ComicsAlliance vs. Super Street Fighter IV
We've mentioned the "Street Fighter" comics pretty fondly here at ComicsAlliance, and this week, the source material got an upgrade with the release of "Super Street Fighter IV." In addition to the old favorites, the new game also includes a handful of new challengers, which is why we thought it would be a good time for ComicsAlliance contributors Chris Sims and David Uzumeri to offer up a rundown of a few of their favorite "Street Fighter" characters, old and new!
Chris: How familiar are you with "Street Fighter"?
David: Oh, I mean, I've never read the comics or seen the movie or anime or anything, but I played a bunch in the SF2 era and, well, you know, watched the cutscenes and stuff. And I read about it in GamePro.
Chris: I love "Street Fighter," although oddly enough, I'm actually a bigger fan of the comics than I am of the game itself. Mostly because I totally suck at the game, but I'm really good at reading comics. Okay, let's do this thing!
Chris: When I heard that "Super Street Fighter IV" was going to have an all-new character who would be an oil wrestler that fought people like Cammy and Chun Li by oiling up and grabbing them, I was pretty excited. But this.. this was not what I had in mind.
David: Yeah, I'm part Turkish, and I mean -- if you're gonna be in Street Fighter, as an ethnicity, you're going to be a hilarious, over-exaggerated cultural stereotype. That's just how it rolls. It's like going to see a caricaturist. So, you know -- I think they came out ahead with Herculean Apocalypse with Lego Hair.Chris: I honestly have no idea what's going on with that hair. I seriously think Hakan might have the weirdest hair in "Street Fighter," which would put him in the running for weirdest hair in a video game ever, and that's saying something. His head is like one of those knockoff LEGO sets. I think if you turned him around, he'd have "COMPATIBLE WITH MOST MAJOR BUILDING SYSTEMS" written on his neck.
David: Did you ever play with Construx as a kid?
Chris: Nope, I was raised LEGO Orthodox. I didn't even let MegaBlox in my house.
David: I had some Duplo and stuff -- but Construx ruled. Either way, they had this sort of sixteen-axis system, and that's what Hakan's head reminds me of.
Chris: Wait a second, did you say you were part Turkish?
Chris: Huh. I guess that explains why you oil up before we do these articles.
David: I'd never heard that euphemism for chugging a bottle of Jack while cliff diving before.
David: What the --? It's the lost member of the Wrecking Crew! Seriously, this dude looks kind of like a... how can I put this ... a male stripper? I mean, are there even chain gangs in striped unitards in 2010? Where's this dude from? Alabama?
Chris: Cody is one of the heroes of one of my all-time favorite games, "Final Fight," but in Street Fighter continuity, his life has basically been ruined and he's been thrown in prison because he just can't stop fighting. It's almost like a weird metacommentary on the nature of video game characters being created to do one thing and one thing only, but it's pretty depressing either way. Also depressing: The fact that in Japan, the police still make convicted criminals dress like the extras in a Charlie Chaplin movie.
David: Wait, so he's an American stuck in Japan? I totally remember him now from "Final Fight," but why didn't Haggar come to break his ass out?
Chris: I assume it was because he was busy with his mayoral duties, which include zoning law reform, the school budget, and beating ass on the streets while eating a turkey you found in a rusty oil drum.
David: I guess that'd be politically questionable. I mean, Haggar can physically abuse the disenfranchised all he wants in his own town, but it'd be hard to pull off in Japan.
Chris: No, they're still in America. I think the striped crook pajamas are maybe their idea of how all criminals dress over here? Sort of like how if you're a non-white Super-Hero, you can't just find a meteor, you have to have something that relates to a popular notion of your culture.
David: That's pretty cool. I mean, it's only fair. Did Street Fighter ever do a Canadian fighter?
Chris: I think Mountie Hockeyfight is a bonus download.
David: That just looks ridiculous. I can't tell why I find that so hilariously dumb, but I do. The stripper tie in between the gigantic rack with the open cleavage that still closes at the top so she can look like a naughty secretary is just -- c'mon, man.
Chris: Crimson Viper has electric gloves, rockets in her boots, and a shirt with a cleavage window that is actually bigger than Power Girl's, but I think we can all agree that the real star of the show is her sweet-ass rockabilly pompadour. When she's introduced in the comics, the outfit is given to her by one of her superiors, and she mentions that it's "a little snug around the bust."
David: Dear Lord. But yeah, that haircut is hideous. Like everything else says "Harvard University class tramp" but her hair says "Appaloocha Memorial Trailer Park."
Chris: Man, what are you talking about? I love that hair. It's great.
David: It looks like an alien in Half-Life, dude.
Chris: You cannot possibly be telling me that's the worst video game character hair you've seen in the past fifteen minutes.
David: Dude, it totally is! Hakan's hair looks like something that doesn't exist; it's otherworldly, it's expressive. I lived in Alabama. I've seen this lady's hair.
