The most surprising announcement at last week's NY Comic Con came from Capcom with their revealing of Darkstalkers: Resurrection (HD remakes of the second and third games in the series). While fantastic games in their own right - and it's about damn time the series got some lovin' - the HD updates could be the beginning of something much bigger, as with previous releases like Marvel vs. Capcom 2 HD that ushered in a brand new game, with fighting guru Yoshinori Ono confirming as much for Resurrection. It's about time that Darkstalkers made its way back into the fighting community, and with the extremely polished updates to both Darkstalkers and Night Warriors (Darkstalkers 2), it looks like a new installment is very much possible - just get your wallets ready so Capcom gets the message.
While the series was relatively unknown to me during its initial release, during the PS2 days the first batch of rereleases made the rounds and I attempted to catch up. The HD remakes make some key, yet expected additions, such as widescreen support, online multiplayer with all of the typical modes, and a remastered soundtrack that's never sounded better. The game may be a ways off from release, but I went hands-on with the full games (there were two different booths set up for the two games). They were displaying the two viewing modes that will be available in Resurrection. Arcade cabinet view was definitely the clear winner, as even with widescreen support Darkstalkers just looked too zoomed, stretched out, and overly pixelated when using the new 16:9 ratio.
On top of the obvious enhancements and added modes, Resurrection sees some more interesting additions, though none that affect gameplay, thus the classic fighting action is kept intact. Rather than simply adding online capabilities and other needed features like in Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike Online and Marvel vs. Capcom: Origins (thanks for the ping display and region matching this time around, Iron Galaxy Studios), Iron Galaxy takes it a step further, fueling the bragging rights that already control the genre by allowing users to upload their fights directly to YouTube.
This opens the possibility for some of the most entertaining gaming moments caught on tape (as long as it's kept civil; we all know how rabid and sexist the community gets), as tremendous comebacks, griefing opportunities, and glorious failures can be instantly shared with the world. While the desire for Darkstalkers matches is and will probably remain low, the idea can be implemented across the genre, providing a whole new level of being an asshole in the fighting community.
The two games themselves, Night Warriors: Darkstalkers' Revenge (DS2) and Darkstalkers 3, have been left unchanged in terms of balancing and priority, remaining true and faithful to the original arcade (not console) versions. They play just as well as they did over fifteen years ago, exhibiting the same fluidity, precision and creativity that made the series so beloved, and it's clear why Morrigan and Filicia have become prominent members of the Capcom crossover series.
Keeping the integrity of the series - that Street Fighter style with a bit more speed and comboing ability - helps to keep the 2D fighter in the forefront, especially since Darkstalkers' quality rivals any of Capcom's previous HD releases. Let's just hope it's enough to bring the series back into the genre's spotlight.
Darkstalkers: Resurrection brings the fantastic brawling series and all of its wacked out creativity to the XBLA and PSN sometime in very early 2013. Just make sure to do your part and spend your hard earned cash on buying both versions. I don't know about you, but I need my Darkstalkers 4.