|First game||Darkstalkers 3 (1997)|
|Designed by||CRMK (Darkstalkers 3)|
|Voiced by (English)||Travis Willingham (Cross Edge)|
|Voiced by (Japanese)||Isshin Chiba (Darkstalkers 3; Cross Edge; Capcom Fighting Evolution; Project X Zone)|
|Weapon||Blood, scythed wings|
|Occupation||Dark Messiah/Lord of Death (Darkstalkers 3)
Lord of the Dohma Clan (Project X Zone)
Jedah Dohma (Japanese: ジェダ・ドーマ Hepburn: Jeda Dōma?) is a player and final boss character from the Darkstalkers fighting game franchise by Capcom. Serving as the main antagonist and title character of Darkstalkers 3 (Vampire Savior: The Lord of Vampire in Japan), he seeks to restore order to the demon dimension of Makai through extreme measures after it falls into chaos, thus setting up the events of the third tournament in the Darkstalkers storyline. The first explicitly graphic character in the series, Jedah has appeared on Darkstalkers merchandise and alternate media, as well as several Capcom crossover games. He has received positive critical reception his gameplay, characterization and design.
In video games
Making his series debut in Darkstalkers 3, Jedah Dohma is a shrewd and well-spoken nobleman of his home dimension of Makai. Fearing that the demonic realm would fall into ruin if it continued under the reign of Belial Aensland (Morrigan's father), Jedah therefore waited for the perfect opportunity to assassinate him. After Belial's death, Jedah enlists a confidant, Ozom (first introduced in Night Warriors: Darkstalkers' Revenge as having resurrected Lord Raptor), as a soul-eater. However, Ozom devises a scheme to steal the rule of the Dohma estate for himself, which involves tricking Jedah into opening a magical gate in order to gain access to the imprisoned souls therein and absorb their power. As expected, the unleashed souls overwhelm Jedah and kill him, and Ozom subsequently takes over his rule. After his resurrection a century later, Jedah is disheartened at Makai having descended into madness and infighting, and he embarks on a mission to rebuild the beleaguered realm from scratch by collecting new souls that he plans to fuse into a singular sentient being. This results in the conception of a new pocket dimension called Majigen, whose foundation is formed by Ozom's soul after Jedah convinces him to surrender it. Jedah then proceeds to lure all those whom he feels possess worthy souls—the Darkstalkers themselves—into the dimension, which in turn sets up the tournament of the third game. The saga concludes with Demitri Maximoff temporarily halting his longtime feud with Morrigan in order to engage his nemesis Jedah in final battle over Makai's rule.[note 1]
As the centerpiece of the Darkstalkers 3 plot, Jedah has some degree of involvement in other characters' in-game storylines, such as his causing the disappearance of Sasquatch's fellow bigfoot, Victor voluntarily entering Majigen in hopes of reviving his sister Emily, and Rikuo doing likewise to search for his missing son. He is additionally responsible for the creation of Morrigan's "sister" Lilith, who was spawned from a segment of power that had previously been split from Morrigan by Belial, and then crafted by Jedah into a smaller, younger clone of Morrigan. Meanwhile, Q-Bee and her carnivorous Makaian species of "Soul Bees," who had long inhabited land owned by the Dohma family, are suddenly faced with extinction following Jedah's death and the lengthy period prior to his resurrection.
Jedah joined fellow Darkstalkers characters Anakaris, Demitri and Felicia in the 2004 Capcom fighting crossover Capcom Fighting Evolution, and made unplayable boss appearances in tactical role-players Cross Edge (2008) and Project X Zone (2012). The September 2005 issue of Singaporean gaming magazine GameAxis Unwired confused him with Demitri in their review of SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos, in which Jedah did not appear.
Jedah appears in all Capcom media as a tall, blue-skinned humanoid figure dressed head to toe in purple, notably a high-collared, calf-length coat with large circular gold buttons down the front, and accented with symmetrical red stripes on the shoulders that are actually seeping self-inflicted open wounds. He sports a winged headdress that reveals only a few strands of long blond hair, and attached to his back are lifesized scythed wings that are used as weapons and for flight. He is listed as standing 7'1" in height, while his weight varies from 26 to over 2,200 pounds.
During preproduction of Darkstalkers 3, Jedah was initially named "Belial Jr.", as he was intended to be a descendant of Belial and therefore Morrigan's brother. The development title of the North American release of the game was Jedah's Damnation. Like Baby Bonnie Hood, another then-newcomer to the series, Jedah is a series playable who was not modeled after a horror or mythological archetype; instead, he was designed as a combination of a Japanese schoolboy (his outfit resembles a gakuran) and the personification of Death, leading to his being described as a "Grim Reaper/Satan hybrid figure." He constantly has at least one hand in his pocket whether in attack or idle mode, and he glides across the playfield instead of walking. As was the case with many of the playable characters in Capcom Fighting Evolution, Jedah's old sprites were recycled for the game, which was criticized as a lack of effort on Capcom's part. He gained new two-dimensional sprites for Project X Zone and Cross Edge.
