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The 35 Best 'Street Fighter' Characters, Ranked

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Loveleen Kaur / ONE37pm

There's one fighting game franchise that's recognized by anyone and everyone. One fighting game property that has practically influenced every other series within the genre. And one fighting game that's managed to endure over the decades and remain the king of the mountain. That fighter is undoubtedly Capcom's Street Fighter.

Although the original game's 1987 release left a ton of folks feeling underwhelmed, Street Fighter II literally changed the game back in 1991 and influenced everything that came after it. Arcades were full of young kids trying their hardest to pull off a "Hadouken," "Shoryuken," and "Tatsumaki Senpukyaku." And as Street Fighter II got incremental updates, it became even more of a force that gained iconic status among gamers and even non-gamers.

Now that we're on the 35th anniversary of Street Fighter in 2022, I feel like it's the perfect opportunity to highlight the series' most beloved characters. This list is going to cover characters that made an appearance in mainline series entries, the Alpha prequels, and even the 3D EX games.

Let's show some love to 35 of the greatest Street Fighter "World Warriors" of all time!

35. G

The self-proclaimed "President of the World" happens to be one of the better newcomers as he made his grand debut in Street Fighter V. What makes G such a fun oddity is his Abraham Lincoln drip, his mysterious superpowers that are lifted right from Planet Earth, and his curious ties to the next character pick on this list...

34. Q

Who is Q? And why does he choose to do battle in a trenchcoat, white gloves, and a spooky metal mask? It seems like the Street Fighter fanbase will never know, which is fine actually. Q's origins are still cloudy, yet he still manages to be so damn cool thanks to his unique moveset and intimidating fight stance. Now another question has to be asked - is Q really G underneath a mask? Hmmm...

33. C. Viper

The lady spy that beats her opponents into submission with an array of Inspector Gadget-like tricks is none other than C. Viper. Street Fighter IV brought her into the fray for the very first time and attracted her a pretty stable fan following. Viper looks cool, employs some pretty sick special moves, and is also known for being a wonderful mom. There's so much to love in that regard.

32. Gen

Gen is such a lethal senior citizen. The dude is always on the lookout for a final battle that will do him justice while simultaneously allowing him to die in peace. The dude is a world-renowned assassin in Street Fighter lore that's always been adored and feared in equal order. His intense rivalry with Akuma is still the stuff of legend.

31. Fei Long

It's not unusual for fighting games to pay tribute the to great Bruce Lee. And Street Fighter made sure to follow that respectful trend by introducing the world to Fei Long in Super Street Fighter II. Mr. Long is a fine doppelganger of the martial arts legend that has fiery punches and kicks in tow. He certainly looks the part and is one of the finer Bruce Lee copycats in all of gaming. Side note - his clash with Ryu in the Street Fighter animated movie is God-tier!

30. Necro

Once Dhalsim and Blanka went MIA for Street Fighter III, a physical amalgamation of the two OG "World Warriors" came out to play. Necro has stretchy limbs, an "electrifying" personality, and a little girlfriend of his that adds to his cool mystique. He may be one of Street Fighter's stranger-looking combatants, but I still love him all the same.

29. Rose

Street Fighter Alpha's most agile and combat-ready fortune teller is hella stylish and hella strong. Rose always sets out to do good and bring harmony to the world due to her actions, which are highly commendable. With her deep-seated hatred for M. Bison and her love for many of Street Fighter's protagonists, it's easy to fall in love with Rose (especially if you love doing battle from a distance). That scarf of hers is vicious!

28. Menat

Now while Rose is cool and all, her apprentice is just that much cooler. She's one of the newest additions to the Street Fighter roster and has already become a fan favorite that most folks want to see come back for the next installment. Her animations are extra fluid, which does an amazing job of making her mobile maneuvers look all the more awe-inspiring. Menat's mastery of her crystal ball gives her those extra brownie points over Rose, in my opinion.

