In fighting games, there’s a wonderful trap some people, myself included, fall into. That’s trying to win the fight with a perfect victory, or trying to avoid having our opponent get a perfect victory against us.
Now, both of these might seem to be perfectly in line with winning a fight against an opponent to the best of your ability. Sometimes, they aren’t though.
When attempting to get a perfect, some people will go on the defensive when they should be pressing their advantage to keep their opponent off balance. Going on the defensive gives your opponent some breathing room to strike back. Giving them that breathing room not only gives them a better chance of getting in the hit that means you won’t get a perfect anyway, but it gives them more oppurtunities to make a comeback.
Now, don’t get me wrong, defense is a good and necessary part of most fighting games, but there’s a time for defense and a time for offense. Taking one hit from pressing the advantage is better than taking five from giving your opponent more time to think about what they can do against you.
When trying to avoid having an opponent get a perfect victory, I’ve seen people do just the opposite, and play too offensively when they should be on defense, carefully picking and choosing their attacks. By attacking too frequently to get in that one hit, they leave themselves open to the one hit that will end the match. And if the match is over, whether your opponent gets a perfect victory or not, you still lost.
Now, that might seem contradictory at first, but if you think about it for a minute, I think you’ll see that it isn’t. When you have the advantage, it’s generally a good idea to press it, and when you have a disadvantage, it’s better to try to gain the advantage first, then once you have it, or at least some momentum, you can worry about pushing back harder. Trying to use the wrong strategy at the wrong time to get or prevent a perfect can put you at a disadvantage, since you’ll be thinking about the unimportant goal of the perfect, rather than the important goal of winning the fight.
If you aren’t willing to trade a sixteenth of your health for three quarters of your opponent’s health, you’re probably putting yourself at a disadvantage, unless you know a way to give up less for the same amount or more.
Getting a perfect is certainly a great feeling. However, do so by using the proper strategies for winning at the proper time, instead of changing strategy in order to try to bring about the perfect faster. In all likelyhood, in playing to win the fight instead of playing for the perfect, you’re probably more likely to get that perfect you wanted anyway.