What’s this? Another SNK fighting game character?!
Actually, I could probably pick a lot of characters from fighting games. Along with RPGs, it’s a genre that inherently relies on detailed character designs. SNK’s characters, in particular, have a certain quirky flavor that, in my opinion, don’t necessarily stand out at first glance, but tend to stick with me in the long run.
Terry first appeared as the main character of Fatal Fury: King of Fighters in 1991, and he’s been in every sequel and spin-off of that series, including being the only returning character in Garou: Mark of the Wolves in 1999. He’s also been in every King of Fighters game, as well as the Capcom vs. SNK series, and a few other games as well. Needless to say, he’s one of SNK’s headlining characters.
I’ve written about Terry Bogard before, but as for why he’s a personal favorite, it’s a little hard to pin down. Like Ryu from Street Fighter, he’s a bit of a generic stereotype, which makes him an approachable all-around fighter, but there’s an actual character there. He’s got a full background story, as well as an appealing personality. And his moveset has its own particular style, as well.
And the fact that Terry’s personality is appealing goes a long way. There are a lot of character designs that are trying so hard to be “badass” and full of attitude that they end up being joyless. But Terry always looks like he’s having fun. He’s cocky, to be sure, but he doesn’t seem to take himself too seriously. He’s just a cool, laid back dude.
Maybe the flippant portrayal of the character reflects this as well. Despite being a pretty blatant American stereotype, he speaks with an obvious Japanese accent. I wouldn’t be surprised if his voice actor, Satoshi Hashimoto, didn’t actually speak a lick of English. And yet, the delivery of lines like, “Come on, get serious!” are strangely endearing. I mean, if he spoke with a proper American accent, it just wouldn’t sound like Terry Bogard. (Listen to his American voice actor in the Maximum Impact games for reference.)
And like my other favorite characters I’ve discussed, Terry has gone through a few iterations. His classic red hat and jacket/vest outfit has been tweaked several times over the years, but he was also completely redesigned for Garou: Mark of the Wolves. That version also appeared in a few of the main King of Fighters games as well. Again, I enjoy seeing characters change and evolve like this.
What else can I say about Terry Bogard? His design feels effortless. It’s not overdone, it’s not trying too hard, but it’s well-rounded, and it works. And as with the Psycho Soldier Team, it’s a character I can easily imagine beyond the games he’s in, which is always a sign of great character design.
And he’s just a cool, laid back dude.
Fighter’s Generation – A bio, review, and artwork collection.