27. Elena

"BEATS IN MY HEAD!" Street Fighter's extra lanky (and overly friendly?) kick-master may have annoyed the hell out of everyone that was forced to play her in Ultra Street Fighter IV, but I still have a huge place in my heart for the Kenyan-born fighter. Her 2D animations still look incredible in Street Fighter III and are part of the reason why she stuck out for all the right reasons. Elena's extra-tall frame and rhythmic bopping go hand in hand with her Capoeira abilities.

26. Balrog

You really can't fault Balrog for being all about his funds. The man only boxes to make sure his bank account is always full. Thankfully, he's pretty damn good at knocking out his foes when the chance arises. Balrog is clearly a caricature of Mike Tyson that I shockingly enjoy watching rush in with debilitating punches. Street Fighter's brutal boxer may be classless, but he's still a likable bruiser.

27. Dan

Dan is a bum, yes. But he's supposed to be a bum, which adds to his lovable allure. Capcom pretty much created him as a shot at Ryo from SNK's Art of Fighting, who in turn was a clear copycat of Street Fighter's signature shoto fighter. Dan's weak specials, pink gi, and affinity for doing over-the-top taunts all add up to him being such a lovable buffoon.

26. E. Honda

The sumo wrestling savant of Street Fighter is another OG member of the Street Fighter roster. E. Honda is a super cool heavyweight that has hands as fast as Chun-Li's Legs and a nice arsenal of painful grapples to boot. He's also pretty likable for his entrepreneurial ventures - the man owns the signature Honda Sento bathhouse, after all! You just gotta appreciate Honda's love for close combat and relaxing baths.

25. Dhalsim

Because of Street Fighter II, a whole generation of kids grew up thinking the act of Yoga was one of the most lethal forms of martial arts known to man. Dhalsim's stretchy limbs are hella cheesy in the hands of a beginner, but he becomes extra fun to watch when controlled by a player that actually knows what they're doing with him. His look is iconic, hire fire breathing techniques are fearsome, and his ranged offense is top-tier.

24. Zangief

Street Fighter's most cherished grappler is the big Russian brute who's most known for wrestling bears. And he takes that grappling experience into his battles against the rest of the cast, which are always so fun to watch. Zangief is and forever will be a burly badass that can easily wipe out half of someone's life bar with a lethal "Screw Pile Driver" and "Bolshoi Russian Suplex."

23. Alex

Street Fighter III: New Generation shocked everyone at the time of release as it did away with a ton of series regulars and introduced several new combatants. While folks didn't really take to the new cover boy at first, most Street Fighter fans eventually came around to give the big boy Alex his flowers. The bulky brawler from NYC has such a dope array of moves at his disposal that excites wrestling fans everywhere. The fact that AEW wrestler Kenny Omega uses one of his battle quotes during matches points to Alex's cool factor amongst serious fighting game fans.

22. Urien

Gill's older brother is arrogant, conniving, and has a serious God complex. But dammit, he's just so easy to like! Urien takes after his sibling's moveset, but makes it look just as good in action. His "Aegis Reflector" super loops always pop the crowd during FGC tourneys, his level of brutality is always on a million, and the man can land a mean Batista Bomb. Urien's so much cooler than his big bro.

21. Karin

Sakura's natural rival caught a lot of players' attention during her debut in Street Fighter Alpha 3. Also, fun fact - she actually popped up for the very first time anywhere in the manga Sakura Ganbaru. Karin gets a good amount of adoration due to her refined taste in fashion - her battle attire is just so delightful. You'd think someone as wealthy as her wouldn't care to get her hands dirty, but she's always ready to hop into battle and do someone dirty with her Kanzuki-ryu martial arts. A special shout-out goes to her iconic laugh, too.

20. Guy

What other ninja you know out here saves his city from rampaging goons while rocking a fresh pair of Chuck Taylor's? Nobody! The homie Guy has that heroic drip on lock. Besides his fine choice in clothing, Guy also earns himself a spot on this list due to his super cool-looking moves, his dedication to mastering his art of Bushin-ryu Ninjutsu, and his unwavering devotion to his forever ally Cody.

