One game series has caused more broken controllers, callused hands and victory laps of the living room than any other: Street Fighter.
A humbling 26 years have passed since Ryu and Ken entered their first international martial arts tournament. Over 60 characters have taken to the streets to punch, kick and ultra combo their way to glory, offering an inconceivable number of attacks.
We sought out the knowledge of Street Fighter champ and experienced tutorial maker Matt "Sciar" Rathbun to give us some pro tips, and selected 15 of our own favourite moves from the series, from the classic staple moves to the sublime ultra combos that took weeks to master. Let us know if we missed your favourite move in the comments below. Challenges will be accepted.
Ryu and Ken's Tatsumaki Senpukyaku/Hurricane Kick
Command input: Joystick down, quarter turn clockwise + Kick
Making its appearance in the very first Street Fighter title, the Hurricane Kick is key to Ryu and Ken's arsenal. In its earliest form it allowed players to hit an opponent three times, and was deadly when timed at an onrushing foe.
Zangief's Spinning Piledriver
Command input: Joystick full circle + Punch
One of the slowest characters in the game, but also one of the most powerful, Zangief's Spinning Piledriver was the most damaging move of SFII.
E Honda's Hundred Hand Slap
Command input: Tap punch + direction to move
The Hundred Hand Slap was a brutal tool in E Honda's original armoury - SFII matches could be rather one-sided if you hadn't mastered your jump timing.
Guile's Sonic Boom
Command input: Joystick held backwards, tapped forward + Punch
We're almost certain human muscle tissue can't move an arm fast enough to create a sonic wave, but somehow Guile manages it. His most powerful move when introduced in SFII, it's been his key projectile move throughout the series.
Ryu and Ken's Shoryuken/Rising Dragon Fist
Command input: Forward, down, down-forward + Punch
One of the best anti-air moves of the early Street Fighter titles, Ryu and Ken were totally invincible while performing the rising section of this attack in SFII. Your only hope against it was staying out of its way, and landing a critical blow once the player was descending or landing.
Akuma's Demon Armageddon
Command input: Joystick up, up + All three kick buttons
The owner of some rather terrifying specials, Akuma's second ultra move from Super Street Fighter IV is a thing of beauty. Upon yelling "Accept death!", Akuma quite literally kicks his opponent into the next world, causing the character symbol of "heaven" to appear behind his opponent.
Cody's Last Dread Dust
Command input: Two quarter backward circles + All three punch buttons
Street Fighter is a game of honest, noble sportsmen (and women), heroes and villains who know their part. Apart from Cody, who's just a cheat. Final Fight's criminal would resort to using prison weaponry in Super Street Fighter IV, deploying both a wrench and steel piping for his Last Dread Dust Ultra Combo. You'll wince at the final hit no many how many times you see it.
Balrog's Strong Normals
Tutorial maker and Street Fighter ace Sciar has a preference for the strong techniques of boxer Balrog - moves so crunching that you don't have to rely solely on showy specials. "I find this trait carries over from character to character when I switch up who I'm playing as well," he explains.
Crouched hard punch
"This move is such a strong move for so many characters. Balrog, Guile, even the standard shoto's like Ryu and Akuma will pull this out so often to stop jump ins."
Standing medium kick
"This is an incredibly strong way to shut down anybody trying to sneak in low," says Sciar". I love using this to punish players trying to hit a long sweet or slide in like Ibuki."
Dan's Hissho Buraiken
Command input: Two forward quarter-circles + punch
It's hard to like Dan, what with his taunts and questionable colour choices. However his short-range Hissho Buraiken is a brutal attack if executed properly, unleashing a barrage of kicks and punches before ending with a Koryuken. If your opponent avoids it, you look like a fool.
Gill's Seraphic Wing
Command input: Two forward quarter-circles + Kick
Gill was the controller-ruining nightmare of SF3: Third Strike. If having the ability to resurrect wasn't unfair enough, the Seraphic Wing was a move that can't be parried, and still manages to unleash 25 percent damage if blocked. Darn you Gill. Darn you.
Command input: Two forward quarter-circles + Tapped kick (or all three punch buttons)
Making its first appearance in the Street Fighter Alpha series, Ken's Shinryuken creates a spiraling vacuum of flames that sucks an opponent into his flurry of kicks. The SFIV variant allowed a 17-hit combo if all the moves met their target.
Command input: Tap punch
"The hitbox is so strong on it," explains Sciar, "and the option to double it up lets you really trick out opponents and punish them hard when they're too close to you. If you don't have distance, thunder is extremely hard to circumvent for most characters."
Akuma's Kongou Kokuretsuzan
Command input: Joystick down three times + Two punch buttons
The Supreme Master of the Fist had this rather deadly secret Super Art up his sleeve in SF3: Third Strike - his "ultimate technique", which would bring down the power of the heavens on anyone too slow to dodge the shockwaves.
Command input: Two forward quarter circles + Punch
The original heroine of the series, Chun-li's devastating ki energy attack is so powerful it can often knock an opponent out of the way before it deals its full damage. Best used as to finish a long combo when your foe is trapped in a corner.
Vega's Bloody High Claw
Command input: Joystick held diagonally down, slide to opposite corner + All three kick buttons
Street Fighter's eternal narcissist has been a consistent source of eye-catching moves, but there's something particularly brutal about the Bloody High Claw. An insanely quick attack, but you look quite the fool if you miss with your first swipe.
Alex's Hyper Bomb
Command input: Full circle + Punch when next to opponent
One of the most powerful moves of SF3's main protagonist. The Hyper Bomb was infuriatingly difficult to pull off, but could help turn the tide of a battle in one swift sequence - emptying up to half an opponent's health. It did even more damage if they were unfortunate enough to have their back to you.
Crimson Viper's Burning Dance
Command input: Two backward quarter-circles + All three kicks
A newbie to Street Fighter IV, anyone who spent some time investing in this mysterious agent soon found she had a lethal range of unorthodox moves. We think this brutal Ultra Combo was one of the best looking of Super Street Fighter IV - humbling to be on the receiving end of it, cause of boundless joy if you dish it out.