Over the years, I've fallen out of love with the fighting genre. I'll still delve into some of the 3D stuff now and then, but when it comes to the more fast-paced 2D classics, I've been lagging behind. Yet I'll never forget where I first began: in dingy, poorly lit arcades lined with cabinets. When it comes to fighting games, certain titles have withstood the test of time better than others. Sure, everyone knows Street Fighter in the year 2013, but what about Samurai Shodown or Darkstalkers?
With the latter being one of Capcom's brands, it was really just a matter of time before we saw it being remastered and re-released to home consoles and handhelds. The most recent release, Darkstalkers Resurrection, comes to us from Iron Galaxy Studios, and bundles together the best of Darkstalkers into a convenient downloadable package.
Darkstalkers as a series might seem less relevant to the gaming scene today, except for all the pixelated eye candy it provides for... certain folks out there. Who can forget Morrigan and Felicia, after all? I certainly can't. But that "eye candy" sentiment extends well beyond scantily clad female characters. When it was first released, Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors really took our imaginations to the next level, with a bizarre cast of characters clearly inspired by retro horror flicks -- a merman, a rocker zombie, a juggernaut mummy, and of course a werewolf. And this roster of freakshows brought with them equally outrageous attacks, which were a real treat to look at. Nevermind that this is the series that introduced airborn blocks, chain combos systems, and more features most take for granted today.
Darkstalkers Resurrection brings together the second and third games, Night Warriors and Darkstalkers 3, which many fans would consider to be the pinnacle of the series. Iron Galaxy Studios didn't cut corners, either, and the developer's attention to detail is apparent. Players can choose from a number of different ways to view the game, allowing you to remove the widescreen borders or even switch to an over-the-shoulder angle, which then puts the screen on a virtual cabinet. If that's not authentic enough for you, filters can be turned on or off to smooth out pixels (or not).
If you're new to Darkstalkers, don't fret too much. A tutorial mode takes players through the basics, even giving some background on how each character should be strategically played. After that, you can hit the Arcade Mode, which lets you choose from a number of sub-modes like Normal, Turbo, and so forth. If you think the game plays too slowly, then you'll probably want to drop Normal mode. Think Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike, in this regard.
In terms of multiplayer, you can choose from Ranked, Player, and Tournament matches. Everything you do will go toward your personal ranking, earning points over time. These points can then be used to unlock extras via the "Vault" system. This is definitely a feature that appeals to some more than others; after all, not everyone might care about game artwork, but I certainly do.
When it comes to online play, Resurrection goes out of its way to ensure a enjoyable experience. Utilizing GGPO, lag is kept to a minimum, and players can check each other's ping before a match begins. You can also filter matches by region, ping, as well as skill.
Other features include eight-player lobbies, where you can ban unwanted characters (to minimize QQ later), and upload replays directly to YouTube without a capture card. Necessary? No. Convenient? Hell yes.
If you're a fan of the genre or just feeling nostalgic, Darkstalkers Resurrection is worth looking into, regardless of whether you plan on playing online, solo, or with a friend (local play is supported). Iron Galaxy made sure this remastered bundle came with all the trimmings, too, making the experience plenty customizable -- not to mention a load of fun.