"Gonna be trouble
Baby I'm a trouble man
Want a fighter, come on
Don't you understand?
I'll give you double!
Baby, I'm the trouble man!"
Darkstalkers is a Fighting Game series produced by Capcom: its first entry was produced during the fighting game craze of the 1990s. In contrast to the martial arts-themed fighting games of the time, the game's characters are (mostly) based on classic literary or film monsters -- including Frankenstein's Monster, the Wolf Man and the Creature from the Black Lagoon -- and boast zany combos and attacks to help set the game apart from others.
This was Capcom's second fighting game franchise after Street Fighter, which means it shares many similarities with its sibling series (Gamepro infamously referred to it as "Street Fighter in a Halloween costume"): numerous characters have similar fighting styles to the Street Fighter cast, and the game features a six-button control scheme. Darkstalkers was one of the first fighting games to introduce the concept of Super Moves, bring air blocking into the mix, and expand basic combos into lengthy streams before any of the Capcom vs. Whatever games were created.
The Darkstalkers series is also notable for having quite a bit of Fan Service, specifically due to Morrigan and Felicia (whose designs are unashamedly provocative -- in particular, Felicia doesn't even wear clothes). Morrigan is likely best known for her appearances in the various Vs. fighting games -- including Marvel vs. Capcom and Capcom vs. SNK -- and even more notorious for having the same sprites recycled for over seven years (which caused her to clash in sprite style with just about everyone else). She received new sprites for Namco x Capcom (which used a slightly Super-Deformed battle sprite style akin to Pocket Fighter before it), and since Tatsunoko vs. Capcom (and Marvel vs. Capcom 3) use 3D graphics, Morrigan's original sprites appear to be dead for good.
A new Darkstalkers game -- as in, entirely new, instead of a re-release of past content -- hasn't been made since 1997. On July 21 2011, Yoshinori Ono said he is pushing Capcom hard to revive the series. In his own words: DARKSTALKERS ARE NOT DEAD! Darkstalkers 4 is also rumored to be in development since that time.
Games in the series:
- Vampire/Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors (1994, Arcade/PlayStation)
- Vampire Hunter/Night Warriors: Darkstalkers' Revenge (1995, Arcade/Sega Saturn)
- Vampire Savior: The Lord of Vampire (1997, Arcade / Sega Saturn) (This version brought back the missing characters from Night Warriors.)
- Vampire Savior 2/Vampire Hunter 2 (1997, Arcade) (A pair of minor upgrades to Vampire Savior released only in Japan with system and roster changes.)
- Vampire Savior: EX Edition/Darkstalkers 3 (1998, PlayStation) (A compilation of all three versions of Vampire Savior.)
- Vampire Chronicle for Matching Service (2000, Dreamcast) (This game uses the Vampire Savior engine, but allows the player to select the original versions of the characters.)
- Darkstalkers Chronicle: The Chaos Tower (2004-2005, PlayStation Portable) (Port of Chronicle with an extra game mode named Chaos Tower.)
- Darkstalkers Collection (2005, PlayStation 2) (Compilation of all five arcade games, with secret arranged versions of the three Savior games.)
Character-specific tropes belong on the Character page.
- Afterlife Express: Darkstalkers 3 featured a playable stage called Iron Horse, Iron Terror, which not only has numerous body parts, but is also driven by a skeletal engineer.
- All There in the Manual: Like with Capcom main Fighting Game series Street Fighter, Darkstalkers also has got a suprising amount of depth and background stories for a fighting game.
- Ambidextrous Sprite: Obvious, as it is a 2D fighter.
- Amusing Injuries: Played with: getting hit by a cutting attack generally tends to bisect the character mid-match in the appropriate spot, only for the halves to rejoin themselves in a comical manner right away, such as the character's upper torso doing a backflip and landing to its original spot without any consequences. However, if the character is defeated by such an attack, the effect sticks until the next round if there is one. Other examples include Ash Face, Harmless Freezing and X-Ray Sparks caused by attacks of their respective elements, and swelling caused by bee stings.
- Artificial Human: Emily is a biological version of this.
- Attractive Bent Gender: Any male character who gets hit with Demitri's "Midnight Bliss" special. Lord Raptor probably gets the best of it, going from a hideous freak to a real cutie pie. Female characters are just turned into "cuter" versions of themselves. Except Morrigan.
- Beam-O-War: While it's not actual beams, projectiles attacks invoke this trope when colliding. Interestingly, in the American cartoon adaptation, all they ever did in battle was shoot lazers from their hands.
- Bee People: Q-Bee's race.
- BGM: Each stage in the games has its own musical theme, representing the characters it is tied to. In Vampire Savior/Darkstalkers 3 the music is representative of the stages (although still corresponding to character's themes), as they are now randomly selected for characters to fight in.
- Black Blood: Everyone, but Jedah specializes in this. See the Character sheet.
- Blood Knight: Everyone to an extent, it is a Fighting Game, but especially Morrigan and Demitri.
