Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo

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Strategy Guide

SUPER PUZZLE FIGHTER 2 TURBO FAQ v2.7
Last Updated 8/28/96


INTRODUCTION
REVISION HISTORY
TERMINOLOGY
GAMEPLAY
RANKINGS
THE CHARACTERS
WINNING THE GAME
INTERMISSIONS
HIDDEN CHARACTERS
CLOSING AND THANK YOUS

INTRODUCTION

Capcom pulls out another little gem with this game.  By uniting your
favorites from both Street Fighter and Darkstalkers and placing them in
a Tetris/Puyo Puyo/Columns/Dr. Mario setting, they've created a humorous
and challenging game called "Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo" (or "Super
Puzzle Fighter 2 X" in Japan).  Blending cute, familiar animation with a
bright soundtrack, this game is sure to please both the die hard SF/DS
fan as well as the "Puzzle Maniac".

The game features (as normally playable characters) Ryu, Chun Li,
Sakura, and Ken from SFA2, as well as Morrigan, Hsien Ko, Donovan, and
Felicia from DS2.  Also playable are the "World's Greatest", DAN (as the
"Saikyo Ryu Pazzle Fighter Trainer" and comic relief), the "Raging
Demon" AKUMA, and the mysterious DEVILOT, ready to crush all newcomers.
Each character is drawn in the "Super Deformed" Anime style (short and
fat, but really cute.  They resemble the way the characters from Virtua
Fighter 2 look in Virtua Fighter Kids.)  During the attract screen, Dan
explains (a bit comically IMHO) how to play the game.

It's going on about two months now since I've first seen Puzzle Fighter
in the states, and it's still strong in many of the arcades I play.  The
familiarity with the characters, the cameos, plus challenging gameplay
should keep this around for quite awhile.

REVISION HISTORY

Yes... you can fight CPU Devilot... and she's tougher than anybody else.

Version 2.7 - How to fight against CPU Devilot added.  More quotes.

Version 2.6 - Added the quotes section for the characters.  Revised
strategy section.  Minor changes added as well.

Version 2.5 - Devilot code confirmed!  Boards, symbols, Counter Gem
Pattern added for all hidden characters.  More ranking revisions.
Thanks section added.

Version 2.0 - Dan Revealed!  Akuma Revealed!  Update on the hidden
characters.  Playing field updated.  Strategies modified.  Rankings
altered.

Version 1.0 - Rewrote the whole FAQ.  Added Intermission screens.  Added
more strategies.  More "scientific" rankings.  More character and screen
info.

Version 0.5 - Minor overhaul.  Added some of the cameos.  Added a bit
more on strategy.  Had initial rankings.

Version 0.1 - Quick and simple how to play the game.  Was initially done
just to get the basis of the game down and out.

TERMINOLOGY

Because I'm limited to Courier Text for everything, this section will
help explain both the terms in the game, and the terms and notations I
use here in the FAQ.

1.  GEM - Also known as regular gem.  1 of 4 colored objects that the
player works with.  Usually a solid color block.
2.  CRASH GEM - Also 1 of 4 colors.  This is a swirling circle used to
destroy Gems and other Crash Gems.
3.  POWER GEM - A group of same colored regular gems in at least a 2x2
pattern that form an even larger looking gem.
4.  DIAMOND GEM - It's a diamond and is used for clearing all of one
color from the screen.
5.  COUNTER GEM - A gem with a number in the middle.  When the counter
reaches 0, it becomes a regular gem.  These are dropped when your
opponent attacks you.
6.  COUNTER GEM PATTERN - Sometimes I'll abbreviate it as CGP.  Each
character has a CGP.  When you attack your opponent, this is the way
the gems will drop on his/her side.

Also, to represent the gems, I use the following characters:

r - To represent a regular RED gem.
g - To represent a regular GREEN gem.
b - To represent a regular BLUE gem.
y - To represent a regular YELLOW gem.
R - To represent a RED crash gem.
G - To represent a GREEN crash gem.
B - To represent a BLUE crash gem.
Y - To represent a YELLOW crash gem.
* - To represent the DIAMOND gem.
@ - To represent a RED counter gem (any number).
# - To represent a GREEN counter gem (any number).
% - To represent a BLUE counter gem (any number).
& - To represent a YELLOW counter gem (any number).

Furthermore, I tend to use Small, Mid, and Large to describe the
attacks.  These refer to the number of gems that are sent over to your
opponent.  Small attacks usually refer to about 1-15 gems, Mid 16-30,
and Large 30+.  These are approximations at the moment so I may be a
little off.

GAMEPLAY

Overview:
Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo is a head to head game.  In a 1P game, you
compete against the CPU.  2P games have the players compete against each
other.  Each side has a 13 Row x 6 Column playing board.  All gems fall
from Column 4 (for both players) 2 at a time (1 pair).  These gems can
be any combination of regular, crash, or diamond gems.  The object of
the game is to block your opponent's Column 4 from being able to drop
any more gems.  It does not matter if there is space open in any other
column.  Conversely, if your opponent has Columns 1-3,5-6 all full and
Column 4 empty, he is still well alive, and probably about to pull a
major comeback.  Joystick controls the direction of the gems as they
fall.  2 buttons allow you to rotate the gem pair clockwise and counter-
clockwise.  In the upper right hand side of the playing field is a
counter.  This indicates the number of gems that will be dropped on you
before you get to play your next pair of gems.  To the left of this
counter is a message usually indicating the strength of the attack.  (I
believe it is Caution for small attacks, Warning for mid-sized attacks
and Danger for the heavy hitters.)  Both players play the exact same
pair of gems so who wins is dependent on how they play the gems and
react to their opponents counter gems.  If the characters are still
playing after about 3.5 minutes, the game speeds up and drops the gems
faster.

