When people think of iconic fighting games, inevitably the ones that are going to be mentioned are Mortal Kombat, and Street Fighter. Both franchises introduced the world to innovative fighting mechanics, and perhaps even more notable, rosters of fun and imaginative characters that became mascots of their genre. Or at least some of the games in both franchises did. Others, unfortunately, introduced some pretty lackluster new faces that haven’t stood the test of time so well.
We already covered the fighters who are duds in Mortal Kombat, so now it's Street Fighter's turn! Forget about Ryu, Akuma, and Chun-li, because they obviously have no place in the hall of shame. This is for characters who are downright laughable due to their terrible costume design, pathetic moves, or boring stories. Unfortunately, there are plenty of folks who fit those categories, so here is Street Fighter: 15 Lamest Characters Of The Franchise.
In the Mortal Kombat article, we gave that franchise some flak over the character of Kobra for looking like someone more at home in Street Fighter. Kobra basically was a more violent version of Ken, and fans responded negatively to that not-so-subtle mixing of the two worlds. But many feel Street Fighter isn’t so innocent in that regard either, thanks to their inclusion of the character Doctrine Dark. In terms of his moves, there’s really nothing wrong with him, and he’s a pretty solid character. But some things about him seem a little too reminiscent of other characters we know.
Dark’s outfit has been compared to a number of Mortal Kombat characters, namely Stryker for the police-like vibe to it, as well as Sub-Zero for the blue jumpsuit. The gasmask Dark wears also looks like it’s something Kabal would have worn. Even Dark’s moves feel like he was created by Ed Boon. He incorporates blades in his attacks much like Baraka does, and he also pulls opponents in with a grappling line much like a certain yellow ninja has been known to do. Maybe it’s all just a big coincidence, but Doctrine Dark simply feels like he showed up in the wrong franchise.
Capcom has taken to merging the worlds of several of its properties, most notably those of Final Fight and Street Fighter. It's resulted in numerous Final Fight characters showing up as playable characters in Capcom's hit fighting game, with varying degrees of success. The transgender character Poison has her fans despite her weak moves, and she's acted as a manager for numerous fighters, including the wrestler Hugo.
Rumored to be based on Andre the Giant, Hugo is Street Fighter's tank character. He's extremely powerful and durable, but he's also extraordinarily slow. There's usually a character like Hugo in fighting games that just serves to add a unique powerhouse fighter, but you'll also get destroyed playing as them unless you really know how to brawl strategically. That alone makes Hugo off-putting for newcomers, but his story also is really unrewarding, with him just searching for a tag team partner to wrestle alongside, and also expressing a rather odd fixation on potatoes.
Final boss characters are frequently disliked in fighting games, often because these opponents deal an unfair amount of damage and utilize a lot of cheap attacks to make them feel difficult. And Seth definitely does those things, but seeing how common those traits are in other final bosses, those aspects alone wouldn’t be enough to make people dislike him. Another part of the problem is his lack of originality, as he's basically like a modern Shang Tsung, who busts out moves from other characters rather than make his own mark.
The theme of Seth not being unique also extends to his appearance, which is pretty bland and overly-familiar. He’s been compared to the Silver Surfer, Doctor Manhattan, and a variety of other really strong, shiny, bald superhumans. Even his story reflects his struggle to find his individuality when we learn he’s one of at least a few dozen genetically created host bodies made for M. Bison. Seth is just a blank slate looking for a distinct personality. He's come up empty so far.
Rainbow Mika definitely has her fans, and if we were going by her backstory alone, we could unabashedly declare ourselves among them. She's an upcoming female wrestler who is so in love with the sport/scripted performance that she is an admirer of Zangief, seeks to learn ever more ridiculous moves to add to her repertoire, and shamelessly practices cutting a Stone Cold Steve Austin-style promo in the middle of her fights. Pretty cool so far.
And then we come to R. Mika's outfit. Wrestlers often go for appearances that are flamboyant over functional, but Mika's costume is just embarrassing. She wears a mask to hide her identity, but sports the fashion faux pas of a boob window. And she elected to go with the ever questionable combo of thigh high boots combined with a thong leotard. Plus, we seriously can't ignore the pandering amount of focus on Mika's butt. Her most powerful attack involves sandwiching her opponent's head between her own booty and that of her tag team partner's at high velocity. Mika's a fighter where if you tell your friends she's your favorite character, they'll probably assume you're a bit of a perv. And judging by the amount of people who seriously signed a petition just to bring back a taunt of Rainbow Mika slapping her butt, those friends might very well be correct.
