About a yearish ago the Street Fighter Tribute art book came out as part of the celebrations of the games 21st anniversay. It was a cool book and a big success.
Since then the same guys have come out with a tribute book for the another game called Darkstalkers. As an art book Darkstalkers Tribute is as cool and groovy as Street Fighter Tribute, even better.
Darkstalkers? I had not heard of Darkstalkers. I know I'm not a console game guru, but I sure as hell know Street Fighter. Why not Darkstalkers?
However, there was a member of the Planet crew who was thrilled at such a tribute and she encouraged me to take the art of Darkstalkers as seriously as the Street Fighter.
I'm glad I did, but I was still no more enlightened to what Darkstalkers actually was. So I asked.
Alison, what is Darkstalkers?
Darkstalkers started in the 90s, after Street Fighter - both by Capcom- and is a fighting arcade game like Street Fighter with usually the same gameplay, but with demons and typical fictional monsters such as vampires, succubus, anthropomorphic characters and a sasquatch. Other noticable fictional characters that appear in Darkstalkers are Frankenstein and Red Riding Hood (all renamed).
Darkstalkers spawned an cartoon animation series in the US, 4 episodes of anime in Japan, comics and a few manga titles.
The most notable Darkstalker characters also appear in Capcom Fighting Evolution, all of the 'vs Capcom games, such as Marvel vs Capcom and SNK vs Capcom.
So Darkstalkers is essentially a fighting arcade game with the stereotypical fictional monsters, and then some.
Darkstalkers appears, well, darker and, I guess the word is, sexier than Street Fighter. Is it aimed at a different audience or meant to compliment the Street Fighter universe?
Completely aimed at a different audience with a different background story and mostly revolves around the typical fairy tale story but with just enough twist to give the characters a reason as to why they fight.
Streetfighter audience usually prefers Street Fighter and Darkstalker audience with Darkstalkers. You have people who want to play with characters who are sort of based in the real world, India, Japan, USA and then you have people who want to play with characters that have super powers beyond Hadouken.
Now I have to admit that I had not heard of Darkstalkers before seeing the art books. Street Fighter has a secure place in popular culture and I know it well even though I hardly played it. Where is Darkstalkers in the scheme of things?
Street Fighter has had a few more years to really set itself into the gaming world and it was quickly exported from Japan, whilst Darkstalkers didn't really ground itself as much as Street Fighter.
There's also a lot of confusion to be made around Darkstalkers. The game series isn't very logical at all, it feels more like the spin-off of a series rather than the series itself, with off-shoots here and there.
Darkstalkers is also referred to a different name in Japan all together. Unlike Street Fighter which is still Street Fighter (or Sutoriito Faitaa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), Darkstalkers original name is Vampire. I personally prefer Darkstalkers.
Though I admit, the makers of Darkstalkers have grounded themselves mainly with the look of the game
allowing better fan art and more imaginative creations. With its fantastical themes it opens doors in the classical sense. Really you can't draw Ryu in Transylvanian settings or Guile in a graveyard.
In the scheme of things, I personally have no idea where it stands. For me, I prefer Street Fighter in the gaming arena and with Darkstalkers I go comic and art.
And I just know that Darkstalkers has always and I bet will always be in the shadow of its bigger brother Street Fighter.