Poison is shown to be a Caucasian female with long pink, somewhat rugged, hair. She wears a black cap, a choker, blue cutoff shorts, red high heels, and a tank top cut just below her breasts. In Final Fight Revenge and some artworks, her hair is shown to be purple instead. She wears several armbands around her right arm and has chains and a pair of handcuffs suspended off her shorts. Final Fight Revenge features her also possessing a whip used in attacks, though the character has not been shown with one in other titles or artwork (other than Street Fighter X Tekken and Ultra Street Fighter IV).
Poison was given a secondary outfit for the canceled Capcom Fighting All-Stars alongside her primary classic attire. Made of shiny, silvery material it consisted of boots that extended halfway up her thighs and a combined sleeveless shirt/short skirt with a plunging neckline. Gloves and a small hairband were also added, as well as a belt, with the handcuffs hanging off of it. Her arm straps were removed, though the strap around her neck remained.
Introduced in the original Final Fight, Poison is an orphan from Los Angeles. She enjoys fighting and uses it as a means to stay in shape, making use of her ties with the original Mad Gear gang to keep herself out of prison.
In Final Fight Revenge, Poison frames Cody for her assault crimes and gets him arrested by Edi E., though she later visits him in jail having developed romantic feelings for him.
Poison reappears in the Street Fighter III games as the non-playable wrestling manager of her friend and fellow former Mad Gear member Hugo. Their goal through this action was to find a suitable tag team partner, due to Hugo's former one being mysteriously killed off by a rival. In the end, Poison and Hugo decided to start their own wrestling promotion, the Huge/Hyu Wrestling Army (HWA). Their main objective is to take over all of pro wrestling.
In the original Final Fight, Poison and Roxy both utilized standing and acrobatic flip kicks to attack the player. As one of the fighters in Final Fight Revenge, her move set was expanded heavily, and she was armed with a whip. The whip is used primarily in her Cat Claw and Thunder Whip attacks (which are comparable to Shoryuken/Shinryūken styled attacks, respectively), and can be used to steal a weapon from the opponent. Additionally, her handcuffs can be thrown as a horizontal projectile move to immobilize the opponent for a short time.
One particular attack, Poison Kiss, has her blow a large heart-shaped kiss at the opponent that travels in a sine wave path. If it connects, a quick peep show of Poison in several erotic poses is displayed, and afterward, the opponent is shown stunned with hearts dancing over their head. Defeating an opponent with this attack results in Poison doing a pole dance for her win pose, with her whip serving as the pole. Though not playable in the beta test of Capcom Fighting All-Stars, promotional material released by Capcom for the title show that this move would have been retained for her gameplay.
As of Street Fighter X Tekken and Ultra Street Fighter IV, Poison has a unique move set of her own that mixes agile Pro Wrestling techniques and her own streetfighting abilities. Poison's standard throws include a multi-hitting slap and a Frankensteiner, Aeolus Edge, and Kissed by a Goddess are the names of her Fireball and Shoryuken-like moves, Whip of love is a multi-hitting whip attack and is done in a similar fashion to Fei Long's Rekka's. Her famous flip kick from the original Final Fight games appears as a special called Love me Tender, after the flipping ax kick, Poison can follow this move up with a reverse Frankensteiner (Poison-Rana). Poison's Super Art is called Love Storm and its starts with her charging a large version of Aeolus Edge, once it hits she flips into the air and lands with a hard-hitting ax kick that stuns the opponent in a prone position, afterwards she repeatedly smacks the opponent with her horsewhip and delivers a final blow that knocks them into the air. Poison also retained her signature backflip from the original game.
History and Gender Controversy
Because of the alteration to the character during Final Fight's development, Poison's gender has been debated by both fans and media alike.
Poison's first appearance in Final Fight featured her and a palette swap character named Roxy as recurring minor enemies for the player to fight. Named after the band of the same name by an unnamed female employee at Capcom, she was designed by Akira Yasuda to contrast against the bigger characters in the game and move about randomly. According to the book All About Capcom Head to Head Fighting Games, the characters were originally planned to be normal females but were changed to transgender women (or more specifically "newhalfs") due to the suggestion that "hitting women was considered rude" in America and the concern that feminist groups would sue. Apparently, this was not enough, and when the game was re-released on the SNES, Poison and Roxy were replaced entirely in the North American version with male punk enemies called Sid and Billy.
A later appearance by Poison as a playable character in Final Fight: Revenge, an American-produced 3D fighting game spinoff of Final Fight, portrayed the character in a highly feminine manner and had her romantically interested in Final Fight hero Cody. Commentary about her ending in the game in All About Capcom suggested that the character might have gotten a sex change. The Final Fight-related character profiles featured in the 2005 compilation Capcom Classics Collection acknowledge Poison's transgender characterization (albeit while incorrectly calling her a transvestite) while addressing Roxy as a "she" who dislikes Poison's provocative outfits.
The discrepancy regarding Poison has been addressed more than once in interviews with former and current Capcom employees. Final Fight developer and Arika founder Akira Nishitani stated he supposed the character could be born male but added it was up to the viewer to decide. Street Fighter IV's producer Yoshinori Ono, when asked in an interview about the matter, stated "Let's set the record straight: in North America, Poison is officially a post-op transsexual. But in Japan, she simply tucks her business away to look female.". He later emphasized it again when asked about what female characters could be included in the game Street Fighter IV, stating that it would be too confusing to include her due to the region-specific gender. Later on, however, during the production of Street Fighter x Tekken, he had apparently changed his mind and decided Poison is a post-op transgender woman, and after heavy controversy regarding very insensitive and transphobic character dialogue, he finally settled on what Nishitani had originally stated, that Poison can be whatever the player feels she is.
Poison has been featured in various promotional Street Fighter-related artworks, as early as Street Fighter II.
Additionally, she has been used as a cameo character three times in the Street Fighter Alpha series. In terms of merchandise, an immovable model was being made for the 2008 Capcom Girls Collection line of figurines by Mitsumasa Yoshizawa, using her Final Fight attire and at 1/6 height, standing nearly 11 inches tall. A similar model was released later on, identical to the previous figurine except with her giving a thumbs down gesture and darker colors. A version with blonde hair was later released as well. In Capcom's press kit for the 2010 release of Final Fight: Double Impact, a pink hair spray was included in tribute to the character, with the text describing it as "For men, women, and everything in between.". Capcom later featured her as one of the characters for their Capcom Girls 2011 calendar.
Final Fight Revenge
Final Fight Revenge features Poison as a playable fighter. In her ending she visits Cody Travers in prison, carrying flowers. Poison realizes that he will never return her feelings as his heart belongs to Jessica.
Street Fighter X Tekken
Poison appears as a playable character in Street Fighter X Tekken with Hugo as her tag partner.