Street Fighter Week: The evolution of Chun-Li and Blanka

Table of Contents
Street Fighter II|Alpha series|Street Fighter III|EX series|Marvel vs. Capcom series|SNK vs. Capcom series|SF: The Movie and Gem Fighter|Sprite comparison|SSFIITHDR and Street Fighter IV|Comics and cosplay|Film, figures, and more

Street Fighter Alpha 2 - 1996

The Alpha series is a prequel to Street Fighter II, and this is where Chun-Li and Blanka's stories begin. Alpha 2 is essentially a remake of Alpha, so we've skipped overthe first game in the seriesto avoid redundancy.

Much like Ryu, Chun-Li is on a mission of vengeance after her father is murdered. Gen, an old friend of her father, reveals the name of a crime syndicate- Shadaloo - after a friendly fight. Being the righteous crime fighter she is, Chun-Li locates and fights the syndicate's leader, M. Bison. Being a badass with a hat, Bison makes short work of her and jets off. Chun-Li is appointed special investigator in charge of Shadaloo, and the game closes with her in tears, swearing vengeance.

Chun-Li's appearance in the Alpha series, as with all of the characters, takes on a cell-shaded Anime style. She also sports a new outfit, whichsome fans rightfully disliked. It's undeniable that a majority of Street Fighter's fansare male, hence a skimpy qipao definitely beats a blue spandex bodysuit, no matter how tightly fitted. Thankfully, Capcom responded, and her SFII costume is available as an alternate, beginning in Alpha 2.

Street Fighter Alpha 3 - 1998

In Alpha 3, Chun-Li's story picks up two years after the events of Alpha 2. A new Air Force buddy, Charlie, joins her in her quest to bring down Shadaloo - which has gone unchecked by a corrupt administration. The team is interrupted by Guile, Charlie's closest friend, who is under orders to bring Charlie in. Guile is swayed when he discovers the true nature of Shadaloo, and joins forces with the two vigilantes. The trio is forced to destroy Shadaloo's base on their own.

In Guile's ending, Charlie doesn't make it out of the blast alive, but this is contradicted to no end by the other characters' endings. These inconsistencies make a definite sequence of events difficult to piece together.

The screen above depicts Chun-Li's even more Anime'd out look in Alpha 3. Her in-game sprites are identical to those of the previous Alpha games.Asprite comparison (right)of her Street Fighter II and Alpha forms reveals how much she changed between the two.

Blanka skips Alpha and Alpha 2, appearing only in the final game of the series. Alpha 3 relates his first experiences in civilization, his friendship with Dan Hibiki, and the eventual take down of the evil Shadaloo syndicate.

Blanka is a bit goofy looking in the Alpha series - much less ferocious than he was in Street Fighter II. Let's hope you like it, because his Alpha sprite is how he'll be represented in most of his future appearances (excluding EX, SSFIITHDR, and SF IV). He's bulkier, his signature spiked hair refined, and his once pointy ears are a bit more normal-looking.

Above: Blanka's Alpha 3 character portrait - he's just found out that he won't be appearing in Street Fighter III

Trivia: Chun-Li wears her hair in "ox horns," a style primarily worn by young Chinese girls. In Japan, they are often referred to as "odango"from the Japanese word for dumpling.This hairstyle tends to be overrepresented in Japanese depictions of Chinese girls.

Associate Editor, Digital at PC Gamer