Cammy, Tell Me True
A tribute to the second lady of Street Fighter II
Street Fighter: Turbo-charged!
It was 1992, five years since the release of the very first Street Fighter game. The Street Fighter game ruling the arcades at the time was Street Fighter II Turbo, with its incredible speed, new special attacks, and stage background changes. It was a popular game, but new competition would soon appear in the form of Sega's Virtual Fighter and SNK's Fatal Fury: Special.
The company first called itself Japan CAPsule COMputers.
Fortunately, CAPCOM, owner of the Street Fighter franchise, had already decided it was time to take Street Fighter yet another step forward. So, CAPCOM brought their staff artist BENGUS into play. BENGUS redrew Street Fighter II's original 12 characters, and he drew up the concept designs for four new fighters: Rapid-Attacking, Chinese, Kung-Fu movie star Fei Long; Charge-up, Jamaican musician Dee Jay; the powerful, Mexican Thunderfoot Tribe Member Thunder Hawk; and one other. Bengus' art was digitized, and, on September 11th, 1993, Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers was released in North America. With the new game came new graphics and Q-sound, and it also came with:
Tell me the truth. Does the game display make my butt look big?
Cammy (full name Cammy White) was the second female character introduced to the Street Fighter Series after the incredibly popular Chun-Li. When I first saw Super Street Fighter II: TNCs, and Cammy, I was watching someone else play the game at my local arcade. I was drawn to Cammy's long pigtails and ass-thetically-pleasing look. She was the shortest and lightest of all the characters (164 cm tall, 46kg), Chun-Li's refusal to make he weight public notwithstanding, yet Cammy looked tough enough to stand up to the best the other game characters had to offer. Excited, I waited for the guy I had been watching to finish his game, stepped up, put my quarter in the machine, moved the character selection window over Cammy's face and... quickly changed my mind and selected Ryu.
Better the ass-kicker you know...
Yeah, Cammy was new and exciting, but I only had a few quarters in my pocket. I was not going to throw my money away on a character I had never played before. I was going into this new game, but I was going in with a character I knew well.
I bet you're wishing you picked me first now, huh?
To her credit, however, Cammy must have sensed I changed my decision to select her because, after getting about three quarters through the game, she pounded my Ryu into the masonry of her famous stone bridge background in two rounds straight, all to the sound of her stage's sweet BGM tune.
Cammy's first offical picture by BENGUS.
Fortunately, whether Cammy was my first character choice that day hardly mattered in the grand scheme of things. Cammy's slight stature, long reach, and counterattacks made her very popular with players.
Now, Ryu and I can't have you going out there embarassing us, so hold still.
Ultimately, Cammy was considered a cross between Ryu and Chun-Li. Her powerful regular attacks, and unique special attacks, as well as a good number of anti-air techniques and charge techniques, made her a strong fighting game character. Street Fighter players said Cammy had Chun-Li's speed and Ryu's stability and generally agreed that, after T-Hawk, Cammy was the strongest of the four new characters.
Why are second bananas always green?
It should also be noted, while Cammy is special in her own way, these days she regularly makes me think of Luigi of Mario Brother's fame. Cammy and Luigi both owe a good amount of their recognition and success to more famous characters in their respective series.
When I did finally play the game as Cammy, the experience was much like controlling a human missile, espcially when using her "Spiral Arrow" attack ("Cannon Drill" in North America, but only for SF2TNC--see below). When performing the "Spiral Arrow", Cammy throws her hands behind her head and launches herself feet first at her opponents! Talk about an all or nothing move! If she missed, there was a recovery delay, so the move was hardly a fire and forget type of attack.
Float like a butterfly, sting like a killer-bee!
In comparisson to the other Street Fighter game characters, Cammy had high speed and air attack superiority, but lacked in the pure damage dealing department. I found I had to rely heavily on steady movement and combonation attacks because Cammy had no projectile movies to speak of. It was something a Ryu/Ken fireball-loving fighter like me had to really get used to.
Fortunately, quite a few of Cammy's moves knocked down her opponent and that came in handy.
This was especially true of Cammy's signature move: "Cannon Spike" ("Thrust Kick" in North America, but only for SF2TNC--see below). Like Ken and Ryu's Dragon Punch (the Cannon Spike is basically a dragon puch in kick form with a killer looking backflip at the end), the Cannon Spike had limited invulnerability and worked well against any opponents who loved to jump at you.
