Street Fighter 3 killed the franchise. Eleven long years later, Street Fighter 4 was the triumphant return of street fighting. So, in an effort to avoid the problems of its predecessor, SF4 looked to Street Fighter 2 and Street Fighter Alpha for a general template. And, in doing so, things got… complicated.
The original arcade roster of Street Fighter 4 was literally the cast of Street Fighter 2: Champion Edition (that was the one with the bosses) plus four newcomers. So Street Fighter 4 was Super Street Fighter 2, but switched three men and one woman with twin braids for three men and one woman with a single braid. Totally different situation! Similarly, the plot was more or less an Alpha 2 all over again: there is a fighting tournament organized by an evil organization, and its leader is nebulously interested in all of the world’s strongest, but is specifically eyeing Ryu for that magical dark fist thing he has got going on. Tale as old as punching a car down to its component pieces…
Years later, by the time Street Fighter 4 was wrapping up, we had an expanded cast of 44 characters, and nobody knew what they were all doing there.
So let’s look at the plot of Street Fighter 4 with the benefit of hindsight.
What do we know now? Looking back from the current roster of Street Fighter 6, we can say that nearly every newcomer in Street Fighter 4 has been sent to a farm upstate. C. Viper and Rufus both appeared in contemporary crossover titles, but were not invited back for future “real” Street Fighter games. El Fuerte and Hakan were delightfully goofy, but it looks like Dan Hibiki is the only recurring humorous character that gets respect (editor’s note: “respect” is not the word you are looking for). And Abel… Well, there was a good idea here to have the “human” version of the scientific abomination boss stand in ideological opposition to everyone’s nemesis du jour, but mistakes were made in the characterization. Someone decided a game named “Street Fighter” that was all about fighting (on streets) should have a star that really, really doesn’t want to fight. It should not be a surprise that the villainous Seth returned in Street Fighter 5 while Abel was left playing with puppies back in France. In the end, the only “normal” newcomer from Street Fighter 4 to consistently return wound up being the Korean bad girl Juri.
And that little factoid leads us to find the true protagonist of Street Fighter 4…
Abel is involved in the “international police” portion of the plot to take down Seth. Thanks to the implication that he is somehow a protégé of Charlie Nash, Abel naturally seeks out Guile as a rival. And who is working with Guile? Chun-Li. Chun-Li once again is determined to bring down an international crime syndicate (chronologically, her third tournament in a row where this is her goal), and Seth appears at the top this time. Chun-Li thus appears in all “prologue” materials as one of the few people tracking the machinations of S.I.N. She also appears as a support character in a number of endings, and future games confirm that it is canon that she is responsible for taking down S.I.N. and Shadaloo. And, on top of all that, Juri provides Chun-Li’s own permanent rival character. Even after all the malevolent organizations have been dissolved, Juri is still skulking around, always ready to lay down some manner of kick duel.
So take what is there in Street Fighter 4, combine it with what we know two Street Fighters later, and it sure looks like the most important person in that plot is Chun-Li.
Congratulations, strongest woman in the world, you exceptionally kicked ass.
Even Worse Streams Presents Street Fighter 6
July 3, 2023
- A rare Monday stream for an actual world tour in World Tour mode! This is the first time I played the story mode between streams, and I set up a few trainer stops for the start. We are starting by flying to France to meet Manon. Oh yeah, fanboymaster, Caliscrub, BEAT, and Jeanie are here.
- Beef not Afraid next flies to meet Zangief as BEAT tells us about the time he met an inadvertent Tifa cosplayer.
- And then it is off to India so Beef not Afraid can get a little more flexible with Dhalsim.
- This stream was broadcasting right before the Fourth of July! So lets fly to Mexico to meet lil’ T Hawk, Lily.
- And then England for Cammy. Incidentally, BEAT believes most street fighters are unpatriotic.
- Back to the plot! Time to talk to people in Nayshall… While we talk about Sonic Frontiers and fast travel.
- BEAT leaves briefly to watch fireworks while we beat up gangs in Metro City.
- “We need to put together the Beef Not Afraid wiki to figure out her hitboxes.”
- Ample Vigour joins to remind us of the good ol’ days of robbing the rainbow to make you gay.
- As we meet the Crows, fanboymaster recounts the moment in Final Fantasy 16 that made him wretch live on stream.
- Obviously-Not-Bosch resurfaces in Nayshall as the “Fighter Hunter”. Also: Wan Cena.
- “It’s hard to gauge beef limbs? Every one of these sentences we stray further and further from God.”
- “How are there two Chester Cheetah games and zero SpaghettiOs games?”
- Are the Crows fighting the Mad Gears more interesting than Ample Vigour recounting tales of Something Awful Goons drinking from a kiddy pool?
- Ample Vigour signs off after noting that all tech organizations are made of “load bearing Pepsi cans”.
- BEAT returns to note that he enjoys the horrors of fanboymaster playing Final Fantasy 16.
- Please listen to BEAT attempt to arrange an exhibition match with SkreamnRedSkull that would never come.
- And we close with a fight against Retsu and how Skies of Arcadia made… choices.
Next time on the Ballad of Beef Not Afraid: Penultimate in so many ways.
A very stretchy material