Jedah's offensive arsenal features a level of graphic violence previously unseen in the otherwise comedic atmosphere of the Darkstalkers games. He uses no traditional punches or kicks; instead, his special moves (which all have Italian names, as an allusion to Dante's Inferno) involve self-mutilation: he uses his own blood as a weapon in conjunction with him beheading himself, ripping his hands from his arms to strike opponents at a distance, or extending from his fingertips long claws composed entirely of blood, with his appendages then promptly regenerating. His "Finale Rosso" super move (an unblockable special used by all the game's characters that inflicts heavy damage onto opponents) features opposing players being forcefully submerged into a deep pool of blood and then pummeled by a series of disembodied hands as Jedah laughs manically. His personalized stage in the game's final boss fight is the cavernous interior of an alien uterus that contains phallic imagery and a demonic humanoid fetus (named the "Fetus of God") with an exposed brain. When players emerge victorious on this level, the background shakes as the fetus's eyes widen and its body begins spasming. Capcom producer Derek Neal called the stage "possibly the most disturbing thing in these [Darkstalkers] games."
According to GamesRadar, "his blood-magic super-moves make him best suited to offensive play" in Darkstalkers 3. GameFan wrote in 1997 that "Jedah's overall strategy is to suppress his opponent's aggressive tendencies," but his weaknesses included "difficulty against aggressive opponents when [up] close" and limited options in knocking down opponents. Matt Yeo of Sega Saturn Magazine opined that with his "spinning blades and superior speed," Jedah was "only for the more advanced players. His timing and moves are hard to master, but spend time learning his skills and you'll discover he's lethal." He added that "her flight powers, speed and strength make Morrigan [Jedah's] equal."
Joe Dodson of Game Revolution said of the character's fighting style in Capcom Fighting Evolution, "Jedah is highly mobile and has several ranged attacks that can pin down opponents. ... He can be a real tough nut to crack for some of the old Street Fighter guys." Destructoid described undead Skullgirls character Sguigly in 2015 as having "attacks that that seem inspired by Mortal Kombat's Scorpion, Darkstalkers' Jedah and Hsien-Ko, and Street Fighter's Sakura."
Jedah joined the other series characters in multiple Darkstalkers 3 art and guide mooks (a contraction of "magazine books") that were written by the staff of Japanese magazine Gamest and published by Shinseisha. He is the main villain of the 1997 manga Vampire Savior: Tamashii no Mayoigo by Mayumi Azuma, which expanded the game's storyline into a full narrative. Jedah has no fight scenes and is confined to his castle throughout, with his connection to Lilith (the comic's central character) explored in depth. Q-Bee serves as his second-in-command, addressing him as Jedah-sama and assisting in luring the Darkstalkers into Majigen, while Jedah appears in the closing scenes of every chapter. In the 1997 manga Darkstalkers/Red Earth: Maleficarum (translated and rereleased in 2010 by Udon Entertainment), he is in three of the book's five Darkstalkers chapters, first seen interrupting a brawl between Morrigan and Demitri. Jedah has a cameo in Udon's three-volume 2010 Darkstalkers: Night Warriors miniseries, when he is seen with Lilith on the last page of the final issue that ended in an unresolved cliffhanger. Despite the character having no overall involvement in the storyline, Night Warriors artist Eric Vedder considered Jedah "badass", and artist Joe Vriens professed himself "a big fan".
Promotion and merchandise
Capcom promoted Jedah as a new face of the Darkstalkers franchise prior to the game's May 1997 release, prominently displaying the character on an advertising flyer distributed to arcades in Europe.[note 3] The company additionally ribbed the rejected Jedah's Damnation title in a Darkstalkers 3 edition of their "Secret File" booklet series, with its front and back covers designed as a mockup of a VHS case for a fictional B movie titled Demon's Damnation.
Jedah was featured on a collectible limited-edition Zippo lighter released by Capcom in 1998, which was engraved with his likeness and the Vampire Savior logo. He received his own action figure the following year as part of Capcom's "Action Hero Real Series", made available in "purple" and "black" variations. SOTA Toys displayed an unfinished Jedah prototype at the 2006 San Diego Comic-Con, but the figure was never produced. Other figures were available only in Japan, such as one produced by Yujin in 2001, and a 7.8" resin statuette from Clayz. The character has additionally appeared in various Darkstalkers art compilations published by Udon Entertainment, such as Darkstalkers Graphic File, Darkstalkers Tribute, and Darkstalkers Official Complete Works, as well as the 2014 collectible card game Universal Fighting System by Jasco Games.
