Great 2-D fighting game
Hints and tricks:
Save up your super attacks if you can. Level 2 and level 3 attacks help much more than level 1s, but if you think you can get levels fast, go ahead and use your level ones.
Learn your moves. There's nothing more frustrating than having yourself thrown around and not being able to do anything about it. Learn your long ranged moves first, keeping your enemy at a distance is always a good idea.
Learn what range you have with your super moves. Some moves can attack the other player on the other side of the screen, others cannot. Know which buttons do which move, and use them accordingly.
Play with friends. Easily a good party game, DarkStalkers is a crazy way of spending the afternoon/day at a friend's house. Just don't take it too seriously. If you lose, so what? You'll get 'em next time.
Don't be afraid to try out other characters. If a character's move set is not the way you play, I'm sure another character in the game is more attuned to how you do play. Try them all out if you wish, finding the one that you like the most to learn their moves. Don't go by the 'coolness' value of the character. Not everyone can be cool and good at the same time. But chances are, if your are being beaten each time, you do not know a move that could help you out. Learn your moves.
Sadly, there is a practice mode. But this mode does not show you your moves. So you sit there buttonmashing until you find one. Or do as I did and go online there are many sites that have moves posted.
Also, the shoulder buttons being the main punch and kick of the character are a bit strange at first, but you can get used to them. Just remember that the left top shoulder button punches, and the right one kicks. You'll be good to go.
The graphics of this game aren't up to the next generation's standards, but it does have a huge nostalgia value that can be appreciated.
Good luck and may your enemies fear your name.