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Street Fighter II's Most Inane Characters! (Predominantly Blood Type O)
Matt - 12/05/00

When I got Street Fighter II for my Super Nintendo, I was floored. I was never much into fighting games, and still aren't, but it was impossible to deny the appeal of kicking the crap out of Ryu in some of the most unique ways available. Previously, it was all punching and kicking. This game launched the revolution of literally hundreds of ways to kill someone. But while the game was great, a true legend in its time, that didn't mean all the characters were great. With that, here's a look at some of the less wondrous of the SFII fighters...

Blanka: This guy was interesting for quite a few reasons. Firstly, he had green skin and fangs. As intimidating as people like Sagat and Zangief might've looked, you really can't beat a guy who has green skin and fangs. I'd imagine anyone slated to fight this guy would cry foul over it, and who can blame 'em? This ain't Mortal Kombat. Chun-Li and friends didn't sign on to fight half-human, half-horses, or to fight the same guy eighty times who kept entering the competition with a different color scheme to his outfit. This was core, base human Street Fighting. I don't care what you tell me, or what special origin story you cite, Blanka is not human. They might as well throw an alligator onto the character select screen. Ken vs. The Alligator. Its virtually the same thing.

Not helping matters are Blanka's special attacks. I'll let the fact that some of his best moves are turning into a cannonball (loving referred to as the 'Blanka Ball') and biting you slide, but only because his major attack really cries for my attention. Blanka electrocutes you. Yeah, Zangief has the spinning piledriver. Edmond Honda can slap you. But Blanka? Dude zaps you with lightning. How is anyone supposed to compete with that? More importantly, how can this possibly be legal? I know that its 'street fighting', so anything goes, but that doesn't mean Balrog gets to stay true to his roots by pulling out a gun and shooting you in the forehead.

Amazingly enough, even with all these highly suspicious moves...even with the fact that Blanka is a mythical creature who bites his way to victory, even with the fact that Blanka literally eats his opponents, he still sucks. To compensate for his immense and retarded powers, they had to give him a weakness, in the form of Blanka's total disregard for walking ability. When playing the game as Blanka, you're going to get pretty miffed while trying to hunt down your opponent, since Blanka looks like he's crawling across the screen like a puppy who doesn't want to get smacked after shitting on the carpet. Remember that scene in A Christmas Story? Blanka has yellow eyes - so help me yellow eyes! But just like the bully from that movie, Blanka's still pretty easy to kick the shit out of.

Blanka's official stats mark him as hailing from The Jungle, Brazil. Cute. If any of you readers out there from foreign nations wonder why North Americans are afraid to travel overseas, here's your answer. The only things I have to gage Brazil on are Blanka, cocaine, and monkeys in suspenders.

Zangief: Our token stupid Russian comes to us in the form of giant-but-friendly 7' tall pro-wrestler. Zangief really has no axe to grind, he's only street fighting because he's too stupid to do anything else. Ryu, Chun-Li, and most of the others had some special prime directive...they weren't fighting just for the sake of fighting, they had some special mission that could only be accomplished by successfully uppercutting Dhalsim. Its a little more substandard with Zangief though. Its not like he'd make a great criminal lawyer. This is just all he can do.

Before you make the mistake of choosing Zangief as your weapon of destruction, you should make yourself aware of one of the eternal rules of the Street Fighter series. If a guy looks like he could, by all means, take on the entire combines armies of North America and Europe single-handedly, he most likely sucks. Likewise, unless you're playing against a person who's trying to manipulate the controller stick with their tongue, you'll almost always lose playing as the 'Russian Bear'. Zangief, who has a mohawk and who's striped with the scars of previous battles, doesn't seem to care too much about losing. If you take a closer look at his groin area, you'll see something far more disturbing for Zangief to be proud about.

Because he was a wrestler, Zangief's best moves were very WWF-esque. He could piledrive, supplex, or spinning piledrive you. To his credit, you would lose a lot of power when Zangief actually managed to get his hands on you, but on the same token, Zangief moved across the screen with all the stealth of a rock. Its going to be pretty tough to lose to this guy, especially if your controller is plugged in. What Zangief represents is a learning lesson for new players. Its pretty hard to resist picking the giant guy with a mohawk in a fighting game if you don't have much else to base your opinion on. But we live, we learn, and when all is said and done, even Dhalsim can take Zangief down with ease.