Level/Character Select:
The opening screen allows you to choose the difficulty of the game.
"EASY" is a quick, 3 match game.  "NORMAL" is 9 matches against all
characters plus 1 other.  "HARD" is the same, except the CPU plays
quicker and smarter.
After you choose your level, you can pick your character from 1 of the 6
Street Fighters (including Dan and Akuma), 1 of the 4 Darkstalkers, or
the sole character from Cyberbots (anyone else besides myself remember
this one?) Devilot.

How to attack:
There are 2 ways to attack.  The easiest way is to drop a crash gem on
another like colored gem or crash gem.  This will destroy the gems and
send some over to your opponent.  (See below for exactly how many).
Note:  Dropping a crash gem on top of a like colored counter gem will
not destroy it.  However it makes for good delayed attacks, for when the
counter gems become regular gems, the attack is made.  Counter gems can
be destroyed while still counting only if an adjacent gem (of any color)
is destroyed as well.
The other way to attack is to use the diamond.  When you drop the
diamond on a color, all of that color (gems, crash gems, and counter
gems) are removed.  When gems are destroyed, those that are left fall as
far as possible to the bottom of the screen.
Note: Large power gems can block portions of the screen as well, so be
careful where you set them up as well.

How to defend:
When you see your opponent attack, there is a way to "defend" yourself,
and reduce the number of gems that will be dropped on you.  If possible
just "attack" as well and destroy some gems.  This will soften or negate
the number of gems dropped on you, or possibly even cause your opponent
to have some dropped on him/her.  Also, delayed "attacks" (say from a
crash gem sitting on a counter gem who just hit 0) will count as part of
defense as well.  This is very useful for setting up delayed counters as
well to help clear your side of the screen.  Your defense power is half
the equivalent attack power.  See below for more on defending

Taunts:
Yes!  They are in the game!  To taunt your opponent, just press start.
Your character will do a taunt (it's the same animation as a small
attack).  Characters can normally taunt once per round.

Strategies:
There are several things about the game that make it richer than a
standard "drop as many as possible as fast as possible".  The first is
that each gem has a certain value depending on how and where they are
destroyed.  Destroying the exact same gem pattern at the bottom of the
screen will yield less than destroying them at the top (less risk
involved).  This list represents approximately how many gems you will
drop on your opponent when the gems are at the bottom of the screen.  In
most cases it does make a good approximation at the top of the screen as
well.

When hit with a like colored Crash Gem:
Gem - 1
Crash Gem - 1
Counter Gems - 0.5
Power Gem (2x?) - 2x # of gems (so a 2x2 Power gem will add 8, 2x3 will
add 12)
Power Gem (3x?) - 3x # of gems (3x3 will yield about 27, 3x4 36).
(I don't know for sure about larger power gems, but would assume it
follows a similar pattern.)
Note: Those products are only approximations.  A power gem 2x12 yields a
return of about 70, or closer to 3x the number of gems because you are
destroying something huge at the top of the screen.  This is why long
runs that can go down 1 column, across a few rows, and back up another
column are so devastating (ugh... how many Ryu players are groaning at
this one).

When destroyed by the Diamond:
This has been a hard one to figure out.  In general, the Counter Gems
are still worth < 1 (about 0.5), but all other gems are worth only 1,
regardless if they are regular, crash or power gems.  So if you have a
3x4 Power Gem, save it for the Crash Gem since it will give you a base
of 36 instead of a mere 12 if it's destroyed because of the Diamond Gem.
However, the bonus for destroying gems high still appears to be true so
if you have much of 1 color sitting high up, you should get a good
return (as well as some breathing space.)

Counter Gems:
Counter Gems usually start at 5 or 3, and count down to 0 when they
become regular gems.  Although 5 is more common, if you defended against
an attack that negated 1/2 or more of the attack they usually come down
as 3.  The only way to reduce the counter is to drop your pair of gems.
5 drops and all "5" counter gems will be regular gems.  There is no
other way to speed things up.

Offense vs. Defense:
"Well, if my opponent and I play the same gems, can't I just watch what
he does, and then when he drops them on me, I counter with the exact
same thing?"

Well... yes you can, but you will lose fast.  In order to prevent such a
thing from happening, Puzzle Fighter will take the total value of your
attack, and if you are "defending" at the moment, will halve it.  And
that value is subtracted from your opponents attack.  So if he does a 16
gem attack, you will need 32 to cancel the whole thing.  However, from I
have gathered, say he attacks 5 and you defend with 20.  10 is used to
negate his attack, and then the remaining 10 is sent over as your
counter attack, so the game only halves what it needs to defeat your
opponents attack.

