Category Archives: Street Fighter

Street Fighter Legacy: Charlie

During Capcom Cup 2014, Capcom revealed Charlie (a.k.a. Nash) would be returning to Street Fighter 5 with a teaser trailer.  Being one of my all-time favorite characters from Street Fighter history, it felt appropriate to do a piece on him.

 

I spoke briefly on the setting of Street Fighter V before, but Charlie’s reveal makes it far more likely to be a sequel to Street Fighter 4 and a prequel to Street Fighter 3, just based on how the story has unfolded so far.  What story?  Well, allow me to elaborate:

 

Street Fighter 2

images

Charlie was first mentioned in Street Fighter 2 as part of Guile’s background and ending.  Charlie was a friend that Guile had lost to the hands of M. Bison (the dictator) in some vague way.  Guile had entered the Street Fighter 2 tournament to avenge him.  Guile’s ending has his wife and child encouraging him to give up his quest for vengeance and return home.  He does so after visiting Charlie’s grave.

Fun fact: Charlie was originally known as Nash in the Japanese game, but was changed to Charlie in the Western release.  As such, Charlie is a character with two names depending where you are from, much like M.Bison, Vega, and Balrog; unlike those examples though, calling him Charlie or Nash shouldn’t present any confusion, as he doesn’t share these names with anyone.

 

At this early point, Charlie was simply a supporting character, and a dead one at that.  His significance to Street Fighter lore, however, would soon dwarf the character he was meant to support.

 

Street Fighter Alpha, Alpha 2

images (2)

The mysterious background of Charlie had been brought up in several anime, cartoons, and other extraneous material following Street Figher 2’s release.  Thereby, it was appropriate that the prequel series, Street Fighter Alpha (also known as Street Fighter Zero), attempt to tell the story of Guile’s lost friend and partner Charlie.

Unfortunately, despite being a hallmark Alpha character, Charlie was did not really get much development or story out of the first two installments.  Both Alpha and Alpha 2 end in Charlie’s death at the hands of Bison, but neither seem to be canon.  Admittedly, however, very few storylines from Alpha and Alpha 2 were part of the canonical story anyway.

 

Street Fighter Alpha 3

download

Alpha 3 shows the culmination of many character arcs, the height of Shadowloo’s power, and the resolution of most of the developments necessary to lead into Street Fighter 2.  This is also where we get the bulk of Charlie’s actual background.

Charlie is an American Air Force pilot who befriended and trained Guile.  In Alpha 3, he undertook a dangerous mission in cooperation with Chun-Li and Interpol.  The goal of the mission was to eliminate Bison’s Shadowloo organization once and for all.

Guile’s ending on the home versions of Alpha 3 is where most of the rest of the story is revealed.  Guile followed Charlie on his expedition (against Charlie’s wishes), and helped complete the mission.  After the bombs are set in the Shadowloo base, Bison ambushes Charlie, Guile, and Chun Li.  Charlie holds Bison off while the other two escape, only for the base to explode before Bison or Charlie are seen leaving the area.  Afterwards, Guile and Chun-Li both contemplate the loss of their comrade.

However, Charlie’s ending doesn’t depict any of this.  Ironically, Charlie’s Alpha 3 ending is the only ending for Charlie where he doesn’t die.  Instead, Charlie is shown flying off into the sunset, his mission completed.

Discrepancies like this are rampant in the Street Fighter series, but could this be something more?

Street Fighter 4

download (1)

Street Fighter 4 shows Guile getting right back in the saddle of trying to find and stop Shadowloo, despite presumably being over his vengeance streak in Street Fighter 2.  Guile meets Abel, who reveals that he has seen Guile’s fighting style before.  Guile immediately assumes Abel knows something about Charlie, but Abel doesn’t really give up much information on that front.  Guile is left with just an inkling of hope that Charlie is still out there somewhere.

