Being one of Goutetsu's two students, alongside his brother Gouki, Gouken realized the dangerous nature of the art of Ansatsuken (the Assassin's Fist) and was determined to pass its teachings along... but only after removing its "killing intent" called Satsui no Hado. However, Gouki, now known as Akuma, became consumed by the Satsui no Hado and challenged Gouken to a death match, during which he killed Gouken. However, Gouken had mastered a secret technique that allowed him to separate his soul from his body, so while Akuma managed to destroy Gouken's body, his spirit remained. After the spirit had rebuilt Gouken's body, Gouken returned to not only face Akuma once again, but to ensure that his students, Ryu and Ken, continue to avoid the Satsui no Hado.
Gouken is a tricky character. His gameplan is never obvious and, while he has a huge set of different tools at his disposal, knowing what to do with them can be extremely tricky. Using Gouken really requires a high level of adapting to your opponent and countering what it is they want to do. Gouken's damage output is extremely high, and some combos in the corner can easily lead to resets and dizzies, which pretty much spells the end for your opponent that Round.
Typically zone out with fireballs. Can change arc with different punch buttons (LP = horizontal, MP = ~45 degree arc, HP = ~60-75 degree arc). If they neutral jump, can adjust timing by charging the fireball slightly so they land on it. Can charge for a 2 hit fireball on most hard knockdowns for a meaty chip damage. If they jump a fireball, you can typically dash forward and cr.HP, cr.MK or Ex Tatsu to antiair them. If they are closer, you can simply ignore the dash. If they engage in a fireball war with you, you can Dash Palm (SRK+HP) through the fireball as a punish. Ex Palm can be combo'd afterwards with another HP Palm or dash + HK Tatsu (character specific) or with Ultra 2 (Denjin).
Gouken recovers extremely fast from his fireballs and can typically hit and destroy one hit from an ex fireball and focus or block the second hit on reaction. Can also antiair most jump ins when they jump his fireballs or dash up and punish.
Goukens dash and focus attack are also quite good and can lead to a very dangerous rushdown game (see Infiltration's Gouken as an example of a very aggressive Gouken). He has a good throw that pushes them to the corner where his resets and high damage juggles and dizzy combos go to work. Note that you cannot link a light attack to a higher attack but can go backwards from higher attacks to light attacks, which can cancel into special moves (ex. LP-LP, MP will not work, but MP, cr.LK xx HK Tatsu will). Gouken can safe jump after hard knockdowns and has his own Demon Flip mixups for a psuedo vortex, though nowhere near as good as Akuma's. He has no overhead to his Demon Flips and the dive kick part can be blocked low (manual dive kick during jump arc is a high attack though for mixups), but pushing punch during the flip will give you an air parry that will lead to big punishes on typical cr.HP antiairs as you land in front of their recovery animation for full punish. Work on basic pressure with dive kicks into light attack chains with tick throws and overheads. Cr.MP is a very fast low hitting and long reaching poke you can dash up and throw out and cancel into a LP fireball. His sweep is quite good as well and generally safe from counter sweeps and can combo after LP fireballs in the corner for hard knockdown or you can FADC into the sweep midscreen to secure a hard knockdown. Focus bait, secure hard knockdown, demonflip mixups are your basic up close strategy.
You generally want a mix of zoning and rushdown when you score hard knockdown or corner them.
Defensively, you have few options. Kongos are generally difficult to fish with as you are left wide open and must guess the Low, middle or high counter. Many things can be countered high one time, but mid or low the second time (different spacing on dive kicks for example. If hit you in head, its a high counter, if they hit the legs/feet, its a low counter, despite it being teh same move). Can be used when you are quite certain the move that is coming, such as someone that fireballs and then follows up with sweep every time or someone that spams cr.LP/LK on jump ins or to bait someone that option selects throw techs on block. Ex Kongo is a much better option for defense if you know a move is coming but dont know the counter requirement. Still relatively unsafe as can be baited quite easily. In theory, can mash these out during blockstrings like an uppercut for those dropped combos. Try to limit it to known quantities, like the cr.LP/MP after an Akuma st.HK or cr.MP after the Axe Kick for Evil Ryu combos instead of just mashing nonstop the entire combo.
