Guilty Gear XX

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Game Release Summary
Title Guilty Gear XX reload
System N/A
Release Date 31 July 2003
Developer Arc System Works
Publisher Sega
Aliases Guilty Gear Reload,
/ ("slash")

Guilty Gear XX is a weapons fighter set in a dystopic future. Technology and Science has decayed away to be replaced by the more potent Magic. More than a century has passed since the start of the Gear Project, a project to create genetically-engineered magic-infused creatures. The world is ravaged by the aftermath of a Commander Gear named Justice who started a decades-long war against the humans called the "Holy War", who was finally neutralized (twice) by the elite Holy Order of the Sacred Knights. It was neutralized the second time after Testament had attempted to begin the Holy War anew. A short while later, with the world still reeling from the Holy War, another Commander Gear is discovered, and a large bounty is posted on the head of (peaceful) Dizzy to eliminate any further organized Gear threats. The new Gear is reported as destroyed at the hands of Jam, and secretly whisked away amongst the Jellyfish Pirates (Johnny, May, et al).

The game title is an allusion to one of the main characters, Sol Badguy, a free-willed human Gear. In the original Guity Gear storyline, Sol is the one responsible for bringing to an end (killing?) the Commander Gear named Justice (who was a threat to the world and all of humanity, anyway). Thus, the guilty Gear.

The predecessors to Guilty Gear XX ^ Core and what they lack compared to it (newest first):

  • Guilty Gear XX Slash("GGXXS", "XX Slash", or "Slash") Force breaks and wall skidding didn't exist.
  • Guilty Gear XX #Reload ("GGXXR", "GGXX#R", or "#R") - Holy Order Sol didn't exist yet.
  • Guilty Gear XX ("GGXX", "GGX2", or "XX") - Robo-Ky was not available.
  • Gulity Gear X ("GGX") - no False Roman Cancel, no Dust button, no Psych Burst, Slayer, Bridget, I-no, Zappa not in the game.
  • Guilty Gear ("GG", or "GG1") (Playstation 1 only) - no Faultless Defense, Tension is Chaos, running turned into ramming (returned with Robo-Ky), had Charging (returned with Holy Order Sol), Instant Kill was triggered differently, among other differences. Dizzy, Anji, Johnny, Jam, Slayer, Bridget, I-no, Zappa not in the game.

Game spinoffs of the Guilty Gear series include:

  • Guilty Gear Petit - Rendition of GGX for Wanderswan portable game system.
  • Guilty Gear X Advance Edition - Port of GGX for Nintendo GameBoy Advance.
  • Guilty Gear Isuka - Four-player extension of GGXXR.
  • Guilty Gear Dust Strikers - Port of GGXXR for Nintendo DS portable system.
  • Guilty Gear Judgment - Sidescroller Port of Slash(JPN) or GGXR(ENG) for PSP.
  •  ???


The controls for Guilty Gear is unusual compared to most other fighting games. The correct arcade layout resembles this (numbers indicate the joystick directions):

7 8 9    (K) (S) (HS)
4(5)6    (P)     (D)
1 2 3

In particular, Kick (K), Slash (S), and Hard Slash (HS) are on the first row. In the second row are Punch (P), an empty spot, and Dust (D). It may help to think of the buttons as being in a "rainbow" formation instead of row formations.

While the Start/Taunt (T) button has no assigned position, the two Start buttons should not be close to each other, to avoid accidentally (or not,,,) forcing the other player into a disruptively vulnerable Taunt animation.

A Capcom control panel can be quickly converted into a suitable Guilty Gear panel by removing or disabling the MK button. The buttons can be reassigned in the arcade setup menu, avoiding rewiriing.

