One of the things that drew players to the game was the cast of fighters you had to choose from. Not only was their gameplay different but each of them had their own unique design. The visual artistry of Street Fighter was astounding and it created some of the most memorable characters of all time.
A somewhat central figure in the game and one of 3 characters returning from Street Fighter 1. He was the typical "Japanese Karate" fighter. In the spectrum of fighters in the game he would range in the middle of character design. However, the designer did add a little to the character to give him more personality. His outfit is a little loose and allows the character to more more freely without looking like the clothes are stiff. His head band and facial expression give Ryu a little more attitude than the other fighters.
KenAnother returning character from Street Fighter. His design is just a head swap with Ryu, and a different colour outfit. Since his body and animations are identical to Ryu it is only his head that gives him some new personality. His shaggy blond hair, and facial expression gives Ken the same rugged attitude that Ryu has. Ken and Ryu are the center piece of the game as well as the standard fighting game characters.
Even though he is yet another Japanese fighter in the game he comes from a completely different school of fighting. E. Honda is a sumo wrestler and therefore is slow but very powerful. He does have some quick attacks such as a flying head-butt and a rapid fire of palms. His design is taken straight out of what real sumo wrestlers look like. The only thing that makes E.Honda stand out against real life sumo wrestlers is his face paint. He is one of the few fighters who is a bit more linked to reality in his character design.
ZangeifEasily the most powerful fighter in the game but also one of the most difficult to use. His special moves are much harder to pull off effectively, thus balancing him against other fighters. He is also much slower than most of the fighters. His character designer is very much influenced by the stereotypical portrayal of Russians during the cold war. Street Fighter II came out at the very end of the cold war and the USSR was still a nation. Zangeif is big, tall and hairy, and has scars on his body from fighting a bear. Out of all the fighters he does look the most menacing, and he wears red, the colour of the USSR. Zangeif is basically a symbol for how frightening a lot of people felt about what went on behind the iron curtain. Now that the cold war is over Zangeif seems a lot more comical to players.
One of 2 fighters that are just bizzare. Blanka is a green monster that was created after a plane crash left a young boy, named Jimmy, to be raised in the wild. Blanka's origin and character design is closey tied to comic books. Much like many super heroes and villians, Blanka is created out of a tradegy, and gains some sort of special powers and abilities from it. Blanka also has electric powers linking him even more toward the comic book realm. Blanka plays very low to the ground and has some strange animations in the way he moves. Many players when they first saw Blanka became immediately attached to him since he was so unique and different from everyone else in the game.
The other character who is a bit more bizzare is Dhalsim. Dhalsim is a yoga master who can stretch his body and teleport around the screen. He also can breathe fire. The way Dhalsim is presented is in a very comical manner. His streched out limbs look odd, and he is one fighter who will have a smile on his face from time to time. In a game full of mostly stern looking characters he stands out and provides a nice break in pace. His design and animation may even be stranger and stand out more than Blanka (when you see him in motion). Dhalsim is not one of the stronger fighters but his reach is far greater than all the others.
Check back on Friday for Part 2.