"Gonna be trouble Darkstalkers
Baby I'm a trouble man
Want a fighter, come on
Don't you understand?
I'll give you double!
Baby, I'm the trouble man!"
, known as Vampire
in Japan, is a fighting game
series produced by Capcom
; its first entry was produced during the fighting game craze of the 1990s. In contrast to the martial arts-themed fighting games of the time, the game's characters are (mostly) based on classic literary or film monsters — including Frankenstein's Monster
, the Wolf Man
, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon
— and boast zany combos and attacks to help set the game apart from others.
This was Capcom's second fighting game franchise after Street Fighter
, which means it shares many similarities with its sibling series (GamePro
infamously referred to it as "Street Fighter in a Halloween costume
"): numerous characters have similar fighting styles to the Street Fighter
cast, and the game features a six-button control scheme. Darkstalkers
was one of the first fighting games to introduce the concept of Super Moves, bring air blocking into the mix, and expand basic combos into lengthy streams before any of the Capcom vs. Whatever
games were created.
series is also notable for having quite a bit of fanservice
, specifically due to Morrigan and Felicia (whose designs are unashamedly provocative — in particular, Felicia doesn't even wear clothes). Morrigan is likely best known for her appearances in the various Vs. fighting games
— including Marvel vs. Capcom
and Capcom vs. SNK
— and even more notorious for having the same sprites recycled for over seven years
(which caused her to clash in sprite style with just about everyone else). She received new sprites for Namco × Capcom
and Cross Edge
(which both used a slightly Super-Deformed
battle sprite style akin to the preceding Super Gem Fighter Mini Mix
), Tatsunoko vs. Capcom
(and Marvel vs. Capcom 3
) used 3D graphics, and with another new sprite set in Project X Zone
, Morrigan's original sprites (and those of the other nine Darkstalkers to grace one or more of these crossovers) note
appear to be dead for good.
A new Darkstalkers
game — as in, entirely new, instead of a re-release of past content — hasn't been made since 1997. On July 21 2011, Yoshinori Ono said he is pushing Capcom hard to revive the series.
In his own words: DARKSTALKERS ARE NOT DEAD!
At New York Comic-Con, it was revealed that a project was
in the works for Darkstalkers 4
, but it would only be released if the fan demand was high enough, judging the figures from Darkstalkers Resurrection
. Unfortunately, Darkstalkers Resurrection
sold poorly, and Capcom has stated that the franchise is now officially on hold.
Games in the series:
- Vampire / Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors (1994, Arcade / PlayStation)
- Vampire Hunter / Night Warriors: Darkstalkers' Revenge (1995, Arcade / Sega Saturn)
- Vampire Savior: The Lord of Vampire (1997, Arcade / Sega Saturn / PlayStation) - This version brought back the missing characters from Night Warriors.
- Vampire Savior 2 / Vampire Hunter 2 (1997, Arcade) - A pair of minor upgrades to Vampire Savior released only in Japan with system and roster changes.
- Vampire Savior: EX Edition / Darkstalkers 3 (1998, PlayStation) - A compilation of all three versions of Vampire Savior.
- Vampire Chronicle for Matching Service (2000, Dreamcast) - This game uses the Vampire Savior engine, but allows the player to select the original versions of the characters
- Darkstalkers Chronicle: The Chaos Tower (2004-2005, PlayStation Portable) - Port of Chronicle with an extra game mode named Chaos Tower.
- Darkstalkers Collection (2005, PlayStation 2) - Compilation of all five arcade games, with secret arranged versions of the three Savior games.
- Darkstalkers Resurrection / Vampire Resurrection (2013, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3) - Downloadable re-release of Vampire Hunter and Vampire Savior with online play added.
- Darkstalkers - A short lived American cartoon made by Graz Entertainment (though some sources say DIC, who is never mentioned in the closing credits, nor does the DIC logo appear at the end).
- Night Warriors: Darkstalkers' Revenge 4-part OVA
- Vampire: Shuumatsu no Shisha note Victor - A two volume manga by Hiroaki Wakamiya based on the first game that focuses on Victor and Emily. Rather infamous for taking lots of creative liberties with the characters and setting.
- Vampire Hunter: Darkstalkers' Revenge - A single volume manga by Run Ishida based on the second game. It was localized by Viz as Night Warriors: Darkstalkers' Revenge - The Comic Series.
