Darkstalkers Resurrection: Why Some Things Shouldn’t Stay Dead

By Yusouf . March 18, 2013 . 12:20pm

Zombies, vampires, werewolves and succubi. What do they have in common? They duke it out with each other in a mostly overlooked Capcom title from the experimental age of fighting games. Darkstalkers feature a mishmash of characters from various mythologies while paving the way for influential mechanics still used by fighters today.

 

Darkstalkers Resurrection is a compilation of 2 near perfect arcade ports from the Darkstalkers series. The games included in this compilation are the second and third game in the series, which are Night Warriors: Darkstalkers’ Revenge and Darkstalkers 3, which are regarded as the best entries in the franchise. Being an arcade port unfortunately means that console-specific extras are absent, but while this can be a bit disappointing at times, Darkstalkers Resurrection is intended to be an faithful arcade reproduction instead of a dream match type of game.

 

Night Warriors mostly plays by the rules of traditional fighting games. Bouts are divided into several rounds and the general pace of matches is slower. In spite of this, Night Warriors is also the game responsible of introducing several influential mechanics that have become a staple for fighting games today, including chain combos, air blocking, reversals and knockdown recovery. For those attempting to get into the Darkstalkers series for the first time, Night Warriors is a good place to start.

 

Darkstalkers 3, on the other hand, is blazing fast. It’s amazing that the characters aren’t on fire just from the constant friction with air. Darkstalkers 3 is one of the fastest Capcom fighters, if not the fastest. There are only minor refinements made to the game, but they are very significant in emphasizing its sense of speed. Gone are the rounds dictating the end of a bout, replaced with something dubbed the “Damage Gauge System”. Another tweak made to the system is that players are able to recover lost life, dictated by the translucent health indicator if they avoid taking any extra hits. Finally, there’s the Dark Force mechanic, which allows characters to trade a stock of Super for enhancing their combat capabilities.

 

Darkstalkers Resurrection’s main menus are well-presented. The intro screen is stylish, the menus are clean and the interface is pretty. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the two games themselves. Once you get the character select screen, the truth sets in. The sprites used for the characters are from nearly two decades ago, only with filters applied on them. This results in a very strong contrast between the contemporary presentation of the main menu and the dated presentation during actual fights. Fortunately once the round starts, attention to these little details can be ignored to focus on the fight itself the fluid animation of the characters.

 

One very useful feature included in the games is the tutorial mode. Granted, tutorial modes are commonplace in today’s fighting games, but what sets the tutorial mode in Darkstalkers Resurrection and others apart is by how it provides a basic breakdown of the character via explanations that make sense. For example, throwing a Dio=Sega as a setup for Jedah’s unblockable. Or using a move as an anti-air because it covers your retreat. These explanations really make a difference in teaching a player how to utilise their available tools. A nice touch to these character-specific tutorials are that the characters speak in tone with their personality. As such, Jedah speaks in a very aggressive yet elegant manner, while Sasquatch communicates in a very friendly way.

 

In terms of online play, Darkstalkers Resurrection utilises the tried and tested GGPO system once again, which is a staple feature of previous Iron Galaxy ports such as Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike Online Edition and Marvel vs Capcom: Origins. Personally, though, I didn’t have much luck while trying out the online mode. I’m in the U.K., and out of the ten matches that I played, only two were smooth enough to make it an enjoyable experience, while the others were a bit too laggy to be taken seriously. Most of my matches were played with American and Japanese hosts, while European hosts are nowhere to be seen. If you live in either America or Japan, you will probably have better luck finding decent matches.

 

As a nice gesture, Darkstalkers Resurrection also includes unlockable material in the vault which can be purchased using the game’s currency. This can be obtained by doing the game’s challenges, such as performing an ES move or winning with a perfect. These challenges get more difficult as the first level is completed, but the rewards will be greater, too. The unlockable materials available for purchase are concept art for all characters and their ending movies from both games.

