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The Fighting Game Archetypes (part 2)

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Check the first part here:
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11) The Dark Side

Being mostly a sub-boss or even a special, unplayable character, he's the "twisted side" of the hero, his corrupted alter ego.
Sometimes only a "what if" character, he represents the main hero after he has fallen to his dark side.
(Evil Ryu, Devil, Devil Jin, Dark Ash, Orochi Kyo and any other "possessed" character in the Kof series)

12) The Anti-Hero
To some extent this category could coincide with the "hero palette swap" character.
But sometimes that's not the case. Maybe because the character has a totally different background from the main character, maybe because he's morally a neutral, if not evil character.
Guile and Sub-Zero are perfect characters to take as example.
The first has all the features to be the perfect "hero" (being de facto more influential than the main character story wise and even becoming the main protagonist of the game in some canon and non canon stories). He just pays his price for not being so iconic as Ryu, or, well, for having come late to the party.
Sub-Zero, instead, was born as an evil character to became neutral and even "good" in his second incarnation (post Bi-Han... namely, from MK2 on).
But even the evil (let's say opportunistic) Bi Han was charismatic and outstanding enough to acquire a legion of fans.
He has got a strong and detailed story by his own, he's got a deeply explored personality, and his relationship with Scorpion makes him a perfect anti-hero, being this one not only his "palette swap" character and polar opposite (frost vs ice), but also his nemesis (we can almost say he's like "Ken and Sagat in one").
While Ryu kept his SF "main character throne", Sub-Zero and Scorpion de facto replaced the "hero" Liu Kang in terms of popularity, leading a parallel plot on their own that most fans consider way better and more interesting than the main story.
Other examples of anti-heroes would be Iori Yagami, Hwoarang and Lei from Tekken, Mitsurugi (after Soul Blade he swaps places with Siegfried, leaving him the "front cover" place from Soul Calibur on) and many others.
P.S.: of course I've always seen Sub-Zero as the anti-hero and Scorpion as his nemesis, but of course my reasoning works also if you swap the two, if you like the Shirai Ryu warror more.
(Guile, Cody, Sub-Zero, Scorpion, Jax, Sonya, Rose)

13) The Second Female
This could have been called "The Female Palette Swap" as well. As I said, the youngers between you won't remember this, but there was pretty much only one female in first fighting games (see the "Femme Fatale" section in the first part).
Each game had its own Eve. Then after the "first woman", a second female was added in the next installment. The funny thing is that, while she wasn't intended to be a palette swap, her hair color and her ethnicity was always exactly opposite to the ones of the main lady.
(Cammy, Blue Mary, Kitana, Michelle in the first Tekken, Ryoko from World Heroes 2)

14) The Young Girl (before you ask, yes, includes Schoolgirls and Tomboys)
I pondered a lot about calling this archetype the "Schoolgirl" after so many suggestions from users, but after all there would have been too many characters left behind (Juri Sakazaki and Asuka Kazama amongst the others).
The "Young Girl" seems perfect to include that kind of character, depicted as a naive and kawai little girl, opposed to the over sexualised and mature "main" female character. To some extent it can include also malicious and more cocky characters like Karin and Lili from Tekken, and also tomboys like Makoto and Akira Kazama.
(Sakura, Karin, Ibuki, Xiaoyu, Asuka, Lili, Talim, Xianghua, many others)

15) The Long Ranged Character
I never listed archetypes based on fighting style alone, but many long ranged characters actually had the "long range factor" somewhat explained by their background, so that gave me a lot to think. Either being simply armed with a weapon, or indian yoga masters able to extend their limbs through meditation, or being living genetic experiments, what really matters here is that their creators really tried to put some reason behind their long range capabilities, so I'm here to make their efforts worth by creating a specific archetype just for their pupils. We can safely say all Long Rangers were based on Dhalsim.
(Dhalsim, Necro, Billy and Lilly Kane, Duo Lon, Kilik, Seong Mina)

16) The Small Framed
The Small Frame characters fall down into a different archetype just because of their smaller hitbox being relevant to the point to actually influence the strategy of the opponent.
Being them kids, small girls, little beasts or old men, I remember the small framed characters to be always the reason for intense ragequits back in the days, despite being far from being overpowered characters.
(Viewtiful Joe, Amateratsu, Rocket Raccoon, Roll, Gon, Choi, Chin)

