Final Round: Siu-Chong and Cruz on "Street Fighter II Turbo"

With the recent conclusion of "Street Fighter II Turbo" with issue #12, UDON Studios brought to a head the conflicts between Ryu, Ken, Chun LI, and M. Bison's Shadaloo Organization that had been building since the publisher's first "Street Fighter" series in 2003. The latest series followed our heroes as they auditioned for and fought in the World Warrior tournament, each with his or her own secret purpose, and as such inched closer to the gameplay seen in the immensely popular arcade fighter. "Street Fighter Vol. 6: Final Round" will be released in May, collecting the final six issues, and CBR News spoke with writer Ken Siu-Chong and artist Jeffrey "Chamba" Cruz about the series as a whole and its dramatic finale.

Capcom's "Street Fighter II" first hit arcades in 1991, a sequel that surpassed the original in every way, eventually becoming one of the most successful video games of its generation. It inspired a slew of fighting games, notably the Midway arcade rival "Mortal Kombat," and "Street Fighter II" itself underwent a series of updates with new features added to meet unwavering fan demand. The final international arcade release came three years later with "Super Street Fighter II Turbo," incorporating several new characters. In 2008, UDON contributed new art and animation to the XBox Live and Playstation Network downloadable version, "Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix."

The final arc of "Street Fighter II Turbo" represents the culmination of UDON's various "Street Fighter" series, taking readers through the tournament and resolving the plots surrounding M.Bison's Shadaloo organization. But most significant is the final confrontation in issue #12 between true martial artist Ryu and the dark force of Akuma. "The Ryu and Akuma dynamic has been the yin and yang of the whole series, representing the dichotomy of martial arts in general," Siu-Chong said. "On the one hand, martial arts are supposed to help you better yourself, bring inner peace and preserve life, and on the other, it's also destructive and violent. I've always joked that at its core, the story of 'Street Fighter' has a lot in common with 'Star Wars,' with characters that choose between the good and bad aspects of some great power."

Describing his technique in illustrating the epic battle, artist Jeffrey "Chamba" Cruz told CBR, "I tried to show their power through the motion of their attacks. Using focus and motion blurs helped. Facial expressions also played a big part." The artist said he saw Ryu's struggle against his own darkness one of the battle's most thrilling moments."You almost think, 'Here we go, we'll see Akuma take a few licks now.'"

Siu-Chong has written all of UDON's "Street Fighter" core titles, as well as most of the tie-in miniseries. Asked about highlights from his run on the books, the writer told us, "The final battle between Akuma and Ryu is definitely on the list. It basically was the resolution for the story we started nearly a decade ago and was just a fulfilling feeling seeing it finally take place. Whatever the future brings, I can say I put my small stamp on the Street Fighter universe's mythos," Siu-Chong said. "Aside from that epic battle, I'd also say some of the smaller moments that were captured on the page were also equally rewarding. Moments like Sakura removing her shoes to emulate Ryu and seeing them eat at a buffet, the interplay between the 'pretty-boys' Ken and Vega, making Zangief and E. Honda tag team partners and, of course, anything to do with Dan Hibiki, have been a pleasure to create. Writing the comedic 'Sakura Legends' miniseries was also a big highlight for me."

Asked about his favorite moments from the series, artist Cruz replied, "In all honesty, just having the honor of depicting the whole of 'em has been wicked. As per favorite scenes, oddly enough it would have been to draw up Cody from 'Final Fight.' He's always been one of me fave characters, so that first shot of him sitting in the bus was definitely an exciting thing for me to draw.

"That and to be able to illustrate Gouken's appearance in #12."

The Shadaloo organization came crashing down in #11, effectively resolving a number of the other characters' arcs. While the finale in issue #12 touches briefly on the lives of Chun Li, Cammy, Blanka's, and the others after the tournament, Siu-Chong said he'd like to continue their adventures in a future series. "Seeing what became of SFII-era characters during the SFIII-era is something that we're definitely interested in exploring," he said.

With Capcom's recent release of "Super Street Fighter IV" on Playstation 3 and Xbox 360, CBR News asked what might be next for the world of "Street Fighter" comics. "We're hoping to incorporate both SFIII and SFIV into our comic universe," Siu-Chong said. "I know everyone's probably waiting to see a Balrog vs. Dudley match to settle things once and for all!" The writer also added that he would be interested in doing Cammy or Akuma "Street Fighter Legends" miniseries.

With the current popularity of the SFIV franchise, "Street Fighter II" has endured in a way that few games have, before or since, and has maintained a level of popularity greater than its video game sequels. Siu-Chong attributed its continued appeal to "a combination of the amazingly iconic and recognizable character designs and elaborate universe Capcom created, as well as Street Fighter being the first big fighting game." "Being the first competitive fighting game that grew to immense popularity gave Street Fighter the chance to have players really start forming attachments to the characters they were playing on-screen," he said. "Everyone still remembers who their favorite characters were when arcades were in their heyday."

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