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Darkstalkers, known in Japanmarker and Asia as and in some European releases as Vampire Hunter, is a series of 2D fighting games produced by Capcom during the mid-1990s for the CPS II arcade hardware. The series is notable for its cast of characters based on well-known fictional monsters (hence its Japanese title, Vampire) and introduced many of the concepts used in later Capcom fighting games, including the use of sixteen-bit color animation sprite later employed in Street Fighter Alpha: Warriors' Dreams and the Marvel vs. Capcom series. There have been five arcade games in the series with a few console ports produced as well. However, the canonicity of the series causes confusion and debate to many, due to the mutiple titles and upgrades.

Mainstream games

The Night Warriors/Darkstalkers

The first in the series, fully titled Darkstalkers - The Night Warriors or Vampire - The Night Warriors in Japan and released in , features ten playable characters (Demitri Maximoff, Jon Talbain, Victor von Gerdenheim, Lord Raptor, Morrigan Aensland, Anakaris, Felicia, Oboro Bishamon, Rikuo and Sasquatch) and two non-playable boss characters (Huitzil and Pyron) as the final opponents in the single-player mode.

The game features the same gameplay system Capcom developed for the Street Fighter II series, but with several new gameplay features such as Air Blocking, Crouch Walking and Chain Combos. The game featured a Special meter similar to the "Super Combo" gauge" in Super Street Fighter II Turbo, which the player could fill up to perform a super powered special attack. Unlike the Super Combo gauge in Super Turbo, the Special in Darkstalkers gradually drains unless the player performs their super move, preventing players from preserving their super moves for later use.

The game was ported to the PlayStation in . The conversion was handled by Psygnosis. This version featured a new opening theme titled "Trouble Man" by Eikichi Yazawa, which was used as the theme music for the American Darkstalkers animated series.

Vampire Hunter: Darkstalkers' Revenge/Darkstalkers 2

Fully titled Night Warriors - Darkstalkers' Revenge or in Japan and released in . It is the second true game in the series, and introduces several gameplay changes to the game. The game introduces two new playable characters, Donovan Baine and Hsien-Ko, "Dark Hunters" who were out to hunt the other Darkstalkers in the game (hence the Japanese title, Vampire Hunter).
Saturn cover artwork of Night Warriors.
The two bosses from the first game, Huitzil and Pyron, are now playable characters as well. The main change in Night Warriors is the ability for the player to stock up on their special gauge, allowing them to store more than one special gauge and preserve them through the entire match. Two types of Super Moves are featured in the game: "ES Specials", which requires a portion of the Special gauge, and "EX Specials", which require an entire stock of the Special gauge to perform. Player can choose between a "Normal" gameplay style or one that offers Auto-Blocking.

A version for the Sega Saturn was also released in . The Saturn port features an "Appendix Mode" that allows players to customize the backgrounds, the opponents' colors and background music between the regular ones and the ones used in the original Darkstalkers.

Vampire Savior/Darkstalkers 3

The third game in the series canon. , released in . Originally titled Jedah's Damnation, the game retains the character roster of Night Warriors, omitting Donovan, Huitzil and Pyron from the lineup. Taking their place were four new characters: Jedah, Lilith, Q-Bee and B. B. Hood.

Vampire Savior eschews the traditional round-based system in favour of what is dubbed the "Damage Gauge System" where battles take place during a period of one round, with each fighter having two "life markers" (by default) which diminish after one character runs out of vitality. The player can also regain a portion of their life during battle if they manage to avoid taking further hits. The game also introduces the "Dark Force System" which allows players to perform special abilities unique to each character for a limited period.

A Saturn version was released in Japan only in , which required Capcom's 4MB RAM Cartridge. This version contains all 15 characters from the original Vampire Savior as well as the three Night Warriors characters who were brought back in Vampire Savior 2/Vampire Hunter 2, and thanks to the 4MB RAM cartridge, more faithfully reproduces the 2D-animation fluidity of the arcade than the either of the earlier console releases.

In 1998, an update of the game was later released on PlayStation as Vampire Savior: EX Edition in Japan, and Darkstalkers 3 in North America. Although it is an EX version to the third canon game in the series, it is actually a compilation of Vampire Savior and its two Japan-only arcade updates. This version allows players to use all 18 characters in all three games.

Alternate and Upgraded Versions

Vampire Hunter 2 and Vampire Savior 2

 and   were two simultaneously-released updated versions of Vampire Savior that were distributed in Japanese arcades only a few months after the release of the original Vampire Savior. The main difference between the two upgrades and the original Vampire Savior are in its character roster. Vampire Hunter 2 features the same character roster and soundtrack as Night Warriors (which was known as Vampire Hunter in Japan), omitting the characters introduced in Vampire Savior, while Vampire Savior 2 features the Vampire Savior cast along with Donovan, Huitzil and Pyron, omitting J. Talbain (as well as Dark Talbain), Rikuo and Sasquatch.


Various Re-releases

Vampire Chronicle/Darkstalkers Chronicle

In Capcom released Vampire Savior 2/Vampire Hunter 2 for the Sega Dreamcast as a mail-order game via Dreamcast Direct. This version was titled,Vampire Chronicle for Matching Service. This version allows players to select between four fighting styles based on each Darkstalkers game (the original, Night Warriors, Vampire Savior and Savior 2/Hunter 2). This version also features an online versus mode. In , the game was ported to the PlayStation Portable. This version was released in North America and Europe in under the title of Darkstalkers Chronicle: The Chaos Tower. The PSP version includes all the features from the Dreamcast original, as well as an exclusive single-player "Chaos Tower" mode.

