Darkstalkers

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Darkstalkers
Darkstalkers.png
Genres Fighting
Developers Capcom
Iron Galaxy Studios (Resurrection)
Publishers Capcom
Creators Alex Jimenez (original idea)[1][2]
Platforms Arcade, Dreamcast, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, Sega Saturn, Xbox 360
First release Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors
July 1994[3]
Latest release Darkstalkers Resurrection
March 2013

Darkstalkers, known in Japan and Asia as Vampire (ヴァンパイア Vanpaia?), is a series of 2D fighting games developed and published by Capcom, beginning with Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors (Vampire: The Night Warriors) in 1994. The series is set in a pastiche Gothic horror universe and features a highly stylized, cartoonish graphic style. It features characters based on either various kinds of monsters (the titular "darkstalkers") or their hunters, who are all engaging in combat against each other.

Besides video games, the Darkstalkers media franchise also includes an anime miniseries, an American cartoon TV series, a Canadian comic book series, and many books of various kinds and other media released only in Japan. Some individual characters (usually the series' mascots Morrigan and Felicia) appeared in the later Capcom games, as well as in a few crossover games released by other companies.

Video games[edit]

Games in the Darkstalkers series
Western title Japanese title Release Arcade Home versions Notes
Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors Vampire: The Night Warriors 1994 CPS II PS (1996); PSN (2011) The first game in the series.
Night Warriors: Darkstalkers' Revenge Vampire Hunter: Darkstalkers' Revenge 1995 CPS II Saturn (1996) The second game in the series.
Darkstalkers 3 Vampire Savior: The Lord of Vampire 1997 CPS II Saturn, PS (1998); PSN (2012) The third game in the series.
N/A Vampire Hunter 2: Darkstalkers' Revenge 1997 CPS II N/A An update of Vampire Hunter.
N/A Vampire Savior 2: The Lord of Vampire 1997 CPS II N/A An update of Vampire Savior.
Darkstalkers Chronicle: The Chaos Tower Vampire Chronicle for Matching Service (DC)
Vampire Chronicle: The Chaos Tower (PSP)
2000 N/A DC; PSP (2004) A compilation game.
N/A Vampire: Darkstalkers Collection 2005 N/A PS2 A compilation game.
Darkstalkers Resurrection Vampire Resurrection 2013 N/A PSN, XBLA A compilation HD remake.

Future[edit]

In August 2010, Capcom Producer Yoshinori Ono stated during an interview about Street Fighter X Tekken that a new installment to the series would be his "ultimate dream"; however, only fan demand would cause it to happen. He went on to say that it would take one million requests before Keiji Inafune, then head of research and development at Capcom, would comply. At that point, Capcom had received 5,000 requests.[4][5] By March 2011, Ono reported that Capcom had received over 100,000 requests. He later expressed during an interview at a Nintendo 3DS launch in London that, "One day, if it goes half a million, Capcom may raise its eyebrow a little bit and I could do what I did in London in 2007 when I announced the comeback of Street Fighter. In the near future, with your help, it may become true. It's on its way, because we're pretty much where we were with Street Fighter a few years back. So keep it up."[6]

On July 21, 2011, at San Diego Comic-Con, Ono revealed during the Street Fighter X Tekken panel that while a new Darkstalkers title had not been approved, he reassured the series' fans that "Darkstalkers is not dead". He then proceeded to take a photo of the attendees at the panel holding up their money to send to decision makers at Capcom to show support for the game.[7] In June 2012, a message "Darkstalkers are not dead" appeared in a trailer for the PlayStation Vita version of Street Fighter X Tekken; when asked about it, Ono wrote on his Twitter: "I can't announce about Darkstalkers yet."[8] Ono later teased the presence of Darkstalkers at a panel for Street Fighter's 25th Anniversary Celebration at San Diego Comic-Con on July 12, 2012. Instead of taking a photo to send proof of demand to Capcom's upper management like he had done in the past, he stated, "This year, you don’t have to do that, and it’s not necessarily bad news!", but refrained himself from saying anything else.[9]

