It’s tough to be the much less effective sibling, which’s virtually what Capcom’s Darkstalkers collection is. The collection will certainly constantly reside in the darkness of the Street Fighter franchise business…which is quite ideal since, you recognize, it’s everything about darkness as well as darkness as well as things. Despite never ever obtaining a next-gen remake or genuine upgrade, it’s still quite outstanding for totally overachieving greater than any kind of various other computer game that I can consider.
The collection was produced in the mid-90s as Capcom’s following action in combating video game supremacy. They had Street Fighter II making them all the cash on the planet, however they defeat that steed to fatality. The continuous as well as relatively countless updates of the exact same video game had actually come to be an exhausted running trick among the computer game area as well as they definitely didn’t have any kind of strategies to make the reasonable dive to Street Fighter III right now. Meanwhile, competing firm SNK had a handful of various battling video game residential or commercial properties as well as cast a broad web with the similarity Fatal Fury, Art of Fighting, Samurai Shodown, as well as King of Fighters.
You can still discover Darkstalkers video games to play!
At initially, Capcom intended to make a video game based upon the Universal Monsters, however the licensing failed, so they simply utilized even more anime-style archetypes. Dracula ended up being Demitri Maximoff, the Frankenstein Monster ended up being Victor von Gerdenheim, the Creature from the Black Lagoon ended up being Rikuo, and so forth. Considering the play these personalities would certainly obtain as component of Capcom’s menagerie, it was most definitely right.
Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors struck the galleries in 1994 as well as it kicked a lot butt. On the surface area, it was a Street Fighter duplicate, however it was various adequate to depend on its very own. It presented air-blocking as well as EX-SPOUSE strikes. The computer animation made Street Fighter II look rigid in contrast as well as every little thing was beaming with character. Each personality stood out as well as stood out with their quirks as well as one-of-a-kind computer animations.
Part of it originated from the freakshow uniqueness of the very early battling video games. Each video game appeared to have a weirdo that stood out as well as made you wish to play them as a result of exactly how various they showed up. Street Fighter had Blanka. Mortal Kombat had Baraka. Samurai Shodown had Gen-An. But Darkstalkers? Hell, virtually the whole actors is comprised of those sort of personalities. The most typical individuals are a vampire as well as a succubus. And the succubus has actual batwings outgrowing her back as well as head.
The video game included 10 usable personalities as well as 2 unplayable employers. They consisted of:
Demitri Maximoff: A vampire lord as well as straight-out bad guy that was gotten rid of to Earth. He’s mainly thought of for his incredibly strike, the Midnight Bliss, where he bows prior to his adversary, changes right into his real, demonic kind, as well as suffocates them while drawing out their blood. For some factor, Demitri’s just right into doing that to females so the step amazingly changes his male challengers right into women variations of themselves. Female challengers merely transform attire.
The fanart area enjoys this individual.
Morrigan Aensland: A succubus as well as child of Belial, leader of the Demon World. The anti-hero of the collection, she’s frequently slipping out of her castle house to hang around in Earth for experience…as well as additionally taking hearts via sex. She is a beast, nevertheless.
Felicia: A catwoman increased in a nunnery, Felicia needs to end up being globe popular as well as celebrity in musicals. Due to being half-woman/half-cat, she deals with bias, however is still extremely positive.
Jon Talbain: A monster that’s learnt the fighting styles, suggesting we reach see a wolfman possessing goddamn nunchucks. He battles to get rid of menstruation as well as recognizes that if he were to apply himself to his restrictions, he’ll prosper. Hence, he seeks to get the various other Darkstalkers.
Anakaris: A reanimated pharaoh from 5,000 years earlier. This cumbersome mommy intends to bring his individuals back to success, as it’s been prophesied.
Bishamon: A great male had by a cursed body of samurai shield, which creates him to massacre anybody in his means.
Rikuo: A merman whose whole race was eliminated because of the resulting Pyron. He intends to discover some indication of survivors as well as restore his individuals. Is strangely enough appealing for a fish-man.
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Sasquatch: Part of a race of yetis that reside in the Canadian wild, he goes off to check out the resulting Pyron. Dude enjoys himself some bananas.
Victor von Gerdenheim: A jumble production of a crazy researcher that passed away of a cardiac arrest quickly after his production revived. Victor doesn’t genuinely recognize that the physician is dead as well as is essentially a huge dummy.