19. Charlie

Guile's brother-in-arms got introduced to the Street Fighter fandom at large when he entered the fray in Street Fighter Alpha. And you couldn't help but be attracted to his overall slickness as far as amazing character design goes. Charlie is a proud former Captain of the United States Air Force that fought hard to rid the world of M. Bison and his Shadaloo organization. This pick on our list has quite an interesting backstory in comparison to a lot of other characters within the Street Fighter universe.

18. R. Mika

"RAINBOW!" When it comes to fan-favorite grapplers, R. Mika is among the very best. Her unrelenting enthusiasm makes everybody gravitate toward her and her wild attire makes her stick out for all the right reasons. She's another beloved lady that popped up for the very first time in Street Fighter Alpha 3 and made her welcome return in Street Fighter V to tons of fanfare. And it's pretty well deserved!

17. Juri

Out of all the newcomers that got the spotlight shined on them in Street Fighter IV, Juri's the one that's pulled in the most adoration. Even though her playstyle isn't the easiest for most players to wrap their heads around, her mere appearance and confrontational personality make those same players try their hardest to master her. The world needs more badass Korean Taekwondo practitioners like Juri.

16. Makoto

While her peers rely on projectiles and other fantastical moves to KO their opponents, Makoto keeps it real simple and straight to the point with her Rindo-kan karate. And that's part of the reason why a lot of people flock to her - her tomboyish demeanor, devotion to bringing attention to her dojo, and fierce battle skills are all equally commendable. Makoto may be short and stout, but she doesn't let that keep her from chopping and kicking the hell out of her taller foes.

15. Yang

Yang is the more level-headed member of the sibling duo that got their grand debut in Street Fighter III: New Generation. His strikes cut through like a blade and the man moves swiftly at all times. His hairdo defies all common sense, but you can't front on it 'cause it looks so damn amazing. Yang is just too cool to ignore, especially since he's quite adept at rollerskating.

14. Yun

And now let's have a quick chat about Yang's brother Yun. Yun is the more carefree sibling that always breaks the rules and goes against the grain. The man is a surprisingly agile powerhouse that hits extra hard - when he got added to Street Fighter IV, he had everyone that played against him in a tizzy since he was so OP! Yun is more than worthy of making a comeback in future Street Fighter entries.

13. Cody

Cody's evolution is so inspiring. The man went from being the savior of Metro City alongside Haggar and Guy to being just a criminal that fights dirty when he comes to competing in Street Fighter. It's so fun watching him fight like your everyday back-alley brawler with his arsenal of rocks, knives, crowbars, etc. Street Fighter V shockingly promoted him to the position of mayor of Metro City, which increased his cool factor tenfold.

12. Ibuki

Fighting games always need ninjas! That's just a bonafide fact that no one can argue against. Guy already got his praise on this list, so now it's time to shower the teenage shinobi he runs into on occasion with some love. Ibuku's character design is so ill - her wild hairdo and traditional ninja garb do her a ton of justice. She deserves a high placing on this list due to all of those aforementioned features and the sick maneuvers she brings to every game she's featured in.

11. Dudley

Balrog has his fans, but Dudley has way more. The UK-born boxer is the classiest pugilist of them all - he fights with honor and takes great pleasure in lamenting one's lack of dignity. His sole reason for going at Gill is pretty silly, yes. But everything else about Dudley is super memorable and presents him as one of the best boxers in fighting games. Shout out to the FGC pro Smug for making Dudley look extra amazing in Street Fighter IV.

10. Guile

Shout out to America's beloved savior with one of the greatest haircuts in all of gaming. Ever since he got introduced to the gaming public in Street Fighter II, people have flocked to him and pushed his iconic stage theme into the mainstream stratosphere. If you mention the moves "Sonic Boom" and "Flash Kick," everyone and their grandmother will know who those specials belong to. Guile will forever be goated as not just a Street Fighter icon, but also one that's recognized by non-fighting game fans far and wide.

9. M. Bison

The ruthless ruler of Shadaloo and one of the most revered bosses in fighting games is this man. M. Bison has been a Street Fighter series mainstay since the game's second entry and has remained a central part of its plot for the longest time now. The man is evil personified - he's responsible for a lot of the game's roster members' quest for revenge. M. Bison's "Psycho Crusher" will forever be cool and so is the dictator-like suit he rocks at all times.

