Let’s take a look at which franchises (both action and arcade based) truly evolved the video game industry and with that created iconic characters that kicked all kinds of ass and are still widely popular today. With so many games to consider, it’s definitely hard to come to a definitive conclusion. Take a look below to see who made the final cut.
Ryu – Street Fighter
My first pick comes from the popular series Street Fighter. Premiering as the only playable character in the first game, wearing a tattered white karate gi with a white hachimaki (headband), red gloves, and red shoes, Ryu became a quick fan favorite. He was a karate master and often labeled as a wandering warrior. His trademark move was Hadouken(the wave motion fist). The move is achieved by the character thrusting their palms forward, sending a surge of spirit energy (or ki) flying towards the opponent. There are very few trademark moves in video games today that are remembered as fondly as this one.
Ryu Hayabusa – Ninja Gaiden
Another fan favorite was born with the release of Ninja Gaiden. This intense title hit the US in 1989. Oddly enough, the star of this game is also called Ryu. Through the years this series has introduced cutting edge cut scenes (for its time), insane difficulty and unprecedented action. With a trilogy on the NES and multiple appearances to follow, Ryu Hayabusa has accumulated a cult following. Whether it involves fighting other ninja clans, werewolves or demons from another world, few guys hack and slash their way to victory in such epic fashion.
Joe Musashi – Shinobi
One cannot forget the deadly assassin Shinobi. This was Sega’s answer to Ninja Gaiden. Under the gi you will find Joe Musashi. His peaceful existence in the mountains of Japan is shattered when the totalitarian crime syndicate Neo Zeed rises to power and threatens to take over the world. The Oboro clan is hunted down by Zeed’s minions, his master assassinated and his girlfriend Naoko taken hostage. Musashi swears revenge on all responsible. His trademark weapon was the shuriken and as the series grew it eventually shifted to a ninjato. His patented move was one of a double jumping somersault. This ability however was not implemented until Shinobi III. Following this were nearly 10 other releases which kept Sega’s iconic master ninja in steady action and gamers hooked.