- Vampire Hunter - A two volume manga by Takeshi Fujita based on the second game. Each playable character has a chapter devoted to them, plus a final Donovan VS. Demitri chapter.
- Vampire Savior: Tamashii no Mayoigo note - A Japanese-only five-volume manga by Mayumi Azuma that focuses on Lilith trying to find an identity other than being a fragment of Morrigan's powers while surviving Jedah's tournament. Features manga-only human John Statley, who lets Lilith stay at his house.
Character-specific tropes belong on the Characters
This game series contains examples of:
- Amusing Injuries: Played with. Getting hit by a cutting attack generally tends to bisect the character mid-match in the appropriate spot, only for the halves to rejoin themselves in a comical manner right away, such as the character's upper torso doing a backflip and landing to its original spot without any consequences. However, if the character is defeated by such an attack, the effect sticks until the next round if there is one. Other examples include Ash Face, Harmless Freezing, and X-Ray Sparks caused by attacks of their respective elements, and swelling caused by bee stings.
- All There in the Manual: Like Street Fighter, Darkstalkers has a surprising amount of depth and background stories for a fighting game.
- Ambidextrous Sprite: Obvious, as it is a 2D fighter.
- Afterlife Express: Darkstalkers 3 featured a playable stage called Iron Horse, Iron Terror, which not only has numerous body parts but is also driven by a skeletal engineer.
- Artificial Human: Emily is a biological version of this.
- Attractive Bent-Gender: Any male character who gets hit with Demitri's Midnight Bliss special. Lord Raptor probably gets the best of it, going from a hideous freak to a real cutie pie. Female characters are just turned into "cuter" versions of themselves. Except Morrigan.
- Beam-O-War: While it's usually not actual beams, projectile attacks invoke this when colliding: each one has a "strength" value depending on multiple factors such as attack button used, whether the projectile is an ES version and so forth, meaning whichever projectile has more strength remaining in the end destroys the opposing projectile but is usually slowed down afterwards as a result. Interestingly, in the American cartoon adaptation, all they ever did in battle was shoot lasers from their hands.
- Bee People: Q-Bee's race.
- Background Music: Each stage in the games has its own musical theme, representing the characters it is tied to. In Vampire Savior/Darkstalkers 3 the music is representative of the stages (although still corresponding to character's themes), as they are now randomly selected for characters to fight in.
- Black Blood: Everyone, but Jedah specializes in this. See the Character sheet for more details.
- Blood Knight: Everyone to an extent, it is a fighting game, but especially Morrigan and Demitri.
- Brick Joke: In-game mechanics. During Hsien-Ko's projectile, she throws a random object. One version throws it up above. It falls down one or two seconds later. The move is hilarious when it connects.
- Calling Your Attacks: Largely averted compared to many other fighting games. The only moves whose names are shouted are Demon Cradle, Soul Fist, Shadow Blade, Kienzan, Tenraiha, Soul Flash, and Shining Blade.
- Capcom Sequel Stagnation: Shortly after the release of Vampire Savior, Capcom released two minor upgrades to Savior in Japan titled Vampire Hunter 2 and Vampire Savior 2. The only difference between the two are the roster: One bring backs the missing characters from Night Warriors by replacing a few of the returning characters from the original Darkstalkers and the other brings back the entire Night Warriors cast by ditching all the new guys from the first Vampire Savior.
- Cat Folk: Catwomen are a Cat Girl style of Cat Folk that are their own distinct race of semi-human monsters. One of their more prominent members, Felicia, is a playable character.
- Cats Are Mean: Inverted, as the Catwoman's race is one of the friendliest kind of monsters ever.
- Character Portrait: Seen for each character as a Victory Pose (below), while saying their Victory Quote.
- Clothing Damage: Whenever anyone is burned.
- Combos: Darkstalkers was the pioneer of the zigzag "magic series" combo system, where players can chain normals from weakest to strongest, which can then typically be canceled into specials and/or supers, making this series a grandfather to the Marvel vs. Capcom series, Guilty Gear, Melty Blood and countless others.
- Cool Versus Awesome: The series' reputation for actually adhering to continuity aside, this trope is the backbone of the plot.
