Universal Fighting Game Guide: 5 Tips to Help You Come Back From a Huge Life Deficit

EVO moment #37 is to date, the most legendary fighting game moment of all-time. Odds are, even if you don’t actively follow the fighting game scene, you’ve seen the above video of Daigo, playing as Ken, making the most unbelievable comeback against Justin Wong’s Chun-Li, which ended with an unreal example of dexterity.

In this installment of the Universal Fighting Game Guide, let’s talk about the comebacks in fighting games. More specifically, tips to help you come back from a huge life deficit. We’ll use the classic EVO moment #37 video and the full match video to break down some overarching tips that you can use to turn the tides like Daigo did years ago.

1. Never give up

Until you’ve lost all your health, you’ve always got a shot at winning, regardless of how badly the deck is stacked against you. I’m sure you’ve made comebacks in your time playing fighting games, as have almost everyone else that’s played a fighting game before. If for whatever reason you need more proof, check out LiangHuBBB‘s comeback compilation videos, of which there are now more than two dozen. With the right amount of intelligence and perseverance, you can overcome just about anything in a fighting game.

2. Have a full grasp on the situation

Once you’re in a life deficit, it’s mission critical that you fully understand the situation you’re in far beyond the fact that you’re way low on health. Let’s use the above screen shot of the Daigo vs. Justin match to illustrate this point. You should be thinking in this level of detail:

– Ken will die if he takes one hit by anything stronger than a crouching medium kick, which means his margin for error is slim
– It’s going to take Ken more than one super combo to finish off Chun-Li, who almost has a full life bar
– Ken has two full super meters available to him
– Chun-Li does not have a full super meter stocked, as she just burned the one she had on a super combo
– There’s 56 seconds left on the clock

Knowing all of the factors around your situation will help you formulate a gameplan.

3. Have a full grasp on what your opponent wants to do

Clearly your opponent wants to finish you off. However, you can deduce a lot more about your opponent than that. For one, odds are your opponent will be anxious to finish off the match. They will likely play more aggressive in hopes of landing a lucky hit to end things. Knowing this, you may want to consider using their aggressiveness against them. Based on the character they’re using, you may have a better idea on the specific moves or tactics they may want to use to finish you off. Most importantly, make sure you have a grasp on your opponent’s strengths, weaknesses and any other information you can gather to help you formulate a gameplan.

4. Based on everything you know, formulate a gameplan

In the full match video around 2:17, Daigo is seen simply pacing back and forth, not making any sort of attempt to fight. The crowd laughs at the humor in the situation. In reality, Daigo is taking a second to think through what the best course of action is. You may not always have the luxury of time to think things through, but you must have some sort of gameplan to execute in order to win.

Based on what I’ve seen in the video, his plan was to be the aggressor. He employs a number of frame traps, tick throws and other aggressive yet relatively safe tactics to keep him from getting hit.

If you can, you must think through contingency plans as well. In the video, Daigo gets hit by a crouching medium kick, which leaves him with virtually zero health. Knowing that his initial plan would not work with the new health situation, he goes into plan B. Recognizing that Justin is gearing up to unleash his super, Daigo instead stands his ground, ready to parry and counter.

5. Execute flawlessly

With all of the thinking ‘out of the way’, it’s time to execute. You have very little room for error at this point, so make every input count. Don’t let nerves or any outside factors affect the way you execute your plan. The most obvious example of perfect execution happens at the end of the Daigo vs. Justin video, where Daigo parries every single hit of Justin’s super combo and follows it up with a super combo of his own. Had he failed to parry any one of those Chun-Li hits, the match would have been over. But thanks to careful thought and excellent execution, he created fighting game history.

I can’t guarantee that these tips will help you parry a Chun-Li super in Third Strike, but hopefully this helps you successfully come back from huge life deficits with greater frequency.

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