In 1991, Street Fighter II – The World Warrior hit the arcades and brought us a second Golden Age in the coin-operated video game market.

1-on-1 Fighting Games became the new cool kid in school, and everybody and their mom tried to copy the formula, with varying grades of success, and Capcom even went so far as to sue Data East for their game “Fighter’s History” which they considered a watered down clone.

Since then, characters from the Street Fighter series have crossed over to other games, with Ryu and Ken being two of the most recognizable fighters in video game history, and such icons in the genre that they ended up in Super Smash Bros.

The World Warriors have battled characters from other universes such as their bitter 90’s rivals from “The King of Fighters” in Capcom vs SNK, are skins in modern games such as Fortnite, who can forget the now legendary Marvel vs Capcom?

But even if SFII was a revolution, almost nobody remembers the characters of the first Street Fighter game, which wasn’t anywhere near as successful as the sequel. But now there are countless games in the series and Street Fighter 6 is being played on home consoles around the world, it is a great time to look back and see which fighters that participated in the first game of Capcom’s flagship fighting game series. Here is a breakdown of

All Characters from the Original Street Fighter (1987)

Playable Characters

Ryu – The Wandering Warrior

  • Height: 5’9″
  • Weight: 150 lbs
  • Birthdate: July 21st, 1964 (23 years old)
  • Fighting Style: Ansatsuken (Shotokan Karate in English Translations)

Ryu is an orphan raised in a temple by the Martial Artist “Gouken”. At 23 years old, he finishes his training and goes to travel the world to test his skills. He enters the Street Fighter Tournament to challenge the organizer “Sagat”, who is said to be the most powerful Muay Thai fighter.

Trivia: He’s based on Masutatsu Oyama (the real-life creator of Kyokushin Karate) and Yoshiji Soeno, the main character from the Manga series “Karate Master” (whose biggest rival is a tall bald one-eye Thai)

Ken Masters – The American Martial Arts Champion

  • Height: 5’9″
  • Weight: 158 lbs
  • County: Japan
  • Birthdate: February 14th, 1965 (22 years old)
  • Fighting Style: Ansatsuken

Ryu’s friend and rival, who trained together under Gouken. His father is one of the richest men in the world and sent Ken to train in martial arts in order for him to learn humility and discipline.

The canon story is that he goes to test his skills in the USA Martial Arts Tournament, but when a second player challenges Player 1, he appears in VS Mode and fights just like Ryu.

Trivia: His last name “Masters” comes from “He-Man”, since he looks similar to the doll, and “Masters of the Universe” was a very popular toy line and animated series in the late 80’s.

Opponents In The Street Fighter Arcade Game

Joe – The SuperStar

  • Height: 6’1″
  • Weight: 179 lbs
  • County: USA
  • Birthdate: November 8th (24 years old)
  • Fighting Style: Kickboxing

Joe was a National Kickboxing Champion, who got in trouble with the law for street fighting. His financial troubles and anger management issues made him a drifter, but he has reformed and now participates in fighting tournaments all over the world.

Trivia: He’s based on Benny Urquidez, a famous kickboxer in the 1970s and ’80s nicknamed “The Jet”, who was famous in Japan.

Mike – American Boxer

  • Height: 6’5″
  • Weight: 227 lbs
  • County: USA
  • Birthdate: February 9th
  • Fighting Style: Boxing

Mike did time in prison for robbery, where he learned to box. When he regained his freedom he became a good citizen and helps around in his community, teaching boxing to kids. He enters the tournament for the prize money.

Trivia: He’s based on Mike Tyson. And while some fans believe that Mike is Balrog from the sequel (Japanese original name Mike Bison) this was shown to be false, since in Street Fighter V they are shown to be different characters.

Retsu – The Rogue Monk

  • Height: 6’0″
  • Weight: 170 lbs
  • County: Japan
  • Birthdate: April 2nd
  • Fighting Style: Kempo

Retsu is a friend of Ryu’s master and a monk that was expelled from his temple because he used forbidden techniques.

He used to have trouble following an enlightened path, but after losing to Ryu, he corrects his way and tries his best to live as an Ascetic Martial Artist.

Trivia: He finally makes a comeback in Street Fighter 6, you can play against him in World Tour mode.