- Crossover: Characters from this series appeared in other games, aside the below entry, such as Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo (Morrigan, Felicia, Hsien-Ko and Donovan), Pocket Fighter (Morrigan, Felicia and Hsien-Ko), and Capcom Fighting Evolution (Demitri, Anakaris, Felicia, Jedah and Pyron).
- Cute Monster Girl: Considering this games' roster is filled with all manner of hideous monsters, all of the female characters are simply gorgeous.
- Demoted to Extra: To date, the only characters of this game which have made playable appearances in other Capcom-produced gamesnote are Morrigan* , Felicia* , Anakaris* , B.B. Hood* , Demitri* , Donovan* , Hsien-Ko* , Anita* , Jedah* , and Pyron* , with the other characters appearing in cameos at best.
- One could argue that the whole franchise itself has been Demoted to Extra, seeing as after 1997, it's been nothing but crossover appearances.
- In the UDON comic series, only Morrigan, Felicia, Demitri, Talbain, Victor, Bishamon, Donovan and Pyron put in major significant appearances. The rest are relegated to the background (Lord Raptor, Hsien-Ko, and Rikuo, in particular, only have cameo appearances).
- In the OVA, Anakaris, Rikuo, Victor, and Sasquatch make their only canonical appearance in the entire series in the opening of the final chapter, where they all get curbstomped by Pyron.
- Deranged Animation: A chainsaw-sprouting zombie, a snowman-spitting yeti, a Frankenstein monster who attacks with his butt, a shapeshifting merman, etc. All rendered in very exaggerated, cartoony animation. According to an issue of Gamest magazine, negative reactions to this animation style might have been one of the reasons Darkstalkers never really caught on in the West.
- Ditto Fighter: The hidden "Marionette" and "Shadow" characters from Darkstalkers 3. The former switches to a random character every match, while the latter starts off as a random character and turns into whoever you defeat for the following match with an unique posession animation.
- Double Standard: Somewhat. Demitri's power of turning males into females does not go the other way around for the females. They just change into cuter or sexier woman. This makes sense in character, though.
- Dub Name Change:
- Anita to Amanda (Night Warriors and DiC cartoon).
- Aulbath to Rikuo.
- Bulleta to Baby Bonnie Hood.
- Gallon to Jon Talbain.
- Lei-Lei to Hsien-Ko.
- Lin-Lin to Mei-Ling.
- Phobos to Huitzil.
- Sasquatch to Bigfoot (DiC cartoon only).
- Zabel Zarock to Lord Raptor.
- Dummied Out: Huitzil and Pyron's endings from Night Warriors are actually in the first game but mostly go unused since they aren't playable. Hacking the game to play as them and beat the game as them will play their endings but with garbage text reading "AAAAAAAAAAA." They also have alternate player colors if selected with a different button.
- Vampire Hunter 2 was made using Vampire Savior's engine, but with the Night Warriors cast. However, the new characters from VS remain as residual data, only their portraits remain except Lilith's, whose sprites and animations are all still present and functional. She can be selected by hacking and the game can be completed just fine if you use her, the only drawback being her lack of voice, victory BGM and that there's a chance the game might pit you against another Dummied Out VS character in arcade mode.
- Early Installment Weirdness: The very first game had quite a few quirks compared to every game that followed. Upon filling the super meter, a temporary "power up" mode was activated which boosted attack power by 25%. Performing a special move (which would automatically come out as its ES version), an EX move, or allowing the time limit to expire would end the power up state and empty the super meter. Most special moves had separate light, medium, and hard ES versions. Although air blocking existed, it didn't work against most special moves. Many moves which were originally multi-hit would become single hit in the subsequent games. Nearly any special move that could be performed in midair could be used as a midair guard cancel. Some of the iconic voice clips such as Demitri's "Demon Cradle!" and Bishamon's "Kienzan!" were not yet present.
- Demitri was pretty clearly the star in this one, and Felicia was treated as just another monster and much more frightening, as shown prominently in this original commercial (pause at 0:07 and 0:23) and the opening to Night Warriors (pause at 0:10).
- Ending Theme: Everything Darkstalkers-related ends with the song "Trouble Man." Even the horrible American cartoon.
- Enemy Mine: In the OVA, the house of Aensland propose a temporary alliance with the other noble houses of the Demon World in the wake of Pyron's easy defeat of most of the Darkstalkers. They refuse, asking Morrigan Aensland to defeat Pyron alone instead, while they prepare attack house Aensland in the chaos.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: In the anime, Bishamon is so stunned by Donovan's quest to save humanity and vanquish the Darkstalkers that he has a Villainous BSOD of sorts and deactivates.
