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Vampire: Darkstalkers Collection
  PS2FightingJPN  
  opened by paleface at 21:44:04 06/02/05  
  last modified by paleface at 02:11:59 06/20/05  
  paleface [sys=PS2; cat=Fighting; loc=JPN]
           
Finally Capcom is doing things right: instead of mashing a bunch of old games together in a sort of potpourri version (see entry 707, "Vampire Chronicle," and entry 680, "Street Fighter Anniversary Colllection"), in Darkstalkers Collection they give you separate version of each of the five games in the Vampire/Darkstalkers series: Vampire, Vampire Hunter, Vampire Savior, Vampire Hunter 2, Vampire Savior 2.
 
Although I complained about the blurriness of the video in Street Fighter Anniversary Collection, I've come to like it here. It's nice that you have the option to disable it, but basically, by dynamically scaling the original games' weird CPS resolutions down to normal screen resolution on a high-res screen, filtering the result to allow half-tones to form from blended pixels, they give a better, smoother representation of the original art and animation than you just scale it down into chunky pixels with no antialiasing, as happened in Vampire Chronicle.
 
I think they did a good thing with the unlockables here: each time you beat a different game with a different character, you unlock a gallery image. Apparently clearing certain games completely, or in certain ways, unlocks a few alternate play modes, but I haven't seen those yet. It strikes me that I'd like to see a fighting game go further and keep track of say your high score, clear time, and continues used per character, so you could keep challenging yourself to beat your previous numbers. You can still do that here, but you have to keep track of some of those numbers in your head (high scores are saved though).
 
You have to set up your button config separately for each game, which seems kind of weird since they all use the same six-button layout. You can also alter each game's speed, enable an auto-block option, change difficulty (default levels are tough!) and so forth. Aside from a few seconds pause after selecting the game from the selection menu, there are no load times from the DVD.
 
Oh, that reminds me: there is an option to install the game to the PS2 BB unit's hard drive (takes up 1024 MB, the back of the case says). Seeing as how the load times are so short, I'm not sure why you'd want to do that, but hey. There were rumors before the game shipped that it would be online-enabled, but I think they'd just got confused with the BB unit being mentioned, 'cause I don't see anything about an online mode in the game or in the manual.
 
As for the games themselves, well, I really like 'em. It's great to have access to all the different games, each with their own intro sequences, backgrounds, music mixes, combat systems, and, well, "flavor." I don't want to try to go into an analysis of all the games, so suffice it to say that the Vampire series sports some of the weirdest characters, most colorful themes, and most polished, though outlandish, gameplay that you'll ever find in a 2D fighting game. They are difficult, but very, very good, and this is a great collection by Capcom.
 
  paleface 04:21:38 06/13/05 [relations updated]
           
Similar to the "Super Street Fighter II X for Matching Service" port on DC (see entry 679), Vampire Darkstalkers Collection has a secret Options mode: hold L1 and R1 when selecting "Game Options" in the Options menu and you'll arrive at the secret screen of what are essentially dip switches that you toggle on/off. There isn't much of an explanation there of what they do, but as far as I can tell from crude translations of Japanese sites and GameFAQs board posts, they let you go back in time in the game's arcade evolution, turning off various features or bug fixes that were added in later ROM sets. Mostly pretty minor stuff that only really hardcore people would notice, nothing major like being able to enable English like you can in SSFIIX, unfortunately.
 
The AI in Vampire is pretty funny--heavily pattern-based, so some of the characters will simply run right into the same attack over and over. Until you figure out which attack works best, though, you may have a helluva time. Almost a puzzle game in that sense. ;) Oh, and it's rubber-band, too: get 'em down to near dead in the last round and suddenly the AI goes nuts, blocking everything and attacking all-out with everything they've got. Grr. The puzzley aspect can be kind of interesting, but I don't know that it entirely makes up for the frustration. For the sake of comparison, the AI in SNK's fighting games tends to feel more human and less robotically pattern-based.
 
  paleface 02:11:59 06/20/05
           
It's actually only the first one that's really, really difficult on the default setting. At least with Victor.
    
downloads:
· filter_off.gif
· filter_on.gif
· menu.gif
· squatch_snowmen.gif
· vampire.mpg
 
references:
· Darkstalkers 3 (PS1)
· Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors (PS1)
· Street Fighter Anniversary Collection (PS2)
· Super Street Fighter II X for Matching Service (DC)
· Vampire Chronicle for Matching Service (DC)

 
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