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Vega, as he appears in the Street Fighter IV series.
|Birthdate||January 27, 1967|
|Height||6'1" (186 cm)|
|Weight||159 lbs (72 kg)|
|Hair color||Brown / Blond|
|Fighting style||Spanish Ninjutsu|
|Likes||Beautiful things, himself, Chun-Li, Cammy|
|Dislikes||Ugly things, blood splatter splashback, Balrog|
|Rival(s)||Chun-Li, Cammy (SFA3), Zangief (SFA3), Ken, Balrog|
|Hobbies||Narcissism, sticking to walls|
|Moveset||Rolling Crystal Flash, Scarlet Terror, Sky High Claw, Flying Barcelona Attack, Izuna Drop, Remove Claw/Mask, Cage Climb, Crimson CrucifyΩ, Rose ThornΩ, Insanity GazeΩ, Backslash (SvC: Chaos), Super Cage Climb, Flying Barcelona Special, Rolling Izuna Drop, Scarlet Mirage, Red Impact, Hell's Scarlet (SFTM), Bloody High Claw, Splendid Claw|
|First game||Street Fighter II|
|English voice actor(s)||Paul Dobson (Street Fighter animated series)|
Richard Cansino (Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie, Street Fighter II V (Animaze dub), Street Fighter Alpha: The Animation)
Vic Mignogna (Street Fighter II V (ADV dub))
Doug Erholtz (Street Fighter IV, Street Fighter X Tekken)
|Japanese voice actor(s)||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)
Kazuyuki Ishikawa (Street Fighter Alpha: The Animation)
Kiyotomi Narikinya (SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos)
Junichi Suwabe (Street Fighter IV, Street Fighter X Tekken)
|Live action actor(s)||Jay Tavare (Street Fighter)|
Taboo (Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li)
- "You'll be seeing red by the time I'm done with you...
Sono shikai akaku somete sashiageyou...?)"
- —Vega (Street Fighter IV)
- "The heart and soul are meaningless to me. I believe only in beauty."
- —Vega (Street Fighter IV)
Vega, known as Balrog (バルログ Barurogu?) in Japan, is a playable character in the Street Fighter series, and first appeared as a boss character in Street Fighter II. He is known not only for his obsession with beauty, but also for the claw he wields and his unique fighting techniques.
Vega's character archetype is very familiar in Japanese manga and anime: the Narcissist (ナルシスト Narushisuto?), often depicted as a long-haired, effeminate self-lover. Certain archetypal characters bear a resemblance to Vega, elaborated on below.
Vega is vain and convinced of his own abilities, almost to the point of megalomania, though this is perhaps justified, as he is shown to be a highly skilled fighter. He can be incredibly sadistic - sometimes to the point of being a bloodthirsty monster - and takes great pleasure in seeing the ugly murdered. He often has a stone-cold demeanor, and appears to be mysterious with his emotions. His narcissism and disdain for anything lacking elegance causes him to clash with fellow Shadaloo member Balrog.
Vega's unbridled and solipsistic ego is shown even in his taste in interior decor, as his mansion is decorated with portraits, all of him. Despite his vain personality, Vega's mannerisms will at times show to be elegant and gentlemanly, likely because of his noble background. He has also been described as intelligent and sophisticated. Additionally, he is also attracted to and impressed by the beauty and strength of young women, notably Chun-Li and Cammy.
He also harbors a tragic side. The family trauma he experienced molded his fragile mind to perceive physical unattractiveness not only as replusive, but also as a threat. With his mother murdered at the hands of an ugly man, ugliness came to represent evil and cowardice, while beauty represented heroism and strength.
In Super Street Fighter IV, Vega shows a small amount of respect for Guy in his Arcade Mode win quote, saying he expected better of him. While this is surprising considering his personality, it makes sense since both are masters of ninjutsu, and they are arguably the two most agile Street Fighter characters.
