Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors
When Darkstalkers first dropped in arcades around 1994, I was mesmerized. In 1996, it would get a proper port to Sony’s PlayStation.
Originally, I was a huge fan of Street Fighter II, so imagine when I saw Capcom taking the same engine and beefing up the game ten-fold.
Darkstalkers introduced quite a few firsts within Capcom’s fighting games. While I always liked its cartoonish style, I had never realized just how much the individual frames stood in their originality. The game looks original and plays like you’re watching something on TV. The characters can do some bizarre things as well, since they’re not rooted in the same “realism” of the Street Fighter series.
This levels the playing field for larger than life characters like Ankaris or the smaller statured Sasquatch. Just like it’s cousin, you actually want to play and attempt to master each of these characters – each inspired by different monsters. From a vampire to Frankenstein, everyone is represented.
Of course, another draw for teenage boys (such as myself at the time) were the scantily clad female fighters, Felicia and Morrigan too.
The learning curve is identical to Street Fighter, a bonus for those players who were already familiar with that system.
Some of the cooler things to note are the special moves bar which fills as you fight and background items which can also be broken. Air blocking and crouch walking were also introduced, but creating combos, and seeing it listed as such on-screen, as also a major draw to this game.
The controls are incredibly tight, and the final two bosses are incredibly cheap – everything you’d expect in a Capcom fighter.
The menu options are also identical to Street Fighter and Darkstalkers also includes three turbo modes from the beginning.
The game is truthfully tuned to any skill level, which makes this PSX port even more accessible. It literally hasn’t aged one bit and is as good as it was 25 years ago. Fighting fans should definitely check out this trailblazer from the Capcom library.