Guile (Street Fighter)
|Street Fighter character|
Guile in Super Street Fighter II (art by Bengus)
|First game||Street Fighter II|
|Motion capture||Jean-Claude Van Damme (The Movie games)|
Jean-Claude Van Damme (Street Fighter film)|
Scott Adkins (Street Fighter: World Warrior)
|Fighting style||SF IV: Marine Corps Martial Arts Program; Taekwondo infused with pro wrestling techniques (マーシャルアーツにプロレス技をブレンド Māsharu Ātsu ni Puroresu waza o burendo)|
|Occupation||Pilot and commander United States Air Force|
Guile (ガイル Gairu) is a character in Capcom's Street Fighter series of fighting games. He debuted as one of the original eight characters in 1991's Street Fighter II and appeared in the game's subsequent updates. In the games he is portrayed as a major in the United States Air Force who is seeking to avenge the death of his Air Force buddy Charlie at the hands of the villainous dictator M. Bison.
One of the most popular characters in the series, Guile has appeared in other Street Fighter games, including Street Fighter Alpha 3 (where he is a playable character alongside Charlie) and Street Fighter IV. He is also a playable character in various spin-off titles, such as the Street Fighter EX, Marvel vs. Capcom 2 and SNK vs. Capcom series. In addition, Guile has appeared in other Street Fighter media. He is one of the main characters in the 1994 live action Street Fighter film and its animated spin-off, as well as Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie. The character has also been featured in various official comics and merchandise. His music theme, known simply as "Guile's Theme", has been used multiple times, usually to give a sense of victory.
Guile has been perceived as a unique Street Fighter II characters in both appearance and gameplay. He is noted as having only two signature moves in the game, both of which are performed by first holding a direction on the joystick and then pushing in the opposite direction with a punch or kick - the Sonic Boom and the Flash Kick, respectively. Guile has been well received, with the character often placing highly in various lists of the best Street Fighter characters of all time.
In video games
Guile first appears in Street Fighter II (1991) as one of the eight selectable characters featured in the first release of the game. Guile leaves his country and family to enter the World Warrior tournament to avenge the death of his friend Charlie, who was killed by M. Bison, the tournament's sponsor, sometime before the events of the game. In his ending, he defeats Bison, but is dissuaded from killing him by his wife and their daughter.
Guile's war buddy Charlie would appear in the later prequel series Street Fighter Alpha, although Guile himself did not appear in this sub-series until the console versions of Street Fighter Alpha 3 (1998). They originally made Guile a hidden character in the initial PlayStation version of the game, though subsequent versions made him part of the initial roster. In his storyline in the game, Guile is an Air Force JTAC/TACP ordered to track down Charlie, who has gone missing. Guile eventually fights Charlie, as well as Bison as his final opponent. In his ending, Guile infiltrates Bison's base with Charlie and sets explosives on the Psycho Drive, only for the two to be caught in the act by Bison. Charlie holds off Bison while Guile escapes and the base explodes with Charlie still in it, resulting in his death. This ending, however, is retconned by Street Fighter V, which portrays Charlie's death in Street Fighter Alpha 2 at the hands of his own men secretly working for M. Bison as official canon.
Guile also appears as a playable character in Street Fighter EX (1997) and its two sequels, Street Fighter EX2 (1998) and Street Fighter EX3 (2000). The storyline of the EX series takes place at the same time as Street Fighter II. In addition to tracking down Shadaloo to avenge Charlie, Guile is also hunted by a mercenary named Doctrine Dark (another playable character in this sub-series), who is actually a former subordinate named Holger. His relationship with Ken as brothers-in-law (with their respective wives being sisters) is mentioned for the first time in the games in Ken's ending in the Japanese version of the original EX2.
Guile returns as a playable character in Street Fighter IV (2008), where he seeks authorization to conduct a rescue mission for a comrade named Charlie, whom he believes to be missing, but his request is rejected by his superiors. Guile also appears as a supporting character in the crossover fighting game Street Fighter X Tekken (2012), with Abel as his official tag partner.