Which brings us to a surprising twist in our search for the truth about Charlie, however, as we now have to follow a whole other character, Abel.  Does Abel hold the secrets to Charlie’s true fate, or is he a coincidental distraction?

download (2)

Abel’s backstory is that he is an amnesiac who was found and nursed back to health by a military man of some fashion.  Through his story, we learn that he was a prototype for the body doubles that Bison uses (referred to as dolls).  Abel was the first of his kind; thus the biblical name Abel.  However, he was considered defective and discarded at some point

Superficially, this seems to add up — Abel knows someone who can do a Sonic Boom, was nursed to health by a military vet, and could have been around when the Shadowloo doll program went kablooey in Alpha 3.  However, we need to fast-forward a little bit to the future we know exists in order to track down this thread…

Street Fighter 3

download (3)

Street Fighter 3 takes place sometime after 4, despite having released well before it.  It featured a number of characters, many of which designed to be the heirs to the throne of characters from previous games.  As such, the vast majority of the cast were new characters.

The signature character of this series was Alex.  Alex was a headstrong youth with a plethora of wrestling moves.  While his style is very much his own, Alex and Abel do share a few standing and crouching attacks, as well as a similar stance — the basics of their moveset if you will.

We learn through Alex’s endings in Street Fighter 3 that Alex was trained by an ex-military vet named Tom.

If Alex and Abel have similar stances and attacks, and Alex learned from Tom, could Tom have been the military vet that saved Abel?  This means that Abel was simply a red herring for the Charlie hints in Street Fighter 4.  However, that may not be all we can glean from Street Fighter 3.

 

Street Fighter 5

We know from the trailer that Charlie will sport a gem on his forehead.  That’s about the extent we know of his costume, but we need to go back to Street Fighter 3 for it’s significance.

 

Street Fighter 3 Second Impact

download (5)

Street Fighter 3 also introduced the boss character Gill, as well as his brother Urien in the second update, subtitled Second Impact and usually (incorrectly) referred to as Double Impact.  Gill and Urien are brothers who fought untold scores of enemies (as they tell it anyway) to reach the position they have in the Illuminati.  Urien was at one point defeated by Gill, and thus is only second in command.  Both of them wear a gem on their forehead.  Though it’s actual meaning is unknown, since they are the only Illuminati in the games so far, we can only assume Charlie was inducted into or is the fore-bearer of the Illuminati some how.  So, what is Charlie’s connection with Gill and Urien… well let’s rewind again.

Street Fighter 4 (cont..)

download (6)

Street Fighter 4’s main boss is Seth.  Seth was also a part of Bison’s doll program, but was a robot body built upon Abel’s standards.  Seth somehow became damaged, and thus sentient, taking control of Shadowloo’s weapons division, known as S.I.N.  He uses the information from the S.I.N. databases to compile fighters’ movesets, and copied many of them for his own attacks.

At first, Seth doesn’t seem to have much connection here.  However, similar to Alex and Abel, he has some attacks worth noting.  Most noteworthy is his focus attack, which is a shoulder charge that Urien used in Street Fighter 3, and of which Gill had a variant of as well.  Many of Seth’s other attacks that aren’t directly taken from other fighters are similar to Urien or Seth as well.  This means that either a) Gill and Urien’s moves were included in Seth’s database somehow, or b) Gill and Urien learned these from Seth or Seth’s line of dolls.

Another point of interest is the Sonic Boom in Seth’s arsenal.  If Abel and Seth were active at the same time, this could explain how Abel saw a Sonic Boom before meeting Guile.  More importantly, though, Seth can perform his single handed, unlike Guile who typically uses both hands.  Perhaps Guile’s Sonic Boom isn’t the one Seth was programmed with…

Street Fighter 5 (cont..)

So where does this leave us?  We can assume Charlie in Street Fighter 5 is connected to the Illuminati, and the Illuminati may be somehow connected to S.I.N.  How is still unknown.  Based on what we know of Charlie, there are a few possibilities.

