X-Men: Children of the Atom

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Introduction

The first Marvel 2D fighting game made by Capcom. First released in Japanese arcades in December 1994, and US and Europe in January 1995.

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Everything here is a Work In Progress --JedahsMinistry 15:22, 18 June 2006 (CDT)

Game Mechanics

Be sure to read the : SF Notation Manual, as this game uses the standardized Capcom control scheme.

In addition to the usual mechanics and controls of Capcom fighting games at the time, all characters are capable of:
-Dashes (tap toward 2x or 2 punches at the same time)
-Super Jumps/SJ Cancel (tap down, up quickly or 3 kicks at the same time)
-Chain Combos (varies per character)
-Normal-to-Special/Super Buffers
-Juggles/Air Combos
-Supers
-Tech Hit/Safe Fall/Counter Throw (varies per character)
-"Kara"/Empty/Whiff cancel their chains as well as cancel to SJ (more detail under basic)
-Supers act as Guard Cancels (but few characters can use it as a "true" guard cancel)

X-Power: Many characters have an "X-Power up" that requires a minimum of Level 2/Orange to use. This usually grants an ability for a certain amount of time (flight/power up/armor/speed, varies per character). More details will be in the character sections. You also need it to tech hit.


Tech Hitting (Throw Escape/Safe Fall and Counter Throw):
You need meter to tech hit. Orange(Level2) or blue right before it turns to orange, is the minimum required.
Half of the cast can escape and take no damage, or take the first part of damage and then "safe fall" out of the rest; and the other half can counter throw which must be done immediately, they cannot safe fall.
Escape/Safe fallers:

  • Cyclops, Wolverine, Omega Red, Spiral, Storm, Silver Samurai, Akuma

Counter throwers:

  • Colossus, Iceman, Psylocke, Sentinel

Note: Escape/Safe fallers can escape Omega Red's Coils, Counter Throwers cannot.


Normal Jump Notes:
During a normal/regular jump, you are limited to two "normal" punches/kicks, whether they are chained or linked, unless the character has a modifier (double jump/air dash/flight and other certain x-specials*). Before, inbetween or after, you can also use one special move. During any of this, if you go into a state where you're not attacking or in recovery, you are able block if need be. You could block an attack, do an air move/special, then be able to block again when you recover. This is not the case in MSH and every game after. Normal jumping "guard break" does not exist in COTA.
-* Certain X-Specials are also allowed after everything, and Spiral's Sword Summons and Tosses can be used as many times possible during her regular jump arc.
-Another Normal Jump limitation is all normal chains must "crossover", in that you cannot chain from punch to punch, or kick to kick. Only one to the other.


Knockdowns and Wakeups:
If you are knocked down, press toward or back and any attack to roll. You can also wakeup with a special attack or super. If you are hit on your back before you roll, it's important to note that once you get out of that hit animation, you STAND UP. If you are still attempting to roll (or do a wakeup attack) after being hit, there's a very good chance you'll eat another hit, should the opponent be attacking.
- Generally after a ground sweep attack, the opponent cannot be hit again until they've completed their "falling down" animation, and are flat on their backs. If the sweep manages to hit as a juggle (very situational) they'll be a window to hit them while they're still in the air, but once they start hitting the ground, the same rule applies.


Dizzy/Stun Factor:
If you take too many hits, whether comboed or not, you will spin out and be dizzy, completely open to attack. Your character's portrait near their health meters will tell you if you are in danger of being dizzied. Several attacks have more stun "power" than others, and if you take uncomboed hits from powerful moves back to back, you could end up dizzied "out of the blue" or yellow. If you get thrown alot in a short period of time, it will take very few hits to get dizzed.
- Colossus and Sentinel have normals with extra dizzy power, and if they are the dizzying hit, the opponent will be dizzy on the ground (except Akuma, who has no ground dizzy animation).
- Not all character "wake up" into dizzy the same way. Some bounce right up after the spinout, some go through their hit-the-floor animation then standup (more time for unique combo setups).
- Mash the directions and buttons to recovery from dizzy faster. If you are Storm, you may note she stands up into a few frames of her regular stance. From here (and any point in her dizzy) she can Lightning Attack. Because it's not invincible it's not exactly a "get out of jail free" card.
- Something to note about dizzy animations are hitbox changes. Omega Red for instance isn't as tall (eg Storm's s.HK which usually hits him, will now miss), Silver Samurai and the "forward leaning" frames of Psylocke's dizzies may make normals with an outward hitbox miss them (like Silver Sam's c.HP, if too close on these characters it will miss).
- If a character recovers from a dizzy, or you break a combo not long after a dizzy to "reset" the damage scaling, the opponent is in a state where it takes them far longer than normal to become dizzy again. Some "resets" get around this faster than others.

