Or at least that's what the article is called. This is another one of those multi-site collaboration articles -- I'm not going to go into how it gets started and all that jazz (if you're interested in a fuller introduction, check out our last entry into a similar foray), but suffice it to say that I think I misinterpreted the premise of the article. Someone must've explained it to me as having to do with the "dumbest" characters, which probably would've registered as "worst" to anyone else -- concerning design, moves, etc. -- but instead I ended up mostly critiquing the intellects of the various fighters on my list. Well, not all of them, but that was what I initially set out to do. Or something. Anyway, I'll say a bit more and link the other participants at the close of the article, but for now let's get on with The 5 Worst (Dumbest) Fighting Game Characters, starting with...
1. SHAQUILLE O'NEAL (SHAQ FU, A BUNCH OF BASKETBALL GAMES)
Okay, so basketball players aren't particularly noted for their intelligence (which isn't to say that basketball players can't be smart), but Shaquille O'Neal is probably one of the worst offenders in this department -- not because of his IQ, but because of a smugness that flies in the face of all rational thought. You've seen the commercials where he goes on about how charming and great he is and how it's a mark of progress that you can now watch him on your phone, yes? You might think he's kidding, but back in '94 he not only released a pitiful rap CD but also starred in a self-titled video game declaring him to be the Chosen One: "One who possesses strength, spirituality, courage, agility, intelligence, and unsurpassed skill in the martial arts." Whatever, Shaq. Making matters worse is that the game calls on Shaq to battle against assorted otherworldly monsters with terrifying powers, from mummies to hellbeasts to demons to voodoo queens to ninja catgirls. But Shaq is not Shadowman -- he is a basketball player. Yes, he is tall and has big feet, but he probably can't take the Prince of Persia, let alone that red monster thing up there. So why'd he make the list? 'Cause he is dumb, dumb, dumb for thinking that he can compete with the likes of these creatures in one-on-one combat. Also, the game sucked.
2. RYUHAKU TODO (ART OF FIGHTING 1, CAPCOM VS. SNK 2)
Ah, good old Ryuhaku Todo. First fighter of South Town, and yet the only character who didn't return for Art of Fighting 2. And admittedly, despite the fact that he wasn't really all that tough, he was a pretty cool initial combatant -- mostly because of the Japanese flavor of his background stage and his traditional style of dress. He seemed a worthy opponent in a game named for the art of fighting (unlike Jack), and I was glad to meet him. However, like many characters in SNK games, he had no real backstory; he was just patrolling the streets looking for a fight. And to meet up with this guy while engaged in a frantic quest to find your kidnapped sister only to find that, after defeating him, he knew absolutely nothing at all related to your quest -- well, that's just annoying. Todo may not have been terribly dumb (though going up against guys like Ryo and Robert with only one wussy special move isn't terribly smart), but he was definitely an asshole. I guess he's learned since then, however, since he left the fighting arena to get married (or something) and have an incredibly hot daughter before returning to the fold in Capcom vs. SNK 2. Welcome back, Mister Todo. We've missssssed you.
3. JEAN PIERRE (FIGHTER'S HISTORY, F.H. DYNAMITE: KARNOV'S REVENGE)
Judging from the screens above, you can probably guess that almost any fighter from Data East's Fighter's History series could've gone on this list. I say almost any fighter because the great Karnov was among the series' combatants -- and, as those in the know know, fat fire-breathing Russian guys are just bloody awesome. Everyone else could've been here, though. So why Jean Pierre? Well, we're all too familiar with Ken and Ryu wannabes -- and the games certainly feature their share of those -- but it isn't too often that we see Guile clones. French Guile clones. That throw
Sonic Booms Ball Roses. And do prissy faux Flash Kicks. And snap their suspenders while looking fruitiliciously smug when they win. I think Fred Flintstone made that word up.