Charlie could have infiltrated S.I.N. and is building the Illuminati out of it’s remnants.  This would explain Gill and Urien’s resemblance to Seth. This could make sense, since the origins of Seth’s cognizance are vague and ill-defined.  Seth could have been put in place by the Illuminati, and thus by Charlie.  Charlie could have been behind Abel’s freedom as well.  What doesn’t quite make sense, is why would he work within S.I.N. instead of destroy it outright?  And what would be the contingency when Seth’s lust for power becomes overwrought?  The other big problem is that this sets up Charlie to be a mastermind behind all these events, which would be a better setup for a boss character, not a standard member of the cast.

It’s also possible that Charlie did die and was resurrected by the Illuminati who are in the process of eliminating S.I.N., likely in similar fashion as above.  This could mean Charlie is unaware of his past, and/or is a vessel for whoever is head of the Illuminati currently.  This doesn’t really tie into the story as it stands currently, but provides better explanation to Charlie’s absence.  A Charlie unaware of his past also is a better setup for a regular character for the cast.

 

Regardless, however, we know for certain Charlie’s legacy will go beyond just Street Fighter 5…

Street Fighter 3 Third Strike

download (7)

In Street Fighter 3’s third update, subtitled Third Strike, we are introduced to the French street fighter Remy.  Remy is very interesting, not just for his devilish looks, but because of his fighting style.  Remy can use moves that are extremely similar to the Sonic Boom and Somersault Kick Guile and Charlie use.  What’s more, Remy comes from a broken family, whose father left them to become a ‘warrior,’  leaving himself to care for their mother and a sister who was now comatose and in stasis.  Remy has a vendetta against other warrior types, which is why he sets his sights on Street Fighter 3 tournament champion Alex.

Remy could be part of the family that was left behind when Abel was inducted into the dolls.  This isn’t uncommon, as T.Hawk’s family was a victim of this as well — his wife Julia was taken into the program and brainwashed too.  It’s unclear whether or not Remy ever found Abel, or learned of his fate.  I would suspect he may have though, given his primary target was Alex.

What does he have to do with Charlie?  Presumably, Remy can only learn the Sonic Boom from 3 people — Guile, Charlie, or Seth.  If Seth’s is not original, and Guile’s is a two-handed Sonic Boom, the number of possibilities is very limited…

 

 

Rumor Mill: Street Fighter 5 setting

To much fanfare for some, and chagrin of others, Capcom announced Street Fighter 5 in development for PS4 and PC last week.  It was an interesting set of trailers that launched, giving us just a glimpse of what the new Street Fighter may have in store.

While Maximilian breaks down some of the mechanics, I’m much more fascinated by the story and character possibilities this brings.  So then, from a story perspective what do we know about this?

Denjin Hadouken

download

While Capcom hasn’t stated anything specifically about the story in Street Fighter 3, we already know quite a bit by Ryu calling out “Denjin” near the end of the trailer.  The Denjin Hadouken is a move Ryu first used in Street Fighter 3, and is also an attack Gouken used in Street Fighter 4.   One may recall Street Fighter 4’s story was supposed to be a bridge between Street Fighter 2 and 3.  Thus, Ryu likely learned this technique from Gouken.

The other possible reference is the stage, which appears to be in a neon-lit China street and diner (which Chun Li knocks Ryu into).  While Chun Li is known for being Chinese, Chinese neon signs are typical of Yun and Yang, the Hong Kong twins who are both Street Fighter 3 characters as well (credit to Shoryuken.com on that one).

This still only verifies one of two potential scenarios:

5 takes place between 4 and 3

This scenario would add to the confusion of inbetwe-quals, but it would make some sense.  Very few of the endings in Street Fighter 4 really resolved anything, or set up a state from which Gil and Urien (the main villians from 3) would be setup and established.  Some characters from 3 show up, and some events of 3 are alluded to, but none of them really come to fruition in Street Fighter 4.

Thusly, another game taking place between these two would smooth the transition more.  Street Fighter 2 veterans could return to finally pass the torch to the variety of characters in the Street Fighter 3series, as well as offer closure to those characters.

