|Platform Reviewed||Sega Saturn|
|Genre||Anime-Style Fighting Game|
|Number of Players||1-2|
|Length||Short, but many characters and endings|
|Skills Required||Hand-Eye Coordination|
|Interface Devices||Sega Saturn Joypad|
|Game Design and Playability||Excellent|
|Type Of Fun||Beat-Em-Up|
|The Best||Wonderful and imaginative characters, the best version of the game for home play, superior graphics, extremely wild attacks and powers, humorous yet absolutely fantastic gameplay. One of the years best fighters|
|The Worst||Could have more diverse end-of-battle speeches. The endings could have been animated.|
|How much I'd Pay for This||50 Bucks|
The Night Warriors (originally 'Vampire Hunter: Darkstalkers Revenge') is a Capcom-design fighting game. Capcom is without question the top fighting game designers, and have innovated almost every important concept in the genre. In Night Warriors, Capcom lets its wilder side show, and pushes the brilliant (and now basic) Street Fighter design over the top, both in graphics and in action.
Where Street Fighter followed a 'serious' anime style, Night Warriors goes more to the bizarre. Set in a shadow underland of 'Nightbreed' style monsters -called the 'Darkstalkers'- the characters are creatures of the night and the supernatural. The fighting and animation reflects this both in style and in technique. Though often humorous in appearance, the gameplay is very serious in terms of fighting. It is an excellent fighting game possessed of real soul. Ghosts, even.
14½ characters fill the world of Night Warriors, and each has his, her, or its own unique story to tell. The characters are quite special, and unusual, and Night Warriors features fighters just not seen anywhere else.
There is Hsien-Ko (originally Lin Lin) the Twin Chinese Ghost. Twin, because Hsien-Ko is actually two sisters: one, Lin Lin, acting as a corpse to animate, and the other sister, Hsien-Ko, acting as the animating force. Unlike the European idea of a 'ghost', the Chinese ghost is closer to a zombie.
There is a requisite Vampire, Demitri, a Lycanthrope, Jon Talbain (originally 'Gallon'), and a Frankenstein Monster named Victor. There is even a Buddhist Priest named Donovan who acts as a vampire hunter, and is helped by a mystically possessed little girl. But it is in the use of really rare movie and legendary references that Night Warriors truly shines. While Hsien-Ko is a fascinating and unusual enough character by her (them) selves, Night Warriors features nothing less than a Leanan-Sidhe! (pronounced Lan-On-Shee) Simplified for the average-intellect game player to the title of 'Succubus', the character of Morrigan Aenslaed is not the Hebrew soul-sucking lost spirit. A Leanan-Sidhe is a spiritual being that acts as a vampiric muse. Derived from Irish mythology, the Leanan-Sidhe will bond itself to a poet or artist, granting them unhuman genius in exchange for the essence of their life force. This tends to burn the artist out, leading to a shortened life span. Leanan-Sidhe literally translates to 'Fairy Sweetheart' or more accurately, 'Fairy Mistress', and this is what Morrigan is, as good players will find at the end of her battle!
Other characters of note are a 'Cat People' reference in the character of the were-cat Felicia -- whose techniques include litter box scratching -- and a loving homage to 'The Creature Of The Black Lagoon' in Rikuo (originally Aulbath). A Sasquatch fights here, as does an Aztec 'Chariots Of The Gods' ancient robot (Huitzil - a 'Phobos' machine). A Heavy Metal loving European Zombie (Lord Raptor), and an Extraterrestrial energy being (Pyron), a Samurai possessed by legendary cursed armor, and attended by the ghost of his late wife (Bishamon), and an Egyptian Mummy King (Anakaris) round out the diverse cast.
Not in any other fighter game will you get such interesting characters.
The moves are simple, but not too simple - rotations on the pad combined with button presses, making the game immediately playable, yet rewarding the diligent fighter. The effects are amazing, with screen covering attacks and grotesquely deformed cartoon actions: amazing stretches, squashes, huge weapons and elaborate animations. Attacks include the Sasquatch smashing a hole in the ice to allow for an Orca to splash up, Anakaris the Mummy reaching through wormholes in space to attack, and Felicia the Cat-Person calling in all of her dozens of litter-sisters to shred the unlucky opponent. The animation is rich and exquisite and the gameplay superlative. Add in super and EX moves, as well as wonderful character reactions and elaborate backgrounds, and Night Warriors is definitely a winner. One of the best fighters you can buy. Highly Recommended.
A special note: Much love was lavished on this game by Capcom, including a special option to regain the full animation of the arcade machine (some frames were omitted to speed up action). Here is a code that will provide not only the full animation (with some insignificant slowdown) in same character battles, but provide the power to reconfigure everything about the game, from the opening attract sequence, to the color palette of the backgrounds:
Go to the OPTIONS screen and highlight CONFIGURATION. The enter on the joypad:
B, X, DOWN, A, Y.
If done correctly, you will hear a sound. Now, a special OPTION is available: APPENDIX.
APPENDIX is permanent, and inside it you can reconfigure to your heart's content.
Jennifer Diane Reitz is a Game Designer and Computer Artist, and one of the founders of Happy Puppy. She is the creator of numerous games and software products, including Boppin' , Shark Chums, Elsewhere, and many others. She has worked for such companies as Activision, Sculptured Software, Epyx, SRI, and Electronic Arts, and founded Accursed Toys. She has been active in the computer gaming industry since it's earliest days. She considers games to be works of artistic merit and achievement, and views computer entertainment as the most important media of our era.