Top 20 Black Fighting game characters

black fighting game characters

Black characters have been synonymous with fighting games since forever, which comes as little surprise when you take into account some of the most legendary and well renown fighters in the real world happen to be Black.

We also can't forget the inclusiveness of the fighting game community (FGC) either, which has it's fair share of Black talent, from commentators, steamers to tournament organizers and top players.

Fighting games usually feature a diverse cast of fighters from all around the world, with different ethnic identities for players to choose from. This stride in inclusivity has led to the inclusion of several memorable and iconic Black video game characters in video game history.

With that said, today we look at 20 of the best Black fighting characters to appear in fighting games, taking into account their design, inspiration, moveset, background story and overall coolness factor. Mind you, characters who are too racially ambiguous or didn't originate in a video game are exempt. 

20. Virtual Fighter - Jeffry McWild

famous black wrestlers

The Aboriginal Australian fisherman who made his debut in the very first Virtual Fighter game (1993), is a self taught practitioner of the martial arts Pankration, a barbaric fighting style which combines boxing, wrestling and kicking. Though this is quite befitting of a man whose rival is a killer shark. 

For years it was accepted that Jeffry was an original concept, however several years ago a Sega fan discovered the real life inspiration behind Jeffry. The fisherman was heavily influenced by Willie Williams, an American Karateka and mixed martial artist nicknamed the "Bear Killer". Not only are they similar in appearance, but their fighting style and mannerisms are uncanny. 

Honorable mention: Vanessa Lewis

19. Killer Instinct - TJ Combo

xbox fighting games

In contrast to the nonsensical roster of Killer Instinct which consists of killer robots, ferocious dinosaurs and enormous toads who wear cool sunglasses, T.J Combo (who first appeared in 1994) may appear to be out of his element. But regardless of who stands in his path, T.J will throw down and he doesn't need to use magic tricks or harmful objects, as his fists always gets the job done.

The former boxing champ was a cheater for the longest time as he secretly relied on implants to win fights, but after he was outed and shamed, the disgraced boxer decided to turn over a new leaf and fight fair and square. Although he doesn't quite move with the grace of some of the other fighters, as Mike Tyson once said; "everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth".

18. Soul Calibur - Zasalamel

soul calibur 6 roster

There is more than meets the eye to the cloaked scythe user Zasalamel, making his first appearance in Soul Calibur III (2005),  Zasalamel is a master magician from an ancient time, who possess the power of immortality. He is a man with no allegiances except to himself, although his actions may be classified as evil.

What's really cool about Zasalamel is the fact that due to him being immortal, it is nigh impossible to truly kill him, as whenever he dies his soul is resurrected in a new body with all of his prior dna and memories intact. This alone makes him one of the strongest video game characters of all time. 

17. Samurai Shodown 
(2019) - Darli Dagger

As a newcomer in Samurai Shodown (2019) who wields a giant saw and sails the seven seas, Darli Dagger is presented as a Jill of all trades and strong woman in her own right. Which is hardly surprising, considering she was raised among carpenters and pirates, who taught her how to build ships and protect herself.

Darli's motive in the story mode is that she's building an unsinkable ship, while in pursuit of a masked man who destroyed one of her customised ships. In Game Informer Issue 313, Art and game designer Nobuyui Kuroki said "we decided to make the character a powerful and strong-willed female with African roots, a region not usually represented in the Samurai Shodown series."

16. Mortal Kombat 9 - Cyrax human

15. Arms - Twintelle

Twintelle is a larger than life actress in the eccentric universe of Nintendo's Arms and packs a punch with her long flowing hair. She is the only character in the game who fights with her hair and has regular human arms. The A-lister is also a highly fashionable business woman who owns a perfume and fashion line.

14. King of Fighters - Lucky Glauber 

Debuting as a member of USA Sports team in the King of Fighters (from 1994), Lucky is a unique fighter for the simple fact that he is a karate champion and baller who aggressively uses a basketball in fights.

What's more, this towering ball player is influenced by NBA Hall of Famer and former Los Angeles Laker player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, while his default color scheme represents the L.A. Lakers.

13. Street Fighter 3 - Elena

Not many fighting game characters are as upbeat and cheerful as the proficient capoeira fighter and African princess Elena, who made her debut in Street Fighter III New Generation (1997). She is free spirited woman who travels abroad to experience a new and different way of life.

12. King of Fighters XV - Dolores 

dolores kof

As the second new character introduced in King of Fighters XV (2022), She's not just a pretty face. Dolores is a psychic from Mali, West Africa who lives as a hermit and uses her psychic powers to communicate with the spirits of the earth.