Common Arcade Bastardizations:

  • The arcade mechanic just reads off the setup menu ("Punch", "Kick", "Slash", "Hard Slash", "Dust") and assigns the buttons in reading order (top-left to bottom-right):
    P  K  S
    HS    D
  • The arcade mechanic is in the Capcom mentality of punches in top row and kicks in bottom row:
    P  S  HS
    K     D

Game Mechanics

  • Normal Attacks: The standard attacks that every character has access to are Punch (P), Kick (K), Slash (S), Hard Slash (HS), and Dust (D) (see below), each of which can be done while standing, crouching, or jumping (in mid-air). In addition to this, the Slash attack has two forms: close Slash, written as S(c), and far Slash, written as S(f); however, close and far Slash can only be done while standing.
  • Command Normal: A normal attack which varies by character, performed by pressing Forward and any attack button except Dust. All characters have a Forward Punch attack which (except for Testament's, which instead hits as an overhead attack) offers upper-body invincibility, and all characters except for Bridget have a Forward Hard Slash attack that deals the most damage that any normal attack can. Most characters have a Forward Kick attack, and the properties of these vary. Only Bridget has a Forward Slash attack; this attack is the equivalent of other characters' Forward Hard Slash.
  • Taunting: This is a move used solely to show off or taunt the other player. It typically deals no actual damage, although some characters' taunts, such as Chipp's, will do 1 damage point. Taunting adds a small amount of tension to the opponent's tension gauge. Taunting after winning will cause the opponent to start the following round (within the same match) with 50% tension - this is called rakushou, which is Japanese for "easy win".
  • Respect: Holding forward while hitting the taunt button will cause your character to do an alternate taunt called a "respect". Aesthetically, this taunt has the character pause to praise the opponent's fighting style. Unlike a taunt, a respect can be cancelled with a move or ground movement at any time, and thus can be used to trick a player into believing that their opponent is vulnerable.
  • Dashing: By tapping forward (backward) twice, the character can dash forward very briefly (hop backwards). If a forward dash is executed and the directional button is held after dashing forward, the character will run forward. Forward dashing can be instantly cancelled if one uses the Faultless Defense (see below) maneuver. Backdashing gives the player some frames of invulnerability, allowing the character to avoid certain attacks with a well-timed dash.
  • Air Dashing or AD: A dash performed after having already jumped into the air. Each character except for Potemkin can air dash once, and Millia and Dizzy can air dash twice. Air dashing provides no invulnerability frames and cannot be cancelled with Faultless Defense.
  • Instant Air Dashing or IAD: An advanced technique which allows the character to instantly air dash from the ground and immediately perform air attacks. It is performed by quickly tapping forward after jumping forwards, or quickly tap back after jumping backwards, and works because the computer recognizes the forward jump as the first motion for the air dash, so the player only needs to tap one more time to follow up.
  • High Jump, Super Jump, HJ or SJ: Tapping Down and then quickly pushing Up makes the character jump higher than normal. A high jump can also be performed diagonally (pushing Up-Right, or Up-Left). A trail of "shadows" follows the character during a High Jump.
  • Double Jump or DJ: A character can jump directly up or diagonally up while already in the air. This is useful for avoiding attacks or confusing the opponent. A double jump cannot usually be performed after a High Jump.
  • Gatling Cancel or Gatling Combo: If a successful normal attack is performed while standing, crouching or in mid-air, and is quickly followed up with a second normal or command normal attack, the character will "cancel" the recovery frames of their initial attack into the second attack and the opponent will not have the opportunity to block the second attack. This, in turn, can be followed by another attack, usually one of equal or greater damage, and so on, allowing skilled players to chain up long combos.
  • Just Link: Similar to gatling cancels and special cancels, a "just link" allows the player to link together two attacks (usually normal -> normal or occasionally normal -> special) that, normally, cannot be linked together via gatling cancel or special cancel. What distinguishes a "just link" is the precise timing required to link the moves, which is usually in the range of 1-3 frames, and that very few moves can be "just linked". (One famous example is #R Slayer's S(c)-S(f)-> (just link) S(c)-S(f), although there are certainly others.)
  • Special Cancel: If a successful normal attack is quickly followed up with a particular special attack, the character can "cancel" the recovery frames of the normal attack into the special attack. Usually, special attacks themselves cannot cancel into other moves (although they can still link to other attacks), requiring Roman Cancels (see below) to allow further attacks to be made after a special attack.