Darkstalkers Collection

Vampire - Darkstalkers Collection is a compilation of all five Darkstalkers arcade games was released in Japan only for the PlayStation 2 in . This compilation features the original arcade versions of the games, as well as hidden arranged versions of some of the Vampire Savior games.

Characters

Character appears in Voiced by
Darkstalkers Night Warriors Vampire Savior Vampire Savior 2 Vampire Hunter 2
Anakaris Kan Tokumaru
B.B. Hood Miyuki Matsushita
Bishamon Kan Tokumaru
Demitri Nobuyuki Hiyama
Donovan Nobuyuki Hiyama
Felicia Kae Araki
Hsien-Ko Michiko Neya
Huitzil Juurouta Kosugi
Jedah Isshin Chiba
J. Talbain Yuji Ueda
Lilith Hiroko Konishi
Lord Raptor Yuji Ueda
Morrigan Yayoi Jinguji
Pyron Nobuyuki Hiyama
Q-Bee Miyuki Matsushita
Rikuo Yuji Ueda
Sasquatch Kan Tokumaru
Victor Kan Tokumaru


Minor characters

  • Marionette (Puppet - copies its opponent.)--Voiced by NA
  • Shadow (Shadow creature. In game, takes the character of the defeated enemy.)--Voiced by NA
  • Dee (vampire hunter)-- An exclusive hidden character in the secret arranged modes of Vampire: Darkstalkers Collection, Donovan after his Night Warriors ending. He is a combination of Demitri and Donovan in terms of gameplay and sprite.
  • Anita - A young little girl who exhibits supernatural powers. She is always seen carrying a headless doll while being present during any of Donovan's battles. She appears as a matured woman in Donovan's ending in Night Warriors and in Dee s ending in the arranged version of Vampire Savior featured in the Japanese Darkstalkers Collection. She was renamed Amanda in the English version of Night Warriors, although every other game in the series retained her original name.


Cameos in other games

While the Darkstalkers franchise did not see continuation past the third game in the series, several individual characters (usually the females) appeared in later Capcom games. The most well-known of these crossover titles are probably the Marvel vs. Capcom and Capcom vs. SNK series. Cameos were also made in Capcom Fighting Evolution, SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos, Namco × Capcom, Gunbird 2, and Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All Stars. Super deformed variations of the Darkstalkers appear in Super Gem Fighter: Mini Mix, SNK vs. Capcom: The Match of the Millennium and the tongue-in-cheek puzzle game Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo. Morrigan has appeared in the North American version of We Love Golf!.She also appears as a playable character along with Felicia, Lilith and Demitri in Cross Edge with Jedah appearing as an enemy.

Related media

  • A Darkstalkers animated series was produced for United Statesmarker audiences. It starred a young boy named Harry Grimoire, who was created for the cartoon. Since the series was not drawn in the same anime style used to draw the game sprites, the Darkstalkers characters look noticeably different.
  • In Love Hina, the popular Shōnen series, a few of the main female characters appear in the costumes of B.B. Hood,Hsien-Ko, and Felicia though much less revealing for Halloween in Chapter 86 of the manga.
  • A four-episode OVA anime series was released, titled Night Warriors: Darkstalkers' Revenge (Vampire Hunter: The Animated Series in Japan). Viz produced an English adaptation that was released in North America.
  • A manga adaptation was authored by Run Ishida and published in Japan by Ascii in 1996. This manga was later adapted by Viz Comics under the title of Night Warriors: The Comic Series and published as a six-issue comic book (which were later collected in a single trade paperback volume).
  • UDON Comics published a Darkstalkers comic series, consisting of six issues, (upon which they stopped production abruptly), and a TPB collection of the six issues. No reason for why the production was halted for so long has ever been given. The TPB omitted the backup stories presented at the end of each issue, and included a special Morrigan background story previously only seen in a summer Capcom special. Although they seem to have no plans to continue the series, UDON recently announced that they will soon release a brand new 3-issue miniseries with a similar storyline, entitled Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors, with the first installment set for a January 2010 release.
  • In 2008, UDON also released the Darkstalkers Graphic File, a collection of screenshots, storyboards and concept art from the series.
  • A five volume manga series surrounding Vampire Savior was created by mangaka Mayumi Azuma and published by Gangan Comics. It stars Lilith and original character, John Stutely.
  • In 2009, UDON and Capcom released a 15th anniversary Darkstalkers tribute book. It is comprised of submitted artwork from fans of the series, along with artwork from some of Udon and Capcom's own artists and several famous manga artists such as Yasuhiro Nightow. The book was first available in August 2009 at several large anime conventions, and became available in bookstores the following September.


See also



References

  1. The game was originally planned to be released as Jedah's Damnation in the United States, but the title was not used, making Vampire Savior the only game in the series to retain its original title overseas. The name was still used for GameFan Books strategy guide.
  2. http://www.fightersgeneration.com/games/darkstalkers3.html
  3. Hardcore Gaming 101: Darkstalkers / Vampire
  4. Ken and Morrigan shown hitting the links in We Love Golf - Joystiq


External links




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