Chris: We will agree to disagree on that, then. This didn't come up in the comics, but according to Capcom's website, Viper is also has a daughter, whch makes her a total MILSF: Mother I'd Like to Street Fight.
David: Man, surely she can't be the first. Didn't Chun Li have a kid or something?
Chris: In the comics, Guile's got a daughter and Ken's wife is pregnant, but I'm pretty sure Viper is the only one who has experienced the miracles of both childbirth and the Hadouken.
David: I also like the gloves with the built-in metal knuckles, that's a nice hard-hitting touch. Why the hell is she participating in worldwide martial arts competitions, anyway?
Chris: She's a CIA agent, of course.
David: Of COURSE!
David: Oh man! Blanka! Brazil did not come out ahead in the Street Fighter Cultural Caricature Competition.
Chris: Blanka's not exactly one of the new characters, but I think it's important to mention him, if only because he's been around so long that nobody even bats an eye at him anymore. "Yeah yeah, green monster with flaming red chest-hair and jorts, whatever. But did you see the hair on that oil wrestler?!"
David: I never liked Blanka that much, as a character or as a dude to play in the game. He's just a hairy Hulk.
Chris: I'm pretty sure there's a direct line of succession between him and The Amazon from the NES "Pro Wrestling" game.
David: I never played that, I'm afraid.
Chris: Oh man, it was awesome!
David: "THE AMAZON. NATION: ???" They're pretty damn bad at geography.
Chris: Like Blanka, the Amazon would bite his opponents, but while Blanka had that move where he'd electrify you, Amazon would straight up stab you in the face with a fork.
David: Hahaha, what? That's absolutely bizarre. Where did he get the fork from? He just carried it around and brought it into a pro wrestling game?
Chris: He kept it in his tights, man. Mr. Pogo style. And the fact that he kept his stabbing fork in his tights should give you an idea of how tough he was.
David: France or Eastern Europe? I'd believe either.
Chris: I like to imagine that Dudley is a direct reaction to "Street Fighter's" usual tactic of ethnic stereotypes. Like they got so many complaints about Balrog and Birdie (who is quite possibly the most racist video game character ever), and just decided to cobble together someone new out of an English Gentleman stereotype they had laying around.
David: Oh, duh! Wow, you just inspired me to look up Birdie. This thing from Wikipedia about how in SFA3 he said he was sick in SF1 to explain why he was white is messed up.
Chris: Yeah, he's... Look, I am a lifetime Capcom fan, but the first time I saw Birdie, I seriously could not believe he was in the game.
Chris: Getting back to Dudley, though, I think it's important to note that he's so classy that he street fights in a cummerbund. That's basically as classy as you can get while still punching dudes in the gutter.
David: He' s also classy enough to actually cushion his hands. I guess he doesn't want to ruin his delicate gentlemanly fingers, you know? I mean, does anyone else wear real boxing gloves in SF? Other than Balrog?
Chris: Ryu, Ken, and Sakura all wear pads on their hands, but not actual boxing gloves. I think it was mentioned (possibly in some fan-fic I read back in 1997) that Balrog's gloves were loaded.
David: Like, with metal or something, to give them weight? That makes some sense, I guess, he always kicked my ass in SF2.
Chris: I think it's safe to assume that Dudley's gloves are only loaded with respect for men of sporting blood. Pip pip!
David: He or she? It looks pretty rad either way. I guess he considering the bare chest.
Chris: That is a lady, David.
David: ...is that supposed to be a shirt?
Chris: Her torso's twisted to the side there.
David: AH! Now everything makes sense. That's a really bizarre outfit.
Chris: Yeah, I think they were shooting to make Juri the Sexy One and went a little overboard with it. I haven't played with her, but when I looked up a couple of videos on YouTube, I noticed that before she does her super attack, she licks her lips. Also, she has the hip-swinging walk of an exotic dancer. Also also, her victory pose involves pulling her leg straight up.
David: Classy, Capcom. Classy. I mean, I guess it's no more ridiculous than a lot of other female characters in "Street Fighter," but still. I guess we'll find out how it looks in person when the inevitable throng of cosplayers materializes. if they haven't already.
Chris: She's also got that glowing eye, which I think means she might be the third Summers Brother. When I was looking up videos of Juri a second ago, I found one where she was fighting T. Hawk, the Native American street fighter. He has a move where he jumps up in the air and lands on the opponent sitting "Indian style," and then raises his hand and says "How." I kid you not.
David: You really almost can't take offense at it anymore, because it's ALL so ridiculous. I almost kind of wish they'd go more over the top with the American stereotypes. If Street Fighter was developed by a company not in Japan, E. Honda would wear a fursuit and sniff girls' panties from a vending machine while Ryu watched anime while swinging samurai swords and censoring genitalia.
