Some of you may have seen that German newspaper article that leaked Cammy and Birdie’s appearance in Street Fighter V, which was then being re-reported as a rumor. Well, those of us in the know can finally stop trying to uphold this embarrassingly paper thin charade any further: Cammy and Birdie are definitely coming to Street Fighter V.
I knew it. The Germans knew it. You thought you knew it. The only difference is that, now, I get to openly talk about it.
During last week’s play session I got a chance to not just see both characters (and others!) but also playtest them as well. Cammy’s addition to the cast isn’t exactly a total shocker. A Capcom rep claimed she is one of the most requested characters in the series by fans, outside of the original 12 members of the Championship Edition roster. Birdie, is a bit more of an obscure choice. I’m one of probably three people in the world that’s a member of the Birdie fan club. I was hoping to see his return in Super Street Fighter IV when Adon, Cody, and Guy were announced.
Now, let’s break down how both of these characters played in last week’s build of Street Fighter V — and how they work with its new systems.
Birdie was my main character in the Street Fighter Alpha series, so I am definitely happy to see his return. His play design during that time was like a cross between Balrog/Boxer and Zangief. Like the big Russian, Birdie was a lumbering menace with great midrange normal strikes and a set of devastating close command grabs. He also adopted some of Balrog/Boxer’s specials, such as a rushing attack and a punch button charge move similar to the turn around punch.
These moves, coupled with a very fast hop n’ grab Super that could land from anywhere on the screen, made him incredibly mobile for a grappler designed character.
Although the Street Fighter V version of Birdie has had a visual alteration, with some of his original moves missing, he has retained most of his Alpha series play characteristics. He still has the rush specials and one command grab (the other command grab has been replaced with a Mortal Kombat Scorpion style projectile), but his Critical Art is no longer a hop super.
His midrange pokes are OK. Standing Hard Punch (Fierce) is still nice for terrorizing sloppy mind games. His crouching and jumping Middle Kick (Forward), which were really good in the Alpha series, have different animations and hitboxes.
His variable kick overhead is still there, as forward Hard Kick (Roundhouse). He also gained a variable two hit mini-rush normal, by pressing forward and Hard Punch (Fierce).
My only negative criticism about Birdie is purely from a visual standpoint. I find what they’ve done to the character design incredibly lazy and disappointing. The version of Birdie that appeared in Street Fighter Alpha and Street Fighter Alpha 2 was a large, yet lean and muscular male. His personality was mysterious, calculative, and intelligent. Instead of sticking with this interesting take on the big-man trope, they’ve gone the easy route by turning Birdie into yet another obese, comedy relief oaf. It’s really disappointing and makes the announcement of the return of one of my favorite characters bittersweet.
V-Gauge Slots: 2
Bull Head: Back, Back Down, Down, Down Forward, Forward + Punch
This is Birdie’s shoulder charge move from the Alpha series. The punch’s strength determines the length traveled. In the Alpha games, this was a really good special move to sneak in during midrange poke mind games, as it had a quick start-up. This move’s execution has been changed from a back charge to a half circle forward motion, which on paper should make it an easier special to hide telegraphing.
Bull Horn: Hold any punch button, then let go.
This was another killer tool for Birdie in the Alpha series. It’s similar to the Bull Head, but it comes out quicker and has an execution that is easier to hide (at the cost of holding down one punch button). In the Alpha games, this had a lot of great properties, including a better hitbox than Bull Head, and you could power up depending on how long you charged (Like Balrog/Boxer’s Turn Around Punch). I’m afraid in my limited playtime, I couldn’t confirm if these rules were retained, but I can’t imagine they didn’t carry over.
Hanging Chain: Down, Down Forward, Forward + Kick
Birdie’s Criminal Chain command grab from Alpha has been replaced with this Mortal Kombat Scorpion-inspired move. Birdie throws his chain out across the screen and attempts to snag the opponent. Obviously, missing the other player will result in the chain hanging out there for a bit, leaving Birdie wide open for a big counter. I feel most situations where you’d want to throw this move out, you may want to use a Bull Head or Bull Horn instead.
Killing Head: Forward, Down Forward, Down, Down Back, Back + Punch
This is Birdie’s only upclose command grab, and it’s execution has been ridiculously simplified (in Alpha, his command grabs required a 360 turn of the stick).
Bull Revenger: Forward, Down Forward, Down, Down Back, Back + Kick
Birdie’s insane Alpha-series Super move is now a regular special! This move was really good at terrorizing projectile heavy opponents and could even occasionally work as an unorthodox anti-air. Birdie does a forward leap into the air, lands and grabs the opponent, slamming them into the ground.
Break Time 1: Medium Punch (Strong) + Medium Kick (Forward)
Birdie sloppily crams a doughnut into his gullet, adding meter to his V-Gauge.
Break Time 2: Back + Medium Punch (Strong) + Medium Kick (Forward)
Birdie drinks out of a can, adding meter to his V-Gauge. He then rolls the can onto the ground, towards his opponent. The can will do damage if it makes contact with the other character. Birdie can not perform another Break Time until the can is offscreen.