 

It’s been nearly 20 years since the first Darkstalkers game was released, but the games are still relevant today, which is a feat in itself. It is rather disappointing that the sprites are still the ones which were used back in 1995 and 1997, but the games themselves are so solid that they transcend time in a way. Darkstalkers Resurrection provides a way to experience the evolution of 2D fighting games into what they are today.

 

Food for thought:

 

1.  Oddly, the tutorials are only available in Darkstalkers 3. Night Warriors only offers a challenge mode which involves only combo execution without the detailed explanations available in the tutorial mode. This is not quite a deal breaker, but it would be nice to apply the same treatment to both games, as some characters such as Pyron, Donovan and Huitzil are not available in Darkstalkers 3.

 

2. To enjoy Darkstalkers 3 fully, the speed of the game should be set to turbo. Although it may cause slight dizziness and loss of focus, the higher speed is essential to appreciate the game at its best in my opinion.

 

3. There’s a small box at the bottom of the main menu which reveals trivia about Darkstalkers’ characters. Quite a neat feature.

 

4. GGPO and online multiplayer settings are situated in the multiplayer menu instead of options, so be sure to check there in case you need to tweak it.

 

5. Curiously, there is a lone “cabinet art” section in the vault. Maybe there will be additional cabinet art later on?

 

6. The game also includes multiple sprite filters and different views such as widescreen and an arcade cabinet view. You can also include scanlines to emulate the arcade experience.

 


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  • http://twitter.com/EdgeKun Ed Powell

    Picked this up on launch day and have absolutely loved it. While “perfect arcade port” isn’t really that much to ask for, I’m still ecstatic with the end product I got.

    The only part of this post I’d disagree with is the quality of the character sprites. Did the reviewer in question enable the scanline filter? While I realize it’s a matter of preference, it’s best to remember that older gen graphics were built around scanlines (due to older displays), and as such often require them to truly look their best!

    Using the scanline filter + otherwise default settings resulted in a downright gorgeous vSav session for me, though I’m often rather biased towards this game in general. =P Just my $0.02 in any case.

    • http://www.facebook.com/eric.tharnish Eric Tharnish

      Perfect Arcade Ports are something that apparently are ridiculously hard for Capcom. Quite a list of tragedies for a lot of players who were playing those games way back, heh. I’m glad they’re doing them now in any case.

    • http://myfigurecollection.net/collection/ashgail Ashgail

      Haha, I am perfectly fine with the sprite quality myself, although I wish that Capcom would actually update the sprites with something more pleasing. But I don’t think that will happen anytime soon due to the roster, and shift towards 3D models this generation.

      I am just looking into the eyes of someone who is attempting to get into Darkstalkers for the first time, which has never heard of this game before. Chances are, if you know about this game, you wouldn’t care about the sprites anyway because you know it’s going to be good.

      Thanks for the feedback!

  • neo_firenze

    “The games included in this compilation are the second and third game in the series, which are Night Warriors: Darkstalkers’ Revenge and Darkstalkers 3,
    which are regarded as the best entries in the franchise. Being an
    arcade port unfortunately means that console-specific extras are absent,
    but while this can be a bit disappointing at times, Darkstalkers Resurrection is intended to be an faithful arcade reproduction instead of a dream match type of game.”

    It’s lazy at best, especially considering the many prior releases, and is the reason I’m not buying this one.

    PS2 Vampire Collection was clearly intended to be a faithful arcade reproduction, and included all 5 games in the series (Vampire, Hunter, Savior, Savior 2, Hunter 2) AND an unlockable mega-mix mode with all characters in the same game. This is still the definitive release in the series in my mind, and I would have hoped to see that as the basis for Resurrection.

    Saturn/PSX ports of Vampire Savior were intended to be a reproduction of the arcade VS, but still managed to add the missing Hunter characters to the games. Chronicle on DC/PSP had all of the characters, and while it was intended more as a single mega-mix/dream match type game it doesn’t excuse a years later release scaling back features.

