C-c-c-combo Trainer: Street Fighter IV Tool Teaches Timing

I still have no idea what's happening here though.

I’ve button-mashed many a fighting game character just to watch them die, but recently I’ve been trying roll my fighting game knowledge-train a little further down the line. As reported by Wired, the Street Fighter IV Combo Trainer looks like a good way of doing that. It’s a fan-created mod that helps you practice the timing of combo attacks.

For a casual observer, fighting games and their passionate communities can be baffling. Why, or how, are people able to invest so much time, energy and thought into them? The genre’s most popular games are bad at communicating their own depth and nuance; pro matches become a flurry of indiscernible animations, and tutorials are normally either too basic or too dull to teach match-relevant skills. Most articles similarly assume their audience already knows the jargon, but if you’re anything like me you only recently learnt about concepts like rushdown, zoning and grapplers. In fact if you’re anything like me, you just Googled to find a third jargon word because you could only remember two.

The Combo Trainer, built by Reddit user Necrophagos, is designed to sit open alongside Street Fighter IV and gives you an interface through which you can set up and time different attacks. When you get the timing right and see your in-game fighter perform your desired combo, you can tell the software to play a series of clicks to coincide with each button press. Like Giorgio, these clicks help you to practice the timing as you attempt to perform the moves for yourself. Considering that some of these combos require you to press a specific button during a single frame of animation, that’s invaluable.

That computer text-to-speech voice is never going to stop being creepy, is it?

In its current state, the interface is cumbersome and the software doesn’t come with any preset combos, but it’s still worth trying if you’re interested in becoming better at fighting games or just curious about the level of skill required to play them well.

If you’re looking for an in-game primer, Skullgirls has the best tutorial of any recent fighting game I’ve played, as it carefully sets out concepts that apply not just to that game but all fighting games. You will need to overlook the booby art in order to enjoy it, however.

The Wired story has more information on the tool and its creator, or you can go straight and download the software. Eventually it’ll turn you into this cool guy:

Ghost puuuuunch.


  1. Kitsunin says:

    This sounds awesome. Combo timing in SF drives me crazy, with something like it, I might just try to get into it again.

  2. Prolar Bear says:

    Tekken 6 had something like this, years ago.

    Tekken is better, Tekken is cooler, you can be a farting bear in Tekken blah blah blah etc. *gets thrown off a bridge*

    • Steven Hutton says:

      Tekken Tag Tournament 2 was a good game. Notably it was the first good Tekken game since Tekken Tag Tournament. Which was released in 2000.

      • Prolar Bear says:

        Wait a sec, Tekken 5\DR was amazing. Tekken 4 was shite, but you could see they were trying to do something different. Tekken 6 was okay I guess – I’m still stuck with that game because I only have a PSP. I’m not a fan of the ultra long juggles but I think it’s fairly balanced in general, plus I really like Lars and Leo.

        Disclaimer: I’m not a pro by any means

    • Phendron says:

      For your brears!

    • Baines says:

      Namco patented some training mode mechanics with either Tekken or Tekken 2. It was the kind of stuff that really shouldn’t be granted patents, but fear of infringement set back training modes in other fighters.

      (If you look back around the PS1 era of fighting games, you can actually see where training modes regressed. And they never really recovered.)

  3. Shockeh says:

    Fluke on the front cover of RPS – He shall be informed forthwith!

  4. Convolvulus says:

    The article tells me to overlook booby art, but the ads beneath it feature the boobies of Jennifer Lawrence, Scarlett Johansson, Britney Spears, and “Leonardo DiCaprio’s Ex-Girlfriends.”

  5. smeaa mario says:

    I will never understand or like the unnecessarily ridiculous caricaturization of almost all characters in SFIV. Just look at what they did to Hugo and remember how he looked in SF3. That artstyle fails. As does the overall game in comparison to its predecessor.

    • Steven Hutton says:

      SF3 is the most overrated game of all time. The parry system is dumb and the balance is arguably the worst of any fighting game in existence. I’ll grant you, the animation is absolutely gorgeous.