Etymology and name changeEdit
Vega is the 5th brightest star in the night sky, and the brightest star of its constellation, Lyra. Several of Vega's moves are named to reflect this, such as the Stardust Drop or Cosmic Heel.
When Street Fighter II was localized in the United States, Capcom was afraid of a lawsuit from Mike Tyson over a character (Balrog) with his likeness and a similar sounding name (his Japanese name being Mike Bison). Additionally, when the designers presented the game to Capcom USA's marketing department, they believed that the name Vega was a weakling's name, and did not fit the character it was given to. They decided to rotate the names of three of the four boss characters in the following manner:
- The boxer is known as M. Bison in Japan and Balrog in the U.S.
- The Spanish assassin/bullfighter is known as Balrog in Japan and Vega in the U.S.
- The evil dictator and head of Shadaloo is known as Vega in Japan and M. Bison in the U.S.
Vega is a tall, strikingly handsome young man with long, brown (blond in his Alpha appearance) hair which is braided into a ponytail. He wears murrey and yellow ceremonial trousers, a red sash, loafers, and white leggings of a matador, suggesting his involvement with bullfighting. This decorative garb offers matadors ease of movement, and is therefore ideal for Vega's acrobatic maneuvers. Vega also has a purple snake tattoo on his chest which circles his left arm, and on his right arm and both his wrists he wears gold-colored armlets. The tattoo shows him to be a villain to a Japanese audience, where body tattoos are usually worn by Yakuza members. In Capcom vs. SNK 2, as a win pose, Vega will hold his arm out, with the tattoo coming to life and hissing at the opponent.
Early sketches suggest that Vega was going to resemble a medieval knight wearing a full suit of armor. This idea was scrapped, as Street Fighter was about fighters from all over the world, not time. Remnants of this concept are apparent in Vega's final design, including a mask and a sharp metal claw. It is the same type of weapon worn by Geki in the original Street Fighter.
Vega does not wear his expressionless mask to conceal his identity; it is purely to protect his face from scarring or bruising during battle, since he believes himself to be impossibly beautiful. Vega often removes it after fights during his win poses, as well as in certain character select images in various games he appears in. His latest appearances allow him to remove both the mask and claw as special attacks.
It is unknown exactly how durable his mask is; Vega will crush it to dust with one hand if he loses due to a time over in Street Fighter Alpha 3. On the other hand, it takes several hits before the mask falls off, and even then, he can easily pick up and reapply the mask, with no apparent lasting damage.
In the Street Fighter II series, he was depicted as having brown hair, although his endings in the first two updates of the original Street Fighter II and many other games in the series state that he has blond hair; his endings in Super Street Fighter II and Super Street Fighter II Turbo shows him with blond hair. In the Street Fighter II V anime, his hair is a golden blond and he has blue eyes. Since Street Fighter Alpha 3, however, he officially had blond hair until Street Fighter IV, where in gameplay, he has brown hair, and in the ending, he is blond (though this is exclusive to the Arcade version).
Vega's hair has switched between brown and blond through various Street Fighter media, including the games and the anime. In Super Street Fighter IV, his hair is various shades of brown, depending on which color of outfit he is wearing. There is a blond version available by choosing the tenth color option for his default, first and second alternate costumes; the tenth version of his third alternative costume features him with paler skin and very dark brown-nearly black hair.
Much like Sagat's eyepatch in earlier games, Vega's claw will always appear on whatever arm matches the direction he is facing (if he is looking to left side of the screen, it will appear on his left arm, and if he's looking right, it will be on his right) due to sprite mirroring. In the Street Fighter EX series, it will always be on his right arm. In Street Fighter IV, however, he changes his claw every time he switches sides, without mirroring; this can be seen in his tattoo, his accessories, and in the mark on his mask. Curiously enough, during the versus screen, his portrait won't be mirroring all the accessories either, with the unique exception of his claws.
