Darkstalkers Chronicle: The Chaos Tower
Everyone of course knows the Street Fighter games that come from Capcom’s stable. A lot less known however is the Darkstalkers series from the same makers. Not so extraordinary seeing that these games were released for arcade halls and the Dreamcast. Just like their more famous brother these were pure 2D fighting games and especially for the release of this Darkstalkers Chronicle: The Chaos Tower, they’ve all been collected and put on a UMD disc. Whether one has done more than just convert the games, you’ll find out in this review.
For those familiar with the fighting genre: it comes down to picking a character and then start fighting an opponent for three rounds. In the case of DS:TCT and its inspiration Street Fighter II, you get 3 types of kicks, 3 punches and a handful of special moves at your disposal, all combined with ducking and jumping. And to make things even more clear: the one that keeps his energy meter full the longest wins!
Hence, the most important question is whether this game can distinguish itself and to that we can easily answer “yes”. Every fan of this sort of games will love to test the multitude of different modes and variations and get the most out of the gameplay by using different tactics. After quite some hours of practice you can also link combos and defeat the game on the higher difficulty settings. A challenge is clearly there and the gameplay more than deep enough for the demanding fans.
But also the accidental tourist will without a doubt be able to be entertained by just doing the regular button bashing, a less elegant way of gaming that I unfortunately also sometimes tend to use. I must admit that even on mediocre setting, the later opponents whooped my arse multiple times.
Luckily the very sympathetic and colorful old-skool graphics that make you forget about your losses are present. You get a very realistic port of the original anime-like animations and the settings that still are very original and creative. The same can be said about the enormously varied characters. These each have their own personality, have a lot of moves and are more exciting than the average babe or tough American we so often meet in fighting games. No problems there although some naggers could argument that the technical capacities of the PSP aren’t completely used.
Less well-done are the controls. The makers has to convert the 6-button controls from the arcade halls to the small and portable PSP and this hasn’t been done all too great. Despite two different settings, I never really found an optimal and despite the fact that things remain well playable, the typical arcade feeling has gone lost. What also is a downpoint are the enormously long loading times that make you loose your concentration when actually having to fight.
Next to the classic one-on-one fights you get a lot of extra modes like a training option and multiplayer possibilities through Wi-Fi. These also allow you to challenge human opponents in “Versus” or “League” mode for 4 people. The Chaos Tower from the title refers to yet another way of playing where you can choose three players to enter this tower and beat an opponent in every room you explore. The way of saving is really badly done here and again the loading times tend to irritate which makes this mode a lot less fun than it could have been.
Also the lovers of unlockable stuff have been thought about: end movies, artwork, sounds and music per character are unlockable so that this encourages you to play yet another game.
The many modes, deep and decent gameplay, fantastic artwork and characters, and the charming old-skool graphics with accompanying sound make Darkstalkers Chronicle: The Chaos Tower a more than adequate fighting game that will be loved by any fan of the genre! The more neutral player will get irritated a bit faster by the not so optimal controls, long loading times and the fact that the PSP can do a lot better when it comes to graphics. The Wi-Fi possibilities give yet another reason for the hardcore fighting game lover to get this game. A must-have for all who love fighting games, a strong recommendation for any other PSP owners!