Darkstalkers is a game series that hasn’t been given a new entry in some time. There was Darkstalkers: The Chaos Tower for PSP about eight years ago, but the last time a new main entry cropped up in this series with new characters, systems, etc., was Darkstalkers 3 in 1998. That’s fifteen years ago.
Darkstalkers may have been relatively absent for years, but characters of the series have been casually revisited in other games such as Morrigan the succubus and Felicia the catgirl featuring a cameo in Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, among other games. Darkstalkers may be gone, but it’s too unique of a fighter to ever be forgotten. A cast of B-movie monsters in a fighting game really does leave an impression, you see.
Darkstalkers Resurrection is among the latest HD compilation from Capcom. Housed within Resurrection’s tiny data frame is actually two incredibly deep 2D fighting games, Night Warriors: Darkstalkers Revenge and Darkstalkers 3. Both of these games have very colorful casts, and players are able to switch ‘modes’ to determine which of the games is being played by pressing select on the main screen.
The roster is among the most unique features of any of the Darkstalkers games, featuring off the wall concepts such as Australian zombies, a sasquatch that is capable of grabbing enemies and swallowing them whole, a murderously cheerful and demented take on Little Red Riding Hood and even a werewolf that keeps his shirt on. Okay, no he doesn’t, but you don’t have to worry about being buffeted visually by a bazillion ab muscles a la Twilight as this guy at least has the decency to stay in wolf form. The cast is crazily diverse, and the way the characters are animated and perform during combat is among the only things more varied than the characters themselves!
The animations are exceptionally fluid, very important for a fighting game such as this, and the characters are colorful and well designed all around. The graphics themselves are definitely beginning to show their age. It’s not surprising, though, that the sprites are looking dated at this time since they’re in the neighborhood of fifteen years old as of this writing. Completely redrawn sprites could have done a lot of good toward reinvigorating the Darkstalkers franchise with this throwback title.
The audio is most definitely befitting of each stage. Every theme keeps up with the B-movie monsters vibe projected by this game.
While the graphics might be missing that last little bit of polish, several other things were added to make up for it: In Night Warriors, a Challenge mode is available to teach the player the more intricate combos of the game, but in Darkstalkers 3 an aptly built Tutorial mode is in Challenge mode’s place and it’s actually insanely helpful if you’re not familiar with Darkstalkers or fighting games in general. The character you select for Tutorial mode will give you lessons on how to use their moves, show a series of attacks, explain why that combo or special is helpful and in what situations you might be more apt to use it and then it will request you do the combo multiple times before moving on to the next one. If you’ve had experience with Persona 4 Arena, imagine this as a more hand-holding version of P4A’s challenge mode which is what helped teach the timing for certain combos in that game to many a player.
As if the aforementioned weren’t enough, there’s also the basic training mode where you can wail on a dummy character to practice combos and a How to Play menu which fully explains what cross ups are and when to use them. The How to Play menu also extrapolates what community slang like TKs and OTGs mean, which can make perusing information resources on this game a lot easier for newcomers. There’s a lot of handy features in this game which can make overcoming the steep barrier of entry significantly easier for unfamiliar players by letting them educate themselves on strict combo timings and when to use them so they can really take advantage of the game’s mechanics, a much needed feature in any fighting game.
These are by no means the most comprehensive of guides on the subject matter of Darkstalkers, but they’re a good starting point before finding character guides on websites like Dustloop because it doesn’t just tell you to do a combo that would be insanely difficult or nigh of impossible to pull off in an actual match; oftentimes tips on when to use certain attacks accompany the aforementioned information.
Of course, you have access to the Arcade mode which lets you defeat computer controlled characters in sequence, gaining snippets of character story for victories in addition to all of the above. There is online multiplayer, and while the community may not be the most active, ever, there are still a good number of people trying to battle it out online. It never took more than a minute or two to obtain an active match, and even when a match was lost there was this addicting quality of wanting to get back in there and try again.
Overall, lag was minimal but there are some settings to try and help compensate with high latency matches, which is always a nice addition. The online mode options are the pretty atypical fare of quick match, ranked match, multiple player match lobbies and the like, plus the capability to save replays of exceptional matches and the function to upload said videos directly to Youtube.
You might be asking yourself at this moment, ‘Well, this sounds like a pretty complete package.’ But, wait, there’s more! You may not get any product normally seen on late-night infomercials with this game, but you do get a decent number of unlockables. Whether you’re playing in Night Warriors or Darkstalkers 3 mode, you’ll earn VP in each of the various game modes that can be redeemed to view character artwork and the various ending movies for each of the characters. Okay, it’s not exactly the most exciting bonus material out there, but there is a lot of it and you unlock the additional images by just simply playing the game.
To summarize: Darkstalkers Resurrection is a package of two fighting games that are beginning to show the age of their sprites, but the fast and frenetic action is still wholly intact even after fifteen years. Those who are unfamiliar with fighting games or maybe just with the Darkstalkers series can take heavy advantage of the included Tutorial and Challenge modes to learn what attacks cancel into each other and what moves might be best to cover a retreat during an online match. The netcode for Darkstalkers Resurrection seems quite solid, with little to no lag present over the course of several matches. This is a fantastic revisit to an excellent series, and the in-game help can aid fighting game enthusiasts and newbies alike to get into these types of games.
Overall, this still is something avid fighting game fans should most certainly look into, but there will be those who will be turned off by the extremely off-the-wall characters or complex mechanics. For a port, however, with a little improvement this could have been among the best out there but this still stands as the definitive Darkstalkers title in this current point in time- that language being used because we can always hope that a new entry in the Darkstalkers series will appear on the horizon.