Vega was born to a privileged noble family in Spain. For reasons undisclosed, their status dwindled, causing Vega's mother to remarry for financial security. As he matured, Vega studied bullfighting, a cultural tradition. Afterward, he went to Japan and learned ninjutsu, a style he believed meshed well with his natural grace and agility. Combining bullfighting with ninjutsu, Vega went into an underground cage fighting circuit, and quickly became one of the best.
His ugly stepfather murdered his beautiful mother because he felt she did not respect him, and Vega killed him in return. The incident warped his mind, and he developed a dual personality: honorable nobleman by day, sadistic murderer by night. It also triggered Vega's obsession with beauty as a wonderful trait, as well as his belief that ugliness is something evil that should be purged.
Vega oversaw assassination operations for Shadaloo, and was associated with Cammy and the Shadaloo assassins known as the Dolls. When Cammy went rogue however, Vega was assigned to bring her in and although he failed in that mission, Cammy brought herself in and defeated M. Bison, freeing herself and the other Dolls from Bison's brainwashing. When the strain of undoing the brainwashing (as well as a dead-man's trigger in the brainwashing which was meant to kill them if they betrayed Bison) caused Cammy and the other Dolls to collapse, Vega saved them from the burning Shadaloo base because he didn't believe that anything as beautiful as them should die.
Vega then participated in the second World Warrior tournament at the behest of Bison. However, when Bison was seemingly killed by an unknown assailant, Vega disappeared back into his old lifestyle.
It is unknown what Vega was doing since the fall of Shadaloo, although it's assumed he still continued his murderous rampages. He was also rumored to have returned to bullfighting. No one knew for sure, and some even believed that he was dead. He has survived however, and returned, being re-recruited by Shadaloo through a subsidiary division called S.I.N.; an offer he quickly accepted. He does so, however, for two reasons: First, he had grown tiresome of the aristocratic lifestyle, finding money and power to be an ugly combination. Second, although he found the new head of the organization, Seth, repugnant and ugly as well, he was intrigued at the idea of creating new bodies for oneself so as to be eternally young (despite the mold being broken with Vega himself).
At S.I.N. HQ, while Seth was distracted by several assailants (not least of whom was a newly resurrected Bison), Vega stole valuable data on the project, and when Chun-Li did the same thing, he attempted to kill her by setting off the fire alarm, which released a toxic, fire-retardant spray. He escaped in a helicopter from the exploding base and noticed Chun-Li being rescued from the base along with her copy of the data. Mildly displeased that he did not have the only copy, he resolved to correct the situation later.
Vega appeared in Cannon Spike as a "darker" version of himself, called "Fallen Balrog".
Capcom vs. SNK seriesEdit
In Capcom vs. SNK 2, if he fights against a female opponent, the narcissist will introduce himself by throwing a rose at her, in appreciation of her beauty. He will do the same for other "pretty-boy" characters like Benimaru Nikaido (his SNK rival) and Rival Schools' Kyosuke Kagami, and strangely even M. Bison, though it may be out of respect in the dictator's case. When fighting against characters he considers "ugly" on the other hand (E. Honda, Raiden, Zangief, Blanka, Dhalsim and Chang Koehan), he shakes his head in disgust.
Street Fighter EX gamesEdit
Vega appeared as a playable character in Arika's Street Fighter EX games.
In Street Fighter X Tekken, Vega is sent alongside Balrog to retrieve Pandora. However, the two despise each other, yet they continue to work as team, if only in order to obtain Pandora for themselves. Their rivals are Yoshimitsu and Raven, who ambush them during their travels.
Vega and Balrog's ending depicts Balrog attempting to open the box, but Vega decides to kill Balrog instead for possession of Pandora. Both become taken over by the influence of Pandora, and proceed to attack each other.
After the credits roll, a post-ending shows Vega's fate:
- If the player defeated Ogre with Vega, it is revealed that Vega wins the fight and killed Balrog, keeping Pandora's powers for himself. He then realizes that he can now "purify" the world and make it worthy of his presence. This goal now in mind, Vega sets off to achieve his dreams.
