Fighting game’s last boss fights against Toyota’s newest model.
While detractors deride the term as pure marketing gobbledygook, the auto industry uses the word “crossover” to describe a vehicle that’s roomier than a traditional hatchback, rides higher than a wagon, and yet is smaller than a stereotypical SUV. They’re designed to appeal to drivers who find themselves drawn to an overlap of those three classes of vehicles, thus the name “crossover.”
So it’s fitting that in promoting its new CH-R crossover model (pictured above), Toyota has decided to, well, cross over into the world of video games, with this promotional video that inserts the car into the world of Capcom’s venerable Street Fighter II fighting game.
Set to the music of Queen’s “Keep Yourself Alive,” the video opens with master martial artist Ryu hopping into a CH-R that’s been parked in his Street Fighter II castle background. Once inside, he starts the engine and sets out on a drive around the world, showing his new ride off to his fellow pavement pugilists along the way.
The reactions are almost unanimously positive. Ryu’s wealthy friend and rival Ken, who’s often shown a penchant for more expensive rides such as his prized Porsche, gives it his approval, and E. Honda even gives it a wash.
▼ Chun Li is so happy to see the CH-R that she jumps for joy as it drives by.
About the only one who doesn’t take a shining to Ryu’s shiny Toyota is end boss Vega (who’s renamed M. Bison for the franchise’s overseas releases). The evil dictator challenges the crossover to a fight, apparently unaware of the fact that it can shoot a powerful laser out of its front fascia!
▼ This option is apparently exclusive to the video version of the CH-R, as Toyota makes no mention of it on the CH-R’s official website.
In the end, Vega is defeated handily, but apparently his attempts to kick the CH-R into submission left some bootprints on its bodywork. So after Ryu strikes a victory pose and thanks the car with “That was a good drive. Let’s do it again sometime!” he drives back to the docks, grabs a bucket and a cloth, and washes the CH-R clean again.
Fighting game veterans will recognize this as the exact location of Street Fighter II’s bonus round in which players destroyed a car to get extra points. Since the car that originally appeared in the game looked almost exactly like an early 1990s Lexus, a brand owned by Toyota, it’s nice to see that Capcom is treating the automaker’s products a little more gently these days.