Monday, September 13, 2010

Vampire Savior on Sega Saturn

When it comes to 2D fighting games on the Saturn, there's no question: Capcom is the King.  They supported Sega's consoles very strongly over the years, going back to all those stellar arcade titles on Genesis like Forgotten Worlds, Ghouls 'N Ghosts, Mercs and Strider.  With Saturn, they opened the floodgates to their excellent brawlers, and this was their golden age of fighting games.

The arrival of the 1-Megabyte and, later, 4-Megabyte RAM cartridge enabled spectacular home conversions of arcade titles that were far beyond anything seen before.  Indeed, the 4Meg Saturn games like X Men Vs Street Fighter, Street Fighter Zero 3, and Vampire Savior are literally "arcade perfect," even surpassing later arrivals on the Sega Dreamcast and Playstation 2.  Truly, Saturn was a beast for 2D video games.

Here is an excellent gameplay video of Vampire Savior in action.  This is the third title in the Darkstalkers series, which offers a monster-movie spin on the classic Street Fighter formula.  The original game first appeared on the Sony Playstation, courtesy of Psygnosis.  The Saturn conversion of Night Warriors: Darkstalker's Revenge absolutely smashed it to bits.  Whatever Sony's strength with 3D polygons, there was no doubt among gamers that Saturn was the king of 2D.

Vampire Savior is the magnificent capstone to this excellent series.  This game remains highly sought after by Saturn and fighting game fans, and eBay prices remain very expensive.  Ultimate bragging rights are yours if you can secure a retail copy.  With a good set of s-video cables, this game will look stunning on your brand new big screen TV.  If anything, the Capcom Saturn fighters look more impressive today, since traditional sprite graphics have faded.

Obviously, I would like to see this art style kept alive.  These games have not aged a day, and I'll bet that Capcom could continue to make arcade games for their CPS-2 and CPS-3 hardware.  I know I would gladly pay for games of this caliber on the Nintendo Wii.  Let the HD Twins have their overrated Street Fighter 4, with its clunky, freakish steroid mutants.  The old school will always be the best.  Watch Vampire Savior on the Saturn and tell me I'm wrong.

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