There are a lot of good fighting games due out this year. Ever since the genre was restored thanks to Capcom and their release of Street Fighter IV, and Netherrealm Studios with their reboot of Mortal Kombat, fighting games seem to be on the rise again. In that same time frame, fans have been wanting to see the return of several past fighting game series. And we’re gonna take a look back at one of those requested titles. Without further ado, I, Devildriver1313, welcome you to Time Warp Review! Now, let’s talk about Darkstalkers!
Capcom wanted to create a new fighting game using their Street Fighter II engine and wanted to use Universal Monsters. However, Universal Studios, home of Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Mummy, refused to hand Capcom permission. Producer Alex Jimenez was prompted to create his own. He did it in an hour. Darkstalkers: Night Warriors featured an array of mythical and legendary monsters of folklore done in anime style. There is a total of ten characters, each with their own uniquely haunting abilities. Demitri Maximoff is a vampire lord with incredible dark power. The werewolf Jon Talbain uses his speed and martial arts skills. Victor von Gerdenheim is a powerful Frankenstein-like force to be reckoned with. Catwoman Felicia claws her way through her competition with amazing agility. Undead rocker Lord Raptor puts on the performance of his afterlife while the mummified pharaoh Anakaris seeks to rule the dead. Bishimon is a samurai warrior still seeking to sharpen his skills though he died centuries ago. The yeti Sasquatch is present to chill everyone and Reiko, the merman, brings his watery abilities to battle field. Finally, there is the sultry succubus Morrigan Aensland, fan favorite and viewed as one of the hottest females in gaming. The synopsis of the game centers on the alien Pyron who has come to Earth to add it to his collection of conquered planets. These fearsome monsters are mankind’s last line of defense.
Darkstalkers uses the gameplay system Capcom developed for the Street Fighter II series, but with several new gameplay features such as Air Blocking, Crouch Walking and Chain Combos, which would become the staple for later Capcom titles, especially in their Marvel vs Capcom series. The game featured a Special meter similar to the Super Combo gauge from Super Street Fighter II Turbo, which the player could fill up to perform either a unique “combo”-type move much like the previous Super Turbo. However, this meter drains over time, thus preventing players from reserving their meter for later usage. Like Street Fighter, hitting your opponent with an elemental attack would result in a comical display of its effect. For example, electricity can be added to Victor’s attacks by holding down any button, electrifying his opponents. Characters who use fire based attacks, such as Demitri or Jon Talbain, can incinerate their foes creating a burn effect that removes partial clothing. There is even the option of performing a fatality. End the match with an attack that slashes (Morrigan’s Shadow Blade, for instance) and your opponent will be sliced in half, either vertically or horizontally depending upon the strike.
Darkstalkers was released in Japan on June 30, 1994. The game was ported to the Playstation in 1996, converted by Psygnosis who knew more about the game system’s hardware than Capcom. Darkstalkers was well received by critics who praised the game for its unique anime-style graphics, gameplay and air blocking ability. VideoGames magazine named the arcade version of Darkstalkers at the second-best game of 1994 in the categories “Game of the Year” and “Best Fighting Game”. However, the home release received less favorable praise. Yasuhiro Hunter of Maximum, in contrast, argued that Darkstalkers is one of the deepest and most difficult to master fighting games. However, he felt that given the exceptionally long development cycle, the PlayStation conversion was a major disappointment, with half the animation frames of the arcade version missing and bouts of pronounced slowdown. Still, Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors has remained something of a cult favorite thanks to its unique style and technical innovations.