Zangief's stats state that he wrestles bears for fun. I tend to believe that's just hype. Nobody wrestles bears for fun, even 250 pound Russians with Blood Type A. These official stats were pretty odd...why do we need to know the characters' blood types? Its not like Guile's going to be any less pissed off about Sagat's blood getting on his pants if its just that harmless Type O.

Dhalsim: All you people shilling the greatness and fortitude of power bars and workout regimens really need to evaluate your programs. Watching Dhalsim at work, its pretty clear that yoga is where its at. Apparently, once you master the inner mysteries of yoga, you'll turn into Plastic-Man. Sure, you still might be a bald Hindu headhunter straight out of Somalia, but you'd be able to fetch the morning paper without stepping outside your front door.

Yes, its true. Dhalsim's intriguing superpower lies in his ability to stretch his arms and legs to completely disproportionate lengths. There's no escaping him. You can hide on the far side of the screen all you like...Dhalsim will punch you anyway. His enemies had to be the most paranoid people on the planet. No matter where you where, no matter how far away Dhalsim was...he could still kick you in the back of the head. And when he's done beating you up, he'll sacrifice you and a chicken to the enigmatic Yoga gods.

Thwarting his abilities is the fact that Dhalsim can't walk. He can only tango. I'm not kidding, one of the most frustrating aspects of Street Fighter II was trying to get Dhalsim to take his job seriously. No matter how hard you pushed on that controller to make the guy go left, he'd just tango his way across the screen as if he was browsing through the linens department of Sears. And while that doesn't pose too much of a problem against the slower characters, try pitting Dhalsim up against someone like Chun-Li. In the time it takes Dhalsim to walk four feet, Chun-Li can institute 600 fire kicks and her famous air-throw.

Dhalsim was sort of like a Jesus freak or a 15-year-old Wiccan when it came to his religious beliefs. He was so into his Yoga crap that he named all his moves after it. For instance, 'Yoga Fire'. If you think its impressive that Dhalsim manages to spit fire at you in between punching you in the stomach and kicking you in the head, consider this: he can talk at the same time! Kids, don't try this at home.

As for his stats, Dhalsim tips the scales at a whopping 107 pounds. I'm not making that up either, its his official weight. Dhalsim screams third-world country, and I'd imagine India isn't too pleased with the role they're currently playing in modern video games. Guile and Ken, the American boys, are cut, fit, and blonde. Dhalsim's the bald starving Indian who spits voodoo flames to defeat his opponents and celebrates by levitating in midair. How'd this get past the censors? Also - according to his official birthday, Dhalsim is almost 50 years old. Normal 50-year-olds wouldn't stand much of a chance against Japanese warriors who can spout out fireballs, but compile in the fact that Dhalsim weighs less than a high school anorexic, and he's gonna have some big problems.

Edmond Honda: No video game would be complete without a fat sumo wrestler, so E. Honda's appearance was a necessity. This guy seemed like an unstoppable force. Most of the guys in Street Fighter were pretty trim. Honda weighs over 300 pounds. In real life, I don't care how fast you are...if you walk into a guy who could crush a car by sitting on it, you're gonna lose. However, this is a video game, more specifically a video game where half the character shoot fireballs and the other half jump 30' in the air, so Honda isn't that great of a choice either.

His only really cool move is his patented Hundred-Hand Slap, which allows him the ability to hit you 6,000 times in a row while grunting. Problem is, this move only really works when Honda traps you in a corner, so if you utilize it, whomever you play against is going to say you're being 'cheap'. That's something I never understood. Here I am, playing as the natural sumo wrestler against guys who scream their names and hit me with blue magma, and I'm the one being cheap? Bullshit!

Edmond was trained his whole life to become the greatest sumo wrestler in the world, so it makes perfect sense for him to enter a field where his sumo abilities have absolutely no merit whatsoever. Honda compensates by leaping up into the air and dropping his fat ass on your face, calling the move the Sumo Smash. Out of all the big, useless guys the game has to offer, I've always found Honda to be the most well-rounded. I'm not sure if its because the rest of them suck or not, but its pretty hard not to try doing your best knowing full well that, if you lose, you're going to have a clear view up a fat sumo wrestler's mini skirt. Ick.

