Of noble blood, Vega has successfully combined the Japanese art of Ninjutsu with the skills he learned as a matador. He honed his ninja skills by watching Ninja Scroll 12 times in one week, and he’s pretty sure he saw a cow once. So, total ninja and matador. The result is a beautiful, yet fearsome, ballet in which led him to call himself “The Spanish Ninja” on all online forums and job applications. Vega lives by the philosophy that beauty is strength. Despising anything ugly, such as Hammer Pants and any post-1986 McDonald’s play place, Vega views himself as perfect– much how he views all Lisa Frank (™) products. He wears a mask to protect his face from enduring damage in battle, but it really just gives him pretty bad acne and allows him to smell his own tapas breath. Grody, dude.
Used by M. Bison primarily as an assassin, Vega often dispatches foes with his claw (sold separately).
Qualified Expert: All Ninja Force accessories, All NATO and Warsaw Pact chainlink fences, red roses, hockey mask, white roses, all animal-tested skin creams and moisturizers, wolverine claw (singular)
From the Files of M. Bison, Shadowloo Overlord: “Vega is a useful idiot. He’s like one of those kids who buys swords at the mall and practices in his backyard after school, but instead of his backyard, it’s my courtyard. Oh, and guess who buys his claws for him? Yeah, that’s right, me. Even though the guy has more money than sense, he’s super stingy. Still, someone has to distract Guile and Chun-Li when they come knocking at my door, and sometimes Vega gets a pretty good cheap shot in. Oh, and he’s really not that handsome. Have you seen Christian Slater lately? I mean, come on. There’s really no comparison.”
1993 GI Joe Street Fighter 2 Vega and Me
In the early 90s, I was obsessed with all things Street Fighter 2. I releentlessly played the game in the arcade and on the Super Nintendo. I watched the Jean Claude Van Damme movie dozens of times. I watched the USA Network Street Fighter cartoon every Saturday, alongside Exo-Squad and Savage Dragon. I also eventually saw the anime film from around the same time, and it blew my mind– KEN LISTENED TO ALICE IN CHAINS!
I did, too, because I was young then and I didn’t own any ABBA or Carly Rae Jepsen CDs yet. I’d never even been to a Napalm Death show back then. I hadn’t seen Manic Street Preachers dress in camouflage and balaclavas on Top of the Pops, and I’d never even heard of The KLF and Extreme Noise Terror firing blanks into the crowd on the Brit Awards. I was so young.
But you’re probably not here to read about Alice in Chains. Sadly, you’re probably not here to read about my girl Carly Rae, either. So let’s talk about Street Fighter, I guess.
Let’s get pumped up with Vega’s theme music:
In 1993, many American kids my age were equally obsessed with Street Fighter 2. Capcom and Hasbro knew this, so they teamed up to make a toy line. And it wasn’t just any toy line– it was a GI JOE toy line.
Hasbro’s Street Fighter 2 figures carried the GI Joe branding, and they were meant to fight alongside Duke, Battle Corps Leatherneck, and Talking Battle Commanders Cobra Commander to decide the fate of the world.
Don’t believe me? Here’s proof:
See, Duke (the real, actual Duke that exists in reality) is right there with them. The commercial also stated “You know ‘em, you love ‘em, now collect ‘em!”
How right they were.
As much as I was into Street Fighter 2, 1993 wasn’t a huge GI Joe year for me. I had some of the figures, but my interests were all over the place. I did have Guile with his Sonic Boom Tank, Ken (Masters, who did not include an Alice in Chains cassette single), and M. Bison. That covered many of my favorite characters, and they fit in with my Joes nicely.
But there was one figure I desperately wanted, but could never find. Judging by how popular the character was among my friends, there was good reason for his scarcity.
Vega was that figure. In the SNES game, he was the character someone would always call “dibs” on so no one else could play him. He was basically the Number One Dude.
I remember a friend had the Street Fighter 2 Beast Blaster when we were kids, and that thing blew me away. He seemed to have every toy, but even he didn’t have Vega. Vega was the kind of figure kids would probably be super protective of– like Snake Eyes or the 91 Snow Serpent. He had a mask, a claw, and a ponytail, so of course he was cool.
But he didn’t actually have a claw. More on that later.
The 1993 GI Joe Street Fighter 2 Vega toy is still kind of hard to find for a good price. About a month or so ago (I have no concept of time), I found a mostly-complete, good condition figure on eBay for about $11. I jumped at the chance.
So, here we are. Let’s party like it’s 1993. I call dibs on Vega.
1993 GI Joe Street Fighter 2 Vega Review
As I mentioned in my review of the Mortal Kombat movie edition Sonya Blade, I never had a problem with ninjas, Ninja Force, Star Brigade, or any other GI Joe subteam. In fact, many of the subteams are my favorite. You can have the entire 1985 GI Joe line up, and I will take all of the Eco Warriors. Now and forever.
That’s because, for me, GI Joe was always about science fiction and martial arts. I grew up in the 1990s, and 1990-94 were my main years for GI Joe. My main exposure to GI Joe media was through the cartoon and the 1987 movie, so of course I was totally fine with ninjas and science fiction. That was GI Joe to me. And, even though I appreciate a lot of the more realistic stuff from the 1980s, sci-fi and martial arts are still GI Joe to me.
