Street Fighter II: The World Warrior is a landmark title in video games, and served as a launch point for the competitive fighting game scene. The game has been rereleased several times over the years, with new characters and stages, and it continues to be a popular game amongst fighting game fanatics, being featured as a side event at many tournaments.
Way back in 1991 when the original Street Fighter II was released, there was only a small roster of characters to choose from; even still, players would want to know who was the strongest character was to get a leg up on the competition. As it turns out, there was a clear cut best character in the game (remember, we’re only talking about the original Street Fighter II, not the Champions Edition or any other rereleases.)
The Original Street Fighter II Character Roster
There were eight playable characters in the first version of Street Fighter II, who would go on to become series staples. These characters were:
- E. Honda
Characters such as Sagat, Balrog, Vega and M. Bison were all featured as CPU-controlled bosses, and wouldn’t become playable until later editions of the game.
The Good And The Bad
While there weren’t bad characters in Street Fighter II, some certainly didn’t have the strength or tools that they would have in later games.
Ryu and Ken are known to be stronger, well-balanced characters with options for most situations, but a slower Hadouken for them means their zoning game suffers. They still pack quite a punch but they’re not as appealing as they would be in later editions of the game.
Zangief, the grappler who’s become more feared in later instalments of Street Fighter, does insane amounts of damage but has a terrible time getting in, and he doesn’t have the options to get in. Blanka has many of his damage-dealing tools that he’s known for, but struggles from a predictable gameplan and he doesn’t have the strong anti-airs that he would later on the series.
Chun-Li and E. Honda both have rapid attacks that can deal huge amounts of damage very quickly, and they have great normals to boot. Each has a glaring enough weakness though; Chun-Li’s lack of a vicious anti-air is limiting, and E. Honda’s lack of a projectile forces his hand in certain situations.
Which brings us to Dhalsim and Guile, two very strong characters, but one of them is certainly better than the other. So, who is it?
The Best Street Fighter II Character
The best character in the original Street Fighter II is definitely Guile. Dhalsim has all the right tools to apply pressure, keep himself safe, and pick apart the enemy.
But Guile’s arsenal is just too much to bear. He has an incredible projectile in Sonic Boom, and if you think you can jump into him, you’ll eat a very strong Flask Kick anti-air. He boasts amazing normal moves as well, allowing him to apply good pressure if he gets in on you; a character that can zone as well as he can attack is always a terrifying combination.
Throws in the original Street Fighter II are known to be incredibly damaging, and Guile’s air throws just give him another way of negating the enemy’s options while dealing the hurt. On top of this, Guile’s normals allow him to connect many combos that dizzy the opponent, which means a single opening can deplete most of their life bar.
All in all, Guile just has everything he needs to play whichever way he needs to win. If you’re a Guile fan, it’s a great time, but if you pick anyone else, you can expect an uphill battle.