Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors (known in Japan as Vampire: The Night Warriors) is a 2D Gothic horror-themed fighting game developed and released by Capcom for arcades (using the CPS-2 hardware) on July 1994. The first game in the Darkstalkers series, Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors builds upon the fighting mechanics of the Street Fighter II series, adding new gameplay mechanics (such as the ability to walk while crouching, a super meter, and powerful super combos) while inventing new mechanics for the genre (such as enhanced versions of special moves, the ability to block while in the air, and pre-determined combos of normal moves).
Each of the ten playable characters resembles fantasy horror archetypes (from succubus Morrigan Aensland to warewolf Jon Talbain). The story is that the series' main protagonist, the vampire Demitri Maximoff, is holding a tournament on Earth to see which of the creatures of the night is worthy to rule the Demon World.
Its gameplay, as well as its unique 16-bit art style (where character sprites are less defined and more animated), serves as the inspiration for other Capcom fighting games (including the Street Fighter Alpha and Marvel vs. Capcom series).
Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors later received a port to the PlayStation on March 28, 1996.
There are many refinements from Street Fighter II 's gameplay. These include air blocking, crouch walking, and chain combos.
The game featured a special meter that could be filled to perform a powerful attack. If the player manages to fill the special meter all the way, the player gains access to more powerful special moves that would reset the special meter. Once filled however, the meter will begin decreasing down to zero only giving the player a limited amount of time to actually use any special moves that required the meter.
Air blocking was a new feature for fighting games at the time, it allowed characters to jump without fear of being countered. This allowed the attacking player to put more pressure on less aggressive opposition.
Crouch walking was a new feature for Capcom fighting games. It allowed a crouching character to slowly move forward by having the player press down forward on the joystick. This in combination with air blocking made Darkstalkers a much more aggressive fighting game than street fighter II. Other than the Darkstalkers series, no other Capcom fighting games have made use of this mechanic.
Chain combos where introduced in Darkstalkers. Also known as dial-a-combo, chain combos are a string of predetermined normal attacks that will link together.
Original Hardware and Ports
Darkstalkers Originally ran on Capcoms CPS II hardware, the same hardware that ran Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo and later Street fighter Alpha. The arcade panel layout was the same as Street Fighter 2, with three punches on the top, and three kicks on the bottom.
Like most Capcom fighting games, Darkstalkers was ported to a slew of platforms over the years including Playstation and, Saturn, as standalone titles. Playstation 2 ,and PSP ports where released, however they where released as part of a larger Dalkstalkers collections called Darkstalkers Chronicles: The Chaos Tower on PSP ,and Vampire: Darkstalkers Collection on PS2. The PS2 verson was a barebones port of all the games in the series, and was only released in Japan. Because even the earliest the port was released years after the arcade version, and the ports where on such powerful hardware, the game-play remains largely unchanged.
Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors features ten playable characters. Two boss characters were also present in the game that were fought in the final two matches of the game. All of the characters in Darkstalkers are based off of many fantasy archetypes, from Frankenstein's monster to a Sasquatch. Like many other fighting games of the time, the cast of characters all came from different parts of the world.