Easily my favorite move in Cammy's original arsenal, although it was a bit slow, was the Spin Knuckle. It allowed Cammy to dodge thos nasty fireballs and other nasty projectiles and still score a hit on her opponent. And, projectile lovers, including myself, felt like real losers when they got hit by the move. That made it even more special.
Maximun Spider!...oops!...I mean, Killer Bee Assault!
As time moved on and new editions of Street Fighter and later Marvel vs. Capcom games were released, I found another Cammy move I liked: "Killer Bee Assault". In this multiple hit super move, Cammy bounces off the walls at high speed, juggling her opponent in the process. However, it is very likely I like this move so much because it is very similar to Spider-Man's "Maximum Spider" super move in the Marvel vs. Capcom games and I could never get enough of that move.
Why can't I just pick one?!
Cammy's backstory has gone through almost as many changes as her costume over the years, but, in the end, her official CAPCOM story boils down to this. Cammy was once known as "Killer-Bee" and was a member of Shadaloo's elite unit of assassins: "The Doll Agents". Cammy possessed DNA identical to Shadoloo's terrible leader M. Bison. She was created as an experiment grown from his base genetic code, so, if his body were ever fatally damaged, he could transfer his consciousness into her body and continue to live.
Think of it, Killer-Bee! You are the ultimate time-share property! HAHAHAHA!
Many missions and battles later, Cammy received orders to infiltrate a military base in England. On her way there, Shadaloo's intesnse brainwashing techniques faded. She lost her memories, awoke as a new person, and was left without purpose. After being brought in by an English military Unit, she joined the English Government's crew of super soldiers, Delta-Red, in their mission to bring M. Bison, and other members of Shadaloo, to justice.
I didn't mean to kill all those people. Please believe me.
Cammy still looks for the truth behind her identity, hoping to vanquish the subconscious feelings of guilt she still holds. At the same time, M. Bison is trying to reclaim Cammy, erase the memories of her new life, and make her his potential vessel once again.
However, while the above story is CAPCOM's official Cammy story, CAPCOM's relationship with the current holder of the Street Fighter comic book license, UDON COMICS, has resulted in some interesting changes to this background. The most significant of which is Cammy, instead of being sent to England, is sent on a mission by M. Bison to keep track of Ryu--a powerful fighter M. Bison wishes to evaluate for capture. While follwing Ryu, Cammy is confronted by the mysterious Street Fighter Alpha character Rose.
There is no Killer-Bee. Only Cammy!
Rose defeats "Killer-Bee" cleanses Killer-Bee's mind of Shadowloo's taint, and sets Killer-Bee up with a new life and a new name--Cammy. Personally, I like the changes UDON has made, and I am a regular reader of their Street Fighter titles, despite UDON's abysmally long delays between issues. Did I mention UDON also made Cammy, or rather Killer-Bee, responsible for the kidnapping of and the final blow which killed Chun-Li's father? Cool, eh?
A must have for Cammy fans!
Now, while I am a lover of North American comics, I am also a lover of Japanese Manga and, strangely enough, the first manga I ever read and owned was a story with Cammy in it. Written by Masahiko Nakahira and translated into English, Cammy undertakes a mission to deliver a secret package of international importance. Vega, the Spanish Ninja, is the villain and he pursues Cammy on M. Bison's behalf in order to kill her and take the package she guards so carefully. It has a surprise ending and is a must own for any Cammy fan.
Incidentally, Masahiko Nakahira created Street Fighter characters Evil Ryu and Karin Kanzuki. These two characters appeared in Nakahira's Street Fighter manga works first and were later added into Street Fighter game cannon.
Years later, I would read some CAPCOM GALS manga collections, some translated, some not, which often paired Chun-Li and Cammy together as friends.
Have we got a story for you!
I remember, well, mostly remember, two stories in particular. The first takes place while Cammy and Chun-Li are on vacation together. Cammy finds a cute white cat with a blue lock of hair on its forehead. After convincing Chun-Li to let her keep it, Cammy brings the animal back to their hotel room.
Your soul is mine. Tee-hee.
