Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Brawling Monsters: A Review of Night Warriors
Pizzerias knew how to catch my young eye when I was growing up. They had gumballs, sticker machines, silly little gadgets of all sorts, and that was just in the entrance. By the time I made it to a table, my interests would direct toward the shop's cute fluffy mascot, merchandise at the cash register, and most importantly, the arcade machines. I remember quite distinctively a period of time at my local Pizza Hut they had a certain arcade cabinet by the name of Night Warriors. On the surface it was another fighting game, but with just enough quirkiness to really waste a nice amount of change on the machine.
Night Warriors is the second game in Capcom's series of fighting monsters, Darkstalkers. It came out in the mid-'90s and gained a following for fighting game enthusiasts. It's use of monsters, each with their own wacky special moves and notions, instead of human fighters, made for an interesting take on the fighter genre. It has an obligatory sinister atmosphere, with just enough light-heartedness in its comedy to avoid being too pretentious. The monsters range from gigantic musclebound abominations, to sensual and deadly hellcats (which the character Felicia is, quite literally).
There are 16 playable characters (or atrocities, if you prefer). I had fun just deciding which weirdo I wanted to play as when I first tried out this game. They are accompanied with their own menacing, detailed level and fist-pumping techno music. My personal favorite tune is Hsien-Ko's theme, complete with her own "Hya!"'s in the mix. It's a solid fighter, no doubt. But what else would you expect from Capcom? Some deem it as a Street Fighter clone with monsters gimmick, but I'd say Night Warriors has enough charm to warrant its own franchise.
If you are new to Capcom fighting games, there is a bit of a learning curve in the characters' abilities and tactics; having a movelist/strategy guide up and ready to go wouldn't hurt. If you are no stranger to games like the Street Fighter series, the gameplay will come naturally. Besides, why wouldn't you want to master Sasquatch's moves to defeat a Frankenstein-esque creature? Or how about using a swiping combo with a werewolf to take out a giant mummy? Whether you've got a worn-out arcade cabinet still taking in quarters down at the pizzeria, or your own personal copy for the Playstation or Saturn, Night Warriors is a ridiculous and fun fighting game.