TGS 2011: Street Fighter X Tekken: "What the Heck Is Pandora?" Hands-On Preview

We get the straight shot about the mysterious new game mechanic unveiled this week for Capcom's upcoming crossover fighter.


Street Fighter X Tekken

Capcom kicked off Tokyo Game Show week with a brand-new trailer for Street Fighter X Tekken that confirmed the appearance of several new characters: Zangief and Rolento from the Street Fighter side and Lilli and Heihachi from the Tekken universe. But the trailer also unveiled a new gameplay mechanic called Pandora mode. According to the trailer, this new mode lets you sacrifice a character completely in return for greater damage and a limitless super bar. But is it as powerful as it sounds?

To answer that question, we spoke directly to Capcom's Seth Killian at Capcom's demo suite at TGS 2011. Killian demonstrated for GameSpot exactly how Pandora would be used within the game. Firstly, you can "sacrifice" a character only if the character's health has fallen below 25 percent, with a visual indicator on the health bar flashing to signify that the mode can be activated. Tapping down and then hitting both medium attack buttons kicks the mode off, with a nice cinematic showing your currently selected character (the one with health below 25 percent) suddenly collapsing and the second character taking on a darkish tinge.

While in Pandora mode, a character's stats are boosted, including defense and offense. Importantly, you'll also get infinite EX bar, meaning you can rattle off supers and EX moves to your heart's content. The flip side, however, is that you'll have limited time to do this. When you first activate Pandora mode, a small timer bar appears over your health bar, with this timer lasting less than eight seconds. If you don't finish off your opposing character within that time, you'll die, regardless of any health you may have left over. This timer is an extremely strict one--it'll even finish you off mid-combo if you're not careful.

Because of its restrictions, Killian describes Pandora mode more as a "Hail Mary pass" rather than a more traditional comeback mechanism (such as X Factor in Marvel vs. Capcom 3). It does, at this stage, seem more like a desperation move rather than a legitimate tactic, as its upsides are balanced out by a fairly hefty downside. Certainly during our hands-on with the game, activating Pandora mode was only ever a last option, as opposed to a tactical move such as hitting X Factor.

For more on Street Fighter X Tekken, stay tuned to GameSpot for more updates and videos.

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