Darkstalkers, known in Japan as Vanpaia, is a series of 2D developed and published by Capcom, beginning with ( Vampire: The Night Warriors) in 1994. The series is set in a pastiche Gothic fiction universe and features a highly stylized, cartoonish graphic style. It features characters based on either various kinds of (the titular "darkstalkers") or their hunters, who are all engaging in combat against each other. 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.
Besides video games, the Darkstalkers media franchise also includes an , 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.
|+ Games in the Darkstalkers series|
|Vampire: The Night Warriors||1994||CPS II||PS (1996); PSN (2011)||The first game in the series.|
|Vampire Hunter: Darkstalkers' Revenge||1995||CPS II||Sega 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.|
|1997||CPS II||An update of the 2nd game Vampire Hunter.|
|1997||CPS II||An update of the 3rd game Vampire Savior.|
|Vampire Chronicle for Matching Service (DC) |
Vampire Chronicle: The Chaos Tower (PSP)
|2000||Dreamcast; PSP (2004)||A compilation game.|
|2005||PS2||A compilation game.|
|Darkstalkers Resurrection||Vampire Resurrection||2013||PSN, XBLA||A compilation HD remake.|
In July 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. 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." Ono later teased the presence of Darkstalkers at a panel for Street Fighter's 25th Anniversary Celebration at San Diego Comic-Con in July 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.
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. Neal also claimed that Capcom is using Darkstalkers Resurrection as a test to gauge audience interest in a new Darkstalkers installment. 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." 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."
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 over humanity and the supernatural. A second sequel, Vampire Savior ( Darkstalkers 3), saw the return of Jedah, previously one of the nobles of Makai, who decides that the only way to save the realm is to take control of it by force. Accordingly, he lures the Darkstalkers into a trap to use their collective souls to remake the realm and control both humanity and supernatural.
|B.B. Hood/Bulleta||Miyuki Matsushita|
|Oboro Bishamon||Kan Tokumaru|
|Dark Jon Talbain/Dark Gallon||Yuji Ueda|
|Demitri Maximoff||Nobuyuki Hiyama|
|Donovan Baine||Nobuyuki Hiyama|
|Jedah Dohma||Isshin Chiba|
|Jon Talbain||Yuji Ueda|
|Lilith Aensland||Hiroko Konishi|
|Le Malta||Yuji Ueda|
|Morrigan Aensland||Yayoi Jinguji|
|Oboro Bishamon||Kan Tokumaru|
|Victor von Gerdenheim||Kan Tokumaru|
Despite its limited commercial success, Darkstalkers was very well received by critics and acquired a sizable cult following. Destructoid's Kyle Mac Gregor described it as "beloved," and IGN's Richard George described it as both "obscure and beloved." According to MTV, although Darkstalkers "has developed a loyal fanbase over the years, it was never enough for the developer/publisher to give the series much attention." 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 figurine collector worship. While the character design in immensely cool, some of the fan art is downright disturbing." Keith Stuart of The Guardian ranked the series fourth in his 2012 top list of vampiric video games, citing its "beautiful visuals and superb animation."
GamesRadar's Lucas Sullivan ranked Darkstalkers first on his 2012 list of "obscure" fighting games deserving an HD remake, opining it "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." UGO.com included Darkstalkers on their 2010 list of the games that need sequels. Complex writers put Darkstalkers at number 40 in their 2012 ranking of best video game franchises, adding that they would "love to see a modern incarnation," and listed a hypothetical Darkstalkers 4 among the 15 games they wished would be announced at E3 2011. The magazine's Andrew Hayward ranked Darkstalkers first on his 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."