Darkstalkers, known as Vampire (ヴァンパイア Vampaia) in Japan, is a series of 2D Gothic horror-themed fighting games produced by Capcom during the mid-1990's using Capcom's CPS II arcade hardware. There have been three main entries in the series with two "updated" titles and several compilations. The characters have made many cross over appearances and the series itself into other forms of media.
The cast of Darkstalkers is based off well known fictional characters and monsters ranging from vampires to werewolves, which are referenced as Darkstalkers (ダークストーカーズ) in the series. The series introduced many concepts used in later fighting games by Capcom, including Street Fighter's jump from the CPS I to CPS II, Street Fighter Alpha (known as Street Fighter Zero in Japan).
The Darkstalkers series shares many similarities with Capcom's main fighting series, Street Fighter. Character use varying strengths of punch and kicks and can perform various moves by different inputs. Attacks can be blocked and characters can crouch or jump. Notably, Darkstalkers adds new features such as air blocking, chain combos and ES attacks. Some characters even have the ability to crawl or walk while crouching and others can hover in air.
In Vampire Savior (known in the west as Darkstalkers 3), the turn based round system was dropped and a stock gauge system, where the winning players life bar is not reset after winning a match. Two mimic style characters who act more like game play modes were introduced named Shadow and Marionette.
|Character||Darkstalkers||Night Warriors||Darkstalkers 3 (Vampire Savior)|
|Donovan Baine||No||Yes||Console ports|
|Huitzil (Phobos)||Not playable||Yes||Console ports|
|Lord Raptor (Zabel Zarock)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Pyron||Not playable||Yes||Console ports|
|Victor von Gerdenheim||Yes||Yes||Yes|
- Donovan, Huitzil and Pyron do not appear in Darkstalkers Resurrection 's Darkstalkers 3.
Savior, Hunter 2, Savior 2
|Characters||Vampire Savior||Vampire Hunter 2||Vampire Savior 2|
|Jon Talbain (Gallon)||Yes||Yes||No|
- Donovan, Huitzil and Pyron do not appear in Darkstalkers Resurrection 's Darkstalkers 3.
- Belial: Morrigan Aensland's father. One of the nobles of Makai.
- Harry Grimoire: A young wizard and lead character of the Darkstalkers cartoon.
- Dee: Donovan Baine after he succumbs to his dark half.
- Majorette: A witch introduced in Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors, issue 2.
- Thomas: A Cat-man, introduced in Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors, issue 2.
- John Stately: a young man who meets Lilith in the Vampire Savior manga.
|Japanese Title||English Title|
|Vampire: The Night Warriors||Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors|
|Vampire Hunter: Darkstalkers' Revenge||Night Warriors: Darkstalkers' Revenge|
|Vampire Savior: The Lord of Vampire||Darkstalkers 3 (console title)|
|Vampire Hunter 2|
|Vampire Savior 2|
|Vampire Chronicle for Matching Service|
|Vampire Chronicle: The Chaos Tower||Darkstalkers Chronicle: The Chaos Tower|
|Vampire: Darkstalkers Collection|
|Vampire Resurrection||Darkstalkers Resurrection|
Character name changes
|Japanese name||English name|
|Anita||Amanda (Only in Night Warriors and the Darkstalkers tv series)|
|Bulleta||B.B.Hood or Baby Bonnie Hood|
|Zabel Zarock||Lord Raptor|
Other minor characters such as Rikuo's son, originally called Alba in the Japanese version would be called Rikky outside of Asia.
- In 2000 Capcom released Vampire Savior 2/Vampire Hunter 2 for the Sega Dreamcast as a mail-order game via Dreamcast Direct. This version, titled Vampire Chronicle for Matching Service, allows players to select between four fighting styles based on each Darkstalkers game (the original Darkstalkers, Night Warriors, Vampire Savior and Savior 2/Hunter 2). This version also features an online versus mode. In 2004, the game was ported to the PlayStation Portable. This version was released in North America and Europe in 2005 under the title of Darkstalkers Chronicle: The Chaos Tower. The PSP version includes all the features from the Dreamcast original, as well as an exclusive single-player "Chaos Tower" mode.
