Real Bout Fatal Fury 2/FAQ
What is the tier list?
These are rather disputed, and I'll be citing sources as to where these different lists have come from. Bear in mind, this game is extremely balanced and there is no one character that dominates all 100% of the time, even during high-end Japanese tournaments. Any character in this game is a viable option, and at most you might have to try a little harder in certain match-ups but you won't be seeing anyone winning because of <Insert character here>, with the grand exception of maybe if you're using Tung or Cheng.
Ghostpilot AKA Mr. Big's Tier list
Top: Rick, Kim, Chonshu, Escalation-Mode Mary.
High: Geese, Yamazaki, Terry, Franco, Hon-Fu.
Mid: Bob (Mid-High), Xiang Fei (Mid-High), Krauser (Mid-High), Sokaku, Mai, Chonrei, Mary, Billy, Laurence, Joe, Duck, Andy, Mary.
Low: Tung, Cheng.
Rick: Just a damn combo machine. He can do obscene damage off a jab, is incredibly fast, has a great all-around move set, an unblockable that leads into combo, a ranged, projectile-eating super that hits low, and to top it all off, an infinite (though it is pretty tough to do).
Kim: Basically, he's Bob minus the risk (and the infinite). An excellent set of normals and specials, huge damage potential (has a pretty basic combo with only normals that does nearly 50% and can dizzy) and two excellent supers.
Chonshu: Small size, extremely fast, awesome normals (the C, C, C, D, f+C: string is SICK and it sets up for the P-Power), nice set of specials, the best mix-up game next to Franco & Mary, a damaging life-drain super useable on the ground and in the air that eats fireballs, can hit low (if done from the air and it hits below the knee), does 40-45% damage while healing Chonshu for about 30%, and one of the best P-Powers in the game (that isn't a 360, that is).
Escalation-Mode Mary: This is Mary when her P-Power is active. Basically this turns her into her Real Bout Special self. She gains the ability to do a double pursuit d + B then d + C, three new specials that link into follow ups and from there, the hugely damaging Dynamite Swing finisher. Her Escalation Vertical Arrow dp + A is not only a great anti-air that can lead into followups for huge damage, it's also an instantaneous overhead. Basically, it's possible for her make her attacks practically unblockable by doing d + B's into EVA's that lead into a Mary's Snatcher-followup dp + B into an Escalation Dynamite Swing d + C during Snatcher). Long story short, if Mary says "Okay!", and tucks her hair behind her ear, it's time to RUN!
Hon-Fu: A nice set of normals, although most of his specials are somewhat random and of questionable use, and his supers are terrible. So what makes Hon-Fu high-tier? Two things: great pokes and, the great equalizer, the Sky of Fire dp + A / C.
It's been hit with the nerf bat in every game since the first (FF3), but it's still, pound for pound, the best special in the game. This move can counter -everything- thrown at you, is extremely safe, huge invincibility, great damage, excellent speed. It turns Hon-Fu into a walking no-jump / no-poke zone.
Someone throws a fireball in striking range: Sky of Fire.
Someone throws a poke: Sky of Fire.
They jump: Sky of Fire.
They crossup: Sky of Fire.
They super: Sky of Fire.
They flinch: Sky of Fire.
They breathe: Sky of Fire.
Everyone, from the top of the tiers to the bottom, has a reason to fear the Sky of Fire.
Geese: Even with a crippled move list (as far as specials go, this is the smallest move list he's ever had), his normals are amazing (with the best sweep in the game) and many of them provide perfect setups to his Divine Punishment d + C pursuit. He also has a great command throw setup with his D + B which essentially turns all of his command throws into dashing throws. His supers are excellent as well. He's not easy to use, however, and someone with a good pressure game can give him a hard time.
Franco: See the Franco page (coming soon!)
Terry: Solid in all areas: great range, speed, power, normals, specials, supers, combos...and Terry's recovery is crazy. He just never seems to stop attacking. If RB2 had guard breaks, he'd easily be top-tier. Unfortunately for him, it doesn't and that's where he suffers. Because he only has one overhead (which only works from a dash), all the opponent has to do is crouch-block Terry and that stops 99.5% of what he can do.
Yamazaki: An okay set of normals, some nice specials, great supers, and an excellent pursuit attack. Yama's strength is in his zoning capabilities and range (with his C's and Snake Fists), where he's lacking is in combos and damage. Aside from supers, the only way Yama's going to do decent damage is to get in close, which is not the best place for him to be (which is mid-long range).
Bob: Bob's a character who exists in the limbo that is the Mid-High tier. He's got a solid set of normals, decent specials, good supers, huge damage potential, two anti-airs (one of which can combo into the other, and into his P-Power), an okay mind game, the easiest infinite in the game with a bunch of setups for it, a link throw he can juggle from and ridiculous juggle game to use with it. He is the only character with both a rising attack and a pursuit.
