Gameplay, Story and Value:
Darkstalkers 3 is a 2D fighting game from Capcom that has you fighting as and against fairytale and horror inspired characters. This includes everything from Little Red Riding Hood, who’s packing some serious heat in this game, to Vampires, Mummies and of course Succubi. Combat is fast, fun and frantic and pretty much everything you’d expect from a late 90’s early 00’s fighter from the company!
While I’ve always been a huge fan of Capcom’s 2D fighting games, Darkstalkers has never really been one of my favorites. The characters, animation and stories (which unfortunately are not presented to you in this game) are all fantastic, but it’s the fighting itself that’s never clicked with me. It’s pretty basic, which is fine, and the dash mechanics are a lot of fun depending on the character you’re playing, but there’s something about the pacing of the fights and the execution of attacks and combos that just doesn’t fit into my playstyle.
To be clear, this is largely a preference thing, as the game itself plays excellently. There’s an extensive character roster, each playing differently from one another, as well as plenty of stages to fight on. The only major complaint I have with this game is the lack of options when it comes to play modes. You get your standard Arcade, Multiplayer and Practice modes, as well as a kinda cool Create a Character mode, but nothing being that. The lack of a story mode is unfortunate, as anyone who’d read the manga or watched the anime knows there’s a lot of lore and personalities to these characters.
Presentation, Music and Sound:
Darkstalkers 3 looks great. Sprites are large and bright, characters are expressive and well-animated and everything just comes together to create a visually great fighting game. Sure, it’s not as sharp as what you’d find on, say, the Dreamcast, but it’s certainly timeless. Special moves and big and flashy, and there’s never so much going on onscreen that you lose track of your character.
Sound design is what you expect with various Japanese voice clips for each character spread throughout. Everything pretty much sounds great, attacks feel powerful and kinetic and even more passive sounds like Morrigan’s “thrusters” are satisfying.
Music is also pretty unsurprising. It’s all good, though, and adds a level of excitement to the combat for sure, but it’s not nearly as memorable as the tunes in some of Capcom’s other fighting games.
Fun and Afterthoughts:
As a fan of 2D fighters in general I couldn’t help but enjoy my time with Darkstalkers 3. That said, it’s not a game I can really see myself coming back to, as mechanically it’s not really my bag compared to games like Street Fighter Alpha, Marvel vs Capcom and newer Mortal Kombat games. I love the characters and style, though, and always enjoy seeing parts of this roster appear in other Capcom games!