Black Video Game History: Balrog

I  just want to say I do not like Balrog, his character design and move set suck and feel like a total rip off of Apollo Creed from the rocky movie series. In writing the character bio I gain a legitimate respect for the character.

street_fighter_2_special_champion_edition___balrog_bio_super_0Balrog was known as Mike Bison in Japan, is a character from the Street Fighter series. He first appeared as a boss character in Street Fighter II.

Balrog is ridiculously tall, and muscular black boxer. He wears blue boxing trunks with white trim and a torn white shirt under a blue tank top. He wears red boxing gloves and boxing shoes. His hairstyle consists of short hair in what appears to be wide cornrows; this hairstyle is similar to Mike Tyson’s haircuts from the time Street Fighter II was released. Official artworks at the time also depicted him missing a tooth in the upper right side of his mouth.

When Street Fighter II was localized in the United States, Capcom was afraid of a lawsuit from Mike Tyson over a character with his likeness , they believed that the name Vega was a weakling’s name. They decided to rotate the names of three of the four boss characters.



In certain illustrations, including ones for the Street Fighter II series, his Japanese name, “Bison”, can be seen on the waistband of his trunks, although it is usually removed when these illustrations are published outside Japan. In later games, the word “Champion” appears in its place. Many of his moves retain their bison/buffalo theme.

Balrog is generally seen as self-centered, hot-tempered, arrogant, and sadistic. Despite being a once great prize boxer, Balrog has intentionally cheated in his fights whenever he felt like it, and has even killed one of his opponents (though by accident).

Balrog is also shown to be somewhat unintelligent; when M. Bison was believed to be dead after the events of Street Fighter Alpha 3, the role of leader of the organization fell to him, and it collapsed immediately, which forced him to work security at casinos and other places just to get by.

sfeu-balrogHis motivations for joining Shadaloo and M. Bison throughout the Street Fighter series have always been to attain massive wealth, fame and glory so he can be on easy street for life. As such, though Balrog would cheat, steal or even kill to this end, he is not evil so much as he is greedy, and takes little substantial interest in Shadaloo affairs otherwise; he also relates to characters with similar motivations (e.g. C. Viper).

Balrog also displays an extreme affinity for women, with Chun-Li being the only exception. He also greatly despises Vega, his occasional partner as an assassin working for Bison, due to his “pretty boy” persona.
I can say I still won’t use this guy in battle but as one of the first black characters in video games I will respect him. Anyone want a bio on the other black street fighters? Let us know in the comments and keep an eye out for more black characters of video game history!

Pictures and Info care of Street Fighter Wikia


Author: Terry Hodge II

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