Players have had 26 years to break down Street Fighter II to its most base components, but it turns out there’s still more to discover in the legendary video game. Using a glitch that affects how the character Vega recovers from a fall, a YouTuber has figured out how to pull off some new combos in this classic game.
The combos appear in a new video posted by Desk, a prolific YouTuber responsible for some of the fighting game community’s craziest combo videos. These exhibitions typically highlight the potential of various gameplay systems and are a way for people to show off their skills and things they’ve found in a game.
In Street Fighter II, a character who is knocked down temporarily becomes invincible as they rise to their feet. This isn’t the case for Vega (who is known as Balrog in Japan) in Street Fighter II: The World Warrior, the game’s original arcade release. Due to a bug discovered back in the ‘90s, Vega’s hitbox returns during this animation, allowing players to hit him off the ground (or OTG) while he is still laying down and deal further damage that wouldn’t be possible on other characters
In the new video, Desk exploits that bug to pull off some incredible combos. His findings include infinites (meaning they could theoretically go on forever with perfect execution) based solely around each character’s sweep attack. He also found combos that give him enough time to jump in-between attacks, many of which haven’t been explored this extensively in the past.
There’s a reason it took so long for anyone to find these combos and put them in a video despite the glitch being common knowledge for so long. Pulling off these new combos isn’t as easy as it looks, because Street Fighter II is a surprisingly unpredictable game. Due to modifiers like damage ranges, frame-specific player inputs, and even the game clock, it can be pretty damn random for a highly-regarded competitive fighting game. The presence of variable damage and dizzy requirements make recreating combo scenarios a nightmare. Desk also had to deal with the fact that Vega wasn’t playable until 1992’s Champion Edition update, forcing him to face the boss character in World Warriors as a computer-controlled opponent and manipulate the artificial intelligence into beneficial situations. He even employed a somewhat controversial technique to ensure the Zangief combo worked, noting:
The post-stun teabagging is actually luck manipulation. I completed that combo exactly as you see it in the video somewhere in the region of 40-50 times. However, the final version is only the second that caused stun on the crouching heavy kick (vital for the SPD to connect). I tried whiffing a bunch of stuff and mixing up the strengths of some of the attacks to reproduce it, but nothing worked except for the repeated crouching motion done while Vega was stunned.
While the combos are new, the glitch in Desk’s video has been showcased before. According to Maj, owner of technical fighting game sites Sonic Hurricane and ComboVid, its earliest appearance was in a VHS tape released sometime in the 1990s by old-school Street Fighter scientist TZW that’s since been lost to the sands of time. In fact, Maj himself utilized the bug in numerous compilations, including the one seen below.
The appearance of new combos for a game that launched before many top Street Fighter V players were born (hell, I was only two years old myself) is a big deal, especially for a group that values discovery and innovation as much as the fighting game community. World Warrior was quickly eclipsed by the various iterations that followed and now sits way behind tournament standard Super Street Fighter II Turbo, but the work Desk put into making this footage a reality is impressive and perfectly encapsulates the unique passion of the combo video community.
Ian Walker is a fighting game expert and freelance writer. You can find him on Twitter at @iantothemax.