special moves by using a bit of the Super Art Gauge. EX Specials take on different properties from their "original" attack, such as doing more damage, granting "armor", and more. From 2nd Impact on, the amount of EX Specials available to a character was dependent on their choice of Super Art, as was the amount of stocks, requiring players to build their style around the chosen move.
The concept of EX Special attacks are most likely based off the arcade version of the Street Fighter: The Movie games, in which "Super Specials" could be performed after the Super Gauge was sufficiently filled. Also, the use of parrying was one of the first guarding mechanics to prevent chip damage from a blocked-special attack.
Street Fighter IV seriesEdit
Ultra Combos are a spiritual successor to Super Arts from the previous series, requiring a similar change in play style (and, naturally, use of special attacks) based on the selected Ultra.
Certain special attacks are given the Armor Break property; each character has at least one special attack that can knock the foe out of a Super Armored/Focus Attack-charging state (e.g. Ryu's Tatsumaki). In addition to the property, multi-hitting special attacks can also "break" Super Armor.
In the Marvel vs. Capcom series, special attacks and Hyper Combos (the series equivalent of Super Combos) often take on a more "superpowered" form, dealing much more damage and gaining additional properties. Projectiles like the Hadoken appear much larger, while the Shoryuken can be used in midair by certain characters; Hyper Combos like the Shinku Hadoken and Messatsu Gou Hadou take on a beam-like form similar to the Kamehameha from the Dragon Ball series.