Another thing about attacking is try to use "Chain Combos" whenever
possible.  In fact, Chain Combos have proven to be the heavy hitter of
Puzzle Fighter.  Chain combos occur when after you clear out a series of
gems, a crash gem touches another gem and a 2nd chain of gems are
destroyed.  I haven't figured out the exact bonus when you start
chaining 2-3 attacks together, however it does help add to the attack
significantly.  While not as noticeable at low levels, if you can set up
4 chains or more, you'll find that bonus added is huge.  (Personal best:
6 hit chain destroying 2-4 gems per chain giving me 70.)  Also since
chained attacks are usually staggered, they can mess your opponent up
more than if they all fell in one shot.

Lastly, clearing your side of all gems adds I believe 12 extra gems to
the attack.  (Definitely not sure about the number here).

So, where do the gems fall:
The last thing with the gameplay is knowing where gems tend to fall, and
why.  Whenever gems are dropped, the CPU uses the following algorithm to
determine where counter gems will be placed.

1.  Take the number of counter gems and divide by 6 (round up to the next
integer.)  This is the number of groups the CPU must deal with.
2.  Any place in columns 1-3,5-6 that is open and did not have a gem
dropped yet for that group of 6 will receive 1 gem.
3.  If all 5 columns have had a gem dropped, or if they are full (stacked
14 high), the CPU will drop 1 gem in Column 4.
4.  Lastly, if for that group conditions 2&3 have been met, all remaining
gems are discarded.

What does this mean?  Well, say you attack with 5, then from condition
2, all columns except for Column 4 will have 1 counter gem added.  If I
attacked with 7, all columns will have 1 counter gem added, with 1
additional gem added to either Column 1, 2, 3, 5, or 6.  Now, to
continue this... say I attacked with 5 again, but also that column 1 was
full (for my opponent).  Columns 2-6 would all receive 1 gem.  However,
say I attacked with 5 and my opponent had columns 1 and 2 full. The
first 3 gems are dropped in columns 3, 5, & 6.  The 4th gem is dropped
in column 4.  The 5th one is discarded because only columns 1 and 2
remain and they are both full.  Then there's my personal favorite (cause
this happened to me).  Column 1 was 12 high.  Column 2, 3, 5, 6 were all
14 high (I was fighting Ryu.) However Column 4 was only 1 high.  I look
at the attack number he just dropped: 60.  2 went into Col. 1 while 10
were dropped into Col. 4.  The remaining 48 were just discarded
(technically they are dropped on the full columns, but all gems above
the top of the screen are discarded).  The next gem for me started 2
huge chains that returned 75 back and let's say his Column 4 wasn't
quite as empty.

Because of this, the computer drops more on the left side than right.
Most characters "weak" spots are the colors of Column 1 & 2.  A good
tactic is to try to build a "Tower of Power" (Column 1 and 2 all of the
same color).  Especially if your opponent drops the 1 and 2 gem attacks,
if you can build Column 2 up high with the same color your opponent
attacks with in Column 1, you'll have a huge gem that can pretty much
seal it up.  If you're fortunate enough to have 2 "Towers" and can break
them on 1 turn, (or by chaining them,) that will defeat almost
everybody.  Some characters are easier to set this up against than
others (Ryu, Sakura, Felicia easier, Hsien Ko, harder) but that's part
of the fun figuring out how to outwit your opponent.  (Especially since
most of the people I've told how to play and what certain strategies are
now win more than I do. :(  )

"Well what if my opponent and I do the same thing at the same time
(never pull down on the joystick) so the gems land at the same rate?"

Tried it.  The machine favors player 1.  If gems break, player 1 is the
attack, player 2 is the defense.  If both players go out at *exactly*
the same time, Player 1 is credited with the win.

RANKINGS

Like any great "fighting" game, here are the rankings for the
characters.  Now, this is far from being exact, but again having the
chance to play more, the ratings are perhaps a bit more accurate.  This
list also assumes that you have 2 masters playing against each other
that can either compensate (or take advantage) against the luck factor
of the game.  Since it's the Counter Gem patterns that determine the
strength of the character, it is mostly a linear list, with a few
exceptions.  Lastly, I arranged it based on the Gamest Ranking format
(wins out of 10).  The totals are out of a maximum 100.  The more the
game is played, the more it's appearing that the characters are either
good, and can hold their own pretty much against anyone, or are weak,
and get slaughtered by everyone.  All characters are included.  (See the
CHARACTERS section for more detail on their strengths and weaknesses.

    |Ken|Don|HKo|Mor|Sak|Dev|Fel|Aku|Ryu|CLi|Dan|Tot|
    +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
Ken | - | 5 | 6 | 5 | 6 | 6 | 7 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 8 | 64|
Don | 5 | - | 5 | 5 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 8 | 62|
HKo | 4 | 5 | - | 5 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 8 | 61|
Mor | 5 | 5 | 5 | - | 5 | 6 | 6 | 6 | 7 | 7 | 7 | 59|
Sak | 4 | 5 | 5 | 5 | - | 5 | 6 | 6 | 7 | 7 | 7 | 57|
Dev | 4 | 4 | 4 | 4 | 5 | - | 6 | 6 | 6 | 6 | 6 | 51|
Fel | 3 | 3 | 3 | 4 | 4 | 4 | - | 5 | 6 | 6 | 6 | 44|
Aku | 4 | 4 | 4 | 4 | 4 | 4 | 5 | - | 5 | 5 | 5 | 44|
Ryu | 3 | 3 | 3 | 3 | 3 | 4 | 4 | 5 | - | 6 | 6 | 40|
CLi | 2 | 2 | 2 | 3 | 3 | 4 | 4 | 5 | 4 | - | 6 | 35|
Dan | 2 | 2 | 2 | 3 | 3 | 4 | 4 | 5 | 4 | 4 | - | 33|
    +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+

