U.S. Championship V'ball
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General Controls and Basics
The game's controls are very basic. You essentially have two buttons, jump and hit, which do exactly what you would think. The hit button can be used while jumping to spike the ball, or while standing to pop the ball up. Defensively, the jump button can block shots, and the hit button can pop shots up or allow your player to dive for shots. For jump hits, mashing jump will allow your player to power up and hit harder shots. His hand will glow green and then red. The directional pad lets you move around and also control the direction of each shot. Up will tend towards the top of the screen, down towards the bottom. Back will tend towards the net, forward towards the back of the court. Also, you can mix in diagonal motions to get other angles. A funny type of shot involves holding jump while pressing hit. You will hit a very slow dink shot. The jump and hit buttons can be used in the same way for serving, except you only get one chance to hit the ball, and you can't power up. The basic rules are just as in real volleyball, except the first to 10 wins. To help each player know when it's their turn to hit, their player number will be shown over their head. If it's not there, they can't hit it or else the opposing team wins a point. Of course, if you hit the ball into the net or out of bounds, the opposing team wins a point (there is an exception I mention below).
1. Teamwork is very important. Don't both scramble for the ball. Always designate the same person to go after serves or pop back shots from the opposing team. The player not going after the serve can cover the net and try to spike the opponent's serve for a cheap point. Your goal each time on receiving is to spike it back. Try to get your hand red for every spike. When it's red, the other team can't block it and will at the very least take a big hit if they try to get it back. There are times when fast spikes (i.e. non-charging) are better, such as if you want to catch the other team off guard. Lastly, the dink shot is sometimes useful against players who react fast. Basically, when receiving a serve or pop back, if you aren't able to set the ball up so that you get a spike, you failed in your objective. You always want to eventually spike the ball when you receive it.
2. If you can do #1 above, you already know 90% of what you need to be successful in the game. The truth is, the game is so basic that there's not much gap between players if they know how to spike hard and play like a team. The small gap that does exist shows up in the defense. The better players will usually slightly edge out the other players by making one or two good defensive moves, thereby putting them ahead for the whole game. Defense is also the hardest part of the game. In general, jumping to block the ball is useless unless the other side never power spikes it. There is a case where jumping to block can be useful if you expect the ball will then go to your teammate. The downside is that your teammate only gets to pop it back over, and so you don't get a chance at a spike. Essentially, there is no animation or definitive way to guess where the ball might be going. Your best bet is to have one player cover near the back of the court and one near the front. Of course, there are good guesses you can make based on where the opponent is. For example, if the opposing team spikes the ball near the middle of their court, the ball will very likely go near the back of your own court, and slowly, giving you time to get it back. Similarly, if a player was knocked down and has to run up to hit a low set ball, the player will often hit it near the back of the court to ensure it doesn't hit the net.
3. Serving is important, but not as much as you would think versus good players. The reason is that good players will get your serve back 99% of the time. The 1% that they don't is usually due to some lag spike or rare mistake. Essentially, there are two types: a jump serve, and a standing serve. The standing serve is good to hit high balls that are harder to spike back. In general, you can use this serve only and still play well. The jump serve has two variations. The first is jump serving as fast as possible. These types are the hardest to spike back because they come fast and stay low. However, they are also the easiest serves to mess up on, so use them with caution. The other variation is the delayed jump serve. This can occur while the ball is flying up or down, and is often a way to throw off an opponent that is trying to time a spike. In any event, mix the serves up to keep serve spikers guessing. Also, a non-jump serve while holding up/back or down/back on 1p side will serve a real slow shot that is useful to throw the opponent off sometimes. The bad news is that these shots don't always clear the net, so use them sparingly.
4. Timing is also important. Often, it's just a matter of getting a feel for the game. There are times, however, where you find the ball being set from real far back by your teammate. In this case, you have to make a good timing shot. Just watch the ball shadow as an indication of when to start your jump. The closer you get to the top of the net, however, the less reliable the shadow becomes because of the way the screen scrolls when you jump. So, it's usually best to jump a little earlier if you are near the top of the net for real high sets. If you don't, you might find the ball falling much faster all of a sudden.
From my experience, these are the three most reliable shots (spikes):
1. High net to low net (down-back on 1p side).
2. High/mid/mid-low net to high net (up-back on 1p side).
3. Low net to high net, mid court (up on 1p side).
The first one is so fast and has such a sharp angle that many times the other team can't even get a hand on it. When they do, it often flies out of bounds. It is more risky however because you have to time it well and be sure the ball is high enough to clear the net. That's why I suggest only trying this from near the top of the court most of the time (near the lady for best results). The second one is nice and quick and works everywhere from the lady to near the bottom of the net (but rarely all the way at the bottom). The last shot is the easiest and is one you can do repeatedly and have good success. It will hit the ball to near the top of the net about halfway back from the net and backcourt.
1. There is a glitch that seems easiest on the 3p side. Essentially, when 1p side hits it over, one guy on 3p side will keep hugging the net and doing power jumps. If done right, when their teammate hits the ball, the ball marker will fly into 1p side, except 1p side can't hit it normally, but 3p side can spike it sometimes. The best way to counter this is to hope that 3p side misses the spike or puts the ball out of range to spike it. You will then have to time a "jump shot" to keep from losing a point. After this, your side will then get an additional 3 hits, as if the ball was just served to you.
2. There is a glitch that gives 1p side a point even when it goes out on their side. Go to the top of the net by the lady and power spike the ball into the net, holding up. If done right, the ball will hit the net and bounce out on the 1p side, but the 1p side will still get a point. This can be done on a serve, as well, but is extremely difficult and not reliable at all (good thing, because being able to do this repeatedly would ruin the game).
3. Sometimes, when the ball is real high in the air, you can hit it by hitting its shadow on the ground (usually by diving at the shadow). This is rarely useful since the ball almost always flies out of bounds on the opponent's side if you manage to get it back. There is a rare case where it can be useful, and that is when the ball goes out on the top of the screen and there is a delay before it lands. Sometimes, you can dive into the wall and retrieve it. Usually, the place to dive is near the back of the court.