When I made the switch to PlayStation 4, I wanted to use it as an opportunity to try something new with Ultra Street Fighter IV. Rose continues to be my main, but I’ve spent a lot of time experimenting with others. This time, I decided to embrace the Satsui No Hado with Evil Ryu.
When he was first revealed as part of a Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition, I let out a groan. His primary reason for existence is so that Capcom could reuse assets from Ryu and other characters to technically create a new one. For a franchise that already had so many characters that shared a similar play style, this was the last thing I wanted to see.
For the first few months of his existence, Evil Ryu did little to generate any sort of buzz. However, it would only take the exploits of one player to make Evil Ryu the hottest character in the game. Hailing from Japan, Sako is widely recognized as a top fighting game player and an absolute combo machine. He talents were first recognized in Darkstalker 3, where he created an insane combo that only he could do, which was dubbed the “Sako Special“.
(Above: Infiltration doing his best “Sako Special” impersonation)
The new “Sako Special” came from his discoveries with Evil Ryu. Having discovered ways of connecting the character’s axe kick into other moves, he created insane combos that pushed the limits of the character and the people playing as him. With this new tech, Evil Ryu players had the potential to take 40% of your life each time he successfully landed a hit.
This damage output wasn’t free though, as it came with a huge catch. Pulling off this symphony of destruction is really hard. If you don’t have supreme muscle memory and dexterity, you’ll force Evil Ryu to flail wildly while leaving him extremely vulnerable to attack. Making things even more difficult is the timing inconsistencies that come with online play. For a character whose key strength requires precision timing, playing as him online can potentially put you at a huge disadvantage. On top of all of that, Evil Ryu suffers from below average health and stun. Dropping a combo here and there can be more than enough to beat him into a pulp.
With years worth of Ryu and Akuma experience under my belt, grasping the basics wasn’t too bad. What continues to allude me after weeks of intense practice and months of dabbling are his max damage combos. Understanding my own limitations, I’ve tried to start with short combos with the ultimate goal of piecing everything together to make large ones. In particular, I’ve constructed my combos in a way to limit the amount of tight links that are required. By focusing on just one or two, I force myself to master those while minimizing my risk if i miss.
Thus far, many of my combos still end with me whiffing a hurricane kick or my opponent blocking a jab. Still, when I do make it work, the effect my truncated combos have is still tremendous. The damage output is great, plus they just look so damn cool. Since I started taking Evil Ryu seriously a few months back, I’ve started to develop more consistency with my combos and a better understanding of how to approach each match. Though I feel like reaching the peak of Evil Ryu excellence is so far away for me, I can’t help but be motivated at the thought of all of this practice ending with me having a killer Evil Ryu in my back pocket.