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 it’s 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.

Street Fighter Arcade Character List
street fighter main menu 1987

Main Playable Characters

ryu street fighter 1987

Ryu

Nationality: Japanese
Fight Style: Ansatsuken
Speciality 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 speciality fireball punch attack.

ken street fighter 1987

Ken Masters

Nationality: American
Fight Style: Ansatsuken
Speciality 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 moveset and mannerisms but just never reached the popularity of Ryu.

Street Fighter Characters – American Circuit

joe street fighter

Joe

Nationality: American
Fight Style: Kickboxer
Speciality 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 modelled after real life martial artist Benny Urquidez.

mike street fighter arcade

Mike

Nationality: American
Fight Style: Boxer
Speciality 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 has well have just named him Iron Mike.

Street Fighter Characters – Japan Circuit

retsu street fighter arcade

Retsu

Nationality: Japanese
Fight Style: Shorinji Kempo
Speciality 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 story character but has never been seen as an actual fighting character since 1987.

geki street fighter arcade

Reki

Nationality: Japanese
Fight Style: Ninjutsu
Speciality Move: Teleportation

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

Street Fighter Characters – England Circuit

birdie street fighter arcade

Birdie

Nationality: English
Fight Style: Brawler
Speciality 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

Eagle

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

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

Street Fighter Characters – China Circuit

lee street fighter arcade

Lee

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

Lee is the Sensei of the game, a master of the 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 real great character had they developed him more.

gen street fighter arcade

Gen

Nationality: Chinese
Fight Style: So and Ki
Speciality 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

Gen

Nationality: Thai
Fight Style: Muay Thai
Speciality 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

Sagat

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

Sagat is the best of the best, “The Emperor of Muay Thai” he is called. It certainly show in the ofiginal Street Fighter as he is so much better then 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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