Darkstalkers Resurrection Review
Capcom may be no stranger to remakes, but their Darkstalkers series of fighting games has remained deep in the shadows since the 90s (with only a PSP port to its name). After more than 10 years, Iron Galaxy hopes to give the series a new lease on life with Darkstalkers Resurrection on XBLA and PSN, a port of Darkstalkers 2 and 3. Is this series as good as new, or is this port more like Frankenstein’s monster?
Those who have never explored Morrigan world will have no trouble diving into Darkstalkers Resurrection. Many fighting game staples got their start in the Darkstalkers series, including EX moves, air blocking, and a modified version of the Super Meter fighting fans know and love. Bouts play out much faster than those in Street Fighter II or Mortal Kombat, and the fanciful characters will be familiar with anybody who has ever played a Capcom crossover game. Put simply, the Darkstalkers series is deeply rooted in history.
The fighting engine in the Darkstalkers series has managed to stand the test of time as well. Quarter-circle motions and combo-based gameplay are still the industry standard, but the fighting scene has seen tremendous growth since its introduction way back when. That’s not to say that these games are bad; just merely outdated.
Sadly, this obsolescence is also reflected in the way these Darkstalkers ports are handled as well. There are a number of different display options, but even the HD options simply smear a blurry filter onto each sprite. Other additions like scanlines and arcade cabinet views are also available, but they feel more like novelties that are not worth revisiting more than once. At least the menus themselves received the HD treatment, with new artwork for each night warrior.
Iron Galaxy does try to bring Darkstalkers to the modern day with the inclusion of a Challenge mode (akin to the one found in Street Fighter III: Third Strike Online) and GGPO net play, but the whole package feels more like an afterthought than anything else. The fact that this so-called improved package does not include the original Darkstalkers pretty much solidifies this fact.
The games in Darkstalkers Resurrection are not bad in and of itself, but the treatment of the source material here is not ideal. A few more tweaks to the graphics and the addition of the netcode found in Street Fighter IV would have given this port the TLC the series so desperately needs…and deserves. Here’s hoping this entry is not the final death knell for the series – this is one series that does not deserve to die.