The game will most likely be titled DarkStalkers Chronicle: The Chaos Tower for its North American release, in order to reflect what the series has been called in English-speaking countries.
Otherwise, this is a Vampire Savior (aka DarkStalkers, aka Night Warriors) fan's dream come true. The game includes 18 playable fighters, taken from the three arcade releases (Vampire Savior, Vampire Hunters, and Vampire Savior 2, also known as DarkStalkers, DarkStalkers 2: Night Warriors, and DarkStalkers 3), and lets players pick and choose the rules from those versions of the game.
A wireless-enabled versus mode is present, and supports a matchmaking lobby of up to 15 individual players (although only two players can compete against each other at any one time). Versus play comes in two modes, called standard and limit break. The standard mode is your typical 1-on-1 fight, while limit break throws in random challenges such as stamina power-ups, skill handicaps, and so forth.
In addition to the arcade and versus modes, a new "Tower" mode has been added, which lets players choose a team of 3 characters to participate in a tournament. For every opponent that's defeated, the player's characters gain stat enhancements. Anyone that has played the world tour mode in Capcom's other fighter, Street Fighter Alpha 3, will be right at home here.
The graphics and audio have been swiped from the various Vampire/DarkStalkers arcade games, and from what we can tell, all of the arcade animation has been kept with no cutbacks. One particularly interesting visual option is the ability to choose between "widescreen" and "arcade" displays. Techies may be aware that the original arcade resolution for Capcom's fighting games is 384x224, while the PSP's screen resolution is 480x272. The widescreen option stretches the graphics to fit the larger PSP screen, while the arcade option leaves the graphics at actual size and gives players the option to fill the space with black bars or stage-specific filler graphics.
Fans of the series' music will be happy to hear that the game includes background tracks from ALL three arcade games, which can be set to random or to a specific game in the options menu.
Vampire Chronicle: The Chaos Tower will ship December 12, 2004 in Japan, and for the North American PSP launch, whenever it happens. Until then, check out our screenshots by clicking the link on the right.
12/3/2004 Frank Provo