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by Lee Freedman (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Capcom once again brings home a PERFECT translation of one of its amazing 2D arcade fighting games, with this release being Vampire Savior, also known as Darkstalkers III: Jedah's Damnation.
The third game in the Vampire/Darkstalkers series, Vampire Savior is also arguably one of the best fighting games to ever come out. Unlike Capcom's last release, X-Men Vs. Street Fighter, Vampire Savior is a slightly more skill-based fighting game, and as such, has more game play present while fighting. Every character in the game has a good number of regular special moves, super moves, and new to the series, EX attacks. EX attacks, done by pressing one punch and one kick button together, use one bar off the super meter, and temporarily power up the character, like the Infinity Gems found in Marvel Super Heroes(for example, some characters might become stronger, faster, gain "armor", etc.)
Vampire Savior has also seen an update to the basic fighting engine, which has now been improved with better/more combos and better air-blocking. You are now able to guard-cancel(done by performing a dragon-punch motion and hitting punch or kick), as well as push the opponent away while blocking(hit punch or kick rapidly when blocking an attack[see the "block star" under the life bar].)
Another improvement to the game are the Life Bars: when hit, some of the damage will only be temporary, and will slowly refill until hit again. Rounds have also been removed, replaced by two "bat" icons under the life bars. When one life bar is drained, a bat icon will dissapear, refilling the life bar. This makes the matches seem to last longer, and the pause in between rounds is now gone.
As far as characters go, Vampire Savior has been improved from the arcade. In the original VS, every character was present, save Donovan, Phobos(Huitzil), and Pyron. These characters were brought back in an update to the game, called "Vampire Savior II", but three other characters were taken out. For the Saturn version, Capcom combined the characters from both games together, so those who have played Vampire Hunter/Nightwarriors will have ALL of their favorite characters selectable, plus the new characters found in Vapire Savior.
As for the new characters, VS features some of the best designs seen in a fighting game in quite some time. First comes Jedah, the game's boss, who is a demon lord equipeed with a number of throws and long-range attacks, soem of which feature him pulling the other fighter "down under", and then initiating major beat-down. (^_^;) Next comes Bulleta(B.B. Hood), who looks disturbingly like a cute Little Red Riding Hood clone, even singing as she walks, until she attacks, that is. All of Bulleta's attacks involve large firearms, including bombs, uzis, missles, and other weapons of mass destruction. In my opinion, Bulleta is by far of the mose original character designs ever seen in a fighting game. Q-Bee, a cross between a human, and (get ready for it) a bee, uses many bee-like attacks in her fighting style. Lastly comes Lillith, the sister of returning fighter Morrigan. A succubus like her sister, Lillith fights similar to Morrigan, but with variations on her attacks. Like Bulleta, she is also one the more disturbingly cute character designs.
While there are a total number of 18 fighters present, there are only about 12 or so backgrounds, but all of these look very cool and most of them are well-animated. Some of the backdrops include fighting on the SIDE of a skyscraper, and fighting on the engine of an odd-looking "demon train".
The arcade version of VS also contained several secrets, including powered-up versions of some of the characters, and the secret boss, Hannya(a powered-up Bishamon), and while these are untested on the home version, they are most likely still present in some form or another.
Vampire Savior features some of Capcom's best 2D graphics to date, and the Saturn version appears to retain all of the arcade version's colors, and 99.99% of the animation, if not all of them. Like Capcom's previous Saturn release, X-Men Vs. Street Fighter, this game really shows off the power of the 4MB RAM cart and the Saturn's 2D capabilities.
Vampire Savior's sound isn't quite arcade-perfect, but it's extremely close. All the speech is clear, and the music, which is light-years ahead of most of Capcom's previous fighters, sounds awesome.
The control in VS is dead-on from the arcade. Everything is quick and responsive, making for some of the best gameplay ever in a home fighter.
What can I say? I've always loved the Vampire/Darkstalkers series. I bought a Saturn to play Nightwarriors when it first came out, and have played it right up to the release of Vampire Savior. This is one of the best 2D fighters EVER in my opinion, and is one Saturn fighting game that is not to be missed! Capcom once again delivers utter arcade-perfection. Prepare to face the dark forces that await you in Vampire Savior!
|Graphics: 10 |
|Sound/Music: 10 |
|Gameplay/Control: 10 |
|Lasting Power: 10 |
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