THE CHARACTERS

The notation used for each section is like this:

 - Who they are, and what they say below them.
Counter Gem: What their gem pattern is.
Stage: A description of the stage, plus anything notable on it.
Stage Border Pattern: What's on the border around the stage.
Winning Super: What the character does if he wins (usually).
Strengths: Good points about the character.
Weaknesses: Bad points about the character.
Weak colors: The color(s) that the character tends to drop more of than
the rest, and that can be used against them.
Notes: Personal observations about the character.

RYU
"All too easy... You just don't know the bliss of the bombs."
"Don't tell me, you only know how to play fighting games?"
"You need more training to stand a chance."

Counter Gem:  rgbyrg
              rgbyrg
              rgbyrg
              rgbyrg

Stage:
Downtown Japanese street at night.  (Ryu's stage from SFA1)
There's a large statue of Huitzil in the far background.  On the left
side there's a frog (representing Rikuo?) and a snowman (representing
Sasquatch?  Or the snowman from Bishamon's stage?  Or perhaps Bad Mr.
Frosty?)  In the middle, there's a ball of flame with evil looking eyes
(Pyron?) with a large dog with big teeth below.

Stage Border Pattern:
A fist.

Winning Super:
What Ryu does best... Shinkuu HADOKEN!  (Heh... what else?)

Strengths:
Column patterns make it easier for him to block portions of opponent's
screen.

Weaknesses:
Easy to set up *very* long runs against.  Easy to chain *very* long runs
against.  Easy to set up *very* large towers against.

Weak Colors:
Red, Green

Notes:
The more I play him, the lower he sinks.  The strength of his columns is
his biggest weakness.  While he can quickly block off certain sections,
most people set up for this and return with 3-4 chain hits clearing out
4 columns at a pop (usually resulting in a quick end).  Would be lower
except that both Dan and Chun Li can be setup for larger attacks, and
they are more fun to play.  For a challenge, or, if you're of the "If
it's a Capcom game, then I have to play Ryu," mentality, then he is your
man.  Otherwise, pass

CHUN LI
"I'm the strongest puzzle fighter in the world!"
"I'm too smart to fall for your stupid patterns."
"Sorry! But I don't know how to pull punches."

Counter Gem:  yyrrgg
              yyrrgg
              rrggbb
              rrggbb

Stage:
Great Wall of China (Chun Li's stage from SFA1)
At the end of the match, part of the statue crumbles revealing what
appears to be either Zangief or Mike Haggar (from Final Fight).  Also,
who's the fox riding around on the yellow cloud.  I know I've seen it
before somewhere but...  According to Donny Chan it could be Son Go Kuu,
the Monkey King sitting on his cloud (from a really old Capcom game,
neither of us really remember).

Stage Border Pattern:
Spiked Bracelet

Strengths:
Um, she's wearing her outfit from SF2, instead of the jumpsuit.

Weaknesses:
Counter gems yield power gems for opponent.  Lots of them.  Also very
easy to set up multiple "Towers of Power" and chain them all together.

Weak Colors:
Red, Green

Notes:
People like the underdog.  Well, in this game, she is it.  Practically
giving away big attacks, winning with her will be a true challenge.
Even Dan has a respectable chance against her.  At least she's fun to
play though.

SAKURA
"Only my second game and I'm already the best!"
"Whew, you were good! I've got to train harder!"
"Yes... all part of the plan."
"You're smart, fast, and cheap! No wait, that's me! Ha ha ha."

Counter Gem:  gbbbby
              grrrry
              gbbbby
              grrrry

Stage:
Downtown Japanese Street during the daytime.
(Ryu's stage from SFA1)

Stage Border Pattern:
Heh, a cherry blossom.  (What else?) :)

Winning Super:
Sakura launches a Shinkuu-Hadoken (Hadooooooo-KEN!) at her opponent.

Strengths:
Good at defeating most setups.  A solid center player.  Requires work to
get long runs off of her.  Vertical and horizontal combination help
offset weaknesses.

Weaknesses:
Two color rows (as opposed to Ken's 4) make it easier to setup against.
Corners can be setup against for some fairly long runs.

Weak Colors:
Red, Blue

Notes:
A solid, tough character.  Most effective when playing a game similar to
Ken's.  A little bit easier to exploit, but most games tip into her
favor.  Plus, she looks much cuter than she does in SFA2.

KEN
"I have proven the difference between you and me: you just suck!"
"It was a beautiful victory if I do say so myself."
"Not only am I disappointed, inside I am laughing at you."
"You must learn when to attack and when to defend."

