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|“||I'll make you regret that you were ever born, you two-bit chump!||„|
|~ Balrog to Chun-Li|
Balrog (Mike Bison in Japanese) is a former boxer who works for Shadaloo and a villain from the Street Fighter series. He is the first and, thus far, only African-American villain in the series.
Balrog grew up in poverty, but eventually became a heavyweight champion boxer and prizefighter. However he was banned from boxing because of his illegal moves, permanently injuring his opponents, and eventually killing one. Balrog then joined Shadaloo and worked his way up the ranks, becoming one of M. Bison’s top enforcers.
Street Fighter Alpha 3
On a mission for Bison, Balrog killed an elephant belonging to Dhalsim with one punch. On another occasion, he was ordered to kill Birdie and agreed, despite not knowing why. However, Birdie told Balrog about the Psycho Drive and the former boxer agreed to help him find it, hoping to profit from it. However the Psycho Drive was destroyed and Balrog realized that he had not been paid recently.
Street Fighter II
After Bison was destroyed by Akuma, Balrog became the new head of Shadaloo. But he ruined the organization in no time at all and was forced to find more menial jobs such as working security at a casino, where his battle stage was set.
Street Fighter IV
When Bison was finally revived in a new body, Balrog was rehired into Shadaloo. He was given the task of protecting Bison’s replacement bodies, but he was unsatisfied with the job. Balrog began thinking of a way to make more money and eventually infiltrated the headquarters of SIN, looking for something he could sell. However, he found a young bandaged little boy, asking for help, and was uninterested in doing so at first.
However, a mark in the shape of Shadaloo’s symbol glowed on his hand and Balrog realized that he could possess valuable secrets. The former boxer took him away, saying it was his lucky day, but when he questioned him about his abilities, he revealed he was powerless on his own. Disappointed, Balrog said he was useless, though he decided that he could be useful later and took him away.
Street Fighter V
Street Fighter X Tekken
As Bison sought the box known as Pandora so as to obtain its power, he ordered Balrog and Vega to head for it by an alternate route if things got complicated for him. Balrog was annoyed at having to work with Vega, but they decided to put their differences aside so as to fulfill their own ambitions of getting Pandora and keeping it for themselves.
In their ending, they set off on their journey, beating the other fighters seeking Pandora and finally defeated Ogre. Balrog tried to punch the box open, angered when he could not open it and Vega told him to shut up, having enough of his belligerence. As they faced each other, Pandora opened, empowering the two, and they finally threw themselves at each other, with Balrog saying that he would send Vega to a closed-casket funeral.
Balrog is cruel, greedy, selfish, arrogant, murderous, sadistic, loathsome, pugnacious, belligerent, manipulative, and temperamental, so he focuses constantly on profiting for himself, possessing a vicious mean streak. His main reason for working for Shadaloo is to become rich and famous so he can spend his life on easy street. Balrog will cheat, steal, or kill for this goal and has no sense of honor, cheating in fights whenever he feels like it, despite his fighting skills. Balrog also refuses to take responsibility for his own unfortunate circumstances, instead blaming other people. He is shown to be very unintelligent and irrational, as seen from the fact that he almost instantly ran Shadaloo into the ground during his tenure as leader. Balrog is also attracted to all of the women that he meets, with Chun Li being the only exception.
Balrog is a tall, heavily built, and very muscular African-American boxer. He wears blue boxing trunks with white trimming 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 on February 6, 1991. Official artworks at the time also depicted him sans a canine tooth in the upper right side of his mouth.
In Street Fighter V, Balrog wears a blue openly hooded robe with yellow outlines and ripped sleeves, at the back it has the design of "Crazy Buffalo" in a black round sign, a large gold crown with clouds and several red stars, the outline on his boxing gloves are black with gold star designs, his boxer shorts are black and he wears matching boxing boots with white outlines.
His first alternate costume is a business attire similar in design to the one he wore in Street Fighter II V, the sleeves are rolled up into cuffs, his boxing gloves are gold and he wears sunglasses.
His second costume has a little resemblance to his primary outfit but in a United States flag motif. He wears a white and red stripped long sleeve hoodie, blue trousers with white star designs, white sneakers, and fingerless gloves.
Balrog is a skilled boxer, but his fighting style has a number of moves not allowed in boxing such as stomping on his opponent’s feet and headbutting. His moves include Dash Straight, a powerful charging punch, Buffalo Head, where Balrog leaps into the air, striking his opponent with his head, Gigaton Blow, a powerful turning punch, where he charges into his opponent, and Dirty Bull, where he grabs his opponent, head butts them, stomps on their foot, and finishes by hitting them in the face with his elbow.
- It is believed that Balrog made his debut in the Street Fighter series in the original game, where there was an African-American boxer named Mike. They not only have similar appearances and moves, but Balrog’s name in Japan was Mike Bison.
- When Street Fighter II was brought to America, the names Balrog, M. Bison, and Vega (who are named M. Bison, Vega, and Balrog respectively in Japan) were swapped. Balrog’s name was changed most likely because Capcom feared a lawsuit from Mike Tyson, since the character had a similar appearance and name and was also a boxer.
- Balrog is known amongst Street Fighter fans for the fact that he never kicks and in Street Fighter: The Later Years, a parody by CollegeHumor, Dhalsim asked him “Do you kick?” to which Balrog replied “What’s a kick?”
- T.J. Combo, a character in the Killer Instinct games, fights similarly to Balrog, but he uses knee attacks and kicks, while Balrog uses only punches. The two met up in an episode of DEATH BATTLE, which T.J. Combo won due to his berserker mode.
- In the game Final Fight Streetwise, in Mike Haggar’s gym, there are posters advertising a fight between Balrog and Dudley, another boxing character in Street Fighter who also uses only punches.
- In the Street Fighter IV sub-series, Balrog has all his teeth while in previous games; he has a missing canine tooth. It is possible that he regrew that tooth.
- In an airfield stage in Street Fighter IV, Balrog is seen in the SIN airplane in the background. If Balrog is selected, Vega is in his place, and if both are selected, then it will be M. Bison instead.