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Darkstalkers Resurrection Review (XBLA)

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating

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Darkstalkers Resurrection Review (XBLA)
Capcom
Capcom and developer Iron Galaxy are back with another HD makeover of classic fighting games in Darkstalkers Resurrection. Pairing the second game on the series, 1995's Night Warriors: Darkstalkers' Revenge, along with 1997's Darkstalkers 3, Darkstalkers Resurrection brings the best the series has to offer to Xbox Live Arcade. Unlike the million Street Fighter titles Capcom has released over the years, Darkstalkers has a totally unique cast of monster-themed characters and gameplay that feels pretty different from SF. If you're a 2D fighting game fan, Darkstalkers Resurrection is worth a look.
Game Details

  • Publisher: Capcom
  • Developer: Iron Galaxy
  • ESRB Rating: “T" for Teen
  • Genre: Fighting
  • Pros: Two solid games in one package; great training modes; good online play; unique cast of characters; doesn't just feel like a Street Fighter clone
  • Cons: Visuals won't exactly wow you; A.I. likes to turtle; missing some features found in previous home releases

Darkstalkers features a cast of characters based on monsters like werewolves, vampires, succubi, mummies, sasquatch, and, er, catgirls, among others. As you can imagine, the story is pretty wild and convoluted, but it is pretty easy to ignore and just enjoy the characters. Quite a few of the cast - Morrigan, Felicia, BB Hood, etc. - have appeared in other Capcom fighting games so there are likely some familiar faces here even if you haven't played Darkstalkers before.

Darkstalkers Resurrection includes both Night Stalkers (the second game in the series) as well as Darkstalkers 3, which was a good choice since both titles are very solid and play differently enough from each other that they are both worthwhile (unlike, say, Marvel vs. Capcom Origins where only one of the games has held up). You might question the omission of the first title in the series, but the two sequels are far better than the original, so it isn't a big loss. The games are based on the arcade versions of the titles, however, which means some features added in home releases like new characters and modes aren't present here. It isn't a huge deal, since there is a lot of content here for just 1200 MSP ($15), but longtime fans will definitely notice. Capcom can (and probably will ...) add things via DLC.

As far as modes go, the games are surprisingly deep. Arcade mode lets you fight through the cast and earn an ending clip for your chosen character. The training and tutorial modes are incredibly detailed and do a really great job of teaching you how to play. This is seriously one of the best training modes we've seen in a while, and you're going to need it since Darkstalkers actually plays a bit different from the Street Fighter-style you're probably used to. The online play is also nice and full-featured and lets you set up lobbies where you can ban specific characters (no cheapies here) and you can also even adjust your input delay so you have as smooth of an experience as possible.

Gameplay

Capcom
The basics of Darkstalkers' gameplay will seem familiar to long time Capcom fighter fans, but when you dig a little it turns out to be quite different. Sure, there are six attack buttons, super moves, and EX moves like we know today, but the combo system is fairly different from classic Street Fighter. The game uses a progressive combo system where you can chain lighter attacks into heavier attacks (similar to Street Fighter X Tekken), and learning how to use these combos effectively is the key to victory here. Darkstalkers 3 is the more polished of the two titles featured here and along with a more modern super system also has a Dark Force mechanic that gives your character special armor or a mirror image of themselves to help fight, among other abilities.

The Darkstalkers games are some of the fastest and most frantic fighters that Capcom has released, particularly if you choose the turbo speed over normal speed (and you should). All of the various characters also feel really distinct and different from each other as well, which makes learning the ins and outs of the game really fun and rewarding. The A.I. are some of the most turtleing (like to block constantly) SOB's I've encountered in a long time, but with practice you learn how to deal with it. Fights with human opponents are always fun, though.

Graphics & Sound

Presentation wise, Darkstalkers Resurrection is pretty well put together. There are various filters and views you can use to change the way the graphics look to suit your tastes. The menus are also pretty clean and nice looking. I will say, however, that even with all of the smoothing and other filters, the character sprites are still pretty rough looking and the animation isn't exactly smooth. That is to be expected, since these games are 15+ years old, but they're also only a year or two away from when Street Fighter III and Marvel vs. Capcom 2 were released, both of which look significantly better. It isn't a big deal, but you'll definitely notice.

The sound is actually really great all around with solid sound effects, decent voice samples for all of the attacks, and really good music. I mean, really, really good music.

Bottom Line

Capcom
All in all, Darkstalkers Resurrection is a fantastic package that no 2D fight fan should pass up. The character roster is fresh and interesting enough, and the gameplay so unique when compared to other Capcom fighters, that it is absolutely worth playing even if you might be feeling burned out after this generation's fighting game renaissance. Darkstalkers Resurrection features two great fighters for a mere 1200 MSP ($15). We highly recommend it.
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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