  • Jump Cancel or JC: If certain "jump-cancellable" attacks are executed successfully while either standing or in mid-air, pushing Back-Up or Forward-Up will "cancel" the recovery frames of the attack into a jump. This may allow the player to follow their opponent into the air for an air combo. Jump-cancelling in the air after an air attack is called Double Jump Cancelling or DJC. One can High Jump Cancel or HJC a "jump-cancellable" attacks into a high jump. High jump cancelling can also allow the player to follow their opponent into the air for an air combo, but usually does not allow double jump cancelling.
  • Throw: Pressing Forward/Back and Hard Slash when near an opponent will perform a throw, which typically knocks the character to the ground.
  • Air Throw: This is the same as throwing on the ground, except the range of such a throw is usually double that of a normal throw. Individual characters' air throws can vary - for example, Venom's and Anji's air throw will "float" the character further into the air, and several other characters can induce "wallbounce", allowing combos to be made after the throw. It is also possible to combo into an air throw if the air throw is performed on the first frame the opponent recovers (in mid-air) from an attack.
  • Dust Attack: An overhead attack which launches the enemy into the air, after which the character may press Up to follow the character into the air and continue attacking. Although the execution time and recovery for this move is slow, it is still a viable mix-up option and can lead into damaging knockdown combos.
  • Blocking: The standard way to defend against an opponent's attack is to block it. Blocking is done by holding Back on the D-pad/stick; however, until the opponent actually attacks, the character will simply walk backwards. After blocking an attack, it will take a certain amount of time before you recover from the block and are able to continue moving and fighting. (This effect is called block stun.)
  • Instant Block: (AKA IB) An instant block is a block that is executed at the exact moment (specifically, the exact frame) the opponent's attack would otherwise hit you. If done correctly, your character will flash white very briefly and react from the block much more quickly (i.e. you will incur less block stun), allowing you to interrupt your opponents attack combos, for example.
  • Recovery or Teching: After being knocked into the air or struck after being knocked down, pressing any direction except Down and any attack button except Dust will allow the character to "recover" or "tech out", regaining control. Recovery will not work against certain attacks which disallow recovering.
  • Tension Gauge: This bar increases whenever the character performs certain actions such as attacking, blocking and running toward his opponent. If a player performs a taunt move, his opponent's tension gauge also raises slightly. Expending part or all of one's accumulated tension, or having a certain amount of tension in reserve, enables the use of certain special abilities:
  • Overdrive Attack or Super: Each character has one or more unique overdrive attacks, such as Ky's Ride the Lightning or Sol's Tyrant Rave. Using one of these moves costs 50% of a full tension bar. An overdrive attack is typically a more complex move to pull off than other attacks. Certain characters' overdrive attacks grant a short period of invincibility during the move's start-up, which can allow a well-timed overdrive to protect against an opponent's incoming attack.
  • Dead Angle Attack or DAA: While blocking against an attack, holding forward and any two attack buttons will push the opponent away and knock them down. This requires 50% of a full tension bar. This move is not guaranteed to hit, and experienced players can bait their opponent to use a DAA, block it, and then punish their opponent's mistake.
  • Faultless Defense or FD: Holding Punch and Kick while blocking will create a green ring that rotates around the character, negating any block damage and increasing pushback from the opponent's attacks. This is the only way for a mid-air character to block attacks from a grounded (standing) character. Faultless defense gradually expends the tension gauge, the player must still pay attention to attack levels - i.e., a standing FD will not defend a low attack.
  • Roman Cancel or RC: Pushing any three Attack buttons (except Dust) during a successful attack will perform a Roman Cancel, which cuts the attack's animation short and expends 50% of a full tension gauge. Whereas most attacks are followed by a recovery delay during which the player cannot attack or defend, a well-timed Roman Cancel lets you ignore this recovery time, allowing the creation of some particularly innovative combos. ("Roman Cancel" is thought to be an abbreviation of "Romantic Cancel", although what that could possibly be referring to is unknown.)
  • False Roman Cancel or FRC: Performing a Roman Cancel during certain attacks will instead perform a False Roman Cancel, requiring 25% of the tension gauge instead of the full 50% giving off the blue flash instead of the normal red one. Its disadvantage is it can only be done in specific animations of the attack, making the timing more difficult. ("False Roman Cancel" is thought by some players to be a mistranslation of "Force Roman Cancel".)
