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Friday
Nov142008

Street Fighter HD Remix: Sagat

Sagat—well actually “Old Sagat”—is one of the best characters in Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo (ST). He’s even soft-banned in Japan, meaning there’s a tacit agreement not to play him, even though you are technically allowed. He might not be as strong of a character as Balrog or Dhalsim overall, but the problem is that there are several matches where he just dominates. His tiger shots (fireballs) are so powerful that many characters spend the entire game trying to get around them. I think everyone knew that this nerf was coming.

Tiger Shots

Sagat now has fireball recovery that’s better than New Sagat and worse than Old Sagat. In ST, the difference in recovery times was about 12 frames between Old and New (huge), and Remixed Sagat’s recovery is about 4 frames worse than the terror that was Old Sagat. It’s still very good, but not as abuseable. It’s similar to Ryu’s fireball recovery.

Various Boosts

In exchange for this loss, Sagat has several new bonuses. First, he is based on ST’s New Sagat, so he now is able to soften throws and he has a super move (with the reversal bug fixed, even). Furthermore, the super travels farther than in ST and it always knocks down on hit. It’s now a viable tool. He also has ST New Sagat’s ability to cross-up with medium kick. This gives him a way to apply some up-close pressure.

Remixed Sagat has Old Sagat’s fierce tiger uppercut, meaning it hits only once for good damage rather than juggling five times for low damage. The five hit juggle can be fun, but one-hit version is just more effective in most situations. As with all dragon punch motions, the tiger uppercut has a more lenient (non-random) input timing window.

Tiger Knee

Finally, his tiger knee is now performed with a dragon punch motion, it always knocks down on hit, and (as a result of that) it can juggle for three hits. Usually this means if he hits with tiger knee, he can do one more because either the first or second knee will get 2 hits. This is good damage and it pushes the opponent back into the corner. I reduced the tiger knee’s damage and dizzy power because of this juggle.

I didn’t really intend this juggle to exist in the first place, it was just a consequence of fixing the 2-hit moves that don’t knock down when they should. I did this very early in development and the tiger knee juggle seemed fun, so I kept it and balanced Sagat around having this.

Although the knee doesn’t have any better frame stats or hitboxes than before, several playtesters said “Wow, is that higher priority now?” when they play against it. I think the ability to walk forward and do it because of the dragon punch command, coupled with the usefulness of scoring a knock-down even on a glancing blow makes it a much more useful tool. And no, you can’t juggle with a super after a tiger knee unless you’re making a combo video.

Normal Move Cancels

Old Sagat could cancel his stand short, stand forward, and stand strong into special moves, while ST’s New Sagat could not cancel any of those. (Well, he could only cancel the first hit of stand short and stand forward, not the second hits.) Remixed Sagat cannot cancel the second hit of standing forward because that was only used for combos anyway, and the ability to juggle with tiger knees is good enough already! He also cannot cancel the second hit of standing short, which is a somewhat controversial decision. In ST, this is mainly used in the following strategy:

Tiger, tiger, tiger, tiger, tiger, stand short because enemy got near, cancel into tiger, tiger, tiger.

If the enemy gets near, he deserves his chance at Sagat without having to block a very far stand short cancelled into another Tiger Shot. Remixed Sagat can, however, cancel his standing strong into special moves. This is mainly useful against Dhalsim and Balrog, which is fine, and Zangief.

Conclusion

Playtesers said that playing against my Remixed Sagat was actually fun. I think this was because standing in place and doing nothing but tiger shots wasn’t as effective, and the lack of a cancellable stand far standing short makes it even harder to keep up the old iron defense. In HD Remix, it’s better to mix in tiger knees, cross-ups, supers, and even jump ins, so it feels like more is going on when you fight Sagat.

Despite his slightly slower fireball recovery and loss of stand short cancel, Sagat still seems very strong, just not dominating like before. Plus, more characters now have more options against fireballs, such as Cammy’s spinning backfist, Blanka’s faster “rainbow roll,” Fei Long’s short flying kicks, Dee Jay’s machine gun upper, and Honda’s jab headbutt. Sagat managed to go to one of the most boring characters (to me) to one of the characters I have the most fun playing.

–Sirlin