The Darkstalkers series has been silent for far too long. While other fighters have found new life on modern consoles through rerelease compilations and HD updates, Darkstalkers' night warriors have found themselves stuck on the sidelines. Darkstalkers Resurrection finally rights this wrong by granting this venerable series the recognition it deserves. This collection, which includes Night Warriors: Darkstalkers' Revenge and Darkstalkers 3, comes packed with additional features that set a new standard for this subgenre of fighting game rereleases.
Compared to its sister series, Street Fighter, Darkstalkers has always been more outrageous. While both series adhere to developer Capcom's standard of excellence within the fighting genre, Street Fighter is more grounded, drawing inspiration from actual martial arts forms. Darkstalkers, on the other hand, draws inspiration from the realms of fantasy and folklore. Mummies. Zombies. Frankenstein's monster. Little Red Riding Hood. These characters and others are the stars of the Darkstalkers universe.
These fantastical fighters make up one of the most creative rosters the genre has ever seen. The characters are crafted with such exaggerated style that each one feels distinct from conventional archetypes, such as Hsien-Ko, a take on the Chinese hopping vampire with an arsenal of exotic weapons up her sleeves, and Anakaris, a mummy who can detach his limbs and even separate at the waist.
The interaction between such disparate combatants is part of what makes these games so enjoyable. The outlandish attacks, beautiful sprite animations, and solid fighting mechanics that built upon Street Fighter's fundamentals are still as enjoyable today as they were during the series' initial release. Both games easily stand the test of time and can stride alongside the genre's current contenders.
Of course, this collection is more than just a simple repackaging of two outstanding games. Developer Iron Galaxy has included several useful additions. For newer players, the character-specific trials in Darkstalkers 3 are a good place to start. These lessons break down basic offensive and defensive strategies, and offer context about why these techniques are important. More-advanced techniques can be found in Revenge, making these two sets of trials useful for any player familiar with the fighting genre.
Resurrection's online modes are equally excellent. Powered by the tried-and-true GGPO technology, online play for both games feels smooth and seamless. Additional filtering options let you adjust the region, latency, and skill level of players you will encounter. When you're playing with a group, players not in the fight can spectate the match--a handy feature for studying the competition.
When you're done playing online, you can review your performance by checking the replays. The game automatically saves your 10 most recent online matches, and individual matches can be permanently saved after the fight is over. You can also sort through the replays uploaded by other players, with filtering options for specific characters or match quality.
Studying replays is a great way to learn new play styles and strategies for specific characters. Having proper filtering options makes this process easier. Resurrection takes it a step further by letting you tag your replays as well. If this feature is used by the community, you could potentially filter for specific circumstances or combos, transforming a simple replay collection into a virtual library of skills and techniques.
The list of extras in Resurrection goes on and on. Matches can be uploaded to YouTube, an entire gallery of concept art is available to unlock, and a variety of interesting viewing options--including a classic arcade cabinet. In addition to bringing two outstanding games back into the spotlight, Darkstalkers Resurrection boasts a host of practical content that enhances the experience. One only hopes that all classic fighters can one day receive such loving treatment.