  • Staggering: Certain attacks will make a character "staggered", a state in which they are stunned and cannot block or avoid additional attacks or make attacks. However, the character's recovery can be sped up by by shaking the stick or quickly "mashing" on the D-pad and the buttons.
  • Counter Hit: (AKA CH) If a character is about to execute an attack (that is, their attack animation has started but the attack itself hasn't become "active") and they are interrupted ("countered") by an attack from the opponent, then the interrupting attack is a "counter hit". Counter hits have differing properties depending on what move was used in the counter hit.
  • Dizzy: A character is hit for a lot of damage over a short period of time can become "dizzy", a state similar to being staggered except that little birds fly around the character's head, and the status lasts for longer. Recovery can be sped up in the same method as recovering from being staggered. (Not to be confused with the character named "Dizzy".)
  • Psyche Burst or Burst: Put simply, the Burst Gauge is a gauge located below the life gauge which carries over from one round of the match to the next and allows the player to expend part of the bar to "burst" (or make Burst Attacks). This burst is activated by pressing any attack button and Dust simultaneously, and has two purposes. The first is to break out of an opponent's combo by knocking them away, a technique known as the "blue burst". This deals no damage, but it gives the character back one third of their burst gauge if successful. The second purpose is to hit the opponent with the burst attack itself, a technique called a "gold burst". If this attack hits, it fills the attacker's tension gauge to maximum. One should note that although there are several frames of invincibility at the start of the burst attack, it is possible to be air-thrown out of a burst attempt if the air throw occurs before the burst effect becomes active.
  • Guard Gauge: A small bar located underneath the player's life bar, this indicates how much the player has been blocking. This gauge starts filled midway, decreases as the character takes damage and increases as they block damage, returning gradually to midway while they do neither. A low guard gauge decreases damage taken, reducing the effectiveness of each successive hit of an opponent's combo. If the gauge goes high enough that it flashes, attacks that hit the character are considered "counter hits" and may have certain predefined attack properties depending on the attack used. Unlike other games with a guard gauge, a full guard gauge does not cause a guard crush.
  • Instant Kill Technique or IK: Simultaneously pressing all 4 attack buttons causes the character to go into an Instant Kill mode where the tension gauge turns red and starts to gradually decrease. The character can unleash a special Instant Kill Attack while in this mode, which kills the opponent if it hits but extinguishes the attacker's tension bar for the entire round if it misses. Should the tension gauge reduce to zero in this mode, the character's life bar will decrease at the same rate until the attack is performed or Instant Kill mode is canceled by the same 4 buttons. The Instant Kill is difficult to use successfully and is usually only possible on a "dizzied" character, and other states where it is impossible to block (eg. after Sol misses with a Grand Viper).
  • Adjusted Damage: There are two reason why some characters take more damage than others: the defense modifier (ratio), and the guts rating of a character. For example, Chipp's defense mod is 1.30, so he takes 130% damage of whatever damage is dealt to him, while Potemkin has a defense of 0.87 takes only 87% of the original damage. In regard to the guts rating, a character will take less damage when they have less health left, so an attack which remove the character's first 5% of health will not remove all of his last 5%. Furthermore, the guts system adjusts damage differently for overdrive attacks than for special and normal ones.
  • The "Tiger Knee" (TK) Maneuver: (AKA Tiger-Kneeing) While not officially mentioned, many players have observed and exploited this phenomenon. Aerial-only special and overdrive attacks can be performed close to the ground, even to the extent of effectively BEING on the ground by performing the necessary directional motion and then moving quickly to diagonally up-back or up-forward (whichever is more convenient) before pressing the necessary attack button.
  • Jump Install or JI: A glitch in Guilty Gears X and an actual feature then on, jump installing can allow you to double jump and airdash in situations where you normally could not. Moves that take you off the ground and into the air usually prevent you from double jumping after an FRC or RC. By Jump Installing, you make the game engine consider you in a jumping state before you execute the move. Jump installing is usually is performed by pressing up during a Jump Cancelable move and then canceling into another normal or a special before you have a chance to jump. This can allow for longer and more damaging combos. There are also other types and techniques for Jump Istalling, such as TK Jump Installing or Super Jump Installing.