We've got a bone to pick with quite a few different wrestlers in Street Fighter, but Zangief isn't one of them. The big Russian looks cool, has a distinct play style, and can drift between serious and humorous stories pretty well. Zangief is one of the franchise's classic characters for a reason. The same can't be said, however, for the mechanized version of the grappler, Mech-Zangief.
Just the concept of this character makes you think...why? Why does he even exist? The world was doing just fine before someone slapped cybernetic enhancements on Zangief, and it was a lot less silly too. Depending on which version of Mech-Zangief you play, he can actually have his own distinct play style from his human self, including moving much slower as a tradeoff for more power. That's not really enough to warrant a new character slot though, since few people like clone characters. A fighting robot could be cool, but giving the gimmick to Zangief just tarnishes a character who didn't need to be tampered with.
While your immediate assumption might be that Rufus is included here because of his size, there's really nothing wrong with obese fighters. E. Honda is quite a large man himself, but you're not going to find him in this article. The difference between Rufus and E. Honda is that the former lacks any serious aspect to his character to hang on to. Rufus is just a bunch of negative stereotypes about Americans embodied into a fighting game character.
Not only is Rufus' size part of a joke about him, but even his personality shows him as someone not to be taken seriously. He's loud, obnoxious, and long-winded to the point people have learned to not even bother listening to what he says. He's also so stupid that he can't even recognize Ken, the character he considers his rival, and frequently confuses other similarly dressed characters for Ken, despite them lacking the prerequisite blond hair. Rufus isn’t exactly a great ambassador for America.
Past Street Fighter games had introduced some popular wrestlers to the franchise, so it was a fair enough idea when Street Fighter IV tried to do the same. Since we already had a big muscular grappler like Zangief, this new character showed off another side of wrestling by being an acrobatic luchador. The problem was that Zangief might have had some silly traits, but was also a pretty daunting character. El Fuerte isn't a character anyone could be intimidated by due to his ridiculous motivation.
In addition to being a luchador, El Fuerte is also a chef. He travels around and fights others in hopes of learning new recipes, and improving his renown for his cooking career. Not everyone has to be as serious as Akuma or M. Bison, but a fighting chef? It's not a very good joke, and no one was exactly asking for Gordon Ramsay or Emeril Lagasse to become a martial artist, either.
As anyone who lived during the '90s can attest to, the decade ushered in a lot of great things. It brought us the revival of rock music, the advent of a lot of iconic TV shows, and of course, the spread of grunge culture. (Though the latter wore out its welcome around the time Hot Topic came along.) But apparently, Remy didn't get that memo, because his character is basically that of a mopey teenager.
Remy has daddy issues because his father abandoned the family to go become a warrior. As such, Remy blames street fighting for the loss of his family, and despises the activity and its participants. So naturally, he chooses to become a fighter himself, no doubt in an ironic way while waiting for his cappuccino at Starbucks. Remy just wants to find out what happened with his dad, but is apathetic about everything else, to the point of being annoying. The world just isn't that bad, so cheer up, emo kid.
One of the weirder characters to join the franchise in recent years has been the Turkish oil wrestler Hakan. With his red skin, blue hair, and white eyes, he looks more like a demon than a resident of Turkey. Or, at least we hope most people living in Turkey don't look like Hakan; that'd be terrifying. Yeah, Hakan's appearance immediately makes him stand out, but his fighting style is also quite bizarre. No one else is carrying around oil barrels to douse themselves with before a fight.
Hakan was meant to bring a really unique style to the franchise in the same way that Dhalsim and Blanka do. And if Hakan had been around as long as them, maybe his odd traits would not have stood out as much. But as it is, this pastel-colored warrior stands out like a sore thumb nowadays. His fighting style is effective, but also pretty ridiculous to watch as he slides across the stage like a greased pig.
Birdie is one of a handful of characters in the franchise who can lay claim to having been in the series since the very beginning. Unlike the original Mortal Kombat characters, though, being in the first Street Fighter hasn't exactly been a guarantee for greatness. It gave us icons like Ryu, Ken, and Sagat, sure, but Birdie definitely isn't among those illustrious names.
