The King of Fighters '98: Ultimate Match/Ralf Jones
Ralf is a pretty cool guy. He fights people on the ground and in the air, and to my knowledge, isn’t afraid of anything (’cept snakes. dear God WHY does it always have to be snakes?).
His normal moves have been nerfed, but he’s probably still The King of Normals in this game. Also, the charge time required for Gatling Attack and Ralf Kick has been increased from OG, making him harder to use.
At a glance
|Dynamite Headbutt||(throw) f/b + C|
|Northern Light Bomb||(throw) f/b + D|
|Gatling Attack||b (charge) f + P|
|Ralf Kick||b (charge) f + K|
|Kyūkōka Bakudan Punch (ground)||d (charge) u + P|
|Kyūkōka Bakudan Punch (midair)||(air) qcf + P|
|Vulcan Punch||P repeatedly, (f/b), (ABCD)|
|Super Argentine Backbreaker||(throw) hcf + K|
|Super special moves|
|Bari-Bari Vulcan Punch||qcf hcb + P|
|Uma Nori Vulcan Punch||qcb hcf + K|
|Galactica Phantom||qcf qcf + P|
- cr.C – powerful zoning move. Its priority has been slightly nerfed from OG, and the recovery has been slowed a bit, too.
- st.CD – has long reach, so it works great in blockstrings.
- st.C – sports outstanding performance for jump checking. Somewhat slower than in OG, which leaves you a little more open.
- st.D – another jump checker; the recovery has also been slowed.
- cl.C – the hitbox has been spread downward, so it can now touch crouching opponents.
- j.A and j.B – extremely powerful in air-to-air; very hard to defeat in that regard.
- j.C and j.CD – can be used for both air-to-air and jumping in; the hitboxes have good priority, and they are cancellable.
- j.D – functions as an overhead when used in a hop; extremely powerful for jumping in.
- vertical jump j.A and j.C – they’ve been nerfed from OG, and yet they are still quite reliable for psychic air-to-air.
- Vulcan Punch
- P repeatedly, f/b to adjust position, ABCD to halt
- The hitbox faces forward, and has extremely high priority.
- You can now move the stick both back and forth to slide a little bit.
- You can elongate the duration of the move by continuing to mash P.
- You can now press ABCD to stop at any time, leaving you less open.
- Gatling Attack
- b (charge) f + P
- Quick startup, combos from weak moves. Can be used on its own as a counterattack, but the third and fourth hits may possibly not make any contact if you do this. Highly counterable if blocked; you have to use this carefully.
- The weak version does more damage, but the third and fourth hits are not a safe bet, and as such its ease-of-use is bad.
- Has foot-level invincibility during startup.
- Other than the first hit of the weak version, all hits now safely touch crouching opponents.
- Kyūkōka Bakudan Punch (ground)
- d (charge) u + P
- The rising part for the ground version functions as a high-priority headbutt, so you can use this as an anti-air. The strong version does three hits, and the weak version does one. The strong version rises higher, and thus descends further (both horizontally and vertically).
- Kyūkōka Bakudan Punch (midair)
- qcf + P in midair
- Just like the descending portion of the ground version; no headbutt. It does good damage considering it’s a midair move. It is an overhead. The big problem with this one is that if you’re blocked, you will most certainly be countered.
- Both versions now do OTG.
- Super Argentine Backbreaker
- hcf + K at throwing distance.
- 1-frame throw with a wide grabbing range. Since the shock is pretty strong, the savvy opponent will avoid this with ease, so you have to use it in moderation (barring good combos and setups, of course).
- Ralf Kick
- b (charge) f + K
- A rushing move. It doesn’t leave you open if the very tip hits. Depending on the situation, you can juggle off it. The weak version does guard crush, and doesn’t leave you very open at all, relatively speaking. It does a lot of damage and the hitbox also has good priority, so it’s extremely easy to use.
- Incidentally, this is one of the few moves that can do criticals.
Super special moves
- Bari-Bari Vulcan Punch
- qcf hcb + P
- Has full-body startup invincibility, and long-ish invincibility to low hits, but barring a fluke (i.e. an ideal hit/block), you will probably be countered for using this, though it’s still not an outright compliment....
- Uma Nori Vulcan Punch
- qcb hcf + K
- A locking-only blockable Ranbu super. Like the name implies (in Japanese...), Ralf mounts the opponent and punches them. A lot. It combos off from small moves, and can be used to juggle from Ralf Kick (you have to catch them in the air; not that easy, but it can be practiced). The hitbox has good priority, and it has invincibility frames, so it can be used for stuffing.
