Our day of darkness grows ever closer ghosts 'n goblins. Tonight we shall gather around a campfire in front of a dark castle and fight! Darkstalkers 3
is an tournament fighting game developed and published by Capcom during the company's Golden Age of two dimensional fighters. Darkstalkers 3
was first released in the arcade in 1997, with console ports to the Sega Saturn and Sony Playstation released the following year. Only the Playstation port was released outside of Japan, and it made it to Europe in 1999.
Since it is in 2D, it still looks fantastic to this day, and the audio is a real blast from the past. The art style of this series is a cartoony style of horror, quite fitting for our month of Spooktacularly gnarly game reviews. It's a bold look that stands out in Capcom's library, especially during its day. The characters are all beautifully designed, and move rather smoothly even on the console version. Of course, the Japanese Saturn version with the 4MB RAM cartridge (known as Vampire Savior
in Japan) is the better home version.
If you don't have the ability to import, then you're stuck with the Playstation version, which is still perfectly playable. Darkstalkers 3
is everything you want in a 2D Capcom fighting game. The combos are technical, but smooth to pull off with practice. The game has different speed settings as well, which had become a fairly standard addition to Capcom's games by the point of Darkstalker 3's
release. The animations are still quite smooth and your movement is fluid and easy to control and predict.
The best way to play Darkstalkers 3
is with a buddy sitting next to you on the couch. Arcade mode is offered here for a single player experience, but Capcom's devious, rubber band AI is still strong in this title. Though it is toned down much more than in some earlier games of the era, it is still quite noticeable. Playing arcade mode on the right difficulty for you is still a fun way to keep your skills honed, since you'll know that you can at least beat a cheating AI.Darkstalkers
has not had much happen with the series overall in a long time. Capcom released Darkstalkers Chronicle: The Chaos Tower
for the PSP, which was based on the Japan only, Dreamcast Darkstalkers game Vampire Chronicle for Matching Service
. There is little likelihood of a completely new game. A few of the characters from this series have crossed over into other Capcom games, mostly the females. Morrigan's addition to Marvel vs. Capcom
lead to the series being noticed by a wider audience, but its been a cult fighter since the original game's release and has not really been given a true chance to break that mold.
If you have to scratch your 2D fighting itch, and it happens to also be October, you can't go wrong with any Darkstalkers game. I have my eye out for The Night Warriors
on Saturn, so you might find another review of a spooky fast fighter next year! If you want to see this art style on a modern 2D fighter, then I would recommend the Blazblue series from Arc System Works.
I'm not a big fighter fan, but there are definitely a few series that I really enjoy. The first is Street Fighter, which I grew up playing in the arcades, and the other is Darkstalkers. I've always been a big fan of the classic monster movies and I feel like Darkstalkers has that Street Fighter vibe with the addition of horror skins. Nice review!
Have this, and LOVE IT! Sega Saturn games from Japan that require the 4MB upgrade cartridge are head and shoulders beyond other systems at the time. A shame the U.S. market glazed over this awesome system! Fortunately Action Replay and a Sega Saturn unlocks access to the entire Japanese library which I find to be quite amazing. Vampire Savior is no exception. Great article!
@Gamer4Lyfe: The sad thing is that Japan is starting to dry up for games, all the foreigners are buying them up.
@SirPsycho:Well, the rest of us better hurry up and buy what we can while we can! If I wasn't trying to squirrel away as much as I can for house upgrades, I'd probably be stocking up on Saturn Japanese games.
@Gamer4Lyfe: Totally with you on this. The Saturn is an under-appreciated gem of a console.
Love me some Darkstalkers. I first played the original Darkstalkers arcade game at a Godfather's Pizza place, back in '98, if memory serves. Shortly thereafter, I got my first Saturn, and saw The Night Warriors on display at a local game place via the Action Replay cart. Unfortunately, that store went belly up a few months later, so I never got to acquire that particular game. I did, however, buy Darkstalkers 3 for PlayStation, and sunk a fair amount of time into it. I haven't played it as much lately, though I do have the PSP game. A new Darkstalkers game in the updated BlazBlue/Guilty Gear style would be awesome, but Capcom seems to want to ignore most of their old IP's these days. 'Tis a shame, since this series has a lot of potential, given the fact that they never really went too far outside the SF2 mold with it.