Street Fighter 5 got a surprise new character earlier this week - and combo masters are already doing incredible things with him.
Kage, a twist on the Evil Ryu character from previous Street Fighter games, is a flashy, high-damage, combo-heavy character who has some unique abilities that make for particularly cool-looking strings.
Street Fighter combo master Desk has already put together a couple of awesome Kage combo videos - and they do not disappoint. In the videos below we see combos that involve air dashes (Kage's V-Trigger 2 gives him a ground teleport that, in the air, is an air dash) to extend juggle combos beyond what we're used to seeing in Street Fighter 5. There are also cool-looking combos that involve teleporting this way and that while Kage's opponent is in the air. And I like all the wall bounce combos!
Leaving Desk behind, the video below shows an online match starring Poongko, the popular South Korean pro Street Fighter player, nail a 39-hit combo with Kage. Skip to the three minutes and 30 seconds mark to see the beauty in action.
Pro Street Fighter player Smug came u against an early-days Kage player online and struggled. (Skip to the 16 minutes and 45 seconds mark for all the Kage chat.)
One character who might be a useful counter to Kage, however, is the much-maligned Zangief. Zangief isn't considered a decent character in Street Fighter 5, but it turns out he can air command rab Kage out of his critical art, which is certainly something.
Not everyone's in love with Kage. While most enjoy his playstyle, his design is rubbing some people up the wrong way. It turns out his fuzzy hair, little purple horns and under-bite fangs aren't everyone's cup of tea. I've seen some say Kage looks like a Halloween costume for Ryu, or called him little more than a riff on Evil Ryu. And I've seen some call Kage "Furry Ryu", which is all sorts of disturbing. I'll admit, I don't think his default costume is the best, and those little purple horns are cute rather than demonic, but his alternate costumes give him a unique aesthetic.
At the end of the day, though, Kage's combos are where it's at. And while it's early days, Street Fighter 5 players are having a lot of fun working out what's possible. Whether Kage will perform well at tournaments remains to be seen, of course - he's a glass cannon and doesn't take much punishment. But he can certainly dish it out and make it look good in the process.