- Not to be confused with Hitbox, the area of an attack that is considered the hitting area.
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A hurtbox is a term that refers to the hitable area of a character. An action happens when a hitbox makes contact with a hurtbox in the correct context.
By default, every character is in a grounded, non-blocking hurtbox state. Players have to use Inputs to change this. By holding back players can block strikes and projectiles. Every action performed by the player affects their character's hurtbox in some way; either by moving it, extending it, retracting it, or changing its state.
The AI would often use hurtbox extension to it's advantage in harder difficulties of the SNES ports of the CPS1 Street Fighter II games, Zangief for example would abuse a player Dhalsim's extended limbs. For example if the player does Dhalsim's standing hard kick (the stretched version) the CPU Zangief would read the input and perform his own standing hard kick. Because of the extended hurtbox of Dhalsim's attack the hits would trade but Zangief's attack would do significantly more damage.
In Street Fighter, attacks work on Frame Data. Blocking doesn't always mean that the defender can punish or even counter attack as the attacker can continue attacking before the defender can perform an action. Invincible attacks fix this issue, most have at least one attack that ignore strike hitboxes to discourage high pressure.
Certain characters have reversals that are not immune to all sorts of hitboxes. For example Post USFIV update Rose's EX Soul Spiral was given higher strike invincibility that now ends after the attacks hitbox appears, but can be thrown. Others tend to have projectile invincibility such as Ibuki's EX Neckbreaker. Most EX Command Grabs tend to have immunity to other throws or strikes to help grapplers with their close range power.