When Cammy, Chun-Li, and the cat finally drift off to sleep, the succubus Morrigan from one of Capcom's other fighting franchises, Darkstalkers, enters through the window, hypnotizes Chun-Li and Cammy, and tries to take their souls. Chun-Li shakes off the hypnosis and wakes up in time to fight Morrigan, but she is no match for the succubus.
Let's kick that Succubus' butt, Cammy!
Then, just as Morrigan is about to kiss Chun-Li and take her soul--HOT!, the cat manages to wake Cammy from Morrigan's hypnotic trance, changes into another character from the Darkstalkers franchise; a heroic Catwoman named Felicia; and together the three ladies send Morrigan packing.
This is Hsien-Ko
The second story has Cammy poolside with Chun-Li, along with Darkstalker's characters Morrigan, Felicia, and Hsien-Ko (the latter is a Chinese ghost made up of two souls, one of which is contained in the piece of paper on her hat, but that's a tale for another time). In this manga, the five ladies are all friends. The story opens with Chun-Li talking about how she has received a note from Ryu, the most prominent Street Fighter character, that he is in town. All the other girls are dazzled at Chun-Li's connection to Ryu and want to meet him, so they, with Chun-Li in tow, go to do just that. However, when Ryu and Chun-Li talk, she, and later Morrigan who can sense dark energy, senses something is amiss. It turns out Ryu is actually not Ryu at all, but some kind of werewolf with doppelganger powers posing as Ryu . Needless to say, the combined forces of the girls pound this dopple-wolf into paste in time to enjoy the real Ryu's arrival in town.
The perfect disguise?
Another Cammy-encounter I fondly remember was in Street Fighter II: The Animated movie. Standing unnoticed in a crowd of reporters and spectators gathered to celebrate Albert Sellers, an English politician; standing unnoticed even though she is the only one dressed in a hooded red cloak (a cloak that would be added to her entrance animation in future Street Fighter games), Cammy races through the crowd, past security, and breaks the politician's neck in trademark Cammy-style. It takes an army of body guards, several of whom Cammy breaks their arms, just to subdue her as she tries to make her failed escape.
I'm here for the guy who mispelled my name!
If the opening battle between Ryu and Sagat was not enough, Cammy's lightning speed assassination was just another heads-up that the Street Fighter II: Animated Movie was going to be like nothing I had seen in animation before. The film is still one of my all time favorites. Too bad they actually mispelled Cammy's name in the English version end credits (Cammie instead of Cammy). This error was corrected, however, in later releases of the film.
Cammy: Assassin for Hire.
I also watched the Street Fighter II V animated series and saw its portrayal of Cammy. It was sexy, but not very true to Cammy's original concept. In Street Fighter II V, Cammy is a hired assassin sent to kill Chun-Li's father. She has a love for leather outfits, crucifixes, and strangling her targets. Unlike her UDON version, the Street Fighter V Cammy does not succeed in killing Chun-Li's father, but she does manage to put him in the hospital in a coma.
Chun-Li (Ming Na) and Cammy (Kylie Minogue) in the flesh!
Perhaps--and I repeat--perhaps, my most under appreciated experience with Cammy was during the 1994 Street Fighter live-action movie staring Jean Claude Van Damme. Despite the fact the movie was the only movie to this day I have walked out of, it was the first time an actress, in this case Australian actress and singer Kylie Minogue, portrayed Cammy on screen.
What's my motivation?
Kylie even went as far as to portray Cammy in the game based on the movie. Kylie Minogue was the most successful singer/actress to emerge from Australia in a decade, and, before the live-action Street Fighter movie, was best known for her hit single "The Loco-motion" as well as five other international hit singles. I did finally watch the entire live-action Street Fighter movie when it came out for home rental, but even Kylie looking hot in Cammy's leotard did nothing to save the flick. It may have a cult following today, but that is because the movie is so bad it kind of grows on you.
Watch at your own risk.
My most recent, but easilly biggest, Cammy experience started the day the 1996 - 1997 American Street Fighter Animated Series, based on the aforementioned Live-Action Street Fighter Movie, arrived in my mailbox from Amazon.com. Yes, I ordered it. You see, I had never seen or heard of the series until the day I saw it on Amazon.com so I did not know what I was in for. I watched the whole thing--all two seasons of it. And, while the series quality kept moving between campy-hell and tolerable, there were some moments where the series really did shine.
It's the hair, right? Chicks love the hair.