Chris: Guile all shoving a Double Down in his mouth between Flash Kicks.
Ken all taking calls on his Bluetooth during the fight.
Cammy all voting for Nick Griffin and demanding Dhalsim get out of her country.
Blanka all tearing off his jorts to reveal a thong during Carnivale.
David: Botox injections: the true, tragic origin of Blanka, victim of Brazilian culture's obsession with youth and beauty. He's like the final evolution of Mickey Rourke.
Chris: Today on ComicsAlliance: Chris and David make things way more racist!
David: Hahaha, yeah, sorry, we're getting off track.
Chris: Actually, now that I think about it, there actually is the American stereotype.
David: Guile? Terrible hair, military fetish, attacks first and asks questions later...
Chris: No, this guy:
Chris: Man, he really let himself go after helping Bill and Ted pass their History final.
David: Oh, NO. I've always had a theory, until now, that every character named Rufus in every media was pretty awesome. I name my RPG heroes Rufus. C'mon, man. What the hell is this thing? Is he Swedish? He looks like Volstagg doing pilates.
Chris: He's a fine American, sir. Here's something I've noticed: The earlier "Street Fighter" characters seem to be about broad representations of their countries. Ryu the serious Japanese guy, Ken and Guile the flamboyant Americans, Chun Li and her traditional Chinese clothes, even Blanka sort of represents the mystery of the rain forest. But the newer guys? Hakan, Dudley, Rufus? They're all about having the sweetest moustache.
David: I wonder what kind of creative churn they have over at Capcom. I mean, surely the same dude who did designs for SFII isn't involved anymore, is he? Or did he just discover psychotropic drugs?
Chris: I was going to mention how crazy it was that they put him in a bright yellow harlequin outfit, but then... what else are you going to put him in?
David: I didn't even realize it was a harlequin outfit, I thought it was a track suit.
Chris: Nope. That sucker right there is RenFaire standard.
David: Even with the piping on the legs?
Chris: I think maybe you have to pay an extra gold crown for that, sirrah.
David: We're talking about the character that we gaijin know as Bison, right?
Chris: Yes. Fun fact for those of you who don't know: Balrog (the boxer) and Bison (the king bad guy) originally had their names switched. The crooked boxer was meant to be "Mike Bison," but it got switched around in translation and the M. became "Major."
Chris: You know, I think most leaders of Rogue States would probably be taken more seriously if they wore skin-tight red military outfits with riding boots and gigantic metal shoulderplates.
David: Yeah, that's a pretty sweet uniform, although hella fascist. I mean, it looks more than kind of like a Nazi takeoff, with all the regalia. Not to mention the cap insignia.
Chris: Then again, I imagine more leaders of rogue states would be taken more seriously if they could throw around devastating purple blasts of "Psycho Energy," too.
David: All I can remember of M. Bison is what a total asshole he was to beat on hard. I mean, again, this was back in the days of Street Fighter II - and he looked even more awesome back then, when Parallax/Cable-style shoulderpads were all the rage. But it's a sweet outfit, since there's a sort of economy of design. Like, it just says "dictator."
Chris: I like how he used to wear his cape for the first round, and then throw it off if you beat him. That's how you know it's serious: When the cape comes off, IT'S ON.
David: Yeah! I forgot about that!
Chris: So yeah, pretty sweet for a Karate Nazi. Karazi?
David: The Karazi from Carachi.
Chris: Earlier this week, I made the assertion that someone other than Dan Hibiki was the greatest video game character of all time. This was clearly not true, and I deeply regret the error.
David: What is his deal? He came in after my "Street Fighter" time. Isn't he just a third shoryuken dude?
Chris: Oh man. You have not experienced the majesty of Dan?
David: I just started reading the Wikipedia article, and I had no idea he was created as a gigantic middle finger to SNK. That's fantastic. He's deliberately bad?
Chris: YES. He's basically Ken and Ryu, but all of his moves are weaker. Like his Hadouken only goes about a foot before it blinks out of existence. And the literal translation of his martial art is "The Strongest Style."
David: Does he have ANY advantage, other than whoever playing him gets to go "Dude, I kicked your ass with DAN"?
Chris: You mean besides the fact that he's AWESOME?
David: I mean within the game mechanics of Street Fighter!
Chris: Oh. Uh, no. No he does not.
David: Yeah, that's totally awesome.
Chris: Also he will occasionally be overcome with emotion, as seen above. And the guys at Udon who make the comics, specifically Ken Siu-Chong, have just run with it. He's amazing.
David: I love that idea. I had no idea. That was always the thing about "Street Fighter"; it always seemed so well-defined, the world so well-built, that it'd be too insular to get into. Judging by this conversation, I was wrong.
Chris: That is the power of Dan.
David: Please tell me "Space Fighter" is coming.
Chris: Man, I wish.