Guile returns as the first of the delayed characters in Street Fighter V, as one of 6 DLC characters that were released after the game's launch in 2016.
Guile appears in both the arcade and home versions of Street Fighter: The Movie, which were two separately-produced 1995 fighting games that used digitized footage from the live-action Street Fighter film, in which Guile was the lead character. Actor Jean-Claude Van Damme posed for Guile's animation frames in the game.
The Alpha 3 incarnation of Guile appears as a selectable character in several fighting game crossovers which including Marvel vs. Capcom 2 (2000), Capcom vs. SNK (2000), Capcom vs. SNK 2 (2001) and Capcom Fighting Jam (2003). He also appears in the SNK-produced installments of SNK/Capcom crossovers in SNK vs. Capcom: Match of the Millennium (1999), SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos (2003) and the SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters Clash series. A super-deformed version of the character is playable in the mobile puzzle game Street Fighter: Puzzle Spirits (2014).
Guile appears in Charlie's ending in X-Men vs. Street Fighter (he is not identified by name, only as "Charlie's friend"), swearing revenge on Bison for apparently killing Charlie. A Guile-inspired costume for players to use in Sony's LittleBigPlanet was released as downloadable content.
The English version of Saturday Night Slam Masters implies that the character Gunloc is related to Guile. The video game adaptations of Street Fighter: The Movie expand on this, stating that Gunloc is Guile's brother.
Early Street Fighter II sketches and notes suggest that Guile was developed specifically to appeal to American fans. In an interview with Game On!, Capcom Research and Design head Noritaka Funamizu stated that of the more popular characters in the series with western audiences, Guile was most likely considered the game's main character. His physical appearance is strikingly different from the many Asian characters in the Street Fighter series, with light blue eyes, a chiseled jaw, and a blonde and particularly tall flattop haircut. The length of Guile's hair varies greatly from appearance to appearance. It is relatively realistic in Street Fighter II, and impossibly tall in SVC Chaos.
Capcom sourcebooks suggest that Guile's famous hairdo is styled with a special-order army hair spray to keep it up (though he ends up fixing it quickly after a match). Another way Guile's image differs from the Asian combatants in the series is his American flag tattoos. Currently, he has one on each arm. The positioning of the flags with the stripes forward is technically a violation of flag code, which a serviceman like Guile would ironically be quite aware of (the union, or starred part of the flag, should always face forward).  Finally, Guile's military fatigues complete his all-American look. He wears Charlie's dog tag alongside his own as he searches for Bison.
In other media
In the 1994 live-action Street Fighter film, Guile (given the full name of Colonel, William F. Guile) is played by Jean-Claude Van Damme and is the main character. Van Damme's line in the film, "Are you man enough to fight with me?", is taken from Street Fighter II and its follow-ups. His character is given the rank of Colonel. In this live adaption, Guile is commanding the A.N. (this film's version of the United Nations) forces as he searches for General M. Bison. His motivation for searching for Bison is not to avenge Charlie's death, but to end Bison's corrupt organization and to rescue Charlie, although he receives a great deal of help from Ryu and Ken to find Bison's base, and is aided in his mission by Chun-Li, Cammy White, T. Hawk, Balrog, E. Honda and Zangief. Jean-Claude Van Damme's hair, while blonde, lacked the hairstyle from the games, and even though the character was portrayed as American, Van Damme's Belgian accent was very noticeable (it is possible that he is French-American in the film).
Guile was mentioned by Ken in the Street Fighter: Resurrection episode "Fight & Flight".
Guile will appear in the second season of Street Fighter: Assassin's Fist titled Street Fighter: World Warrior in a significant role. Series creator Joey Ansah has told Shogungamer that he is interested in casting Scott Adkins as Guile.