"So why isn't he High-Tier" you ask?
Simply put, his recovery times are god-awful.
Bob's a perfect example of a high-risk / high-reward character. He can do up to 80%+ damage in a single combo, but if he slips up, it's over for him.
He only has one safe-ish special (the Rolling Turtle: hcb + B), and even then it's only safe if you know how to use it. Everything else, whether blocked, whiffed, or in some cases, even landed (IE: Rolling Turtle) open him up to huge, tide-turning damage. Positioning also plays a bit part in Bob's game, which also puts him at a disadvantage when he's fighting against someone who's being defensive or has good pokes.
Xiang Fei: If the person can do her bizarrely-motioned counters consistently, then she's definitely in the high-tier. She's got a decent set of normals, a combo-able overhead, and three very nice supers. Her f, hcf + B + C is among, if not the best punisher in the game. When she's less than 50%, the opponent has to be -very- careful not to whiff a special / super or even a lengthy normal.
Where she falls short, however, is range on many of her normals, particularly her A. Her C's are quite nice, though. Her air C has incredible priority (even beating some AA's clean), but it's pretty tricky. She yells about a quarter second before throwing the kick, which makes it feel like there's a bit of a delay from the button press and the kick. Against those with good range (Terry, Franco, Yama, etc), she's fighting a real uphill battle.
Positioning plays a huge part in her ability to do damage (thus making the qcf + B unreliable). This becomes an even bigger problem when her 360 P-Power not only has the least range, but is the only one in the game with a miss animation!.
Krauser: Geese's half brother. Krauser is very solid, solid enough in fact to be in the upper-mid with Bob, and has some of the best S-Powers & P-Powers in the game. Also, his A + B attack is exceptionally good, and buffer-able to specials / supers. His Leg Tomahawk (qcf + B) is an okay AA, but it's great in that it has little recovery and is a combo-able overhead. The Kaiser Wave S-Power (f, hcf: + B + C) is to be feared. It's arguably the best punisher in the game, and with it it's safe to say that he moves up a tier when he's at 50% life.
His problem is that he's not terribly fast, has few combo options, and he has a hard time against chars who are faster than he is. The speedier chars, can treat most Krausers almost like a bonus round. His jumping attacks are terrible, his size works against him in a huge way, and he has a hard time getting out of a defensive position once he's in one.
Chonrei: I must confess, I once thought that Chonrei was a low-tier character: living in his brother's (Chonshu's) shadow. Arstal showed me that despite his weaknesses, Chonrei is actually not all that bad. Despite his size, he hits pretty hard, has decent speed, great pokes, and some decent specials. Now onto the bad stuff: His supers aren't very good, his combos are very limited, his range isn't too great, and his recovery could be better. Against anyone who's faster or has longer range, he's fighting an uphill battle.
Sokaku: He used to sit comfortably in the top-tier, and was probably his strongest in RBS, however he lost a lot of what made him strong in those games. He went from having a barrel-full of anti-airs to one (arguably two) and it's a normal. He has decent pokes, a fireball that can hit low, a nice command throw, a pursuit that hits anywhere on the screen, and an infinite (far and away the hardest in the game). He has less range than you think he would with a staff, limited combos, huge recovery of many of his specials / supers, and very few options to stop someone who's rushing.
Joe: Joe's pretty solid, though he's not a character I regularly use. His normals are decent, as are his specials / supers, but nothing really to write home about aside from his f, f + C poke, which is very fast, damaging, and has almost unbeatable priority. He has a number of weaknesses, though.
One is the range of his normals: even compared to small characters his range is lacking. Another is that he has little in the way of mind games. If a person decided to go on the defensive, Joe has a hard time getting through it. And the third and biggest problem of all, though, is that there's not one thing Joe can do that someone else can't do as well, if not better.
Duck King: Duck is a weird mix of extremes. Everything from normals to supers range from being amazing to being the worst in the game. His normals, for the most part, are pretty good. His specials, on the other hand...basically drop every special that doesn't use the A button (except the u, d + D from the back plane), because all of them will leave you in horrible shape if whiffed / blocked, and some of them leave you in bad shape even if they hit!
He has the best S-Power in the game (Break Spiral, 360 + B + C), which is useable both on the ground, in the air, and after the first hit of the Break Storm dp + B). It's so good, in fact, that you could bump him up a tier when he's at 50% life. He has half a dozen ways of easily getting close enough to land it. However the Duck Dance P-Power is so bad that you'll just be better off forgetting that it even exists. It is, far and away, the worst Super in the game.
Mary: She's very fast, her normals are good, her supers are good, but the majority of her specials are terrible. She has an anti-air that the opponent has to be practically sitting on her face to land properly, and an evade that hardly evades anything. Her one effective ground special, the Crab Clutch, is actually really good, though it can be tricky to combo into at times. The Young Dive, though tricky to use, greatly boosts her mind games.
