Capcom’s Street Fighter is a one-on-one fighting game that has been around for decades. No matter what version is your favorite, the franchise is continually pumping out new titles to appease fans. One of the great lasting appeals of the franchise are the characters, all of whom have in depth stories that contain real world problems. Army vets, martial arts masters, fathers, cage fighters, dictators, men mutilated in the jungle; there is something for everyone. It was even the place where the first fighting female character was available to players. But who, after all the years of battle, stands as the most powerful player in a roster crammed with muscle?
As with my other power lists, strength isn’t the only factor to consider. There is speed, wisdom, intelligence, technique and direction; even a profession can boost a rating. Please, do not take any notice of the Street Fighter film when assessing the characters. Not only was that an inaccurate portrayal, but it made viewers believe that the likes of Kylie Minogue actually had a chance at an acting career…anyway, where was I? Oh yes, power. Spinning kicks, Hadoken, Sonic Boom…moves that were screamed in the playground as you beat the hell out of your classmates and pretended to be the figures on this controversial list. Did I miss anyone? Is someone ranked too high? Please leave a comment, enjoy! Without a doubt though, these are 10 of the most powerful characters in the history of the Street Fighter franchise.
Guile was crated for the American fans, sporting an army outfit, complete with dangling dog tags and camo gear. Guile is also the reason ‘Sonic Boom!’ rang out in school yards everywhere, so that totally gets him some points. Portrayed as a leader in the film (played by Van-Damme) and the rival of M. Bison, the key antagonist of the series, Guile further cements a place in our top 10. In comparison to many other Street Fighter characters, Guile is one whose motives we can understand; he fights for his family, rescues friends and is well trained in army combat to eliminate enemies. He doesn’t kill mercilessly, loves a coffee and would prefer to watch John Wayne movies than use his powerful moves in combat, and who can argue with that? Distinct with his smooth blonde haircut, tattoos and defined muscle, Guile is more than a match for most Street Fighter entrants.
Boasting her status as the strongest woman in the world, Chun-Li paved the way for female characters; as she was the first to ever feature in a 1-on-1 fighting game. Her power comes from her rapid speed and a deep knowledge of Kung-Fu. Don’t blink, as lightning kicks create combos that other characters could only dream of. She is a main protagonist alongside Ryu and Ken, and the character has some serious depth, as her story focuses on her Chinese heritage. Chun-Li is an officer of the law and manages to shut down the evil empire of the Shandaloo (of which M. Bison is a part of). She quickly became a staple of girl power across the world, as females would choose her and revel in the precision of her skill set. Chun-Li fights for innocence and has a wide scope of support, making her a powerful ally and friend.
While comical through his stretch abilities and lankiness, the fire-breathing Indian is a difficult proposition and a frustrating opponent. He’s the quiet, religious man that will rise in a battle when needed but refuses to kill, even when facing M. Bison. Dhalsim is powerful through mystique and influence. He enters tournaments to raise money for the poor and malnourished, and those who stand in his way will feel his fury. He edged out E. Honda for a place on this list due to his battle style, with ranging limbs providing reach and his fireball projectiles resulting in one of the rare distanced fighters in the game. Even though all of his moves have ‘Yoga’ in the name, do not expect an easy fight; Dhalsim, unlike many others, has great reason to exert his power.
One of the main characters throughout the series, a power list wouldn’t be complete without the blonde protagonist. Who can forget his roundhouse kicks? He is cocky, loves to brag about his abilities and forms a deadly partnership with his best friend, Ryu. Ken trained in a dojo under the training of the karate master Gouken until he was ready to return to his home in America; where he competed in a range of tournaments which demonstrated his incredible fighting abilities. Ken is motivated by his family, and often prefers spending time with his wife and child as opposed to entering tournaments, but when he does, there are few fighters with the skills to stop him. It is easy to see why this character is idolized by fans of the Street Fighter series and will always continue to rank amongst the top fighters, but he will forever live in the next fighter’s shadow because number six is…
Perhaps the most loved entrant into the Street Fighter universe, Ryu is the main character of the franchise and also well known outside gaming circles. Much like Lui-Kang in Mortal Kombat, Ryu is the softy spoken yet immensely powerful leader with a vendetta against the evils of the world. What child doesn’t remember shouting ‘HADOKEN’ when button smashing on the original titles? Ryu travels across the globe in his attempts to become the ultimate warrior, forever focused on his training and friendships. Quiet and reserved, his focus on battle and need to be the best can often be seen as a weakness, as he is blindsided to many issues around him. Gouken not only trains Ryu, but is a father figure to Ryu. Ryu is mentally destroyed when Akuma kills Gouken; paving the way for Dark Ryu to arise.