His other wake up options are Ex Tatsu, which has 7f of invulnerability on startup and destroys any jump ins (though be wary of safe jumps, it may whiff) and Ex Demon Flip, which is completely invulnerable until about the top of the arc. Ex Demon Flip can out last just about any shoto SRK, but something like Cammy's uppercut which hangs in the air forever will eventually hit you out of the flip. The Ex flip tracks, but you are usually right next to them on wake up and the flip crosses up, putting you on the other side. You can rarely hit them with a dive kick or throw in this situation as the arc just puts you completely over them, but the invincibility will save you from an SRK chip damage death situation. You can attempt to air focus (push any P in the air) if they try to hit you out of the flip as you are coming down.
As you can see, all defensive options generally require meter. Thus, Gouken has a very weak wake up game and you need to know how to block properly as the best defensive option for Gouken. Guessing counters will typically lead to many losses. Use sparingly.
- cr.HP - Amazing anti-air which beats many jump ins clean or trades heavily in your favour. Can dash forward (or no dash depending on how far away they are) after a jumped fireball and cr.HP to antiair the forward jump.
- cr.MK - Another solid anti-air. This lowers your hitbox and is good for anti-airing meaty jump ins.
- close.HK - Similar to other shotos, this can antiair neutral jumps point blank or if they jump forward to get out of corner. Very high hitting hitbox that makes it a deceptively good antiair vs anything directly above your head. Situational, but useful to know the specific times you should use it.
- cr.MP - fast hitting, far reaching, low hitting poke. Main footsie tool from mid range. Dash forward and cr.MP is common tactic with Gouken's fast dash.
- close st.MP - huge frame advantage on hit or block. Main combo starting hit confirm. Can option select meaty into Denjin ultra for teleporters (Denjin even autocorrects for you).
- j.HK - knocks the opponent to the ground. active immediately, making it possible to jump back and immediately j.HK to hit standing opponents and some crouchers.
- forward+MP - similar to Akuma's overhead chop. Forces stand on grounded opponents.
- cr.HK - fast recovering, hard knockdown sweep. Difficult to punish, but can be focus punished easily. Can FADC fireballs into it for hard knockdown midscreen. Can combo into off fireball in corner without FADC.
- j.down+MK - Gouken's dive kick. Properties are different from the Demon Flip dive kick version. This version must be blocked high compared to the Demon Flip dive kick being blockable low. This version has less hit and block stun than the Demon Flip version. Only possible to combo from it if the dive kick hits the opponent approximately below their waistline.
Gouken's Super is the Forbidden Shoryuken. It is a 3f startup invincible uppercut. It makes an excellent anti-air as well. It can be cancelled into from all of the usual normals or, preferably, used as a punish for many other special moves that Gouken has difficulty punishing or simply cannot outright punish under normal circumstances. Notable moves Gouken can punish on block:
- Yun's Tetsuzankou (Shoulder Tackle)
- Dudley's Machine Gun Blow, Dash Punches (Ducking Straight/Upper), Short Swing Blow and forward.HP
- Makoto's Hayate, Orochi and Tsurugi
- Fei Long's Rekkas (even if he stops on the first hit)
- Deejay's Max Kicks
- Sakura's MK and HK Tatsu
- Ken's Step Kick
- Balrog's LP Dash Straight Punch
- Adon's Ex Jaguar Kick or Air Jaguar Kick
- Abel's Wheel Kick
- Oni's Demon Slash and Demon Palm
- E.Ryu's Axe Kick
- Rose's Soul Spiral
- Zangief's st.HK
- Ibuki's Tsumuji
Ultra 1 = Shin Shoryuken
Ultra 2 = Denjin Hadouken
The Ultra selection for Gouken for AE ver. 2012 is hands down his Ultra 2. While Ultra 1 still maintains solid damage, the change to Gouken's back throw, which now does 1 damage of grey health and severely scales the damage into the ultra, limits the most common use of Ultra 2. Without that, the only other time to reasonably land this ultra - outside something like wake-up ultra - is in the corner or by burning 3 bars to FADC an EX Palm or Tatsu. Conversely, Ultra 2 has utility across the board with solid damage that is both easy to combo into and does massive stun when it hits. Furthermore, with Gouken's ability to easily stun an opponent with a single reset or handful of combos, Ultra 2 can then be fully charged to do more raw damage than the Ultra 1, essentially beating Ultra 1 in every conceivable category for usefulness. Another huge boon to the Denjin is that it can plow through other fireballs on reaction to punish people. Finally, the Denjin can be held and/or sped up to catch people attempting to jump over it, causing them to land on what they believed to be a safe jumped ultra into a punish situation, though that is more of a gimmick than a recommended usage.
