Vega, known as Balrog (バルログ, Barurogu) in Japan, is one of the bosses of the Street Fighter fighting game series. He first appeared as a boss character in Street Fighter II. He is a memorable character, not only for his obsession with beauty, but also for the claw he wields and his unique fighting style.
Vega uses his own fighting style of which is a blend of Spanish Ninjutsu and Bullfighting.
A beautiful man who hides his face in a mask to protect it from injury.
Vega was born to a privileged noble family. For reasons undisclosed, their status dwindled, causing Vega's mother to remarry for financial security. As he matured, Vega studied bullfighting, a cultural tradition. Afterward, he went to Japan and learned ninjutsu, a style he believed meshed well with his natural grace and agility. Combining bullfighting with ninjutsu, Vega went into an underground cage fighting circuit, and quickly became one of the best. His ugly stepfather murdered his beautiful mother because he felt she did not respect him, and Vega killed him in return. The incident warped his mind, and he developed a dual personality: honorable nobleman by day, sadistic murderer by night. It was this incident that triggered Vega's obession with beauty as a wonderful trait, as well as his belief that ugliness is something evil that should be purged.
Vega oversaw assassination operations for Shadaloo and was associated with Cammy and the Shadaloo assassins known as the Dolls. When Cammy went rogue however, Vega was assigned to bring her in and although he failed in that mission, Cammy brought herself in and defeated Bison, freeing herself and the other Dolls from Bison's brainwashing. When the strain of undoing the brainwashing (as well as a dead-man's trigger in the brainwashing which was meant to kill them if they betrayed Bison), caused Cammy and the other Dolls to collapse, Vega saved them from the burning Shadaloo base because he didn't believe that anything as beautiful as them should die.
Vega then participated in the second World Warrior tournament at the behest of Bison. However, when Bison was seemingly killed by an unknown assailant (Akuma), Vega disappeared back into his old lifestyle.
It is unknown what Vega was doing since the fall of Shadaloo, although it's assumed he still continued his murderous rampages. He was also rumored to have returned to bullfighting. No one knew for sure, and some even believed that he was dead. He has survived however, and returned, being re-recruited by Shadaloo through a subsidiary division called S.I.N.; an offer he quickly accepted. He does so, however, for two reasons. First, he had grown tiresome of the aristocratic lifestyle, finding money and power to be an ugly combination. Second, although he found the new head of the organization, Seth repugnantly ugly as well, he was intrigued at the idea of creating new bodies for oneself so as to be eternally young (despite the mold being broken with Vega himself). He returned to his job as Shadaloo assassin, but when, at S.I.N. HQ, Seth was distracted by several assailants (not least of whom was a newly-resurrected Bison), Vega stole valuable data on the project, and when Chun-Li did the same thing, he attempted to kill her by setting off the fire alarm, which releases a toxic, fire-retardant spray. He escaped in a helicopter from the exploding base and notices Chun-Li being rescued from the base along with her copy of the data. Mildly displeased that he did not have the only copy, he resolved to correct the situation later.
Early sketches suggest that Vega was going to resemble a medieval knight wearing a full suit of armor. This idea was scrapped because Street Fighter was about fighters from all over the world, not time. Remnants of this concept are apparent in Vega's final design including a mask and a sharp metal claw.
Vega is one of the few Street Fighter characters to constantly carry a weapon, and the only character to do so in Street Fighter II. This claw is useful for both stabbing and slashing attacks, and gives him a very long range compared to most characters. It is the same type of weapon worn by Geki in the original Street Fighter.
Vega does not wear his expressionless mask to conceal his identity; he removes it after fights, during his win poses, as well as in certain character select images in various games he appears in. The mask is purely to protect his face from scarring or bruising during battle, since he believes himself to be impossibly beautiful. This mask is not particularly sturdy; it is smashed in during Vega's lose portrait in Street Fighter II, and Vega himself will crush it to dust with one hand if he loses due to a time over in Street Fighter Alpha 3.
Vega wears blue-purple and yellow ceremonial trousers, a red sash, loafers, and white leggings of a matador, suggesting his involvement with bullfighting. This decorative garb also offers matadors ease of movement, and is ideal for Vega's acrobatic maneuvers.
In the Street Fighter II series, he was depicted as having light brown hair, although his endings in the first two updates of the original Street Fighter II, Street Fighter II' Champion Edition and Street Fighter II' Hyper Fighting, states that he has blond hair and his endings in Super Street Fighter II and Super Street Fighter II Turbo shows him with blond hair. In the Street Fighter II V anime, his hair is a golden blond and he has blue eyes. Since Street Fighter Alpha 3, however, he officially had blond hair until Street Fighter IV, where much like in later versions of Street Fighter II, in gameplay, he has brown hair, and in the ending, he is blond, this happens in the Arcade version, while in the console version, his hair is always brown.
Vega has a purple snake tattoo on his chest, which also circles his arm. This shows him to be a villain to a Japanese audience, where body tattoos are usually worn by Yakuza members. In Capcom vs. SNK 2, as a win pose, Vega will hold his arm out, with the tattoo coming to life and hissing at the opponent.
His fingernails are always long and he also uses them for scratching his enemies.