In the second season, which I am pleased to say adheres far more greatly to the game story lines rather than the live-action Street Fighter movie, we see M. Bison take--or rather retake--control of Cammy, and just when she was starting to show some serious affection for her fellow street fighter, commander, and star of the series, Guile.
Now, where shall I put this traitor?
It turns out Cammy who had been part of Gulie's "Street Fighter" anti-terrorism group since the beginning of season 1, was actually a sleeper agent working from M. Bison. Cammy returns to her positon as M. Bison's soldier and lover--eeeew!, betrays her bosses and allies in British Intelligence, and turns the world's nuclear weapon launch codes over to M. Bison.
You killed my parents, Bison!
In "Cammy Tell Me True", the series' final episode, Cammy finally comes to her senses. She not only realizes M. Bison programmed her as a sleeper agent, but he also killed her parents. This leads to a wonderful line from M. Bison I will always remember. After Cammy acusses M. Bison of murdering her parents and Chun-Li accuses him of murdering her father, Bison retorts to Chun-Li: "Yes, yes, I killed your father! What is it with you women anyway? I killed my father too, and you don't see me whining about it!"
Small world, ain't it, Darlin'?
And, one more tidbit: Did you know that the two episodes in the American Street Fighter animated series where Cammy goes bad,"Cammy and the Bachelor" and "Cammy must Die", were written by one of the two men responsible for the creation of the Marvel Comics' character WOLVERINE: the former THE INCREDIBLE HULK WRITER Lein Wein? It's true.
Scarred for life.
One question people who come across Cammy for the first time often ask is where Cammy got her scar. Manga have shown M. Bison responsible. I read one story where, when he came to inspect his new doll agents and the sucess of his scientists' brainwashing techniques, M. Bison threw a knife hand at Cammy as she stood at attention. She did not even flinch, but the tips of Bison's fingers scratched her cheek cutting her cheek and leaving her famous scar.
None shall be more beautiful than Vega!
In the UDON comics, Vega, the spanish ninja, gives Cammy her scar with his famous claws as she lies in her stasis chamber. Vega's action is a result of his jelousy towards Cammy's beauty and the faith in M. Bison puts in his Doll Agents over him.
Do these guys have to come to my birthday party?
There are several other bits of trivia I have learned about Cammy over the years. Her fictional birthday is on January 6, 1974, making her 19 in her first game appearance and 34 as of the day this article was written.
English or Japanese, I can kick your butt just the same.
Her moves "Cannon Spike" and "Spiral Arrow" (their standard Japanese names), were called and game voiced as "Thrust Kick" and "Cannon Drill" in North America, but only for Super Street Fighter II: TNCs. In subsequent games, the Japanese names for the moves were used.
Welcome to England.
The background music in her Super Street Fighter TNCs stage was originally called "Cammy's Theme" but is sometimes renamed "London Drizzle" on remix soundtracks.
Cammy with Delta Red.
The four characters along with Cammy that make up the Super Anti-Terrorism Group Delta-Red are: team leader, Colonel Keith Wolfman, ranged weapons expert and cyborg Matthew McCoy, melee weapons expert Lita Luwanda, and young spiky-haired computer expert George Ginzu. Delta-Red was renamed MI-5 in the Street Fighter Animated Series, had slightly different looks, different names, and a "George Ginzu"-based character was left out completely.
Cannon Spike was later ported to the SEGA Dreamcast.
In 2000, Cammy appeared in an arcade shooter called CANNON SPIKE alongside fellow Street Fighter Charlie, B. B. Hood from Darkstalkers, Sir Arthur from Ghosts and Goblins, and Mega Man from, of course, the Mega Man series of game--all CAPCOM properties.
Make fun of my clothes, will you?!
And finally, I learned that in March 2007 a video game magazine (I could not find the magazine's name--sorry) called Delta-Red Cammy the worst dressed video game character of all time. Needless to say, I do not agree.
Cammy. No one can strike a winning pose like her. And, despite the fact it has yet to be announced, I hope she is in the upcoming Street Fighter: Legend of Chun-Li movie, even if it is just a Cammy-o. Heh. And, she better damn well be in CAPCOM's soon to be released Street Fighter IV (CAPCOM hasn't officially said she is not as of the date of this article was written). If she is not, I just may keep my quarters to myself this time.
Thanks for reading!