Review: Darkstalkers Resurrection packs a punch with two classic titles
The Darkstalkers franchise has never really escalated in popularity as, say, the Marvel vs. Capcom games did. However, the series does have a following. And without Darkstalkers, we wouldn't have the lovely Morrigan! After the fans screamed and blogged about it, Capcom listened -- and we finally have Darkstalkers Resurrection, the downloadable title developed by Iron Galaxy Studios (who has previously re-released the arcade titles Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike Online Edition and Marvel vs. Capcom Origins) for Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Network.
For those who are newbie scrubs of the Darkstalkers series, the game is a double feature with Night Warriors: Darkstalkers’ Revenge (1995) and Darkstalkers 3 (1997) in one with non-stop, fast-paced action; it's retro at its finest. Darkstalkers 3 keeps the character line-up, excluding Donovan, Huitzil and Pyron, but gains four new characters: Jedah, Lilith, Q-Bee and the fan-lovable B.B. Hood.
While the Street Fighter series is more geared to actual martial arts forms, Darkstalkers takes its motivation from fantasy and even a little folklore. Just take a look at some of the characters in the roster -- it includes a Mummy, a zombie and Frankenstein's monster.
There is even a resemblance to Little Red Riding Hood (B.B. Hood). Ok, now I have seen it all. These characters are what make Darkstalkers an interesting and comedic game in the fighting genre. Given that direction, you will find that it has been done right -- no gimmicks here.
Comedic aspect aside, this game’s fighting style is very unique. Darkstalkers Resurrection has a style very similar to Marvel vs Capcom 2 and even the more recent Skullgirls. The character sprites make up must of the charm the series has. Don’t believe me? One character, Lord Raptor, is an undead rock star zombie who has an EX Special move cleverly titled -- Hell Dunk. Yes, this guy will change the opponent into a demonic basketball hoop and perform a dunk that will make LeBron James green with envy. Or did LeBron take the Hell Dunk for himself? R.I.P. Jason Terry. Even though it has a very pseudo-Grimm appearance, it makes for a refreshing take on a fighting game that will grow on you.
Darkstalkers Resurrection doesn't stray far from the standard fighting game formula that Capcom has laid its foundations with. Each character has a specific move list and Special gauge, which builds the meter if an attack lands successfully on the opponent. This Special gauge will allow the character to perform ES Specials and EX Specials to add to your game plan and strategy. If you have experience with later and current Capcom fighters, you have a significant edge on how these mechanics come into play. If you don’t, however, you can thankfully find a complete character tutorial in the menus, which will allow you to get familiar with a character’s special moves and to hone-in on the timing in regards to executing combos.
Darkstalkers Resurrection also adds HD filtering with numerous options. You can even play on a classic arcade cabinet and be on the “player one” side! It adds a nice, little touch to the game. There is an online tournament mode, a YouTube replay mode, and eight-player lobbies. Iron Galaxy Studios has brought back the “Vault” system for additional content that can be unlocked by receiving in-game challenge points. There you will find beautiful, astonishing custom artwork, videos, concept art, etc. Darkstalkers Resurrection’s visuals still look and play beautifully. The sound is stellar; it captures the essence of the classic voice-overs, and the music is creepy yet soothing, so it fits.
We held off on the review to make sure that the online multiplayer was fully functional. It is, after all, the main reason people will be buying Darkstalkers Resurrection.
Let’s be completely real and admit that if you were going to purchase this title, you would want to know if the online matchmaking was up to par without having to rip our hair out due to lag. I promise you this -- it is one of, if not THE best, fighting games to-date I have experienced, all thanks to the seamless and smooth GGPO netcode. Other fighters that use the GGPO will quickly see the beauty of minimal lag, which of course is attributed to having a low Ping percentage. I have yet to experience issues from opponents with a higher ping than myself. There will be those scrubs that swear up and down that GGPO netcode on this game is worthless and non-playable; though, that's more of a player preference and opinion than anything else.
Of course, you can play offline on the single-player mode and get through the game to see each character’s ending, but with a game like Dalkstalkers, why would anyone NOT play online? With a growing community and higher demands of local and major tournaments, this game will be one on the list for some time to come.
So which is the better Darkstalkers in this package? While both are certainly enjoyable, Darkstalkers 3 is definitely the clear winner of the two. It packs more of a punch and the controls feel tighter. Not to mention, the sprites look cleaner than of its predecessor, Night Warriors, given the HD option.
It just goes to show that Capcom can still answer the pleas of its fans, and this time, that answer was Darkstalkers Resurrection. So how about Darkstalkers 4 or an HD port of Capcom vs SNK 2!? Now THAT would be something!