Monday 23 October 2017

Fighting Your Way Through Halloween: Darkstalkers 3 - The Characters... (Part1)

As anyone who has read my last few posts can tell, I'm a huge fan of Halloween, and a recent convert to the genre of 2D fighting games, played of course, on the Sega Saturn. So when I realised there was a game that combined two of my passions, I thought it would be rude not to give it a feature post here at the Saturn Junkyard!
One of the best 2D fighters I've played, 'Darkstalkers 3' (or 'Vampire Savior: The Lord Of Vampire' as it was known in Japan) arrived through my door, some time in the first decade of this millennium, courtesy of one of the previous collaborators here on the 'Yard. It was sent with love, as a beautiful gift, with a burned copy of Radiant Silvergun tucked away inside. I'm ashamed to say I can't remember who was kind enough to send it to me. What I do know however, is that it remained unplayed in my Saturn collection for many years, due to the fact that my import playing Action Replay, did not facilitate the 4MB of RAM necessary for the game to work properly!

Fast forward to 2017; a new Action Replay arrives from Play Asia and all of a sudden, the game that had remained out of my reach for so long, suddenly arrived within it! I was hugely impressed from the moment I fired up the game.... I've already explained in a previous post, why I'm so enamoured with 2D fighters at the moment, so rather than explain all that again, I'll cut straight to the chase. As well as the quirky game play, and fantastic special moves, it's the combatants within this particular game that imbue it with it's eccentric charm and Halloween relevance.

What makes Darkstalkers 3 so fantastic, is it's insane roster of characters, inspired by classic horror archetypes as featured in the popular Japanese anime. As well as those monsters and 'creatures of the night' one might expect to find in your average Hammer Horror film, the game boasts some surprises. They're such a fabulous collection of Halloween-style freaks, creeps and misfits, that I've decided to shine the spotlight on each and every one of them during this article. I want to share their images and backstories, with those of you waiting to add this game to your collection, in order to whet your appetite. So lets jump straight in with the the first one! I've used as my primary source, so props to them!

Anakaris: is a huge mummy, a twelfth dynasty pharaoh who bears more than a passing resemblance to Tutankhamen. A slow and lumbering character, (the slowest in the game, in terms of mobility), Anakaris does have some compensatory abilities. Those abilities include the fact that he can float and hover temporarily in the air, teleport (like Dahlsim in Streetfighter) and drop a huge casket on top of his foes, amongst other things!


Baby Bonnie Hood (Bulletta in Japan) is by far my favourite character in Vampire Savior! A happy, singing, pint-sized, 'Little Red Riding Hood" clone, Baby Bonnie at first seems out of place in this game... "How does a fairy tale character fit into a horror themed fighter?" you may ask... Well, think about it...

Little Red Riding Hood features grandmother-eating, talking wolves and axe-wielding woodsmen... pretty horrific, even though it's a story usually reserved for infants! When you see Baby Bonnie whip out a sub-machine gun from her 'basket of goodies', you understand why her Japanese name is Bulletta!

Bishamon: is a Japanese Samurai ghost, infesting a haunted suit of armour-- of course he is! Looking at him you'd have assumed that right away wouldn't you?  He is one of the very few characters in Darkstalkers 3, to wield a blade, with which he can slice opponents in half, like a watermelon in an inadequate dork's YouTube video. He can also project ghostly energies at his opponents and his dash move is most impressive.

Victor: is our 'Frankenstein's monster' clone, bearing the name of his creator, (geddit?) only instead of Victor von Frankenstein, in Darkstalkers, it's Victor von Gerdenheim. If the name wasn't a giveaway, the bolts in the neck might be a clue to the character's inspiration! Another slow and lumbering pugilist, Victor can contort parts of his body and generate electricity through his extremities.

Jedah - A formidable end of level boss, Jedah shares some characteristics of the grim reaper, bringer of death, but does not wear a cowl or carry a scythe. Instead, Jedah wears a bat-like costume, with sharp, retractable claw-like finger nails and metallic wings. Jedah is so evil that his blood, his very life force itself, is deadly to his foes. Consequently, he likes to splash it liberally in the direction of his enemies, where it transforms into jagged spikes and spinning blades...

John Talbain:  is a werewolf, who bares more than a passing resemblance to Bruce Lee in terms of fighting style and a tendency to taunt his opponents. One of the most popular characters in the franchise, John Talbain is an expert with Nunchucks as well as his claws. His ability to summon a pack of flaming wolves, or extend the reach of his talons, don't hurt his chances in a fight either!

Morrigan: is a succubus - (in traditional demonology, a succubus is a sexual demon, whose raison d'etre is to harvest the sexual energies of young men and women, thus compromising their chastity). It's a strange creature to include in a horror themed fighting game, but I doubt Capcom were channelling that particular aspect of folk-lore when they were thinking of 'creatures of the night' for their spooktacular title. Morrigan's strikes are accompanied by a series of spiked weapons which emanate from her body to reinforce the power of her blows. Her bat-wing head appendages allow her to fly around. She can also produce a cloud of bats from her wings. I'd be a liar if I said I didn't have a slight crush on Morrigan, which is particularly worrying when you consider I'm a fifty year old man who has been happily married for twenty five years...

Not content with the inclusion of one sexy succubus, Capcom decided to stir the character Lilith into the mix, in order to give Morrigan fans like myself a double dose of time needed on the psychiatrist's couch. Apparently Lilith is one third of Morrigan's energy, taken away from Morrigan by her father to stop her from getting too powerful. Either that, or a shallow attempt by Capcom to shoehorn a double dose of double Ds into the game to pander to it's adolescent or midlife crisis markets...

Demitri: is a sort of  'Dracula 2.0' character.
Full name Demitri Maximoff. Our resident vampire
Demitri, is incredibly strong.
Having the power of pyrokinesis, he can expel large blasts of flame from his fingers, sometimes in the shape of bats. As well as being able to transform into a bat (the transformative power of the traditional vampire,) he can also turn into a winged demon (Can you do that Mr. Dracula? Can you?) That's what makes him the 2.0 version!

As well as being able to suck the blood (and therefore the life) from his female victims, Demitri has the unique ability to transform the gender of his male opponents in order to subject them to the same fate!

Expect the rest of the characters from this wonderful game in the next few days!

1 comment:

Blondejon said...

Thanks for this old friend, I have played the first two in the series but not this beauty. Just goes to show the saturn is a continual learning process to be enjoyed.