Even if you're new to Street Fighter, you're probably familiar with the basic goal: attack your opponent until he's no more. But there are several layers to the gameplay that add much depth and strategy to this very basic goal.
The core of Street Fighter is based around its eight-directional joystick and six-button control scheme. The joystick controls moving forward and back, jumping (up), and crouching (down). In addition, it also allows you to block by pressing away from your opponent during an attack, while either standing or crouching. The buttons each control punches and kicks at varying strength: light, medium, and heavy (the stronger the attack, the slower it is). Of course, there's much more to Street Fighter than just six attacks--by combining directions on the control stick with a series of character-specific button presses, various special moves can be performed--check out our complete "Move List" for each character for a complete rundown of their attacks.
In addition, several other attacks can be performed by tapping two buttons simultaneously, such as grabs (tapping both Light Attack buttons) or Focus Attacks (pressing both Medium Attack buttons).
Grabs & Throwing
As mentioned, grabbing an opponent is as simple as pressing both Light Attack buttons simultaneously while next to them. In addition, you can throw your opponent either forward or backward depending on which way you tilt the joystick. Although throws don't inflict much damage in and of themselves, they are unblockable and can be a great opening for combos, as your opponent will be briefly stunned afterward. However, if you find yourself on the receiving end of a grab attempt, quickly perform a grab of your own to counter, causing you both to "bounce" apart, providing some much needed distance.
Super & Ultra Combos
You'll find two meters at the bottom of the screen. The blue one is for "Super Combos," while the circular red one is for "Ultra Combos." By landing attacks on your opponent, the "Super Meter" begins to fill, whereas the "Ultra Meter" (otherwise known as the "Revenge Gauge") fills by either inflicting or taking damage. Once either meter is full, you can perform the respective combo--check out our Move Lists for each character to learn how. What's the difference between the two? Ultra Combos are slightly more complex, but more powerful, and very stylish looking.
Focus Attacks are a brand new addition to Street Fighter 4. They can be activated at almost any time and allow you to absorb one attack (although the attacks still inflict damage), then immediately counter with one of your own. Here's how it works: Press and hold the Medium Punch + Medium Kick buttons simultaneously to assume the "focus attack" stance. When in this state, you can absorb up to one attack--any more than that will break your stance. Also, throws and "armor break" attacks cannot be absorbed. Following this, you can then unleash your "focus attack" by releasing both buttons--the strength of this attack increases depending on how long you held both buttons. If you charge the attack long enough (about a second), it will actually knock your opponent to the ground, allowing you to follow-up with a free hit. However, if you charge the attack to maximum power (about two seconds) the attack will become unblockable, and will automatically be unleashed.
As mentioned, even though you can absorb an attack during the "Focus Attack" stance, it still causes damage. However, you will regain health as long as you land the Focus Attack. Furthermore, you can cancel a Focus Attack by dashing in either direction (that is, tapping left or right twice quickly), which can be useful for combos.
Focus Attacks & Combos
Another feature of Focus Attacks is their ability to be used in conjunction with Special Moves, resulting in new kinds of chains and combos. At any time during most Special Moves, you can cancel that attack, and go right into a Focus Attacks. From that point, you can then cancel the Focus Attack using a foward dash, and launch into an entirely different attack, enabling new types of combos.
Super Armor & Armor Break Attacks
"Super Armor" refers to any move that allows you to absorb a single attack, such as Focus Attacks and many moves with "EX" variations (as denoted in our Move List). However, even Super Armor attacks aren't immune to everything, as each character has several attacks with Armor Breaking properties. For a complete list, please consult our Move List for each character.
Oh, and did we mention you can taunt your opponent? Simply tap both Heavy Punch + Heavy Kick at the same time to strike fear into the heart of your foe.