- Vampire: Darkstalkers Collection is a compilation of all five Darkstalkers arcade games that was released in Japan only for the PlayStation 2 in 2005. This compilation features the original arcade versions of the games, as well as hidden arranged versions of the three Vampire Savior games, which introduce an alternative version of Donovan, Dee, as a secret character with his own storyline.
- On October 11th, 2012 Yoshinori Ono announced Darkstalkers Resurrection during the Street Fighter 25th Anniversary panel at the New York Comic Con. The game, being developed by Iron Galaxy features Night Warriors: Darkstalkers' Revenge and Vampire Savior with enabled online play as well as various other features. Darkstalkers Resurrection was released on March 13th on PSN and March 14th on Xbox Live Arcade. The Japanese version was released on March 14th alongside Vampire Resurrection Official Anthology Comic and Vampire Artworks.
- The entire Darkstalkers arcade collection is featured in the upcoming Capcom Fighting Collection, due for release in June 24, 2022, including its obscured sister series Red Earth, making its first ever console release.
The characters have made numerous appearances in other games, notably Capcom's Vs. series of fighting games. Morrigan Aensland, for example, appears in all three Marvel Vs. Capcom titles, Capcom Vs. SNK, and Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars. She also appears in Pocket Fighter and Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo. Other characters have appeared in these titles, as well.
In other media
- A Darkstalkers animated series was produced for United States audiences. It starred a young boy named Harry Grimoire, who was created for the cartoon. Since the series was not drawn in the same anime style used to draw the game sprites, the Darkstalkers characters look noticeably different.
- A four-episode OVA series was released under the title Vampire Hunter: The Animated Series. Viz produced an English adaptation that was released in North America under the title Night Warriors: Darkstalkers' Revenge.
- A Chinese comics series titled Darkstalkers was released in the late 1990s.
- UDON Comics published a Darkstalkers comic series, consisting of six issues (upon which they stopped production abruptly). They were later collected in a TPB collection, which omitted the backup stories presented at the end of each issue, and included a special Morrigan background story previously only seen in a summer Capcom special.
- In 2010, UDON revived the series in a 3-issue miniseries entitled Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors, with the first installment released in late February 2010.
- Street Fighter VS. Darkstalkers, a crossover series with Street Fighter, started being released in 2017 by Udon.
- The first and second games of the series were adapted in a single Japanese comic series, titled Vampire Hunter, that ran from 1994 to 1996 and authored by Takeshi Fujita, part of the many Gamest publications dedicated to the series.
- Vampire: Shumatsu no Shisha Victor is a manga adaptation with Victor as the protagonist which was authored by Hiroaki Wakamiya and published between 1994 and 1995.
- A manga adaptation was authored by Run Ishida and published in Japan by ASCII in 1996. This manga was later adapted by Viz Comics under the title of Night Warriors: The Comic Series and published as a six-issue comic book (which were later collected in a single trade paperback volume).
- Japanese comics artist Nemu Mukudori created Welcome Nemu Channel: Vampire, a light-hearted manga based on the Darkstalkers series published in 1997.
- Vampire Savior: Tamashii no Mayoigo, a five-volume manga series based on Vampire Savior was created by mangaka Mayumi Azuma and published by Enix under the Gangan Comics brand. The story is starred Lilith and an original character, John Stately.
- Shinseisha published short stories based on the original game in Comic Gamest, later compiled in two volumes released in 1994 and 1995 under the title Vampire: Comic Anthology.
- As part of the Vampire: Amusement Anthology Series, Hobby Japan released a volume dedicate of the first game in 1995.
- Vampire Hunter: Yamiyo no Haikaisha is an anthology based on Night Warriors: Darkstalkers' Revenge published by Kobunsha in 1995.
