With the recent release of Fire Pro Wrestling World to Steam, I’ve been excited to get back into my old ways, spending far too much time tweaking and editing characters that I’ll probably never get around to actually using. I say “release”, but the current early access stage that the game is in leaves a bit to be desired, being obviously incomplete in places and perhaps a little too similar to previous titles when it comes to unhelpful UI choices. I’d also like to think they’ll add a few more bells and whistles to change up what is a very old formula at this point, but I suspect they’ll be depending on the community to offer a lot of the longevity, finally having a platform where transferring creations is something that can be done with minimal headache.
All of that said, the appeal of Fire Pro, arguably, was always more about that customization than the part where you actually play it anyway. Hell, I’d go as far to say that the series is unique in that it’s often more fun to simply watch than interact with, especially if the characters in-game have been well made. Not even two days after release, there were hundreds and hundreds of created wrestlers in the Steam Workshop. I knew I wanted to do something with the game, but anything resembling serious critique would be unfair at this early stage.
So I decided to download every Street Fighter character available and hold a very scientific tournament to determine, once and for all, who is the greatest World Warrior of all time.
To maintain optimum scientific integrity, I opted to only use the original eight from the SF2 roster. Unfortunately, E. Honda came down with a bad case of pink eye (there were no good versions of him), so Balrog stepped in as his replacement. To best simulate the combat scenarios these combatants were used to, I opted to hold the tournament under “gruesome fighting” or MMA rules, meaning that matches could only end in submission or KO/depletion of their life bar.
Ryu vs Ken
I saw it only fitting that we begin with the two most frequently chosen characters in SF history, though, to my shock, it did not begin with five straight minutes of fireball spam. They did, however, use a liberal number of throws, no doubt earning cries of “cheap” from the audience. As you’d expect, it was a very even and not particularly exciting match that ended with a high kick to Ryu’s temple.
(The part of his head, not the place he meditates or lives or whatever.)
Winner – Ken in the second round
Zangief vs Blanka
The ring needed to be reinforced for this battle of super heavyweights. Though Zangief had the advantage as a practitioner of the grappling arts, Blanka fought dirty, using his signature chomp to open a wound on his Russian adversary. Fighting through the crimson mask, Geif would eventually knock Blanka unconscious with a (non-spinning) piledriver.
Winner – Zangief in the second round
Guile vs Chun Li
In an unprecedented inter-gender contest, these two went the distance, likely because Guile was content to sit in the corner holding down-back until Chun Li approached, pissing her off the same way anyone would playing against their cousin that didn’t know how to counter Flash Kicks. Most of this match was actually Chun Li beating the ever-loving crap out of Gulle to the point of tiring herself out. He then punched her in the back of the head, in a move very unbecoming of an American hero, getting the win in the fourth round. The audience then showered the man in boos for his unsporting conduct.
Could a Guile heel turn be on the horizon?
Winner – Guile in the second round
Balrog vs Dhalsim
While Dhalsim was heavily outweighed by his opponent, he should have been able to make up for it with a distinct reach advantage. Unfortunately, Fire Pro doesn’t really factor this in at any point, so he was pretty much fucked. Balrog pummeled him from the start, even punching him below the belt a few times. Dhalsim tried to mount a comeback in the second round, even busting Balrog open with a headbutt, but the damage was done, ending with what I’m going to count as an actual SF move – something resembling a Dash Punch.
Winner – Balrog in the second round
Ken vs Zangief
In almost a direct reenactment of the legendary Damien vs Uncle Ray Battle of ’93, Ken didn’t have a chance once Zangief got a hold of him. Three spinning powerbombs in a row and Ken was down for the count. Like Uncle Ray, Ken would later say in the post-match interview that he “wasn’t ready” and that his “controller was broken”.
Winner – Zangief in the first round
Guile vs Balrog
Balrog put up a valiant effort against the newly-turned villainous Guile, but in a fistfight against a man with no gloves on, the result was academic. Once again, Guile took plenty of cheap shots, eventually finishing Balrog off with the closest thing Fire Pro has to a Flash Kick.
Winner – Guile in the third round
Zangief vs Guile
In this battle of Russia vs The United States, the commentators were specifically instructed to not make any political comments. Zangief started early with a piledriver, but due to Guile’s substantial hair cushion, it appeared to have little effect. At the start of the second round, Guile blatantly punched Gief right in his matryoshka doll and hit the Flash Kick, but the big man recovered, suplexing Guile on his head over and over until he stopped moving.
Winner – Zangief in the second round
Okay, so it probably shouldn’t be a huge shock that the wrestler won in the wrestling game, but it did make for a nice story considering that Fire Pro Guile is a huge douche helmet for some reason. As mentioned before, this experiment was very scientific (I’m wearing a lab coat as I type this) so whether or you like it or not, Zangief is, officially, the best Street Fighter.
Sorry, that’s just science. Hope to see you again at the big Zangief vs Brock Lesnar fight in the fall.