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Gaming’s most satisfying uppercuts

Balrog’s Dash Upper

Balrog is probably right up there with Zangief as a Street Fighter character that nobody but the truly hardcore ever want to play. When the original version of Street Fighter II hit, he was the weakest of the four boss characters, and he couldn’t even kick. But he does have some interesting, devastatingly powerful moves, and while it’s hardly Street Fighter’s most iconic or famous uppercut, the Dash Upper still packs a pretty nasty wallop. Especially when used to smash in an opponent’s jaw from across the screen.


Kazuya’s Lightning Screw Uppercut

This attack’s been part of the Tekken series about as long as Kazuya Mishima has (so, since the beginning), and its utter useless ridiculousness is matched only by the thrill of actually getting it to connect. Simple to pull off, it sends Kazuya into a crouching spin, during which he charges up his lightning and is totally vulnerable to attack.


Above: Ha ha, what?

Then – assuming your opponent hasn’t kicked you in the face and had a good laugh about the whole thing – he springs up, unleashing an electrically charged knuckle sandwich into your foe’s gaping jaw.

Simple, elegant and completely silly. In short, it’s everything we’ve ever liked about Tekken.


Above: Also it looks super-badass in the upcoming Street Fighter x Tekken


Dan Hibiki’s Hissho/Shisso Buraiken

Speaking of completely silly, there’s this classic combo deployed by Street Fighter’s resident weakling/joke character Dan Hibiki, in which he basically throws himself at his opponent with a flurry of rapid-fire kicks and punches. The best part? It ends with a Koutatsuken (Dan’s weaksauce version of Ryu’s dragon punch), a humiliating little exclamation point for anyone slow enough to actually get caught in the combo. In Street Fighter IV, it became a full-fledged Ultra Combo, as well as Dan’s most entertaining move:

The best part here isn’t the uppercut at the end, though; it’s the uppercut in the middle, which you probably missed because it goes by so fast:

Sending your opponent sprawling to the ground is all fine and good, but actually deforming their faces with a single punch to the jaw? That’s satisfaction.


Above: Also, it’s one of the few times you’ll get to see Bison make a duck face


T.J. Combo’s Winding Uppercut

Seeing as it took heavy inspiration from Street Fighter, it’s not surprising that the Nintendo/Rare arcade sensation Killer Instinct would feature a few moves that clearly imitated Ryu’s classic dragon punch, most notably from Ryu stand-in Jago and villainous robot/other Ryu stand-in Fulgore.


Above: Fulgore’s was better, though. He had laser claws 

For our money, though, the best uppercut in the game belonged to boxer/obvious Balrog stand-in T.J. Combo. Pulling it off meant charging one of the attack buttons for three seconds, after which he’d start winding up. Then it was just a matter of hitting punch again when he’d sped up enough, and you’d launch your opponent into the stratosphere.

This was even better if you did it (or any other character’s special uppercut) near the ledge of a building when your opponent was on his or her last bit of energy, as it could send them flying over the edge and into some lava, or a smashable car, or some other, equally unpleasant fate.


Above: BLURP

45 comments

  • Devil93065 - October 12, 2010 5:24 a.m.

    They should have added Megaman X2's Shoryuken to the list to make it even better.
  • t3rry747 - October 6, 2010 11:01 p.m.

    I think the kurby fighter uppercut and the original mario jump uppercut should of been on this
  • Matedawg11 - October 1, 2010 2:17 a.m.

    I actually got chills when I watched the Shoryuken video at the end :D!!
  • Romination - September 30, 2010 9:54 p.m.

    I beg to differ on Punch-Out, it's possible on a few enemies to knock them completely out with a star punch.
  • RushLight - September 30, 2010 4 p.m.

    What about Spider-Man 2's uppercut? I always found it incredibly satisfying to punch and thug the chin, watch them go flying then hit the ground again with a thud. Good times.
  • Dondada - September 30, 2010 1:42 a.m.

    Great article, nice homage in the end to SF and all its clones. I see you Rock'em sock'em robots...I mean Tekken.
  • FauxFurry - September 30, 2010 1:39 a.m.

    You also overlooked Fatal Fury's Joe Higashi's Screw Upper. It should have been right beside Kazuya's Lightning Screw Upper. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WaZXXgo2Bnc&feature=related Of course, neither compare to BlazBlue: Continuum Shift's Makato Astral Finish that has her upper cut her opponent straight through the moon. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFDFMCoHHAc
  • sniperscope - September 30, 2010 12:07 a.m.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vH4DXCBpX1E That's just plain cool! I love this article.
  • Clovin64 - September 29, 2010 11:43 p.m.

    Killer Instinct references make me happy. I remember that game came with a free watch when got it. Yay!
  • blam57 - September 29, 2010 9:34 p.m.

    its all about the mk uppercuts, cept for the remake versions...they dont look that effective
  • Boxer47 - September 29, 2010 7:04 p.m.

    Great feature those were some awesome uppercut ko it funny i got a boxing match two day in Chicago lets see if i can get an uppercut ko if i do it would be epic lol
  • AlaskaGrown - September 29, 2010 5:49 p.m.

    Bravo Miguel....bravo! I have to admit, the first thing popped into my mind when I read the headline was Mortal Kombat. Never been a huge fan of the games, but uppercuts are so fucking visceral. I think it's the combination of the screen shake and the sound. BLAM!
  • SonicX_89 - September 29, 2010 4 p.m.

    MORTAL KOMBAT!!!
  • philipshaw - September 29, 2010 2:53 p.m.

    Classic Mikel article,I think you hit everything I could think of when reading the headline. I think like most I associate the uppercut with SF and MK
  • gmknoble - September 29, 2010 2:26 p.m.

    Lovely article Mr. Reparaz
  • deathrebellion - September 29, 2010 12:35 p.m.

    BLOODY ROAR Yugo The Wolf has THE best uppercut watch this --> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAiTfMaE3qY
  • FauxFurry - September 29, 2010 11:52 a.m.

    No Grand Upper in an article on Gaming's Greatest Upper Cuts? That's one thing that Streets of Rage did beyond a shadow of a doubt better than Final Fight! Is Mr. X behind this omission?! That's the only logical explanation!
  • d3v - September 29, 2010 10:01 a.m.

    Funny that Cody's uppercut is the one uppercut that you do not want to see because it means that you screwed up his infinite. Also, Balrog is bad ass, he's always one of the best characters in any Street Fighter game he appears in.
  • Ninjadmin - September 29, 2010 8:05 a.m.

    M-Bisons duck face FTW!!!
  • Xenos - September 29, 2010 3:55 a.m.

    Ahh how could you forget the game that is named after one of the main characters moves? "BARE KNUCKLE"!

Showing 1-20 of 45 comments

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