Demitri, the Lord of the Night, decides to hold a tournament to see which of the
world's greatest monsters is worthy of the title "Lord of the Night".
Pyron, an alien being who believes he should rule the Darkstalkers, comes to
Earth to join the fray.
Enter the world of the
No doubt a large part of the success behind
Capcom's Street Fighter 2 series was due to the memorable and original character designs.
Capcom decided to try their hand at creating an entirely new fighting game series, with
recognizable "horror" stereotypes as the
theme. With the help of some badass artwork by Bengus and a slick presentation, Darkstalkers made a
respectable splash in arcades worldwide in the mid 90's.
Choose your horror
features 10 playable
characters and 2 (non-playable) boss characters. Along with the staple 6-button
layout borrowed from SF2, Darkstalkers features a Special Gauge similar to the
Super Combo Gauge seen in Super
Street Fighter II Turbo. When a character's gauge is full, they can perform
a quick and
devastating super move. Thanks to the
similar motions of performing special moves, players of Street Fighter (and
other 2D fighters) can jump right in and start fighting effectively right off
the bat. The gameplay of Darkstalkers also presents some innovative
elements new to fighting games, including: Air
Blocking, Crouch Walking and finally, one of the series most
"defining" mechanics, the Chain Combo.
The Chain Combo system appeared first in Darkstalkers (later to be
used in various other fighting games for many years to come). Basically, Chain
Combos allow players to string together light, medium, and fierce attacks sequentially.
In turn, players can easily create different combo strategies through stringing together
priority attacks, and ultimately, special and super moves. It's a solid,
intuitive, and fun combo system... and one that proved to stand the test of
Some of the best 2D
graphics of the time.
The character animation of Darkstalkers is
on par with the Street Fighter Alpha series (which was one of the best
looking 2D fighting games at the time of its release). Worth mentioning, Darkstalkers animation was far more bizarre and
obscure than that of any other fighting game (or video game) series out there in
the mid 90's, which really enabled the game stand out.
Along with the wild
character designs, their equally insane movesets and fighting styles are just as
catchy as any Street Fighter character's. While the Darkstalkers
have very original fighting styles, most of them do share a few fundamental
attributes and similar play-styles of Street Fighter characters, which
once again makes the game accessible to any educated 2D fighting game player.
Capcom took a risk with Darkstalkers, since SF2 and Alpha
were indeed big shoes to fill. Ultimately, Capcom gave 2D fighting fans a shiny new fighter
that introduced some very cleverly entertaining character designs... designs
that many gamers would soon fall in love with. The memorable characters,
interesting fighting styles, and immersive setting
for an instant classic 2D fighting game.
In my opinion, the core gameplay of Darkstalkers didn't quite live up to the latest (or classic) installments of it's
bigger brother (the Street Fighter series), but the original Darkstalkers
did introduce several innovative gameplay mechanics, presenting enough depth
for the game to stand on its
own. After the first installment, the series clearly still had plenty of
room to grow, and the later incarnations of Darkstalkers succeeded the
original in every way imaginable. In addition, many Darkstalkers
characters would later cross over to a variety of other titles. ~TFG