- In 1995, ASCII released Vampire Comic, an anthology with stories based on the first two games of the series.
- Two volumes of short stories, based on the second game and first published in Comic Gamest, were released by Shinseisha in 1995 as Vampire Hunter: Comic Anthology
- The two volumes of Vampire Hunter: Amusement Anthology Series were released in 1995 by Hobby Japan as part of the Amusement Anthology Series, #16 and #17.
- Yami Tenshi Comics is a manga anthology dedicated to Morrigan, Felicia and Hsien-Ko and published by Kobunsha in 1995.
- Sony Magazines released in 1996 a manga anthology with stories based on the second game.
- In 1996, SoftBank released Vampire Hunter: Darkstalkers' Revenge - Anthology Comic.
- Shinseisha released the two-volume Vampire Savior: Comic Anthology in 1997, a collection of short stories based on Vampire Savior: The Lord of Vampire first printed in Comic Gamest.
- Vampire Savior: Unmei no Kaiko, an anthology with stories based on the third game, was published in 1997 by Kobunsha.
- Maleficarum is a collection of stories, penned by Mami Itou, first published in Comic Gamest and based on the Darkstalkers series and Red Earth. It was first released in 1997 and Udon released and English version in 2010.
- Enix published Vampire Savior: Hyper G Comic Anthology in 1998 with stories based on the third game of the series.
- Vampire Savior: Anthology Comic, a single-volume anthology published by Movic in 2000.
- The most recent manga to date, Vampire Resurrection Official Anthology Comic, was published by Capcom in 2013 containing nine stories.
- Vampire: 4-koma Gag Battle, 1995, Kobunsha.
- Vampire: 4-koma Ketteiban, 1995, Shinseisha.
- Vampire Hunter: 4-koma Gag Battle, 1995, Kobunsha.
- Vampire Hunter: 4-koma Ketteiban, 1995, Shinseisha.
- Vampire Hunter: 4-koma Manga Okoku, 1996, Futabasha.
- Vampire Savior: 4-koma Ketteiban, 1997, Shinseisha.
- Vampire Savior: 4-koma Gag Battle, 1997, Kobunsha.
- Ikuzo! Vampire Savior: 4-koma Comic, 1997, Movic.
- Vampire Savior: 4-koma Manga Gekijo, 1997, Enix.
- Vampire: Midnight Flyer, written by Rei Isaki, 1995, Aspect.
- Vampire Hunter Gaiden: Morrigan Hen - Akai Tsuki no Majo, written by Akihiko Ureshino, illustrations by Rika Kono, 1995, Shinseisha.
- Vampire Hunter Gaiden: Lei-Lei Hen - Owaranai Haru, written by Akihiko Ureshino, illustrations by Kohime Ose, 1996, Shinseisha.
- Vampire Savior, written by Akihiko Ureshino, illustrations by Mira Aizawa, 1997, Aspect.
- Vampire Hunter: The Animated Series, written by Makoto Takeuchi, illustrations by Shuko Murase, 1997-1998, Media Works.
- Vampire Hunter: Midnight Elegy, written by Rei Isaki, 1997, Aspect.
Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors guides
- Vampire, 1994, Shinseisha.
- Vampire no Subete, 1994, Keibunsha.
- All About Vampire, 1994, Dempa Shimbun.
- Darkstalkers Official Strategy Guide, 1996, GameFan Books, for the Sony PlayStation version.
- The Very Best of Vampire, 1996, Aspect, for the Sony PlayStation version.
Night Warriors: Darkstalkers' Revenge guides
- Vampire Hunter, 1995, Shinseisha.
- All About Vampire Hunter, 1995, Dempa Shimbun.
- The Vampire Hunter Sega Saturn Manual, 1996, Aspect, for the Sega Saturn version.
- Vampire Hunter Perfect Guide, 1996, Shinseisha, for the Sega Saturn version.
