Vega (Street Fighter)
|Vega (Street Fighter)|
|Street Fighter character|
Vega in Super Street Fighter II, drawn by Bengus
|First game||Street Fighter II (1991)|
|Created by||Akira Yasuda|
|Voiced by (English)||Richard Cansino (Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie,Street Fighter II, Animaze dub)
Vic Mignogna (Street Fighter II V, ADV dub)
Paul Dobson (TV series)
Doug Erholtz (Street Fighter IV, Street Fighter X Tekken)
|Voiced by (Japanese)||Shō Hayami (Drama CD)
Kaneto Shiozawa (Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie, Street Fighter II V, Street Fighter EX series)
Yūji Ueda (Street Fighter Alpha 3, Capcom vs. SNK series)
Kiyotomi Goshima (Gunspike, SVC Chaos: Capcom vs. SNK)
Junichi Suwabe (Street Fighter IV, Street Fighter X Tekken, Street Fighter V)
Kazuyuki Ishikawa (Street Fighter Alpha: The Animation)
Nobuyuki Hiyama (Real Battle on Film)
Chihara Junior (Japanese dub of Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li)
|Motion capture||Jay Tavare (The Movie games)|
|Portrayed by||Jay Tavare (Street Fighter film)
Taboo (Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li)
|Fighting style||Spanish Ninjutsu (スペインニンジュツ Supein Ninjutsu?)|
Vega, known in Japan as Balrog (バルログ Barurogu?), also known as Claw, is a fictional character from the Street Fighter fighting game series by Capcom. Vega is a mask-wearing, claw-wielding fighter from Spain who uses a personal fighting style combining Japanese ninjutsu, French savate, American Zipota and Spanish bullfighting, earning him the nickname of "Spanish Ninja".
Vega first appears in the original Street Fighter II in 1991 as the second of four boss opponents the player faces at the end of the single-player mode, a group known as the Four Devas or Grand Masters. From Street Fighter II: Champion Edition (the second version of the game) onwards, Vega and the other three boss characters, became playable. He reappears as a playable character in Street Fighter Alpha 3, Street Fighter EX2 and EX3, the Capcom vs. SNK series, SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos, Street Fighter IV, Super Street Fighter IV, Street Fighter X Tekken and the upcoming Street Fighter V.
Conception and creation
Vega was designed by Akira Yasuda with the premise of Street Fighter 1's Geki character in mind, and was initially conceived as a brief sketch of a masked man in a ripped shirt with long, frizzy hair. As development progressed the design evolved into a large, unarmed man, retaining the mask and dressed as a matador. The design was changed again, revolving around the concept of a foreign soldier with a cross on his vest and armed with a broadsword, while still retaining the mask. This design was eventually replaced in turn with another concept, a masked ninja in a bodysuit armed with a long metal claw on his right hand. Ultimately the character's finalized appearance was a culmination of all of these, incorporating various aspects of each into the finished design.
When the original Street Fighter II was being localized for the English language market, Capcom's North American marketing staff felt that the name of the game's final boss, Vega, sounded non-threatening to North American audiences, and was much more suitable for the bullfighter, as Vega is by itself a Spanish surname and word. Plus, afraid of a lawsuit from American boxer Mike Tyson (whose name and appearance was very similar to the game's first boss), they felt inclined to change the name of this character as well. As a result, Claw's name was changed from Balrog to Vega for English-language appearances, while original Vega (Dictator) became M.Bison and original M.Bison (the boxer) became Balrog.
Vega is one of the few Street Fighter characters to constantly carry a weapon, a tekkō kagi, and the only character to do so in Street Fighter II. This claw is useful for slashing attacks, yet curved in the end to prevent him from lethally stabbing his opponents. This claw gives him a very long range compared to most characters. It is the same type of weapon worn by Geki in the original Street Fighter, though longer.
Obsessively narcissist and vain, Vega considers himself the epitome of beauty and perfection. As such, he does not wear his expressionless mask to conceal his face or identity, as he removes it after winning fights, as well as in certain character-select images in various games he appears in. Instead, he wears the mask to protect his face from scarring or bruising during battle.
Vega wears murrey and yellow ceremonial trousers, red sash, loafers and white leggings of a matador, suggesting his involvement with bullfighting. This decorative garb also offers matadors ease of movement, and is ideal for Vega's acrobatic maneuvers.
Depending on the games color palettes, Vega has brown or blonde hair. In the various games in the Street Fighter II series, Vega's game sprite and character select profile shot depict him with brown hair, while his ending in Street Fighter II: Champion Edition and Super Street Fighter II depict him with blonde hair. In Street Fighter EX2 and Street Fighter Alpha 3, Vega is depicted with blonde hair in all iterations. His tattoos consist of a purple snake on his chest and two purple bands which circle his arm. In Capcom vs. SNK 2, in a victory pose, Vega will hold his arm out towards the opponent, with the tattoo coming to life and hissing at it. In the mobile puzzle game Street Fighter: Puzzle Spirits, he appears as a super-deformed character.
In video games
Vega's backstory supplies that he is born to a noble family in Spain. As he matures, Vega studies bullfighting, a cultural tradition among the noble families. Afterward, he goes to Japan and learns ninjutsu, a style he believes meshes well with his natural grace and agility. Returning home, Vega combines bullfighting with ninjutsu and goes into an underground cage fighting circuit, where he quickly becomes one of the best. Tragedy strikes one day when Vega witnesses the murder of his beautiful mother at the hands of his stepfather, who Vega kills in return. His mind is warped by the tragedy and, from then on, he lives a double life: a suave nobleman by day, and a sadistic masked murderer by night. He enjoys mutilating ugly people to death using a three-pronged forearm-mounted razor-sharp claw. His stepfather as his first victim, Vega's bloodlust and brutal fighting skills impress the criminal leader M. Bison so much that he comes to him personally with an offer to join Shadaloo. Vega accepts Bison's offer purely to improve his own aesthetic senses. Bison instates Vega as one of his three personal Grand Masters bodyguards. Vega oversees assassination operations for Shadaloo as well. His official tag partner in the crossover fighting game Street Fighter X Tekken is Balrog.
