I can still remember the original EGM cover on which I first discovered Jon Talbain and company. As the monster movie equivalent of Street Fighter, Darkstalkers has always been a franchise near and dear to my heart. Laying dormant for so long has only made my love of the series grow, so much that I recently spent ample time playing the PSP iteration on my Vita, just because I needed my Hsien-Ko fix.
Lately, Capcom has been reviving some popular franchises in the form of downloadable collections, with Darkstalkers the latest to receive the treatment. Now I can finally have two of my favorite fighting games at my fingertips, complete with plenty of added goodies to make them feel fresh.
Darkstalkers Resurrection is a collection featuring the second and third games in the series. Night Warriors and Darkstalkers 3 deliver what the series is known for, and the absence of the original game doesn’t bother me as much as I thought it might. Night Warriors is a beefed up version of the franchise’s initial outing, and I would never choose Darkstalkers over its direct sequel.
Sadly it is also worth noting that this package doesn’t include all of the extras released in the various versions of these games over the years. Through releases on Saturn, PSOne and more, there have been new characters, music and even a new mode included in these iterations that is not present here. Instead, we are getting the arcade originals of both games with a host of visual filters and plenty of added love.
Resurrection is built much like the recently released Street Fighter: Third Strike downloadable offering. Challenges are present, as is a massive gallery full of gorgeous artwork that can be unlocked with points earned from completing challenges. When in certain visual modes the game tracks all of the challenges as they are updated, for example, finishing a match with an ES move, or winning a set number of rounds. It is the ultimate meta-game that kept me constantly proclaiming, “just one more round.”
There are also a bevy of included visual options. The standard 4:3 format is still here, complete with an option for scanlines (graphical lines running vertically in arcade monitors) and the perspective of looking at the game from an arcade cabinet. There is also a selection for stretching the image to widescreen and an over-the-shoulder camera that makes it feel like being in an arcade watching others play from the sidelines. I wanted to slam my quarter on the machine when in this view. There are also options for smoothing or crisping the pixels. The sheer amount of customization tools is impressive. It is also worth noting that the game still looks pretty fantastic considering its age. The stages really pop off the screen with life, and the animation holds up nicely even by today’s standards. This is one great looking series.
Darkstalkers plays like any other Capcom fighter on the surface, but it is worth noting the advances this game brought with it. The six button scheme is familiar, but Darkstalkers was one of the first games to introduce the light>medium>heavy combo strings that have become so popular as of late. It also was a pioneer in air blocking and wake-up combos, stuff that feels standard today.
Fans have been clamoring for a new game in the series, and it is likely that Capcom is gauging true interest with this collection. If you are like me and cannot wait for a true Darkstalkers sequel, do not hesitate. Buy this collection now. These two games are still high on my list of favorite fighting games from the 32-bit era.
Review copy of game provided by publisher. Primary play on Xbox 360.