Skullgirls/Game Elements/Gameplay Screen
In addition to the characters on screen, other directions, messages, display elements, and menus appear during normal gameplay.
After introductions, matches begin with a "Ladies and Gentlemen?" message followed by "Showtime!" to signal the start of the round. In a match between solo teams, "Take" with the round number displays first and "Action" starts the round. In either version, an announcer's voice will accompany the messages with a randomly chosen phrase. Characters can't move or attack before the start of the round, but direction inputs still count for immediate special moves or a surprise Blockbuster.
- Character Portraits: A circular portrait, character specific icon, and name represent the player controlled characters. Additional, off screen characters have a smaller portrait with no name at the start of their life bar.
- Life Bar: The character life bars start at a green colored 100% at the start of the round. When taking damage, the bar drains towards the center of the screen from the yellow color at the front of the bar to the orange at the end near the timer. In a team, the second-in-line character's life bar appears above the point character and the third character appears on top. The life bar turns a dark red to represent all damage dealt by an attack or combo in progress. After it ends, the dark red section disappears showing the black background. The bright red section left in the life bar after damage is dealt represents recoverable damage.
- Timer: The timer counts down from a default 99 to 0 at the top center of the screen. When time runs out, the round will be rewarded by decision to the team with the most life remaining by total percentage. Players can't input any additional commands after time runs out, but any attacks in progress will continue and still deal damage even after the round has been decided.
- Dramatic Tension Gauge: The gauge fills around the edge of the character portrait, starting under the character's icon and ending at a level counter. Attacking the opponent and taking damage fill the gauge, with the level counter representing the number of levels stocked for the player. Blockbusters, Outtakes, Stunt Doubles, and Blockbuster Sequels all use one or more levels of Dramatic Tension.
- Ensemble Indicator: A small red and green indicator shows when the player can call Ensembles from an off screen character. The indicator will not light up either signal for a solo character team.
- Drama Gauge: A lengthy combo will build Drama for the defending character, filling the Drama Gauge. Filling the gauge triggers an Infinity Breaker and it will rapidly drain when a combo ends.
- Lead Indicator: The team with highest percent of total health remaining has the "Leader" tag above their health bar.
- Rounds Counter: In a match between solo teams, circular round win counters appear under the character's life bar. These display the character's icon after winning a round.
- Win Counter: In Versus mode, the total number of wins for the player will appear above the life bars next to the Lead Indicator. Stars indicate the player has won the last game. The win counter will reset when restarting Versus mode.
When either player executes a combination of 2 or more attacks, the combo counter appears under their HUD. As players land longer combos, the count goes up then flashes and displays a fanfare message when the combo ends.
Either player can pause the game by pressing and holding the start button during gameplay. The pause menu appears accompanied by the announcer. The game unpauses when the player hits start again. In a Versus mode game, a short tap of the pause button (less than 15f) will not pause the game. The pause menu gives the pausing player following options:
- Training Mode On/Off: From Versus mode, turning on training mode immediately switches the game to the Practice Room default settings. This freezes the timer, giving both characters unlimited life and Dramatic Tension, and leaves all remaning characters under player control.
- Button Config: Either player can enter the button configuration dialogue from a pause. Button configuration binds a sequence of buttons to commands in the following order: LP, MP, HP, LK, MK, HK. After the six attack buttons are set the player can add up to 2 additional buttons as macros. Holding an unused button then pressing any main attack buttons will bind those attack buttons to the same macro button. Many players want to set some of the 2 button universal commands as a macro.
- End the Match: Forfeits the match in progress and gives both players the same choices as the end of match menu.
During a match between two solo character teams, the first player to win 2 rounds wins the match. Each round ends with a down where the losing character gets up with a full health bar while the "Take 2" or "Take 3" message appears on screen. The victorious character keeps their health bar and remains under player control. All button inputs are disabled during the down.
For any match up other than a 1v1, one round decides the match.
End of Match
At the end of the match a "That's a Wrap" message will show accompanied by the announcer. Additional messages will also show according to the total team life remaining for the victorious team. If the winning team took no damage during the match, a "Perfect" message will appear with "Hit On All Sixes". Any characters left standing will preform a unique victory or defeat animation. If both teams are dealt fatal damage at the same time or both teams have equal life at time out, it will result in a draw. Single round team matches will repeat a single round in a draw game. Draw rounds in 1v1 matches will repeat a single round.
The end of the match offers 180f for the winning team to take other actions. If the match ends during a Blockbuster, the victorious character has 60f window to use a Blockbuster Sequel. Some players find gloating, taunting, dancing around, and dealing additional damage to a corpse helps opponents learn from their mistakes. The winner by time out will not change as a result any additional damage that occurs after the round ends.
In Versus Mode, winning a match brings the player's win counter up and the end of match menu appears with the following:
- Again! If both players choose this option, the match restarts with the same teams, stage, and game mode.
- Change Characters: If either player chooses to change characters, the game will return to the start of the character select screen. If one player chooses "Again!" it will preserve the team and that player will return to the stage select step.
- Change Stage: This option allows a player to return to the stage select step on the character select screen.