Lord Raptor: A rate steel guitar player from Australia reanimated as a zombie. Can transform his arm or legs right into power saws as well as change his adversaries right into basketballs. Somehow didn’t end up being Capcom’s most preferred personality. Seriously, he’s a rock ‘n’ roll zombie. And he’s called after a dinosaur! Come on!
Huitzil: The penultimate employer. One of a collection of old robotics that secured the Mayans several years earlier as well as have actually been reactivated with the resulting Pyron.
Pyron: A Galactus-like being, Pyron is an unusual constructed from planetary power that involves Earth to conquer/destroy/devour/whatever it.
Despite the incredible actors of personalities, the tale is unbelievably doing not have. Basically, it’s about all the Darkstalkers combating each various other for prominence while Pyron turns up as well as currently they need to take care of him. It’s regarding as superficial as Street Fighter’s “there’s a big tournament held by a terrorist,” however at the very least that really felt much better weaved with each other. There were connections therein. With Darkstalkers, you have Demitri as well as Morrigan with something looking like a competition as well as Rikuo being the only individual with a real axe to grind with the major bad guy. It’s absolutely nothing you can hang a layer on.
That might look like a foolish point to slam, however when your battling video game is comprised of vivid personality styles as well as has such a terrific ambience, you sort of requirement an excellent story to provide everything context as well as hold it in position. Darkstalkers never ever actually had that as well as it’ll endure for it down the line.
Less than a year later on, Capcom brought out Night Warriors: Darkstalkers’ Revenge. Oddly sufficient, they dealt with the launch like it was a follow up when actually it was an upgrade. It was no various than Street Fighter II: Championship Edition or Super Street Fighter II. While they adjusted the means the supers functioned, all they did was make Huitzil as well as Pyron usable while including 2 even more brand-new personalities. Hell, also the closings are just the same.
The brand-new personalities consist of Hsien-Ko as well as Donovan Baine. Hsien-Ko is a Chinese ghost gone along with by her sibling while Donovan is a half-man/half-vampire with a bigass-floating sword. Donovan is gone along with by Anita, a girl with absolutely no feeling as well as dark powers within. As a vampire seeker (together, the Japanese title for the video game is “Vampire Hunter,” making him the title personality), Donovan seems an effort to present a hero personality right into the franchise business, although it doesn’t actually take.
But hey, it’s still an incredible video game, so the collection has an excellent batting standard. While Japan has actually had the ability to launch numerous manga tales on their side of the globe, the United States offered Darkstalkers their very own computer animated collection.
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Produced by Graz Entertainment, Darkstalkers debuted in September of 1995, simply months prior to the Street Fighter anime began. To include in that, Darkstalkers was still an arcade-only collection as well as was simply 15-months-old. It wouldn’t strike PlayStation up until months later on. That’s outrageous.
The program was…emergency room…hoo child. You recognize what? I’ve seen worse. I’ve seen a lot worse. On the surface, it wasn’t that bad in terms of giving an existing property the same treatment we got for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It felt very Ninja Turtles in ways. It was just incredibly half-baked and the bad outweighed the good.
Plus it featured way too many tractor beams for my liking. So many, man. So many tractor beams.
The story is that Pyron – who has an English accent and a sassy computer sidekick – returns to Earth after many years to discover that it’s overwhelmed with humans. In a plot that’s never well-explained, he recruits Darkstalkers onto his side so he can conquer the planet (while being very specific about not causing genocide for some reason). Demitri and Morrigan are his top officers and spend the series bickering and fighting each other. Bishamon is brought in, but eventually turns against them. Anakaris is resurrected to join his cause, but he’s been locked in his sarcophagus for so long that he’s become completely insane and rambles about random shit.
“All hail the imperial pudding! There are lizards in my pants!”
Then there’s Lord Raptor, who is either the worst thing or best thing on the show depending on your mood. He’s introduced by being resurrected from his crashed tour plane’s wreckage (which is kind of grim for a children’s cartoon) in the middle of nowhere and responds to his zombie form by checking the back of his wrist as if he had a watch and remarking that he’s decades late from playing Woodstock.
Various Darkstalkers refuse the call to help Pyron, such as Victor, Rikuo, Bigfoot (Sasquatch renamed), Talbain, and Felicia. The good monsters vs. bad monsters plot is actually a decent enough way to translate the game’s plot into a full-on series, but unfortunately, in the minds of the people behind it, there was one thing missing.
We need the annoying kid.