Counter Gem:  yyyyyy
              bbbbbb
              gggggg
              rrrrrr

Stage:
A New Orleans Street (Ken's background from SFA1).

Stage Border Pattern:
The sole of his foot

Winning Super:
Ken yells "Eat This!" (j/k he really says "Ikuze! Shoryureppa!") and
finished his opponent with a pair of flaming Dragon Punches.

Strengths:
Good counter gem pattern, difficult to get long runs against.  Difficult
to retaliate against mid-large size attacks.  Great for messing up
opponents setups.  Excellent both early on and late in the game.

Weaknesses:
Small sized attacks leave him open to large runs and retaliations.

Weak Colors:
Red, Green

Notes:
A solid player when used properly.  I've seen people use his weaknesses
to their advantage as well.  Ken is excellent for plugging holes, and
laying down layers that prevent you from getting to the large gems
you've setup.  Simply put, he's a moose.  Ken masters (no pun intended)
easily can dominate against any and all other characters.  He is the
character to beat.

MORRIGAN
"Baby, baby, baby... I didn't even sweat!"
"It's not whether I win or lose, just as long as I piss you off."
"Oh damn... I split a hair."
"The sun's rising. I'll rest 'til the morrow, then again."

Counter Gem:  ybggby
              ybggby
              byrryb
              byrryb

Stage:
Road in front of her castle (Morrigan's stage from DS2?)
A statue resembling a human Lord Raptor (with Guitar) can be found on
the right side of the screen.

Stage Border Pattern:
A Vampire bat

Winning Super:
Morrigan launches into her ES "Shadow Wave" (Super DP for the non DSers)
burning them with a blue flame.

Strengths:
Fairly solid character with a decent balance.  Sides are fairly well
protected, and risky to take advantage of in the middle.

Weaknesses:
Hard to win in the late game.

Weak Colors:
Blue, Yellow

Notes:
A very well balanced character.  In order to defeat her, most characters
have to take risks to capitalize on her weaknesses.  Creative opponents
can find ways to defeat her, but it's a challenge in most cases.  Great
poses, great super, she's one of the fun ones to play.  Plus, you have
to love the laugh!

HSIEN KO
"And again, I won with ease."
"Hey, it's not time for you to walk away. Try again."
"Why do you hold back?  Your overconfidence is your weakness!"

Counter Gem:  ggrryy
              bggrry
              bbggrr
              ybbggr

Stage:
I believe it was an empty forest (Hsien Ko's stage from DS2?)
Lord Raptor leers at the players in the middle of the screen.

Stage Border Pattern:
Hsien Ko's angry anvil (from her super)

Winning Super:
Hsien Ko drops the Anvil and Spiked Balls on her opponent.

Strengths:
In general, diagonal pattern prevents large power gems from forming.
Great at the small-mid sized drops.

Weaknesses:
Can give easy setups and runs to opponent (especially after Diamond Gem)

Weak Colors:
Blue, Green

Notes:
One of the more interesting characters to play.  Hsien Ko masters mix up
both small and mid sized attacks to prevent large attack setups.  Can
usually hit harder than most opponents.  However, even slight mistakes
can be costly.  Wins most fights, but usually has to work for it.  Hsien
Ko definitely has one of the smallest margins between "scrub" and
"master".  However, at her highest level of play, Hsien Ko can dominate
the machine.

DONOVAN (with Amanda)
"I'm the one who lives in darkness and shatters it."
"No one can interfere with my plans."
"I'll do anything to make this little girl happy again!"
"I'll put an end to the evil curse in my blood at all cost."

Counter Gem:  gggbbb
              gggbbb
              ryryry
              ryryry

Stage:
An open road.  (Not sure from where)
There's that frog again.  This time he's sitting next to a small version
of Huitzil.  The statue of Lord Raptor is on the right again.  In the
middle, Jon Talbain is howling at the moon.

Stage Border Pattern:
Several bats flying in front of the moon.

Winning Super:
Donovan drops the big spiked sarcophagus on your opponent

Strengths:
Good with the small attacks for interrupting runs and ruining setups.

Weaknesses:
Can leave many Ryu-like runs and towers.

Weak Colors:
Red, Yellow

Notes:
Donovan's pattern is one of the most annoying.  In spite of easy to form
power gems, it really requires work to take advantage of it.  He easily
can stand toe-to-toe against anyone.  The more I've played him (and
against him) the more I see he is the dark horse of the game.  Like
Hsien Ko, he does require much work to master, but when mastered,
Donovan players easily pull out solid wins against all competition.
A mid-sized attacked followed by a small one will often make it very
hard for opponents to dig themselves out of trouble.  After playing with
him fairly extensively, he easily is a top notch character.

FELICIA
"I won by a tail's length. Now go to my litter box."
"Meow! How'd you like them apples?"
"You're stoned! Get it? Ha ha ha..."
"You're about as sharp as a circle!"

Counter Gem:  gbbrry
              gbbrry
              grrbby
              grrbby

Stage:
The Las Vegas strip (Felicia's stage from DS2)
M. Bison's hat makes a cameo on the right side of the screen.

Stage Border Pattern:
A cat standing in front of a crescent moon (Capcom's Sailor Moon
reference).

