The Street Fighter franchise has been one of the most iconic series in fighting games for almost three decades. These games and their characters have survived the test of time, travelling from their arcade premier in 1987 through various consoles to their latest incarnation on PC and Playstation 4. The popularity of the series is so widespread that it has inspired original movies, an anime and comic books, the soundtrack has been sampled in innumerable songs, and the characters in it have been cosplayed countless times by fans around the world. The diversity of the characters from Street Fighter is part of what makes it so interesting - they come from around the globe, and use varied styles of combat.
When selecting the best characters there are two factors to keep in mind: how much appeal they have as characters, and how strong they are in combat. No fighting game is perfectly balanced, though some come close. While some characters have inherent combat advantages, it is important to remember a character is only as good as the person behind the controller - just because they might not be the easiest to play does not mean they don’t have the potential to be extremely formidable in combat. The characters in the Street Fighter franchise are no exception to this. With those two factors carefully considered, here is a list of the Top 10 Street Fighter Characters!
Zangief is a wrestler who hails from Russia. He is extremely proud of his country of origin and patriotism is the biggest motivator for him as a fighter; he is constantly trying to win glory for his homeland through combat. Tall, and extremely muscular, he has the fighting skills to back up his formidable appearance. He has even been known to wrestle bears in order to improve his combat abilities.
His combat style is fitting to a wrestler - he hits hard, and uses powerful throws to take down his opponents. However, his extreme close-range strength comes at a cost - faster characters or characters with projectile abilities may have an easier time taking him down. Despite this, Zangief is not a character to be taken lightly - to find yourself on the receiving end of his Spinning Piledriver is to find yourself in great trouble indeed.
Hailing from India, Dhalsim is a peaceful man by nature, and avoids fighting unless absolutely necessary. He values the happiness and wellbeing of others, and this is his primary motivation when he does engage in battle. Keeping his mind in a state of calmness and serenity is extremely important to him - even when fighting, he is performing a form of meditation. In combat, he is best known for his ability to literally stretch his body, and his fire-based attacks.
Dhalsim relies on long range attacks to claim victory in battle. His offensive is a combination of physical attacks made possible by his ability to contort and stretch his limbs, and fire attacks. The impressive reach of his attacks means that characters who fight at close range will have great difficulty getting a hit in - particularly if they are slow. However, Dhalsim himself lacks speed, so a faster character may be able to gain an advantage over him.
Sagat is a character from Thailand who made his first appearance in the series as a final boss. He is a Muay-Thai fighter, and has a history of participating in organized criminal activity. As a professional fighter he lives to fight and grow stronger. His muscles, eyepatch and scar give him an intimidating first impression, one he certainly lives up to in combat.
Sagat is a character with a very powerful offensive stance, in keeping with his martial arts background. His crippling attacks do a considerable amount of damage to opponents on the other side of them. His Tiger Uppercut and Tiger Knee are especially formidable. However, as powerful as Sagat’s offense is, his defense leaves something to be desired - many of his attacks leave him vulnerable during them, and he has a large hit-box.
Cammy is a United Kingdom fighter, and in various games has been portrayed a both a member of the British military, as well as the criminal organization Shadaloo. She has a strong personality that is well suited to both roles - she may come across harsh at times, but in reality she just likes to get things done. She is an extremely tenacious and determined opponent in battle.
Cammy fights at close range, depending heavily upon her speed to take down her opponents. When played correctly, many characters may find it hard to get a single hit in on her. Though her fighting style is considered close-range, she can hit her opponents from a variety of ranges and her adaptability is a great asset in combat - combined with her attack power, it makes her a quite challenging adversary.
Originally born to a well-to-do family in Spain, Vega is a handsome young man and skilled fighter. At one point, Vega was heavily involved with the crime syndicate Shadaloo. He is a sadistic egomaniac who is completely obsessed with his appearance, character flaws which make a great deal of sense when his tragic past is considered. Despite his mental instability, he proves to be a difficult opponent in combat.
