Vampire Savior (Import) Review

An arcade-perfect translation with very little load time.

Vampire Savior is the third game in Capcom's Darkstalkers series, which up until this point has essentially been "Street Fighter with monsters." At its core, Vampire Savior is still just that, but it has a few twists that manage to make it feel quite a bit different.

How? Instead of going by a best-two-out-of-three-round system, VS takes the Killer Instinct approach, where each character has two life bars. When one is drained, the character falls down, refills, and the match continues. Another new twist is the Dark Force power-up, which takes one level of your super meter and acts a bit like the gems did in Marvel Super Heroes. Each character is affected differently by Dark Force. Some characters get armor, others get mirror images of themselves that double their attack power, etc. There are two types of super moves in Vampire Savior. ES moves are powered-up versions of normal moves, like super fireballs, extra damaging throws, and multiple dragon punches. EX specials are entirely different moves. For instance, Demitri can turn his opponents into little girls (even the boys turn into girls - don't ask), pick them up by the neck, and choke blood out of them, while Lilith tosses a top hat at her opponent. If the hat hits, her enemy is forced to do a little dance, taking damage all the while. A good portion of the EX moves are, in a word, insane. They go a long way to making the game substantially more fun than your average post-Street-Fighter-Alpha-2 Capcom fighting game.

This is the second game to support the Saturn's 4MB RAM cart, and the results are similar to the first (X-Men vs. Street Fighter) - an arcade-perfect translation with very little load time. So not surprisingly, the graphics in Vampire Savior are pretty good. All of the backgrounds look great, and most of them are pretty animated. There are a lot of frames of animation in this game, and the Saturn pulls them all off without a hitch. The sound and music are also quite nice. The speech isn't muffled at all, and the music fits the game very well.

Overall, Vampire Savior is a lot of fun. It's easily the best fighter Capcom has put out in years. It doesn't fall prey to the cookie-cutter formula Capcom's been using to make Street Fighter games for the past few years. It's almost completely in English, and there is a code to make the entire game play in English, so Capcom was obviously thinking about importers when it designed this one. Saturn releases are few and far between, and this one isn't coming out here, so all Saturn owners would do well to get a RAM cart and pick this one up.

The Good

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The Bad

About the Author

Jeff Gerstmann has been professionally covering the video game industry since 1994.