Favorite Fighting Femme Fatales

A list of my favorite female characters featured in fighting games of all time up to the time of this post. Characters appear in rough personal chronological order of when I came around to the character in a game.

List items

  • -Games-

    Street Fighter Alpha 2 (SNES)

    Street Fighter Alpha 3 (DC)

    Marvel vs. Capcom 2 (DC)

    Capcom vs. SNK (DC)

    SNK vs. Capcom (NGPC)

    Capcom vs. SNK 2 (PS2)

    Street Fighter IV (X360)

    Super Street Fighter IV (X360)

    Super Street Fighter IV AE (X360/PS3)

    Super Street Fighter IV AE 2012 (X360/PS3)

    Ultra Street Fighter IV (X360/PS3)

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    When I first played Street Fighter Alpha 2 on the Super Nintendo, I expected to play either Ryu or Guile because they were my favorite fighters to play on Street Fighter II. I vaguely recall fighting the Sakura A.I., being mesmerized by her unique Ryu move set and getting my ass kicked by her, quite made the introduction. I quickly switched over to her and never turned back. At the time, Sakura felt like a quicker, more free-flowing Ryu. I was also a fan of her unique takes of Ryu’s moves. I utilized her dragon punch a lot because I really liked how the move looked, dashing toward the opponent first before jumping up in the air to complete the move, along with a number of hits and good damage if successfully connected. Her sweep super, where she spins like a top with her leg extend and finishing with a standing kick, was another favorite move that I’d like to use at any opportunity.

    As I continued to play her in Street Fighter Alpha 2 and her appearances thereafter, I grew to love her spunky personality. Sakura’s always looking for a good fight and gaining respect through her battles with other combatants. The winning poses, from when she loses her sneaker, to her little dance shuffle, always made me crack a smile most times. There was a lot of Sakura from 1997 to 2003.

    I fell off gaming quite hard during my college years (2003 to 2007) and I wasn’t hooked on most of the fighting game offerings during this time. In 2008, I was entrenched at my job and happy that I was earning income on my own. I can buy stuff with my own money! I heard that Capcom was developing and releasing Street Fighter IV, one of the first thoughts I had was wonder if Sakura made it into the roster. To my delight, she was in Street Fighter IV… after you had to play someone from the initial cast. However, my enthusiasm waned as the transition to “3D” was jarring for me to adjust, and I wasn’t a fan of her new look in IV.

    I briefly played vanilla SF IV, Super, and AE. It wasn’t until I got back into SF IV with AE 2012 thanks to MikeFightNight and his casual fighting game sessions in 2013, along understanding that Sakura was a very strong character in AE 2012 that my appreciation with Sakura rekindled. Sadly, I haven’t played much of Ultra Street Fighter IV this year, but that hasn’t washed away the joys of playing Sakura throughout the years.

    Sakura is SHOSHOSHOSHOSHOSHOSHOSHOSHOSHO awesome.

  • -Games-

    The King of Fighters 1998 (DC)

    The King of Fighters 1999 (DC)

    Capcom vs. SNK (DC)

    SNK vs. Capcom (NGPC)

    The King of Fighters 2000 (PS2)

    The King of Fighters 2001 (PS2)

    Capcom vs. SNK 2 (PS2)

    The King of Fighters XI (PS2)

    The King of Fighters XIII (PS3/X360)

    ---

    When my brother and I convinced my parents onto getting us a Sega Dreamcast, the first game we got for it was… The King of Fighters 1998. (It was officially titled as “The King of Fighters: Dream Match 1999” for the US Dreamcast release.) The family took a vacation to South Korea a few years prior and loved playing The King of Fighters at the arcade, so we were overjoyed to see a KOF game available on the Dreamcast. After playing around with the game’s roster, I settled in with a select couple as my favorites. One of them happened to be Yuri Sakazaki. Similar to my transition from Ryu to Sakura, I found Yuri to be the most comfortable out of the Kyokugen stable of characters (Ryo, Robert, Takuma). She’s quick and preferred the animations/look of her specials against the others. Hell, she can attack her opponents with her sexy ass!

    It also helped that her personality sort of mirrors Sakura’s, though Sakura exudes more of a bright childlike aurora when it comes to fighting, while Yuri’s acts more like a brash arrogant teenager. Nonetheless, both Sakura and Yuri are now regular fixtures from the respective companies on their noted franchises. The two also have their unique introductions if they face each other in battle in the Capcom vs. SNK games.