Winning Super:
Felicia calls about 5 friends who pounce all over your opponent.

Strengths:
She's simply the cutest in the game.

Weaknesses:
Sides can provide long runs.  Center yields power gems.  In general,
very easy to set up for big damage.

Weak Colors:
Red, Blue

Notes:
She's a hard win, but looks so adorable when she does win.  A little bit
more solid than initially thought, mostly thanks to the continuing
tricks I've seen used to crush Ryu.

AKUMA
"I am Akuma! Also the master puzzler."
"Evil is what I am. Death is what I bring."
"You are a pathetic example of carbon based wastage!"
"To beat you is not enough, I must destroy you!"

Counter Gem:  rybgry
              ybgryb
              bgrybg
              grybgr

Stage:
A deep underground cavern (Akuma's stage from SFA2)

Stage Border Pattern:
The Japanese character for "sky" ("heaven")

Winning Super:
Akuma glows, gathering his chi, and launches a huge Shinkuu Gaadoken,
flaming his opponent.

Strengths:
One of the best counter gem patterns in the game, hard to set up
against.

Weaknesses:
Attack damage is halved.

Weak Colors:
Green

Notes:
Capcom had to do something with him, and they did in a big way.  All
attacks Akuma does from dropping crash gems are only worth about 1/2 (to
2/3) the value it would be for anyone else (except Devilot).  (Note:
Diamond attacks appear to have been untouched, which is good since those
attacks are already scaled down.)  One thing to remember is that
"defense" is also 1/2 the "attack" value, so when Akuma needs to soften
things, we're looking at roughly 1/4 the actual "attack" value.  Is he
useless?  Look at the rankings and you'll see he's been up, and down,
and back up high, and back down low.  The more the game is played, 2
realizations come to mind.  The first is that he is just a notch below
Devilot.  You'll find that even though their patterns are extremely
similar, because of the way his diagonal runs, it is just a little
easier to setup against (especially after the diamond attack).  So he
and Devilot are no longer "twins".  The second is that he can win with
much patience.  His pattern is that good.  It will keep you in game and
allow you do drop a few gems here and there without worrying that you
are helping your opponent's setups (in fact you'll usually mess it up
more).  Then when your opponent does attack, you can use this to return
fire.  Furthermore, chain, chain, chain!  Akuma does not suffer
penalties to the chain bonus from multiple chain combos.  With this
ability, Akuma can knock up some huge numbers as well.  Akuma can win
matches, in spite of his handicap, with the proper setups, chains, and
runs.  Just be prepared to work for it though.

DEVILOT (with Jigoku Taishi ["Hell Master"] & Dr. Stein)
(The Death Satan Family)
"Don't you recognize me? Cyberbots is Capcom's 1 game."
"I know you want me, but can you handle it?"
"Let the gems hold you as I plan for your death."
"You've been very bad. Now off to the gas chamber."

Counter Gem:  yrgbyr
              byrgby
              gbyrgb
              rgbyrg

Stage:
A destroyed laboratory with the remains of many experiments
(Some stage from Cyberbots?  Even though I probably played it more than
most, I never got that far in the game, nor do I remember much either.)
(Actually, I found her in 2 Capcom jpegs as well, 1 of the females of
their universe, the other of most of their characters.  Not that this is
related to the stage, but most people have asked "Who is that?" and this
is just to say that "Yes, she is out there...")

Stage Border Pattern:
The devil's skull...

Winning Super:
One of her associates (Dr. Stein) shoots a laser, burning your opponent
with a blue flame.  I like this one.  :)

Strengths:
She has the best Counter Gem Pattern in the game.

Weaknesses:
Like Akuma, her damage is crippled (1/2-2/3 Normal)

Weak Colors:
Red

Notes:
She plays exactly like Akuma, but perhaps a little bit better.  Read
that section for more on that.  Personally though, I just find her more
fun to play with, and will usually pick her over Akuma (I've *rofled* at
both her winning and losing poses.  She definitely has style.)  People
have said that she looks like something out of Darkstalkers, or maybe
someone from Darkstalkers 3 (coming soon).  She has the attitude
(nastier than Akuma), the look (her companions are rather ghoulish), and
the style.  Maybe she will appear in DS3... wouldn't be a bad idea.  I'd
like to see her in a few more Capcom games as well.  She's already +1 in
that department (Cyberbots to Puzzle Fighter.)

DAN
"Amateur! Go home and practice Dragon Punches."
"I'm going to make you cry like I did when my daddy died!"
"I thought I taught you well! You know nothing! Dummy!"
"Yeah! I'm the strongest there is! Just don't tell Sagat..."

Counter Gem:  rrrrrr
              rrrrrr
              rrrrrr
              rrrrrr

Stage:
Ken's stage (Ken's stage from SFA1)

Stage Border Pattern:
Ken's stage (Ken's stage from SFA1)

Winning Super:
The SUPER TAUNT! (YES!) (Dan spins around and gives the big forearm)

Strengths:
He's Dan!  What other reason do you need?

Weaknesses:
He's Dan!  What other reason do you need?

Weak Colors:
Look at the counter gem, and you tell me.

