Developers: Iron Galaxy Studios
Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Debuting in 1994, the Darkstalkers series was an exceptionally fast and fluid fighting experience which was unfortunately overshadowed by Capcom’s less adventurous though more recognisable series, Street Fighter. The series reached its pinnacle with the superb Darkstalkers 3 in 1997; however the series has not seen a new instalment since.
Darkstalkers Resurrection is a downloadable title which brings the series to the current generation of consoles as a package re-releasing the second and third games in the series.
The most straightforward way to describe Darkstalkers is as a fighting game akin to Street Fighter, but instead of featuring an assortment of martial artists, its characters are a collection of folkloric creatures and B-movie monsters. All of the characters have very distinctive appearances and fighting styles ranging from werewolf, Jon Talbain to succubus, Morrigan, and from mummy, Anakaris to zombie rocker, Lord Raptor.
Combat is at a blistering pace and features a wide array of special moves such as B.B. Hood’s ability to call in gun-toting huntsmen as back-up, or Demitri Maximoff the vampire’s iconic midnight bliss. The learning curve can be steep but this makes victories all the more satisfying.
Darkstalkers Resurrection adds a variety of new features including tutorials and challenges for newcomers, online play with matchmaking lobbies of up to 8 players and a function to record matches and upload to YouTube. There are also a variety of ways to customise the aesthetic of your experience such as altering the screen display to make it look as though you’re playing on an arcade machine or, more bizarrely, as though you’re watching from over the shoulder of someone who is.
However it is impossible to shake the feeling that there were certain missed opportunities with this port. For example, the exclusion of Dee, who was included in Vampire: Darkstalkers Collection on PS2 defies logic as does the inability to crossover characters between Nightwarriors and Darkstalkers 3 despite this function having been included in Darkstalkers Chronicle: The Chaos Tower on PSP. The lack of an option for characters such as Pyron and Jedah to fight one another just seems like a lazy oversight. Anita could have been developed into a fully playable character also, as was teased in previous games. The question also arises as to why Capcom didn’t give a graphical tune up to this in the way that they did with 2008’s Bionic Commando: Rearmed.
Even with these relative shortcomings Darkstalkers Resurrection is the best retro 2D fighting experience on modern consoles, and given that Capcom have already implied that whether or not a Darkstalkers 4 gets developed depends on the sales of this title, this is a heavily recommended purchase for fighting game fans.
By Steven Balbirnie