Mary takes a lot of work to be effective, and relies entirely on her speed and mix-ups. Her Mary Spider (qcf + C in the air) as a nice chunk of invincibility, and can be tiger-kneed to make it a vicious turtling punisher (thanks to Izlude for the TK'ed Mary Spider). Also her pursuit (d + B) is a huge part in her game, since it's a guaranteed followup it from all of her specials and some of her normals.
Everything changes when she kicks on her P-Power, the Mary Escalation. For about 10-15 seconds, she becomes scary scary scary. So much so that she actually shoots up a tier (details in her entry in the Top Tier section).
Billy: He's fallen a long way since RBS, where he was scary. Now he's only really scary in the hands of the computer (when he's doing nearly double damage). He has good normals, and a couple decent specials, but his combos are extremely limited, and he has a hard time against hoppers. His hcb + C S-Power is the best super he has, but leaves him very open on a whiff / block.
Laurence: Another character who's fallen a long way since RBS. His move set is completely different in this, and though his fighting style now more resembles that of a matador, in doing so he lost all his mind games. His B + C is a sidestep that has three different followups, and he can cancel it into specials and supers. His S-Power is very difficult to land properly, his normals (except for his C's) are pretty bad, though. All his specials are pretty good with the possible exception of the Bloody Mixer (mash A). He only has a handful of combos as well, though his poking / mid-game is matched by Yamazaki.
Andy: Andy has about the same problems as Joe: there's not much he can do that someone else can't do better. His normals are pretty solid and so are his specials (with the exception of the qcb + C, which leaves him at a frame disadvantage) are decent. However, he requires as much positioning as Bob does without the damage to back it up, has no mind games, and his specials / supers lose hits (and a bit of damage) when comboed into. His Sho-Ken (qcb + A) is a great harasser.
Mai: As I was messing with her, there was a while when I thought that I may have ranked her too low, but then I took her into a bunch of fights and realized that she's indeed a mid-tiered character. She's fast, as are her specials, but she lacks damage and priority. She has 7-hit combos that does as much (and in some cases less) damage that some people's specials by themselves. She does have a curious distinction of being the only character who has a buffer-able rising attack, which is pretty nice. Her C has nice speed, range, and priority, and the P-Power also has great priority and seems to have a vacuum effect. But her S-Power is beat by practically everything thrown at it. Her anti-air (qcb + C) has much less range than it appears, which is something to keep in mind when using it.
Tung: I'm actually somewhat hesitant to put Tung in the low-tier, I think he may actually be better in the Mid, though he's fallen a long way since showing up in RBS. Compared to his RBS, NGBC, and KOFXI (PS2) appearances, he just feels incomplete in RB2. His normals are okay, his C's are actually pretty good, and he has a decent pressure game and a halfway decent mix-up game. He has painfully few combos, but the ones he have are fairly effective.
His anti-air (dp + B) that doesn't always hit properly, his projectile isn't full screen and does little damage. His dp + C is quite possibly the worst special in the game. Two of his specials function only from his taunt (IE: can't be comboed into, though you can juggle from them), an S-Power he has no setup for (other than from the first hit of a close C). The P-Power is okay, and the last hit is an overhead, but it's not very useful outside of a combo.
Tung is not a terrible character, but he's very limited.
Cheng: Canonically, he's one of the most powerful people in Fatal Fury, and he was a top-tier character in FF2, however in this he's just not all that great. His normals are absolutely dismal and many of his chains either don't combo or they don't buffer into specials. His specials range from being okay to being borderline useless. Even his best specials (save for his fireballs) are hugely abuse-able on block. He has a decent zoning game, but that's really about all he has.
His S-Power is, far and away, the worst S-Power in the game. The opponent would either have to be coming down from a move with huge recovery or asleep to get hit by it.
The P-Power isn't too much better: it can only be done in the air, is tricky to combo into, and if you hold down C for too long, Cheng won't do the finisher, and he'll be at the opponent's mercy. The only thing keeping this from being the worst P-Power in the game is that the Duck Dance is actually worse!
Granted, he's an annoying fight, but he still has more things working against him than for him
Akutabi's Tier List
Top Rick (Mix-up+Damage), Xiangfei, Billy, Geese & Bob
High Mai & Krauser
Mid Just about everyone else not listed
Low Cheng, Sokaku & MAYBE Mary
-Highest = Kim (speed, combos, recovery, anti-airs), Geese (fireball, super, pick up ground throw bug), Mai (speed, p-power, fan), Terry (recovery, combos, c.B, qcf + B)
-High = Hon-Fu, Bob, Duck, Andy, the Chon's, Joe, Rick, Xiang Fei
-Medium= Everyone else not listed
-Low = Tung