Unfortunately, the trailer doesn’t really lend any further evidence for or against this.

5 takes place after 3

s&k

Street Fighter 5 taking place after Street Fighter 3 could mean just about anything.  By placing it after those events, the developers would be far less constrained by the time frame it takes place in.  This setting would allow for more Street Fighter 3 characters, and grants more opportunities for new fighters.  The drawback could be the threads from Street Fighter 4 likely would not be directly addressed, and the game may be missing several classic characters.

In other words, under these conditions Street Fighter 5’s cast would be similar to Mortal Kombat X’s cast — a few familiar characters interspersed between the brand new ones.  Killer Instinct for the Xbox One had a similar strategy as well.  For Capcom, it makes some sense to try and match their competition at this point.

Oddly enough, I believe the trailer supports this though.  The trailer and teaser only showed off two characters — Ryu and Chun Li.  Now, it’s obvious that these were the only two characters close enough to finished to show off because it’s likely a very early build.  Ryu being close to finished makes sense, since he plays very similarly from one game to the next.  It’s the other character that is far more telling however…

Chun Li was in the trailer and shown off.  However, if Ryu is finished enough to use in a trailer, wouldn’t Ken be just as close to finished as well?  Why finish Chun Li first? Chun Li offers more visual variety for the trailer perhaps, but that can’t be the only reason.  I propose that this indicates that either Ken is being heavily reworked to something resembling the changes made in the upcoming Omega version of Ultra Street Fighter 4 (where he has fireball kicks), or is not in the cast of 5 at all — replaced instead by Sean.

In the case of Omega version Ken, taking place after 3 makes more sense, since Ken still relied on his traditional moveset in that game, and didn’t feature kicks as prominently as the SF4 Omega version will.  In case of being replaced by Sean, taking place after 3 makes more sense, as Ken’s story is very well resolved by Street Fighter 3 Third Strike — having his hands full training Sean and raising Mel.  While losing Ken in this installment would be a disappointment, I believe it’s a proper sacrifice if it allows for greater variety in the cast.

 

But that’s just a few thoughts about the upcoming Street Fighter 5.  Are you excited, or are you going to wait til the inevitable Hyper Mega-Fighting edition?  What Street Fighter character do you want to see in Street Fighter 5?

5/5 Street Fighters We Need More/Less of

So, there hadn’t been much buzz about Street Fighter lately, until Capcom revealed another update to Super Street Fighter 4 Arcade edition was incoming.  

I can’t help but think that is somehow connected to a poll Capcom put out last month, asking for players to vote for their 5 favorite Street Fighter characters.  So, who made you’re top five?  Well, I won’t tell you mine, but I will note 5 of the characters I could stand to see more of, as well as five I could certainly do without.

So, let’s look at the 5 Street Fighters I’d like to see more of, and the 5 that I would like to see less of.

Let’s See More of: Sean

Trained by Ken prior to Street Fighter 3, Sean was a different take on the Ryu/Ken archetype.  Having no fireball, save for one Super Art, Sean relies more on rush-down strategies than other characters of his kind.  Sean wasn’t a great character, but he was a refreshing take on what is otherwise a pretty tiresome concept in the Street Fighter universe.

It would be nice to see him show up more often, as he has been restricted mostly to cameo’s in any series outside of the Street Fighter 3 games.  He takes the bottom of the list though, since there are so many Ryu/Ken type characters out there already.

Let’s See Less of: DeeJay

DeeJay was never a character I understood well.  He’s a Jamaican musician that for some reason enters a fighting tournament… more than once.  Aside from being a stereotypical Jamaican, there was just very little I saw appealing about the character.  He fits the wacky world of Street Fighter well enough, but he doesn’t really have any characters that he interacts with, or gets along with.  His anime movie appearance made him a tad more interesting, and somewhat helpful, but that was a stretch from his in-game interpretations.  It’s not that I dislike DeeJay very much, I could just do without him.

