Balrog, as he appears in Super Street Fighter II. Art by Bengus.
|Birthdate||September 4, 1968|
|Birthplace||United States of America|
|Height||6' 4" (194 cm)|
|Weight||225 lbs (102 kg)|
|Likes||Women, Bourbon, Money|
|Dislikes||Fish, arithmetics, effort, Dudley, Chun-Li|
|Measurements (Bust, Waist, Hip)||120cm (47"), 89cm (35"), 100cm (39")|
Balrog is a tall, heavily built and very muscular African-American boxer. He wears blue boxing trunks with white trim 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. Official artworks at the time also depicted him sans a canine tooth in the upper right side of his mouth.
When Street Fighter II was localized in the United States, Capcom was afraid of a lawsuit from Mike Tyson over a character with his likeness and a similar sounding name (his Japanese name being Mike Bison). Additionally, when the designers presented the game to Capcom USA's marketing department, they believed that the name Vega was a weakling's name. They decided to rotate the names of three of the four boss characters in the following manner:
- The boxer is known as M. Bison in Japan and Balrog in the U.S.
- The Spanish assassin/bullfighter is known as Balrog in Japan and Vega in the U.S.
- The evil dictator and head of Shadaloo is known as Vega in Japan and M. Bison in the U.S.
In certain illustrations, including ones for the Street Fighter II series, his Japanese name, "Bison", can be seen on the waistband of his trunks, although it is usually removed when these illustrations are published outside Japan. In later games, the word "Champion" appears in its place.
Balrog is self-centered, hot-tempered, arrogant, flippant and sadistic. He is a belligerent pugilist who possesses an insatiable urge for money, and a vicious, bullying mean streak, often refusing to take responsibility for his actions. His main reasons and motivation for joining Shadaloo and M. Bison throughout the Street Fighter series have always been to attain massive wealth, fame and glory so he can be on easy street for life. For that motivation alone, Balrog would cheat, steal or even kill to accomplish this.
Honor is something Balrog does not acknowledge. Despite being a once great prize boxer, Balrog has intentionally cheated in his fights whenever he felt like it; he even accidentally killed one of his opponents once. Balrog is also shown to be very unintelligent; when M. Bison was believed to be dead after the events of Street Fighter Alpha 3, the role of leader of the organization fell to him and it collapsed immediately, which forced him to work security at casinos and other places just to get by. Balrog also displays an extreme affinity for women, with Chun-Li being the only exception.
Rising from a childhood of poverty, Balrog was once a great boxing champion and prize fighter. He was banned from boxing for permanently injuring his opponents and accidentally killing one (as well as his illegal maneuvers, particularly his headbutt), so he joined the Shadaloo criminal organization, and worked his way up from the bottom, eventually becoming M. Bison's chief enforcer.
While running errands for Bison, he killed Dhalsim's elephant with a single Gigaton Punch. In one mission, Balrog was sent to terminate Birdie. Although he did not know why, Balrog went anyway. Birdie told him about the Psycho Drive, and Balrog agreed to help him find it, thinking he could make money from it. When the Psycho Drive exploded, Balrog realized that he had not been paid recently.
When Bison was killed at the hands of Akuma, ownership of Shadaloo was transferred to the former prize fighter. Unfortunately, he ended up running the entire organization into the ground in no time. After the fall of Shadaloo, Balrog was back on the streets, working menial jobs (such as casino security, as seen in his Street Fighter IV intro cutscene).
However, when Bison makes his return with the construction of his new body, Balrog is immediately brought back into the organization, hired by Bison to guard Bison's replacement bodies, which Balrog refers to as "dolls". Balrog is not satisfied with this, however, and forms a new get-rich-quick scheme. He manages to make his way into the S.I.N. building (along with fellow agent Vega). While looking for treasure (possibly anything he could sell), he stumbles across a young, bandaged girl begging for help. Balrog is apathetic, until a mark in the shape of the Shadaloo symbol begins to glow on the child's hand. Realizing the child could hold some valuable secrets, Balrog takes the girl away (saying along the way, " This must be my lucky day!"). However, when he questions the child on what powers she has, the child reveals that by herself, she is powerless; Balrog, disappointed, says the girl is worthless. Nevertheless, Balrog remains optimistic that the girl will be valuable later; he picks the girl up and walks off with her, while the girl's hand glows again.
Street Fighter II: The Animated MovieEdit
In Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie, Balrog is portrayed close to his original role in the games, which is largely as dumb-muscle for Bison. Interestingly enough, he does not don his boxing gloves when he fights E. Honda. He is voiced by Joe Romersa in the English dub and Joji Nakata in the Japanese version. He represents Shadaloo at a criminal convention in Las Vegas where he watches a battle between Zangief and Blanka. Later, he accompanies M. Bison to Thailand for the final showdown. While Bison battles Guile and a brainwashed Ken battles Ryu, Balrog battles E. Honda. Though Balrog has the upper hand initially, repeatedly punching and head butting Honda in quick succession, Honda strikes back with a head butt of his own. The two charge at each other and the impact of their collision causes both of them to hurtle off a cliff side, humourously crying "shiiiiiiiit!" The rest of their fight is never seen but Honda defeats Balrog off camera, carrying his unconscious body up the mountainside following Bison's defeat.
Street Fighter 1994 filmEdit
In the 1994 live action film, he was portrayed by Grand L. Bush and was one of the good guys, more specifically the camera-man in Chun-Li's news-crew. Like the other members (Chun-Li and E. Honda), Balrog held a grudge against Shadaloo for ruining his boxing career. Near the end of the film, he dons his regular outfit from the games.