Notes:
Dan is my favorite character from any and all of the Capcom universe, so
pardon me if this becomes a "Dan Mini FAQ".  Unlike the rest of the
characters, when Dan wins he becomes really small and hides in the back
of the screen.  The strategy with Dan is simple.  Build, setup, rarely
attack, and when you finally do, assume you will have only 5 more
attacks left to finish your opponent off and don't stop attacking.
Against Akuma and Devilot, you have a little more leeway (which is
perhaps the only reason why he isn't in the cellar).  Because their
attacks are weakened, you can afford to be a bit more offensive and
setup attacks more.  This should allow you to hit harder and finish them
off.  Bottom line he just is fun to play... and the look on everyone's
faces when they see nothing but red is worth it.
GLITCH:  This only works with Dan vs. Anyone except Akuma/Devilot.
Because you can send LARGE power gems, it is possible that if your
opponent can clear out everything with multiple chains, that the damage
is so large, the counter rolls over to something *really* small.  I've
done it 2x.  We've guessed that the largest attack is about 255 (even
though 99 is displayed).  If the attack exceeds this, it rolls over back
to 0...  This is the best!  (Risky though because you're opponent must
have chains to add to the attack and push it over) but still the best.

WINNING THE GAME

On "EASY" you face 3 fighters.  Upon defeating the 3rd fighter, Dan
rolls out on the screen, gives you the "thumbs up" salute as the screen
explodes, and displays the message "Go try NORMAL!"

On both "NORMAL" and "HARD" you face all 8 characters.  Upon defeating
number 8, you go on to face... DAN!  However, just as you are about to
start, Akuma comes from the side of the screen and drops the "Raging
Demon" on him, and from there, good luck.  This Akuma is NOT handicapped
at all, so be prepared for a real fight.  "NORMAL" Akuma is manageable,
but "HARD" Akuma in most cases just keeps attacking (and not just with
the little stuff either), making it difficult to mount a strong attack
in return.  In either case (either level), should you defeat the evil
one, you get the game credits.  Mixed in the middle of this are a few
intermission scenes which are hilarious.  (See INTERMISSIONS below)
There are no individual endings for the characters.  The only difference
between winning on "NORMAL" and "HARD" is that on "HARD" the very last
screen of credits has all the characters waving at you, including Dan,
Akuma, Devilot and 1 other.  "NORMAL" just has the "Thanks for playing"
without the characters.  Should you defeat the game with the same
character (we have continued, picked the same person and went on to
win), the game further rewards you with the image of your character in
the background while the credits are scrolling by.  It's cute.

INTERMISSIONS

On both "NORMAL" and "HARD", you are greeted to some pretty funny
animations.  You see 1 after you defeat your 4th opponent, and see I
believe 4 more when you finish the game.  Unfortunately they are random
so you can see the one from the middle of the game again at the end
(although the 4 at the end are all different).  As a spoiler, here they
are.  I believe these are all of them.  (And trust me, the descriptions
don't do the actual scenes justice.)

1.  Ryu is preparing to fight against Ken.  Ken pulls a "SHORYUKEN"
followed by a "SHORYUREPPA" as a warm up, and ends up crashing
through a manhole cover, falling into the sewer.  Ryu goes all buggy
eyes.
2.  From left to right you see: a barrel, Ryu, Sakura, Dan.  Ryu drops a
Shinkuu Hadoken on the barrel.  Sakura watching her idol does the
same thing.  She drops the Shinkuu Hadoken on Dan.
3.  Hsien Ko is standing in the middle of the screen, upset.  Dan is
rolling around on the ground, gobbling like a chicken.  After a few
times, Hsien Ko belts him with the ground Sword and smiles.
4.  Akuma is in his underground cavern being bothered by all the demons
that Blackheart summons from "Marvel Super Heroes".
5.  Hsien Ko is standing between Felicia and Donovan.  She drops the
anvil and balls on Donovan, then Felicia and smiles.  She then is hit
by a falling pan (kitchen sink?).  Amanda just looks on like "Drips."
6.  Chun Li gives her "Waving hand" taunt to Morrigan.  Morrigan in
response splits into 2 (as her super in DS2), morphs into Chun Li's
outfit, and both do the "Waving hand" taunt, leaving Chun Li baffled
at what happened.
7.  My favorite.  Morrigan changes into her "Sexy Pose" (DS2, press/hold
all 3 punch buttons after winning), then Chun Li's pose/attire, then
Sakura's pose/attire, and (while Dan rolls in from the right)
finally, Dan's pose/attire, and the 2 of them together give the
"Thumbs Up".

HIDDEN CHARACTERS

Did you think I'd forget to mention how to play as Dan, Akuma, or
Devilot?  :)  The codes for them are really easy and I highly recommend
trying them out.  (Dan vs. Anyone is usually hilarious!)

ALL 3:
All 3 of them start out the same way.  If you are player 1, start from
Ryu.  If you are player 2, start from Ken.  There are no time
requirements (that you have to wait x seconds per character.)  You may
do this as fast or as slow as you like.  The only "time" exception is
Devilot (as detailed below).