17) The Racial Archetype
Ok, I think there's really no need to explain this category. Street Fighter 2 alone is literally plenty of racial stereotypes. The fat Sumo wrestler from Japan, the savage Brazilian, the Indian yoga master (and let's not even talk about the backgrounds). After that, pretty much each game had one or more racial archetype, with the kind hearted, willing to save his/her land Native American being one of the most abused (maybe on par with the angry afro boxer).
(T Hawk, E Honda, Zangief and the whole SF2 cast, El Fuerte, Michelle and Julia Chang, Chief Thunder and A TON of others)

18) The Agent / The Soldier
Soldiers are pretty popular in video games, and fighting games make no exception. Cops, secret agents, military forces... any fighting game around more or less includes a character that belongs to one of these categories. Their fighting style may be pretty diverse, but they share in common at least some "army based" move sets and often own an arsenal of tools varying from actual weapons to most uncommon devices (Sonya Blade or C Viper).
(Guile, Charlie, Cammy, C Viper, Rolento, Sonya, Jax, Striker, Bryan Fury, Heidern, Ralf Jones, Clark Still, Leona Heidern, Whip, Bayman)

19) The Joke Character
This seemed to be a pretty popular topic amongst users here. I had TONS of requests to introduce the Joke Character in the list, and I have to admit I was pretty reluctant since its poor representation around. But still joke characters do exist, so they deserve a place here. The key factor they share in common is basically being funny, unusual, and, well... useless.
(Dan, Doctor Bosconovitch, Norimaro, Bad Box Art Megaman)

20) The Mime
Ok you can try to explain it by making your character a soul devourer, or a master of combat styles, or a... well... wooden puppet who likes to mimic other characters' moves. What really matters here is to distinguish between the "random model" (Mokujin/Olcadan) and the "active model" (Tsung), two different ways to see the "Mime" character, put there to add some challenge and/or diversity in the first case, and some additional "strategy on demand" in the second one.
(Mokujin, Shank Tsung, Chameleon, Olcadan/Edge Master, Kilik in SC5)


Other archetypes left behind for reasons I'll explain later:

21) The Pet Character
(Nakoruru, Carl Clover, Ms. Fortune, Eddie from GG, Z.W.E.I.)

22) The Self-Empowering Character
(Bo Rai Cho, Chin, Hakan)

23) The Female Duo
(Mature & Vice, Juni & Juli, Nina & Anna)

24) The Boxer
(Balrog, Dudley, Michael Max, Heavy D, TJ Combo, a TON of others)

25) The Dancer
(Sinclair, Elena, Eddy Gordo, Christie Monteiro, Zafina)
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Comments24
anonymous's avatar
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DerekX4V13R's avatar
DerekX4V13RStudent Digital Artist
Dampierre should also be in Number 19 as well
Degamer-EXE's avatar
Once again you forgot the  character based on  Bruce lee
killer-instinct290's avatar
killer-instinct290Student Artist
Subby isn't a anti-hero
MetalHarbinger084's avatar
I have other Archetype ideas for you:

26.) The Kickboxer - Sagat, Adon, Bryan Fury, Bruce Irvin, Dee Jay (although they could probably fall under the "Hard Hitter" category, Kickboxers have always been a staple in fighting games)

27.) The Tae Kwon Do Expert - Kim Kaphwan, Juri Han, Hwaorang

28.) The Fat Guy - Edmond Honda, Rufus, Cheng Sinzan, Bob Richards

29.) The Luchador - King, Tizoc, El Fuerte, Ramon, Raiden (some people look upon him as a Luchador based upon his mask)

30.) The Ass Kicking Father/Mother - Haggar, Hakan, Crimson Viper, Saisyu Kusanagi, Takuma Sakazaki

