Introducing A Potential Option for Noobs On Street Fighter: Birdie
Birdie might not have many fans, but with his unique skill set, he is a remarkable option for newbies
If we took a survey and asked five thousand people who their favorite character in street fighter V is, odds are less than 200 will identify Birdie as their character of choice. A cursory glance at the top players and their mains reveals very few Birdie, which makes the rise of Kensuke 'Trashbox' Ishikawa mainly using the character as even more remarkable. So, why don't more people like him? And is it possible that the English punk rocker is the ideal choice for a new Street Fighter V player?
Birdie celebrated his birthday a few days ago (August 22nd), so I decided to look at possible reasons why he is not one of the more popular characters on Street Fighter V.
A little background
As most people probably know, Birdie is actually a pretty early addition to Street Fighter, appearing as a non-playable character in the very first iteration of the game. His design was quite similar to the one he currently rocks in Street Fighter V, and you could probably compare him to one of the thugs you'd find on a game like Final Fight. Apart from his unique looks (punk rocker clothes, chains, and an iconic mohawk), Birdie also has an interesting name, and it was later revealed that it was inspired by the eponymous golfing term. He would not appear again until the Street Fighter Alpha series, where he really grew into his own and gained a couple of fans who liked his design (that impossible hair!Whoosh!), which was heavily modified, along with his fighting style.
Birdie started out as a wrestler and, along with Titanic Tim (a character from the Slam Masters series), formed the duo, 500 Million Trillion Powers. Once his wrestling career was over, though, Birdie became a criminal who was a street fighter for hire. In time, his fighting skills were noticed by the Shadaloo organization, with whom he teamed up to become a lackey of the game's main villain, Bison.
Birdie would later abandon the criminal organization after some poor treatment from Bison, and he even tried to exact revenge on the villain by breaking into the data room and stealing the much-coveted psycho drive. While this ploy ultimately failed, and the psycho drive got destroyed in an explosion, he was able to break out of the clutches of the bad guys.
While it would be a hell of a stretch to categorize Birdie as a hero, he has been a force for good on several occasions, even acting as Ryu's friend and Chunli's ally in various parts of the story. Apart from fighting, Birdie also had a stint with nightclub bouncing and is in his current arc, a bodyguard for Kanzuki Zaibatsu.
Birdie is a foodie, a fact made evident after his run-in with Karin, who, after defeating him, offered him shelter and a job with food acting as the payment method.
Birdie has undergone a couple of design changes between the Street Fighter Alpha series and Street Fighter V. The most noticeable is his additional weight and the beer belly that seems to stand out prominently. This was a move that led to some questions for Capcom and is potentially a reason why he isn't more loved. That said, Capcom did reveal that the former wrestler was supposed to have a young companion in the Street Fighter Alpha series. The little boy, Par, took fashion inspiration from Birdie with similar clothes and shoes.
With such a well-rounded story arc and iconic design, it is easy to see why the Street Fighter series' Birdie is one of the most memorable characters from their roster.
A great choice for newbies
Birdie has a design that could understandably give off the impression that he is difficult to use; however, this couldn't be further from the truth as he possesses some of the easier combos to execute and he deals a decent amount of damage which could make him problematic in the right hands. This series' Birdie is an excellent option for people new to the game, and even if you decide to go with someone else as you get better, he's a great way to learn most of the game's basics. Unlike characters like Dhalsim, F.A.N.G, and Bison, you can get a handle on Birdie pretty quickly as his moves generally consist of quick two-hit combos, which can be used to gain an advantage in a game.
Birdie is a down, forward character like Ken, Ryu, and others. His brash nature and unique skill set make him a remarkable grappler. For instance, his Bull Horn skill grants him momentary invulnerability, which is great against projectile attacks and is useful for creating openings to counter and start off a few combos of your own. In addition, it is a pretty useful anti-air as it can catch an opponent and deal considerable damage.
Apart from the Bull Horn, Birdie also has the 'Bull Head' move, which charges at the opponent and knocks them down. This is great to deal some damage, and the EX version hits twice, which can be pretty handy in a fight. As mentioned earlier, a lot of Birdie's combos are simple two-hit skills, which are very helpful if you find yourself in a difficult position and need to get out.
Then, of course, there is the ever-excellent 'Break Time' skill that acts as Birdie's V skill. Since Birdie is such a foodie, it is entirely apt that his V skill sees him eat a doughnut, which fills his V trigger to an extent. Inputting the keys with the back button sees Birdie toss a banana peel on the floor, which can trip up opponents. If pressed with the down button, Birdie consumes an energy drink and throws the can on the floor. The can will roll towards the opponent and is a useful projectile. The combination of the banana peel and energy drink can be a handy tool against enemies. For instance, one of Birdie's special moves is the 'Bull Revenger', which sees you hop in the air and traverse the length of the screen to grab your opponent. So, tossing a can on the floor and waiting for your opponent to jump over it before hitting them with the move is a somewhat basic strategy that could deal a lot of damage.
Meanwhile, the drinks can on the floor can also trip up Zangief's Lariat Cyclone while the banana is effective against some charge attacks
Finally, Birdie has a critical art called 'skip to my chain,' which entangles the opponent in his chains and basically uses them as a skipping rope. This deals some significant damage and is easy to link with Birdie's other combos.
Should you use Birdie?
In truth, Street Fighter V is full of characters that are convenient to use and have move sets that most people can master and implement. Apart from a couple of outliers like Dhalsim, Bison, or Mika, you are free to take your pick. For many players, Ryu is the go-to character, as he is a great option to learn all the basics of the game. However, the aim of this article is to add Birdie into your consideration as you contemplate what character to use. Sure, he's pretty heavy and slow, but even this is negated by his V trigger, which sees him eat a pepper, turn bright red and become a lot faster and stronger.
Understandably, his animation on the select screen can be a little difficult for some people to deal with (he's licking a chain), but once you get into the game, you'll find that Birdie is as normal as most of the other characters. Did I add that if left to his devices, Birdie can flick a booger at the opponent and deal a little damage? Well, he's the first to be given that ability, and while it doesn't do much, it is nonetheless very amusing.
Personality-wise, Birdie has been shown to have a heart of gold, and I daresay that he is a bit misunderstood. He's simply a man who lost a career and turned to crime after falling on hard times, but in Street Fighter V, he seems a lot more balanced and with a little patience could turn out to be an excellent choice.