8. Sagat

Sagat has so many factors that place him so high on this list - his tall stature, chest scar, and eye patch push him to the highest of high tiers for character design. Plus his moveset is pretty cool, his stage is exemplary, and his growth from being one of Shadaloo's "Four Kings" to being a more respectable human being is fascinating. Shout out to Capcom for beefing Sagat up when he popped up in Street Fighter Alpha. The master of the "Tiger Shot" and "Tiger Knee" maneuvers will forever be the king of Muay Thai in my eyes.

7. Vega

Vega's a gorgeous piece of work, isn't he? He makes sure to remind everyone how beneath their looks are compared to his. The man definitely strikes fear into a lot of old heads that were forced to take him on Street Fighter II because of his incredibly tricky maneuvers and his stage (which totally gave him an unfair advantage since he could climb on the cage behind him!). Everyone in the FGC refers to this violent beauty as "Claw" and you can clearly see why. That weapon of his makes Vega so merciless!

6. Sakura

Even though Sakura made her debut way after Street Fighter II, she quickly rose up the character popularity scale after following in Ryu's footsteps during Street Fighter Alpha 2. Her overall design presents her as a Japanese schoolgirl who you don't wanna pull up on during a violent disagreement during recess. Sakura's become so cherished by anyone and everyone that considers themselves a Street Fighter aficionado. Her immense popularity has taken her into so many other fighters, which further points to that aforementioned statement.

5. Cammy

The first time folks laid eyes on Cammy, their jaws were most likely on the floor due to her...well, "striking" features and outlandish costume. But once everyone got used to her sex appeal-fueled appearance, it became easier to recognize her as one of the best newbies in Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers. Both her Shadoloo and Delta Red forms are awesome. And her story? That's pretty damn cool, too. Witnessing her finally break away from her mind-controlled state and link up with Street Fighter's main protagonists to defeat her former tormentor is so motivational.

4. Chun-Li

There's a good reason why Chun-Li is plastered all over Street Fighter covers - she's hit iconic status and has cosplayers (men and women alike!) doing her quintessential outfit justice. Chun-Li's mainstream status has been established by so many factors - actor Jackie Chan cosplayed her in the movie City Hunter, rapper Nicki Minaj named a whole song after her, and everyone still refers to her main special move as "Lightning Legs." Capcom clearly loves her as much as her fans do due to the fact that she damn near has the most alternate costumes in Street Fighter V.

3. Ken

While Ryu's definitely a Street Fighter mainstay that gets tons of attention, his fellow Ansatsuken trainee garners an equal amount of adoration. Several Street Fighter fans flock to Ken over Ryu due to his wilder approach to combat, his flame-based take on Ryu's signature special moves, and his love for the finer things in life. Guile always telling people to "go home and be a family man," right? Ken's actually one of the few characters in Street Fighter that does just that by coming back to his wife & son from extended tournament runs. Ken's such a good-natured guy that I'll always prefer over Ryu.

2. Ryu

The forever stoic frontman for the Street Fighter franchise has inspired so many shameless lookalikes that simply don't measure up to him. Just look at all the fighting games that came out after Ryu's name & likeness became synonymous with the genre - plenty of other post-Street Fighter II releases modeled their main protagonist after him and even adopted his red & white motif for characters that didn't all the way look like him. Street Fighter's wandering fighter is known far and wide as the prototypical fighting game frontman.

1. Akuma

And without a shadow of a doubt, the coolest character in all of Street Fighter is the unrelenting master of the forbidden "Satsui no Hado." When Akuma rushed onto the screen and wiped out M. Bison in seconds in Super Street Fighter II Turbo, you couldn't help but be super intrigued by his badassery. And since his grand debut, Akuma has stood tall above the rest of the Street Fighter roster thanks to his neverending quest for power and his preferred take on Ryu & Ken's style of martial arts. That "Raging Demon" of his is the ultimate super move in all of fighting games and damn sure forever will be.

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