Following the announcement of Darkstalkers Resurrection at New York Comic-Con in October 2012, a concept trailer was shown during Capcom's Street Fighter 25th Anniversary panel. Darkstalkers Resurrection producer Derek Neal and Yoshinori Ono told interviewers that the re-release bundle was the first step towards revitalizing the franchise.[10][11][12] Neal also claimed that Capcom is using Darkstalkers Resurrection as a test to gauge audience interest in a new Darkstalkers installment.[11] In April 2013, Capcom senior vice president Christian Svensson wrote: "We've not given up. But I'm disappointed in the opening sales response relative to any other fighting title we've put out on the same platforms given the frequency and urgency of requests we've had here over the last several years and the quality of the execution. It is the most fully featured and probably best project of this type we've done. And before people jump to the wrong conclusions, I'm not blaming fans who did buy it and supported the brand. I'm very thankful for those guys (thank you, to all of you). I'm more disappointed by my misread of the information in this particular case."[13][14] There was no "Darkstalkers are not dead" line at San Diego Comic-Con 2013. Matt Dahlgren, Capcom's new fighting game manager, said that because "Darkstalkers Resurrection did not perform as well as we would have liked. You never know what the future may hold, but Street Fighter is definitely not dead. There is nothing Darkstalkers on the immediate horizon for sure."[15][16]

Gameplay[edit]

Darkstalkers introduced many of the concepts used in later Capcom fighting games, including its first use of 16-bit color animation sprites and gameplay mechanics later employed in the Street Fighter Alpha and Marvel vs. Capcom series.

Plot[edit]

The Darkstalkers games take place in an alternate Earth that is in the process of merging with a demon realm known as Makai. The reason for this merger varies depending on the continuity, but a continuing theme is that the union of realms brings the arrival of the Darkstalkers to our world, the term being a cache-all for the various monsters of legend. The greatest of these supernatural creatures, and the greatest among those who hunt them, meet in battle to determine who will rule the night.

In the sequel, Vampire Hunter (Night Warriors: Darkstalkers' Revenge), an alien overlord named Pyron returns to Earth after being away for many years. His quest to conquer the world using an army of robots brings the Darkstalkers out of hiding to oppose his rule. A second sequel, Vampire Savior (Darkstalkers 3), saw the revival of Jedah, previously one of the nobles of Makai, who decides that the only way to save the demon realm is to remake it. Accordingly, he lures the Darkstalkers into a trap to use their collective souls to remake the world.

Characters[edit]

Darkstalkers characters are either based on various iconic literary and cinematic monsters, or inspired by international mythology and fairy tales. The 1997 anime miniseries Night Warriors: Darkstalkers' Revenge, which was based on the first two titles and was faithful to the characters' in-game personalities. The 1995 American-produced cartoon series, simply titled Darkstalkers, jettisoned the backstory of the games altogether in favor of a standard good-versus-evil plot, altering certain characters' storylines in the process.

Character Appears in Voiced by
(Japanese)
Darkstalkers Night Warriors Vampire Savior Vampire Savior 2 Vampire Hunter 2
Anakaris Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Kan Tokumaru
B.B. Hood/Bulleta No No Yes Yes No Miyuki Matsushita
Bishamon Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Kan Tokumaru
Dark Jon Talbain/Dark Gallon No No Yes No Yes Yuji Ueda
Dee No No Yes Yes Yes Nobuyuki Hiyama
Demitri Maximoff Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Nobuyuki Hiyama
Donovan Baine No Yes Console ports only Yes Yes Nobuyuki Hiyama
Juurouta Kosugi
Felicia Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Kae Araki
Hsien-Ko/Lei-Lei No Yes Yes Yes Yes Michiko Neya
Huitzil/Phobos CPU only Yes Console ports only Yes Yes N/A
Jedah Dohma No No Yes Yes No Isshin Chiba
Jon Talbain/Gallon Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yuji Ueda
Lilith No No Yes Yes No Hiroko Konishi
Lord Raptor/Zabel Zarock Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yuji Ueda
Marionette No No Console ports only Yes Yes N/A
Morrigan Aensland Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yayoi Jinguji
Oboro Bishamon No No CPU only Yes Yes Kan Tokumaru
Pyron CPU only Yes Console ports only Yes Yes Nobuyuki Hiyama
Q-Bee No No Yes Yes No Miyuki Matsushita
Rikuo/Aulbath Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yuji Ueda
Sasquatch Yes Yes Yes No Yes Kan Tokumaru
Shadow No No Console ports only Yes Yes N/A
Victor von Gerdenheim Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Kan Tokumaru

Related media[edit]

Anime series[edit]

Animated series[edit]

Comic books[edit]

Main article: Darkstalkers (comics)

Manga books[edit]

There are several Darkstalkers manga books and series (including yonkoma parodies). Some of them were released in North America:

  • A manga adaptation authored by Run Ishida and published in Japan by ASCII in 1996.[17] This manga was adapted by Viz Comics under the title of Night Warriors: The Comic Series and published in 1998 as a six-issue comic book which were later collected in a single trade paperback volume.[18]
  • A one-shot Red Earth crossover manga Darkstalkers / Red Earth: Maleficarum authored by Mami Itou in 1997. It was released in English by UDON Comics in 2010.[19][20]