1)  From the select screen, start at your appropriate character, and
press (and hold) the Start button.
2)  Go down 1 to Morrigan/Felicia

Now from here, this is how you reach...
DAN:
1)  Press down 13 times.
2)  Press a button... Morrigan/Felicia will become Dan

DEVILOT:
Exactly the same as Dan (13 Down, Button) except that watch the timer on
the screen.  When it says "10" (you have 10 sec left to pick your
character), press a button.  Instead of Dan, Devilot will be there.

AKUMA:
This one is different.
1)  If you are Player 1, move the controller Left, Down, Left, Down,
Left, Down, Left (and hold the controller Left)
2)  Press a button.  Akuma will be there.
3)  If you are Player 2, move the controller Right, Down, Right, Down,
Right, Down, Right (and hold the controller Right)
4)  Press a button.

For all characters, the pressing the left button will select their
normal colors, while the right button will select the alternative
colors.

LIN LIN:
"Who's that other girl at the end of the closing screen?"
That is Lin Lin.  She is Hsien Ko's (Lei Lei's) sister and is that small
amulet on the ground next to her while Hsien Ko fights.  Now, someone
finished Darkstalkers 2 and we found out that the American version of
her name is Mei-Ling.  But, I'm staying with Kenichiro and that "Lin Lin
just sounds cooler!"  If you've played DS2, she is the person that
becomes the amulet and becomes attached to Hsien Ko's hat.  Also when
you win with Hsien Ko, that's her "sister" she flips with the claws.
(See Kenichiro's FAQ on DS2/Vampire Hunter for the story about her, and
the other Darkstalker characters.)
(http://www.maya.com/Local/tanaka/Video and scroll down until you see
"VAMPIRE HUNTER".  About as in-depth as you can get.)
Is she playable though?  Well, I don't know.  Supposedly, Akuma, Dan,
and Devilot are the only 3 hidden characters in the game, but as I've
said, if you beat the game on hard, all the characters appear at the end
including her.  To be honest, I was surprised to learn the first 3 codes
as fast as I did, and according to Dave Evans (who was/is in Japan and
who first brought the codes over to the Internet) Akuma/Devilot/Dan are
it.

VS. DEVILOT "CODE"
Yes... there is a way to fight CPU Devilot.  And... in hindsight, it's
actually rather obvious.

Start the game by yourself, and have noone jump in to challenge you.
Defeat your first 6 opponents, without continuing, all with super
finishers.  Devilot jumps in as the next character you face.  Defeat
her, and the game continues normally.  Is she tough?  Well, the word is
that she makes CPU Akuma look like a joke.

Now, I haven't done this myself (I've rarely been able to play without
someone jumping in.) but I did have 2 different people tell me that this
did work.  So, I will be working on this one personally.  More to come
on this hopefully.

CLOSING AND THANK YOUS

Here I am back at the conclusion.  Many more thank you's to add this
time around.  First of all, THANK YOU (and I can't stress this enough)
to the people who helped with this FAQ.

Dave Evans (evans@seas.smu.edu) for not only finding the codes to play
Dan/Akuma/Devilot, but finding them faster than I would have expected.
Also, he did a great job HTMLizing v2.5 of the FAQ (considering he was
doing this from Japan in his Texas account and also that it is still
under construction).
You get the big DAN THUMBS UP!
http://www.smu.edu/~devans/SPF/index.html for the FAQ
http://www.smu.edu/~devans/index.html for his gateway to the SF shrine.

Steve McNally (lordrptr@annex.com) for providing much of the
competition, testing the theories and rankings of all the characters,
and always coming up with killer strategies on the game.  1 of the best
I've seen.  Also thanks for finding the vs. Devilot code.

Donny Chan (crs1219@inforamp.net) for gathering most of the characters
quotes for the game.  Excellent job!

Eric (immy@annex.com) and Lisa (kerowyn@annex.com) for playing the
underdog characters, providing a laugh, and allowing Steve and myself to
practice the 99+ gem attacks from his strategies.  :)

James Chen(sor) (jchensor@ucla.edu) for playing the best Ken I've ever
seen.  Is there any game that you're *not* good at?

Mark Zedaker (akuma@powergrid.electriciti.com) for the animation style,
Sailor Moon references, and good discussions.

Tim, the arcade guy (klonerz@primenet.com) for all the free games at
Puzzle Fighter, and also for finding the vs. Devilot code.

Darklancer (lancer@pacific.net.sg) for finding the names of Devilot's
associates.  Thanks much guy!

Kenichiro Tanaka (tanaka@maya.com) for the excellent reference work on
the Darkstalkers info and for translating a few things.

All in all, this is a great game.  Fun, addictive, challenging.  Even
without the bells and whistles it has a solid core, but with them it
truly becomes memorable.  (Start playing Dan and you'll see what I mean.
Forget that in most cases you'll be crushed... you'll have everyone
watching with amusement, and if you win, there should be some big
cheers.  At least, there are where I play.)
Questions?  Comments?  Care to add anything?  (Strategies, Secrets,
History for any of the characters or what appears on their backgrounds),
Want the FAQ?  Just e-mail me:

hunter@ecom.net

Capcom made a wonderful game and I'd welcome the chance to talk to
anyone about it.

Coin-Op Players Distribution Network Support
copdn@tmok.com
http://mvs.tmok.com




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