- Capcom Sequel Stagnation: Shortly after the release of Vampire Savior, Capcom released two minor upgrades to Savior in Japan titled Vampire Hunter 2 and Vampire Savior 2. The only difference between the two are the roster: one bring backs the missing characters from Night Warriors by replacing a few of the returning characters from the original Darkstalkers, and the other brings back the entire Night Warriors cast by ditching all the new guys from the first Vampire Savior.
- Catfolk: Catwomen are a Catgirl style of Catfolk that are their own distinct race of semi-human monsters. One of their more prominent members, Felicia, is a playable character.
- Cats Are Mean: Inverted, as the Catwoman's race is one of the friendliest kind of monsters ever.
- Character Portrait: Seen for each character as a Victory Pose (below), while saying their Victory Quote.
- Clothing Damage: Whenever anyone is burned.
- Combos: Darkstalkers was the pioneer of the zigzag chaining, where players can chain normals from weakest to strongest, tracing a zigzag line with the button presses, making this series a grandfather to the Marvel series, Guilty Gear, Melty Blood and countless others.
- Cool Versus Awesome: The series' reputation for actually adhering to continuity aside, this trope is the backbone of the plot.
- Crossover: Characters from this series appeared in other games, aside the below entry, such as Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, (Morrigan, Felicia, Hsien-ko and Donovan) Pocket Fighter, (Morrigan, Felicia and Hsien-Ko) and Capcom Fighting Evolution. (Demitri, Anakaris, Felicia, Jedah and Pyron)
- Capcom vs. Whatever: Been a mainstay since Anita's appearance in Marvel Super Heroes as a Secret Character and Morrigan's appearance in Marvel vs. Capcom Clash of the Superheroes; all the way up to Morrigan in Tatsunoko vs. Capcom and she, Hsien-Ko and Felicia in Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Namco X Capcom in fact amounts as practically Word of God that yes, Demitri and Morrigan are heroes since they're on your side.
- Cute Monster Girl: Considering this games' roster is filled with all manner of hideous monsters, all of the female characters are simply gorgeous.
- Demoted to Extra:
- To date, the only characters of this game which made playable appearances on other Capcom-produced games are Morrigan, Felicia, Anakaris, B.B.Hood, Demitri, Donovan, Hsien-Ko, Anita, Jedah and Pyron, with the other characters appearing in cameos at best.
- The whole franchise itself has been Demoted to Extra, seeing as after 1997, it's been nothing but crossover appearances.
- In the UDON comic series, only Morrigan, Felicia, Demitri, Talbain, Victor, Bishamon, Donovan and Pyron put in major significant appearances. The rest are relegated to the background (Lord Raptor, Hsien-Ko and Rikuo, in particular, only have cameo appearances).
- In the OVA, Anakaris, Rikuo, Victor and Sasquatch make their only appearance in the entire series in the opening of the final chapter, where they all get curbstomped by Pyron.
- Ditto Fighter: The hidden "Marionette" and "Shadow" characters from Darkstalkers 3.
- Double Standard: Somewhat. Demitri's power of turning males into females does not go the other way around for the females. They just change into cuter or sexier woman. This makes sense in character, though.
- Dub Name Change:
- Anita to Amanda (Night Warriors only).
- Aulbath to Rikuo.
- Bulleta to Baby Bonnie Hood.
- Gallon to Jon Talbain.
- Lei-Lei to Hsien-Ko.
- Lin-Lin to Mei-Ling.
- Phobos to Huitzil.
- Zabel Zarock to Lord Raptor.
- Ending Theme: Everything Darkstalkers-related ends with the song "Trouble Man". Even the horrible American cartoon.
- Fan Service: There's probably a Darkstalkers character for everyone, no matter what your kink is. Even Pyron (Pyromaniacs) and Huitzil (Robophiles) appeal to some people.
- Fantasy Kitchen Sink: There are demons and two or three demon worlds, fine. But there are also mermaids that are seemingly unrelated to them. And big foots. And space aliens. And time traveling Egyptians. And Frankenstein Monsters. And living samurai armors. The term Darkstalker essentially refers to any being outside of current human science and understanding, Makai being the main source of them.
- Female Feline, Male Mutt: Felicia and Jon Talbain, naturally.
- Fetus Terrible: The Shintai, better known as the Fetus Of God, was created by Jedah in order to reset reality.
- Grimmification: Baby Bonnie Hood is one to Little Red Riding Hood.
- Head Swap: Morrigan and Lilith, with Lilith having smaller breasts as well. Also Dee is Donovan's head pasted over Demitri's body and combination of both of their move sets.
- Horny Devils:
- The Succubus race, whose only known members Morrigan and Lilit, provide the trope image. Notably, Morrigan is depicted as relatively benevolent and Lilith as innocent and misguided. It is pointed out that Morrigan doesn't need to take souls, but any contact with her body fluids will kill lesser men. She does need certain fluids produced with stimulation to survive; otherwise, she'll literally die from boredom. This could take the form of battle, or taking it from people who are dreaming.