- If the player defeated Ogre with Balrog, it is revealed that Vega loses the fight against Balrog and is killed.
As Interpol's pursuit of Shadaloo intensifies, M. Bison dispatches Vega to assassinate Chun-Li. He hides in Chun-Li's apartment while she showers, proceeding to ambush her as she sits in her bedroom drying her hair. Though Chun-Li proves to be a formidable opponent, Vega has the upper hand for much of the fight. He sadistically comments on his desire to skin Chun-Li 'like a rabbit', alive, before slowly licking some of her spilt blood from the third blade of his claw. He indicates this is made more pleasurable when the object of his psychopathic desire is as he puts it, 'cute'.
Chun-Li responds by catching Vega off guard, knocking him to the ground by throwing a couch at him and hitting him with a Spinning Bird Kick, before stamping on his face, badly damaging and possibly permanently ruining his left eye. Horrified by the damage dealt to his face, Vega goes ballistic. After a vicious and brutal fight, Chun-Li succeeds in kicking Vega through the wall of her apartment after pummeling him good, and sends him plummeting several stories into the darkness of the alley below.
It is unknown whether he survives or not, but despite his defeat, Vega's attack takes its toll on Chun-Li, leaving her comatose from blood loss for the rest of the movie. Disgusted with Vega's failure, M. Bison dispatches Sagat to find Vega and, should he remain alive, finish him.
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 only Ken, and is finally defeated after a brutal match. He is given the surname of Fabio La Cerda in the series.
Vega made a cameo appearance, briefly shown brutalizing his opponent, Dan, during a fighting tournament.
Street Fighter cartoonEdit
Vega is similar to his movie counter part, and appears in two episodes: "Eye of the Beholder" and "Face of Fury". He is introduced as a former henchman of Bison who was promised eternal youth, and develops a rivalry with Blanka.
Vega attempted to capture a young lady in Brazil, but his attempt was stopped by Blanka, enraging him and causing the two to fight. As Blanka wins and prepares to finish off Vega, the lady pleaded for him to stop, allowing Vega to walk away into the shadows.
Vega makes a small appearance near the end, when he is seen along with Balrog in a Shadaloo helicopter. As a heavily injured Seth drags himself aboard, he gives him a message from Bison, telling him that while he "put on a fantastic show", S.I.N.'s success has only come through the manipulation of Shadaloo working behind the scenes to ensure their good fortune.
Street Fighter 1994 filmEdit
In this movie, Vega (portrayed by Jay Tavare) is the loyal assistant of Sagat, and fight Ryu in a cage match. The match is spectacularly interrupted by Guile, who arrests him, Sagat, Ryu, Ken and the majority of the audience; however, the four of them manage to escape from jail. Later, he and Ryu clash again, and find themselves evenly matched; Ryu tips the scales in his favor by burning Vega's face on an oven.
In this live stage play, Vega is portrayed as a good guy named Ti Man. He is a member of the future cops and is a part of the group that goes back in time to protect Tai-Hung/Yu Ti Hung from being assassinated and prevent him from becoming president. He pretends to be a fellow student while striking up a romance with Tai Hung's sister Chun May (Chun Li).
A gritty drama film focusing on Vega and the details behind his traumatic upbringing as well as the pivotal sequence of events that made him into the assassin he is today.
Comics and MangaEdit
When Udon comics picked up the comic book license for the Street Fighter franchise for American distribution, Vega was one of the main antagonists of the comic.
In the comic, Vega is still a member of Shadaloo serving as one M. Bison's high ranking men. He is assigned to capture Ryu due to M.Bison's interest in him. During his assignment, he "falls in love" with Eliza due to her beauty, but during his attack he ends up countered by Ken and ends up battling him after losing and injuring Eliza. Vega develops a rivalry with Ken.
