If you are like me, you had some trouble figuring out all those wonky quarter circles in classic fighting games like Street Fighter II. The concept of going down to forward in a mere fraction of a second hurt both your brain and your thumbs alike. Luckily, there was an alternative for you: the charge character.
Charge characters were characters like Guile, Blanka, E. Honda, and Chun Li. Instead of having to futz around with quarter circles or dragon punch motions, the only thing you had to do was hold one direction for two seconds before pressing the opposite direction and an attack button. Simpler to pull off right? According to Ultra Street Fighter IV assistant producer Tomoaki Ayano in a statement to Siliconera, charge characters were made for this very reason, to give players who had a hard time figuring out how to do special motions a simpler and easy character to control.
Back in the days of Street Fighter II, this might have seemed to be the case. However, as fighting games were sculpted by emergent gameplay, it ended up being anything but. Charge moves could not be done “on reaction” which means you can’t pull them out whenever you want. Since you have to be holding back to enable a charge move to be executed, you have to be planning for it, and more importantly, you can’t really be on the offensive. As a result, charge moves tended to be slightly more powerful than motion moves. Just look at the size and range of Guile’s flash kick as opposed to Ryu’s shoryuken. A million different techniques, including charge partitioning, charge buffering, and even special motions that make Street Fighter’s input system think you are charging when you really aren’t, have been developed to compensate for the need to hold back or down when playing a charge character. In a way, they have become vastly more complicated than their motion move counterparts.
Enter Decapre, the latest addition to the Ultra Street Fighter roster. Much criticized for being a clone of Cammy with a mask, Capcom has repeatedly said that Decapre will play very differently from her counterpart. One of the ways that she will play differently is that she is a charge character, and most players believed that this would be to balance her incredibly aggressive move set. However, Capcom’s philosophy is quite the opposite. Decapre is a charge character because Capcom once again wanted a simple character that would interest newcomers.
“Keep in mind that [Decapre’s] move set goes deeper than just charge techniques as well,” Ayano said. “She has a move called the Rapid Dagger that is executed by repeated button presses, for instance. She’s actually rather easy to control and I think she’ll prove to be enjoyable for users of all skill levels.”
Of course, then the question becomes “Will Decapre be too powerful?” If it’s easy to pull out her large variety of teleports, command dashes, throws, overheads and mix-up techniques, then will she become unbalanced in relation to the rest of the roster? What do you think? Should Capcom be trying to make charge characters newbie friendly? Will you be picking up Decapre? Let us know in the comments.
Senior Contributing Writer