      • brian says:

        Is that a real opinion or did you just jump on the hyperbole express from second hand knowledge station?
        Because it’s very silly.

        • Steven Hutton says:

          It’s a real opinion and it’s not silly at all. SF3 has a titanic reputation which is ill deserved.

      • Totally heterosexual says:

        Nice mvc3 character avatar. Makes it pretty clear that you don’t know what the fuck you are talking about.

        • Convolvulus says:

          “For a casual observer, fighting games and their passionate communities can be baffling.”

        • Steven Hutton says:

          Shuma Gorath is cool and I wont apologise for that.

          I don’t have much interest in defending MvC3 it’s flawed in it’s own ways.

          • pakoito says:

            Every game is flawed in their own way ♪

          • gwathdring says:


            I was so hoping that’s what you were linking to when I read your post. *hug*

    • NyuBomber says:

      Looks pretty much spot-on for what a 3D representation of how he was created for SF3 would look like. Love that they captured his eye-bulge moments, though the hair could be done better.

  6. Arglebargle says:

    Excessive combo crap is what put me off fighting games. After Bushido Blade, they all seemed like such hyperactive foofarah.

    • sassy says:

      If you believe fighting games are just about combo’s then you’ll quickly lose. Knowing all the combo’s in a game does not make you a good player, though it does put you a step above a beginner player but it still won’t change the fact you can be beaten by a button masher.

      • Baines says:

        Fighting games have been very combo focused for quite a while. Knowing the combos is a major advantage in many fighters. There is a big difference between having to hit a player only once or twice to win a match versus having to hit them five or even ten times.

        I think that is part of the appeal of combos. Beyond making people feel powerful, they are a way for people to improve through mindless rote practice. And makes them better than players who don’t spend their time on that mindless rote practice.

        (As for losing to a button masher, fighting game fans freak out at the mere thought that a game allows even the remote possibility that a button masher can beat them. No matter their own skill level. And no matter whether or not it is particularly true, because only the image matters.)

    • Arathain says:

      There’s nothing inherently bad about difficult combos. They add a technical skill ceiling to the game. As sassy says, they’re not the most important skill to learn in a fighting game, but they add something you can take pride and pleasure in mastering over time, and provide a way to allow skilled, dedicated players more options, more flash, and more ways to crumble under pressure.

      This from someone who can’t combo in SFIV for love nor money.

    • Wedge says:

      Street Fighter is still pretty minimal compared to basically every other fighter out there in this regard (and by it’s design combos sharply decrease in effectiveness the longer they get). Also you can always play Dhalsim and not worry about them at all.

      Bushido Blade was amazing though.

  7. Jekhar says:

    Although i only casually play KOF, and as such can’t really judge them, i found these videos really well made.

  8. altum videtur says:

    I enjoyed SF IV a fair bit… on the PC… with a keyboard. Only way I ever played fighting games, because when I was a little kid it never occured to me to ask parents for a joystick, and just kind of learned how to make do. It’s basically the same as playing the piano, except not.
    But I would tend to say that the need for learning extremely precise timing on combos is… not that fun. For me. I was decent at the game, but never had the patience to learn the combos properly. Not fun.
    Which is curious, because I spent an immeasurable amount of time practicing Royal Guard in DMC 4. To the point where I could make a Hell&Hell run reasonably easily using only royal guard stance.
    Each to their own, I suppose.

  9. NyuBomber says:

    As someone looking to get back into SF4 via the PC release of Ultra, this is great!

  10. catigator says:

    I personally don’t like practicing combos much and I hate how much focus most fighting games place on it these days. The least they could do is add a Guitar Hero-esque mode where you can see the correct button presses coming towards you to help with the timing, it’s astonishing that this hasn’t been implemented yet.

    The focus on combos just kill most of my motivation to get better at fighting games, a competitive game where you have to slog through 50+ hours of mindless repetition to be able to use and have fun with the tactics is not good game design.

    Out of the current and upcoming fighting ges I think the new Smash Bros will probably be the most fun for people who are looking to get into fighting games…