    • http://www.facebook.com/eric.tharnish Eric Tharnish

      Calling Capcom lazy here because they’re focusing on people who weren’t looking for novelty features and just wanted an accurate reproduction of a game they could really only play in the arcades is such baffling logic. I can see why, it’s very easy to say that Capcom is just being lazy, but the ports you mention weren’t arcade accurate, and the idea here is promote the game that was played competitively and suggest the notion this style of game isn’t so dated.

      Those games are simply not arcade accurate. They have the features you want, but you’re clearly not a stickler for that accuracy of play, so you’re not gonna find the content that drew you to those releases. In this case, accusing Capcom of being lazy is a disservice to the people who asked for this style of port, in lieu of what would be bloated features. The game that these players use to even promote the idea that Darkstalkers/Vampire is still fun to this day isn’t Chronicle, it’s not Savior 2 or Hunter 2, it’s Vampire Savior. The fact Hunter is even in the bundle is kind of a novelty in and of itself.

      It’s fine to be attracted to games that have the entire cast, or to want extras… but there are people with other interests than yours, and you should be respectful of the fact that Capcom would listen to those people’s demands since Capcom has such a huge list of arcade inaccurate ports of Vampire Savior, even Chaos Tower on PSP. What has the faithful community had for support in terms of releases? The arcade cabinet isn’t really feasible for them, nor do they care about the things you describe. Let them have their moment without crapping all over it… or not.

      • neo_firenze

        Saying that including an the whole cast (even as an option to toggle on/off) is a “novelty feature” is ridiculous. Nobody seriously wants to exclude extra characters, especially ones who are competitively balanced against the rest of the cast (it’s not like Huitzil, Pyron, and Donovan are brand new and untested with game balance, considering they were in the arcade Hunter 2 release way back in 1997). Do you see a lot of people playing vanilla SF4 over Super/AE, MvC3 over UMvC3, BlazBlue/Guilty Gear old versions over the current ones? Of course not.

        Capcom had a great opportunity to make the definitive version of the Darkstakers games here and didn’t take it. Therefore, I won’t be spending my money on this when I already own better previously released versions of these games.

        As for accuracy of previous ports… have you played the PS2 Collection? It’s perfect, and has a plethora of options to tweak game mechanics, toggle bugs or features on/off, etc. And the Saturn Vampire Savior has always been regarded as a virtually flawless port itself (thanks, 4MB RAM cart!), I’d seriously doubt the PSN/XBLA release is any more accurate. If anyone is truly out there thinking they want an EXACT arcade replication, they’re probably playing on MAME anyway and not a PSN/XBLA port.

        I don’t blame anyone for picking this up if they’re having a hard time tracking down a Vampire game or not interested in jumping through hoops to play a Japanese release. But just as you say there are people with other interests than mine, I think you should respect that a good number of people who have loved the series for years are less than thrilled about a new version that actually removes features we’ve seen on releases in each of the two previous console generations. Especially when many of us still own those previous releases.

        • http://www.facebook.com/eric.tharnish Eric Tharnish

          My issue with you isn’t your expectations, I think they’re valid for what you think is fun or hold as features worth buying a game over. I’m not saying you’re wrong in the case of not casting your dollar for those reasons, I’m saying that you’re wrong in that you believe these expectations of yours prove that Capcom is lazy. While, yes, Capcom did have an opportunity to make a definitive Vampire game based on the old versions, they also had an opportunity to finally give a group of players and fans the game they’ve wanted in the form they’ve wanted it to satisfy. A satisfactory, as close to arcade perfect as possible, port of Vampire Savior. They made a decision that gives a player base who’s interests haven’t waned a port of a game they’re quite faithful and still play, one they have never received a satisfactory port of to this day. There’s nothing wrong with that, there’s nothing “lazy” about it, and if it is lazy you’ve just marginalized a group of players in the same way you’re saying you’re being marginalized.

