The Rumble Fish 2: How Does The Two-Gauge System Work?

Quick Links

  • What Is The Offensive Gauge?
  • What Is The Defensive Gauge?
  • What Is Boost Dive?
  • What Are Critical Arts?

The Rumble Fish 2 experienced a limited run during its Arcade launch in the mid-2000s. However, it's a highly influential title in the fighting game genre. For instance, the acclaimed studio Dimps developed the game. You may know them for their development of the pivotal Street Fighter 4.

From a technical perspective, The Rumble Fish 2 is distinct because it uses a dual-gauge system, with one gauge for offense and one for defense. This starkly contrasted with other 2D fighters of the time, which utilized a one-meter system. Even now, only a handful of fighting games, such as Mortal Kombat 11, use an Offense/Defense meter. Thankfully, while TRF2's meters seem intimidating, they're more straightforward than you think!

What Is The Offensive Gauge?

The Offensive Gauge works similarly to a super combo gauge and increases as the fighter induces damage. Players can then spend the gauge to perform offensive actions, like super combos, launchers, and combo cancels. The gauge has three bars, with different actions costing varying bar amounts.

Offensive Gauge Techniques





Impact Blow

One Offensive Bar

This maneuver prevents the opponent from recovering from a knockdown. However, it is only applicable to specific special attacks.

(During Attack Hit) Dodge

Jolt Attack

One Offensive Bar

These attacks are unblockable launchers that send opponents flying in the air. While the opponent is airborne, time slows down, allowing the player to land more attacks.


Advanced Attack

One Offensive Bar

This technique cancels the current attack, advancing the fighter toward their opponent. Advanced Attacks allow fighters to extend combo strings.


Offensive Arts

One Offensive Bar (Some OAs Require Multiple Bars)

These are super combos that deal significant damage.

Different for each OA

What Is The Defensive Gauge?

The Defensive Gauge rises with time. However, blocks and evasions will increase the meter's growth rate. Like the Offensive Gauge, this meter has three bars, which players can spend to perform parries, recoveries, and special defensive actions.

Defensive Gauge Techniques





Impact Break

One Defensive Bar

This is a parry that players can use to create an opening to counter their foe.

(While Blocking) Dodge

Quick Recovery

One Defensive Bar

A quick recovery is similar to an air recovery. However, the recovery covers more distance, preventing the opponent from chasing the recovered character.

(While airborne) ⬅️ or ➡️ + Dodge

Defensive Arts

Two Defensive Bars

Defensive Arts are attacks with significant defensive boosts. They do not cause as much damage as OAs. But they can push back opponents or activate game-changing reversals.

Different for each DA

What Is Boost Dive?

Boost Dive is a unique heightened state when players gain enhanced abilities. This technique costs one Offensive and Defensive bar and gets activated by pressing either LP + SK or LK + SP.

The effects granted by Boost Dives offer enormous benefits for a relatively low cost. For instance, Aran's Boost Drive gives him multiple shadows that inflict additional damage. Garnet's Boost Drive lets her see her opponent's weak spot. Hitting said weak spot induces double damage.

What Are Critical Arts?

When both the Offensive and Defensive Gauges fill, both meters will glow green, and the word "Critical" will appear above them. In this state, players can perform Critical Arts, high-damage attacks that can wipe out most of an opponent's health.

Critical Arts are risky for various reasons. First, if the attack does not connect, the player will lose both offensive and defensive gauges. Some Critical Arts have very complex input commands. So attempting to perform them can open the player to attack. We recommend practicing these more technical Critical Arts several times before taking them into battle.

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