So we have it narrowed down to two…
Despite having the worst launch for a Street Fighter title in the history of the franchise (and maybe all fighting games forever), Street Fighter 5 did eventually recover and offer what could undoubtedly be described as a complete Street Fighter experience. But at the start, all we had was a small handful of fighters with a meager battle or two to flesh out their individual “story modes”. And, yes, one or two story battles was all we ever had in Street Fighter, and these vignettes streamlining the process of “now fight your rival” could have been a boon… but it sure didn’t feel like it. The whole experience was “this could have been an email”, and, in an age when YouTube or a Wiki article was always a click away, “F.A.N.G. is a bad guy” wasn’t exactly a revelatory ending.
But a few months after release (which, granted, is forever in videogame time), we had more characters on the roster, and a complete “story mode”. This story mode presented itself as something wholly new for the franchise: a dedicated tale roughly comparable to a movie that featured all of the (currently in the game) street fighters scrambling to work together to halt Bison’s latest global threat. This was the first time literally everyone in the roster was involved in the main plot (Dhalsim rarely has anything to do with anything), and, even if it was just a henchman vs. henchman fight, everyone got to participate in some (remotely) epic skirmish at least once. And that’s great! The game is Street Fighter, for crying out loud! Who wants to have a story mode that is all text and your main grim reaper only gets to participate in two bouts!? Not that I’m talking about any franchise in particular…
But with everyone getting a showcase, who was the real hero? Ryu once again rises to the top as the man that ultimately punches Bison to death… but our dear world warrior doesn’t have much of an arc. Ryu banishes two apocalyptic level bad guys, but all he has to show for it is a hadouken that doesn’t burn women and children. And speaking of which, Chun-Li is helpful throughout, and manages to rescue her own moppet from the clutches of Shadaloo, but she similarly seems to do very little growing over the course of the adventure. There was no arc about caring for others or seeking a retirement or anything here, it was just a matter of two people being in the right (wrong) place at the right (horrifying) time. Our two biggest players have their moments, but they have as much character development as Birdie (“he got fat” is not character development, dammit!).
If we want growth, we either have to go with the newbie or the zombie.
Rashid of the Turbulent Wind(!) becomes involved when his hacker friend goes missing while working for Shadaloo. Rashid’s ultimate goal is finding her, and he allies himself with the Secret Society in an effort to infiltrate the enemy base. After a number of battles that can best be described as “misunderstandings”, Rashid learns that F.A.N.G. killed his friend before this plot even started, and thus a climatic battle for the fate of the world and revenge kicks off. Rashid wins, and, thanks to a postmortem message from his departed buddy, he learns a valuable lesson about being more responsible. Rashid can still be a heroic goofball, but now he is going to live each day to its fullest.
But if he is living each day to the fullest, he is, ya know, living. You want real pathos, you have to die. Twice!
Charlie Nash has existed in the Street Fighter mythos since Street Fighter 2. Nash was once Guile’s friend and mentor, so the (living) dedicated soldier fights Bison to avenge and/or find his friend. Hey, that sounds familiar! As of the prequel, Street Fighter Alpha, Charlie became a playable character, but is heroically murdered in an overwhelming number of endings (how many times must one man die?). The prologue of Street Fighter 5 canonizes Street Fighter Alpha 2’s Nash ending, and now we have confirmation he experienced a death by that one boss from Devil May Cry 2. But! The Secret Society revives Charlie, and now he is a living, breathing street fighter with stitched on skin, some kind of power absorbing crystal, and QCF fireballs. Nash is set upon a quest for revenge against the man that killed him, but he learns that fighting is not the only thing a zombie can do, and he rekindles relationships with friends who thought him long dead (though he dedicatedly ignores Abel. The player base understands). In the end, he dies (again) weakening Bison to the point that Ryu can triumph, and he passes back into the next world in the beefy arms of that dude that keeps stealing his moves.
So that’s the biggest tragedy in the franchise. It’s a double tragedy!
And he is the first highlighted character on the select screen, so we are going to go ahead and give Street Fighter 5 to Charlie Nash.
Even Worse Streams Presents Street Fighter 6
July 11, 2023
- BEAT, fanboymaster, Jeanie, and I are here to celebrate Beef not Afraid wearing “hat guy’s coat.” In the interest of “previously on” disclosure, I picked up a few more masters between streams, including Juri.
- Please enjoy watching me get lost in an office building because “we can’t go there now”. We also include a conversation about Phantasy Star dungeons being overly large thanks to excited neophytes.
- “I’m going to write the next great American novel about Jimmy Moo-Cow.”
- Ample Vigour joins just as we defeat/discover Confirmed-Bosch at the top of the office complex.
- And Caliscrub joins shortly thereafter as we battle Blanka-Chan.
- “You want to read a newspaper faster? Set it on fire!”
Note: Even Worse Streams does not condone this advice.
- While exploring the factory from Final Fight Arcade, we discuss the prevalence of forum/Reddit users switching over to other countries.
- Tom Cruise has been the star of Mission Impossible for an impossible number of years.
- Beef not Afraid fights the omega Roomba and a Vagrant Fridge while we discuss a universe where The Critic and Duckman survived on a scale to rival Family Guy.
- Time to traverse Street Fighter 6’s Death Mountain. Everybody sing along!
- We discuss terrible single player fighting game campaigns while the plot to assassinate JP is revealed.
- Oh, he’s Johan Petrovic? He said it was his name, so it must be true. And then we outline how Street Fighter 6 is Breath of Fire.
- “Oh my God my first opponent is Soda Popinski.” “Holy shit he is.”
- And we close as I fail to guess the secret boss of Street Fighter 6 (who we will see next week).
Next time on The Ballad of Beef Not Afraid: All good things…