- Fanservice: There's probably a Darkstalkers character for everyone, no matter what your kink is. Even Pyron (pyromaniacs) and Huitzil (robophiles) appeal to some people.
- Fantasy Kitchen Sink: There are demons and two or three demon worlds, fine. But there are also mermaids that are seemingly unrelated to them. And big foots. And space aliens. And time traveling Egyptians. And Frankenstein Monsters. And living samurai armors. The term Darkstalker essentially refers to any being outside of current human science and understanding, Makai being the main source of them.
- Female Feline, Male Mutt: Felicia and Jon Talbain, naturally.
- Fetus Terrible: The Shintai, better known as the Fetus of God, was created by Jedah in order to reset reality.
- Gravity Is Only a Theory: The Tower of Arrogance stage in Vampire Savior is the side of a skyscraper. Yes, the side. As in, the stage's background is the ground below. Still everyone acts like they're standing on firm ground.
- Grimmification: Baby Bonnie Hood is one to Little Red Riding Hood.
- Head Swap: Morrigan and Lilith, with Lilith having smaller breasts as well. Also Dee is Donovan's head pasted over Demitri's body and combination of both of their movesets.
- Horny Devils: The Succubus race, whose only known members, Morrigan and Lilith, formerly provided the trope image. Notably, Morrigan is depicted as relatively benevolent and Lilith as innocent and misguided, as the souls of the men they feed on aren't destroyed, but rather continue to exist as part of the succubus in the physical form of bats, living in endless pleasure and happiness for eternity. Because of this, Morrigan explains in one of the comics by UDON that she enjoys taking men out of their short, toil-filled lives and giving them bliss. Nevertheless, the physical aftermath of a Succubus' "feast" is still ghastly, as the man's physical body is left a desiccated corpse that inevitably horrifies whoever comes across it.
- Of course, Capcom doesn't take anything not in its games as canon. It is pointed out that Morrigan doesn't need to take souls, but any contact with her body fluids will kill lesser men. She does need certain fluids produced with stimulation to survive, otherwise she'll literally die from boredom. This could take the form of battle, or taking it from people who are dreaming.
- Humans Are Bastards: According to Word of God, the reason why B.B. Hood (a cute, sweet and innocent looking girl who resembles Little Red Riding Hood) was created was to prove that humans can be just as bad as monsters, if not more so. She's completely human, but far more evil and insane than anyone else.
- Idiosyncratic Combo Levels: In Vampire Savior.
- Insect Queen: Q-Bee is the queen of the Soul Bees; monsters that imitate the appearance of humans then prey on their souls.
- Insistent Terminology: The Japanese word "Makai" is consistantly used instead of "Hell" in-universe.
- Kick Them While They Are Down: The Pursuits, ranging from normal jump in and kick to EX-pursuits like Anakaris' teleporting on the enemy, piercing them with the upside-down pyramid that his legs had shifted to and then summoning a giant sarcophagus to add an extra weight on him.
- Killer Rabbit: Pico and Alto, two of Felicia's four catgirl companions that come out during her super, are both children, but still more than capable of wrecking you. Alto also comes out to help Felicia during her Kitty Helper special.
- Also, Sasquatch's exploding penguin friends.
- Kung-Shui: Much like its predecessor Street Fighter II, certain stages in the first two Darkstalkers games feature background objects that can be broken when a character is knocked into them. Examples include wine barrels and windows in Talbain's stage, light posts in Felicia's stage, and sarcophagi in Anakaris's stage.
- Leitmotif: In addition of usual character BGMs, everyone also gets a unique victory tune.
- Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: Felicia (light) and Morrigan (dark).
- Mecha-Mooks: The mass-produced Huitzil probes from the Night Warriors OVA.
- Merger of Souls:
- Monster Mash: All the classic universal monsters have representation of some kind.
- Morality Pet: Emily; Anita; Cecil (the kid with Huitzil).
- One Game for the Price of Two: Vampire Savior 2 and Vampire Hunter 2, both which were simultaneously-released Japan-only updated rereleases of Vampire Savior.
