Basic gameplay details: Street Fighter 4

Guide last updated on
January 19, 2009 at 10:10 a.m. PST

Basic gameplay details: Street Fighter 4

Focus Attacks

Joystick Joystick Joystick
A Focus Attack (sometimes known as a Saving Attack) is done by pressing the Medium Punch and Kick buttons at the same time. This combines both defense and offense in one powerful package.

Your character will enter a special preparation pose, which will absorb one attack — which is usually referred to as having Super Armor — and then they'll unleash a move in retaliation.

Your character can only absorb one attack, and only then if it's not a throw or armor breaking move. Two or more attacks will knock your character out of their Focus Attack.

There are three levels of Focus Attacks depending on how long you hold down the buttons.

Level 1: Simply tap the buttons or release after a split second. Your character will launch a weak attack.

Level 2: Hold the buttons for about a second and you'll see your character flash. then release. This causes you to do a medium powered attack which will open up the other fighter for a combo if it lands.

Level 3: Hold the buttons for about 2 ½ seconds. This causes you to flash yellow and the resulting attack is unblockable, you can also combo after this move if it lands.

Absorbing a hit with a Focus Attack also builds Revenge Meter, used for executing an Ultra move.

Throwing and Counter Throwing

Joystick Joystick Joystick
Throwing is done by pressing the Light Punch and Kick buttons at the same time when you're close to your opponent and holding back or towards. You can break your opponent's throw attempt by pressing the Light Punch and Kick buttons at the moment they try to throw you.

Ultra Moves

Street Fighter 4 Ultra Meter

This is basically an enhanced super move, which you can execute by doing the same motion as your character's super move, but pressing all three punch or kick buttons instead of just one.

You can only perform an Ultra move by building up your Revenge Meter so its over half-full, then the word "Ultra" will light up meaning you can execute one. You build up Revenge Meter by taking damage.

Your Revenge Meter does not transfer over to the next round.

Super Moves

Street Fighter 4 Super Bar

These are usually an enhanced special move. Most times they are executed by doing a double motion and pressing a punch or kick button.

Your Super Bar is the Blue meter at the bottom of the screen. The word, "Super!" appears when you've fully charged it, and then you can perform your character's applicable Super move.

EX Moves

EX moves are executed by pressing two punch or two kick buttons after doing the respective motion for a move. For example to execute Ryu's EX Hadoken (Fireball) you would do the down, down-forward, forward motion and press the Light and Medium punch buttons. Some players find it easier to press all three buttons at one time to help ensure their EX moves come out.

Doing an EX move takes away some of your Super meter.


Joystick Joystick      or      Joystick Joystick
You can dash forwards or backwards by double tapping the joystick towards or away.

Focus Attack Dash Canceling

Joystick Joystick Joystick (hold)    Joystick Joystick    (Release) Joystick Joystick Joystick
Sometimes referred to as a 'FADC' or a 'SADC'. After executing some special moves, you can Dash Cancel by pressing and holding the buttons for your Focus Attack and hitting forward twice and then releasing the Medium Punch and Kick buttons to cancel the animation to set up more hits in a combo.

This also takes part of your Super meter to do.

Getting up quickly after a knock down

When you're being knocked down, you can get up quickly by tapping down on the joystick when you're just about to hit the ground. Your character will rise up faster than they normally would, but this doesn't work with throws and some other attacks.

Super Armor and Armor Breaking

Some EX-Moves and all Focus Attacks allow you to absorb one attack, this is often referred to as having Super Armor.

But all of the characters have some moves that will negate this effect, and these are called Armor Breaking attacks.

Also remember that while Super Armor allows you to absorb one attack, you can still be thrown.

Taunting (Personal Action)

Joystick Joystick Joystick
You can taunt your opponent by pressing both Hard Punch and Kick buttons at the same time.

General notes

Street Fighter 4 uses the traditional 6 button layout in most Capcom fighting games. The gameplay is 2-D, even though the graphics are 3-D. Characters move along a 2-D plane, and the camera will make 3-D flourishes based on what's currently happening.


Existent said on June 12, 2010 at 6:45 a.m.

@132 Hopefully you'll read this since you posted a while ago. If you're referring to being able to cancel a special move from a single jab but not 2 jabs like I think you're referring to: It seems the short answer is that apparently 2 jabs or light kicks when mashed create a chain combo rather than a link. Put a slight space between the jabs while still in a combo and you'll see that they become 'linked', rather than 'chained'. Once the final jab is linked any special attack can be canceled from it. The summary is that special attacks can easily be canceled from a normal hit, but only if that normal hit wasn't itself cancelled from something else. Watch Fei Long's hit confirm combos and you'll understand.

mach1545 said on July 1, 2010 at 4:31 p.m.

Quick question, if you toss out a throw and it whiffs, in the small amount of time it takes to recover, are you able to tech an opponent's throw? Or is it impossible unless you've recovered from the whiffed throw?

Slade_Hokan said on July 19, 2010 at 9:16 p.m.

I want to get more pro as Guile & Vega, thank you for showing me the way. :D

sergio_reyes_ said on August 6, 2013 at 3:38 a.m.

o practice a much of this list at home practice muhc this all

Koreaner said on November 25, 2014 at 2:07 p.m.

Red Focus and Delayed Wakeup have to be added.


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