Break Time 3: Down + Medium Punch (Strong) + Medium Kick (Forward)
Birdie eats a banana, adding meter to his V-Gauge. Once he’s finished the banana, Birdie tosses the peel onto the floor. If the opponent touches the peel, they will slip, take damage, and wind up grounded. The banana peel has a short life span and will eventually spawn out of the world after a little while. Birdie can not perform another Break Time while the banana peel is still onscreen.
Pepper Pot: Forward + All Three Punches on Block
Enjoy Time: Hard Punch (Fierce) + Hard Kick (Roundhouse)
Similar to Ryu, Chun-Li, and M.Bison’s V-Triggers in that it gives Birdie certain attribute boosts. In this case, more damage output, increased speed, and armor on specials.
I’m not convinced anyone is surprised by this one making an appearance.
The foundation design of her playstyle from Street Fighter IV to Street Fighter V doesn’t feel as if it has changed very much. She’s still a rushdown character that’s meant to sneak beyond the projectile game and apply upclose pressure, either up in the opponent’s face or through cross up and Hooligan Combination shenanigans.
I couldn’t get Cannon Strike to come out low, but I’m going to put some of that blame on my execution (I haven’t played SFIV Cammy in at least two years). Cannon Strike out of Hooligan Combination can now cross up and be executed late into the lower half of the jump arch, allowing for a mini-mix up.
Her Spinning Knuckle is tied to her V-Skill, which you perform by pressing Medium Punch (Strong) plus Medium Kick (Forward), and can go through projectiles a la Super Street Fighter 2’s jab spinning knuckle.
Her V-Trigger ups her speed and damage output bonuses, which should make her an absolute rushdown beast when activated.
V-Gauge Slots: 2
Spiral Arrow: Down, Down Forward, Forward + Kick
It’s her horizontal intensive, forward-momentum special move. The length of travel and speed of recovery vary depending on the version of kick. EX version adds multiple hits. Really good Cammy players will memorize the lengths and learn to poke their opponent from the maximum distance, which will allow for a safer recovery.
Cannon Spike: Forward, Down, Down Forward, Forward + Kick
Cammy’s anti-air special, Cannon Spike acts like a kick version of Ryu’s Shoryuken (uppercut). Range and recovery vary depending on the strength of kick used.
Cannon Strike: Down, Down Back, Back + Kick (Must be in air)
It’s Cammy’s dive kick special. I had a very difficult time doing an instant low version of the move (where you execute the move within the first few frames of the jump arch). It doesn’t mean it is not there. An incredibly useful special for getting the opponent to stutter when trying to choose which anti-air move to use or when put into a high or low block situation.
Hooligan Combination: Back, Down Back, Down, Down Forward, Forward + Punch
Her original mind game special. Cammy leaps into the air and begins rolling towards the opponent. Depending on where Cammy is in the arch and how close the other character is to the roll, she can execute several different offenses. The type of punch used when executing the Hooligan Combination will alter the roll’s speed and arch height. Other versions of this move allowed for the Hooligan Roll to be canceled out. I can’t confirm if that is possible in Street Fighter V.
Hooligan Combination into Razor Edge Slicer: Execute Hooligan Combination, do nothing
Cammy does a low sliding kick, which hits low and grounds the opponent.
Hooligan Combination into Fatal Leg Twister: Execute Hooligan Combination, Light Punch (Jab) + Light Kick (Short)
Cammy grabs and stomps the opponent down onto the ground with her legs, using forward momentum. Cammy must execute this move close to the opponent, during the downward portion of the Hooligan Combination arch, and be low to the ground.
Hooligan Combination into Cross Scissors Pressure: Execute Hooligan Combination, Light Punch (Jab) + Light Kick (Short)
Cammy grabs the opponent with her legs and flips them over onto the ground. Cammy must execute this move close to the opponent, during the upward portion of the Hooligan Combination arch, and must be vertically located on the upper half of the opponent’s body.
Hooligan Combination into Cannon Strike: Execute Hooligan Combination, Kick
Cammy executes a Cannon Strike, which is similar to the one used outside of Hooligan Combination. This move will track, so if the Hooligan Combination goes over the opponent’s body and the kick is input, the Cannon Strike will change direction and shoot back toward the opponent. A lot of cross up mind game potential here.
Cross Stinger Assault: Down, Down Back, Back, Down, Down Back, Back + Kick
Cammy’s Critical Art
Strike Back: Forward + All Three Kicks (while blocking)
Axel Spin Knuckle: Medium Punch (Strong) + Medium Kick (Forward)
Essentially Cammy’s Super Street Fighter 2 Spin Knuckle move, including projectile invulnerability, without the execution barrier of having to input joystick directions to make it come out.
Delta Drive: Hard Punch (Fierce) + Hard Kick (Roundhouse)
Cammy’s V-Trigger. She gains speed and damage output bonuses.