    I don’t have any knowledge on how strong Yuri stacks up against the rest of the roster over the entire King of Fighters franchise. I do know that she is considered one of the best characters in KOF 13 and is versatile in any position of the team (point / middle / anchor). She’s also one of the easier characters to learn as well, though KOF13 is a beast to learn itself. I like how she looks in the art stills of her character selection and win pose, though not a fan of her “chibi” in-game model look. Nonetheless, Yuri’s still a highlight SNK character of mine, divekicking, butt-looping, slapping-kicking energetic character and all.

  • -Game-

    Street Fighter Alpha 3 (DC)

    ---

    Karin was introduced in Street Fighter Alpha 3 not only to serve as Sakura’s main rival in the game, but also to pull Sakura out of her “I’m so in love with Ryu” fixation from Alpha 2. I actually didn’t like Karin at all back then. I thought her look (the blond curled hair and the red school dress) was a terribly inspired Red Riding Hood. (I also didn’t know of B.B. Hood’s character in DarkStalkers back then.) However, as I made my rare revisits back to this game in recent years, I’ve made a complete 360 on Karin. Now I think she’s a terrific character and a bit sad that she hasn’t made more appearances as a playable character in Capcom’s vast number of fighting games. (Capcom Fighting Evolution, ick.)

    Karin’s appearance is now very striking compared to the rest of the SFA3 cast, the bright red school uniform, blond curled hair, stern look, and fighting stance. Her attacks and specials, which I thought were bland back then, now look elegant. I think she’s also considered one of the best characters in the game. Karin has a terrible viewpoint of everyone (everyone’s stupid or something to that extent), but has that confident arrogance she intrinsically has that she can at least kick your ass. A battle involving Karin would probably start off as Karin making a grand introduction (from a helicopter), kicking ass, then saying your some low-level POS human or something to that level.

    In hopes of a future appearance somewhere (never gonna happen), I think her move set translates nicely to a 3D fighting game. Yes, I’m hinting at hoping for a Karin appearance in Tekken vs. Street Fighter, if that game ever gets fully developed and released. I guess the only attention Karin is getting lately is being mentioned in one of Sakura’s win quotes in Street Fighter IV. Boo.

    Karin’s theme in SFA3 is pretty awesome too.

  • -Games-

    Garou: Mark of the Wolves (DC/X360)

    The King of Fighters XI (PS2)

    ---

    Here’s a list of reasons why Bonne Jenet is badass:

    She captains a band of pirates.

    She chugs a mug of beer before the match. She could be totally inebriated and still kick ass and win a fight.

    Her dress isn’t just sexy apparel; it’s actually a weapon that conjures up the power of the wind at her disposal.

    Her aerial attack (j2K) is not only a great air-to-air attack, it actually can knock F-16 fighter jets from the sky too.

    She doesn’t need a special or super move to slap her opponents silly. She only needs a throw command to lay the smack down.

    AND she only needs one slap to knock them down. Other female fighters need multiple slaps to do so. She’s Bonne Jenet, bitches!

    Years of running around her pirate ship has trained her to execute her million kicks super (236236P).

    Jenet casually places her arms behind her back as she casually walks in the middle of battle. Who needs special walking/dashing animations?

    Then she gets pissed once she wins because the fight was a massive waste of time.

    If there’s no treasure at the place she was looking at, no problem! Onward to the next target.

    Jenet knows how to properly celebrate a team KOF tournament victory, party and booze at a well-known establishment. (Tizoc know how to roll too, Gato needs to work on loosening up though.)

    What else did you need to know?

  • -Game-

    Project Justice (DC)

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    Akira’s one of those alluring characters that carry that cool with her calm yet stern personality. I like that she looks downright angry in some of the official art stills of her. It really gives off that vibe that folks know not to mess with her. I also love her outfits in both full helmet and motorcycle gear on and the non-helmet/tank-top look. I don’t know what her story from the first Rival Schools game was (never had a PS1 and never played the first Rival Schools game yet), but they seem to make her more vulnerable in Project Justice as her close friend and brother get involved in the story. I wasn’t a big fan of actually playing her in the game, but she’s still an awesome character in my eyes.

  • -Game-

    Project Justice (DC)

    ---

    I immediately thought Hinata was the “Sakura” of Project Justice when I first jumped in. Though she is a shoto character through-and-through (QCF fireball, DP motion DP, QCB hurricane kick, etc.), she wasn’t exactly Sakura in terms of personality and gameplay, but she was still fun-as-hell to play as. One of the few characters from the Project Justice roster I played frequently.

    I apologize for not being able to conjure much information on my favorite characters from Project Justice. All I gotta say is that Project Justice is an awesome game.

