Pulling a Cult Classic Brawler out of the Dark
Even casual brawlers can see that the world of fighting games has enjoyed a massive rebirth in the past few years. This especially held true in 2012, with every franchise from Tekken to Dead or Alive receiving a new installment. And while 2013 has been quiet on the fighter front, the genre’s newest release is actually something quite old.
Darkstalkers: Resurrection is a digital package that contains the latter two games in the cult Capcom trilogy: Vampire Hunter and Darkstalkers 3, better known as Vampire Savior. Developed by Iron Galaxy Studios (3rd Strike: Online Editon, MvC Origins), Resurrection brings these arcade classics into the modern day effortlessly thanks to bonus content, in-game achievements, visual filters, and most importantly, GGPO online play.
For those who never played Darkstalkers, the game is more than just Street Fighter with vampires. A brutally fast fighting series, the Darkstalkers games are famous for their unique characters ranging from mummies to human wolves, as well as a sold fighting engine that helped influence many of today’s games. Darkstalkers was one of the first series to allow you to perform “chain combos” consisting of light, medium, and heavy attacks. It also was an early pioneer of the “EX” move, which allows players to dish out more damaging specials in exchange for some super meter.
Darkstalkers (particularly 3) is still played competitively to this day, and the game will surely have a learning curve for those playing more user friendly games like Street Fighter 4. However, this is where Resurrection strongest quality comes in. While every modern fighting game has a “trial” mode to teach players basic combos, Resurrection takes this concept a step further by explaining when certain moves should be used during a fight and forces players to complete combos multiple times in a row in order to create solid muscle memory. The trials in Vampire Hunter are shorter one-offs, as Iron Galaxy is likely expecting fans to put more time into Darkstalkers 3. I found these trials challenging, rewarding, and extremely helpful, as I quickly got a grasp on a fighting engine I never explored much.
Once you mastered your character, you’ll likely be itching to head online. Fortunately, you’ll be treated to the same smooth online experience found in Iron Galaxy’s previous releases, thanks to GGPO. All of the online features you have come to expect from these re-releases are intact, including ranked matches, customizable lobbies, tournaments, and YouTube upload functionality. My time spent chucking fireballs and summoning bats online has been nothing but smooth so far.
As with 3rd Strike: Online Edition and MvC: Origins before it, there is plenty of Resurrection to enjoy for the non competitive. Everything from landing a special move to using certain characters earns you “vault points,” which can be redeemed for in-game artwork and music. Both games can be played with a variety of visual filters, whether you want a smooth look or would prefer some arcade-perfect scan lines. Resurrection is a pure nostalgia package, and Iron Galaxy never fails at bringing you back to the arcade.
Overall, Darkstalkers: Resurrection gracefully revives two cult classic fighters for only $15. If you still play Vampire Savior at your local tournaments, this package will finally allow you to take on the rest of the world. And if you are just discovering this brawler for the first time, prepare to be completely immersed in the Dark.
Rating: 4/5 Soul Fists