A sweep is a term for an attack that for most of the Street Fighter cast refers to their crouching hard kick.
A sweep refers to an attack accessible to most characters in the Street Fighter series where the attack, if it connects performs a hard knockdown (soft in Street Fighter V) on the opponent when it connects. Some characters such as Hugo having an actual "sweep" with his crouching medium kick as his crouching hard kick is another kind of attack while other characters such as Dudley doesn't have a traditional sweep. It is a rarity where characters can combo off their sweep with some exception such as Ibuki with her Target Combo 10 or Dudley with his launching sweep. Pre-Street Fighter III sweeps had more defined animations for the hit character (mostly for the females) that reflected their personality such as Sakura quickly flapping her arms before hitting the ground or Cammy landing in a sensual position before recovering.
As sweeps that connect cause knockdowns, they tend to inherit the pros and cons of how the mechanic is treated in the game. The safety of sweeps varies, as in some games, they are an inherit part of character footsies due to speed and Pushback, while in other games, such as Street Fighter V, they usually are very negative in terms of frame data. Some sweeps can be special canceled, making them useful for pressure.
Swept characters are knocked down for a certain amount of time. In the Ultra update, the delayed wakeup mechanic was introduced, making sweep attacks a little less desired as a finisher for Links. Oddly enough, Ibuki's sweep knocks down characters for longer than other sweeps in the game itself.
In OMEGA Mode sweeps can be quick risen.
Sweeps can be used either normally or as part of a Cross Rush. Super Charge mechanics benefit characters that can sweep into a special cancel such as Poison and Yoshimitsu, as on hit it makes a great approach and positioning opportunities and on block the dashing character can be safe. Special Cancelable sweeps used as part of a Cross Rush can still be special canceled with 1 bar of the Cross Gauge. Characters hit by sweep can choose to Roll in order to escape further pressure.
Sweeps no longer cause hard knockdowns without Counter Hits. They also are much more punishable in terms of Frame Data on block and most characters can't take nearly as much advantage on hit due to being techable. In addition, every character's sweep is one of their Crush Counter attacks.
- Despite using the same Street Fighter Alpha sprites in Capcom Fighting Evolution, Sakura's hit by sweep animation was changed in timing, with the arm flapping part being significantly reduced.