Due to his loss to Ken, Vega follows up on his plans for revenge as he planned to attack Ken and Eliza during their wedding. He was assisted by Balrog and his street gang to interrupt the wedding, as they did they were attacked by Ken and Ryu, during the fought the Vega targeted his wraith on Ken.
Gameplay and fighting styleEdit
Vega's fighting style is a blend of ninjutsu and bullfighting, thus earning him the nickname "Spanish Ninja". He is one of the fastest and most agile characters in the Street Fighter series, but also one of the most delicate; his defensive rating is low compared to most of the other characters to balance his incredible speed. Vega is also one of the few weapon users in the series, and the only one that appears in the Street Fighter II series.
Vega's overall style uses a mix of a keepaway game and quick lunges at the opponent. Vega has a powerful air game based on his Flying Barcelona Attack and Sky High Claw, and is more than agile enough to get around the opponent's attacks and strike with rapid succession, leading to potentially devastating setups, confusing cross-ups, or long-range poking attacks with the reach advantage provided by his claw. However, his long reach can easily be beaten out with a counterattack at the right moment, and could leave Vega helpless to an aggressive opponent; most of Vega's moves are hard to maintain a position with, and are not too safe on block. In addition to various airborne attacks, Vega is equipped with low ground attacks such as the Scarlet Terror and Rolling Crystal Flash that can be used to keep the foe off-balance, and he can use long and short Back Slashes to backflip around attacks.
Claw and mask mechanicsEdit
It takes exactly fourteen blocked hits for Vega to lose his claw. This reduces his attack range (and sometimes power) significantly, and prevents him from using certain Super Combos. Since Super Street Fighter II Turbo, Vega is able to retrieve the claw; in Street Fighter Alpha 3, he can lose his mask as well, though the effect is only cosmetic there. In SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos, Vega cannot lose his claw. In the Street Fighter EX series, Vega may reinforce or recover his claw with a Super Combo.
In the Street Fighter IV series, Vega can throw his claw off as a special taunt. He can also throw his mask, at the cost of two bars of the Super Combo Gauge, to increase his attack power by 25% (damage scaling is still accounted for, however). If Vega wins a fight without his mask on, it is revealed that he sticks his tongue out to either lick his claw or taunt his fallen opponent.
Comparisons to other fictional charactersEdit
Naturally, Vega shares traits many other narcissist-type characters in anime and manga as well as other video games, particularly Shin, the Nameless Asura, and Yuda from the Fist of the North Star series. His personality also reflects that of Dome Ace Tucker from the Pokémon franchise, Zarbon from the Dragon Ball Z franchise, and Oliver from the Fire Emblem series.
SNK character Benimaru Nikaido and Vega are quite similar, as they are both constructed around the same archetype, and specialize in agility. However, Vega's obsession with beauty has made him hostile towards 'ugly' people, whereas Benimaru simply enjoys keeping up his handsome appearance, and he is more respectful of everyone. Also, Benimaru is a rival and partner to his series' main hero (i.e. Kyo Kusanagi, in this case), while Vega is a henchman of his series' main villain (the nefarious M. Bison).
Zhang He of the Dynasty Warriors series most resembles Vega; the character model use for Zhang He has a similar body type, also bearing a tattoo on his chest and wielding clawed gauntlets. Both also use very graceful and swift moves, and possess a seeming obsession with beauty. However, Vega looks for physical beauty, while Zhang He looks for grace in battle, and treats it as a theater show.
In terms of personality, Vega is also similar to Patrick Bateman from the novel American Psycho by Brett Easton Ellis. Both are extremely vain and good-looking serial killers, obsessed with beauty and perfection; both also become enraged if their face is ever damaged, or their looks are compromised. The main substantial difference is that Bateman is a true psychopath, while Vega is not.
- Due to how he is named differently in varying regions, he is known in the international community as "Claw".
- Vega might be the only character in the Street Fighter franchise to be definitely left-handed. Besides a few exceptions (like his character art in Street Fighter II': Champion Edition), most of his official illustrations show him with his claw on his left hand.