          But you’re not, you’ve got a list of titles that played to your interests and now these players get ONE that plays to theirs. If this game does well, you may very well get a new Vampire game that tries to cram in every single Vampire character in a system that you might enjoy more than the previous CPS2 build.

          You have your interests and other folks have theirs. In the case of this perspective, wanting a certain version of a game rather than other features, your views on cast are still a novelty to them when those characters don’t exist in the game that they want to play.

          I don’t see folks playing Street Fighter IV Vanilla over the current build, but maybe they’re out there. I play Super Street Fighter II Turbo and Alpha 2, at tournaments in spite of low turn outs and better competition than myself, because I enjoy those games. So while you ask a loaded question, here’s my answer: While I may not know of anyone who plays Vanilla over Super SF4 Arcade Edition 2012… I think those people may exist, and I respect their decision and hope they respect mine.

          Capcom wasn’t lazy, your standards, while valid, are misguided.

          • neo_firenze

            You say these die hard Vampire Savior fans have never received a satisfactory port of the game?? But they have. The Saturn version was terrific and has been out since 1997. The PS2 version was perfect and came with Savior 2 and Hunter 2 in arcade original form (and if you don’t care about those, you can safely ignore them). And that’s not even including the perfect emulation that’s been available on MAME for over a decade.

            If there are people out there who are really THAT dedicated to original Vampire Savior, they’ve already been playing it for many years.

            To me, this release is more for:

            1) People who AREN’T as into the series and who haven’t been quite willing enough to go through the effort to get their hands on one of the several great ways to play it that have been available for years (i.e. importing).

            2) People who care about the ease of online play instead of using GGPO on an emulated version.

            You’re making up mythical people who actively don’t want more characters who have been in the Savior engine arcade games since shortly after Vampire Savior 1.0. I do not believe these people exist, and if they do they’re exceedingly rare. People would rather have more than less, and the rest of the genre has proven it time and time again by the playerbase moving onto the newer/expanded versions whenever available.

            I’m not talking about sequels (I prefer Alpha 2 as well, we agree there!), I’m talking the same game engine with a few added characters. Which is really all the Hunter 2/Savior 2 versions of Vampire Savior are.

            It’s not a “novelty”, Capcom itself implicitly acknowledged that series fans wanted the Hunter characters in the Savior engine when they released Hunter 2.

          • M’iau M’iaut

            The game it is a crime hasn’t seen a port anywhere (that I am aware of) is Match of the MIllenium. A fighter olympics — you can’t get much better than that!

          • http://www.facebook.com/eric.tharnish Eric Tharnish

            For the sake of argument: Hunter 2 and Savior 2 have quite a bit of gimmicks in them that made them not as popular on release. There’s no throw protection on wake up, so Bishamon has throw loops that just look outright bizarre. I’ve talked to people in the New York scene for Vampire Savior. The PS2 port varies widley, acceptable but with an acknowledgement of input lag in Versus Mode. The Saturn release… maybe you could tell me about the scenes based around this port, I know that the 4 megabyte ram cartridge is required for accuracy, but I’ll grant consideration of this. I know that a friend of mine used it at Gametime back in the day, though it removes some of the glitches and unblockables found in the arcade version, it was good enough. Not quite arcade perfect, but close enough.

            However, again, when I say novelty, it’s in relation to the standards by which people are playing this game competitively. I can see the Saturn version as being acceptable of one game where fans get an arcade accurate port… but it’s still not quite and it’s on archaic hardware for some folks.

            Your reasoning on other points isn’t universal. Telling folks to just pick up a Saturn copy is still ignoring the fact that Vampire Savior is definitive for most folks, not Savior 2 or Hunter 2 or Chronicle. People have different standards, and if I’m making people up in your eyes, well that’s unfortunate. Because I don’t really feel like using words to change your mind where a trip to where people play games would expose you to a wealth of opinions that end up meaning even less in the face of actually seeing the means people have to play. I really don’t think you’re invested in that at all. Again, novelty.