Capcom has let DeeJay participate in 3 of the 5 major series in the franchise (Super Street Fighter 2, Street Fighter Alpha 3, and  Super Street Fighter 4), and I’m really not sure why.

Let’s See More of:  Urien

Urien was a very interesting addition to the cast in Street Fighter 3 Second Impact.  He was Gil’s brother, who was tasked with aiding in his plans, but secretly harbored his own ambitions as well.  Though he isn’t the only villainous character in the franchise trying to play for his own ends, he predates many of them (see C. Viper and Juri for examples).  His playstyle is also unique, allowing him to cover most angles of the screen at any particular point.  His trademark Aegis Reflector was also a unique Super Art that a player could build a variety of strategies around.

Urien did reappear in the free-to-play Street Fighter X Megaman, but has not made a fighting game return since Street Fighter 3 Third Strike.  However, Seth does use a couple of his moves in Street Fighter 4.

Let’s See Less of: Juri

Juri is a Korean girl that was a subject of some of SIN’s experiments. Unlike Cammy or the dolls (such as Juni or Juli), however, the experiments on Juri made her unstable.  This definitely makes Juri an interesting character.  Her Taekwondo moves also make her an interesting playstyle also that I actually kind of like.

Her personality and voice, however, are very grating.  Filling the quota for insanity in Super Street Fighter 4, Juri is constantly taunting opponents and chewing scenery.  Her English dub voice is enough to take a knife to your eardrums, but her Japanese voice is only an improvement in that you can’t understand what she’s saying.  If it weren’t for the few things I like about the character, this one would have scored much higher on the worst list.

Juri only appears in the Street Fighter 4 series, starting with Super Street Fighter 4, but she also appears in Street Fighter X Tekken, indicating she may be sticking around for awhile.

Let’s See More of:  Karin

A manga character who was included into Street Fighter Alpha 3, Karin is a Japanese student and rival of Sakura.  She uses a modified Chinese Kempo style, which resembles Fei Long’s style in many fashions, though still very different.  Though not the only character with rich parents (see Ken Masters), she is the only one that carries the “snooty rich kid” air about her — whether that’s to her benefit or detriment is a matter of opinion.  Still, she is the most unique character to come out of Street Fighter Alpha 3, and was among the strongest fighters in that game as well.

Karin has appeared in every version of Street Fighter Alpha 3, but has not made an appearance or cameo in any other Street Fighter game.  She was a playable character in Capcom Fighting Evolution, representing the Alpha era Street Fighter characters.

Let’s see Less of: Abel

Abel is an amnesiac who wanders around searching for his past.  It’s heavily hinted at that he is another SIN experiment, of the same line as Seth — and possibly Urien and Gil.  While Capcom did good with one amnesiac character before, having another seems redundant.  Abel is clearly painted to be a mirror image of Cammy (with a love for dogs instead of cats), but while Cammy’s history and story is interesting, Abel’s comes off as convoluted and unnecessary.  He clearly exists as some sort of bridge between Street Fighter 2 and 3, but I don’t think Capcom knows exactly how.  He’s French, which implies a connection with Remy from Street Fighter 3, but was also saved by some mysterious military officer, implying a connection to Charlie.  However, with nothing really resolved in the Super Street Fighter 4 storyline, this makes Abel little more than a walking pile of fan service.

Abel debuted and appeared in all versions of Street Fighter 4.  He also appears in Street Fighter X Tekken, which is actually the only version of him I can stand (mostly because this is the only version that can pronounce ‘Marseilles’ correctly).

Let’s See More of:  Charlie (Nash)

Charlie is a United States Air Force officer who was both friend and mentor to Street Fighter regular Guile.  In Street Fighter 2, Charlie was little more than a name, as it was revealed Guile’s goal in that games was to avenge Charlie’s death.  Charlie was made a playable character in the Alpha series, where we learn the how and why of his ultimate demise (if you play through Guile’s campaign anyway).  While Charlie’s playstyle isn’t dramatically different from Guile’s, Charlie does have a certain style and flair that is very distinctive from Guile.  He also has the Sonic Barrage, which sends multiple Sonic Booms at his opponent, an attack Guile never bothered to pick up.