Guile is one of the main characters in the 1994 anime film Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie, where he is voiced by Masane Tsukayama in the Japanese original and by Kirk Thornton (credited as Donald Lee) in the English dub. Guile is assigned to work together with Chun-Li in order to take down Bison, whose organization Shadaloo (Shadowlaw in the English dub) has been kidnapping several martial artists and brainwashing them to do his evil bidding. Guile is at first far from happy to work with another person on the case, claiming loudly that "Bison's ass is mine", but a distinct friendship builds up between him and the Interpol agent. The film follows Guile's plot from the video game in Guile tracking down Bison to avenge Charlie's death, and his vendetta is amplified when Chun-Li is hospitalized by Vega on Bison's orders (though Chun-Li manages to defeat Vega first). Near the end of the film, Guile manages to track Ryu down but is followed by Bison and a brainwashed Ken. Guile engages Bison in combat but is outmatched by the crime lord's overwhelming speed and only manages to damage his cape with a Sonic Boom. Bison then finishes the fight by blasting Guile down a chasm. Guile survives this, although exhausted and bloodied, and when Bison finds Guile, he decides to spare him as an insult, and leaves. Guile is rescued along with Balrog by E. Honda. In his final scene, Guile, fully recovered, is moved to tears when informed that Chun-Li survived Vega's attack.
Based loosely on the storyline of the 1994 film while combining elements from Street Fighter II, Guile serves as the main protagonist of the Street Fighter animated series, and is depicted as the leader of an organization of Street Fighters consisting of himself, Chun-Li, Blanka, Ryu, Ken, T. Hawk, Cammy, Dee Jay, Fei Long and Dhalsim. Bison has survived his battle with Guile following the events of the film, and Guile's sole goal is to destroy Bison once and for all. The cartoon ran for two seasons (October 21, 1995 – May 14, 1997) with a total of 26 episodes.
Guile appears in the 1995 anime series Street Fighter II V, where he is voiced by Tesshō Genda in the Japanese original and once again by Kirk Thornton in the English Amimaze dub and by Rob Mungle in the ADV Films dub. In this TV series, Guile is a Master Sergeant (E-7) in the U.S. Air Force, who spends most of his time training physically and who has great pride in the Air Force. He faces Ryu in a bar fight after Ryu and Ken beat up some of his men (although it was Guile's men who started the fight in the first place when Ken stole one of their dates). Guile easily defeats Ryu, only to face Ken, who challenges him in an air force base to avenge Ryu. Despite a severe hangover, Guile is able to defeat Ken, which motivates the duo to start a training journey and improve their martial art skills by challenging opponents around the world. While in India, Ryu fights an imaginary Guile during a training session, but stops the fight and acknowledges his respect for the Sergeant for showing them how arrogant they were and inspiring them to travel the world. Later in the series, Guile is recruited by Ken's father along with his friend Charlie (who retains his Japanese name, Nash, in the dub) when Ryu, Ken and Chun-Li are taken captive by Shadaloo. He faces Zangief while infiltrating Bison's base, while Nash confronts Bison himself. Guile knocks Zangief out, but is unable to save Nash from Bison, who pits a brainwashed Chun-Li against the enraged Sergeant. Outside, Guile fights Chun-Li until Bison's demise snaps her out of her brainwashing, and he is last seen showing admiration for Ryu and Ken when they emerge unharmed from the battlefield.