Oh yeah, his stats often mention that his body is made up of pure muscle. Mmm hmm. So's mine. And I can fly.

Special Bonus: Street Fighter II Boss #1: Balrog

Remember, I'm talking about the characters as they appeared in SFII. Not Street Fighter Turbo, Ultra, Mega, Super, Awesome, or Holy Cow. Street Fighter II. And in this game, people like Balrog were apparently too powerful to allow regular people to play as them, so he was christened as a 'boss' character. If you beat him, you were getting closer to getting your ass handed to you by Major Bison.

Balrog was a street thug, turned boxer, turned street fighter. The circle is now complete. He wears boxing gloves and hangs around with prostitutes as a sort of tribute to his past, but don't let the look fool you, once that monotone voice yells 'faHEIGHT!', Balrog's all business. He might punch you. He might jump, and then punch you. Hell, the sucka might even get down on one knee and punch you. But make no mistake about it...all he can punch you. Because of that, he's easily one of the worst characters in the game. Unless you're an idiot who chooses to do battle as Dhalsim, you'd actually have to try if you wanted to lose to this guy.

He doesn't even have an interesting background. The manuals say that he's just one of Bison's hired hands. Doesn't Bison own Thailand or some shit? Why the hell would he need some boxer in Vegas to carry out his assignments? Especially a boxer from Vegas that the manual itself refers to as 'stupid.' In fact, almost all of Bison's minions were completely ridiculous. Aside from Balrog, Bison entrusts a Spanish transvestite and a giant pirate in his efforts for global domination. Another problem...Bison's really full of himself. Someone should tell the guy that conquering Thailand and killing Chun Li's father aren't that impressive. If I may draw a comparison - take a look at Mortal Kombat! The lead bad guys there were opening dimensional portals that subjecting the good guys to facing six-armed creatures from Hell! All Bison does is form an organized sport and throw capes. As for Balrog though, there isn't much to say other than 'he sucks.' He's the boss character they throw in to help you get over the excitement of fighting boss characters. You're not meant to take him seriously.

Street Fighter II is a haven for the world's biggest motley crew of head-bashin', skull-crushin' wrasslers and fighters from across the globe. My personal pick? Chun-Li. For months I had avoided her...I guess I was just stereotyping. I couldn't see a little girl faring that well against 300 pound sumo wrestlers. But I was overlooking what Chun-Li truly represents. She's the character you pick when you don't want to sit down and learn 6,000 intricate button pattern to insure victory. Try it out. Pick Chun-Li, put on a blindfold, and just start hitting buttons. I guarantee you that you'll kick the crap out of everyone with a lot more ease than trying to figure out how to make Ken do a crazy Dragon Punch.

- Matt

X-E In U.K.?! The Web Review, a television show in the UK that reviews, you guessed it, websites, reviewed X-E on their show today. It was a positive review, but we only scored 7 out of 10. I don't like sevens...that's like getting a B minus for a really stupid error. And it looks like my stupid error was not updating the staff profiles in six years, since me and Rob were referred to as 'Liquorhead' and 'McBeth'. I'm a McDonald's sandwich now. Anyway, they had some kind words, so big thanks to Katherine from the show for the rub! And remember the world. Let them know its...Halloween. Hit it!

We've also had positive reviews from Thirsty.Com (before it went under), the Global World Charts, my mom, Chris' mom, Rob's wife, Blacksuns, Mantennae, and our good friend Sal Berry - check out his old review here. If you've got the power to get us in print or on television, drop me a line! ALL PLUGS ARE HEAVILY BRIBED FOR - WE LOVE AND CHERISH ALL GOOD WORDS AND IGNORE ANY BAD ONES SO PLEASE GOOD WORDS ONLY, AND LOTS OF THEM.

Remember to send those Christmas present memories in to me if you'd like to win the Boo Berry bank...and for you video gamin' fans clamoring for more, here's some more crazy articles to check out...

My Top 5 NES Games Ever
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