The Street Fighter series’ unique cast of world warriors have made for some amazing action figures over the years, once Hasbro got done screwing things up. Celebrating the series’ 30th anniversary, here’s a look at the history of North American Street Fighter toys with 10 pages from the upcoming Undisputed Street Fighter: The Art and Innovation Behind the Game-Changing Series.
Undisputed Street Fighter is the second book in Dynamite Entertainment’s Video Game Icons series (the first being the excellent Art of Atari). Written by Steve Hendershot, editorial director of the Museum of Video Game Art, the book is 300 pages of art, interviews and behind-the-scenes stories from every corner of the Street Fighter universe, from the original Street Fighter arcade game’s August 30, 1987 release forward.
As far as action figures are concerned, North America had to wait for the incredibly popular 1991 sequel, Street Fighter II, before seeing toys on store shelves, and the first ones were really, really bad. Not only were Hasbro’s G.I. Joe tie-in Street Fighter figures hideous mockeries of the characters they represented, author Steve Hendershot tells us they were directly responsive for 1994 cinematic train wreck.
“The Van Damme movie and its Guile-centric plot was influenced by the Hasbro deal. If Capcom hadn’t already agreed to make soldier figures out of its characters, it probably wouldn’t have signed off on a movie that revolved around Guile instead of Ryu and Ken.”
There’s still no excuse for The Legend of Chun-Li.
Following the Hasbro debacle and a line of Toy Biz-produced figures based on the X-Men Vs. Street Fighter game that leaned more towards the Marvel Comics aesthetic than Capcom’s, things started looking up for U.S. made SF figures. Small Ohio-based toy company ReSaurus got its hands on the license, and did amazing things with it.
As described in the page above, ReSaurus designer Steve Hamaker
came across a statue of Street Fighter’s Akuma during a 1998 trip to Hong Kong. Inspired by the statues dynamic pose and unmistakable attitude, he brought the statue home and used it as inspiration for the 2000 toy line. The result is one of the best-looking sets of Street Fighter toys ever made.
Read on to follow the Street Fighter action figure saga to its inevitable conclusion: ironic remakes of the grotesque Hasbro toys that started it all.
Undisputed Street Fighter: The Art and Innovation Behind the Game-Changing Series is due out in stores in November.