  • -Games-

    The Last Blade 2 (DC)

    Capcom vs. SNK 2 (PS2)

    ---

    In the land of conservative colors, Hibiki Takane’s red attire was an immediate standout from the rest of The Last Blade 2’s cast. It screamed to me. I heeded the call, and immediately fell in love with the character. Her red attire was the start. I really liked her awkward sword stance, the wide leg stance, right hand clutching her sheathed sword, and her left arm hovering over the sword’s handle, waiting to unleash her sword for an attack. Her special attacks, one that explodes the sword’s length at her opponent, the other where she swipes her sword as she runs past them, were always mesmerizing to witness. But the one thing that really sealed the deal for me on Hibiki was her super moves.

    Hibiki’s regular super is probably my favorite super fighting game move of all time. If the super connects when Hibiki flashes past the opponent, the background turns slightly dark and Hibiki slowly sheaths her exposed sword, and her opponent gets hit with an explosion. It’s as if Hibiki implants a grenade as she flashes past her opponent. Her desperation super is pretty neat to, as it goes to the classic samurai montage of the attacker striking her opponent in a black/white silhouette, then the splatter and the Japanese kanji to finish.

    To wrap up my infatuation with Hibiki is that she’s one of the few characters in The Last Blade 2 to have multiple endings. The player can steer away from Hibiki’s normal ending if they finish off their opponent with her supers in six matches. The Last Blade 2 lore calls this Hibiki’s Psychotic Path. Her alternate ending has her alone, acting smug by being confident that she can tackle her obstacles alone, instead of being happy having assistance from Amano. Her winning animations show her internal conflict of steering toward aggression versus being caring. Sometimes she’ll carry herself off normally after a win, other times she’ll show concern over her defeated opponent. It’s a characteristic that I empathize with her, as it's been very hard to control my emotions from quickly veering over to either side lately in life.

    I was extremely surprised and happy that she was a playable character in Capcom vs. SNK 2. Capcom did a pretty good job keeping Hibiki as she was in The Last Blade 2 as much as they can. They even included her ranba super command as one of her supers, which was a nice gesture. I had a bit of a hard time playing Hibiki in CvS2 against the rest of that cast, but I still kept plugging her into my team as much as possible.

    Sometimes cool and collected, other times filled with smug confidence, standing out in red, ready to pounce at an instant with striking grace and style.

  • -Games-

    The King of Fighters XI (PS2)

    The King of Fighters XIII (X360/PS3)

    ---

    I was familiar with King all the way back from her first appearance in Art of Fighting, where SNK employed a little shock value in that if you defeated King with a particular attack, her shirt gets tore up and reveals King’s biggest secret. Color me surprised back in the day once I finally found out. (“Wait… a bra and boobs? He’s a female?”) Despite in making as many appearances as Yuri throughout SNK’s The King of Fighters franchise, I was not a fan of her in the older titles. I thought her moves were pretty bland and King was a terrible character to play as and weak against the rest of the KOF rosters.

    My opinions quickly changed as I played her in KOF XI. She was quick, a move set to annoy opponents, and a cool max super where she threw multiple venom strikes that were hard to deal with. Though her max super changed in KOF XIII, King remains a strong character. King can throw venom strikes both on ground and in the air, trap rose is a decent DP attack, and her slide cancel into a special seems safe and hard to deal with. A popular character choice based off FG tournament streams I’ve seen in the past few years, with folks who have King in their team of three usually place her on point.

    I also liked how SNK improved her look as the KOF franchise went along. Her face in the official art stills aren’t as “manly” anymore and accentuating her female looks (curvier body, boobs, female bowl hair cut). Hell, she wore a dress in her team KOF XI ending! I suppose her cosmetic changes also helped turn my opinion around on King too. Toss that handkerchief and take a bow King!

  • -Games-

    Persona 4 Arena (PS3)

    Persona 4 Arena Ultimax (PS3)

    ---

    The spunky, leg-kicking, f-steak eatin’, rampaging, skull-crackin’, blank-spotting, fisting the heavenly sky, and galaxy punting fools, bowl-haired tomboy was the easy selection for me when Atlus and Arc System Works produced this fighting game spin-off from an instant classic JRPG. Chie checks off some of the same characteristics that lured me into Sakura and Yuri from their respective companies. She’s quite fast, has a neat set of special moves, a spunky attitude, and is devastating if placed in the right hands.

