Dan was Capcom's answer to SNK ripping off Ryu and Ken in Art of Fighting

First appearing in Street Fighter Alpha in 1995, Dan has kept Saikyo Style going through the years

Posted by Jonathan 'Catalyst' Grey • June 23, 2018 at 8:01 p.m. PDT

Back in early 1990s, Street Fighter 2 was every where you looked. The game was such a massive success, some of the U.S. sales people at Capcom were driving around in Porches and Mercedes, and golfing at Pebble Beach every month.

Other companies would have been foolish not to try their hand at replicating that success, although some were maybe a little less obvious how they went about it.

In 1992, SNK launched Art of Fighting, and many considered it a knock-off right away — and that apparently included Capcom.

Ryo and Robert, the two main characters for Art of Fighting, sported similar moves and looks to Ryu and Ken in Street Fighter. Capcom's answer to this blatant copying came a few years later, in 1995, with Dan being a hidden playable character in Street Fighter Alpha.

The amount of jokes Capcom has told at SNK's expense over the years are too numerous to count, but it's a tradition they certainly haven't let go of.

We'll kick things off here by comparing the character's move sets. Since Capcom felt that SNK 'borrowed' numerous elements of Ryu and Ken, they made Dan closely mirror Ryo and Robert. Note the Dan Kicks and one-handed Fireballs.

Art of Fighting was notorious for fireballs disappearing after traveling a short distance, if your 'spirit gauge' was nearly depleted. Dan kept this property intact at almost all times.

Dan comparisons to Ryo and Robert in Art of Fighting image #1 Dan comparisons to Ryo and Robert in Art of Fighting image #2

Art of Fighting also had a taunt mechanic, which would drain the opponent's 'spirit gauge'. This was actually considered somewhat revolutionary at the time, as taunts prior to this were most there to just... well, taunt your opponent and didn't serve any other gameplay aspect.

Dialing up the humor, Capcom made this a huge part of Dan, as he was the only character in Street Fighter Alpha 2 with four taunts, and he could perform them at any time during the match, while other characters were traditionally limited to one per round.

You can also see a couple of quotes here from Street Fighter Alpha 2 and Alpha 3, making direct reference to Art of Fighting and King of Fighters. Let's just say subtlety wasn't the goal here for Capcom.

Dan comparisons to Ryo and Robert in Art of Fighting image #3 Dan comparisons to Ryo and Robert in Art of Fighting image #4

Things were expanded upon further, by introducing Go Hibiki, Dan's father, as a non-playable character. Responsible for Sagat's missing eye, Go was a a visual mix of Ryo and Robert. He had Ryo's Karate gi, being orange in color, with a black undershirt, while sporting Robert's ponytail and dark hair color. Sagat killed Go for taking his eye, which is why Dan hates good old Chest Scar.

Going even deeper, Capcom gave Dan Mr. Karate's mask as an alternative outfit in Street Fighter 4. Mr. Karate was the boss character from the first Art of Fighting, and sported this ridiculous mask with a large, bulbous nose.

Dan comparisons to Ryo and Robert in Art of Fighting image #5 Dan comparisons to Ryo and Robert in Art of Fighting image #6

The jokes continued through the years, with many more references and poking fun at the situation. Dan Hibiki has grown so much in stature, beyond the inital inside joke, he's become quite the character onto himself.

Still, Capcom tries to purposefully keep his overall strength low, and use him for comedic relief much more often than they attempt to make him anything resembling a serious character.

Obviously, Capcom and SNK have (mostly) buried the hatchet over the years, working on collaboration games like Capcom vs. SNK 1 and 2, but it's still not too uncommon to see a friendly jab... or you can say taunt... thrown the other company's way when the opportunity presents itself.

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