Unlike most of the characters on this list though, Charlie has shown up in more than his fair share of games.  Appearing in X-men VS Street Fighter and Marvel VS Capcom 2.  Also, a character resembling Charlie, named Shadow, also appears in Marvel Super Heroes VS Street Fighter and Marvel VS Capcom as an assist.  He is also the only other Street Fighter entrant in the shoot-em-up Cannon Spike (alongside Cammy).

So, why should he make a comeback?  Well, mostly because Capcom can’t seem to help but tease over and over that Charlie somehow survived.  This was implied slightly from Remy having a similar fighting style to Charlie and Guile in Street Fighter 3, and Abel reveals that he was helped and trained by a US military officer after he escaped SIN in Street Fighter 4.  Capcom just needs to get on with it and put Charlie back in the main series again instead of taunting everyone with it.

Let’s See Less of:  C. Viper

Viper is a character I have wanted to like.  She was the series first female villain, and one that presumably can match even Ryu in a fight (albeit with technological help).  She’s a mother and a fighter, who treats her job with SIN and the CIA as little more than a job.  She’s probably the most complex character in the Street Fighter universe.

However, there is such a thing as too much complexity.  The character presumably wears so many hats, but none of them seem to affect the character while wearing other hats.  When working for SIN, she’s obedient and ruthless; when working for the CIA she’s straight forward and determined; when interacting with her child, she’s attentive and caring.  None of these overlap at any point, and you don’t get the feeling this character is stressed in any fashion, which a real-life woman would be at least to some degree.  It’s like she’s a female empowerment package that went overboard.

C.Viper is the first Street Figher 4 character to cross into another series, appearing in Marvel VS Capcom 3.  She was left out of Street Fighter X Tekken’s cast however, which makes me think Capcom is not thrilled with the character much anymore either.

Let’s See More of:  Ingrid

A character that has been lost to the annals of Capcom fighting history.  Her premier game was the never released Capcom Fighting All-Stars.  Her first retail appearance was the poorly received Capcom Fighting Evolution, and only entered into the Street Fighter series afterward in the PSP version of Street Fighter Alpha 3 (referred to as Street Fighter Alpha 3 MAX).  Admittedly, I know very little about Ingrid herself.  She’s apparently a god-like figure in the Street Fighter universe, though why she decides to fight a bunch of mortals is never really explained.  Having not played as her I can’t really speak for her fighting style either.

This is the primary reason, however, we need to see more of her, since she’s a character not many have seen or even heard of.  Her design and backstory make for what sounds like a very unique and interesting change of pace for the Street Fighter universe, and I would love to see more.

Let’s See Less of:  Evil Ryu

Evil Ryu is an evil version of Ryu — who knew?  So, it’s Ryu if he gave into the power of the Satsui No Hadou that threatens to tear him apart.  That’s the biggest problem I have with the character — if Ryu gave in.  At no point in the series does he fully lose control, Street Fighter 4 being the closest he gets to this.  Therefore, Evil Ryu doesn’t technically exist, and therefore isn’t really a character in the series.  Even if he had given in, he’d still just be Ryu with a new found thirst for man-flesh.

Even in comparing him to other Ryu/Ken characters, he doesn’t provide much that Ryu or Akuma don’t already provide — essentially being Ryu with Akuma’s signature Shun Goku Satsu attack.  There’s really no reason Evil Ryu needs to be a separate character.  An alternate costume will service just as well.

Evil Ryu has appeared in Street Fighter Alpha 2, 3, and Super Street Fighter 4 Arcade edition, as well as the Capcom VS SNK games, and that’s much more that he really should have.

Agree?  Disagree?  Have Street Fighter characters you miss or can’t stand?  Let me know in the comments below!

I’ve jabber-jawed long enough.  Next post will be the long awaited part 4 of Musou Missives!