The character has met with positive reception from various gaming media publications. Jedah was ranked fifth in Gamest's "top 50" list of the best video game characters in their December 1997 issue, tying with Street Fighter's Dan Hibiki. Sega Saturn Magazine deemed him "the ultimate Darkstalker." Yas Hunter of Computer and Video Games magazine raved in their August 1997 issue, "The best character ever? Most definitely!" and called his specials "some of the best-looking in ... any fighting game." Patrick Roesle of Hardcore Gaming 101 enthused, "It's hard to find a place to begin describing how cool Jedah is ... [he] kicks ass. He's the bloody Antichrist, for Pete's sake." Rare Gamer described him as "intimidating" and among "the most creative [character] designs that Capcom’s ever put out." ScrewAttack said in 2013, "Aside from the Joker can you think of anybody else that can make a purple suit look so badass?" Topless Robot placed him third in their 2013 selection of the ten "most diabolical" video game bosses, while remarking, "Killer fashion sense and killer blood. Jedah is the full package, ladies." Game Revolution said of the impending release of Darkstalkers Resurrection in 2013, "With any luck, this package will make a new set of fans fall in love with Demitri, Talbain, Jedah, and company." James Dewitt of Thunderbolt Games said of "vampire priest" Jedah's machinations in Darkstalkers 3, "Somehow this will save the demon dimension, and in typical fighting game fashion the overall plot collapses under the weight of its sheer convolution." Jedah was coolly received in a 2002 fan-voted favorite-character poll hosted by GameFAQs, in which he was ranked tenth out of the series' eighteen playables.
The "Fetus of God" background from Darkstalkers 3 has received attention for its graphic content. Rich Knight of Complex cited it in including Jedah among their "15 Coolest Boss Battles Ever" in 2012. "Half the fun of having a great final boss fight is how the level looks that you're fighting in. Jedah has that on lock." It was included in VentureBeat's 2012 feature on memorable video-game babies. Modojo.com described Jedah as "a pushover, but his [stage] background is pretty amazing." Machinima.com simultaneously rated it second-best and second-worst in their 2011 selection of the "Seven Best and Worst Fighting Game Stages", both times for its perceived creepiness factor. Maxwell Coviello of Pixelitis rated it among his selection of the ten "strangest fighting game stages" in 2014, calling it "one of the most graphically disturbing stages in fighting game history." David Houghton of GamesRadar included the "nightmarishly vile" stage in a feature the same year on "the 27 most amazing fighting game backgrounds".
Arcade Sushi ranked his "Finale Rosso" special thirteenth in their 2013 selection of the fifteen "greatest" fighting-game super moves. "Imagine getting pulled into the Underworld, a blood-filled miasma of terror and pain, and getting mauled on all sides while a psychotic monster stands mere feet from you, laughing at your torment." Jedah's Capcom Fighting Evolution ending, in which Devil May Cry character Dante sneaks up on him from behind while he revels in the destruction of Earth, was ranked 126th in 4thletter's 2013 selection of the top 200 fighting game endings. "Jedah takes a second to laugh maniacally at his handiwork. He might not be laughing in five seconds." Complex selected him as the Darkstalkers representative in pitching a fantasy crossover fighting game versus the cast of Guilty Gear. "All the horror movie archetypes and whatever the hell Faust is would look sweet doing battle against each other with heavy metal playing in the background."
- Gameplay audio of a match in which Jedah emerges victorious over Demitri was featured on the closing track (titled "Vs. Jedah") of the Vampire Savior soundtrack that was released on compact disc in 1997 by Victor Entertainment; its canonicity in the series is unconfirmed. In the game itself, Demitri serves as the final boss fight for player-controlled Jedah.
- Jedah's official Darkstalkers 3 biography by Capcom describes him as "The Ebony Messiah", while his true objective, as revealed in his noncanonical ending, is the incarnation of a new God-like figure (as depicted in the "Fetus of God" stage) spawned from the merging of all the souls of those he had lured into Majigen beforehand in the game's storyline. He is additionally quoted in the pre-release arcade flyer that the "only hope for ultimate salvation" lies in the merging of one's soul into the dimension. The instruction manual for the Japanese Sega Saturn release of Vampire Savior featured a depiction of a Christian cross alongside a sketch of the character.
- Morrigan was the central character for similar promotional material in Japan and the United States.
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