Here is where things get… complicated.
As the story goes, Street Fighter Alpha: Warriors’ Dreams (aka Street Fighter Zero, the original/Japanese title that explains why all the characters are obsessed with the letter Z right from the end of the first intro) was a project that was hastily assembled from pieces of Street Fighter 2, Darkstalkers, and the Street Fighter anime. After what felt like decades of players begging Capcom to finally count to three and release a true sequel to Street Fighter 2, this was a stopgap to stick something new and exciting out there. And, in another way, it was an opportunity to get a do-over on Street Fighter 1, as this new Street Fighter 0 was to feature younger versions of our favorite characters, with a plot that highlighted SF1 fighters doing generally SF1 things. Birdie finally had his chance to shine! And, since SF1 had nearly every character thinking and saying the exact same stock phrases, Street Fighter Alpha was an chance to give a true voice to the likes of Adon and Sagat. And, considering this preliminary prequel project was produced in a paltry six months, we could only imagine what we would see in a sequel/revision that had a little more time in the oven…
Street Fighter Alpha 2 could potentially be described as indulgent. M. Bison was the boss of Alpha 1 as promotion for his buff anime design, but now he was the center of everyone’s world. “Hidden characters” Akuma and Dan received full backstories and playable experiences. Rose went from “generally against Bison” to the true anima to Bison’s animus. Charlie found new and exciting ways to die. “What if Ryu was Sailor Moon” was explored. Gen was introduced with two distinct fighting styles. Final Fighters Guy and Sodom/Katana were joined by Rolento. Dhalsim and Zangief returned (premiered?) from Street Fighter 2. Ryu got evil for some reason. And damn near everybody was involved in some grand web of machinations wherein Chun-Li was revealed to be Akuma’s second cousin’s former roommate (who also married Ken’s uncle). Basically, the game that was “kinda sorta Street Fighter 1 Redux” overcorrected and became so complicated, it practically birthed the concept of “Street Fighter Canon”. In Street Fighter 2, Blanka was such a loner that no one could confirm if he talked; by Street Fighter Alpha 3, Blanka had an entourage.
And while this is arguably the entire reason the Street Fighter universe has a story at all, this does make it difficult to pin down a single protagonist for this “tournament”. The official story of Street Fighter Alpha 2 & 3 is that there was a loose set of battles involving street fighters between the time of the official tournament of Street Fighter 1 and Street Fighter 2. This means there is no awards ceremony where we can point to someone standing in first place, and, with everything leading into the (extremely) established Street Fighter 2, several stories have to quit just short of a resolution that is reserved for the next canon event. With the exception of the finality of Charlie’s story (which saw his Alpha 2 ending canonized by Street Fighter 5), the most popular characters involved in Alpha had to live in a sort of existential holding pattern.
So what are we left with? Well, appropriate for a game that wanted to revisit Street Fighter 1, it appears our winner is Ryu again.
M. Bison is interested in finding a new body, and Ryu seems to consistently stand at the top of those ranks. M. Bison kidnaps Princess Ken for the exclusive purpose of goading Ryu into a battle. Then we have Akuma trying to convince Ryu to become a murder man. Evil Ryu is an option for anyone that wants to see a possible culmination of that story. Sagat is skulking around trying to grapple with his own revenge fantasies, and Rose is advising Ryu on how to properly beat a Bison. Sakura exists to Robin Ryu’s Batman should the need arise. In a weird way, you can organize the entire Street Fighter Alpha 3 cast into “Team Ryu”, “Team Hates Ryu (possibly under orders to do so)”, and “Aimless” (appeasing Gorbachev or trying to promote sumo), with only a few outliers that hate Bison for reasons that do not involve Ryu at all (and they will get their day in the sun later). And, hey, this serves the double duty of also explaining why M. Bison and Ryu barely interact in Street Fighter 2! They are already sick of each other! Who wants to waste time fighting with their ex!?
Luckily for those of us that enjoy debating stupid details, this should be the last time Ryu hogs the limelight…
Even Worse Streams Presents Street Fighter 6
June 20, 2023
- What is life worth? Like twenty bucks? Welcome to Street Fighter 6 with fanboymaster, Jeanie, and I discussing the cost of friendship.
- BEAT arrives as we hit the subway for some extremely Final Fight-esque street fighting.
- “I would be devastated if Ken lost his kids.”
- We discuss Ehrgeiz. That was a thing that happened. God bless you, ring.
- Caliscrub joins just after we talk about Super Ninja Boy and move on to forgotten Playstation 2 games.
- Professor Layton riddles were apparently provided by a 90-year-old man, Akira Tago. Who knew? Other than fanboymaster.
- Oh! This was back when they defaced the Grimace wiki for advertising purposes. I was unusually mad about that!
- The tournament begins! And Eternity reminds Jeanie of Ruby Rhod from the Fifth Element. This is a good thing.
- Ample Vigour joins as we talk about that time Yoda got a double jump and loved some clones.
- While I fail at the tournament repeatedly, we discuss Street Fighter EX and Fighting Layer, not Fighting EX Layer.
- “I love that you are now running into regional Box Heads.”
- “I was thinking a Smash TV Prestige TV series.”
- Beef Not Afraid solves a puzzle, buys a construction helmet, and then meets Ken Masters.
- “Did you just one-shot that dude?” “Oh, he’s dead. Poor constitution.”
- Beef Not Afraid is dressed like a sumo wrestler. This is not okay for anybody.
- AJVark arrives as we discuss Miles Morhames.
- “Ryu and Ken are fist brothers.” “That sounds so much worse.” That seems like a good place to call it for the night.
Next time on the Ballad of Beef Not Afraid: The smart and the damned.
The master of Masters