- Vega is the only character in the Street Fighter series who is able to interact with his stage.
- In the 1994 Street Fighter film, Vega works for Sagat in the underground fighting ring instead of working for M. Bison in Shadaloo.
- Vega shares his birthday with Dudley, as both are Aquarians born in the Chinese year of the rooster.
- Sergei, from Capcom's 3D beat'em up game Asura's Wrath, share a similar personality and character traits with Vega.
- Vega's moves in the Street Fighter II series
- Vega's moves in Super Street Fighter II Turbo: HD Remix
- Vega's moves in Street Fighter: The Movie (the arcade version)
- Vega's moves in Street Fighter: The Movie (the console version)
- Vega's moves in Street Fighter Alpha 3
- Vega's moves in Street Fighter IV
- Vega's moves in Super Street Fighter IV
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 http://www.capcom.co.jp/sf4/balrog.html
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Street Fighter: World Warrior Encyclopedia Hardcover
- ↑ Street Fighter II Turbo SNES manual, p.32
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Capcom 30th Anniversary Character Encyclopedia
- ↑ Kinu Nishimura, Street Fighter 20th Anniversary Art Book
- ↑ http://www.eventhubs.com/guides/2009/jul/05/street-fighter-4-rivals-conversation-transcript/
|Street Fighter II Characters|
|Akuma – Balrog – Blanka – Cammy – Chun-Li – Dee Jay – Dhalsim – E. Honda – Fei Long – Guile – Ken – M. Bison – Ryu – Sagat – T. Hawk – Vega – Zangief|
|Street Fighter: The Movie Characters|
|Akuma – Arkane – Balrog – Blade – Blanka – Cammy – Chun-Li – Dee Jay – E. Honda – F7 – Guile – Ken – Khyber – M. Bison – Ryu – Sagat - Sawada – Vega – Zangief|
|Street Fighter Alpha Characters|
|Adon – Akuma (Shin) – Balrog – Birdie – Blanka – Cammy – Charlie – Chun-Li – Cody – Dan – Dee Jay – Dhalsim – E. Honda – Eagle – Evil Ryu – Fei Long – Gen – Guile – Guy – Ingrid – Juli – Juni – Karin – Ken – M. Bison (Final) – Maki – R. Mika – Rolento – Rose – Ryu – Sagat – Sakura – Sodom – T. Hawk – Vega – Zangief|
|Street Fighter EX Characters|
|Ace - Akuma - Allen - Area - Blair - Blanka - Chun-Li - C. Jack - Cycloid-β - Cycloid-γ - Darun - Dhalsim - D. Dark - Garuda - Guile - Hayate - Hokuto (Bloody) - Kairi - Ken - M. Bison (II |True) - Nanase - Pullum - Ryu (Evil) - Sagat - Sakura - Shadowgeist - Sharon - Skullomania - Vega - V. Rosso - Zangief|
|Street Fighter IV Characters|
|Abel – Adon – Akuma – Balrog – Blanka – Cammy – Chun-Li – Cody – C. Viper – Dan – Decapre – Dee Jay – Dhalsim – Dudley – E. Honda – Elena – El Fuerte – Evil Ryu – Fei Long – Gen – Gouken – Guile – Guy – Hakan – Hugo – Ibuki – Juri – Ken – M. Bison – Makoto – Oni – Poison – Rolento – Rose – Rufus – Ryu – Sagat – Sakura – Seth – T. Hawk – Vega – Yang – Yun – Zangief|
|Street Fighter X Tekken Characters|
|Abel – Akuma – Balrog – Blanka – Cammy – Chun-Li – Cody – Dhalsim – Dudley – Elena – Guile – Guy – Hugo – Ibuki - Juri - Ken – M. Bison – Poison – Rufus – Rolento - Ryu – Sagat – Sakura – Vega – Zangief|