PSX Mania – 022 – Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors (1996)

Completion time: 1:12:15

The Darkstalkers franchise is one of the most criminally underappreciated fighting game franchises out there. With billions of versions of Street Fighter floating around, it’s a shame that this franchise hasn’t seen a brand new installment since Darkstalkers 3 – nearly 25 years. Even after all of these years, Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors plays so phenomenally well, on a console where PS1 fighting game ports are usually a mess.

Everything about Darkstalkers was stylish – its crisp visual quality, the creative character designs, the thoughtful backgrounds, the audio package as a whole, and so on. It’s also a fighting game that’s not as simple to plow through as say, Street Fighter Alpha, so you’re going to work hard to earn those victories, especially with Pyron. In fact, the CPU difficulty curve was just right from start to finish, never really giving a true “oh crap” situation. Pyron is one of the harder Capcom fighting game bosses, however everything he does is fair; there’s little to no input reading done, so you won’t get into schmuck spots like Midway games.

The only thing that really was a negative to me was the battle with Huitzil, as his background, for some bizarre reason, still retained a massive amount of animation to it, making the fight very rough to playthrough. It can be adjusted to, but it’s a sticking point. However, it’s not enough of a sticking point to prevent me from gushing over Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors. It’s a phenomenal fighter, and a must play for fighting game lovers. This makes me wish now more than ever before, that Capcom would just give us a Darkstalkers 4. No unnecessary gimmicks to kill the fun (like gems in Street Fighter X Tekken) – just bring the franchise to the present day, maybe give it a cel-shaded visual style while retaining the slick and memorable character models.

tl;dr – Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors is still absolutely epic, and should be in your PS1 collection.

Rating: 10

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