Surely the most famous April Fool's joke in the history of videogames is Electronic Gaming Monthly's 1992 ruse that told readers about a hidden opponent who would challenge the player instead of M. Bison if a series of near-impossible conditions were met in World Warrior. The opponent was named Sheng Long after Ryu's arcade win quote, 'You must defeat Sheng Long to stand a chance!', acknowledging speculation from fans that Sheng Long was Ryu and Ken's master. In fact, 'Sheng Long' stems from the translation of the Japanese 'shō ryū' (meaning 'rising dragon') into Pinyin Chinese 'shēng lóng' and left in the game when localised for English-speaking countries. The win quote should have read, 'If you cannot overcome the Rising Dragon Punch you cannot win!' but the mistranslation gave the impression that Sheng Long was a person, thus sowing the seed for EGM's joke. The quote was fixed for the SNES port of World Warrior but the mystery was furthered by the English instruction manual referring to 'Master Sheng Long' as Ryu and Ken's teacher....
But the legacy of the April Fool's joke doesn't end there. The publicity and interest generated from the story created huge demand from fans for just such a character. Their wishes were granted with the release of Super Street Fighter II: Turbo in which the murderous Akuma, killer of Gouken, his own brother and master to Ryu and Ken, makes his entrance by destroying M. Bison and challenging the player in his stead (provided the player reached Bison on one credit and with at least three 'Perfect' rounds, no mean feat....) His introduction to the series is remarkably similar to that described by EGM and was surely inspired by it. Capcom extended the fan-service even further in Street Fighter IV when Gouken himself made his debut as a playable character, necessitating some horrible ret-conning about how he wasn't actually killed at all (groan).
Via a bug in the code it is actually possible to play a Ryu versus Ryu game in arcade World Warrior despite this feature not being included in the game. Even stranger, both characters wear white gi due to there being no alternate colours available. This is a unique situation in the Street Fighter series. To make it happen, select any character other than Ryu and get to Ryu's stage. Lose to Ryu. On the win/lose splash screen hit start on player 2 and select Ryu. You will now face a CPU controlled Ryu identical in appearance to you.
Capcom are well known for having their characters make cameo appearances in other games. This is typified in Ken's Street Fighter Alpha 2 stage where many of the guests at Eliza's birthday party are dressed as Capcom characters, old and new. From left to right the characters are: Lord Raptor, Hsien-Ko and Mei-Ling from Darkstalkers, the two Unknown Soldiers from Forgotten Worlds, Morrigan Aensland (Darkstalkers), Jumbo Flapjack and Biff Slamkovich (Saturday Night Slam Masters), Eliza (Ken's wife), Ginzu and Captain Commando from Captain Commando, Michelle Heart (Legendary Wings), Strider Hiryu (Strider), Linn Kurosawa (Aliens Vs. Predator), Felicia (Darkstalkers) and Pure the Mage from Capcom World 2. The person dressed as Strider throws and catches the bear he is holding whenever a super move is performed! The butler on the extreme right is none other than Kenzo Tsujimoto, Capcom CEO and chairman.
The Russian text on the sign in the background of Zangief's Street Fighter II stage reads: 'Запрещается смотретв детям' which means 'It is forbidden for children to watch'. The last character is obscured by the men on the gantry but there is no word 'детя' and 'детям' (children) makes the most sense. The red sign, Выход means 'Exit' and the yellow sign, Внимание reads 'Attention' or 'Warning!'
Capcom's Final Fight is very much the sister series to Street Fighter, with which it occupies the same universe. Just how spiritually close the two series are is revealed by the fact that the original Final Fight arcade game existed under the working title Street Fighter '89 and is even advertised as such in early promotional flyers. There is debate over why the name was changed, the two most cited views are that, at the time, Street Fighter had a poor reputation so Capcom wanted to distance this new title from the old. Alternativey, being a side-scrolling beat 'em up and not a fighting game, during play testing it was felt that the new game was too different to Street Fighter to use the name. With the decline of side-scrolling beat-'em-ups many Final Fight characters resurfaced in Street Fighter games, either as playable characters (Guy, Sodom, Rolento, Cody, Hugo Andore, Maki, Poison) or in cameos (see entry below, for instance).
Second only to Ken's Alpha 2 stage in sheer number of cameos is Guy's Alpha 2 stage containing a wealth of characters from Final Fight. From left to right they are: Hugo Andore, Cody, Jessica, Simons, Bill Bull, Abigail and Two. P. After Shiro the dog the characters are: Edi. E, Haggar, J, Damnd, Poison, El Gado and Axl. A humorous easter-egg on this stage has Jessica sulk with jealousy and slap Cody whenever female fighters are on-screen! The SNES port of the game removed the word 'KILL' (graffitied on the wall by Poison) at the behest of censors.