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Darkstalkers 3

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darkstalkers_3_boxAlso Known As: Vampire Savior: Lord of the Vampires in Japan
Console
: Arcade
Released: 1997
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Ports: Playstation 1, Sega Saturn (as Vampire Savior: Lord of the Vampires in Japan only), PS2 (part of Vampire: Darkstalkers Collection, released only in Japan), Dreamcast (technically, see below, as Vampire Chronicle for Matching Service in Japan only), PSP (as Darkstalkers Chronicle: The Chaos Tower), PS3 (part of Vampire: Darkstalkers Resurrection, released to disc only in Japan)
Digital Release? Yes – As a PSOne game on PSN ($5.99) that works for PS3/PSP/Vita, as Darkstalkers: The Chaos Tower for PSP ($10.00), Part of Darkstalkers Resurrection in the US on XBLA or PSN ($15.00)

This is the game where Capcom went nuts.  As the list above suggests, there were several ports of this game and in different forms.  So many, in fact, that a brunt of this article is about the ports and differences themselves than the actual game.  Darkstalkers 3 released to a very crowded arcade in 1997, most fighters at that time were also developed by Capcom might I add, and thus Darkstalkers 3 was almost unnoticed in an arcade in America.  Furthermore, the dwindling US arcade market probably saw it releasing to fewer locations.  Originally titled Darkstalkers: Jedah’s Damnation for the US, this title was dropped – I can think of a few reasons why – and the very generic Darkstalkers 3 replaced the title domestically.  As it stood in 1997 you could walk into an arcade and choose between Street Fighter III, Street Fighter EX Plus, Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter, and that’s just the Capcom fighers.

darkstalkers_3_1

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Written by Fred Rojas

March 24, 2013 at 11:00 am

Night Warriors: Darkstalkers Revenge

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Night_Warriors_coverAlso Known As: Vampire Hunter: Darkstalkers’ Revenge in Japan
Console
: Arcade
Released: 1995
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Ports: Sega Saturn, PS2 (part of Vampire: Darkstalkers Collection, released only in Japan), PS3 (part of Vampire: Darkstalkers Resurrection, released to disc only in Japan)
Price: $20.00 (used) $49.99 (new) pricecharting.com
Digital Release? Yes – Part of Darkstalkers Resurrection in the US on XBLA or PSN ($15.00)

Not wasting any time, which is something you’ll notice from all popular Capcom franchises, a sequel to the original Darkstalkers was brought out only a short year later in 1995.  It’s important to note that this was common for arcades back then with much shorter development time and a need to ride the coattails of any popular game franchise in coin-op form.  The moment your game didn’t have anything new to offer and hardcore fans stopped playing it, you were dead in the water.  While the original title mixed up the formula for Capcom fighters, Night Warriors was more of a refinement of the unique ideas its predecessor introduced.  This time around Capcom focused more on adapting the “special” bar, now having up to 3 levels of power, and more complex chain combos.  Additionally the animation was so well coded the characters moved on screen like living cartoons, no more awkward mechanical movements or odd frames of animation.  Some say this was one of the first games that frame counting became a more complex and time-intensive activity and with new 3-gauge EX specials and combos, you could make or break your match.  Players also have the option of playing a traditional style of gameplay or the new “auto-block,” which would prove popular to those new to the series and not cause any grief from veterans.  Unfortunately the way Capcom staggered its release schedule of fighters, Night Warriors was the first of three major fighters introduced by the company in 1995 and somewhat fell to the wayside going into summer (this released in March, technically the end of winter).  It’s unfortunate because some fans of the series, like myself, consider it to be the best of the three titles.

New character Hsien-Ko

New character Hsien-Ko

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Written by Fred Rojas

March 23, 2013 at 11:30 am

Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors

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Darkstalkers_boxAlso Known As: Vampire: The Night Warriors in Japan
Console
: Arcade
Released: 1994
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Ports: PS1, PS2 (part of Vampire: Darkstalkers Collection, released only in Japan)
Price: $11.18 (used) $455.00 (new) pricecharting.com
Digital Release? Yes – PSOne release for PS3/PSP/Vita ($5.99)

It seemed that all classic fighters started life with iterative trilogies. Seriously, it happened with Street Fighter II (original, champion, turbo), Mortal Kombat (1-3), Art of Fighting (1-3), ClayFighter…okay, scrap that last one. Darkstalkers, known as Vampire in Japan, was no exception. The first Capcom fighting game that wasn’t from the Street Fighter series, these games were less about building a new series and more about being a testing ground for new mechanics. That doesn’t make the games any less awesome, nor does it discredit the silky smooth gameplay and beautiful animation that was significantly improved over the Street Fighter graphics that had begun to look dated in 1994. While it may be a true timepiece that you either grew up in the mid 90s playing or missed completely, Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors is a great starting point when learning the more hardcore mechanics of today’s fighters.

darkstalkers_1

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Written by Fred Rojas

March 22, 2013 at 6:52 pm