Other books[edit]

Multiple other books (guide books, art books, illustrated books, and novels) were published as well, mostly in Japan only. However, some of them were published in North America:

  • In 2008, UDON released the Darkstalkers Graphic File, a collection of screenshots, storyboards and concept art from the series.[21]
  • In 2009, UDON released a 15th anniversary art book Darkstalkers Tribute. It consists 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.[22] The book was first available in August 2009 at several anime conventions before being widely released the following September.
  • In 2014, UDON released a 20th anniversary art book Darkstalkers Official Complete Works that "collects the artwork of every Darkstalkers game, including key visuals, character illustrations, promotional artwork, rough concepts, and creator commentary," as well as "multiple new interviews with the creators behind the series, plus all-new tribute pin-ups" from Capcom artists.[23][24]

Soundtracks[edit]

Soundtrack CDs for Darkstalkers games were released in Japan under different record labels including Sony Records, Suleputer and Victor Entertainment. A collection of original tracks from the games, previously included as a part of Vampire Sound Box in Japan,[25] was released digitally by Sumthing Else Music Works in 2014.[26][27]

Reception[edit]

Cosplayers of Lilith and Morrigan on stage at the Tokyo Game Show 2011
Aggregate review scores
Game GameRankings Metacritic
Darkstalkers Chronicle: The Chaos Tower 74.99%[28] 74/100[29]
Darkstalkers Resurrection 82.40% (X360)[30]
81.22% (PS3)[31]
82/10 (X360)[32]
80/100 (PS3)[33]

Despite its limited commercial success, the series was very well received by critics and acquired a sizable cult following. Destructoid's Kyle Mac Gregor described it as "beloved,"[34] and IGN's Richard George described it as both "obscure and beloved."[35] According to MTV, although "it has developed a loyal fanbase over the years, it was never enough for the developer/publisher to give the series much attention."[36] Including Darkstalkers in their list of video game franchises "founded on boobs," GamesRadar US called it "second only to Final Fantasy as an object of Japanophilic cosplaying figurine collector worship. While the character design in immensely cool, some of the fan art is downright disturbing."[37]

