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Darkstalkers Official Complete Works Artbook (Hardcover) Review

Darkstalkers Official Complete Works Artbook (Hardcover) Review

-Written by: Matthew DeFelice

Capcom’sStreet Fighter series has always been the Japanese company’s flagship fighting game series, leaving fans of their lesser-known franchises clamoring for more of their oft-forgotten favorites. However, in a somewhat surprising move, Udon has released an Official Complete Works for Darkstalkers before one encompassing the Street Fighter series (a title exclusively featuring the Street Fighter IV lineup was released in 2011).

It feels as if Darkstalker’s roster of characters have been around in countless games over the past two decades, and they have, but the series they came from has only seen three main iterations and a handful of updates. The Official Complete Works is an artbook that encompasses the three core games as well as Chaos Tower and Resurrection. All of the character, product, and advertising artwork is here as expected. The promotional artwork is featured first, and while it looks nice, most fans and gamers have seen this before. Commentaries provided by the illustrators are featured in captions for most of the art here, which gives fans a little more insight into one of their favorite fighting game franchises.

The heart and soul of the series are the playable monsters, so it comes as no surprise that they are also the heart and soul of the artbook. The beautiful, unique character designs are just as colorful as they have ever been, and video game artwork connoisseurs will surely enjoy being able to enjoy them all in one place. The section on the original Darkstalkers stands out in particular. Early sketches and designs of the characters are present and detailed, and seeing how the characters’ early designs were transformed from hardly recognizable drafts to the well-loved brawlers we all know and love will likely be the highlight for anyone who picks up the book.

It should be noted that Udon went out of their way to get the original artists to commentate on almost every piece of artwork. While this is a nice touch, and Darkstalker’s players will surely read them all, most of the commentary is relegated to a one or two-sentence blurb mentioning vague approval or disapproval from their respected artist that begin to run together after Darkstalker’s Revenge. However, the lengthy interviews with different members of the games’ development teams, while not being so compelling as to make you see Darkstalkers in a different light, are informative and interesting enough that fans will surely read through to completion.

The Darkstalkers Official Complete Works isn’t perfect for everybody, but it is likely perfect for the majority of die-hard fans of Morrigan and company. Perhaps, as Capcom’s Yoshinori Oni has said, Darkstalkers is not dead after all.

Darkstalkers Official Complete Works Artbook (Hardcover)

Celebrating the franchise's 25th anniversary, this new hardcover edition of Darkstalkers: Official Complete Works is the ultimate compilation of Darkstalkers artwork and history!

The book collects the spectacularly haunting artwork behind every Darkstalkers game, including key visuals, character illustrations, promotional artwork, rough concepts, and creator commentary. Also featured are multiple interviews with the creators behind the series, plus tribute pin-ups from your favorite Capcom artists.

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