"Handsome fighters never lose battles!!!" —Vega
Vega, known as Balrog (バルログ) in Japan, is one of the bosses of the Street Fighter fighting game series. He has been in the Street Fighter series ever since his debut 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.
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 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 SFII 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 blonde hair and his endings in Super Street Fighter II and Super Street Fighter II Turbo shows him with blonde hair. Since SFA3, 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 blonde, 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 victory pose, Vega will hold his arm out, with the tattoo coming to life and hissing at the opponent.
Much like Sagat's eyepatch, 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.
Vega was born to a noble family in Barcelona, Spain. As he matured, Vega studied Bullfighting, a cultural tradition amongst the nobles. Afterward, he went to Japan and learned Ninjutsu, a style he believed meshed well with his natural grace and agility. Returning home, Vega combined Bullfighting with Ninjutsu and went into an underground cage fighting circuit where quickly became one of the best. Tragedy struck one day when Vega witnessed the murder of his beautiful mother at the hands of his unattractive stepfather. Her murder was punishment for disrespecting him as his stepfather believed. Witnessing this tragic event warped Vega's mind and from then on he lived a double life; a suave nobleman by day and a narcissistic killer by night who enjoys mutilating ugly people to death using a three-pronged wrist-mounted razor-sharp claw. His very first victim was his stepfather.
Vega's brutal fighting skills and remorseless nature impressed the criminal leader known as M. Bison so much that he came to him personally with an offer to join Shadaloo. Vega accepted Bison's offer purely to improve his own aesthetic senses.
Street Fighter Alpha 3 Edit
After joining Shadaloo, Bison instates Vega as one of his three personal grand master bodyguards.Vega oversees assassination operations for Shadaloo as well and is associated with Cammy and the Shadaloo assassins known as The Dolls. When Cammy goes rogue however, Vega is assigned to bring her in and although he fails in that mission, Cammy brings herself in and defeats 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) causes Cammy and the other Dolls to collapse, Vega saves them from the burning Shadaloo base because he doesn't believe that anything as beautiful as them should die.
Super Street Fighter II Turbo Edit
Vega then participates in the second World Warrior tournament at the behest of Bison. However, when Bison is seemingly killed by an unknown assailant (Akuma), Vega disappears back into his old lifestyle.
Super Street Fighter IV Edit
It is unknown what Vega has been doing since the fall of Shadaloo, although it's assumed he still continues his murderous rampages. He is also rumored to have returned to bullfighting. No-one knows for sure, and some even believe him to be dead. He has survived however and returns, being re-recruited by Shadaloo through a subsidiary division called S.I.N.; an offer he quickly accepts. The reason he does so, however, is because although he finds the new head of the organisation, Seth repugnantly ugly, he is intrigued at the idea of creating new bodies for oneself so as to be eternally young. He returns to his job as Shadaloo assassin, but when, at S.I.N. HQ, Seth is distracted by several assailants (not least of whom is a newly-resurrected Bison), Vega steals valuable data on the project, and when Chun-Li does the same, he attempts to kill her by setting off the fire alarm, which releases a toxic, fire-retardant spray. He escapes 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 does not have the only copy, he resolves to correct the situation later.
Vega is one of the fastest 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 SVC Chaos: SNK vs. Capcom, Vega cannot lose his claw. In the Street Fighter EX series, Vega may reinforce or recover his claw with a super move.
Vega possesses a unique technique in the back flip, making him leap away from an attacker, instead of countering them with an anti-air attack. In certain games, Vega does have the anti-air attack known as Scarlet Terror, making his playing style even more based on offense than before. Vega's Rolling Crystal Flash/Tumbling Claw has him roll forward on the ground and end with a fierce claw strike, a move integral to Vega's offensive posturing, as the move allows him to move forward after he has pushed himself away from the opponent with other attacks.
Vega's Flying Barcelona Attack and Izuna Drop were originally performed by the computer-controlled Vega by climbing on the chain fence that only exists in Vega's stage. For other stages, Vega must leap off the side of the screen. Later games removed Vega's ability to climb the wall altogether, thus making the character react the same way in every stage (except in SFA3 where players had to input a different special move to climb the cage in his stage).
In Street Fighter IV, Vega gains a new Ultra Combo called the Bloody High Claw, where he jumps to the end of the stage and flies back, slashing in the air five times and causing significant damage.
Vega resembles many anime and manga characters, including Shura and Yuda from Fist of the North Star. His personality also reflects that of Zarbon from Dragonball Z. 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.
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.