His rivalry with Ryu is intense and full of experiences where power is displayed. Sagat was the final boss in the first Street Fighter instalment, and has a longer history than most. In later editions, Sagat is known as the bodyguard of M. Bison and an integral part of the Shadaloo organisation. He is widely renowned for his Muay Thai fighting skills and a pair of boxing trunks, covered from shoulder to calf is bulging muscle. One of the tallest characters in the series, Sagat is a proud man who belittles his opponents. Despite this, he has great respect for talented fighters and thus forms an interesting rivalry with the marque character. He originally held the world fighting tournament to prove to everyone that he is in fact the greatest fighter on the planet and while he failed, his desire for revenge made him more powerful than others could imagine.
The green Hulk-like monsters that rolls across the battlefield remains an iconic aspect of the series. Much like The Hulk, Blanka is at his most powerful when in a deep rage and tears apart everything in his way. From the depths of the Brazilian jungle, this fighter has a similar story to that of Tarzan. He crashed into the wild as a child and was raised by wildlife. How can you compete with a man-turned-beast? He is an aggressive, attacking combatant that would never raise the white flag and can be seen taking on other heavyweights in the series such as Zangief and Balrog. No matter who wins, the result often leaves the terrain more damaged that his exterior. He has powers of electricity and fights like a hungry animal, making Blanka one of the most commonly picked players in the Street Fighter universe.
The killer of Gouken, Akuma easily deserves at least a bronze medal. He is transfixed upon destroying powerful enemies and displays an emotionless state while murdering openly. It is said he is possessed by the devil, which makes him an even more terrifying prospect in battle. Much like the Star Wars philosophy, he believes in the dark side of martial arts and grows angered when a fighter, such as Ryu, doesn’t give in to the temptations that would make him a more powerful warrior. Akuma has no allies and sees others only as rivals that must be eliminated. His attempted hit list extends from powerful characters Ryu, to Gouken, to M. Bison. Akuma has an unrivalled intimidation factor when compared to Street Fighter counterparts, and while he is lesser known that most others on this list, he’d overpower the majority of them.
If you’re accredited to training the dynamic duo of Ryu and Ken, you’re clearly no slouch yourself. Created as a monk on steroids, he is as intimidating as he is wise and looks capable to breaking concrete with his bare hands. Grouped in the category of elder, he can be compared to Raiden, Splinter and Yoda as the man seeking peace, yet training others against the evils that will arise in the world. The respect Ken and Ryu hold for Gouken demonstrates his influence on the world tournaments. As is widely known, Ryu holds a dark side that he keeps at bay; much like Anakin. It is thanks to Gouken that this power stays at bay, and that’s a seriously powerful demonstration on the influence that Gouken has. In terms of fighting style, he takes a more defensive approach and counters against poorly timed attacks, proving that intelligence and patience is not overrated.
1. M. Bison
Bison is your typical bad guy, but that doesn’t make him any weaker. After all, it is hard to argue with someone that evil who is desiring world domination, M. Bison is the main antagonist of the series and will easily kill for pleasure. He commands the Shadaloo and despite taking a lesser role in later games, he still remains the most powerful character in the franchise. Ruling his realm as a dictator and containing the psycho power, nearly every character on this list wants to fight him for revenge; even those that were once on his side. Replacing Sagat as the final boss in Street Fighter 2, M. Bison has become more demonic as the series progressed but still has the iconic look of his cap and cape. The capital M in his name adds to his mystique; the series has used Mighty, Mike, Master among others, but we’ve never found out what it actually means. Ultimately what really matters though, is that in terms of power, he is unrivalled: god-like in his abilities and strikes fear into the heart of every opponent.