Construct's animation system works as so:
--ANGLE (n degrees of 360)
You do not need sub animations for each angle. Sub animations are to my knowledge, and Ashley may elaborate later, for both organizational and conditional purposes much like sub events. Neither are necessary. The conditional aspect is that sub-anything relies on its parent being true or activated.
The thing about Animation Names you read has to do with the "Animation is playing" event sheet condition not working at the time of this writing. This can be resolved with private variables, but is often unnecessary anyway.
For 2D platformers and similar camera styles, the "Auto Mirror" setting within your sprite settings (when it's selected, appear to the left of the screen by default) will provide the left/right corrections as needed. You would only need to define either angle 0 (right) or 180 (left). This setting, like all similar settings, pertains to your animations globally. For example, switching between animations will always honor the horizontal movement of the sprite.
Top-down views are different. For an Asteroids-type game, set your Rotation Variable to "N Angles" and define how many steps it may take, up to 360. You need only create one angle of any given animation and Construct will rotate it for you.
For an on-rails shooter, like Gradius or Ikaruga, you may wish to lock your animation angle regardless of movement. For this, use "No Rotation."
To answer your last question more succinctly, it sounds like you should use settings common to a platformer with "Auto Mirror" on and no rotation. After loading the keyboard/mouse object into your layout and setting a Behavior for your sprite you should quickly see that it is working largely the way you would expect.
One final note and something that differs greatly from Multimedia Fusion, at this stage in development animation frame numbers are carried over between animations. I think this is cool, but there is no way to turn it off. When switching to an animation that is not analogous to the previous one, be sure you add the command "Set animation frame to ##" in your events.
I hope this gets you started and helps you avoid the major undocumented pitfalls. If you encounter any trouble, feel free to upload your .cap file for us to look at.