- Night Warriors Strategy Guide, 1996, GameFan Books, for the Sega Saturn version.
Vampire Savior: The Lord of Vampire guides
- Vampire Savior Graphical Manual, 1997, Shinseisha.
- All About Vampire Savior, 1997, Dempa Shimbun.
- Vampire Savior Technical Manual, 1997, Shinseisha.
- Darkstalkers: Jedah's Damnation Strategy Guide, 1997, GameFan Books.
- Vampire Savior Official Guide Book, 1998, Aspect, for the Sega Saturn version.
- Vampire Savior Perfect Guide, 1998, SoftBank, for the Sega Saturn version.
- Darkstalkers 3 Official Fighting Guide, 1998, BradyGames, for the Sony PlayStation version.
- In 2007, Capcom published Vampire Graphic File, a collection of screenshots, storyboards and concept art from the series. Udon also released in 2008 an English version under the name Darkstalkers Graphic File.
- In 2009, Udon released a 15th anniversary Darkstalkers Tribute. It consists of submitted artwork from fans of the series, along with artwork from some of Udon and Capcom's own artists and several famous professional artists such as Yasuhiro Nightow and Adam Hughes. The book was first available in August 2009 at several large anime conventions, and became available in bookstores the following September.
- The most complete collection of Darkstalkers official artwork was compiled in Vampire Artworks. Published originally in 2013 by Capcom, the books contains all official art related to the Darkstalkers games created to the date of publication, including the then-newly released Darkstalkers Resurrection, Capcom's crossover titles, such as Pocket Fighter, and intercompany crosssovers like Compile Heart's Cross Edge. It also includes material from the OVA series as well as interviews with the original staff.
- Vampire no Nazo, released in 1995 by Shinseisha, is a book dedicated to answer questions about the background of the characters and the settings within the story of the first game.
- Vampire Hunter no Nazo, released in 1995 by Shinseisha, like the previous no Nazo book, it explains the background and mythology behind the characters and story of the second game.
- Demon's Damnation, released in 1997 by Capcom as part of the Secret File series, is a booklet that contains miscellaneous information, parodies and art of the third game.
- Vampire Savior Fan Book, released in 1997 by Shinseisha, is a mook full of reader-submitted material like artwork and cosplay related to the game. It includes official art, sketches and similar material.
- Vampire: Night Warrior Taizen, released in 1997 by Koei, is an encyclopedia-like book that covers all of Darkstalkers games published at the time of its publication.
- The Japanese title Vampire shares its name with a manga of the same name that is a registered trademark from Tezuka Production, but Capcom is licensed to use the title.
- Eikichi Yazawa's "The Trouble Man," appears on a Japanese commercial for Vampire: The Night Warriors as well as the intro for Japanese Playstation version of the game. Later the song would be used as the ending themes for the American Darkstalkers TV series and the anime, Night Warriors: Darkstalkers' Revenge.
- In the popular shōnen/seinen harem series Love Hina, a few of the main female characters appear in the costumes of Baby Bonnie Hood, Hsien-Ko, and Felicia (though much less revealing) for Halloween in Chapter 86 of the manga.
- In 2010, UGO ranked Darkstalkers as the #19 on the list of the games that need sequels.
- Acorrding to Seth Killian (Capcom's former community manager) and Yoshinori Ono (one of Capcom's key producers), Ruby Heart, an original Capcom fighting character, was originally a rejected concept character of the Darkstalkers series.
- CAPCOM only considers the mainline games and information directly attached to them (guidebooks, manuals and graphic files) to be canon. Everything else such as adaptations, crossovers and spin-offs are either considered their own type of continuity or contains non-existing events entirely. The canon of the first game has been retconned only making Vampire Hunter and Vampire Savior canon.
- The rumored titles for an allegedly cancelled fourth Darkstalkers game are "Vampire Ace" and "Vampire Soldier" but it is unknown how true or not this is as information about this topic is very minimal.