I know I told myself I wouldn't pick up anymore fighters. I know I'll never get deep enough into another one to really appreciate it. I know it's always a waste of time...
But dammit, Darkstalkers let's me play as a motherfucking Pharaoh.
- Holy shit, my chevrons are locking.
I can't say much for the mechanics of the game, but I LOVE the cast. An all-star collection of movie monsters and folklore legends all beating the snot out of each other for typically nebulous fighting game plot reasons. It's glorious. Seriously, why did this game never catch on like so many other fighters? It's like Capcom was secretly Arksys before Arksys was Arksys.
All the greats are represented. Vampires, wolfmen, yeti, sexy-vampire ladies, robot-golem dudes, the roster reads like the liner notes from my high school garage band's unproduced, unrecorded, partially written, and wholly under-appreciated debut album. But as I was tooling around the character select screen, I couldn't help but notice a few absentees, some notable monsters that are missing from the mash. If you're gonna have a game based on monsters fighting each other, how can you miss the best?
The Gelatinous Cube >
It's just not a party without a Slime Monster of some sort, and what better choice than the iconic D&D lethal cube of Jello? Now granted, as a fighting game character the Gelatinous Cube leaves a bit to be desired. It doesn't have any arms or legs to punch and kick with, and as far as I can remember the Monster Manual never mentioned anything about fireballs. The Cube's normal modus operandi is to slowly roam narrow hallways and rooms, hoping to absorb any slow or possibly crippled adventurer into it's mass where he will be slowly (and agonizingly) dissolved. So, its big, slow, and can kill you with one touch if it gets too close. Can you say best grappler character ever? Like Zangief, but with more right angles.
The Krampus >
In some cultures, Santa leaves a lump of coal to humiliate naughty children. In Germanic folklore, his sidekick the Krampus snatches them up in his kidnapping basket and whips the ever living shit out of them with a switch of birch branches.
Thanks for the future-trauma of my children Germany!
We need the Krampus in the next Darkstalkers game if for nothing else than the super creepy fanart he'll inspire.
King Kong >
So Darkstalkers has a bunch of the big Universal monsters. Mummies, vampires, Frankenstein's monster, even a swamp-creature. Sure, that's great. But are they really gonna sit right there and tell us they forgot about the big dog? Or should I say the big gorilla?
It is a well established fact that I want to fight an ape. Trotting out all these classic monsters while denying me my destiny is just insulting. Step it up Capcom. His super move can be snatching a old timey bi-plane out of the sky and hucking it at his opponent; burning wings, screaming pilot and all. There, that one was free Capcom, GET TO IT.
The Invisible Man >
Speaking of classic Universal monsters, where is the Invisible Man? Really, where is he?
Get it? Because you can't see him? Dear God I hate myself...
The Invisible Man would not only be a great reference for classic horror fans, it would also be a good cost saving solution for Capcom. Have him toss the coat and hat away as part of his pre-fight intro and the rest is free. Really save on that animation budget.
Don't look at me crooked. This is the same company that built an entire empire out of a group of identical karate dudes in different coloured gi. They know how to save money.
The Loch Ness monster is all played out these days, the real tourist trap- er, cryptozoological discovery is Canada's own Ogopogo.
A giant sea-serpent said to haunt Okanagan Lake in British Columbia. Ogopogo has the distinction of appearing in a small number of poorly focused photographs and suspicious "home-videos" and on an inversely numberous truckload of kitschy travel sovereigns. He's a hometown favourite, even if he probably, sorta, likely, doesn't actually exist.
But hey, some researchers have postulated that it might be real and might be a type of primitive Basilosaurus, a goddamn dinosaur whale. How cool is that? It's like a two-fer, dinosaur and sea-monster.
Now I'm not saying Ogopogo should be in a Darkstalkers game to test the waters on a Dino-Crisis reboot. I'm just heavily implying it.
Immortal King of the Night, Eternal King of my heart. Blackula could Midnight Bliss me any night of the week.
No matter what the experience was or which game or genre left that strong first impression, such experiences have the potential to open our eyes to the rich history of a series or genre. With any luck, we might find even more to love or something better. A great first experience with RPGs could lead to an undying love affair.
Sometimes a first kiss can be so impactful that the game gets placed on a pedestal and enshrined as a gold standard, which has its own pros and cons. I mean, it is nice to have a basis for comparison, but some folks take it too far. There are people who loved Half-Life, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, or Final Fantasy VII so much that nothing after them really got a fair shake.
So first impressions matter -- they can shape and inform our gaming habits. I grew up on arcades, Nintendo, handhelds, and eventually into RPGs, so much of what I play will be influenced by how I acquired my tastes. I probably like Overwatch a ton because it has a passion for RPG roles, but contextualizes them closer to older shooters focused on objectives more than gear builds and grinding out perks for better killstreaks.
So for this month's Bloggers Wanted, we'd like you head over to the community blogs write about your first kiss, the games that positively influenced you or maybe biased you a little too much for a time. What turned you on to a series or genre? Was it love at first sight? Did it set any expectations in stone or possibly lead you to something better?
Whatever the case might be, remember to use the title "First kiss" and place "Bloggers Wanted" in the tags!
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