Capoeira's presence in video games

capoeira in video games

Capoeria is an Afro-Brazilian martial art which integrates combat with dance. It's a very identifiable style with it's focal point on acrobatics, groundwork and upside-down movements frequently all in the same moment.

It's origins are fuzzy but it emerged as a discrete fighting style among the enslaved Africans of Brazil. At present capoeira is a cultural symbol of Brazil but is participated worldwide.

As children and young teenagers growing up, many of us wasn't aware that capoeira existed and simply thought video game characters like Eddy Gordo and Echidna were performing fancy break dancing footwork, but as we got older we soon realised that they were using capoeira as a fighting style.

Sometimes called a martial art or dance style, this incomparable phenomenon has caught the world's attention. Due to it's popularity, over a period of time capoeria has appeared in many movies, television shows and video game series, but let's specifically look at the cultural impact of capoeria in video game culture.

Eddy Gordo and Christie Monteiro (Tekken)

Eddy first appeared in Tekken 3 and became relatively known for his rhythmic Capoeira dance moves. Without a doubt Eddy has the most realistic looking Capoeira moves to ever feature in a video game.

Richard Meyers from Fatal Fury 1 was video game's first capoeira practitioner to appear in a fighting game; and while Eddy shares similarities to him, Eddy Gordo is the character who put helped spread the Brazilian martial art to a wider western audience.

The Tekken 3 development team desired to add a capoeira martial artist to Tekken 3's roster and turned to development arts to design the character. Originally they wanted the character to be a woman but the artist whose job it was to design the character deemed the task too challenging and went with Eddy instead.

In Tekken 4 the team was finally able to create a female capoeira character, so Eddy was replaced in favour of Christie Monteiro, an attractive young woman who added sex appeal to the series, but Eddy would later return in future Tekken games. Despite this Christie has replaced Eddy as the prominently-featured capoeirista in the series.

Capos has been frown upon by the general fighting game community for the simpleness associated with their play style; nonetheless, Eddy and Christie have often been credited for further popularizing capoeira and spreading it to a new crowd within the larger gaming and martial arts community.

Fatal Fury & The King of Fighters Series

richard meyer kof

Both SNK games feature several fighters who use capoeira as their fighting style: Bob Wilson, Richard Meyer, Soiree Meira and Momoko. Yashiro from the KOF 2002 has some athletic kicks that resemble capoeira, while Duck King's style "Breakdance Martial Arts" uses several capoeira moves.

Born in Brazil, Richard Meyers is a capoeira martial artist who used his skills to entertain people outside nightclubs, while he enjoyed entertaining the crowd and gaining recognition, Richard eventually outgrew this phrase and decided to head to the United States of America to open a restaurant.

Bob Wilson practised capoeira because he believed it was the world's strongest martial art. Visioning to fulfil his hopes and dreams, capoeira became his whole life and assisted him in escaping poverty. He was spotted by Richard in Brazil after noticing Bob's passion for capoeira.

Elena (Street Fighter)

elena street fighter

Elena is one of the first characters in the Street Fighter series to utilize capoeira and is an expert in the fighting art. This style gives her the ability to use her long legs to perform dance-like moves and acrobatic legwork.

Elena was originally meant to be of Brazilian origin hence the reason why she uses capoeira but her nationality was changed in the final game. Street Fighter II's Blanka originally had capoeira registered as his fighting style but it was only in name.

Hitmontop (Pokemon)

pokemon hitmontop moveset

The pokemon Hitmontop, known as Kapoerer in the Japanese version was inspired by capoeira. Of note it's also the only Pokemon to learn a unique, flashy yet unreliable move known as the Triple Kick. This move could well be a nod to some of the less applicable movements in capoeira. 

Lisa Hamilton (Dead or Alive)

lisa dead or alive

Lisa Hamilton from the Dead or Alive video game series fighting style is a mix of Lucha libre and capoeira, this makes her play style very hard to predict and defend against. Although she hails from USA in Dead or Alive 5, her original creator Tomonobu Itagaki stated that "the real Lisa is Latin" which is most likely why she incorporates capoeira in her fighting style.

Trident (Eternal Champions)

Eternal Champions

Beside SNK's fighting game series, one the of the earliest video games to feature capoeria was the Sega Genesis 2D-fighting game Eternal Champions which allowed you to control an atlantean warrior called Trident who used the Brazilian martial art in combination with several genre-typical mystical energy.

Capoeira Fighter

Capoeira Fighter

Capoeira Fighter is a flashed based fighting game which has two sequels and allows you to choose from over 20 playable capoeristas. Apart from Eddy Gordo and Christie in the Tekken series, this is possibly the only game which has truly managed to capture the feel of capoeira due to it's colourful and vibrant character designs.

Capoeira (Bust A Groove)

Two aliens who are collectively called Capoeira and continual characters in the Bust A Groove games use various capoeira moves in their dance routine. Despite being a hard game to pick up and play, the one thing we love about the Bust A Groove series is how accurate and life-like the dance moves are.

The Bouncer

capoeira girl

SquareSoft's beat-em-up The Bouncer had several fighting styles and one of those were capoeira. While none of the playable characters were actually able to use capoeira, one of the bosses could. A female character called Echidna who gave players a difficult time with her long legs used the Brazilian fighting art mercilessly.

Marial Arts: Capoeria

Marial Arts: Capoeria

Capoeira Fighter isn't the only fighting game centred around capoeira as the indie video game Martial Arts: Capoeria is another series based on capoeira martial arts. Only this title mixes elements of role-playing with traditional fighting game mechanisms. Now that's something you don't see everyday, an capoeira RPG.


  1. This makes me wonder what happened to be Eddy Gordo and christie monteiro in Tekken 7? They couldn't possibly have been replaced by Lucky Chloe.

  2. I wonder if Bob Wilson or Richard Meyers will be in the new SNK playmore fighting game, King of Fighters 14. Since it's launching with 50 plus characters that would be a good opportunity to bring them back.

  3. I really think that in Dead or Alive 6 Lisa should ditch the wrestling moves and become a full capoeira character, it looks silly. Besides Dead or Alive already has two wrestlers.

  4. Loved that my girl Elena was bought back by Capcom in Ultra Street Fighter 4 and hope she's eventually playable in Street Fighter 5.

  5. Can't believe that the Bouncer got featured as its a pretty forgettable game but I thought Echidna's use of capoeira was refreshing in terms of combat. She did not fight like a typical corporate person.

  6. Lawd, why is Eddy Gordo is so damn fine <3

  7. As a child I also used to think that Eddy was doing breakdancing, I also thought he was Jamaican.

  8. Eddy Gordo was my favorite character to use in Tekken because of his awesome capoeira moveset and character design.

  9. The Pokemon Hitmontop was a pretty awesome tribute to capoeira but Nintendo & gamefreak should have kept his Japanese name.

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