Not only does her psychic powers allow her to commune with spiritual beings, but she can also  manipulate holy earth at will, which she uses as a fighting style referred to as the Scared Earth Arts. In KOF XV she is introduced as a member of "Team Rivals". SNK character designer Tomohiro Nakata stated the goals of creating Dolores included making her a beautiful, cool, mysterious and mature female fighter.

11. Mortal Kombat - Jacqui Briggs

In 2015, Mortal Kombat X introduced players to the next generation of Earthrealm fighters, nicknamed by fans as the Kombat Kids, and one of them was Jacqui Briggs, a overzealous yet capable Special Forces soldier and the beloved daughter of the seasoned veteran, Jax Briggs.

Although she doesn't possess any supernatural abilities, as a professional kickboxer who honed her fighting abilities in a military boot camp, Jacqui can knock a grown man unconscious with her bare hands. She believes it is her sworn duty to protect her home planet of Earthrealm and joins the Special Forces, despite her father's disapproval.

10. Tekken - Bruce Irvin

9. Mortal Kombat 4 - Tanya

8. Tekken 7 - Master Raven 

7. Street Fighter - Dudley

6. Street Fighter 3 - Sean Matsuda

5. Guilty Gear Strive - Nagoriyuki 

black samurai anime

Forbearing, eerie, and aesthetically one of the coolest characters designed by Ark System Works, meet the samurai vampire – Nagoriyuki. He is introduced in Guilty Gear Strive (2021) as a noble vampire samurai and retainer who wields a bloodsucking blade with great skill and slashes at his foes with punishing strikes. He's also a major character in Strive's cinematic story mode.

Looks can be deceiving though, because despite his menacing appearance,  Nagoriyuki is a caring person, often inclined to give advice to those he beats in battle. When discussing Nagoriyuki's concept, the creators claimed he was inspired by a historical figure, this is most likely Yasuke, a tall African man who became the first Black samurai in Japanese history. 

4. Mortal Kombat - Jax Briggs

One character who embodies the heart and soul of Mortal Kombat is Jax Briggs, an archetypal American soldier with cybernetically enhanced arms. In his debut appearance in Mortal Kombat II (1993), he is originally portrayed simply as a physically powerful soldier, however in later games he is reintroduced with cybernetic arms.

Jax is a hardened fighter on the battlefield as a result of his service in the military. He is recognised for displaying incredible ferocity while remaining focused. Jax's most notable feature is his enormous upper-body strength, which allows him to easily shatter human heads and shake the earth with a single punch. He is similar to Guile from Street Fighter, since they are both portrayed as the perfect American soldier: unyielding, ethical and powerful. 

3. Street Fighter - Balrog 

mike tyson young

1991 was the year that Capcom introduced Balrog in Street Fighter 2: The World Warrior, a hard hitting All American boxer who quickly gained the reputation of being the most ferocious, greedy and hot tempered fictional fighter to step into a professional ring. To sum up Balrog, he is a disgraced boxer and minor antagonist of the SF series, who is constantly seeking the "American Dream".

Everybody and their mother could see that Balrog is based off real life boxer Mike Tyson, well everybody except the man himself. During an 2019 interview with EPSN, The former professional boxer discovered that Balrog shared a likeness with him first-hand and was genuinely taken aback by what he saw.  Mike said “Holy moly, does he look like me?” after seeing an uncanny resemblance of his face next to Balrog’s.

2. Tekken - Eddy Gordo 

capoeira martial arts

Let's talk about Eddy Gordo, a masterful Brazilian capoeira fighter who made his debut in 1997's Tekken 3, with a motive to avenge his wealthy parents, who were slain by a criminal organization with ties to the franchise's major antagonist and the devil himself, Kazuya Mishima. 

After defeating Kazuya in Tekken 5, Eddy's story would focus on him and his female counterpart Christie, searching for a cure to an unknown illness that his Capoeira master had caught. Although capoeira martial arts has been a thing in fighting games well before Eddy's creation, he is rightfully credited for helping polarize the Brazilian martial arts to a wider audience since the late nineties. 

1. Tekken 7 - Leroy Smith

The Tekken franchise is known for featuring nonsensical fighters like fighting bears, killer robots and even boxing kangaroos, however beyond the comedic fluff also lies more serious and visually distinct characters such as Leroy Smith in Tekken 7 (2019), an old American Marital artist from New York City, imbued with the culture of Hip hop and Wing Chun martial arts. 

Leroy's traumatic story sees the native New Yorker lose his family and home to gang violence, which pushes him to travel the world. At some point Leroy ends up in Hong Kong, where he masters wing chun. Years later he returns to his hometown, determined to avenge his loved ones. Leroy is one of Tekken's best characters yet and shows that the developers haven't lost a step in creating new and diverse fighters. 


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