31.) The Punk - Jack the Ripper (from World Heroes), Freeman, Poison
Degamer-EXE's avatar
 Cheap character, guest character,  Character based on Bruce Lee.
EtheLegendary's avatar
EtheLegendaryHobbyist Traditional Artist
Wouldn't Dee Jay fall under the dancer category too?
pokestar249's avatar
what classifies as a pet character?
Newreform's avatar
I'm going to add two cents in myself. The Thirsty Pervert and the Vagabond Bonding Warrior.
finalmaster24's avatar
Nevermind but The Jokes are capable at different heights and skills.
hirozai's avatar
hirozaiStudent Traditional Artist
What about the quintessential token big guy?
Connan-Bell's avatar
Connan-Bell Traditional Artist
Joke character!!! Woo!!! *does a dance, falls over, keeps dancing* 
swahiligiant's avatar
To add to the list I'd request archetype:
Secret fighter - the fighter that is usually faced after the main boss as a very hard yet unlockable character with few requirements. (Shadow Jago from KI, Evil Ryu, Oboro Bishamon from Darkstalkers, Night Terror from SC3)
soulessone12's avatar
After reading both your list I'm quite curious were will you put characters like akuma in your archetypes
bluerelativity's avatar
Hey thanks for your interest in my lists! :)
That's an interesting question! Akuma (at least in his latest incarnation in SFIV) is basically "The Old Man's Rival", being the evil counterpart of Gouken. But in SF history he has been also a boss, as well as the Nemesis of the main hero (for example in place of Sagat in SFIII). Many characters could reflect perfectly an archetype, but many others could be the mixup of two or more of them... just see Guile, being both the Anti-Hero and the Soldier, for example
annoyinglizardvoice's avatar
Interesting. You've done a nice job of expanding the original list.
If I ever get around to commissioning enough pics/making enough mins of the cast of the urban-fantasy setting I'm working one I'll try to make a fighting game list like this for it. (doubt I'll use young girl or joke character though :) )
bluerelativity's avatar
In all honesty, the Joke character is the only one I had to put in the list because of an enormous amount of requests. Don't know why, people are convinced it just has to be given its own importance, even if there are pretty much four or five joke characters in the history of fighting game. For me it doesn't have enough representation around to be considered a proper archetype, but still... maybe I'm wrong. Anyway, I think it's unlikely that I'll develope a joke character for my cast. My environment and story are pretty dark and adult-like, and there's not even a hint of anime feel in my drawing style. So I see no place for funny cutscenes, silly endings etc, hence, no place for a Joke character either!

The Young girl is a totally different matter, that's a pretty much estabilished archetype, and even when females were scarce in fighting games, there was plenty of little girls (and schoolgirls) that really differentiated from the main female protagonists for being less feminine and serious.

By the way I'm planning to add more characters to my cast, but absolutely not one for each of these new archetypes. As I said some of them can be mixmatched, and some may even be merge together (for example, Guile is the Anti-Hero AND the Agent as well). I already did it making my Old Man also the Long Range character. So I probably will end up with only FIVE new characters out of this list, mixing stuff on the table, and the Joke (and the Mime, probably) will be left behind.