GamesRadar's Lucas Sullivan ranked it first on his 2012 list of "obscure" fighting games that deserved an HD remake, writing that "Darkstalkers offers just as much 2D fighting goodness as the venerable Street Fighter series, but it’s never gotten the same kind of respect ... and that just ain’t right."[38] UGO.com included Darkstalkers on their 2010 list of the games that need sequels.[39] Andrew Hayward of Complex ranked Darkstalkers first on hs 2011 list of most missed fighting franchises, stating that "every time Capcom announces a new fighting game, the hardcore community gets whipped up about Darkstalkers' continual absence, and demands a modern iteration. The supernatural 2D franchise wasn't a big hit, but fervent fans have kept its name alive and seem unwilling to let it fade away."[40] Complex also put Darkstalkers at number 40 in their 2012 ranking of best video game franchises, adding that they would "love to see a modern incarnation,"[41] and listed a hypothetical Darkstalkers 4 among the 15 games they wished would be announced at E3 2011.[42] The Guardian ranked the series fourth in their 2012 list of top vampiric video games, citing its "beautiful visuals and superb animation."[43]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.gamespot.com/articles/darkstalkers-creator-on-breaking-into-the-industry/1100-6270659/
  2. ^ http://www.gametrailers.com/videos/ctf84h/pop-facts-darkstalkers--movie-monsters
  3. ^ http://www.gamesradar.com/project-x-zone-roster/
  4. ^ Yin-Poole, Wesley (2010-09-29). "Street Fighter X Tekken". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2012-09-29. 
  5. ^ Yoon, Andrew (2010-10-02). "Only 995,000 more requests before Capcom's Inafune considers a new Darkstalkers game". Joystiq. Retrieved 2012-10-02. 
  6. ^ Yin-Poole, Wesley (2011-03-24). "Darkstalkers game requests up to 100k". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2011-03-24. 
  7. ^ North, Dale (2011-07-21). "SDCC: Darkstalkers are not dead... if you've got money". Destructoid. Retrieved 2012-07-21. 
  8. ^ Catalyst (2011-06-04). "'Darkstalkers are not dead' T-shirt featured prominently in latest Street Fighter X Tekken episode #2 clip". Eventhubs. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  9. ^ Spencer (2012-07-12). "Capcom’s Yoshinori Ono Hints At Darkstalkers". Siliconera. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  10. ^ Crecente, Brian (2012-10-11). "'Darkstalkers Resurrection' bundle brings back second and third franchise titles". The Verge. Retrieved 2012-10-12. 
  11. ^ a b Mallory, Jordan (2012-10-11). "Capcom: Ono dreams of revitalizing Darkstalkers, 'wants Darkstalkers 4'". Joystiq. Retrieved 2012-10-12. 
  12. ^ Clements, Ryan (2012-10-11). "NYCC: Darkstalkers is Back". IGN. Retrieved 2012-10-12. 
  13. ^ "Darkstalkers Resurrection fails to meet Capcom sales targets". GameSpot.com. 2013-03-13. Retrieved 2013-07-20. 
  14. ^ "Ask Capcom > Thread > Hey, Darkstalkers one of the best-selling PSN games...What gives?". Capcom-unity.com. Retrieved 2013-07-20. 
  15. ^ Leo, Jon (2013-07-23). "Capcom: No new Darkstalkers game planned". GameSpot. Retrieved 2014-01-26. 
  16. ^ Earnest "Nex" Cavalli. "Darkstalkers Resurrection Sales Kill Sequel Hopes | The Escapist". Escapistmagazine.com. Retrieved 2014-01-26. 
  17. ^ Night Warriors: Darkstalkers' Revenge. Google Books. 
  18. ^ "Night Warriors: Darkstalkers' Revenge". Comic Vine. 
  19. ^ "Udon Entertainment to Publish Darkstalkers / Red Earth: Maleficarum Manga". Anime News Network. 2010-05-22. Retrieved 2010-05-22. 
  20. ^ "Darkstalkers/Red Earth: Maleficarum". Comic Vine. 
  21. ^ "Capcom Store - Buy Darkstalkers Graphic File book". Capcom. 
  22. ^ "Capcom Store - Buy Darkstalkers Tribute Art Book". Capcom. 
  23. ^ http://www.udonentertainment.com/blog/tag/darkstalkers-official-complete-works/
  24. ^ http://shoryuken.com/2014/05/16/udons-darkstalkers-official-complete-works-artbook-now-available-in-north-america/
  25. ^ http://shoryuken.com/2014/08/02/capcom-releases-original-darkstalkers-soundtrack-features-over-thirty-classic-jams/
  26. ^ http://www.sumthing.com/p/darkstalkers-volume-1/
  27. ^ http://www.sumthing.com/p/darkstalkers-volume-2/
  28. ^ "Darkstalkers Chronicle: The Chaos Tower for PSP". GameRankings. 2005-03-24. Retrieved 2014-01-26. 
  29. ^ "Darkstalkers Chronicle: The Chaos Tower for PSP Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2014-01-26. 
  30. ^ "Darkstalkers Resurrection for Xbox 360". GameRankings. 2013-03-13. Retrieved 2014-01-26. 
  31. ^ "Darkstalkers Resurrection for PlayStation 3". GameRankings. 2013-03-12. Retrieved 2014-01-26. 
  32. ^ "Darkstalkers Resurrection for Xbox 360 Reviews". Metacritic. 2013-03-13. Retrieved 2014-01-26. 
  33. ^ "Darkstalkers Resurrection for PlayStation 3 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2014-01-26. 
  34. ^ "Darkstalkers laid to rest after failed resurrection". Destructoid. Retrieved 2014-01-26. 
  35. ^ "Returning to the World of Darkstalkers - IGN". Uk.ign.com. Retrieved 2014-01-26. 
  36. ^ "'Darkstalkers' Revival Failed To Generate Excitement". Multiplayerblog.mtv.com. 2013-07-23. Retrieved 2014-01-26. 
  37. ^ "Page 3 - Videogame franchises founded on boobs". GamesRadar. 2014-06-17. Retrieved 2014-06-21. 
  38. ^ Lucas Sullivan (2012-10-20). "29 obscure fighters that deserve HD remakes". GamesRadar. Retrieved 2013-07-20. 
  39. ^ "25 Games That Need Sequels". UGO Networks. 2010-11-23. Retrieved 2010-11-23. 
  40. ^ Hayward, Andrew (2011-09-23). "The 10 Most Missed Fighting Franchises". Complex. Retrieved 2011-09-23. 
  41. ^ "The 50 Best Video Game Franchises". Complex. 2012-09-25. Retrieved 2013-07-20. 
  42. ^ "Hype Dreams: The 15 Games We Hope Are Announced At E3 2011". Complex. 2011-03-29. Retrieved 2011-03-29. 
  43. ^ Stuart, Keith (November 8, 2012). "Bram Stoker's books are all very well...but what are the best vampire games?". The Guardian. Retrieved June 8, 2014. 

External links[edit]