Darkstalkers – Sequel, Spin Off, Start Over or Stay Dead?

Welcome to this week’s, “Sequel, Spin Off, Start Over or Stay Dead?” Each week we’re going to look at a dormant franchise that was once pretty popular, but for some reason has disappeared into the sands of time. Diehard GameFAN staffers will have four options for what they want to have happen to the series and you can see them in the title of this piece. For a little more detailed description see below:

Sequel – A direct sequel to the franchise. This means if it used sprites and was in 2-D, that’s how you want the next game to be as well. This might involve putting the game on a handheld system instead of a console, but it keeps the nostalgia and classic feel alive.

Spin Off – This is where you take the characters or a specific character is a totally different direction from the established franchise. Examples include Luigi’s Mansion, Hey You, Pikachu!, Shadow Hearts (From Koudelka), and so on.

Start Over – This is a reimagining of the series from the ground up. Perhaps it’s time to bring the series into 3-D. Perhaps you want a totally different control scheme or to throw away the old continuity. In a nutshell, this is taking the brand name from the old series and that’s about it. Everything else is new and re-envisioned.

Stay Dead – This is pretty obvious. This is a toxic franchise that you don’t want to see return in any way shape or form. Let the dead rest.

This week, we’re ending our Hallowe’en theme for this column. To close things out we’re going to be looking at a game rife with ghosts, vampires, succubi, flesh golems, werewolves, mermen and even Giant Aztec Robots! Yet, it’s neither a horror game, nor a Castlevania title. Of course we’re talking about Darkstalkers , the OTHER Capcom fighting game series that spawned numerous sequels, along with animated series in both the US and Japan. It’s been half a decade since the last Darkstalkers game was released and even that was a remake of a remix of a Dreamcast game from August 2000. Let’s see what the Diehard GameFAN staff feels should be done with Darkstalkers.

Darkstalkers


Alexander Lucard – Sequel

Darkstalkers is easily my favourite fighting series of all time. Night Warriors is in my top three fighting games of all time. Donovan Bane is only behind Sagat and Geese Howard as my favorite characters in this genre. What I loved best about this series is that is has always been Capcom’s series for innovation and trying new things. You know that little bar that slowly fills as your character dispenses damage or you take it that allows you Super Special Moves? That came from Darkstalkers . Things like Guard Cancels? Darkstalkers. Multiple finishing moves? Darkstalkers. Auto blocks for people new to the genre? Darkstalkers. The first ever online fighting game? Darkstalkers. The first fighting title for the PSP? Darkstalkers. So on and so forth. Basically, Darkstalkers has always been where the best ideas for the fighting game industry have sprung from. Add in the very memorable and original characters from the series (especially compared to Street Fighter) and the fact each iteration had the best graphics for any fighter released around the same time, and you have a series that should have any many sequels as Street Fighter or King of Fighters and CERTAINLY more than Tekken or Virtua Fighter.

However Capcom seems content only to let Morrigan and Felicia show up as cameo characters these days, with B.B. Hood (Bulleta), Lilith, Ankharis and Demitri appearing on an even rarer basis. This is a damn shame considering we’re getting a remixed version of the lackluster Street Fighter IV coming out and Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All Stars is only sporting Morrigan. The question is, can Capcom of 2009 give fighting games the quality of Capcom 1999? As we’ve seen over the past few years, the answer is a resounding no. Here’s hoping that once Capcom has suckered fighting game fans into buying Super Street Fighter IV (and probably after that Super Street Fighter IV Turbo Championship Edition and then Super Street Fighter IV Turbo Championship Edition: The New Challenges), they’ll have worked all the bugs out of their new engine and they can maybe apply that and some classic Darkstalkers innovation to the fighting gamer series one more, or even one last time.


Chris Bowen – Sequel

I should probably say “Spin off” because really, hasn’t this already been spun off? The one truly popular character – Morrigan, shocker of shockers, already appears in most of Capcom’s other fighters. I’ve seen B.B. Hood poking her head around in other fighters as well. Capcom does definitely get the most out of their characters.

I don’t see why they couldn’t give us another, even darker Darkstalkers game. Capcom makes good 2-D fighters and it’s another franchise that could use another coat of paint. Why not, really?


Mark B. – Sequel

So, let it be known that I love Darkstalkers as a series, and if the PSP wasn’t such a horrid system for fighting games, Darkstalkers Chronicle: The Chaos Tower would be amongst my ten favorite fighting games of all time. A 2-D fighting game based around monsters doing battle that plays like the Street Fighter series and features interesting characters (back when Capcom knew how to make those)? How can you not love that if you’re a fan of the genre? I could never understand why the franchise seemed like it was just completely ignored by fans of the genre at large, as I always thought it was awesome and played the games at home and in the arcades whenever I could.

So, yes, I want to see a sequel.

That said, as with any Capcom fighting games at this point, this opinion is conditional. I know Capcom loves their spiffy new 3D engine for fighting games, and hey, it generally looks and performs well, but Street Fighter IV was not quite what I’d been hoping for from the company that basically defined the 2-D fighting game for years. Now, if Super Street Fighter IV manages to fix the issues its predecessor had, then groovy, I’ll be fine with seeing a 3D Darkstalkers and will buy it the day it comes out. Otherwise, I’m going to say that the franchise needs a 2-D sequel or it needs to stay dead. I don’t think it’d be fair to make a less than excellent 3-D fighting game just to keep the franchise going. Do it right or don’t do it at all.


Bebito Jackson – Sequel

Let me be clear. I could care less about whether or not I get to play another Darkstalkers game. I can’t even remember what they’re like or whether or not they’re any good or any of that crap like that there. Irrelevant. All I know is that SNK or Capcom or Sega or whoever came up with this mess, needs to keep the franchise going alive and strong. ANY game that inspires women dressing and behaving like this, and this, and some mo of dis right deere is a game series worth its weight in lotion. This type of conduct needs to be nurtured, cultivated and reinforced. Sequel it on up, baby. Make another 50 Darkstalkers….

Do you really wanna let this guy down?


Chuck Platt – Stay Dead

Simply put, I do not trust the modern Capcom to make a sequel or to start over with a franchise I hold as dear as this one. Seriously, there might not be a franchise with as good a batting average as Darkstalkers and I would hate to see that good name dragged through the mud. Vampire Savior is one of the all-time great fighting games and the Dreamcast Vampire Chronicle is the jewel of my collection, and a game that I go back to on a regular basis.

It is because I love Darkstalkers that I wish for it to stay dead, but, like a good vampire, I know it will rise again. Hopefully it will be able to live up to the vaunted name if it does.


End Result:

Sequel: 4
Stray Dead: 1
Start Over: 0
Spin-Off: 0

Well, it’s a bit of a landslide in favour of getting a fourth entry into the Darkstalkers series (Vampire Chronicle doesn’t count as it’s a remix of all three earlier games). The question is, will Capcom ever treat Darkstalkers fans with any sort respect or consideration and actually make the bloody game? Only time will tell…

Join us next week as we take a look at a 1990’s platformer franchise. He’s got a tail and claws and attitude, but does his series has what it takes to come back to life?

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