Sorry for long writing, thank you so much for your interest! :)
annoyinglizardvoice's avatar
Most joke characters fall in to one of the other types as well, but many end up with a big enough fanbase that I can understand why some folks would want them to be their own class. Like yours, I feel the idea I was thinking of using would be too serious and dark for a true joke-character to work.
The young-girl characters I expect as a result of the animae influences on at lot of the earlier fighting games encouraging teenage protagonists. I respect why they're there, I just don't find young characters interesting to write so I don't have any suitable characters for the role :)
50percentgrey's avatar
50percentgreyHobbyist Digital Artist
Frank Yagami, owner of the Fighter's Generation website, has something very similar to this trope list.  And I think you might find it a lot more fundamental.  Check it out => www.fightersgeneration.com/fea…
bluerelativity's avatar
Thank you for your useful contribution!
That's a pretty awesome list. There are similarities for those character archetypes that are pretty much common knowledge (Hero/Rival, the Boss, the Old etc), while I find some of them a little constrained. The "Mystery" character was suggested by quite a lot of people here, for example, but after some discussion we realized that kind of character had very little representation around to be considered fundamental. The same goes with the Quiet and the Loud... not consistently represented enough in my opinion, plus they could be easily associated with the Hero/Rival duo in most cases.
Some names he uses really make more sense than mine (like the Outcast, way more versatile than my "Monster"), but at the same time he's missing some crucial characters like the Nemesis, that's pretty different from the "Rival" (that I called Palette Swap for nostalgia reasons).
Plus, please note that the nature of our lists is quite different! Mine is intended to be somewhat an hybrid between character personas and moveset/fighting style/frame size archetypes. His list is specific for character personas (their background, role in the story etc, personality etc) so his work could never fit with mine. He did an awesome job btw!
I think it would be cool to discuss with him about it! Thanks again for your observation!
AerrowShapiro's avatar
Good stuff here.
bluerelativity's avatar
Thank you buddy, happy you like it!
TheMikko's avatar
Not a bad expansion at all, some may be a little on the vague side, as you pointed out pretty much most of the SF cast falls under "racial stereotype", though their prevalence in the genre IS worth noting, and any game with more than one female character by definition having a second one makes that one a bit on the redundant side maybe. If you hadn't titled the first female the way you did "femme fatale" could've actually been a category of it's own for those more playing up their looks and/or sexuality type of female characters like the Williams sisters, Morrigan, B. Jenet, Ivy Valentine, Mai Shiranui.
bluerelativity's avatar
Yeah! Was waiting for your comment/criticism, buddy! Once again, pretty valid argumentations. I'll explain my reasons.
Yes the whole Street Fighter 2 cast was filled with stereotypes, based on the characters nationality, but we don't have to forget that was the first fighting game ever, and maybe the creators limited themselves to just depict characters based on the fact that each contender was coming from a different country. They didn't even ask themselves how they could be original, cause, well... people had yet to see a game like that, so the idea to just make each character resembling the stereotypes of his/her country as well as its most popular fighting style (Sumo, Muay Thai, Boxe etc) seemed like a pretty solid idea (and it was, or SF wouldn't be so popular otherwise).
But then what happened? New fighting games were born, and they more or less started abandoning the "each player from a different country" thing... but an exotic, ethnic character still remained in each franchise. Chief Thunder in KI, Michelle in Tekken, Nightwolf in MK, the basketball player in AODK, the "Sport team" in KoF etc. And even in Street Fighter... think about 3rd Strike! Totally rebuilt from scraps, all characters away except for Ryu, Ken and Chun Li... the racial stereotypes of the past just disappeared... hell, we even had a british gentleman portrayed as a mixed race boxeur... an ENORMOUS step forward from SF2. BUT STILL, we have got Elena. That exotic, tribal feel that every game seems like it couldn't do without.
P.S.: an interesting example could be World Heroes... a game based on historical characters from different countries. We've got Jean D'Arc, Rasputin, etc... then, what we've got as the only representation of an "exotic", tribal country? MUDMAN. A generic shaman with an enormous voodoo mask, the only one in the series not being based on a specific historycal character.

About the second topic, well, I'm not happy at all with the "2nd female" definition. Still I feel like in each game, to each main representative female character (Chun Li, Sonya Blade, Mai Shiranui) is coupled a "second most representative" one. I listed it because it somewhat reminds of the Palette Swap, in a way or another, even for how these "second girls" always are the exact opposite of the main character for many reasons. Nina and Michelle from the first Tekken are pretty symbolic here, as well as Sonya and Kitana, or if we want, Sophitia and Taki from the first Soul Blade. I know I could have listed all female stereotypes like "the sexualized character", "the cold blooded female killer" etc. just like I did with the Young Girl, but I feel that would be redundant since I've always said genders don't matter in my list, and each archetype could be portrayed by each female. So it would be pretty pointless to list, let's say, the "Ninja girl" if I already listed the Ninja.
Your "look/sexuality" archetype definitely exists, but in my opinion it has a place only in a game filled with female characters, since it loses its meaning let's say in Fatal Fury ot Killer Instinct when Mai and Orchid were the only females.

Lol I wrote a ton of stuff... btw that's cool as a lot of interesting points come out from these discussions :)
TheMikko's avatar
Discussing stuff can be fun, whether or not all viewpoints are shared. Actually, those are the cases where there's the most room for expanding our understanding or point of view on topics. :)

It's a good point that the ethnically themed characters have stuck around and though perhaps not universal any more have had a strong presence on rosters historically. Personally I've always been a fan of the world warrior concept and in the designs I'm doing right now I'm having fighters represent different nations, though I'm trying to avoid stereotypes. lol Still, fun can be had with them as well. Though not a fighting game character, I find the representation of Finns in the Scandinavia And  The World webcomic to be highly entertaining, a nearly mute drunk that's quick to anger and always carries around a knife. :P

Just slapping a gender on one of these archetypes would definitely be redundant, as even the characterization focused on appearance type CAN be found in males, like with Vega. Still, I feel that it's a distinct enough type to be considered one of it's own, but maybe not quick prevalent enough warrant a spot among the ones you've listed.
anonymous's avatar
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