Oct. 11, 2000  -  Why Ryu and the shotoclones suck so much...

One of the biggest controversies since I first made a website 4 years ago, has to do with my constantly ripping Ryu and the shotoclones for being SO DAMN LAME!!  To be honest, I don't understand why this has been a controversy because it's so obviously true.  Nevertheless, let me explain to you what exactly my position is...  (then there should be no doubts!)
First of all, when I refer to the clones, I'm talking about Ken, Ryu and Gouki.  Sakura, Dan, and Sean aren't really included... they're just 'honorary' shotoclones.  Anyhow, there are basically 2 ways to look at a video game character.  One is how they are in the game - meaning how they play, what they look like, etc.  The 2nd way is how they are 'on paper' - storyline, personality, design, etc.
In the game...
Without the doubt, the shotoclones are too cheap and easy to play compared to the other characters.  It takes little or no skill to perform well with a shotoclone, and that's the main reason why they're so popular.  Shotoclone fans are just jumping on a bandwagon because they want to be on the side of a winner so they look good too.  They don't learn the game, pick a favorite character, and then practice... first and foremost, they want to win quick and easy.  Don't tell me that people like the shotoclones because they're cool looking, and because they have an interesting personality and storyline!
Back to the point that they're cheap and easy.  I've seen hundreds of instances where a newbie player picks a shotoclone, spins the joystick with almost no control, pounds all 6 buttons (or even 1or 2 buttons), and wins the fight.  I've even seen children and a homeless man play a shotoclone for the first time with much success.  You can't do that with Cammy, Rolento, Rose, or any other character!  That's just not right... Capcom should be ashamed of themselves.  ALL characters in fighting games should be as balanced as possible!
The main reason the shotoclones are so cheap, is because all their moves are set up so that they'll easily chain into one another.  A lot of times, it'll just happen accidentally (that's why spinning and pounding works so well).  Not only can one be powerful with little skill, but the chaotic nature of their movements make it extra difficult to fight against.  And another thing that makes them cheaper, is that they have extremely high priority.  For instance, on many occasions I've ducked an uppercut by Ken, countered with a Cannon Spike or Reverse Shaft Breaker so that I hit him from underneath, and I'M the one who somehow gets hurt!  Moreover, a shotoclone also has less (or none at all) hesitation between moves... they can go from a Hurricane Kick into an uppercut without any hesitation.  That's downright wrong.  If Cammy misses a Cannon Drill, she can't go instantly into a Cannon Spike!  Speaking of the Hurricane Kick, that's mighty cheap in and of itself because you can easily do it anywhere, and it's offensive as well as defensive.  No other character has a move that cheap.  And on top of all that, they score high combos with simple attacks (like the Hurricane Kick), which make dizzies and super combo meter building way too easy!
There's no doubt that Capcom made the shotoclones better/cheaper to promote them.  Moreover, Ryu always gets the first pick on the select screen, as well as all the default high scores.  And on top of all that, I suspect that Ryu has been programmed with a slightly higher lever of AI because fighting him in a regular fight can often be as difficult as a boss fight.  That's pushing things WAY too far... I don't like having stuff pushed down my throat in such blatant marketing schemes!  If Ryu's supposed to be our hero, make him earn it legitimately (like Kyo or Terry Bogard have).  I think for myself, so it doesn't work, but there are obviously a lot of bandwagon jumpers who fall hook, line, and sinker for that BS.
The bottom line is that anybody can win with a shotoclone.  Real gamers learn to win with other characters too.
As characters (on paper)...
Actually, I like Ken and Gouki.  They are both look pretty cool (especially Gouki), and they have decent storylines.  Ken's storyline has even progressed a little over the years.
Ryu, however, is still the same old lame character that he's always been... self-righteous, alone, and looking to train *yawn*.   He doesn't have an ounce of personality, style, or storyline.  What really annoys me, is that he has become the main character in SF (Ken & Ryu used to be equals) and Capcom's 'mascot'.  Does a character like that deserve so a high position?  Of course not!  If the story revolves around him, then he should be doing things, or having things done to him!  'Peripheral characters' like Cammy, Vega, and Sagat continue to evolve, so why not do something with Ryu too!?  In a nutshell, that's Ryu's fatal flaw... who ever heard of a hero that doesn't have a personality and doesn't do anything?!
