Super Smash Bros. isn’t known for having a lot in common with traditional fighting games like Street Fighter and King of Fighters, but the latest installment has introduced a number of complicated mechanics by way of its third-party guest characters. The latest of these characters, Fatal Fury’s Terry Bogard, can make use of a particularly high-level technique, one with which even classic fighting game fans might not be familiar.
Terry’s up special in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Rising Tackle, has a few quirks to make it accessible to both the general Smash crowd and fighting game players who might be checking out the game because of his cameo. It can be performed with the usual Up+B command that corresponds with most Smash characters’ recovery moves, and it works just fine. However, inputting a downwards charge beforehand, similar to its command in Fatal Fury, King of Fighters, and pretty much every other fighting game in which Terry makes an appearance, will increase the attack’s duration and damage. That’s where something called “charge partitioning” comes into play.
Charge characters used to elude me, especially in Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike, where cast members like Chun-Li and Urien rule the roost despite having movesets more complicated than the usual quarter-circle and shoryuken-motion commands of their peers. I simply couldn’t comprehend how players maintained charges throughout crucial moments of a match. Once I learned about charge partitioning, it all fell together. It was like being told of some dark magic ritual, similar to the way one would have to learn about throwing fireballs with Ryu and Ken in the early days of word-of-mouth knowledge-sharing.
Charge partitioning is exactly what it sounds like: a mechanic that lets players partition separate chunks of a charge. By charging, performing another action (usually a dash), and then immediately returning to the charge input, it’s possible to maintain a charge without simply holding down or back for the requisite number of frames. It’s tricky because the window between charges is only a handful of frames, but the power of charge partitioning is undeniable, since it gives players the ability to hide charges in offensive actions and perform moves that require a bit of wind-up at a moment’s notice. And, wouldn’t you know it, Terry can do the same thing in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
As first described by Street Fighter god Yusuke Momochi, Terry is able to charge partition his Rising Tackle much like one would charge partition with characters in Street Fighter III. Rising Tackle comes out after 24 frames of charging, but by performing another action between charges, he can build up to that number with multiple charge inputs. Sure, this window is only 9 frames, but that might as well be an eternity in fighting games, especially one like Smash where players are known for their lightning-quick, frame-perfect inputs. Momochi goes on to say that as many as 24 one-frame actions can be strung together before performing Rising Tackle, and several examples of his findings can be seen in the video above.
Since Momochi shared this information, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate players have been experimenting with charge partitioning to push Terry to his limits. In his in-depth exploration of the move, professional broadcaster and competitor Calvin “GimR” Lofton of VG Bootcamp shows the incredible kill potential of Rising Tackle as well as a few combos that take advantage of the move. While they don’t require charge partitioning, these combo examples provide some good background on the other advantages of Rising Tackle as well as why charge partitioning is so powerful in the right hands.
Super Smash Bros. players have often been at odds with the rest of the fighting game community due to the fundamental differences between the games they love and other more traditional fighting games. While folks on both sides have found it fun to dog on the other, the truth is that Smash and classic fighters like Street Fighter are both complex in their own unique ways. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, then, has become the perfect breeding ground for such discussions thanks to cameos by Ryu, Ken, and Terry, who each add more traditional fighting game mechanics to the competitive platform-based brawler. These two groups will argue until the end of time, but for me, it’s just nice to see the Smash developers experiment in such a way with the franchise’s core gameplay. Maybe one day they’ll develop a game that appeals to disparate sides of the fighting game community equally, and then these two schools of thought can be settled, at last, in Smash.