There's this cool dude on Youtube, actually, who took the time to video capture most of the live Tougeki feed (the one that reached capacity and kicked me off moments after I posted about it), and from his labor, all of us can watch most of the matches from pretty much everything. I'm going to embed all the final matches, because I love you.
Here's the Hyper SF2 final: it's something of a miracle that this game worked out, as it's one of Capcom's classic "let's see if this sticks" experiments, alongside Marvel Vs. Capcom 2, the other game that works despite itself. Super SF2 Turbo, in particular was the kind of deceptively simple, elegantly constructed game that you can still play ten years later and learn new things. Instead of killing ST, Hyper SF2 has only made it stronger. This match is Super Turbo (X) version Chun-Li vs. Champion Edition (Dash) Bison. Though they are older versions of the characters, little technical details that I frankly don't know much about can change the characters for the better or the worse. Just check Bison's throw range. Is that shit normal?
It hasn't been ten years since King of Fighters '98 but it has been nine. Here's another game that came together just right. Unfortunately, we only have the latter half of this match. Orochi Chris dominates much of this match: this is something I can talk about, because when I was a KOF98 player, I was a Chris player. Do you see that hop kick he does? That's his jump CD (heavy punch and kick at the same time), and my advice for playing Chris is that when in doubt, use jump CD. Freeze frame and take a look at Chris' shape when he does that kick. He's diagonal: legs-- the part that hits-- are stretched down and body-- the part that's vulnerable-- is stretched back. As such, it's very hard to hit Chris out of it, so if he does it over and over again, he's actually somewhat safe. When it hits, Chris gets a knockdown, and from there he can set up the opponent with all kinds of sneaky stuff. But that would be beyond our scope.
Note, also, that 2P has a very unusual team: Mai, Chizuru, and Mature. These characters aren't particularly regarded as among the powerhouses of the game (1P's team certainly is, however), so it's impressive to see someone like that get to the finals of a huge national tourney like Tougeki.
Christ, what's to even say about these Third Strike matches? Incredible. The beginning and end are pretty routine beatdowns, but RX (the Urien player) alone deserves a medal for managing to hold it down the way he did. Another unusual team on the 2P side: Necro, Urien and Yang are decidedly not the Third Strike Big Three, Ken, Chun-Li and Yun. For a game with balance as lopsided as Third Strike's, it's amazing these guys even made it to the finals in the first place.
I've been away from Guilty Gear since Slash-- we're on Accent Core now-- and I'll proudly admit I have no idea what the hell is going on in these matches anymore. I consider this a good thing. While previous XX upgrades have done nothing but tweak balance, Accent Core apparently throws the hardcore players for a loop by completely changing the way many characters work, especially with regards to the combo system. I have to reiterate: I have no idea how any of this shit is done anymore. I feel like an amnesiac when I play this game. In any case, Mike's-- he's the one who looks like Captain Jack Sparrow-- Jam is a total whirling dervish and a joy to watch in action. I would say it's too bad that Ogawa won with his terrifying Eddie lockdown-- cause, you know, dude always wins-- but according to the Youtube comments he's overcome epilepsy, through sheer force of will, just to play more videogames. That is some otaku Lance Armstrong shit right there. Respect.
And here's Melty Blood Act Cadenza Ver. B. While I like the game, I never got too hardcore into competitive Melty Blood because it seems like it's a game where you just low jab a lot until you win. This video doesn't do much to dispel that impression, but I admit that there are some nice setups and mixups going on in the ground game in these matches. Thankfully, we are at least rid of the non-fatal 200-hit Sion combos that went on forever and ever last year on Version A. On top of that, you have to admire a game that started in the doujin world working its way all the way up to this stature: most pro fighting games don't hold up as well as Melty Blood has.
Finally, the looptastic Arcana Heart finals. You guys know why I love this game: it's got mobility, it's got options. The more choices you have, the more creative and unpredictable the play. You're never really locked down in Arcana and there are loads of ways to deal with any different situation. Unless you already used your burst and you got caught in one of those loop combos, man. Then you just gotta wait it out. Grab a soda, come back in a minute. It'll be waiting for you. Anyway, I was pleased to see a fairly wide character variety in the finals. The game is young, but it's holding up really well.
BONUS MATCH: Here's the USA finalist, Chinatown Fair's own Arturo Sanchez. He very nearly took out the Lieselotte who eventually won the tourney. The crowd don't seem to like him much, though. Probably because he's playing Kamui with Gier. And, uh, not Japanese.
WHAT WHAT'D I SAY