If you were a gamer in the 16-bit generation, Street Fighter II was a pretty big deal. Capcom’s 1v1 fighting extravaganza was the definitive beat-em-up experience, whether played in the arcades, or at home. Featuring a cast of incredibly varied characters spanning the globe, players very quickly discovered their favourites, and for many people – Ryu was an easy choice, thanks to his beginner-friendly move set and all-around versatility.
The hero of the original Street Fighter, Ryu would appear in every Street Fighter game – I am if course completely ignoring the diabolical Street Fighter 2010 because it’s utter garbage and doesn’t count. Famous for his fireballs, Dragon Punch and Hurricane Kicks, every true gamer has those quarter-circle joystick movements memorised, with those exact commands seen on T-shirts, tattoos and more.
First impressions may suggest he’s a generic karate guy, thanks to his trademark Gi and headband, but since Street Fighter’s mega-popularity, he has become THE generic karate guy – Trained in the Shotokan martial art alongside his friend and rival, Ken, he’s the noble warrior, always looking to test himself, always searching for the next challenge to overcome.
It’s no surprise that one day his challenge would be facing Nintendo’s best and brightest as part of the ever-growing Super Smash Bros. roster. Announced during E3 2015, Ryu debuted as downloadable content alongside the 1.0.8 update of the game, and plays incredibly like he does in his usual Street Fighter appearances, with his trademark moves all intact.
As per all Super Smash Bros. roster characters, Ryu makes the jump to an amiibo character, and much like his in-game appearance, for the most part, he retains the classic physical features that make him such a recognisable character, although some minor stylised tweaks have been made to make him fit in with the rest of the weird and wonderful Smash Bros. roster.
Being one of the few quote-unquote realistic characters out there, they’ve done a great job with this amiibo. Ryu’s classic white Gi has texture and wrinkles to it, he retains his typical fighting stance, and the little details like the writing on his gloves and belt add up to make an excellent likeness of one of gaming’s most recognisable characters.
As you would expect from a Super Smash Bros. series amiibo, you can scan this model into the game to unlock him as a Figure Player, a CPU-controlled fighter who can be trained and fed items to make him a strong CPU opponent.
Unfortunately, at the present time, no other games support Ryu amiibo which is a shame. I would have loved to have seen some crazy Super Mario Maker support in there, but maybe there’s scope for that in future.