The Target Combo (ターゲットコンボ Tāgetto Konbo?) is a variation type of Chain Combo within a gameplay concept introduced in the Street Fighter III series. Originally introduced in Street Fighter Alpha since it was first used by Final Fight character, Guy. Target Combos are prevalent in the post-Street Fighter Alpha games to most of all characters within the series.
A target combo is a variation type Chain Combo, a preset/automated combination of normal punches/kicks or unique attacks that are performed in a specific sequence. They are typically meterless combos, but require strict timing such that if the first attack is not followed up quick enough or it is blocked, the combo cannot continue. They can be used to set up EX Specials, Super and Ultra Combos.
Their command timing is noticeably less strict in Street Fighter IV.
In Street Fighter V Target Combos are now uniquely named. They are also easier to execute as distance is not a factor in activation, One notable example is Ibuki's TC4 becoming Shinten and Shinten's activation not depending of the distance of the opponent.
For the most part, a majority of Target Combos tend to have unique animations different from other attacks, akin to command normals. Even then, most of them may recycle other animations within their user's moveset.
Target combos vary in purpose, some like Ibuki's Target Combo 4 are meant to do damage and be part of her overall gameplan, or Rufus's target combo that does very little damage but in USFIV it is used solely to set up his Space Opera Symphony. Dudley has a target combo after his Overhead, it is meant to keep Dudley safe if the player notices his overhead was blocked. The trade off is if the player uses the target combo too zealously, they lose the overhead's benefit of being able to combo off a hit.
Some characters' target combos have special properties that can result in higher damaging combos. For example, Cammy's Lift Combination launches her opponent into the air, allowing her to juggle them with Cannon Strike from EX Hooligan Combination or to end the combo with one of her special attacks. However, in some games such as Street Fighter V one of the main weaknesses for target combos is that they are unsafe on block. While a single normal is difficult to punish, target combos have longer recovery frames, making it easier for the opponent to retaliate.
Some target combos are built alongside V-Skills, giving them ways to confirm into otherwise risky or slow attacks or automatically setting them up. Nash's Rapid Kick ends with a V-Skill cancel to either Bullet Clear for a knockdown and V-Meter Build, or Silent Sharpness for a safe charge from a 3-frame normal.
In Street Fighter X Tekken a couple of characters have a unique ability to cancel the unsafe Cross Rush mechanic into a much safer on block target combo without using an EX meter. These characters can freely cancel weaker attacks into stronger ones with only benefits on hit while being really hard to punish on block.