You're not logged in | Login / Register | News Filter | Submit News

Main Street Fighter bosses ranked from worst to best

Posted by John 'Velociraptor' Guerrero • January 22, 2021 at 7:25 p.m. PST • Comments: 52

I've been doing a lot of speculation about what's coming down the pike in the shorter term with Street Fighter 5 as well as the longer term with Street Fighter 6, but feel the need to shift down to a different gear and have a little fun considering the franchise's past instead of its future.

Street Fighter 5 now features every main boss character the main franchise has seen, and seeing them all together in one roster got me thinking about their elevated statuses as big baddies, and who wore/wears that title the best.

A little stage setting is in order as there have been a lot of fighters who have assumed the title of boss or sub-boss over the years, but we're keeping things relatively simple for our purposes here.

I'm only considering the five main bosses across Street Fighters 1-5 and Akuma, who has been a secret boss for so long and in so many games (Street Fighter and otherwise) that he gets to be part of the conversation.

The rubric here is based around how well they fit the role of "Boss." Do they command respect (both within the confines of their games as well as among players)? How much of a legacy have they established? I don't know, it's pretty relaxed, let's just go through my list and you can agree or disagree with respectful and well thought reasonings out in the comments after.

6. G

According to Capcom, G is the actual boss of Street Fighter 5. This game is fairly different than the others in that it doesn't have a traditional arcade ladder, but technically this DLC fighter that joined 3 years after launch and has nothing to do with the main story line is our big villain.

Is G even a villain? He's certainly intriguing with his unexplored status as "President of the World" and his very politician-like benevolence that seems to only thinly veil an ulterior motive. As far as his in-game abilities, G's V-Trigger might be the strongest in the game as he robs rounds away left and right, so he definitely makes appropriate waves there.

G is at a strong disadvantage here because he's so new, isn't fleshed out at all, might be a late game audible called when Capcom realized that Necalli was kind of a dud and couldn't really carry the title of memorable boss for SF5 very well. (I don't know that that last part is fact, I just assume that's what happened given the way things played out.)

In any case, G has a decent amount of potential but is easily the least deserving character of the "boss" title.

5. Seth

Street Fighter 4's main bad guy has definitely grown on me since his reinvention and implementation into Street Fighter 5, but Seth isn't exactly the most memorable of the franchise's bosses.

His concept is kind of cool as it allows him to Shang Tsung a whole bunch of moves from the roster, but this is a somewhat shallow gimmick in fighting games at this point.

Seth definitely left players feeling frustrated (as a good AI boss should) when trying to grind through Vanilla SF4 to unlock all of the game's hidden characters, but he always came off as sort of bland. The fact that his story sees him basically come off an assembly line of potential replacement bodies for M. Bison (an already pretty tired concept) is sort of lame.

Seth does have some personality and is reasonably evil, but he just doesn't overtake anyone else on this list in those categories. Capcom has begun doing interesting things with the character here in SF5, but his arc still isn't all that intriguing quite yet.

4. Gill

Street Fighter 3's big baddie is particularly interesting story-wise, and he most definitely fulfills the role of boss in terms of his unique and powerful abilities. His theming as a godlike figure comes across both in his design (you can probably pick him out as the boss when looking at the roster) as well as in his difficulty.

Gill's design visually calls back to deities from Greek, Nordic, and Judeo Christian cultures, and his plot to become the messiah of a reborn earth is much more intriguing than the tired concept of the bad guy who wants to hold the world for ransom with a giant laser.

He is a bit underwhelming in his SF5 appearance as far his spot on the tier list, but that very well may change with next month's balance update. Gill absolutely screams "boss" and only ranks this low on the list because his competition is that strong.

3. Sagat

For all intents and purposes, Sagat is the original fighting game boss. Most people remember M. Bison given Street Fighter 2's explosion in popularity, but this one-eyed master of Muay Thai is the true OG.

Sagat isn't as elaborate as most anyone else on this list when it comes to fancy powers or lavish style, but he more than fills the shoes of the figure at the end of the arcade ladder. Despite being dethroned before most people knew who he was, Sagat has continued to be one of the most beloved and respected characters in all of Street Fighter.

His story arc is actually pretty interesting as he goes from being a bad guy to learning lessons the hard way (getting his eye plucked and that gnarly scar on his chest) and eventually joining the good side.

Sagat was dethroned before Street Fighter caught its first major forewind, and still he's maintained a very robust, very boss-like air about him ever since.

2. M. Bison

I really didn't want to put Bison this high on the list, but despite Sagat's status as the technical OG fighting game boss, this is the figure who most think about when the term is brought up.

M. Bison draws clear inspirations from some of history's biggest IRL baddies, and he's certainly evil enough with his routine plots to take over the world and all the lives he's negatively affected over the years.

Further empowered by Raul Julia's amazing performance in the Street Fighter live action film, M. Bison boasts a legacy rivaled by very few in the fighting game world. He loses some points for being fairly one-note over the last three decades, but he's always been a force to be reckoned with and he set many standards that we now tend to take for granted.

1. Akuma

Akuma might not be the number one if we're talking about casual gamers, but the fighting game community knows just how consistently powerful and prevalent this character has been.

As formidable as M. Bison was, Akuma was the one to slip in and take him out in about two seconds flat. Seeing this happen for the first time, especially if you didn't know it was coming, made you feel like you had ascended into the master realm where the true test of Street Fighter ability manifested as Akuma.

The character has been painfully strong in almost every game he's appeared in, and he's appeared in a ton. While Bison is the main villain of the series, Akuma has to be the fan-favorite villain who presents incredible challenges for both the characters in the games as well as the players who wind up having to face him in tournaments.

His story threads stretch through and affect just as many characters as Bison's do, and his determination to rid himself of humanity in order to assume more power as a demonic entity is pretty metal.

When Akuma appears in a game, he usually is waiting in the shadows as a matter of fact stronger villain than whomever is initially waiting at the end of the arcade ladder. If that doesn't scream top dog, I don't know what does.

Load comments (52)