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Various methods of using and maintaining combos in action games.

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Birdman


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I thought of this topic as I was playing a few PS2 action games today. There are different methods and definitions of combos in various games, be it a hit count or meter, and also different ways to maintain combos, such as a timer or varying your attacks.

In some games there is neither timer, meter, nor hit count, but even in such games you can still launch combination attacks because enemies (though maybe not all) will go into hit-stun and you are freely able to follow up before they recover, though this is still the case for games that have actual combo displays.

I like to focus on the lesser known titles but feel free to add absolutely anything that fits, and we might as well add the rewards for comboing.

Take Lollipop Chainsaw. It's definition of a combo is called Sparkle Hunting. This is when you connect a chainsaw attack with 3 or more dizzy zombies, which instantly kills and decapitates them. Due to the range on the chainsaw, you can in only get so many zombie in one swing, max is 7. Although you'll see the number on screen, so let's just say it was 7 zombies, this isn't a 7 hit combo, it's actually 1 hit, so technically LC only has one hit combos.

It's possible to get another Sparkle Hunting combo right after the first. For those who haven't played it, the screen goes into slow mo on the chainsaw hit and the zombies heads all pop off at once, while the background turns to out space with rainbows. It's almost a small cut-scene. But say you were doing one of the bigger chainsaw special moves strings, (there's one where she swings all over the place while flipping forward) if you're in a large group the next part of that string will continue into the group and cause another Sparkle.

This isn't rated, but technically you could say it was a double. You are rewarded with zombie medals and platinum medals, which are currency. The more zombies, obviously the more you get. Including the special named and more powerful zombies in your Sparkle will result in insane amounts of medals.

Outside of Sparkles, you have combo attacks, but there's no hit count or any kind of display. Physical attacks (non-chainsaw) cause zombies to become dizzy, so there is some sort of invisible counter/meter for those.

Managed to find this video that contains all examples. You'll see a 7 combo, a special move that continues after one sparkle and starts another, and at the end show the player use a regular special move of the remaining zombies.

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Shinobi and nightshade you chain kills together in short succession to instantly kill those enemies hit, this extends to the bosses also as they will have enemies present to chain and instant kill bosses for ultra deadly ninja efficiency(I think they ninja/samurai have a term like one strike certain kill that's where that trope must comes from). Chain kills are on a timer so you can only chain a set amount of kills together before you get a short scene displaying your kills and a ninja pose to finish it.
You can use kunai to stun foes in place and magic for crowd control/big damage also.

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Birdman


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The game calls them 'Tate'.

Chain kills are on a timer so you can only chain a set amount of kills together before you get a short scene displaying your kills and a ninja pose to finish it.

There is a timer between enemies but not an overall limit on how many. Each enemy you kill extends the timer so as long as there is an enemy to kill, the timer is still active. I might not be reading your post right, but the way you said 'only' makes it sound like you meant there's a limit.

The cut-scene plays when you've killed all enemies present in any encounter so there's no real enemy count requirement. It's simply what is presented in any one encounter.

There are time in Shinobi where you can get a sort of 'secret' Tate. What I mean by this is, you can run past a group of enemies and spawn another further ahead. They then become part of the same encounter. I forget all the places where you can do this. If you succeed, the cut-scene will have a special effect which as I recall is dependent on stage.

Kunoichi actually has a visible timer in the form of a decreasing meter. It also added a hit count.

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Timer between kills is what I meant, wasn't too sure on a kill limit but I meant timer per kill. Haven't played shinobi since I got it on ps2 in 2013 again. Interesting topic I'll have to find more.

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Killer is dead combos are performed by mashing the attack button, if your combo goes to 30(25 with upgrade I think)and higher your strikes become faster and more flamboyant. If you get hit then combo resets I think.
If you kill a foe while combo is 30+ you get to choose 1 of 4 prompt executions(called final judgement)to give you different rewards(life upgrade gems,bloody rose meter upgrade,exp crystals,life refill wire synapses) and kill animations.
You can also juggle foes, you have a launcher which does this, or your punch ground pound counter launches also.

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Birdman


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Killer is dead combos are performed by mashing the attack button,

Also guardbreak attack, counters, shooting, adrenaline burst, pretty much anything that hits the enemy continues the combo.

and higher your strikes become faster and more flamboyant. If you get hit then combo resets I think.

Yeah if you get hit or wait too long it resets.

This is a really cool and interesting system. Your attacks get faster and stronger the longer you keep up your offensive. TF:D is similar. Both games have a momentum based system.

Transformers Devastation uses a similar system though more advanced. It has what's called the Overdrive system. Once certain conditions are met, and the OD meter is full, a whole new layer opens up giving you more options. This video explains a bit, but it was done earlier in the game's life and some more stuff has been discovered since then like how OD can be maintained while constantly moving in vehicle form.



TF:D doesn't have a hit counts, though you can launch and combo enemies as you can see in the video.

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Oh that's cool and explains the stuff I noticed about those moves out of vehicle forms. I'll have to find some obscure examples.

Put god hand down at some point too, can't think to write anything about it now. No combo count, juggles depending on height of enemy can lead to an air launch kick shoryuken or just a launch attack to propel a foe across an area. Mobs can escape juggles after a x amount of hits, but you can catch them while they still in the juggle escape move and even air launch or shoryuken them.
God hand is odd as it lists launcher moves as juggles as launch moves are a separate property, sounds similar but they are different effects, might cause some confusion to those who don't know how god hand functions compared to other action games.

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Birdman


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Games without hit counts or some kind of result from comboing can be hard to define like GH. Your post is blurring the line and starting to describe mechanics in general rather than solely combo mechanics.

Games like this, that is with no count/meter etc could possibly be defined as 'as long as the enemy can't fight back'. That would apply to GH's ground combat, though it also, as you said, has juggles.

One thing I really want to mention about GH that I love, is that enemies don't vanish (aside from demons) when you kill them. They have to do their full death animation before vanishing, so you can actually infinitely combo them. It's really good practice. Back when I first started playing I would isolate a guy and just beat him down extended periods of time, keeping him in the air with uppers and practice sidestepping inbetween which is good for position yourself during juggles if you want to send the enemy flying a certain way.

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Yeh I goof around with the corpses too, use it to level up the difficulty if I'm a bit low, good for testing how different mob types react to juggles, they can even be stunned still. I love punting the midgets around, they so helpless and I love the cowboy ricochet sound for kicks to them. Anyway I put a topic for god hand, my comment was going of track as is. Keep it to combos.

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Birdman


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Bujingai's combo mechanics are quite unique. You have a hit counter that goes up the usual way, by attacking enemies, but maintaining it is where it gets interesting.

After a few seconds it resets, but you can freeze the counter by performing actions such as jumping, wallrunning, air dashing, dodging, interacting with pieces of the environment like swing poles and breaking crates or other destructible items. The whole stage becomes a playground of acrobatics as you make your way to the next encounter.

Wall running can be done infinitely. The animation has an end, but you can immediately do it again, either horizontally or vertically. Air dashing can also be multiple times if you have the height.

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Gonna sleep now but here are some examples to look into.

Batman Arkham games, guacamelee and hotline miami.

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Birdman


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I'm actually playing Arkham Asylum at the moment. I'll make a topic later.

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