Earlier this week, publisher Capcom announced that Super Street Fighter IV, an expanded, stand-alone follow-up to this year’s fighting megahit, will arrive in stores sometime in 2010. Aside from tweaking the gameplay (like every Street Fighter expansion before it), the new game will introduce around eight “new” characters, some of which - like Korean fighter Juri – will be genuinely new. But Street Fighter fans can expect to see a few familiar faces as well, including old hands T. Hawk and Dee Jay.
That immediately got us thinking: with at least five characters still unrevealed and a massive roster of untapped fighters to draw on, what other familiar faces might we expect to see in the upcoming not-quite-a-sequel? It might be a long shot, but the following 12 are old favorites that we hope Capcom’s considering for a current-gen comeback.
Last seen in: Street Fighter Alpha 3 MAX (2006)
Lightning-fast and packing an arsenal of rapid-fire combos and close-quarters special moves, the cherry-red ninjitsu practitioner from Final Fight would fit right in with Street Fighter IV’s colorful cast of weirdoes. In experienced hands, he’s among the most relentless fighters in the game, able to string together the kinds of fluid onslaughts that leave timid opponents turtling in the corner during the entire match.
At his best, though, Guy is an acrobatic terror, able to dash past fireballs and flip over the heads of his opponents before grabbing them and slamming them into the ground. He’s overdue for a fresh showing, if only so that more skilled players can have another close-quarters fighter with which to humiliate all those goddamn online Ken players. He’d also make an interesting counterbalance to El Fuerte’s run-and-throw moves, seeing as he’s got a few dashing attacks of his own, although these can often end with an elbow or knee in someone’s face instead of just a flying lariat.
Last seen in: Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike (2000)
While Street Fighter IV’s place in the SF timeline makes this unlikely – it’s set after Street Fighter II, but several years before Street Fighter III – we’ll happily suppress our fanboy anal-retentiveness if bending the rules means seeing a few of SF III’s better characters make the jump to 3D. (Besides, brothers Yun and Yang have already shown up in Chun-Li’s prologue, so it’s not that big a stretch.) As long as we’re wishing, why not start with Elena, a fighter memorable for 1) being the most elaborately animated character in a game known for elaborate animation, and 2) wearing almost nothing and acrobatically showing off her crotch at every opportunity?
Elena was much more than just a bikini-clad tease with impossibly fluid and graceful movements, however. She was also a lot of fun to play, able to chain together quick combos with a fast, kicks-only capoeira fighting style that made her almost the exact polar opposite of Balrog – who she’d be able to fight, if she were to show up in Super SF IV. Also, she’s still the only fighter to ever come from Africa; given Capcom’s recent fascination with that continent (*coughResidentEvil5cough*), we figure she has an even chance of appearing.
Last seen in: Final Fight: Streetwise (2006)
Despite being arguably the most beloved character to come out of the Final Fight series, former mayor Mike Haggar is the only one of its three original heroes to never be playable in a Street Fighter game. Sure, he’s showed up in stage backgrounds before, and sure, you can buy his costume for Zangief to wear. But the mustachioed, ass-kicking wrestler-turned-politician has yet to come out of retirement to tangle with the likes of Ryu and M. Bison. Nostalgia for the character aside, Street Fighter IV could certainly use a few more huge, burly wrestler-types to balance out its roster – and besides, it’d give fans of both series the chance to finally see him go toe-to-toe with his former colleague (and imitator) Zangief.
True, it’s been a long time since his glory days, but don’t try to tell us he’s “retired;” thanks to the internet and its rabid lust for ‘80s nostalgia, Haggar’s more popular than he’s been in years. And while his wrestling and political careers might be behind him, he’s been cracking skulls as recently as Final Fight: Streetwise. And after that dismally misguided showing, we figure Capcom owes him a shot at redemption.
Above: This screen isn’t really indicative of the whole game, but only because you can’t hear them yelling ‘SHIT!’ over and over
Last seen in: Street Fighter EX3 (2000)
A horribly scarred psychopath with a weird vendetta against Guile, Doctrine Dark was one of the more memorable fighters introduced in Street Fighter EX. His design was slick, consisting of heavy-duty commando garb, a respirator mask and wide, staring eyes, and his special moves – which revolved mainly around slashing with hidden knives, tossing out timed landmines and using a length of garotte wire to yank his opponents around, Scorpion-style – were wonderfully nasty and could serve as a sadistic counterbalance to Crimson Viper’s secret-agent gadgets.
Seriously, if there’s one thing Street Fighter IV could use, it’s more villains who employ devious tactics and potentially lethal super moves. Vega’s too silly and Bison’s too beloved, so a genuinely crazy murderer would be an interesting addition to the roster. Besides, we’d like to see his misguided revenge plot against Guile (who he blames for leading his squad into an ambush, during which he was badly disfigured) explored further.
Last seen in: SVC Chaos (2003)
Capcom fans have been ogling Poison’s allegedly gender-confused ass for about 20 years now, since her debut in 1989’s Final Fight. True, Street Fighter IV producer Yoshinori Ono has already said that Poison almost definitely won’t appear in SF IV, as her censorship-created gender issues (jitters about players beating up women turned her into a pre-op transsexual in Japan and a post-op in the US) would make her presence too confusing.
This, however, is a ridiculous argument. Contrary to popular belief, it is entirely possible for fighting-game plots to not focus on a character’s penis (or lack thereof), and it’s high time Poison’s fans finally got a chance to play as the cutoff-clad handcuff fetishist themselves.
Above: And no, the Japan-only Final Fight Revenge shouldn’t count
Besides, it’s not like Poison is a stranger to the Street Fighter series, having appeared alongside the monstrous wrestler Hugo (in Street Fighter III: 2nd Impact/3rd Strike and SVC Chaos) as his sidekick/manager. But it’s time for her to step outside of his huge, ugly shadow and kick a little ass on her own. We know she can do it – anyone who ever got mobbed by Poison and her clones in Final Fight can attest to that – and if her presence in SSF IV means seeing a few stripper-pole victory dances, well, would that be such a bad thing?
Above: How many of these characters are dudes? (Answer: it doesn’t really matter)
Last seen in: Street Fighter Alpha 3 MAX (2006)
Aw, hell, as long as we’re advocating the return of all the other major Final Fight characters, we might as well include Cody, too. Aside from being able to fire off rapid-fire punch flurries, Cody’s appearance in Alpha 3 revealed him to be a much dirtier fighter than his original, heroic role would have suggested. Prison seems to have changed him, at least to the extent that it taught him how to throw handfuls of rocks, dodge attacks and create tornadoes by punching.
It also taught him that it’s OK to bring a knife to a fistfight, something that – if he were to show up in Super Street Fighter IV – would make him the only character other than Vega to use a blade to extend his reach. Given that Vega’s ability to lose (or just drop) his claw is part of what makes him interesting to play, it seems only right that something similar should be extended to at least one other character.