- Idiosyncratic Combo Levels: In Vampire Savior.
- Kick Them While They Are Down: The Pursuits, ranging from normal jump in and kick to EX-pursuits like Anakaris' teleporting on the enemy, piercing them with the upside-down pyramid that his legs had shifted to and then summoning a giant sarcophagus to add an extra weight on him.
- Killer Rabbit:
- Pico and Alto, two of Felicia's four Catgirl companions that come out during her super, are both children, but still more than capable of wrecking you. Alto also comes out to help Felicia during her Kitty Helper special.
- Also, Sasquatch's exploding penguin friends.
- Leitmotif: In addition of usual character BGMs, everyone also gets a unique victory tune.
- Mecha-Mooks: The mass-produced Huitzil probes from the Night Warriors OVA.
- Monster Mash: All the classic universal monsters have representation of some kind.
- Morality Pet: Emily; Anita; Cecil (the kid with Huitzil).
- One Game for the Price of Two: Vampire Savior 2 and Vampire Hunter 2, both which were simultaneously-released Japan-only updated rereleases of Vampire Savior.
- Vampire Hunter 2 features the entire Vampire Hunter roster by omitting the new characters from Vampire Savior (Lilith, Jedah, Q-Bee and B. B. Hood).
- Vampire Savior 2 brings back Huitzil, Pyron and Donovan from Vampire Hunter, but does so by removing Jon Talbain, Rikuo and Sasquatch. The Saturn and PlayStation ports averts this by including all 18 characters, due to the fact that Capcom's CPS 2 arcade hardware which the series ran on simply didn't have enough ROM capacity to hold the graphics for all of the characters.
- Our Demons Are Different: One background character has four arms with two crossed to seal away most of his power that is capable of wiping almost every other demon out in the story.
- Our Monsters Are Different: For every original monster.
- Palette Swap: Happens when fighting against the same character, PC or NPC. The player can also voluntarily incur this trope when selecting the character with different buttons.
- Popularity Power: Donovan wasn't ultra-popular (unlike Anita), but he still managed to be something of a crowd favorite due to his playstyle and appearance. Although his plot progression in Night Warriors/Vampire Hunter justified his removal from Darkstalkers 3/Vampire Savior, later revisions added him back onto the roster.
- According to this article, Donovan (much like Jon Talbain) was considered for Marvel vs. Capcom 3, but then dropped from the project.
- Posthumous Character: Belial Aensland, Morrigan's father.
- Promoted to Unlockable: Pyron and Hutzil in Night Warriors, and Oboro Bishamon in the console versions of Darkstalkers 3.
- Recycled in Space: Many people think of this series as Street Fighter WITH MONSTERS!. It even shares the world-traveling theme.
- Regenerating Health: Vampire Savior has a variation on this, where the portion of damage can be healed as long you are not hit.
- Rubber Band AI: In Vampire Savior, it is not unnatural to completely annihalate most of the computer's life bar, only for it to suddenly start wiping the floor with you.
- Scenery Porn: Many of the stage backgrounds are elaborate and detailed, and visually add to the fighting experience.
- Supernatural Elite: The house of Aensland is the ruling family for all of Makai.
- Trope Codifier: Upgraded the limited chain combos of the Street Fighter series into the famous weak-to-strong hunter combos that is now used by every Guilty Gear-like and Doujin-style fighters.
- Trope Maker: A lot of now-common Fighting Game mechanics debuted in the Darkstalkers series. Multiple-level super meters, EX moves (called ES moves in this series, EX moves are supers), air blocking, air dashing and so on...
- The Twelve Principles of Animation: More squash and stretch than you can shake a stick at.
- Victory Pose: Seen for each character at the end of a fight round, as well as for their more detailed versions saying their Victory Quote. See Character Portrait above.
- Voice Grunting: During gameplay after a hit.
- X-Ray Sparks: Whenever anyone is shocked (except for Pyron, who doesn't seem to have a skeleton, instead having a constellation inside of him, and Jedah, whose skeleton is replaced by a mess of runes. Q-bee simply appears as a miniature version of herself with a crown when shocked).
- This is, Namco X Capcom, Cross Edge and the SNK-made crossovers don't count.
- Marvel Vs Capcom, Marvel vs. Capcom 2, Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, Pocket Fighter, Capcom vs. SNK, Capcom Vs SNK 2, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, Marvel Vs Capcom 3
- Marvel Vs Capcom 2, Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, Pocket Fighter, Capcom Fighting Evolution, Marvel Vs Capcom 3
- Marvel Vs Capcom 2, Capcom Fighting Evolution
- Marvel Vs Capcom 2
- SNK Vs Capcom Chaos, Capcom Fighting Evolution
- Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo
- Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, Pocket Fighter, Marvel Vs Capcom 3
- Secret Character in Marvel Super Heroes, Assist Character in Marvel Vs Capcom, Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo
- Capcom Fighting Evolution
- Unlockable Character and Final Boss in Capcom Fighting Evolution.