Geki – The Silent Ninja

  • Height: 5’11”
  • Weight: 159 lbs
  • County: Japan
  • Birthdate: ????
  • Fighting Style: Ninjutsu

A mysterious fighter that uses weapons, such as a claw and ninja stars. He also has the ability to teleport. It is implied that Geki is not his name, but the name of his clan, and he’s just one of the members that enters the tournament.

Trivia: Since his fighting style is similar to Vega, it’s rumored that he’s the one that trained him. He also dies before the story of Street Fighter V, being killed off by another master assassin, and succeeded by another Geki, according to SFV Capcom Character Guides.

Lee – One of Asia’s Finest Martial Arts Masters

  • Height: 5’6″
  • Weight: 172 lbs
  • County: China
  • Birthdate: March 3rd (42 years old)
  • Fighting Style: Bajiquan and Drunken Fist

A semi-retired Chinese martial arts master that wants to prove himself against the best. He created the Raigeki-Shu, an air kick that drops down sharply from above.

Trivia: He’s the uncle of Yun and Yang, the twin teenage fighters from Hong Kong that debut in Street Fighter III. He also knows Chun-Li from her past.

Gen – The Legendary Assassin

  • Height: 5’5″
  • Weight: 134½ lbs
  • County: China
  • Birthdate: March 10th
  • Fighting Style: Chinese Martial Arts

He was known as “The Devil of Hong Kong” and now in his old age, is still being challenged by martial artists and other assassins. He still seeks for formidable fighters to have honorable battles with.

He uses a fighting style based on pressure points called Dim Mak.

In the Street Fighter Alpha series, Gen is diagnosed with leukemia and wishes to have a fight to the death instead of succumbing to his disease.

Trivia: He was friends with Chun-Li’s father and trained her in her youth.

Birdie – The British Punk Rocker

  • Height: 6’7”
  • Weight: 251 lbs
  • County: England
  • Birthdate: August 22nd (29 years old)
  • Fighting Style: Brawling / Wrestling

Birdie was a professional wrestler, who formed a Tag Team with Titanic Tim from Capcom’s wrestling game “Saturday Night Slam Masters”.

He has ambitions that make him turn to a life of crime but still works as a bouncer and underground fighter to get some money.

Trivia: His appearance changed a lot in the sequels, becoming taller, heavier, and a black man. Capcom insists that he is still the same person, but was ill in the original game, hence his skinnier and pale look.

Eagle – The Gentleman Bouncer

  • Height: 6’0”
  • Weight: 172 lbs
  • County: England
  • Birthdate: December 31st
  • Fighting Style: Eskrima (also known as Kali, Philippines National Martial Art)

Eagle is employed by a noble family as a bodyguard and enters the tournament to defeat Sagat. He fails in his endeavor and turns back to the bar scene, becoming a legendary fighter in his homeland.

Trivia: His appearance is based on the character Petrov from Bruce Lee’s movie “Fists of Fury”. When he returns in Capcom vs SNK 2, Eagle’s design is influenced by Freddy Mercury.

Adon – The Sub Boss

  • Height: 5’11¾”
  • Weight: 160 lbs
  • Thailand
  • Birthdate: unknown (21 years old)
  • Fighting Style: Muay Thai

A student and bodyguard of Sagat. He fights using an acrobatic and more dynamic style of Thai boxing, which involves a lot of jumping. He believes that muay thai is the strongest martial art in the world and would go to great lengths to prove it.

Trivia: Most of his moves have “Jaguar” in the name. Weird since that particular wild cat is endemic to America.

Sagat – The Emperor of Muay Thai (Final Boss)

  • Height: 7’5″
  • Weight: 240 lbs
  • Thailand
  • Birthdate: July 2nd, 1955 (32 years old)
  • Fighting Style: Muay Thai

Sagat organized the tournament to prove that Muay Thai is the strongest fighting style.

Training from a young age and using his size as an advantage, he became the champion when he defeated Nuakan, the previous emperor of muay thai, at 15 years old. Adon witnessed that fight and vowed to follow Sagat anywhere.

Trivia: He lost his right eye in a fight against Go Hibiki, Dan Hibiki’s father from the Street Fighter Alpha series.

And that’s a wrap. While Street Fighter II kick-started the market for fighting games in 90’s arcades with new characters, special moves, and locations to fight, it was the original arcade version of the game that laid the groundwork. And while a few ports did make it to home consoles. Nothing beats the gaming nostalgia of a quarter-fed arcade cabinet.