Felicia ends up accompanying Harry Grimoire, a Mighty Max knockoff character who turns out to be a descendant of Merlin. He weighs the series down because we’d rather follow literally anyone else, but it is kind of a neat coincidence that we end up with a glasses-wearing kid named Harry who finds out that he’s a wizard.
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Rather than a hero team, the good Darkstalkers do their own thing. Felicia and Harry just bump into them randomly over the course of the 13 episodes, causing some to get far less time than others.
Outside of Pyron having a neat visual effect on his skin, the series has some really iffy animation. Like many series at the time, there were weird errors here and there, such as this miscoloring of Felicia’s fur and the bizarre placement of her tail.
Yikes. Am…I even allowed to show this?
Anyway, the show wasn’t good and it only lasted a single 13-episode season. But hey, it wasn’t all bad. It did give us this completely badass end credits theme.
“Trouble Man” would be the ending theme used for the 1997 anime, titled Night Warriors: Darkstalkers’ Revenge. Running for four episodes, the OVA scratched the itch of those mortified by the American cartoon. It mainly follows around the likes of Donovan, Anita, Hsien-Ko, Demitri, and Morrigan as they go around doing Darkstalker things while fighting Huitzils and awaiting Pyron’s invasion.
It’s fitting that Capcom had been doing X-Men games because in this anime, Darkstalkers are basically treated the same as mutants. The whole social discrimination thing doesn’t work that well for anyone outside of Felicia and Hsien-Ko because, you know, they are literally monsters who feast upon humans in various ways.
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Cool little fact about the miniseries: Scott McNeil voices Lord Raptor in the English version. He also plays Raptor in the US cartoon series. It’s pretty great to see him go from one to the other. You can watch Raptor dance with a shark and bikini girls or you can watch him play anti-hero by rescuing Felicia and viciously slaughtering a couple dozen religious monster hunters.
Definitely a good watch with excellent animation, even if it means having to put up with way too much Donovan sulking in the latter half. He does surf through space on his giant sword, so there’s that.
In 1996, one of the real secrets to the series’ fandom longevity came to play when Capcom released the competitive puzzle game Super Puzzle Fighter II: Turbo. Featuring super-deformed versions of various Capcom characters, the series brought together the cast of Street Fighter and Darkstalkers. Characters like Felicia, Morrigan, Donovan, Hsien-Ko, and later Anita were playable.
Speaking of Anita, the Japanese port of Capcom’s fighter Marvel Super Heroes included her as a hidden character. Yes, her one and only appearance as an actual fighting game character is in a comic book adaptation that she has nothing to do with. She psychically carried Donovan’s sword and had the ability to summon Akuma from Street Fighter for an attack. Weird.
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1997 brought the release of Vampire Savior, otherwise known as Darkstalkers 3. It was fresh enough to qualify as a sequel, but not completely. They added some differences in the gameplay, such as changing the best-2-out-of-3 rounds structure with a setup where each character has two life bars. In other words, if you win the first round and have half of your health left, you’ll remain that way for round two. Characters got special Dark Force abilities, where their attacks would be enhanced in some unique way for a very limited time. The gameplay was faster overall. And yes, this time they actually changed up the story, unlike Night Warriors.
It’s just that they were still using the same sprites and resources from the first game. It still felt more like another upgrade than a real sequel. Even while the second game added characters, this one adds four and then removes three (Pyron, Huitzil, and Donovan were later re-added to the console version). It’s JUST different enough to be considered a real sequel, but retrospect hurts its reputation a bit.
The game is based around the resurrection of Jedah the Vampire Savior, who is this Grim Reaper/Satan hybrid figure. He plots to destroy the universe and start over by awakening a rather horrific, gigantic demon fetus thing. He has two main henchmen with him. One is Q-Bee, a half-woman/half-bee creature, and the other is Lilith. Lilith is a piece of Morrigan’s soul and power that had been removed when she was a child and kept away so that when the time was right, Morrigan could merge with it and take her rightful place as ruler of the Demon World.
Rather than be a simple palette/head swap of Morrigan, they actually went and gave Lilith a different and far-less-voluptuous body (though just as sexualized). Despite being tricked into going after her “sister,” Lilith would merge with Morrigan by the end of the story, as shown in various crossover games made after Vampire Savior.
