Darkstalkers Chronicle: The Chaos Tower
So how can the PSP handle a bit of 2D fighting action? Quite well, as we find out in this hands-on preview...
Vampire Chronicle: The Chaos Tower was one of the best launch games PSP had when it came out in Japan, and Capcom is thankfully bringing it stateside. A sequel to the company's popular series known as Darkstalkers in America, Vampire Chronicle features a bizarre cast of characters, some neat modes, and gorgeous 2D graphics, making it a must play for old school fighting game aficionados.
If you know your videogame history, this Vampire Chronicle is basically a port of a Japanese Dreamcast game, save for a few new additions, most notably Tower Mode. You choose a three creature team and using one fighter at a time work your way up a very high tree of foes, and as you defeat them you'll earn unlockable goodies such as concept art. It's a very satisfying mode that basically challenges you to fight until your fingers bleed, which for me is just wonderful.
However, if you'd rather just hop in and out of matches there's a standard Arcade and Versus Mode, the latter showcasing the super smooth wireless capabilities of the PSP. As for Arcade, it's your usual "beat X amount of opponents before getting to a final boss" stuff we've come to know and love. In this case, the boss is Jedah, the ancient lord of the dark world or something corny like that. Anyway, he's a pushover, but his background is pretty amazing. It consists of a giant fetus that has electrodes attached to it, and when you beat Jedah it starts freaking out.
Fetus or not, Vampire Chronicle includes a very strange and therefore unique cast of fourteen playable characters that you won't see popping up in your standard Street Fighter game. There's everyone's favorite kitty cat Felicia wearing as little as possible, the Egyptian creature Anakaris, the robot Phobos, bat girl Morrigan, a sasquatch, and samurai Bishamon, among others. They all have wicked attacks, most of which draw blood. While Vampire Chronicle isn't necessarily a bloody game, it's not without a certain level of violence which could in fact be toned down for the American release.
The 16:9 PSP screen makes all of its games shine no matter what they look like, but it really does wonders for Vampire Chronicle. The game's graphics look fantastic, as both the characters and the macabre backgrounds are excellently detailed. Plus, the animation is superb, and because you're playing on such a huge screen it gives you a much longer view of the fighting arena. It really comes in handy not only for seeing where you are but also for admiring Capcom's visual handiwork.
Praise should also be heaped on the game's audio. The music is typical 2D fighter cheese (but not Marvel Vs Capcom 2 elevator music) and it sounds appropriate, and all of the punches and kicks sound great.
There will be a lot of launch titles when the PSP hits America and Vampire Chronicle should be near the top of your shopping list. Its classic 2D fighting at its finest, and the wireless multiplayer is the icing on an already tasty cake.