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 special move inputs are still considered.
- 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.
- Meter 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. supers, snapbacks, alpha counters, and DHCs all use one or more levels of meter.
- Assist Indicator: A small red and green indicator shows when the player can call assists from an off screen character. The indicator will not light up either signal for a solo character team.
- Undizzy Bar: A lengthy combo will build undizzy for the defending character, filling the undizzy Gauge. Filling the gauge triggers a burst 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 meter, and leaves all remaining 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 super, the victorious character has 60f window to use a DHC. 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.
Character Select Screen
Starting either single player game mode, a versus mode game, or entering the Practice Room will bring the players to the Character Select Screen. Pressing the select button always undoes the last choice made by the player.
The Variable Tag Battle system allows players to choose a 1, 2, or 3 character team and use it in a balanced fight against an enemy team of any size. Players must choose a team size first at the character select screen. The team size matchup determines the Life and Damage multiplier for both teams. A solo character will have more life and deal more damage than an individual character on duo team, and even more than a character on a trio team.
If both players choose to play solo, the game will be scored as 2 out of 3 rounds. If a larger team is chosen by at least one player, the game will have only one round. As in most fighting games, rounds can be won by either draining the opponents life bar for a KO or having more total team life when the timer reaches 0. All possible matches use the same timer and game speed.
After choosing a team size players, players can highlight and choose their first character with any attack button. Using combinations of 1-6 attack buttons will choose the character with a specific color palette. Hitting start while highlighting the character will tentatively select the character and allow the player to cycle through the all available alternate color palettes (and view the attack button hotkey) before making this important choice. Pressing start while the color picker is up will select a random color.
Alternate Voice Packs
With a 2 or 3 character team, players must choose an assist for the character before selecting their next character or completing their team selection. All characters have a choice between two pre-set assists and the option for a custom assist.
Choosing a custom action for an assist brings up a input dialogue, which displays directional and attack button inputs. As the player preforms an attack the dialogue will show the attack by name. The player can then confirm the attack as the assist choice or return to the start of the input dialogue to record another move. Custom assists must be ground moves and require exactly one press of an attack button.
After both players have completed their team selection, either character may choose a stage or keep the default option of a random stage. Selecting random stage will cause Versus Mode rematches to select a random stage before the start of every new match. Specific buttons and button combinations act as hotkeys when selecting a stage, similar to selecting a character's color palette.
During stage selection, pressing Up, Down, or Neutral with either Macro 1 or Macro 2 button will save the player's selected team size, characters, alternate colors, and assists as an Entourage. Pressing a macro button while selecting team size will pick the Entourage. Versus Mode and the Training Room allow Entourage selection and saving a new Entourage. Online play disables saving a new Entourage, but still allows Entourage selection. Entourages are completely disabled in Story Mode.
By default, a team will start a match in the order they were chosen on the character select screen. Holding an Tag In command on the loading screen before a match will switch team order immediately before the fight, which can be useful for confusing an opponent or simply fixing a mistake. For a two character team, holding any assist command will switch the second character to start on point. For a three character team:
- Holding the Tag In command for the second-in-line character (MP+MK) will swap the first and second characters.
- Holding the Tag In command for the third-in-line character (HP+HK) will swap the first and second characters.
- Holding both Tag In commands at the same time (MP+MK+HP+HK) will swap the second and third characters.
|Skullgirls 2nd Encore+|
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