In UDON's Street Fighter comic adaptation, Guile is given a central role alongside Chun-Li, particularly in the first arc but he also is a frequent cast member in later arcs. Similar to the official story, Guile is chasing after Shadaloo to discover the whereabouts of his Air Force buddy, Charlie Nash. Guile is first introduced to Charlie after his aircraft is shot down and Charlie commands a black-ops mission to rescue him. Like the official story, Charlie teaches Guile to fight. For the first arc of the comics, Guile spends his time looking for Ryu, believing to there to be a connection between him and Shadaloo. He traces him to the US and then back to Japan. While in Japan, he and Chun-Li engage a Shadaloo-controlled Charlie (codenamed "Agent Shadow") and fight him off. At the end of the first story arc, Charlie regains his senses and rejoins Chun-Li and Guile before they're attacked by M. Bison. Charlie unleashes his latent Psycho Power abilities and sacrifices himself to take out Bison (Charlie giving his own life to stop Bison echoes Guile's ending in Street Fighter Alpha 3), leaving Guile distraught and swearing vengeance against Shadaloo. Afterwards, Guile continues to assist Chun-Li in looking for Bison (whom they believe survived his encounter with Charlie) but all the while juggling his struggling relationship with his wife, Julia, and their daughter, Amy. Eventually the family reconciles at the end of the comic's second arc. Guile isn't heavily active during the second series of comics (Street Fighter II) but he is given an invitation to Bison's tournament, which he accepts as his final bid for vengeance. The final series (Street Fighter II Turbo) documents Guile's entry into M. Bison's fighting tournament. While on Shadaloo island, he is contacted by Cammy, who needs his help but cannot openly assist him as she is attempting to fool Bison into thinking she is under his control. Through a carefully woven set of scripted matches, Guile and Chun-Li get themselves eliminated from the tournament and successfully free the Delta Red squadron. Together they manage to locate and destroy Bison's Psycho Drive before evacuating the island as it sinks. The aftermath of the tournament show that Guile is satisfied with the results, believing he has successfully avenged Charlie, and is now comfortably living with his family.
Guile also appears alongside other Street Fighter characters in the Archie Comics crossover event Worlds Unite, which featured various Capcom and Sega franchises guest-starring in the Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic Universe, Mega Man, and Sonic Boom comics.
Video game publications have commented on Guile, giving mostly positive opinions. 8-Bit Theater author Brian Clevinger once described Guile as "the epitome of everything discussed in The Art of War". IGN ranked him at number two in their "Top 25 Street Fighter Characters" article, stating "there's nothing too fancy about him. He's just your basic, no-nonsense, all-American tough guy." Guile has also ranked tenth in ScrewAttack's "Top Ten Coolest Characters". GameDaily listed him at number ten on their "Top 20 Street Fighter Characters of All Time" article, voicing disapproval for Jean-Claude Van Damme's portrayal of him in the live action film. IGN gave similar comments labelling such portrayal as "What Went Wrong" in an article about gaming heroes. GameDaily additionally named him one of their favorite Capcom characters of all time, praising his hairstyle as one of the weirdest in gaming by stating "It's not big, puffy and round, but big, puffy and MIGHTY." In the February 1992 issue of Gamest magazine in Japan, Guile ranked at No. 4 in the list of Best Characters of 1991.
Writing for The Guardian, Ryan Hart listed Guile as the fourteenth-best Street Fighter character, placing Charlie in a higher spot when comparing their movesets. Alongside Hart, UGO Networks's Paul Furfari commented that Guile was one of the most important characters from the series behind Ryu and Ken. They also listed him eleventh on their list of "Top 50 Street Fighter Characters". His movesets were noted for having only two special techniques which required players to take a defensive style with Guile found to be one of the first characters from the franchise with charged moves. For the crossover game Street Fighter X Tekken, GamesRadar listed Paul Phoenix as an opponent they wanted Guile to face owing to their similar hairstyle.
Patrick Hancock of Destructoid dislikes Guile due to being a "charge character". Hancock stated "The quintessential charge character has to be Guile. When I picture Guile, I picture him squatting down, waiting for the opponent to make any sort of move that he can punish with a Flash Kick or one of his strong normals." Hancock praises some of his moves, however.
The theme tune for Guile, specifically the version from the CP System II release of Super Street Fighter II, is the subject of a mashup internet phenomenon named "Guile's Theme Goes With Everything", starting in April 2010, in which the music is perceived to synchronize with clips from films and other media, regardless of their content. This quickly grew to some 5500 videos and counting.
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