So, Street Fighter 2 toys were a natural fit for my GI Joe collection as a kid. And I’m still fine with integrating them– who’s to say there can’t be a high stakes fighting tournament, full of the best World Warriors in the business, alongside GI Joe’s fight against Cobra?
And in any high stakes fight, you need villains. Vega is a prime example of a good villain. He has a cool, menacing design, he was a total a-hole to beat in the video game, and he was a reprehensible person in that Street Fighter 2 anime I mentioned earlier. The shower scene still makes me deeply uncomfortable.
So, let’s look at the 1993 GI Joe Street Fighter 2 Vega:
Like many SF2 toys, Vega was built on an existing GI Joe body, but included a newly sculpted head. In this case, he uses the Rising Sun Ninja, Ninja Force Banzai’s body. That means he has all sorts of weapons strapped to his chest, instead of the bare chest-with-intricate-tattoo look from the Street Fighter games and media.
But I’m okay with that. It’s GI Joe, and you don’t belong in the world of GI Joe unless you have tons of weapons sporadically strapped to every surface of your body. Vega does retain his trademark yellow and purple pants, and the black gloves and boots look good.
To Hasbro’s credit, they didn’t just reuse Banzai’s head. And they totally could have, since Banzai also wears a mask and sports a ponytail. Instead, they sculpted something new, which actually turned out pretty nice.
Vega’s mask looks appropriately creepy and intimidating, with its thin black eyes and flat, white surface. His ponytail is long, blonde, and braided– it was brown in the game, but the blonde works well enough here.
Since Vega is mostly a repainted Ninja Force figure, we have to talk about his action feature. As far as spring loaded martial arts moves go, his isn’t too bad. You simply twist him at the waist, and he springs back with a punch or a slash or whatever. This does mean his torso articulation is gone, but he has a full range of motion other than that.
Not bad for a “gimmick” figure! He’s plenty poseable enough for all of your Spanish Ninja Needs.
Now, let’s take a look at his accessories:
And here he is All Geared Up:
Notice anything missing? Well, yes, I am missing one of those absurd forks and one of his swords, but there’s a much bigger problem– HE DOESN’T COME WITH A CLAW.
Vega uses a claw. It’s his thing. He doesn’t use axes, swords, or forks. He uses a claw. I’m fine with all of these weapons, as gold is a reasonable color for martial arts and melee weapons, and I think they look good with the figure.
But Hasbro was pumping these toys out for fast cash. They put little to no thought into which figures got which weapons. Chun Li, who was released the same year, came with two yellow claws that would have been PERFECT for Vega. Many of the Ninja Force toys from the same year, such as Scarlett, came with claws, as well. But not Vega.
So, if you wanted to have Vega sport his trademark weapon in 1993, you had to buy Chun Li. As a kid, I would have loved to own both Vega and Chun Li, but imagine if you could only afford to buy Vega, and then couldn’t afford Chun Li later. You’d be heartbroken, because what is Vega without his little Wolverine claw?
Thankfully, these claw weapons are easy to find now. The claw originally came with Storm Shadow v2, and was repainted and re-released well into the 2000s. I believe my Vega is using a claw from a Crimson Shadow Guard.
Now, back to the claw itself. I had Ninja Force Scarlett briefly as a kid, and I remember being so disappointed that the claw would NOT stay clipped to her wrist. If you so much as moved her arm, the claw would fall off.
Thankfully, that’s not the case with Vega. Once you get it in the right position, it stays on his arm just fine. It might not hold up to super intense play, but it’s good enough for me– and I hate it when a figure can’t hold its accessories.
Vega has some good uses in a GI Joe collection. He makes a good random thug for Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes to beat up. He makes a good Cobra Assassin. He’d also make a good crime boss, and he would excel as a member of Cobra’s Ninja Force. I’m very glad I have him, and I can use him in a variety of roles.
Verdict: As with all Hasbro Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter toys, the 1993 GI Joe Street Fighter 2 Vega figure isn’t super faithful to the source material. He’s also saddled with an action feature. Despite that, he looks good and poses nicely. He fits in perfectly with Cobra or other Street Fighters. If you can find him for a good price, and find a claw to go with him, he’s a great figure to have. Recommended.
- Here’s Vega at YoJoe.
- Here’s an article on GI Joe and Street Fighter that’s objectively wrong.
- Here’s TheMelloStar/Joe Figure’s fantastic video profile on the GI Joe Street Fighter 2 line
Parting Thoughts on 1993 GI Joe Street Fighter 2 Vega
Did you know there was a worse Vega figure released for Hasbro’s Street Fighter 2 movie line?
At that point, they dropped the GI Joe branding all together.
This Vega actually looks better at first glance. His mask is removable, he doesn’t have weapons strapped to his chest, and he has a claw.
But, if you look at his arm, it’s a spring-loaded affair– his claw “thrusts forward” in an unholy, inhuman motion that leaves his entire limb looking deformed. This is why they don’t make Shogun Warriors out of meat and bone. Yuck.
What do you think of the GI Joe Street Fighter 2 figures? Which is your favorite? Let me know in the comments!