Mastodon

11 min read


Context

Balrog (no relation to anything Tolkienesque) is one of the classic villains from the undying Street Fighter brawling video games series.

He’s called “Vega” in Western localizations. (Me, I call him “pretty Wolverine” to avoid any confusion – Ed.).

Now Vega is a great villain with a psychotic vanity complex and the façade of being an honorable nobleman by night. His storyline and abilities allow him to function as an underground pit fighter or as an assassin equally well.

Advertisement

Background

  • Other Aliases: The young masked noble, Blood-Smeared Claw.
  • Known Relatives: Unnamed mother (deceased), Unnamed father (deceased by his own hand).
  • Group Affiliation: Shadaloo.
  • Base Of Operations: Barcelona, Spain.
  • Height: 6’2” (1.88m). Weight: 158 lbs. (71 Kg.).
  • Eyes: Blue. Hair: Blond.

Powers and Abilities

Vega is a superhumanly skilled acrobat. He can leap to amazing heights and perform unbelievable acrobatics. He’s nearly impossible to hit when trying to avoid attacks. In DC Heroes RPG terms, he has Acrobatics (Dodging) and Dispersal.

This coupled with his fighting prowess, ninjitsu training, and killer instinct make him quite possibly the deadliest assassin in his world.

Vega is also of noble birth giving him great wealth and privilege.

Of course, he is charismatic and highly adept at social interplay. All the better to hide his secrets.

Balrog of Street Fighter video games with claws at the ready

History

Vega’s mother was of noble birth. She married another privileged member of the Spanish nobility, both out of social responsibility and to preserve the status of her family.

Vega was born a beautiful child. He was constantly spoiled due to his social status and his good looks. This only furthered his vain and selfish attitude. He soon began to believe that only the beautiful were worthy.

He had always been close to his mother. But he despised his father, due to the fact that his mother was also stunning and his father was ugly.

A taste of blood

When Vega grew into his teens he became adept at hunting. But once he mastered this hobby, his interest waned – as the prey didn’t fight back.

He later became passionate about bull fighting due to the elegance and grace. But again he grew dissatisfied with it. He had become so adept at it, that no bull could ever hope to touch him.

It was his discovery of combat sports that led him to travel to Japan. There he studied ninjutsu, a martial art known for both its elegance and deadliness.

Vega later mixed ninjitsu with the Spanish bull fighting techniques. Thus he began perfecting his own martial arts style.

Around this time his father murdered his mother. He was jealous of her beauty and felt that she did not treat him with the respect he deserved. It is hinted, but not explicitly stated that she may have been having an affair with a handsome young nobleman.

His wealthy and influential father made her death look like an accident, but Vega knew the truth. He murdered his father and staged it to look like an accident.

Balrog of Street Fighter video games death dive

Parricide

With Vega being the only child he inherited his family’s vast wealth. He also cultivated his image of and honorable nobleman by day.

But him murdering his father only served to embolden his bloodlust. He couldn’t forget the thrill of murder – or that he had gotten away with it scot-free.

Vega started sneaking out of his castle to murder beggars and homeless people at night. Eventually, he discovered the underground pit fighting scene – and soon became its undisputed champion.

This brought him to the attention of M. Bison, who offered him a position as his chief assassin.

Vega gleefully accepted the job not for the money, but for the thrill of killing worthy opponents worldwide.

Street Fighter Zero 3 (part 1)

Bison ordered Vega to find Cammy, and report as to her whereabouts.

The assassin also met Rose. He couldn’t understand why someone so beautiful would just oppose Bison and thus go to her death.

Vega finally found Cammy. He stated that Bison didn’t need her anymore and prepared to attack, but Cammy told him she didn’t want to harm him. Cammy won.

Vega (who likely had thrown the fight) warned her that she was to be terminated. Cammy was shocked and ran off.

Finding Cammy a worthy foe, Vega found himself caring for her. He worried about what Bison would do to her.

He also realized that Cammy was not an experimental object and Doll, since she had her free will. She was an actual human being, albeit an enhanced one.