- Vampire Hunter 2 features the entire Vampire Hunter roster by omitting the new characters from Vampire Savior (Lilith, Jedah, Q-Bee, and B. B. Hood).
- Vampire Savior 2 brings back Huitzil, Pyron, and Donovan from Vampire Hunter, but does so by removing Jon Talbain, Rikuo, and Sasquatch. The Saturn and PlayStation ports averts this by including all 18 characters, due to the fact that Capcom's CPS2 arcade hardware which the series ran on simply didn't have enough ROM capacity to hold the graphics for all of the characters.
- Our Demons Are Different: "Demon" is used as a general synonym for "monster." A few characters are literal demons, like Jedah. One background character has four arms with two crossed to seal away most of his power that is capable of wiping almost every other demon out in the story.
- Our Monsters Are Different: For every original monster.
- Palette Swap: Happens when fighting against the same character, PC or NPC. The player can also voluntarily incur this trope when selecting the character with different buttons.
- People Farms: It is said "Class C Entities" are used as slaves and livestock by higher classes, and that humans are automatically Class C.
- Popularity Power: Donovan wasn't ultra popular (unlike Anita), but he still managed to be something of a crowd favorite due to his playstyle and appearance. Although his plot progression in Night Warriors/Vampire Hunter justified his removal from Vampire Savior, later revisions, such as Darkstalkers 3 added him back onto the roster.
- Posthumous Character: Belial Aensland, Morrigan's (adoptive) father.
- Promoted to Playable: Pyron and Hutzil in Night Warriors and Oboro Bishamon in the console versions of Darkstalkers 3.
- Put on a Bus: Huitzil, Pyron, and Donovan are absent from Vampire Savior, having been removed to free up memory for the newcomers.
- Readings Blew Up the Scale: The Phobos computers in the OVA do this when reading Donovan's power (at the same time that Donovan is unleashing a very powerful attack on the Phobos).
- Recycled IN SPACE!: Many people think of this series as "Street Fighter WITH MONSTERS!" It even shares the world-traveling theme.
- Regenerating Health: Vampire Savior has a variation on this, where the portion of damage can be healed as long you are not hit.
- Rubber-Band A.I. : In Vampire Savior, it is not unnatural to completely annihilate most of the computer's life bar, only for it to suddenly start wiping the floor with you.
- Scenery Porn: Many of the stage backgrounds are elaborate and detailed, and visually add to the fighting experience.
- Scenery Gorn: Some of the other stages also include bloody torture racks, trains with eyeballs on them and God being born.
- Schizo Tech: A large assortment of weapons and architecture that are both modern and ancient can be observed in the series such as flintlock rifles alongside flak cannons.
- Supernatural Elite: The house of Aensland is the ruling family for all of Makai.
- Trope Codifier: Upgraded the limited chain combos of the Street Fighter series into the famous weak-to-strong magic series that is now used by every Guilty Gear-like and Doujin-style fighters.
- Trope Maker: A lot of now common fighting game mechanics debuted in the Darkstalkers series. Multiple-level super meters, EX Moves (called ES Moves in this series, EX Moves are supers), air blocking, air dashing and so on...
- The Twelve Principles of Animation: More squash and stretch than you can shake a stick at.
- Victory Pose: Seen for each character at the end of a fight round, as well as for their more detailed versions saying their Victory Quote. See Character Portrait above.
- Video Game Perversity Potential: Darkstalkers 3 (and only Darkstalkers 3; Vampire Savior lacks it) features a character creator mode, which is nothing more than recoloring the individual colors found on the sprites of the existing characters. Since Felicia is already technically fully naked, it doesn't take much to change her white fur into the same color as the rest of her skin. The same can be done for other characters, but not to as great effect.
- Night Warriors introduced special round victory markers that indicated how you defeated the opponent that round. Defeating them with a special move gets you an "S", defeating them with an EX special move gets you an "EX"... guess what you can spell.
- Voice Grunting: During gameplay after a hit.
- Wrestlers in All of Us: Every single character has a special throw or two. However, Anakaris totally inverted this because he lacked a basic throw.note
- X-Ray Sparks: Whenever anyone is shocked (except for Pyron, who doesn't seem to have a skeleton, instead having a constellation inside of him, and Jedah, whose skeleton is replaced by a mess of runes; Q-Bee simply appears as a miniature version of herself with a crown when shocked).