Vega is one of the fastest characters in the Street Fighter series, and also one of the most fragile. His strength is in long-range attacks, with the reach advantage provided by his claw, his speed and jumps. During fights, Vega is capable of losing his claw. This reduces his attack range significantly, and prevents him from performing certain moves. Since Super Street Fighter II Turbo, Vega can pick up the claw again if lost. Other games allow Vega to lose his mask, lowering his health but increasing his attack power as a result. In Street Fighter EX2, Street Fighter EX3, and Street Fighter IV Vega can take his claw and mask off manually. This feature has not yet been confirmed in Street Fighter V.
In other media
In the 1994 live-action film version of Street Fighter, Vega was played by Jay Tavare. He is depicted as a member of the Shadaloo Tong working for Sagat. Along with his trademark mask and claw, he has very few lines during the whole film and utters them while his face is obscured or when he is off-camera. He forms a rivalry with Ryu, and in the film's final battle, he is defeated by Ryu and abandoned by Sagat. He also appears in the arcade game based on the film titled Street Fighter: The Movie, as well as in the home video game also based on the film. In the arcade version of the game, Vega has the ability to take his mask off and throw it to his opponent. In the home version, this ability was removed and Vega fights unmasked.
In the 2009 live-action film Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, Vega is played by rapper Taboo of the group The Black Eyed Peas. This version of Vega retains his claw and mask, but the mask is made of metal and he appears dressed in black from head to toe. The film changed the reason Vega wears the mask, from protecting his face to hiding his identity.
In the 1994 anime film Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie, Vega was voiced by Kaneto Shiozawa in Japanese and Richard Cansino in the English dub. In the film, he works for Shadowlaw under Bison, and is sent to New York to kill Chun-Li. He almost succeeds through a vicious and bloody duel that takes its toll on both fighters, but after baiting Vega into a rage by attacking his face, Chun-Li eventually defeats him by Hundred-Burst-Kicking him through her apartment wall to the streets far below. It is unknown if he survives the fall or not, but Bison later dispatches Sagat to New York to track down and kill Vega for his failure. His ultimate fate is left unrevealed.
In the 1995 anime Street Fighter II V, Vega appears as a bullfighter who tries to seduce Chun-Li. Envious over Ryu and Ken's friendship with Chun-Li, Vega invites the three to a party in his castle, which is actually a trap to lure Ryu and Ken to a caged death match with him. Since Ryu does not attend the party, he subsequently fights Ken, and is finally defeated after a brutal match. He is given the identity of Fabio La Cerda in the series. Kaneto Shiozawa provided his voice for the Japanese version, while Vic Mignogna provided his voice for the English dub from ADV Films and Richard Cansino provided his voice for the Animaze English dub.
Vega appears in two episodes of the 1995 American Street Fighter animated series, "Eye of the Beholder" and "Face of Fury," where he is a former henchman of Bison promised eternal youth who develops a rivalry against Blanka. He was voiced by Mark Hildreth in the series.
Vega's origins are explored in a 14-minute unofficial Fan Film directed by Vahe Gabuchian, Titled Matador. The 2014 short uses Spanish in its dialogue with Spanish actor Adan Aguilar portraying Vega. During the film, Vega's tragic childhood is explored as well as his close relationship with his mother and abusive stepfather. Matador was released to a wide audience at the closing of Day 2 EVO 2014.
Vega makes a non-speaking cameo appearance in 1999 anime miniseries Street Fighter Alpha: The Animation, where he ends up pulverizing, though not outright killing, his opponent Dan Hibiki during an underground fight. Vega reappears in the Shadaloo helicopter near the end of Street Fighter IV: The Ties That Bind.
In 1992, he was ranked 16th on Japanese magazine Gamest's list of the best video game characters introduced in 1991. Vega was voted fifth in Capcom's own poll of 85 characters for the 15th anniversary of Street Fighter, making him the most popular male character. IGN ranked Vega at number ten in their "Top 25 Street Fighter Characters" article, stating "he deserves all the credit in the world for originality. There's never been a Street Fighter character quite like him since." GameDaily ranked him at number twelve on their "Top 20 Street Fighter Characters of All Time" article, noting the strength of his aerial attacks, and also put Vega on their "Tattooed Video Game Characters" list. Ranking him seventh on its list of top 10 Street Fighter characters of all-time, WhatCulture declared "Vega is up there as one of the top Street Fighters purely because of his flamboyance."
He ranked 46th in GamePro 's "47 Most Diabolical Video-Game Villains of All Time" article. News.com.au named Vega one of the sexiest characters in video games, placing him tenth in their "Top 10" article and stating "part ninja, part bullfighter, Vega's fighting style is definitely one of the most unusual we've seen." NowGamer listed a fight between Vega and Yoshimitsu under their "Street Fighter X Tekken Character Wishlist" and commented "Any bout between these two would be a mind-boggling display of fast attacks across the screen.". GamesRadar noted that while his attire and obsession with beauty was a departure from traditional depictions of ninjas, the features made him "one of the more iconic scrappers in the Street Fighter games". They additionally listed him as one of the most outrageous camp villains, stating that a "camp bad guy list" without Vega was like a "cheese sandwich without the cheese or bread," while describing him as "more narcissistic than two clones of Narcissus having sex in a room full of mirrors." In 2013, GamesRadar included him in a list of "The 30 Best Capcom Characters of the Last 30 Years."
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