Street Fighter Zero 3 (part 2)

Vega confronted his leader, demanding to know what he planned to do with Cammy. To his shock, Vega learned :

  1. That Cammy was a clone of Bison.
  2. That he wanted her dead simply because the clone was exceeding the original.

Vega tried to advocate for Cammy. But Bison further revealed that as a free clone, Cammy was capable of taking control of the Psycho Drive and make it go haywire. The Spaniard did not press the point further.

Later on, the Spaniard found Cammy unconscious in the Psycho Drive room. He realized the potential for a beautiful opponent like Cammy, and still saw Bison as a coward for wanting to kill her out of self-preservation. Vega therefore rescued her, so his gorgeous rival would live on.

It is unclear whether Vega was the one who delivered her to Delta Red. Perhaps he simply watched over her for a while and then left her on her own. Or even continued to monitor her as much as he could after she joined Delta Red. Most likely he delivered her to Delta Red’s grounds, and she accidentally lost her memory some time later.

Street Fighter 2

Vega participated in the SF2 tournament. Probably because Bison ordered him to – but he also likely wanted to see Cammy again. He most likely did see her there and realized that she was doing just fine.

He also probably participated because he wanted to prove that the beautiful are the best, as always.

He was still officially a member of Shadaloo during SF2.

Vega aka Balrog (Street Fighter games) mask off

Street Fighter 4

Shadaloo was destroyed. Vega just kind of aimlessly drifted.

It’s rumored that he returned to bull fighting. He did so masked, as most believed his civilian persona to be dead.

S.I.N. then emerged as a sort of spin off revival of Shadaloo. They offered him a position. Vega jumped at the chance as he’d grown bored of missing out on the action.

He was also fascinated by their cloning experiments. These potentially could allow him to remain in his beautiful prime forever.

S.I.N.’s boss was then attacked by several assailants, including a newly resurrected Bison. Vega decided his association with S.I.N. had outlived its usefulness. He stole the data about their human cloning experiments and deserted.

As he make his exit he spotted Chun Li copying the same data. Vega decided to pull the fire alarm knowing that it would release a deadly gas as part of the protocol.

While escaping on helicopter the Spaniard noticed that Chun Li had been rescued and still had a copy of the data. He vowed to correct this oversight in the future.

Street Fighter V

Vega appeared later on the console version as DLC. His storyline thus isn’t quite as fleshed out as some of the earlier SF5 characters.

It is known that he’s basically been hired by Bison to make sure that the Dolls don’t go rogue again.

He’s also been partnered up with F.A.N.G., who he detests.

Balrog Vega of Street Fighter video games portrait

Description

Vega is a tall muscular Spaniard with a light complexion. He sports a large full body tattoo of a purple snake. It is said to represent his mother’s side of the family.

When fighting or killing, his long hair is always tied into a single braid.

He wears a hockey mask to conceal his identity and protect his face.

Vega goes bare-chested. He wears tight purple pants with a yellow strip down the side, a sash, and bullfighting shoes.

Other details

His wicked-looking three-pronged claw is almost always covered with blood.

He has an insane gleam to his eyes.

By US standard, Vega is somewhat effeminate in many of his mannerisms. Also, he yodels.

When not fighting or doing assassination work you can expect him to dress in the finest clothes and latest fashions befitting a Spanish nobleman.

Advertisement

Personality

Vega is a complete narcissist, which drives him to the point of insanity. His own vanity and inflated sense of self worth drove him to become a sociopathic serial killer.

He sees murder as a form of art. He believes that only the beautiful can be competent, and seeks to give the ugly a beautiful death.

He’s very much a thrill killer. Vega lives for the sake of fighting and killing worthy opponents.

He likes fighting beautiful opponents. He usually allows them to live so that he may have a chance at a rematch. But he kills the ugly ones outright.

Vega also sees meticulously maintaining his secret identity as another form of beautiful art.

Balrog (aka Vega) toreador pose (Street Fighter games)

Quotes

“Hmhhmhhm, it’s only natural for beautiful me to win. The defeated are always predestined as the ugly ones.”

DC Universe Adaptation

(This section proposes ways of using this character in DC Universe stories).

There’s loads of potential plot hooks here. The most obvious would be to make him a Batman villain.

