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Classic FGC moments: EVO moment #37
In this series I will be talking about my favorite fighting game moments in no specific order, but when making such a list you are more or less forced to start with EVO moment #37 unless you want to risk it being called a bigot.
If you are interested in fighting games, you might have seen this video tens, if not hundredths of times already. It wouldn't be out of place to call it the most influential moment in fighting game history even a decade later of its happening and the chances are competitive fighting games flourishing like they do today, wouldn't necessarily exist without this single video.
To fully understand why this moment is so phenomenal, one needs to understand how parries work in this game first.
Parry is an unique universal mechanic in SF3 you can execute by simply pressing forward at a correct time to parry your opponent's attack. When parried successfully you recover faster than your opponent does which means it can be used to make some otherwise safe moves punishable. The window for regular parry in this game is 10 frames or 6 if you don't input it perfectly and 5 frames when on air despite of how clean the input is while the game itself runs on 60 frames per second. This means on regular parry you have 1/6 of a second to time your parry correctly.
This clip was from EVO 2004 semifinal match between Justin Wong and Daigo Umehara; the classic USA versus Japan match between an already dominating Marvel vs. Capcom 2 player at the time and an overseas challenger.
Justin manages to get Daigo's health bar down to the very last pixel and tries to close it out with a super. Because Daigo is so low on health, if he blocks the super, the chip damage itself will kill him and that would cost him the game. The only way he can counter the super in this case is by parrying it entirely but not only that, he needs to predict when Justin is going to use his super to parry the first hit, since you are unable to parry it after its activation.
While 10 frame window on regular parries is quite lenient, what makes this truly impressive feat is the fact that to parry this Chun Li's super you need to parry 15 times in total, consisting of 2 sets of 7 hit grounded parries and 1 air parry, when you are already pressured being on the main stage of EVO with everyone's eyes fixed on you. If you miss your window even once, you are going to get hit and that would be the end of it, but Daigo manages to parry the entire super and punishes it with a combo into his own super to close out the round and the game and makes the crowd lose their minds.
This is a classic example of what makes a great moment in a fighting game: 2 top players from rivaling countries settling it out in the game and having an insane comeback happen that no one saw coming.
The parry system in the game was controversial to say the least for how game changing it was but it's no surprise that the most known fighting game video comes from Street Fighter 3. Since the parry system is so unique to fighting games, it allows for really impressive stuff to happen during matches which makes it great game for spectating on the highest level. In other games at the time, this would have simply ended with Justin taking the round with the chip damage from the super and no moment ever happening.
This is one of the reasons why Third Strike is a good game and why you should play it.
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