Basic Strategy

Rule 1: Hit them a lot.

Rule 2: Don't get hit.

I. Hitting them a lot:

  • Universal Anti-Air: 6P (except Testament). All characters with such a move have upper-body (above-waist) invulnerability. Variations are in the exact size and height of invulnerability, attack range, and animation timing (some are slow, some are fast). See Command Normal above.
  • Universial Mid/Overhead hit: 5D. All Dust Launcher attacks must be blocked high. All Dust Launchers are also very slow to connect. Some characters have extra overhead attacks (e.g. Testament 6P).
  • Universal Sweep: 2D (except Robo-Ky). Some characters have more than one sweep attacks.
  • Universal power attack: 6H (except Bridget). Often very slow and qutie often very painful. See Command Normal above.
  • Basic Gatling Combo: P, K, S, H, D. Generally, all characters can Gatling in this order, though not all attacks can be involved (e.g. Johnny's far Slash cannot Gatling into Hard Slash).

II. Don't get hit.

  • Aerial Faultless Defense: air 4 P K. FD is the only way to block a ground-to-air attack (i.e. when you are in the air and your attacking opponent is still on the ground).
  • Backdash: 4, 4. Backdashing grants you a short period of invulnerability, thus doubling as a dodge. The timing of backdashes and invulnerability is different for each character.
  • Double Jump: air 7/8/9. A late double-jump can be used as an evasive maneuver.
  • Air Dash: air 4, 4 (backwards) or 6, 6 (forward). Air dashing changes your trajectory and distance.

Advanced Strategy

Tier List


S Class: Eddie

A Class: Jam, Millia, Slayer, Robo-Ky

B Class: Bridget, Venom, Faust, Axl, Dizzy

C Class: Sol, Ky, I-No, Potemkin, Johnny

D Class: May, Testament, Baiken

E Class: Anji, Zappa, Chipp


Tier list as of December 2005 in the Arcadia Magazine

S Class: Ky

A Class: Sol --- Faust --- Testament --- Potemkin --- Anji

B Class: A.B.A --- Millia --- Chipp --- Baiken --- Johnny --- Jam --- Axl --- Slayer --- Ino

C Class: May --- Eddie --- Venom --- Bridget

D Class: Order Sol --- Dizzy --- Zappa --- Robo Ky

Accent Core

S Class: Testament, Eddie, Slayer

A Class: Baiken, Potemkin, Jam, May, Millia

B Class: Axl, A.B.A, Zappa, Robo-Ky, Order-Sol, Faust, Venom

C Class: Sol, Ky, Dizzy, Chipp, I-no

D Class: Anji, Bridget, Johnny

The Characters

Change List

Guilty Gear XX/Change List #Reload,Slash,Accent Core,Accent Core+R