- Galactica Phantom
- qcf qcf + P
- A really really hard unblockable punch with extremely slow startup.
- The damage has been raised from OG so that the normal version does about 60% damage and the MAX version does about 90%. If it does a counter-hit, the normal version does 70% damage and the MAX version causes instant K.O. (except against bosses).
- For the MAX version only, during the gap from the activation to the end, Ralf shrugs off all moves except throwing moves (keeping the damage as-is).
- Best (only) setups are after either of the other two supers.
- j.D > cr.C or cr.A >> Super Argentine Backbreaker (hcf + K) or (Uma Nori Vulcan Punch (qcb hcf + K) > Kyūkōka Bakudan Punch (air qcf + P or d u +P) (OTG))
- Basic combo. Simple, easy to use, does a lot of damage. Due to the timing, Gatling Attack (b f + P) no longer fits in this combo.
- Ralf Kick (b f + K) > juggler
- Possibility depends on the situation. Basically only works when the opponent is cornered and the very tip hits. The strong jugglers are strong Gatling Attack (b f + C) and (Uma Nori Vulcan Punch (qcb hcf + K) > Kyūkōka Bakudan Punch (air qcf + P or d u +P) (OTG)), and, in the corner only, the ground version of strong Kyūkōka Bakudan Punch (d u + C), but if you’re not sure, cr.C will work, too.
- cr.B > Super Argentine Backbreaker (hcf + K)
- Its a link combo.
Using mostly normals, press the opponent for an answer with his powerful moves.
If nothing else, cr.C and st.C are extremely powerful. To some extent, you can fight with just these two. Start by zoning on the ground with the former; if you make it so the very tip hits, you can even use it as a bizarro anti-air.
The st.C has been weakened for UM, making it easier for the opponent to cut in, so in order to prevent this, you need to mix in more st.A and st.D to make it more threatening. It can smash weak jump attacks, and is powerful as a zoning move against non-crouching opponents (and it doesn’t leave you very open in this case). When you’re in the sweet spot, you should attempt tons of damage with st.C.
After cr.C, pressure your opponent with options:
- jump in with something like j.D
- anti-air preventive st.C
- Super Argentine Backbreaker from a dash
- cr.C for opponents who struggle against the potential Super Argentine Backbreaker or who attempt to sweep the st.C
Ralf’s special moves are also powerful.
First, a Vulcan punch should always be done from stuff like cr.C or st.CD. The timeframe you have for hitting C repeatedly lasts until that first move ends, putting off the time needed to mash the button. Also, if it just barely touches the opponent, you can be confusing by just stopping and backing up a little, by which the opponent will be caught off-guard (psychologically, not literally), and if they want to counter, you just go back forward a little and sweep before they can do so.
A strong Gatling Attack can be used as a counter against opponents on the ground; the weak version can be used in situations where you don’t have enough time to use a ground Kyūkōka Bakudan Punch, or as an anti-air for hops and hyper-hops.
If you approach with j.CD, j.A, or j.B (which do double-duty as air-to-airs), while pressure with Super Argentine Backbreaker is a godsend, hopping j.D, cr.C, cr.D, and such make for good mixup. In a good situation, if you have clammed up your opponent, give them the two options between strikes or a Super Argentine Backbreaker after a fake-out jump or a dash.
Super Argentine Backbreaker (if we can’t include all the supers as well) is certainly the showiest part you can employ in wakeup meaties. The most effective two options for meaties would probably be: a combo from j.B, which has a consistent beat to it; and a fakeout Super Argentine Backbreaker. In addition, whiffing something like a standing A from a dash ahead of time, then pressing them with the options of a strike and a throw is also good. Moreover, a cr.D is also generally unexpected and thus effective; canceling into weak Ralf Kick will probably have a nice effect, too.
Ralf’s wakeup is also important. An opponent who is coming in and piling on ground attacks will of course be well serviced by Super Argentine Backbreaker (or Bari-Bari Vulcan Punch), but a lot of opponents would only be “foolish” enough to do it because they want to bait the slow Super Argentine Backbreaker and pile on a jump attack. At these kinds of times, be a little more unorthodox and intercept them with strong Kyūkōka Bakudan Punch or cl.C; repeat this a few times, and when you actually do use Super Argentine Backbreaker, the odds of your being able to get away with it will have increased. Also, when there is some distance and the opponent puts out zoning moves instead of trying to bait you properly, you should deal the big-ass damage that comes with Bari-Bari Vulcan Punch and Uma Nori Vulcan Punch.