          • neo_firenze

            How big is the competitive Vampire Savior scene, really? I doubt Savior could draw a dozen people for a side tournament even at a major gathering like Evo where there are hundreds of die hard Capcom fighting game fans. And guess what, the people who are THAT much of hardcore Savior purists have almost certainly already been playing a perfect emulated version on MAME+GGPO for years now. I can’t believe that supporting that tiny sliver of the possible player base is Capcom’s reason for releasing a bare bones arcade port of a 16 year old game.

            More likely scenario: they didn’t want to put in the effort to add the features they’ve added to all of the previous ports of this 16 year old game.

            I’ll stand by my assertion that many MORE people would be interested in having the entire cast as an option (even as Yusouf says in this review, it’s a “disappointing” omission) . I’m not saying you have to remove the ability to play bog standard arcade-perfect Vampire Savior, just give people the choice to put the other characters in like Capcom has on ALL of the many previous console iterations of Savior. That makes everyone happy, the tiny hardcore NY Vampire Savior “scene” you refer to, and the people who want a comprehensive game.

            Is this release still “good enough” for a lot of people, considering its on current consoles and has easily accessible online play? Probably. Could Capcom have made more effort to release something more? Yeah, I’m pretty sure they could have.

            As a long time series fan, I’m just a bit unimpressed after teases for years about the return of Darkstalkers… and then instead of getting something new, it’s just a port of a game I already own in multiple formats minus some of the features of those previous releases.

    • http://myfigurecollection.net/collection/ashgail Ashgail

      Mm, I understand your concerns and can’t help but to agree with some of your points, but Vampire Collection was only released in Japan without any trace of it reaching Western shores. If Vampire Collection did reach here, I’d gladly say that it is the definite version of it.

      Darkstalkers Chronicles was an excellent release in my opinion, including characters from all the series, every character’s DS/DS2/DS3 reincarnations and an extra Tower mode. I did enjoy it. However, the PSP’s control faults held me back from mentioning it.

      I can only assume that Iron Galaxy are more comfortable with working with arcade ports instead of home ports, looking at their history. As a fellow fighting game fan, I respect your enthusiasm towards the series.

      Edit: I’m not certain about the arcade accuracy of Vampire Collection, so I will not comment on that. If someone is more knowledgeable than me, please provide some insights. I just know that SF3S on the PS2 had some fixes such as Urien’s unblockable (curses!).

      • neo_firenze

        Fair enough, not wanting to deal with tracking down a region locked import-only game is a very good reason. Collection really is great though, with all the original arcade releases (including the Savior 2 & Hunter 2 permutations of Vampire Savior) with flawless ports. AND an unlockable Chronicles-esque megamix mode with all characters fighting in the Savior engine. There are a ton of options to turn on/off features, glitches (stuff like unblockables as you mention), etc.

        That’s the reason I’m somewhat frustrated here – wish that the series fans could get easier access to that wonderful JPN-only release full of all the features/characters in the series. Resurrection will do for a lot of people, and does add easily playable online play. It’s a shame it doesn’t have a Savior+ mode adding in the Hunter 2 exclusive characters though.

        Oh, and I’m with you on the PSP controls holding Chronicles back a bit :)

  • AaqibRawat

    its quite sad that donovan is missing he is such an amazing character.

    but well done iron galaxy for porting it.
    beautiful game and the original music is amazing.

    love jedahs stage music.[not a fan of that baby though :-< ]

  • Christopher Nunes

    Wow… sounds awesome! I should pick this up! ^_^

    Since this is the best “Arcade” port of the game that stays faithful what is the best “Console” port version of the game? I might as well get both!

  • http://www.destructoid.com/blogs/mgbenz mgbenz

    Darkstalkers’s sprites are timeless considering it has one of the greatest spritework and animations in sprite-based history.

    It followed the 12 principles of animation well as described in this article.

    http://art-eater.com/2010/07/test-1-darkstalkers/

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