Street Fighter 1995 cartoon seriesEdit
In the 1995 animated series, Street Fighter, Balrog is not only a boxer but also a scientist (breaking his "bulky-but-brainless" stereotype) who programmes Shadaloo computers for M. Bison, with his storyline intact. He is voiced by Paul Dobson.
Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-LiEdit
In the film Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, Balrog is portrayed by Michael Clarke Duncan. His role in Shadaloo remains unchanged, being one of Bison's loyal enforcers alongside Vega.
Street Fighter II VEdit
In the anime series Street Fighter II V, Balrog, despite not being a boxer, still works for Shadaloo as a spy with the task of infiltrating the police forces in charge of investigating and foiling Shadaloo's criminal activities and reporting such operations directly to M. Bison, while posing aside the law officers as a legitimate Interpol executive. Using this disguise, he tricks Cammy - who in the series works as a mercenary assassin and has no relation with Shadaloo - into into assassinating federal Hong Kong police officer Do Rai after telling her that he is the supposed drug lord in Chinese branch of Shadaloo's drug route - but Do Rai survives later on, despite his heavy injuries. After fighting Fei Long (who was protecting the still-alive Do Rai), Cammy realizes she has been deceived by Balrog and attacks him as well, but without killing him. Cammy then quits the job and hands Balrog down to Fei Long.
Street Fighter IV: The Ties That BindEdit
He makes a cameo appearence in Street Fighter IV: The Ties That Bind, sitting inside of the Shadaloo Aircraft that Seth escapes into at the end of the movie. He doesn't have any lines.
Unskilled but strong, Balrog relies on the raw strength he puts into every punch and nothing more. The majority of his moveset is composed of several variations of dashing punches, including his Super Combos. There is, however, a certain amount of versatility to his moveset; among his punches are uppercuts, smash blows, and overhead swings, which can keep the opponent guessing if used well.
As boxers, he and Dudley are the only characters in the Street Fighter series whose movesets are almost entirely comprised of arm-based moves (punches, elbows, etc.), being polarly oppose to Elena, whose moveset consists solely of kicks. Balrog will also resort to moves considered illegal in boxing whenever he sees fit. Balrog will also resort to moves considered illegal in boxing whenever he sees fit. His moveset usually includes a headbutt, and during his 2nd Ultra Combo in Super Street Fighter IV, he stomps on his opponent's foot - the only time he uses his foot at all in the games - and nails them with an elbow shot.
- Dash Straight - Balrog can hurl himself across a great distance, leading with his fist. During the Straight, he holds his arm directly out in front, knocking down anyone who fails to block the attack high.
- Dash Upper - Much like the Dash Straight, Balrog launches himself forward from his position. Only this time, he keeps his arm by his side, ready to perform an uppercut when he reaches the opponent.
- Dash Ground Straight - In Super Street Fighter II Turbo, Balrog gains the ability to dash towards his opponent, and perform a Straight punch at a lower level. At the outset, it looks exactly like a Dash Straight, but at the very end, Balrog lowers his glove, hurting any opponent who doesn't block the attack low.
- Dash Ground Upper - Also in Super Street Fighter II Turbo, Balrog gains the ability to perform the Dash Upper from a lower position. If Balrog connects with this move, the opponent will be knocked down.
- Turn Punch - During the match, Balrog has the ability to tense up one of his arms and store power. He can release it at any time, but the longer he stores it, the more damage the resulting punch will do. While he stores up this power, he loses access to a couple of moves.
- Buffalo Headbutt - Headbutts are illegal in official boxing matches, but that never stopped Balrog from employing one if he felt it would give him the upper hand. Beginning in Super Street Fighter II, Balrog gains the ability to crouch down, and quickly jump into the air, smashing opponents with his forehead. He can pass through many attacks at the very beginning of this move.
- Crazy Buffalo - Balrog's Super Move is a consecutive series of non-stop Dash attacks. He has the ability to alternate between Dash Straights and Dash Uppers throughout the entire attack (hold or release any kick button to alternate between the two moves). If timed properly, it can even juggle an opponent.
- It is possible that Balrog is one of the street fighters to make debut in the original game (1987). Here, an African-American boxer named Mike is introduced. Not only that Mike looks like his Street Fighter II counterpart but his moveset is also quite similar to Balrog's. Supporting the theory that these two are actually one and the same is the fact that Balrog is called Mike Bison in Japan.
- Capcom however, because of lawsuit issues, have been very insistent that Balrog and Mike were always meant to be two different characters. On 2010-03-26, assistant producer of Street Fighter IV, Natsuki Shiozawa, wrote on Capcom's official blog that "One probably would believe it's one and the same character!".
- T.J. Combo from Killer Instinct has a similar moveset and fighting style to Balrog, but he throws knees and kicks and Balrog does not.
- In Street Fighter IV, in the Africa stage (Small Airfield), there is a black S.I.N. plane that Balrog can be seen in the door of the plane. If Balrog is selected, Vega will be in the plane instead. If Balrog and Vega are selected, M. Bison himself appears in the plane.
- In Final Fight: Streetwise, if you go in Mike Haggar's Gym, if you look closely at the posters on the wall, it says Dudley vs. Balrog.
- Balrog is the only one of the four bosses from Street Fighter II that does not appear in the Street Fighter EX games.