Dash Bonus and Penalty:
A dashing normal attack inflicts extra hit stun compared to a standing one. The penalty for this is getting pushed further away from the opponent.
Pushback/Slide distances vary per character and per opponent. Some might incur extra push penalties, Storm for example: Standing AND dashing, her jabs push her further away than most other characters (dashing especially) due to the bonus of her electric stun on hits.
It does seem possible to lessen the pushback by crouching, which has the added bonus of lessening recovery for some characters, and outright cancelling recovery for a few.
More detail to come in character pages.


Sudden Death Event:
Sudden Death occurs when the round score is tied, and a draw or double KO happened. You have 30 seconds to kill your opponent with one hit. It's important to note that NO CHIP KILLS can happen in Sudden Death, period. An opponent can block an entire super and it won't kill them.

Stages
Several backgrounds not only affect combos, but the flow of the match as well. The most obvious would be the continually breaking floors in Spiral's stage at the start of the match. Objects that you crash into also effect combos. -More on stages.

In Depth:

Basic Strategy

Super Meter Building: Unlike all later Marvel games, you cannot build meter by whiffing normal attacks. Attacks must connect with the opponent (hit or blocked) to build meter. Whiffing specials on the other hand, does build meter.
Most characters can't build any meter at all during X-Special power ups. Exceptions are: Flights, Psylocke's Ninjutsu images and Spiral's Invisibility. Iceman can build meter during the icefist with anything but his punches, until the fist breaks.

Super Jump Cancelling:
As in, cancel any normal attack into a super jump whether the attack hits or misses (in later games, you can only SJC if the attack hits). The ability to do this makes normal attack pokes very safe in many cases. Characters with good mobility options and good air specials can take even better advantage of this, rushing with normal pokes, SJ cancel and still keep the pressure on from the air in whatever way they can.

Whiff Cancelling:
Characters with any-Punch-to-Kick and any-Kick-to-Punch chains are able to do things like: HK whiff cancel to LP or HP whiff cancel to LK, significantly reducing the "Harder" attack's recovery time. This can greatly aid poke/rush strings, and combos.

Guard Cancel Supers:
All supers can be used as guard cancels, but only a few characters have truly useful ones. Wolverine, Spiral, Colossus and Akuma (DP Super) are the most useful. Those supers could also be used as stuffs, but it's usually best to wait for the opponent to actually attack so you don't get baited. The rest of the cast's supers have too much startup time to be useful GC's, though Sentinel's may have some rare situational use (anti-air vs a low vital opponent).

Start of a Round:
For the first (roughly) 2 seconds of a round, no player can throw (except for "blockable" throw types like Colossus's Tornado Grab and Omega Red's Coil). The goal at the start of the first round in particular is to get meter, due to needing meter to tech hit throws.

Advanced Strategy

Suki Cancelling: A subset of SJ cancelling - the idea being you use the first frames (around 4ish) of a superjump where you are still considered on the ground; if you're holding back and there's a threat onscreen, you won't jump but instead will block.

Weight Classes:

  • Feather - Storm, Spiral, Psylocke
  • Light - Akuma, Wolverine
  • Middle - Iceman, Cyclops
  • Heavy - Omega Red, Silver Samurai
  • Super-Heavy - Colossus, Sentinel

The top 5 lightest might all be in the same class, but I don't believe so. Weights may possibly be further broken down into an order (eg: everyone's a different weight even if it's by a little), but I'm not certain.
Pushback (how far the attacker gets pushed back after a ground hit, the opponent in hitstun is the variable) and ground hitstun length seem related to weight, with heavier characters having less of both.

Approximate Tier List

Based off of a tier list by Spider-Dan, with some alterations, pertains to Version 3.00
Top
Wolverine, Omega Red, Sentinel, Colossus
Mid
Cyclops, Psylocke, Iceman, Akuma(?)
Lower Mid
Storm, Spiral, (their potential is offset by taking big damage)
Bottom Tier
Silver Samurai

Game Versions

The Characters