Seriously, Capcom, what is with you and your denial of such a beautiful would-be friendship?
Yeah, I get that they’re essentially carbon copies of one another. Haggar was busting out Spinning Lariats and piledriving dudes before Zangief came around, but when Street Fighter got made someone decided to jack all of Haggar’s badass moves and give them to some massive mountain of a commie bear wrestler. They even do the same jumping splash/bodyslam thing where they basically look like a kid jumping belly first onto their bed after being yelled at all day at school.
They do the same shit, so they’re essentially redundant.
But fuck that, Capcom. You’ve gotten away with the palate swap for ages with Ken, Ryu, Akuma, Gouken, Sakura, Dan, Batsu, and half the cast of Street Fighter EX. You’re totally down with the Shotoclones. Yet when it comes to pro wrestling you insist on diversity.
First there was Saturday Night Slam Masters. This was your first opportunity to bust out this potentially legendary rivalry, but while you opted to give Haggar some screen time, you chose to create an entirely new Russian wrestler to act as one of the game’s protagonists. I guess I can forgive you in this instance, since you were trying to create an entirely new franchise. Haggar was just a token reference to an older game. I’m down with that. Zangief’s absence is OK.
Then the Alpha series came about. The first game wasn’t too bad, since this was our first taste of the Final Fight and Street Fighter universes mixing. We saw Guy fighting along side Ken, Ryu, and Chun-Li. And you even tossed in Sodom, a pretty obscure (but pretty damn iconic, image-wise) boss dude from Final Fight. This got us Capcom fanboys all excited about potential match-ups between characters from both games, and one of the first pairings to come to mind was Haggar and Zangief. We already knew they were knock-0ffs of one another, but we liked that. We’re the ones that embraced the Shotoclone Army. We’re down with it.
Alpha 2 came along after that, and you tossed Zangief into the mix. The only new Final Fight addition to that game was Rolento, but that was perfectly fine. We were all distracted by Sakura’s awesomeness to be too concerned with missing out on our Haggar/Zangief dream match.
Such wasn’t the case with Alpha 3. It might not have been bad if there was a dearth of Final Fight characters in Alpha 3– it woulda been a missed opportunity rather than an outright betrayal. But lo and behold– motherfucking Cody appears!
Now I’m down with Cody. Back when Final Fight came out I was a big Cody fan, of only because I preferred his “balanced” fighting style over Guy’s speed and Haggar’s slow power. But you took a hell of a lot of effort to redesign Cody for Alpha 3. He was no longer the clean cut boyish protagonist type that he was in Final Fight. He was transformed into a thugish criminal who escaped from prison and “challenged” himself by fighting while still in handcuffs.
Capcom, you took the time to make Cody a unique character so that he could co-exist in the Street Fighter universe, yet you refused to even touch Haggar. You wouldn’t change up his fighting style a bit so he wouldn’t be a direct copy of Zangief. Instead you decided to make Rainbow Mika, a stupidly-proportioned wrestler chick who looked like she belonged in fucking Tenjo Tenge rather than Street Fighter. That’s what we got instead of Haggar. Fuck you.
Other potential chances to play off of this came and went, but they didn’t have as much of an impact as Alpha 3. We saw Hugo in Street Fighter 3 2nd Impact, but neither “original” wrestler was in sight. Rather, we got to see Hugo’s massive girth and transvestite lovin’ go up against Alex and his “new” style of “I can actually move faster than a rock” wrestling. Seeing two well-executed styles of command throws and the like made me yearn for that Zangief/Haggar dream match, but it was easier to take when both were absent.
Then came Super Street Fighter 4. Not only were Guy and Cody back, but you decided to taunt us by giving Zangief a Haggar costume. You knew that we want this match, Capcom, and you reveled in rubbing that salt into our 360 degree wounds. You showed us that you hadn’t forgotten the past, but you wanted to watch us squirm. You even had the balls to charge us for this alternate costume. While I can appreciate such an evil deed, as I do love a good maniacal laugh, this was too much.
But I held out hope. When Marvel vs Capcom 3 was announced and Haggar was on the roster, I assumed that this dream was coming true. Zangief had been in every single VS game up to this point. There was no way in hell he would be left out of MvC3. That’s just not how the world works. I got that y’all were trying to make each character play in a unique manner so as to avoid the “half these dudes play exactly the same” vibe of MvC2, but I assumed that meant Haggar would finally get that revision he shoulda gotten back in the Alpha days.
And again, Capcom, you writhe your hands in sadistic satisfaction. Zangief is nowhere in sight. Not only did he not appear in MvC3, he was neither a downloadable character nor one of the new characters mentioned for Ultimate MvC3.
What is it about this pairing that makes you so afraid, Capcom? Why do you cringe at the notion of these two joining forces and putting the Saturday Night Slam down on all those Shotokans and juggling comboers? The world needs this. These are desperate times, and all of the world’s ills would be solved if a pro wrestling mayor and a man who can crush a bear were to be united by fate.