When you’re in the mood to battle werewolves, succubae, cat-women, fish people, or Little Red Riding Hood, look no further than Darkstalkers: Resurrection. Capcom brings two 2-D fighters, Night Warriors: Darkstalkers’ Revenge and Darkstalkers 3, both released in Arcades and then Sega Saturn and PlayStation 1, respectively, to the Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network. This Capcom fighter has often been overshadowed by Street Fighter, which has been given a superfluous amount of iterations and the 2.5-D treatment on more than one occasion. While it is arguably less popular, is it just as furious a contender, even 18 years after its arcade debut?
Darkstalkers: Resurrection reminds me of why I am glad the Darkstalkers series was never quite as pampered as Street Fighter. This series mostly stayed out of the limelight, but it is still a solid fighting game worthy of being a gem among 2-D fighters. Having been left alone for so long, it’s probably a good thing that there were never drastic changes to the series, keeping it as swift and stylish as it always has been in its original format, across whatever platform is graced. Since their port of Marvel vs. Capcom 2, Capcom has created a much improved port of an aging fighter. One problem with their MvC2 port was the punishing difficulty for people unfamiliar with the series. Darkstalkers: Resurrection brings a much less daunting experience, all the while maintaining that brutality for veterans if they so choose. The addition of a more specific difficulty scale in the Options menu lets the player customize the experience for themselves allowing them to see everything the game has to offer. I can finally be a cat-lady without being terrified of what horrific pixelated Japanese nightmare will annihilate me next.
Veterans who have played Darkstalkers for years, however, can still amp up the difficulty, lower the damage, and alter the timer on a flexible scale of 1 to 9 stars. Similarly, one can adjust the Turbo settings, increasing the speed for either Night Warriors or Darkstalkers 3 accordingly. The multitude of game options makes this a much more approachable entry for players of any skill type, especially in the face of a 2-D fighter, which can get pretty vicious.
As exact ports of the arcade releases, the controls remain solid and precise as ever. A variety of views are also given to watch your battles with a frame, a widescreen, a cabinet view, or even a shoulder view of an arcade cabinet as though you’re watching someone else play from several feet away. The game looks beautiful in HD with no visual filters giving a clear view of every pixel, but there is also a slightly smoother filter, or “Crisp,” which irons out the edges of the pixels together making everything look muddy and ugly, in my opinion. Luckily, that’s completely optional.
The game looks as good as it sounds. To complement the gorgeous pixelated designs, a phenomenal soundtrack surges through the game. Literally everything from the characters to the music has remained intact when you’re playing the actual game, but there is a new main menu interface allowing you to switch between Night Warriors and Darkstalkers 3 with the press of the Back/Select button. The transitions and menus are adorned with fantastic new art and music to welcome you back to the dark and lovely world of Darkstalkers. It all has a Halloween-ish feel to it without ever getting obnoxious about it.
Some backstory facts about the characters cycle through on the bottom of the menu screen, which is pretty interesting and gives you something else to look at, but following the story in a fighting game is usually about as useless as giving Lieutenant Dan a pedicure. There is a lot to unlock though. Resurrection offers a humble library of concept art and ending movies to unlock with points you receive every time you perform certain actions in battle, which you can have displayed alongside the screen depending on how you have set the viewing scheme. They’re fun ways to aim for certain strategies mid-battle, sort of like miniature achievements.
One of the coolest features in this package is the ability to upload your replays straight to YouTube. The process only takes short of ten minutes, but the quality of the video ends up at 360p. That can be a little disappointing when you’ve been playing the game in 1080p on your HDTV. Still, you can upload your replays and that’s awesome for people who don’t have expensive video console recording devices. You can actually watch the replay of my first online match below that I uploaded. Go ahead and place a bet on whether or not I win. Also, don’t hate on my fantastically adequate skills with Felicia.
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While Darkstalkers 1 and 3 have already been available on the PlayStation Network, this is Night Warriors: Darkstalkers’ Revenge’s (basically part 2) current-gen debut. Also, another big difference is the online multiplayer which provides a lot more replayability with its inclusion of player, ranked, and local matches in addition to an online tournament mode. The GGPO netcode allows matchmaking to be quick with lag-free battles.
The menu does include a Download Content selection, but there’s already enough content there that it’s hard to imagine what they would want to include. Perhaps the few additional characters from the previous home releases of the games, as these are the arcade versions with the arcade list of characters. Nevertheless, you get to finally live out your dream and get pumped full of lead by a gun-toting Little Red Riding Hood. I know you’ve always wanted that.
Overall, this is a much deserved release as Darkstalkers has always been an under-appreciated series. Seeing as how this is the series debut on the Xbox 360, it’s an entry that I would highly recommend to fans of 2-D fighters. You’re getting two games for the price of one. Admittedly, they’re not terribly different games, but they’re different games nonetheless. I’ve had much more fun playing this game than the port of MvC2 with much more flexible gameplay options. It’s got a cast of colorful varied characters with their own styles and a soundtrack so good you can leave it on a loop and never care that it hasn’t ended. Honestly, this much content right away from Capcom came as a surprise to me. Darkstalkers: Resurrection is well worth the $15 price tag and your attention. Fans of the original games on the Sega Saturn and PS1 won’t be disappointed. With plenty of modes, options, and unlockables, this is probably the best resurrection since Tupac: Resurrection.
[+Fast and frenetic 2-D fighting] [+Excellent port] [+Great character variety] [+Fantastic soundtrack] [+A lot of unlockable extras and goals] [+Smooth lag-free online battles] [+Very fair price] [+Able to upload replays to YouTube] [-YouTube uploads are only 360p quality] [-R.I.P. Tupac]