After the first Street Fighter, Birdie apparently had a midlife crisis and adopted a stereotypical British rocker style. Initially, Birdie actually looked like he could be a formidable guy, combining his huge size and his wrestling background with an affinity for fighting with a chain. But then as the rocker grew older, his love of fighting seemed to have been outmatched by his love of food. Now he still sports his wild mohawk, but has a gut to go with it, and even keeps snacks on him to eat during fights.
This one is a teensy bit of a cheat, since this version of Ken hasn't actually appeared in the Street Fighter games most people think of. There's also a lot of dispute over whether it's the same guy as Ryu's old buddy, but both games are published by Capcom, and the company went out of their way to insert deliberate references to connect the games. So we're counting this futuristic version of Ken who is about as cool as George Jetson. (Fun fact: the protagonist of the Japanese language version of the game isn't Ken at all, but an entirely unrelated cyborg policeman named Kevin Straker.)
In Street Fighter 2010: The Final Fight, we get a version of Ken who still sports his trademark blond hair, but has also taken to wearing sunglasses indoors like he predicted the ridiculous aesthetic of The Matrix movies. Ken pairs his shades with futuristic armor that makes him look like an aspiring Iron Man, but is really just an overload of chrome. What people expected for the future was always absurd, but seeing this version of Ken who so massively misjudged what 2010 would look like is just worthy of a chuckle nowadays.
That's right folks, yet another wrestler. And if you've noticed the trend, they're getting worse as we go along. So Mech-Zangief was stupid since he barely made any changes to Zangief's preexisting character, but at least the two of them being so similar obviously made sense. The same can't be said about Darun Mister, though, an Indian wrestler who is initially looking to challenge Zangief.
You'd think they'd use a wrestler from a different country to at least show off a different kind of wrestling, like El Fuerte does. Unfortunately, Darun Mister was just a less inspired version of Zangief, featuring a very similar playstyle, and not enough to differentiate him otherwise. Zangief was already a playable character in Mister's debut game, so why did we need two grapplers in the same title? Mister's originality was so low that he's one of the few characters of the franchise who could just never come back, and we wouldn't even notice.
In perhaps one of the dorkiest superhero origin stories ever, we were introduced to Street Fighter's Skullomania. The masked fighter was a salesman who was so bored with his life that he one day decided to take his mascot persona he was forced to wear at his store and turn it into a crime-fighting identity. It's certainly more original than being another hero with a tragic backstory of some family member being killed, but it's also a lot less memorable.
This far less exciting version of Batman became a parody of superheroes, but not in a funny way like Deadpool. Skullomania just has silly sounding moves, an equally ridiculous arch enemy, and an inflated sense of importance in protecting the world from evil. Once you get past the fun-ish looking skeleton costume, this is just a salesman having a midlife crisis -- and ultimately going back to his mundane job at the end of the day.
There just seems to be something about wrestlers in Street Fighter that makes for a bad combo. Sodom started out in the Final Fight series as a boss famous for his wrestling ability, but also someone who was only victorious through a usage of weapons that would have made John Cena shake his head in disgust at all the disqualifications that should have been issued. But he was also one of the memorable Final Fight characters, so why not have him mix it up in Street Fighter?
Unfortunately, Sodom was a man with a story better left to the imagination. We soon learned the only reason he wore his cool samurai helmet was because he was a white guy obsessed with Japanese culture, hence the weird mixture of Japanese armor combined with football shoulder pads. Sodom became such a laughable weeaboo that he couldn't even write the kanji on his outfit correctly, attempting to spell death, but winding up with just gibberish because he couldn't even tell the difference
Could there really be any other character saved for last than Dan? The poor guy never stood a chance, since he was created as a joke from his very inception. Capcom, having deduced that the Art of Fighting series was attempting to rip off Street Fighter's protagonist with a guy by the name of Ryo, decided to fire back at their competition. Street Fighter introduced Dan to mock Ryo, with Dan basically being a wannabe martial artist who is actually the worst ever.
Fans are well aware of Dan being a parody, and have embraced the fighter for the humor he brings. But as an actual playable character, he still sucks. He's simply a worse version of Ryu and Ken with weaker moves, slower attacks, and less range. From a story perspective, he's an admirable underdog. From the standpoint of wanting to actually win when playing against your friends? Dan is deliberately terrible.
Is there anyone else you think is bad enough to warrant a place on the list? Make your case for who the worst Street Fighter character is to you in the comments!