In short, there is no reason to use Ultra 1. Pick Ultra 2 and spin to win.
Combos (Ordered by Damage)
- - = chain
- cr = crouch
- st = standing
- , = link
- xx = cancel
- j = jump
- (xxx, yyy) = (Damage, Stun) for given combo
Note - Damage and stun values are from training dummy Zangief at 100% starting Stamina and 0/1100 starting Stun. Combos can begin with different starters, such as Demon Flip kicks, jump in normals, Focus Attacks, dive kicks, etc. Values can vary due to counter hit status, the stamina of the opponent (you take less damage the lower your stamina), etc.
- (127, 205) - cr.LP-st.LP-st.LK-far.st.LP-cr.LK - Light attacks chain
- (131, 130) - back throw, j.MP (1 hit), cr.HK - hard knockdown, land next to them for wake-up pressure
- (147, 210) - back throw, j.MP (1 hit) xx HK Air Tatsu - Good corner carry off back throw and land near them
- (186, 200) - back throw, HK Tatsu - Easiest follow-up, best damage, leaves them full screen away
- (189, 340) - close.st.MP, cr.HP xx LP Fireball - Can easily FADC the fireball for more damage, solid safe blockstring
- (230, 400) - st.HP xx HP Palm Strike - Meterless punish, not hard knockdown, but can continue pressure easily, best option in corner for no meter
- (253, 310) - close.st.MP, cr.LK xx HK Tatsu - Meaty wake up option that hitconfirms to HK Tatsu
- (259, 410) - (corner) close.st.MP, cr.HP xx LP Fireball, cr.HK - Hard knockdown corner only
- (285, 400) - st.HP xx HK Tatsu - Meterless punish, stuck recovering from Tatsu and they are up roughly same time as you, but at other side of screen, not recommended for corner punish
- (293, 460) - close.st.MP, cr.HP xx HK Tatsu - High damage and stun, but must be able to hitconfirm from st.MP
- (354, 510) - st.HP xx EX Palm Strike, HP Palm Strike - Works on everyone or if you find it easier, but does less damage
- (398, 510) - st.HP xx EX Palm Strike, dash, HK Tatsu - Character specific (works on majority of cast)
- (259, 410) - close.st.MP, cr.HP xx LP Fireball, FADC, cr.HK - FADC into hard knockdown
- (323, 600) - close.st.MP, cr.HP xx LP Fireball, FADC, cr.HP xx HP Palm - Basic FADC combo, good for corner due to recovery on HK Tatsu
- (356, 600) - close.st.MP, cr.HP xx LP Fireball, FADC, cr.HP xx HK Tatsu - Basic FADC combo for midscreen
- (364, 565) - (corner) close.st.MP xx LP Fireball, cr.HP xx LP Fireball, FADC, cr.HP xx HP Tatsu - Flashy corner combo that can also fool people with mix-up thinking they are safe to push buttons after the first fireball, can substitute HP Palm or EX Palm and corner juggle for the HK Tatsu
- (393, 485) - (corner) st.HP xx EX Palm, HP Fireball, LP Fireball, cr.HK - corner punish or after a focus attack, hard knockdown
- (417, 615) - (corner) st.HP xx EX Palm, HP or MP Fireball, LP Palm, jump back HK - character specific version of above, leaves you at perfect fireball range to antiair any jump outs with Ex Tatsu or cr.HP or sweep punish teleports easily, etc. Good if playing SRK happy players or vs grapplers that you don't want to risk being up close and personal with, even in corner.