Vega’s fighting style has earned him the moniker, “Spanish Ninja.” It is a fierce combination of ninjitsu and tauromachy. He has through-the-roof speed, but extremely low defense. In order to be victorious in battle, he relies on getting in hits while avoiding damage almost entirely. As a result, effective counterattacks are one of the only reliable ways to take him down. Generally speaking, the speed and the range provided by his claws do a good job of keeping him just out of his opponents reach.
No list on top Street Fighter characters would be complete without the most notorious villain in the series - Akuma. He is a demonic, feared martial artist who hails from Japan, where his name literally translates to “devil”. He will never turn down a battle with a strong opponent, and will only unleash his full combat potential when fighting someone he deems deserving.
Akuma fights in the original style of the “Shotokan” art - the same style that characters such as Ryu and Ken use. Akuma’s approach to this style is far more attack oriented than other characters - his high attack power combined with his attack combination ability lead to a rapid onslaught of powerful blows that are extremely difficult for even the most powerful fighters to overcome.
Guile is a family-oriented military man who hails from America. He is a proud member of the United States Air Force, and borrows his fighting style from a former superior officer whose death greatly impacted him. His time in the Air Force molded him into a well-trained soldier, and formidable opponent on the battlefield.
It is often said that the best defense is a good offense, but Guile’s fighting style proves that the reverse can be true. In order the successfully fight with Guile, they player must be comfortable waiting, and taking their time - being able to calculate their opponents moves, and take advantage of opportunities and openings to secure victory. Though his defense and offense are strong regardless, Guile is truly at his best when in the hands of an experienced player who can take advantage of his full potential.
Ken is a dedicated fighter from America. He was sent off to Japan to learn martial arts at a young age by his father, who thought it would teach him discipline. After being trained in the Ansatsuken style, he returned home. As a fighter, he is motivated by his desire to move forward and constantly face stronger opponents. Ken takes two things extremely seriously: his combat training, and his family. However, that is an approach he follows with very little else - he is generally easy-going and even a bit boastful and arrogant.
His fighting style has changed and evolved throughout the iteration of the series, but generally speaking, he has powerful combo attacks that hit hard and fast. His moveset is extremely similar to Ryu’s with a few distinct difference in how certain techniques are executed. Ken is one of the most powerful characters with the greatest potential, and at the same time is easy for novice players to fight with.
Chun-Li is a police officer that comes from China - in mandarin, her name means “beautiful spring”. She is a kind girl who is known for her discipline, determination, and eventually her combat prowess. Chun-Li had a strong sense of right and wrong, and will go to great lengths to make sure that justice is served. She was the first playable female character to appear in the game, and undisputably the most popular.
Chun Li’s attacks don’t do serious damage in one hit - she relies on sheer volume of hits in order take her opponent’s health down. Her speed is by far her greatest signature advantage in combat. Her Hyakuretsukyaku is her signature move, an easily executed attack requiring one button that allows her to kick her opponent multiple times in rapid succession.
Ryu is a warrior from Japan who, like Ken, fights in the Ansatsuken style. He is a serious man of few words who places a high value on justice. He roams the world in search of ways to further master his chosen martial art, and he will pursue victory at almost any cost. Though he has introverted tendencies, he has a good heart and cares about others. Ryu is the best known character and protagonist of the Street Fighter franchise.
Ryu is a powerful character to play as. His Hadouken and Shoryuken special attacks are some of the most well recognized in the game. Though he doesn’t have any base attributes that stand out, he is generally solid in every arena, and he doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses, either. Ryu is a generally well rounded character, and his exceptional knack for combos make him a force to be reckoned with.
Street Fighter has one of the richest histories of any fighting game ever made, and because of this features a large cast of strong and popular characters. Though there were many great characters to choose from only ten could make the cut. We hope you’ve enjoyed this list, and that you’ll share your opinions in the comments below.