Much like Sagat's eyepatch in earlier games, Vega's claw will always appear on whatever arm matches the direction he is facing (if he is looking to left side of the screen, it will appear on his left arm, and if he's looking right, it will be on his right) due to sprite mirroring. In the Street Fighter EX series, it will always be on his right arm. In Street Fighter IV, however, he changes his claw every time he switches sides, without mirroring, this can be seen in his tattoo, his accessories, and in the mark on his mask, curiously enough, during the versus screen, his portrait won't be mirroring all the accesories either, with the unique exception of his claws.
Vega is one of the fastest and most agile characters in the Street Fighter series, but also one of the most delicate; his defensive rating is unusually low compared to most of the other characters to balance his incredible speed. Vega's swiftness and flying special techniques make him well-suited for multi-hitting combination attacks, confusing cross-ups, or long range poking attacks with the reach-advantage provided by his claw. It takes exactly fourteen blocked hits for Vega to lose his claw. This reduces his attack range significantly, and prevents him from doing certain super attacks. Since Super Street Fighter II Turbo, Vega can pick up the claw. In Street Fighter Alpha 3, he can lose his mask as well, though the effect is only cosmetic. In SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos, Vega cannot lose his claw. In the Street Fighter EX series, Vega may reinforce or recover his claw with a super move.
In Street Fighter IV and Super Street Fighter IV, Vega can throw his claw off as a special taunt. He can throw his mask, at the cost of two EX Bars, to increase his attack power by 25% (damage scaling is still accounted for, however). If Vega wins a fight without his mask on it is shown he is sticking his tongue out to either lick his claw or taunt his fallen opponent.
Vega has a character that is very familiar in Japanese anime, the Narcissist (ナルシスト, Narushisuto), often depicted as a long-haired, effeminate self-lover. He is arrogant and convinced of his own abilities and invulnerability almost to the point of megalomania, though this is perhaps justified as he is shown to be a highly skilled fighter. He can be incredibly sadistic and takes great pleasure in seeing the ugly murdered through his own doing. Vega's unbridled and solipsistic ego is shown even in his taste in interior decor, as his mansion is decorated with portraits all of him. However, he is also attracted to and impressed by the beauty and strength of young women, notably Chun-li. Yet, he also harbors a tragic side. The family trauma he experienced molded his fragile mind to percieve physical unattractivness as not only replusive, but also as a threat. With his beloved mother murdered at the hands of an ugly man, ugliness came to represent evil and cowardice while beauty represented power and strength.
Vega resembles many anime and manga characters, including Shura and Yuda from Fist of the North Star. His personality also reflects that of Dome Ace Tucker from Pokemon, Zarbon from Dragon Ball Z and Valtome from Fire Emblem. The character model for Zhang He in the Dynasty Warriors series of games bears a resemblance to Vega, also bearing a tattoo on his chest and wielding clawed gauntlets, they also use very graceful and swift movesets, as well Vega and Zhang He both look for beauty in things, but Vega looks for physical beauty and Zhang He looks for grace in battle and treats battle as a theater show.
In terms of personality, Vega is similar to Patrick Bateman from the novel American Psycho by Brett Easton Ellis. Both are extremely vain and good looking serial killers, obsessed with beauty and perfection. Both also become enraged if their face is ever damaged or their looks are compromised.
- Vega demonstrates at random times that he likes Chun-Li, during his winquote to her he mentions, that her beauty and strength impress, also in his ending he says"until we meet again my beauty".
- It is a possibility that Geki was the one who trained him in the art of Ninjutsu since he went to Japan to study it according to the Street Fighter canon.
- Vega is one of the 19 characters in Street Fighter IV to not have second rivals in Super Street Fighter IV, despite having a ultra combo video to include his second rival (Cammy).
- In Super Street Fighter IV Vega's second alternate costume bears some resemblance to Zorro.
- Vega is referenced in Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 when Ryu defeats Wolverine.
- The name Vega relates to stars as it is the 5th brightest star. Several of Vega's moves are named to reflect this, such as the Stardust Drop or Cosmic Heel.
- Vega's hair has switched between brown and blonde through various Street Fighter media, including the games and the anime. It is not clear what Capcom believes his official hair color is, although in the most recent game, Super Street Fighter IV, his hair is various shades of brown, depending on which color of outfit he is wearing. There is a blonde verison available by choosing the 10th color option for his default, 1st and 2nd alternate costumes. The 10th version of his 3rd alternative costume features him with paler skin and very dark brown-nearly black hair.
- In Capcom Vs. SNK 2, if Vega fights against Benimaru Nikaido, the narcissist will introduce himself throwing a rose to his rival, showing his appreciation to the other man's beauty.
- Vega is known to drink blood and has a slight obssession with it. This is illustrated in Street Fighter: The Animated Movie when he licks Chun Li's blood from his claw during a fight with her in her apartment; and also Street Fighter V: anime series where he and Ken take a blood oath before a battle which Ken nearly dies from, losing pints of blood.
- Vega might be the only character in the Street Fighter franchise to provenly be left handed. Besides a few exceptions (like his character art in Street Fighter II' - Champion Edition), most of his official illustrations show him with his claw on his left (the stronger) hand.