What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger, right?  You learn from your experiences, right?  Capcom should use these ideas to help Ryu evolve into the best fighter in the world, or they should just get rid of him!  For instance, he could have taken on Sakura as a student because being a teacher would have given him a completely different perspective on what it is that he does, and that would make him better.  Practicing from one perspective only makes perfect only up to a certain point.  For example, you might be a very talented comic artist, but if you only know how to draw humans, and practice that all your life, you won't get very far... you need to learn how to draw animals, vehicles, backgrounds etc. too!  Besides, fighting another person has to be more helpful that fighting your own shadow.  Another thing they could do with Ryu, is make him lose in a rematch to Sagat!  That would shake up his humdrum life, and it would do wonders for the storyline.  I could tolerate and maybe even like Ryu if he actually did something in the SF storyline!
For all the shotoclones in general, the story of Goutetsu, Gouken, Gouki, Ken, Ryu, Dan, Sean, etc., is very interesting, but the storyline is completely stale!  Why has it not evolved any more in the game!?  Everything that has happened has occurred outside of the game.  If Capcom did something with that storyline, they would have storylines at least as interesting as Shadowloo and Cammy!  I would actually love to see that... I hate seeing them be do-nothing nobodies game after game.
Shotoclone fans...
From years and years of experience, it seems like the most whiny, ignorant, and arrogant players are attracted to shotoclones.  People like that don't succeed.  Those are the kinds of people who jump on bandwagons... they take the quick and simple approach to things and enjoy a fake success on the back of someone else.
If you could only see some of the shotoclone fan hate mail I've gotten over the years.  It's pitiful, yet quite funny.  If this rant inspires any of these idiots to write, I'll post the e-mail so you we can laugh together.  ^_^  Most of the time, they talk about what a slut Cammy is, how tough the shotoclones are, blah blah blah.  Whiny, ignorant, and arrogant.  Oh, and 90% of the time, they're Nth degree black belt in some martial art too.   Suuuure...
One of the most annoying things is that whenever a new SF game comes out in the arcades, a buncha lame people line up and select their favorite shotoclone.  They're afraid to try somebody new.  That's frustrating because real SF fans have seen the same 3 characters go at it since SSF2X, and we are sick and f-ing tired of it!!!  When a new game comes out, wouldn't it make sense to check out the new characters?  Instead, lame shotoclone fans sit there a gloat when you play a character for the first time, and they beat you.  <sarcasm>"Congratulations, you're a great champion!"</sarcasm>  Nothing is more annoying than an ignorant fool who thinks too highly of himself!
In Japan, people actually take the time to play new characters... and it's great fun!  In fact, shotoclones are rarely ever played.  The Japanese don't take much pride in winning with cheapness or at any cost.   Generally speaking, gamers over there play to win with style.  They're embarrassed to win with a "cheap", but I've played hundreds of shotoclone fans in the US who think it cool!  Although people in Japan generally try to conform, they don't do that with games.  Over there, it's cool to become an expert with an obscure character Honda, Rolento, Rose, etc.
Dan, Sakura, Sean - honorary shotoclones...
They don't suck all that bad, but to a certain extent, they do just because of who and what they are.  3 pure shotoclones is more than enough... who needs a buncha wannabe shotoclones in addition to that?!
Dan may be one of the best characters ever!  If you know what he's all about, and how/why he was created, you know what I mean... but I don't have time to explain all that here.
In theory, Sakura's gotta be the most annoying characters!  She's just a Ryu wannabe.  She was created simply to hype up Ryu.  And the schoolgirl sailor outfit is soooo old and overused!  She might be the most unoriginal character ever created.  However, you kinda gotta love her personality... I'm not sure how or why, but she's kinda charming.  I guess I like her passion, even if it's grossly misguided.  That scream of hers is pretty cool  ^_^  It would be interesting to see Sakura grow up and become her own woman, instead of a girl in a stupid schoolgirl phase.
And Sean... he's such a nobody that there are no comments to make on him.  (who cares?)
What Capcom should do...
From all that I've said, it should be clear that the shotoclones aren't inherently bad, it's mainly what Capcom does with them, and what Capcom does not do with them.  After years and years of the same thing, most SF fans are just totally sick and f-ing tired of seeing the same old thing!  The easiest thing to do, would be to give them storylines that help them evolve from game to game!  We cannot have the same old product every time.  Since Ryu is the 'hero' of the game, this is especially true for him!!  Another thing they have to do, is bring the shotoclones back to earth, and treat them equally with the other characters... especially where gameplay is concerned.
In the end, Capcom is cheating the fans as well as themselves with all this nonsense!
PS - If you're a shotoclone fan, please don't write me about this!!  I've heard it all over the years... and I really don't care.   Sorry.