But really, the true star of the game is Baby Bonnie Hood, otherwise known as BB Hood. Looking like Little Red Riding Hood, the young woman is really a sadistic and psychotic bounty hunter with a hate-on for all monsters. Not only is she an amazing design who is fun as hell to play as, but she exists as the best punchline for Darkstalkers. With all the different monsters involved in the games, BB Hood represents the monster that is man. She’s the only full human in the series and she’s depicted as having some of man’s worst qualities.
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Right around the time of Vampire Savior’s release, Capcom started a practice of, well, being up their own ass a little too much. It started innocently enough. Super Puzzle Fighter II: Turbo spun off into Super Gem Fighter Mini Mix (also known as Pocket Fighter), where they took the puzzle game’s graphical style and made it into a fighting game that included super-deformed characters from Street Fighter, Darkstalkers, and an appearance by Tessa from the obscure Red Earth.
Instead of building on their franchises, Capcom started throwing them together in fighting game form. It certainly worked and even graphically, there weren’t any problems. The sprites from Street Fighter Alpha, Marvel Super Heroes, and Darkstalkers were similar enough that they meshed well when matched together. X-Men vs. Street Fighter beget Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter, which beget Marvel vs. Capcom.
Marvel vs. Capcom threw in Capcom characters from all over, which included Morrigan. Lilith was playable as well…sort of. Rather than just use the sprites from Vampire Savior, they just changed Morrigan’s color scheme and altered some of her moves while coming up with a story explanation. It was weird. Then again, there was a lot of weirdness with the secret character designs in this game.
Marvel vs. Capcom 2 featured a massive cast and with it came more Darkstalkers. Morrigan was joined by Felicia, Anakaris, and BB Hood. Still no love for Lord Raptor. The jerks.
Keeping the crossover thing going, Capcom started doing games with SNK. This included Capcom releasing Capcom vs. SNK and its sequel. Capcom created some wonderful sprites for the SNK side of the roster, but they were a little too good. To catch up, guys like Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, M. Bison, Akuma, and Dan were all rebuilt from the ground up with more detailed appearances. Great for them. But for Morrigan? They were still using her sprites from the first Darkstalkers game, all the way from 1994. It didn’t look good.
On the other hand, SNK got to make SNK vs. Capcom and included Demitri as the Darkstalkers representative. Not only did he have a nice, new look that fit in with SNK’s style, but he also brought in his Midnight Bliss attack, giving us creative female transformations for fighters from both companies.
The moment Capcom’s laziness hit critical was 2004’s Capcom Fighting Evolution. It featured fighters who mainly came from Street Fighter, Darkstalkers, and Red Earth and rather than stick them all into the same engine and give them a streamlined set of mechanics, they instead decided that everyone was stuck playing the way they did in their original games. Darkstalkers was represented with Demitri, Anakaris, Felicia, Jedah, and Pyron. Shockingly, no Morrigan this time around.
Probably for the better, considering how lame she would look next to anyone from Street Fighter III.
The game was a broken mess that had a single new character made for it named Ingrid. And Ingrid is just terrible.
On the upside, Capcom released an obscure gun-shooting game for Dreamcast called Cannon Spike, which featured a random assortment of Capcom heroes and villains as playable characters. This included BB Hood, who proved that she’s not exactly a team player.
Also in 2004, Udon started a Darkstalkers comic in America to go with their relatively successful Street Fighter series. Ken Siu-Chong wrote the series with art by Alvin Lee, Kevin Lau, and Joe Vriens. The first volume lasted six issues and didn’t exactly set the world on fire.
Despite some wonderful art and style, there was nothing to hook you in other than the reminder that this is based on a really fun game from ten years earlier. The first six issues acted as an exercise of world-building for a world that wasn’t exactly all that exciting. Pyron’s coming to Earth and monsters are doing stuff. How engaging!
It didn’t help that the first issue is mostly about Morrigan – who is basically our protagonist – raping and murdering an innocent man. Like, that’s who we’re supposed to be rooting for. The lady who forces herself on a good man and eats his soul because she’s bored.
By the sixth issue, there was no real closure to anything and nothing of note has really happened. It just built up Morrigan, Demitri, Donovan, Anita, Bishamon, Felicia, Talbain, and Victor in different ways.
Still barely anything with Lord Raptor. It’s bullshit!
Darkstalkers #6 came out in 2005 and the comic appeared to be dead in the water after that. Finally, Ken Siu-Chong got to wrap things up to an extent in 2010 with a three-issue miniseries Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors. While it introduced Huitzil and Anakaris, while giving us a rather pointless scene with Sasquatch, it was mainly about getting the whole Pyron plot over with.
