The King of Fighters '98: Ultimate Match/Joe Higashi

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Joe is a safe character; whichever moves you use, the openings are few. You need to master his powerful zoning moves to play him effectively. His normals are not geared towards combos, but they are powerful in zoning.

Make use of his zoning strength; you want to fight by batting the enemy closer and further.

Move list

At a glance

Normal throws
Hiza Jigoku (throw) f/b + C
Leg Throw (throw) f/b + D
Command moves
Low Kick f + B
Sliding df + B
Special moves
Hurricane Upper hcf + P
Slash Kick hcf + K
Tiger Kick dp + K
Ōgon no Kakato qcb + K
Bakuretsuken P repeatedly
┗ Bakuretsu Finish (during Bakuretsuken) qcf + P
Super special moves
Screw Upper qcf qcf + P
Bakuretsu Hurricane Tiger Kakato qcf hcb + P

Normal throws

  • f/b + C – Unbreakable grab with rollable knockdown. Mashable and subject to team assists.
  • f/b + D – Breakable throw with unrollable knockdown. Not preferred because it’s breakable, but it does a fixed amount of damage if successful.

Normal moves

  • st.A and st.C – some jump checking and zoning ability; very strong punches.
  • st.B and cr.D – have long reach and are strong in the zoning department; the latter is cancellable.
  • st.D (he has no cl.D) – extremely strong as a jump checker, but leaves you even more open than OG did.
  • j.A and j.CD - powerful in air-to-air. The startup of j.CD has been sped up.
  • j.D – downward-oriented, so you can use it jumping in; when used while ascending, it is an overhead.

Command moves

  • Low Kick
  • f + B
  • Pivotal for combos, this command move combos from strong attacks. Somewhat open if blocked.

  • Sliding
  • df + B
  • If the very tip touches the opponent, there is not so much of an opening. The recovery is a little shorter than in OG. Its speed is quick, and it’s relatively easy to use. When it hits, it does knockdown.

Special moves

  • Hurricane Upper
  • hcf + P
  • A projectile with slow startup that only covers about half the screen. Its range is wide, so it’ll hit short opponents and hyper-hopping opponents. The weak version’s recovery has been lengthened from OG, whereas the strong version’s has been shortened. Thus, it is no longer as cheap as before.

  • Bakuretsuken
  • P mashed
  • Joe advances forward while whipping multiple out punches. There is a total of 12 hits in it, but whether the derived move will combo off of it depends on the number of hits.
  • Bakuretsu Finish
  • qcf + P during Bakuretsuken
  • The weak version is an overhead and doesn’t leave you very open, even if it’s blocked, which is quite convenient. It is possible to use the weak version for some risky zoning since the hitbox is ahead of Bakuretsuken’s reach.
  • The strong version can be blocked high or low, and when blocked, a counterattack is likely. Obviously, if you’re probably going to get blocked, use the weak version. The strong version happens to leaves the opponent with a hitbox, so in the corner you can juggle them with cl.A or cl.C.
  • The range is extended if you use quick MAX.

  • Tiger Kick
  • dp + K
  • More or less, an excellent move for anti-air and stuffing. In particular, the hitbox around his knee has extremely high priority. Both weak and strong versions launch the opponent from the first hit, but now the weak version does only one hit, after which the opponent’s hitbox is gone, so with the possible (?) exception of a ground counter-hit, it won’t use both hits, period.

  • Slash Kick
  • hcf + K
  • Rushing move, very vulnerable. Use solid hit confirmation, and use it in combos.

  • Ōgon no Kakato
  • qcb + K
  • Somewhat safe rushing move. If you use it as a psychic anti-air, it is possible to follow it up with a jump-attack juggle.

Super special moves

  • Screw Upper
  • qcf qcf + P
  • A very, very tall projectile that advances across half the screen. For the most part, the weak version will combo from weak attacks (for this purpose, though, Bakuretsu Hurricane Tiger Kakato does more damage). The normal version isn’t often worth the trouble due to how slow it is.
  • The MAX version is enormous, and will travel all the way to the corner (so it can be launched from afar as long as your opponent isn’t a good roller). It actually does good damage if it hits, and a lot of chip damage if blocked. The weak version travels slower and does more hits.

  • Bakuretsu Hurricane Tiger Kakato
  • qcf hcb + P
  • Ranbu super with extremely fast startup; very powerful, heaps of damage. It doesn’t have invincibility frames, so it’s better oriented for combos.


  • j.C > cl.C >> Low Kick (f + B) >> weak Slash Kick (hcf + B) or Bakuretsu Hurricane Tiger Kakato (qcf hcb + P)
  • Basic combo. When blocked, the best damage control is to either switch to a weak Hurricane Upper (hcf + A) or skip out entirely.
  • cr.B > cr.A >> all sorts of special moves
  • You could do a weak Bakuretsu Finish (P repeatedly >> qcf + A) on the fifth hit of Bakuretsuken (P repeatedly), or either super (use weak for Screw Upper (qcf qcf + A)).
  • cr.A > cl.C >> Low Kick (f + B) >> all sorts of special moves
  • Not used too much, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to know this one.

The Basics

First off, you always want to keep the opponent at mid-range, where Joe hurts the most. The sweet spot is basically from the tip of his standing kicks to the reach of Ōgon no Kakato. If you’re too far away, close the distance with something like Sliding, Ōgon no Kakato, or j.CD; if you’re too close, do things like tapping them with normals, or a rearward hopping D overhead to open the distance.

At mid to far range, zoning with weak Hurrcane Upper interspersed with Ōgon no Kakato is powerful (weak for mid-range, strong for far). If you can hunt down the opponent’s jump startup with it, you can punish their arrogance with something like a j.D. If the Ōgon no Kakato is blocked, it’s 50–50, so if the opponent seems likely to try for a throw, do an ascending j.D; if that’s not the case, try cr.A to get them on the defensive while you regain your stance.

The weak Hurricane Upper is weakened from OG, so don’t use it so freely. But if the opponent is trying to poke, roll through, or jump one, just outwit and punish them with Ōgon no Kakato for disrespecting it. Even if it’s a forward roll, you can still make room, and it will punish a jump. Giving them these two options will probably make them less wont to come in on the attack.

For powerful blockstrings, touch them with the tip of cr.D, and cancel into weak Hurricane Upper. Unless they use a guard-cancel, it’s not a good idea for them to counter it; especially in conjunction with a weak Ōgon no Kakato, it’s stupid hard to counter.

Advanced Strategy