The parallels between him and Bruce Wayne make him an obvious foil to the bat. He’s also skilled enough to give Batman a worthy fight and their use of the martial arts, dirty tricks, and stealth could make for an excellent showdown.

Style-wise he could just as easily be a Nightwing foe. Particularly during Nightwing’s Blüdhaven career.

If Dick were to call in the Teen Titans for help Vega would likely call in Shadaloo goons in turn. This could potentially set up a pretty bloody showdown befitting of the grittiness of Blüdhaven.

Membership in the League of Assassins also seems likely. He may very well have ties to Ra’s al Ghul, as maintaining his youth and beauty via the Lazarus Pits are likely to be a top priority for him. Perhaps he does assassinations for Ra’s in an exchange for Lazarus dips. The side effect of insanity would only fuel Vega’s fixations.

If you choose to go this route, then in DC Heroes RPG terms his SPI should be upped to a CPI and he may well have great difficulty maintaining his Secret ID.

More takes

Another plot hook might be to have him participate in the underground pit fights of the DCU. He could easily be Roulette’s top pit fighter and thus he would likely fight Wildcat (Ted Grant) or any DCU character likely participating.

If you choose to go this route be careful as Wildcat or any other character fighting him may well not survive the experience.

Alternatively he could develop an obsession with a female heroine much the same way as he developed an obsession for Cammy. An obsession with Black Canary could lead him into a confrontation with Green Arrow, for example.

An obsession with Wonder Woman would certainly be possible, but he’s not likely to last very long against Wonder Woman or any of the Justice League’s heavy hitters.

DC Heroes RPG

Balrog

Dex: 09 Str: 04 Bod: 05
Int: 06 Wil: 04 Min: 04
Inf: 07 Aur: 04 Spi: 06
Init: 026 HP: 070

Powers:

Adrenaline Surge: 06, Dispersal: 03, Jumping: 07, Running: 04

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Adrenaline Surge only works with Jumping, Running, and Weaponry.
  • Dispersal can only be when dodging and only to avoid attacks.

Skills:

Acrobatics*: 09, Animal Handling: 04, Artist (Actor): 06, Martial Artist: 08, Weaponry (Exotic, melee): 10, Weaponry (Firearms, missile): 04

Advantages:

Attractive, Connoisseur, Iron Nerves, Languages (Japanese, Spanish), Lightning Reflexes, Local Hero (Spain), Local Hero (underground pit fighting tournaments), Schtick (armor optimization).

Connections:

Bison (Low), Shadaloo (High), Spanish nobility (High).

Drawbacks:

  • Attack Vulnerability (-1 CS OV/RV vs. disarm attempts).
  • Dark Secret (homicidal serial killer).
  • Distinct Appearance (full body snake tattoo).
  • SIA (beautiful things).
  • SIA (sadism and/or toying with his prey).
  • MIA (Cammy).
  • MID (ugly things).
  • Minor Rage.
  • Secret ID.

Motivation:

Psychopath.

Occupation:

Nobleman by day/pit fighter and assassin by night.

Wealth:

015

Equipment:

  • Claw [BODY 04, Enhance (EV: 01 (cap is 06), R#03, Sharpness (EV): 01].
  • Mask [BODY 05, Enhance (RV against Critical, Devastation and doubles): 02 (cap is 07), Enhance (Facial attacks): 02 (cap is 07), Enhance (Unarmed RV): 01 (cap is 06), Flame immunity: 01].

Previous Statistics

Vega was slightly different in the EX series. His Jumping was upped to a whopping 13, but his Dispersal was lowered to 02.


Fame

Vega’s Local Hero (Spain) and Local Hero (underground pit fighting tournaments) are treated as completely separate. Local Hero (Spain) refers to his status as a well renowned nobleman in his civilian ID.

His Local Hero (underground pit fighting tournaments) is for his Secret ID. Obviously he would lose his Popularity (Spain) if either his Secret ID or his Dark Secret were exposed.

Writeups.org writer avatar Tom Eilers

By Tom Eilers.

Source of Character: Street Fighter.

Helper(s): Sean MacDonald (for the original take), Eric Langendorff, Sébastien Andrivet.