By that I mean Pyron shows up in the final issue and fights Morrigan, Demitri, Donovan, and Anita. Demitiri drains Pyron of his energies, gets defeated himself, and the “good” guys win. Only the last page is a cliffhanger to build towards a Vampire Savior-based sequel that we’d seemingly never see. Not for another seven years.
Coincidentally, despite Lilith only appearing on the final page, she still ends up on about half of the series’ covers.
Capcom would go back to making crossover fighting games, but with 2D sprites being a thing of the past, that meant getting to see a more modern, 3D look at Morrigan and friends. Morrigan showed up in 2008’s Tatsunoko vs. Capcom as the only Darkstalkers representative yet again.
Marvel vs. Capcom 3 featured Morrigan, Felicia, and Hsien-Ko. In the promotional trailers and prologue comic, Morrigan was shown to be rivals with Iron Man, which made all the sense in the world. Not just for the amorality factor or the whole science vs. magic thing, but Tony Stark is the only one with a libido on Morrigan’s level.
Hell, the trailer still holds up as badass. Check it out and watch Morrigan feel really bad about accidentally sodomizing Deadpool.
And now Deadpool is married to a Morrigan stand-in in the comics. Funny how that works.
Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and its upgrade Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 gave the mainstream a rare reminder that Darkstalkers is a franchise that exists. Fighting games had been making a comeback with even the likes of Killer Instinct and Guilty Gear making returns from obscurity.
At the 2012 New York Comic Con panel for Street Fighter, Capcom executive producer Yoshinori Ono appeared and let loose with a new trailer. A very promising trailer. The CGI animated video showed Lord Raptor rise from his grave and rock out on his guitar while Demitri looked on from the skies. The ending of the teaser claimed, “DARKSTALKERS ARE NOT DEAD!”
Much like the Ermahgerd girl, I had goosebumps.
But it was just a trailer for Darkstalkers Resurrection, an HD release of Night Warriors and Vampire Savior for modern consoles. The idea was that if they sold well enough, they would make a new Darkstalkers game.
Few people bought it. You know why? Because they’ve been reselling the same games to us for two decades! Damn it, this was the third time they’ve released a compilation set and they acted surprised that it underperformed. Darkstalkers is good, but it’s not the freaking White Album, you know?
It’s such a fitting fate that Capcom’s forced upon themselves. They played with the copy and paste functions so many times that they shot themselves in the foot. They took a dynamic game that had enough spunk to get cartoons and a pretty big fan following and merely added new coats of paint instead of doing something new with it. Then after all the diminishing returns, they asked us to pony up more cash for the tired product to prove our loyalty and maybe get a new installment.
Now a once-thriving video game franchise is buried away in the graveyard and it may never rise. The horror… The horror…
But not all is lost! Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite brought back Morrigan (given some sexual tension with Ghost Rider) and Jedah (given some sexual tension with Marvel’s Death). I will say that Jedah’s inclusion does lead to one of the most ridiculous moments in the game.
Then there’s the more recent comic. Despite coming out at a glacier’s pace, UDON ended up running out of Street Fighter stories to adapt. They did everything from Ryu scarring Sagat to Gill’s tournament and hit the end of the line. Rather than simply call it a day, they have actually decided to continue the path by doing Street Fighter vs. Darkstalkers. As a follow-up to both comics, it finally tackles Jedah’s plot from the forgotten cliffhanger by teaming him up with the soul of Gill. We get such matchups as Rashid vs. Anakaris, Necalli vs. Morrigan, Akuma vs. Donovan, Blanka vs. BB Hood, Oro vs. Lilith, as well as so on.
Huh. Usually when Akuma’s “unleashing his Raging Demon” it means something completely different.
While not the most memorable comic, it does feature the ghost of Gen making an appearance to mentor Chun-Li against the undead, Akuma wielding Donovan’s gigantic, holy blade, and Laura Matsuda remarking how handsome Rikuo is for a fish-male. This miniseries is currently being followed up with a Street Fighter comic called Akuma vs. Hell.
Gavin Jasper writes for Den of Geek as well as would like to remind you that he had to sit through the Darkstalkers cartoon for this article. So if you have something negative and mean to say regarding him in the comments, he’s already suffered enough, thank you. Read more of his articles here as well as follow him on Twitter @Gavin4L
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