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A.P.I Review: Darkstalkers 3
Developer: Capcom OPTIONS: S.SHOT
No.1   No.2   No.3
Distributor: Capcom 1-2 Player
Game Type: Beat-em-up Memory Card
Review Date: January 1999 Dual Shock/Analog Compatible

Setting the Scene

Jedah, one of the three largest noblemen in the Dark World was resurrected.  
"I shall be the one to unite every dispirited soul" he boasted.  For perfect 
salvation of all souls he summoned the owners of 'valuable souls' to his Dark 
Dimension to unite them all to himself.


Darkstalkers 3 is yet another in the long line of Capcom 2D beat-em-ups.  A
continuation of Darkstalkers Night Warriors and similar to the Street
Fighter series. Lets just see what they've got in store for us now...


There isn't a whole lot to say about the graphics.  Everything works very
well with the game and looks great.  The background scenes are what you would
expect to see for a good 2D fighting game.  Some of them are more involved
than others but you can simplify those screens by turning on the short cut
option.  This allows for faster load times and more ass kickin' game action.

There are 18 total warriors to choose from, each with their own weird and
unique characteristics.  All of them look great and they move well too.  I
didn't notice any problems between the character movements and the
backgrounds either.  
No complaints here.

Sounds and Effects

Not the most fantastic sounds and effects I've ever heard but then it is 
a fighting game.  Punching and kicking noises are what you would expect 
while the special DarkForce (DF) moves have neat sound effects too.  

The background music is decent and adds a nice Dark Dimension feel to the 
scenes.  Basically, the sounds and effects befit the game and suit their 


Darkstalkers 3 starts out with numerous modes of play to choose from.  First
there's Arcade mode.  This is a one-player mode that is pretty obvious.  You
fight the CPU opponents at different levels and scenes and when you beat
eight warriors you win.  This is basic beat-em-up philosophy and is fun to

Next there is the Versus mode.  This is obviously a two-player mode.  As you
would think, you and a friend each choose from the available characters and
fight each other.  The good part about this mode is that you can set
handicaps before each match to make things a bit fairer.  But this is
WAR, so who cares about being fair!

There is also an available training mode that allows you to beat up on a
defenseless opponent while honing your skills in preparation for the real
battles.  I personally enjoy this mode because I usually get my ass beat in
the real fights.  Training mode is great for taking out frustrations too.

Original mode allows you to customize the name and color of your character.
You can increase your character's status and abilities by beating others and
depending on how well you fought the previous fight you can gain attacking
power, impact gauges and increase your Special Stock gauges.  The Special
Stock gauge allows you to use a characters special move to inflict major,
irreversible damage to your opponent.  When used properly they are a
tremendous tool of combat.  There are two Dark Force types that are used
with these special moves, DF Change and DF Power.  With DF Change you use
characters from the original arcade version as well as some original
Playstation characters, and with DF Power you can use characters from
Vampire Savior, Vampire Savior 2, and Vampire Hunter 2.

Before starting play you must also choose a game setting.  There is normal,
which means no special settings, Turbo which is accelerated game speed,
Auto, which means automatic blocking (for you losers out there), and Auto &
Turbo which combines the two settings.  Beware of automatic blocking.  You
will lose small amounts of energy from a normal attack when in this mode.
You are better off having some guts and toughing it out on your own.  No
pain, no gain.

Actual battles and moves are pretty good.  There are a ton of moves that you
can execute but the basic moves aren't too difficult allowing you to jump
right in and start playing.  The characters move around well and execute the
moves the way they should.  Even a first time fighter can win some early
matches before sharpening the complicated moves in training mode.  I enjoyed
playing Darkstalkers 3.  

Value for Money

Darkstalkers 3 is not a bad little 2D beat-em-up.  Decent graphics and lots
of combo moves and characters will provide you with long hours of continuous
playtime.  The only problem is that it doesn't really stand out from the
crowd.  It will provide you with a lot of fun and entertainment but you
might like one of the many other 2D beat-em-ups better.  I recommend renting
several of them, including Darkstalkers 3, and comparing for yourself.
GRAPHICS: 14/20 I enjoyed playing Darkstalkers 3 and found it very entertaining. There are lots of combo moves to learn and lots of characters to choose from without a whole lot of difficulty. It is a fun game and if you like this genre I'm sure you'll like Darkstalkers 3. But, like I mentioned earlier, it's not the best 2D fighting game I've ever played.
SOUND: 7/10
VALUE: 16/20


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