The King of Fighters '98/Takuma

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Introduction

He's old. That's why he's on the team with all the other old guys.

Gameplay Overview

Takuma is a poking/zoning character with some very nice combo/mixup options as well. His Ranbu is one of the better sups in the game property-wise, and allows him to catch jumps/rolls on reaction as well as get great combo damage. His fireballs are of the highest traveling type, which means Leona/Heidern/Chris can run under them, and Iori can super under them, among other things. He still remains high-mid in the tier list, because he has a good variety of tools other than his fireballs and basic zoning.

Combos

Takuma has a few different variations that lead into super, so experiment and find the one you're most comfortable with.

  • cr.A/Bx2,f+A xx C Fireball (qcf+C)
  • cr.A/Bx3,f+A (optional) xx A Ryuuko Ranbu (qcf,hcb+A)
  • cr.A/Bx2,f+b (optional) xx A Ryuuko Ranbu (qcf,hcb+A)
  • cr.C xx D Flying Kick (charge d/b,f+D), Rapid Punches (f,b,f+P)/st.CD xx A Fireball (qcf+A), B Running Kneebash Grab (hcb+B) (unblockable fireball setup if they roll)

Always use cr.B to start, then switch to cr.A if you want for the last light hit, but you can also just use cr.B for all the hits. Remember to use the hold buffering method if you use f+A (ie hold down B and use qcf+A for f+A input, then hcb+A to super). That way you won't get a fireball. Using f+B won't require this, but it has less range. Personally I just use cr.Bx3 xx super.

In-Depth Analysis

Normal Throws

b or f+C - Breakable, front knockdown, face forward, un-rollable.

b or f+D - Breakable, front knockdown, back turned, un-rollable.

D throw preferred, but they are both un-rollable so just use whichever one you need for positioning or preference.

Normal Moves

Standing A - Nothing you haven't seen before, can be anti-air for short hop.

Standing B - Great anti-air vs short hop and other angles.

Standing C - Not bad range/speed mid poke.

Close A - Can be used as combo filler instead of cr.A/B

Close B - Can be used as combo filler instead of cr.A/B

Close C - Fast and cancelable, good as a meaty.

Crouching A - Standard crouching A, cancelable.

Crouching B - Main combo stater and filler, cancelable unlike most cr.Bs in this game.

Crouching C - Alright for anti-air, but it's no Kyo crouching C. Can be canceled at the point where his arm isn't extended.

Crouching D - Nice range cancelable sweep, easily whiff cancelable, too. Cancel into a fireball and pretend you're Ryu.

Jumping B - Nice as a crossup.

Jumping D - Main good jump-in, crosses up.

Jumping CD - Great air-to-air.

Command Normals

f+A - Knocks down when done alone, doesn't when chained. Always cancelable. Better Range than f+B for combos.

f+B - Slow uncancelable overhead alone, faster non-overhead and cancelable when chained. Not bad and actually very easy to slow chain off a cr.B or something.

Special Moves

Fireball (qcf+P) - Guess what this is? It's a fireball. Like I mentioned before, it's of the high type in KOF98 (O.Ryo/O.Robert/O.Yuri all share this fireball), which means Leona, Heidern, and most worryingly Chris can just run under it and combo you. Iori can super under it. Still good as a meaty wakeup if you are in the position to do so against those characters, just be aware of how much advantage you need to use it. Against other characters that don't have such easy way around it, it's height actually helps, making it a bitch to get past sometimes. Learn the distances where you can bait a roll/jump and tag them with a Ranbu or even a Rungrab.

Haoh Shikouken (f,hcf+P) - Big slow ass super fireball. You can charge it to make it look cooler. Way too slow to be really useful.

O.L.D. Punch (qcb+P) - This is what you get when you mess up the super motion. Has auto-guard at the beginning, decent anti-air if you don't have any meter. Punishable. Kinda sucks.

Rapid Punches (f,b,f+P) - Most guaranteed damaging ender after a D Flying Kick. Sucks some stuff in as an anti-air or otherwise, but I wouldn't recommend using it outside of that one combo.

Flying Kick (charge d/b,f+K) - B version does 1 hit and is unsafe, D version does 2 hits and is unsafe. Which one to use?! So many choices. Use off a crossup j.D, cr.C only and make sure you hit-check it.

Running Kneebash Grab (hcb+K) - D version runs further. You can use this if you get a really meaty fireball on top of them to make it unblockable. Catch epople trying to roll through fireballs. You might be able to tick into one (note you have to so it after a light hit, not cancel it) if you get someone scared enough, but it's pretty risky. Has invincibility to lows near the end.

Desperation Moves

Ryuuko Ranbu (qcf,hcb+P) - A version is extremely fast and safe on block from 99% of everything, but it is possible to trade with attacks that are already out. C version is completely invincible on startup, but he freezes for a bit longer. Can go through fireballs, too. One of the scariest supers in the game. Use it as anti-air, anti-roll, etc. If your opponent doesn't tech roll after this, you can go for a qcf+A, hcb+B unblockable fireball setup. Fun fact: the C version can be thrown on reaction. So if you think someone will wakeup with it, you can be a dick and throw them out of it. No real point to that, since that one is punishable anyway. Max version is totally invincible and punishable.

Super O.L.D. Punch (qcf,qcf+P) - Proximity unblockable. A version is faster, C version can be thrown on reaction. It's kind of hard to land with Takuma since he doesn't have the setups that some other characters have. Not necessarily a bad super, they just gave it to the wrong character. Still, empty short hop into this, etc. can work. Experiment and read your opponent!