The latest goal for the fighting game community is simple: Kill Akuma in Street Fighter 5 using just two combos.
GIF via Frame Data V's successful completion of the Akuma challenge
The challenge began last Saturday when a player named Javits Arias posted a tweet asking his fellow competitors to deplete Akuma's health.
Kill Akuma in 2 combos
1st combo has to be a jump in combo using any resources. 2nd combo has to start from a light attack
— Javits Arias (@jav1ts) March 24, 2017
Arias wanted players to start the first combo with a jump-in attack and the second with a light punch or kick. Arias' public challenge came on the heels of achieving the kill himself with Chun-Li, a difficult sequence that, he says, took three hours of practise to squeeze out the last of Akuma's 875 hit points.
Chun can do it! Raw jump combo into VT then dash up low combo for the stun and kill. The microwalk into 4HP at the end is so hard! pic.twitter.com/N7ZoHd3OWT
— Javits Arias (@jav1ts) March 24, 2017
There's nothing the fighting game community loves more than challenges, whether it's a post-tournament call-out, a call for players to perform a unique combo, or dealing a certain amount of damage to celebrate a couple's wedding. In finding ways to quickly defeat Akuma and show off their victory to the world, players would be able to cleverly highlight the flaws of a character that's failed to make a serious mark on competition.
The fighting game community quickly answered Arias' challenge, inundating social media with dozens of videos showcasing their findings. The folks at Frame Data V, for instance, found that newcomer Necalli only needs half a bar of super meter to mete out justice against Akuma.
— Frame Data V (@FrameDataV) March 24, 2017
David Le showed how Ken's uppercut-heavy offence can drain Akuma's life in the blink of an eye.
— David Le (@zykkspooL) March 24, 2017
By using the time Akuma is stunned to build additional meter, BlaQNYC was able to gain access to Karin's devastating Critical Art, leaving the heiress laughing haughtily as the demonic fighter crumpled behind her.
Ibuki has been making a splash on the competitive scene, and MattTrixism shows how the teenage ninja can use her ample kunai supply to put Akuma down.
— MattTrixism (@MTXIbuki) March 24, 2017
Olaf Redland took up the challenge with Street Fighter 5's latest character, Kolin, demonstrating the usefulness of her freezing mechanic in the process.
— Olaf (@OlafRedland) March 25, 2017
Even F.A.N.G., the oddball cast member who isn't typically seen as a powerhouse, is able to pull of this feat, as Steven Shao shared in the tweet below.
— Steven Shao (@Shaosprojects) March 27, 2017
While none of these situations are 100 per cent guaranteed to succeed in high-level spaces, they shine a light on an issue quietly bubbling up in competitive Street Fighter 5 play.
Ever since his 1994 debut as a hidden boss in Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo, Akuma has been the perfect fighting game equivalent of the "glass cannon" archetype, capable of outputting tremendous offence but easily shattered in terms of health. This quality followed Akuma into Street Fighter 5, a detail that's accentuated by the fact many of the game's characters can inflict significant pain.
In their next update, slated for the end of April, Capcom is planning to address this problem by increasing Akuma's health by 25, but some players believe that's insufficient. During a recent livestream, high-level Japanese competitor Hajime "Tokido" Taniguchi expressed his concerns after a particularly brutal online thrashing at the hands of Balrog, one of the hardest-hitting characters in the Street Fighter 5 roster. He said that he likely would have died even with the life boost.
This puts the developers in something of a pickle. Do they continue to increase Akuma's health, abandoning the character's glass cannon legacy? Or do they make wider changes to the amount of damage the rest of the cast is capable of producing?
Street Fighter 5 has proven to be an ever-evolving game, even with the competitive season already in full swing, and Capcom's decisions after the upcoming April patch will no doubt have implications for the rest of the year. Until then, the community will keep coming up with ways to kill Akuma and, hopefully, find ways for the evil brawler to avoid a quick end.