Things just got weird…ly awesome.
Aside from Capcom's own JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, I can't think of a fighting game series with a more cracked-out cast than Darkstalkers. Sadly, besides having a few characters present in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, this funky bunch has been warming the bench for around a decade now. Much to the elation of hardcore fighting fans everywhere, Capcom's decided to put them back into play with Darkstalkers Resurrection, an HD re-release handled by Iron Galaxy Studios, the same folks who did such a fine job with Street Fighter III: Third Strike Online and Marvel vs. Capcom Origins.
Similar to the latter, Darkstalkers Resurrection delivers not one, but two games in one package: Night Warriors: Darkstalkers' Revenge and Darkstalkers 3. Having already done a bang-up job on three other Capcom classics, Iron Galaxy has this down to a science at this point. The menus, options, and presentation are all in line with their past works, which is a very good thing.
In a lot of ways, these remakes are more fully featured and functional than Capcom's current flagship fighters. Sure, the games are old and the visuals are dated, but everything else is aces. GGPO netcode is always a plus, as is the sequential button configuration screen. You get full replay functionality, with the ability to save and watch replays with friends online (including chat support so you can talk it over), and the ability to upload matches directly to your personal Youtube account. Training mode is also completely decked out, with dummy recording and even save states so you can efficiently prepare for any situation you might face. Then there are 8-player lobbies, spectator mode, online tournament support… when's Capcom gonna start incorporating all this into their main games again?
That's a lot of good news for the nuts who live and die by fighting games, but Iron Galaxy wants to teach newbies the ropes while they're at it. I mean real teaching, not just combo trials. Every character gets a five-part detailed tutorial explaining effective move applications, overall strategies, and practical combos. The only other game I've seen do this is Skullgirls, and in my opinion, this needs to become a standard practice if fighting games are going to continue to grow. Mashing buttons and getting crushed only stays fun for so long after all.
As for the games themselves, they're both straight ports of the arcade versions. When Darkstalkers hit the scene, it established many new mechanics that would go onto become mainstays of Capcom's fighters. Zany as it looks, it's still quite tame compared to the non-stop bug-out that is Marvel vs. Capcom, but it's still distinct enough from Street Fighter to stand on its own. With any luck, this package will make a new set of fans fall in love with Demitri, Talbain, Jedah, and company, hopefully paving the way for a true Darkstalkers sequel in the process. Hey, a man can dream, can't he?
Darkstalkers Resurrection will be available March 12th on PSN for $14.99, and the day after on XBLA.