My Mains: Ryu ❤

#1: Fireball and DP are wonderful inversions of each other.

Moves in fighting games occupy space in both players’ minds; I need to know your options at any given position on the screen, judge the likelihood of your performing any given move based on whatever information I have, and make my own decision accordingly.

#2: Ryu rewards anticipation in both the player and the opponent.

If you’ve read the earlier posts in this series, you know that I am a big fan of characters that reward correctly anticipating your opponent’s actions, or “mind-reading.” Ryu brings the mind-reading element of fighting games to the foreground more than any other character I’ve ever played.


#3: He can do everything because he has to.

Due to the fact that he has two very powerful tools that exist at opposite ends of the move design spectrum in both space and time, and a relatively average set of normal moves, Ryu can do everything. He can keep you out, he can rush you down, he can work high-low mixups and left-right crossups and tick throws and everything else. But he’s not good enough at any one thing to be able to win using only that thing.

#4: His core design is easily adaptable to the game around him.

Ryu hasn’t really changed much from game to game, which makes his changes that much better — it feels like each new move or subtle adjustment is a statement. Collarbone breaker, hop kick, solar plexus, donkey kick, all of these represent someone carefully and respectfully tending to Ryu’s toolset the way I imagine someone delicately pruning a bonsai tree. Someday, I want to curate a MUGEN project that just has a bunch of different designers’ versions of their favorite Ryu.

#5: Ryu’s character journey mirrors the player’s fighting game journey.

Ryu wanders the world in search of stronger opponents. He seeks to challenge himself, to learn and grow, to master his emotions, to find his path. Fighting is how he meets rivals; fighting is how he makes friends; fighting is how he makes both people better.

Thing to fix: Tatsu.

Okay, I’ve written a lot of words about how I love Ryu’s character design and find it personally meaningful and blah blah blah. Now I’m going to take a moment to bag on the fucking Tatsumaki Senpuu Kyaku AKA Hurricane Kick. It’s not the worst move, but fireball/DP are just so good and perfect that the Tatsu always stands out in stark contrast because it just doesn’t fit. It’s not great at any one thing, so you end up using it for a bunch of kind of meh things. You can:

  • Dodge fireballs! Kind of. Except there’s almost never a reason to use this instead of jumping.
  • End a combo! As long as they’re standing up, and you’re not close enough to hit a Dragon Punch.
  • Move forward! Which is handy until you’re playing a game with a dash, or a run, or a fast solar plexus punch, etc.
  • Cross up in mid-air! I hate seeing air tatsu crossups because way the hitbox appears and disappears makes it much harder to read than a typical crossup is, and crossups are already kind of hard to read.



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