Note: Damage and stun values are from training dummy Zangief at 100% starting Stamina and 0/1100 starting Stun with a full Revenge Gauge. Combos can begin with different starters, such as Demon Flip kicks, jump in normals, Focus Attacks, dive kicks, etc. Values can vary due to counter hit status, the stamina of the opponent (you take less damage the lower your stamina), etc.
- (404,0) - back throw, Ultra 1 - Change to back throw doing only 1 grey stamina damage greatly reduces the effectiveness of this
- (596, 390) - (corner) st.HP xx EX Palm, HP Fireball, Ultra 1 - Full Animation, slightly more stun and easier timing of full animation, less damage
- (604, 350) - (corner) st.HP xx EX Palm, Ultra 1 - Full animation
- (604, 352) - st.HP xx EX Palm, FADC, Ultra 1 - Full animation anywhere on screen
- FADC after Counter
- (241, 320) - back throw, Ultra 2
- (291, 380) - back throw, j.MP (2 hits), Ultra 2
- (295,370) - j.MP (2 hits), Ultra 2
- (320,428) - HP Fireball (hit opponent in air), Ultra 2 (spin stick based on distance from you and their height, only practice will help you with the timing)
- (460, 630) - st.HP xx EX Palm, Ultra 2 - Can be done after any Ex Palm anywhere on screen. Turn stick 2-3 times depending on positioning and how quickly you link Ultra after the Ex Palm
- (670, 944) - (During dizzy) Ultra 2 (full charge), dash forward 1-2 times depending on spacing, HK Tatsu - Note: This is unscaled damage and stun. Number of hits before dizzy will scale it. You cannot generate more stun while they are dizzy. Values provided as frame of reference.
- FADC after EX Tatsu or Counter
Resets (ordered by Stun)
Gouken is a character with very high stun. A single reset can typically lead to a stun on the majority of the cast, especially in the corner. A single corner reset combo into stun leads to a fully charged Denjin combo. Here are a few common reset setups.
Note: Damage and stun values are from training dummy Zangief at 100% starting Stamina and 0/1100 starting Stun. Combos can begin with different starters, such as Demon Flip kicks, jump in normals, Focus Attacks, dive kicks, etc, which can drastically increase the amount of stun generated, such as starting with a neutral jump HP or other variant, leading to bigger stun values or the opponent being stunned much earlier. Values can also vary due to counter hit status, the stamina of the opponent (you take less damage the lower your stamina), etc. Simply put, learn to count your stun when you land combos and know that you do not need to burn another bar on an EX Palm to stun them and can safely do a regular HP Palm.
- (347+354, 1065) - (corner) st.HP xx EX Palm, HP Fireball, j.MP (1 hit), st.LP, HK Demon Flip Dive Kick (crosses up), st.HP xx EX Palm, HP Palm
- (510+349, 1020) -(corner) st.HP xx EX Palm, jump forward.HP, land, walk forward (this crosses under them), st.hp xx EX Palm, HP Palm - Basic corner reset. Can choose not to walk under them and the reset won't cross up, making it difficult for them to guess which way to block the reset, 510 damage is for st.HP xx EX Palm, j.HP, 349 is if you connect st.HP xx Ex Palm, HP Palm afterwards
- (345+150, 655) - (corner) st.HP xx EX Palm, HP Fireball, LP Fireball, cr.LP, LK Demon Flip Throw - Basic corner juggle combo with a Demon Flip Throw reset at the end
- (131+150, 410) - back throw, j.MP (1 hit), st.HP, LK Demon Flip Throw - Reset a back throw for more damage and stun, can use different Demon Flip strength into Dive Kick to cross-up instead