4. WANG KOH SAN (ART OF FIGHTING 3)
Like the Fighter's History games, almost any character from the third Art of Fighting game could've made it into this list. I mean, it's fair to say that very few of the game's characters were particularly inspired even in the earlier games, but this one's designs were just downright lame... and a little on the wacky side. Enter Wang Koh San, an overweight gamer who francies himself an artist and wears flight goggles for some inexplicable reason. This is what happens when those kids who sat around playing games all day get hired to design the games, folks -- they code themselves into them so all the fat bastards at home can think that you don't have to be a 3rd generation Kyokugenryu Karate mastaaaa to do battle with the globe's top street fighters and genetic freaks in abandoned locales. Yep. If anything, the saving grace of this character would be that he gives the fat gamers someone they can convincingly cosplay at anime conventions, what with his Converse sneakers and fairly common attire, but unfortunately, due to the relative unpopularity of AOF3, InuYasha will continue to dominate the scene.
5. ALL FIGHTERS THAT CAN TRANSFORM INTO OTHER FIGHTERS
And the last spot on the list goes to the shapeshifters -- Shang Tsung, Neo Geegus, and, er... the rest of the T-1000 wannabes out there. Now, I'll be the first to admit that the idea sounds cool at first. I mean, hey, it's a character that can turn into every other character in the game! AWESOME! However, upon further examination, the idea totally collapses into stupidity. Consider the limitation of these characters' incredible shapeshifting abilities -- that apparently they can only transform into combatants in the tournament in which they themselves are participants. What's up with that? Sure, it may look cool in that particular arena, but it's an almost useless skill in daily life. Yeah, a tricky fighter could steal an opponent's credit card during battle for identity fraud purposes later, but most of the combatants in these tournaments aren't millionaires -- in fact, the vast majority of them are downright penniless -- so tournament prize money notwithstanding, that's a pretty worthless trick. On the other hand, if these shapeshifters are in fact capable of transforming into persons outside of their respective games, what the hell are they doing in these tournaments? Not only could they change into mechas and squash their enemies flat (if they felt the need to participate at all, and assuming they can transform into things much larger than themselves, which I will, since I imagine Goro was a lot heavier than frail old Shang Tsung in the first Mortal Kombat) but they could be impersonating world leaders and terrorists and instigating World Wars and the like. So maybe they're not stupid -- maybe they just lack ambition. Or maybe none of these characters' creators really thought the whole shapeshifting thing through. I wish I had shapeshifting powers. :(
CLOSING REMARKS (AND A BONUS HAIKU!)
Okay, that's that! Hopefully you found Scary-Crayon's take on The 5 Worst Fighting Game Characters to be mildly entertaining. And as I noted in the introduction, this was a multi-site article, so you're invited to check out the different worst fighter selections at the sites below (Teh Internet's isn't up yet, but the site has other stuff):
I do feel compelled to add, however, that the choices and views expressed in the above linked articles in no way reflect the opinions of Scary-Crayon or its webmaster (me). In particular, there's some stuff in the Dyslexic Penguin article that I find highly objectionable -- not so much because I found it personally offensive, but because I thought it added nothing at all to the piece except an ugliness to which, sadly, I think far too many people succumb because they derive some humor in saying things that they don't think they should say. Not that I'm a master of comedy or wit, mind you, but that certainly isn't it. Also, Fo Fai totally rules. ;P
Anyway, that does it for this piece -- but rather than end on such a serious note, I'd like to remind the readers at home that this article could've been a lot worse had I not sorta misinterpreted the mission plan. The "dumbest" thing more or less limited me to characters whose intellect I could sorta judge (Jean Pierre and Wang Koh San notwithstanding), but if I had just been going on character design and moves? Bloody hell. So we'll close with a haiku regarding a very screwed up pair of fighters from SNK's Savage Reign...
Gordon and Joker...?
IT'S BIZARRO WORLD GOTHAM!!!
I'd hate to see Bats.