The Command Grab is one of the many special move
archetypes present in 2D fighting games. They differ from "normal" grabs in that they are not available for every character and use a special move input. A character is said to be a grappler
if their moveset consists of a multitude of command grabs or their moveset is geared toward landing a single, powerful command grab.
Command grabs can, for the most part, be split into three broad categories: Strong command grabs, fast command grabs, and positional command grabs.
The earliest type of command grab, strong grabs are massive moves which are usually among the most damaging special moves in a given game. To balance their immense power, strong grabs usually cannot be used on an opponent that is reeling from a normal hit. Additionally, many require a 360-degree directional input; "super" variations on these moves might require 720-degree inputs which are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to perform without using another action to set it up.
"brand" of grappler mostly utilize this type of grab; examples include Zangief
(the original grappler), T. Hawk
, and Hugo Andore
On the other hand, fast grabs aren't much more damaging than other special moves. However, their inputs usually don't require a 360 motion (many use a Half Circle motion) and they can usually be comboed into from normal attacks. Grapplers who use these types of grabs are, on average, much faster than traditional grapplers. SNK
grapplers specialize in moves of this type. Clark Steel
are two examples of characters that use fast grabs.
These grapples might not deal very much damage by themselves, but they force the victim into certain positions that are to the performer's advantage. Yun
from Street Fighter can flip over their opponent, Makoto
from the same series chokes the opponent and places them on their feet for a followup attack, Iori
from KOF shoves the opponent away, and Athena
and Kasumi Todoh
launch the opponent into the air.