My Mains: Athena (Capcom vs. SNK 2)

#1: Her visual + vocal flair rubs off on the player.

I’m gonna talk a whole bunch about gameplay stuff in the next few sections, but I wanted to point out something rad about her audio/visual design, first.

Rumor has it she’s the only one in King of Fighters who changes her clothes.

#2: She has a lot of bad special moves.

Athena can do almost everything a fighting game character can do, but she’s not very good at it. She has:

  • A fireball that is useful pretty much only at max range,
  • A divekick that doesn’t really set anything up,
  • A command grab with the worst range in the game,
  • A teleport that she can be thrown out of,
  • A Dragon Punch with very poor invincibility, and
  • A projectile reflector that isn’t very good.

#3: She has two very good normal moves.

When you start playing Athena in CvS2, there’s basically two buttons you need to learn: crouching fierce punch beats or trades with practically every attack in the game, including some jumping attacks, and standing medium punch is a decent anti-air (though it only works against certain incoming attack angles).

Push, poke, PSYCHO BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALL

#4: Lots of highly situational moves + CvS2’s systems = multi-dimensional, versatile character.

So even with all the stuff that I’ve described so far, Athena would still be pretty garbage if you plugged her into a random Street Fighter game. All of these weird tool combinations really only get cookin’ once you plug her into CvS2, because the groove system and the team format create some really cool interactions with her moveset.

Custom Combos make everything useful.

#5: Her strength isn’t dependent on combos.

At no point do you have to master a combo in order to play an effective Athena, and this is something I come back to more and more as I get deeper into fighting games. Modern fighting games are generally built around combos to some degree. Athena barely has any. She wins by baiting and trapping and being frustrating and hitting lots of crouching fierces, but outside her A-Groove custom combo, she rarely strings more than two attacks together, and that’s usually a jumping roundhouse kick followed by a crouching fierce punch.

GET PUSHED HOMIE

Thing that needs fixing: Her stubby-ass normals.

Athena is tiny and her limbs are super short, even for a Street Fighter game. She gets every pixel of extension out of those arms and legs as she can, but it’s still not much, which means that she’s usually either in range to hit you with any of her buttons, or none of her buttons, with very little room for subtlety in the footsies dance. I’d love to give her a few moves where she moves forward/backward in the startup frames; she has one or two right now, but they’re not actually useful in footsies, and she’d be even more dynamic if she was able to operate at ranges besides Fireball Here and Fierce Here.

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