Street Fighter Arcade Character List

Matt Kasper


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street fighter splash screen 1987

The first ever Street Fighter was not the one you are likely most familiar with, that being the groundbreaking 1991 Street Fighter II arcade. The original was actually the 1987 arcade version by Capcom just called Street Fighter. The 1987 version didn’t quite achieve the kind of success that was soon to follow with its sequels but it did lay the groundwork for what was to come.

The original arcade had 12 total characters, two of which were playable. The game follows a character named Ryu who is a martial artist competing in fighting competitions around the world. The moves you were able to perform were pretty basic and consisted of punches and kicks at various levels of intensity. Where this game was different, however, was it was the first fighter game to introduce special attacks based on specific controller motions and button combinations.

Some of these characters may be familiar to you as they have lasted the test of time throughout the Street Fighter Series but most have been long forgotten by now. Let’s take a look at the list of original Street Fighter Arcade characters.

Main Playable Characters

ryu street fighter 1987


Nationality: Japanese
Fight Style: Ansatsuken
Specialty Attacks: Surge Fist, Rising Dragon Fist, Hurricane Kick

The original Street Fighter character and poster boy for the franchise. Ryu has stood the test of time and still is a lead character in all the Street Fighter games. The man who introduced the world to “Hadoken”, his specialty fireball punch attack.

ken street fighter 1987

Ken Masters

Nationality: American
Fight Style: Ansatsuken
Specialty Attacks: Surge Fist, Rising Dragon Fist, Hurricane Kick

Ken is the 2nd player available to play in the original arcade version when two people are playing together. Ken is almost the identical version of Ryu albeit in American form. He has the same move set and mannerisms but just never reached the popularity of Ryu.

Street Fighter Characters – American Circuit

joe street fighter


Nationality: American
Fight Style: Kickboxer
Specialty Move: Spinning Back Kick

Joe is a non-playable character and the 1st match on the American circuit. He is a former martial arts champion but trouble with the law put him on the lamb. He was modeled after real-life martial artist Benny Urquidez.

mike street fighter arcade


Nationality: American
Fight Style: Boxer
Specialty Move: Low Punch

It is not hard to figure out who they had in mind when they created the “Mike” character. He is a former professional boxer who had spent time in jail for robbery. Might as well have just named him Iron Mike.

Street Fighter Characters – Japan Circuit

retsu street fighter arcade


Nationality: Japanese
Fight Style: Shorinji Kempo
Specialty Move: Flying Jump Kick

Poor Retsu only made 1 appearance ever and it was in the very first Street Fighter. He has appeared from time to time as a story character but has never been seen as an actual fighting character in the series since 1987.

geki street fighter arcade


Nationality: Japanese
Fight Style: Ninjutsu
Specialty Move: Teleportation

Reki is one of my favorite opponents in this arcade game and his specialty moves are badass. He has the ability to teleport and can appear behind or in front of you at any time. He comes equipped with a wolverine-type claw and can chuck Ninja Stars at you.

Street Fighter Characters – England Circuit

birdie street fighter arcade


Nationality: English
Fight Style: Brawler
Specialty Move: Two-Handed Hammer Fist

Birdie is a beast of a man in this game. He has a powerful two-handed hammer punch that can significantly drain your power if he hits you with it. He loves his Mohawk so don’t mess up his hair or he will get ultra-violent.

eagle street fighter arcade


Nationality: English
Fight Style: Bojutsu
Specialty Move: Stick Swing

Eagle is a dapper-looking gentleman who specializes in the stick fighting art Bojutsu. He has an almost Bond-like character appeal to me but the rumor is his appearance was modeled after Freddy Mercury as a homage to the late English frontman.

Street Fighter Characters – China Circuit

lee street fighter arcade


Nationality: Chinese
Fight Style: Drunken Fist
Specialty Move: Front Jump Kick

Lee is the Sensei of the game, a master of martial arts. He really hasn’t made any other fighting appearances in the series only storyline appearances. It’s too bad I feel he could have been a really great character had they developed him more.

gen street fighter arcade


Nationality: Chinese
Fight Style: So and Ki
Specialty Move: Front Jump Kick

Gen is the oldest and shortest character in the game. He is a former assassin and his fighting style reminds me of the Karate Kid as he always looks ready to unleash a deadly Crane Kick.

Street Fighter Characters – Thailand Circuit

adon street fighter arcade


Nationality: Thai
Fight Style: Muay Thai
Specialty Move: Somersault Punch

Adon is a classic Muay Thai fighter who is lanky but muscular. He was trained by Sagat (one of the big bosses) and is a tough character to beat in the 1987 Street Fighter original.

sagat street fighter arcade


Nationality: Thai
Fight Style: Muay Thai
Specialty Move: Somersault Punch

Sagat is the best of the best, “The Emperor of Muay Thai” he is called. It certainly shows in the original Street Fighter as he is so much better than all previous opponents. He has great blocking ability, can shoot fireball punches much like Ryu, and is as powerful as they come. He is the toughest test in the game and it will likely take you many tries in order to defeat him.

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