Fighting games' craziest c-c-c-combos

Finger cramp city

They say cooking is an art and baking is a science. While you can mess around and estimate while making meatloaf, being off by a tablespoon while making a cake can only lead to you crying over sludge. The same goes for video games: playing any other genre is entertainment, while perfecting a fighting game is a science. There's no room for error, and you have to be on your game--even down to the microsecond in the case of one-frame linking. But if youre patient and practice over and over and over, you can pull off that offensively powerful move and feel like a god.

This gallery is a compilation of some of the most difficult combos to pull off in fighting games. Dont try these at home, kids--if you dont have a tournament-caliber joystick or a limited edition KOF gamepad, youre pretty much sunk. Just kidding; if youre not a robot, you have no chance of pulling these off anyway.

Dead or Alive 4: Hayates Raijin


This game isnt just about boobies! Seriously, if you look past the engorged bosoms of the female contestants, there's a fantastically tuned fighting game underneath. The Dead or Alive character movesets skew towards being more technically demanding, while still letting the player feel good about pulling off that rare complicated combo.

Except for when it comes to the character Hayate. Though Hayate's a fighter not known for his throws, the developers (for some ungodly reason) decided to give him the most challenging throw in the game. Look at the video! Look at the amount of moves! Thats ridiculous! And its not even that powerful. I think its more of a mindgame, sort of like, I can do this whenever I want; in other words, youre screwed.

Soul Calibur 2: Ivys Calamity Symphony

Input: DF->DB->F->D->DF->DB->A + K (video)

Ivy was always one of the more challenging characters in SoulCalibur. Button mashing can get you far with other characters, letting you be a little roly poly with Voldo or a giant asshole with Kilik with minimal effort. But Ivy? Mash buttons and your little swordy-thingy gets limp and youre like, wat and then you die.

And then youre faced with something like the Calamity Symphony. You have to wonder, has anyone actually pulled off that thing during combat? No one knows. Probably not.

Virtua Fighter 2: Akiras SPoD (Stun Palm of Doom)


Virtua Fighter is arguably one of the cornerstones of modern-day fighters, being one of the first to implement the rocks-paper-scissors system of striking, guarding, and throwing. By that logic, it should be easy and approachable, right?

WRONG. Movesets in VF are complicated enough as it is--but then things like Akiras SPoD pop up, and you realize that you but a speck in the fighting game universe. Its not that its the most difficult button input to master; but coupled with insanely fast input times followed by awkwardly long holds, you feel like youre playing an awful game of red light/green light.

Soul Calibur 4, Darth Vaders critical finish


This is another combo where the inputs themselves arent hard--its the fact that you have to fulfill a very specific set of circumstances in order to be able to do it in the first place. Having your soul gauge be full PLUS having theirs depleted PLUS stripping them of all their armor PLUS countering their heavy attack and then finally hitting L1/LB quick enough is all it takes.

But if you get it, oh man is it a glorious finisher. Darth Vader just casually slices them open for a few seconds before their lifeless body drops to the ground. If you win the match by pulling off the critical finish, then Vader gets a special victory slogan and pose, which makes it all the easier to rub the defeat in your friends face.

Street Fighter: Zangiefs dash 720

Input: 360 rotation->Hold->DB->D->DF->R->Hold->UF->U+3 Punches (video)

When youre browsing through forums and come across someone that says Yeah I just won my Street Fighter regional tournament and I stillcant do Zangiefs damn dash 720, thats when you know this shit is hard.

Whats so difficult about it? Well, dashing usually cancels the moveset you were performing (hence the term dash-cancel), but in certain circumstances, a combo input can be buffered and/or masked during the animation of a dash. Zangiefs ultimate is one of these cases, but the issue is that its all directional inputs. So youre just stuttering and staggering across the stage while youre opponent looks on in dumbfounded awe. And maybe one time out of every 30 tries, youll might be able to get the move off.

Capcom Vs SNK 2: Rocks Neo Deadly Rave

Input: HCB->F+K->LP->LP->LK->LK->MP->MK->HP->HK->QCB+HP (video)

There are some beautiful combos out there. This isnt one of them. This isnt one of those fancy combos where you get to do a few buttons and the sit back and watch the fireworks, oh no. You have to be doing the inputs yourself the entire time.

Honestly, this combo is just a mess of strike inputs over the span of half a minute. Once you get into the command stream, theres no escaping--you either finish the inputs and do massive damage or you fail utterly and get countered because youre awful. It may not be pretty, but the payoff is so, so sweet.

Input: Become a robot -> Have a reaction time of 1/60th of a second -> ??? -> profit (video)

This one I cannot even get my head around--to be honest, I didnt even know it existed until halfway through making this list. See, there are combos that rely on one-frame linking. What is one-frame linking, you ask? Well, normal fighting games refresh at 60fps, and therefore these combos have to be performed to 1/60th of a second accuracy. If your timing is 0.01 seconds before or after your window of opportunity, its no go.

Watch the video above; notice how Ryu just goes. No delay in moves, no waiting for a punch to get pulled back. If you can master one-frame linking youre a god, and therefore any other combo in any other fighting game ever is easy to you.

King of Fighters: Leona Trial 10


Are you serious? Because this is ridiculous. Im deeply offended by watching that video. How am I expected to pull that off? Even the expert performing it throws a freaking ace of spades onto his joystick after what feels like a the 10-minute long input sequence for that ungodly trial.

While Leonas may be the hardest trials to master, King of Fighters has some incredibly difficult combos up its sleeve. I suggest getting sucked into the wormhole that is this guys YouTube channel and watching every fighters ten trials. Its almost like watching art: I may not understand it, but I can definitely appreciate it.

Feeling inadequate yet?

And you thought wavedashing was hard. Pfft. If you can pull off these nightmares we've listed, then really, the world is your oyster. Are there any combos I missed? Anything that you remember as being freakishly difficult to pull off? Leave a comment below to let us know!

And if you're looking for more, check out top 7 best fighting game characters and the best fighting games.

Zach was once an Associate Editor for Future, but has since moved into games development. He's worked at EA and Sledgehammer Games, but is now Narrative Director on League of Legends and Valorant at Riot Games.