Hey all, just got back to Singapore yesterday. Man, I had a shitty flight. First, my 6 am flight from RDU to NYC got canceled, so I had to change my flight to a different carrier and rushed to a different terminal (literally running) to catch the 6:30 am flight. The price paid is that the suitcase that I checked in on American couldn't be transferred to USAirway in time...up to now, still no luggage. ~@!#%!@#$. Anyway, the good news is that I just went through six straight hours of VF4 yesterday at Bugis--awesome. As Chris mentioned in another thread, 2 Versus City machines, great sticks on the 1P side (below average on the 2P), low rez monitors unfortunately, and only 50 Singaporean cents to play!! Best of all, there was a constant stream of challengers, and I was there from 10:30 am to 4:30 pm (i.e. maybe not even peak times). Having so many challengers can give you so much of a better overall understanding of the game...because then you realize more generally what works and what doesn't. One odd thing I came to further realize is how long it has been since I faced good scrub players...you know, pattern players that are good at what they do. I guess the crowd in the U.S. is so small that few can be categorized as "good scrubs." I.e. players are either good, bad, or upcoming players. Know what I mean? Anyways. Things I learned: - Jacky is not that powerful. Jacky, who was by far my most effective character in NYC (in terms of win-loss), was relegated to "just ho-hum" in Singapore. I think it's in large part because 1) Singaporeans, having had VF4 longer, know how to deal with Jacky, and 2) I really do believe that Asian arcades promote faster reflexes relative to the U.S.. I base this observation on U.S.'s bigger sticks, bigger button layout, and increased distance from player to monitor. - Akira is not that powerful. Few effective Akiras, and I couldn't remember one dominating. No one abused the SDE though. One Akira tidbit is how effective his b,f+P+K can be as an okizeme tool. Just stand right out of rising kick range and use it as soon as the opponent gets up. When done as quickly as possible, it's insanely fast and seems practically uncounterable. There was one Akira player who's entire gameplay was basically b,f+P+K or d/f+P+G as soon as you get up, LOL. - Vanessa is a monster. I played against a good Vanessa for the first time yesterday (Chris' friend), and boy was I right about her. I had remarked that she seemed like a slower but stronger Jacky--uhm, damn dude, she has far better strings than Jacky and was nearly impossible to stop up close in MT mode. Scary. I definitely need to learn this biatch and get to know what attacks hit what. - Lei Fei is a monster. Played against an experienced Lei Fei for the first time yesterday (Chris and his friend), and boy was I right about the monk. NOW I know why you guys are all insisting on him as a combo-deadly character. Up close, he's even worse than Vanessa, I have no idea what hits what, what comes next, what I can struggle out of, blah. The thing about Lei is that, while his strings are uber against beginners (hey, I'm still technically a beginner, only played VF4 a total of 7 sessions), you don't have to play Lei using constant strings, going from one attack to the other (a la Tekken). You can still play him as a "tricked ya, canceling out of my stance to throw you" type of a more typical VF character. Like Vanessa, because he has so many good strings, the opportunities for throwing are much more, relatively. That's what it seems like, at least. - STILL, no one plays Sarah. I played against the first human Sarah today (Chris). I really don't know why she's so unpopular when you'd think she's the perfect character for the typical Singapore player...maybe we're afraid of her new stance and think it's a load to learn? - Most popular characters: Akira, Lau, Kage, Jacky, and Lion. - Lion: still as annoying as ever. Still a poking/okizeme type of character, but made even more effective with KD. - Kage: Still so many people using the ninja!!!! Then again though, not very many people (if I remember correctly) really achieved a high level Kage in VF3, so when most players play Kage in VF4 for the first time, I'm betting most thought he got better. And I do like him a lot more in VF4 than VF3, and thankfully the tide may be beginning to turn for my Kage. In NYC, he was one of my most ineffective characters, but I had some good wins yesterday with him. Towards the end, I started playing him the most and that was when it seemed I finally "clicked" with the ninja. But to all of you people trying to learn Kage: GIVE UP AND PLAY SOMEONE ELSE!! Far too many Kages still. Play Sarah, or Shun, or Vanessa, or Lei Fei, or Pai. They are just as interesting, and with the possible exception of Pai, are just as strong, if not stronger. It made me laugh to see this one Kage player who apparently knew most of the tricks (d/f+P and u/f+K+G combos, some Jumonji) but for every TFT went for a P > P > f+K+G > DP combo. It just seemed like the anti-thesis of what Kage should be/ - Pai, what's up with this woman. Does anyone know of an interesting and effective way to player her?! She's still the same old punches, sidekick, throw, heelkick kind of character, with a good sabaki and nothing much else. What about her inashis? Are they good? Guaranteed follow ups? - Shun, only one good Shun today, kinda tricky. Still though, I don't think the Shun player realized that every time he fell down when his attack was defended he lost a DP, because he was doing the Sleeping Buddha stance (what's the name we're using for that again?), KPK a lot. Ended most matches with below 10 DP. Finally, one last question: can you roll escape throws now? What I'm asking is, do you have to go back to neutral when inputting multiple throw escapes? For example, you escape with b+P+G, can you roll the stick from b to d/f and press P+G to escape both b+P+G and d/f+P+G? Or do you have to go back to neutral after b+P+G and then input d/f+P+G? Aight, that's all for now. I'm on modem and have a paltry 6 hours a month. I'm probably going to head back to Bugis today, or maybe check out Orchard Point.