    I eventually learned through fellow online mates and tournament streams that Chie’s considered one of the best characters in Persona 4 Arena. One of the biggest reasons why she’s considered a top-tier character is because of her lockdown game via her okizeme. As soon as Chie knocks down her opponent, she’ll call out Tomoe (5DD) where the opponent recovering from being knocked down will have no option but to block Tomoe, locking the opponent down. At the same time, Chie will jump toward the blocked opponent and either air dash in high or land and attack low. The classic mix-up.

    Chie’s other strength is that many of her combos can inflict major damage. Some combos can inflict past 3500 damage without the use of meter. Add in meter via EX moves/one more cancel/one more burst/super moves and there goes at least half of her opponent’s health. Her 9500 health is third highest in vanilla P4A cast, which is an asset she needs to get in close to her opponent to initiate her shenanigans. Her DP comes out fast and is a great reversal if used correctly.

    Chie has been knocked from the pantheon of the top-tier level in Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, as it seems like the additions some of the returning cast got, the new characters, and Chie losing her oki game completely has P4A experts thinking she’s a bit less than capable in Ultimax. She still has high health and can pack a punch, but it seems like it’s a bit harder for her to not only chase opponents down, but to continue the pressure after getting in. I still like some of her additions (2C freezes opponents on hit, lunge punch, SP God Hand and meteors), but as of this time, still learning the ins-and-outs of her and how to play her against the rest of the cast. But Chie’s still mostly Chie, and I’m still having a ton of fun playing her in Ultimax.

  • -Games-

    BlazBlue Continuum Shift Extend (PS3)

    BlazBlue Chrono Phantasma (PS3)

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    It took me a while before I settled on Litchi as my main character in the BlazBlue franchise. I started with Makoto, thinking with Chie and Jam as my main in the two other Arc System Works fighting games, that Makoto would be an immediate shoo-in, primarily as a puncher/rushdown character. That didn’t work out too well. (I hear Makoto’s quite weak in the past couple of versions of BlazBlue.) I swapped over to Platinum in CSE and that worked out a bit better, as I wasn’t getting as beat up as I was with Makoto. I didn’t plan to transition over to Litchi at first, but after putting in some time with her, she was much more comfortable to play with and to fight against others.

    What ultimately settled me on Litchi was her attack range and aggressiveness she can be with her staff. Attacking with the staff and then tossing it all around the screen to frustrate opponents. It’s still tough to have the fast reactions, mental processing, and précising timing of utilizing both Litchi and her staff, but I still like that it’s something that opponents have to constantly keep in check. I found watching top Litchi play in tournament streams amazing, especially if they have the upper hand and frustrate their opponents through tight combination of Litchi and her staff. That was highlighted in EVO 2014 where Galileo won the BBCP EVO tournament with Litchi. His matches in loser’s finals and grand finals were definitely one of the best EVO tournament matches I’ve witnessed to date.

    Though I’m severely lacking in the fighting game skills department, what matters most to me is finding that character that I can at least feel comfortable using and be semi-competitive with. Litchi Faye-Ling fits that mold for me in the BlazBlue franchise, for now. It also helps that she dons a fashionable dress, great-looking glasses, a skeleton head hairpiece, and *ahem*… a nice pair of assets.

  • -Game-

    Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R (PS3)

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    I didn’t have a lot of playing time with the previous games under the Guilty Gear franchise, so I was in for a long grind to get a feel for how the game plays, learn how GG’s mechanics mesh in with the fighting, and knowing which character to roll with. I started with Bridget because I thought a fighting nun who attacks with a yo-yo is pretty awesome. Bridget’s still a fun character, but I never had a good handle with the character at the start. Folks in the Skype chat implored me to play as Jam, as they believe that Chie in P4A was melded from Jam. They’re the experts and were right in steering me to Jam, as I can sort of play the same tactics that Chie employs here in GGXXAC+R with Jam.

    The challenge for Jam (and rushdown characters of her like) is to get in close and hammering away with tight strings to keep her opponents locked into blocking until the defense lapses and the offense can be mounted. Jam’s optimal battle plan is to push her opponent to the corner and break open their defense to land her damaging bread-and-butter corner combo. Guilty Gear is known for its extreme execution inputs for moves to be read and executed by the game, so I don’t get past getting to the second phase of her corner combo. The hard part for me is when I have to play defense with Jam. Her DP is meh and doesn’t have many other defensive options to help her get in binding situations. I end up getting destroyed pretty handily in many matches.

    At least I found a character I can run with in Guilty Gear now. I hope she’ll appear in whatever future iteration of Guilty Gear Xrd so I can start plastering folks with her.