In this article we’ll look at some noteworthy hitboxes from Darkstalkers series. The first Darkstalkers game is also known as Vampire, and Night Warriors is also known as Vampire Hunter. Vampire Savior, Vampire Hunter 2 and Vampire Savior 2 are basically the same game with small differences.
Lilith’s Soul Flash is just a couple pixels lower than Morrigan’s Soul Fist. This is enough of a difference that Jon Talbain can’t walk under it.
Jedah’s airdash is the only buttonless attack. His c.MK is one of his better anti-airs.
In Vampire Savior, each version of Sasquatch’s Big Typhoon has different hitboxes. The LK version (left) is a good anti-air but poor against a grounded opponent, while the HK is opposite.
Anakaris’s legs are highly vulnerable during his jump kicks, but his lower body can’t be hurt during his Dark Force.
Donovan’s vulnerable area increases greatly during his sword summon moves. The lightning from the planted sword was a new move given in Savior 2/Hunter 2.
Some moves like B.B.Hood’s Beautiful Memory and Morrigan’s Darkness Illusion have throw-like effects, but unlike throws they have normal red hitboxes and can be comboed.
The D+KKK moves of Talbain and B.B.Hood cause their pushboxes to disappear while they scoot forward. They can quickly pass through the opponent while in an unthrowable state, and are usable as cancels and reversals. In B.B.Hood’s case she can move forward and under fireballs while maintaining charge. The dashes (both forward and back) of Felicia, Talbain and Demitri have similar properties. Victor has a D+KKK hop but it doesn’t pass through.
In Darkstalkers, Demitri’s c.MK (right) doesn’t look or behave anything like a c.MK should. It’s almost the same as his far standing MK (left), but with fewer active frames and a faster recovery. Neither is cancelable.
In Vampire Savior, Demitri’s vertical Demon Cradle (fierce version, left) looks like it covers both sides, but only the ES version (right) hits in front and the back. All versions have several active invincible frames and usually can do no worse than trading.
It seems that as Demitri matured, so did his taste in the ladies.
In Darkstalkers and Night Warriors, Rikuo had a torpedo move called the Screw Shot. In both games, his leg hitbox was erroneously elongated past the top and bottom of the screen during the recovery frames. His torso hitbox was similarly oversized during the first active phase of his c.HP in Night Warriors.
Despite appearances, Q-bee’s Royal Jelly (top) is bigger than Rikuo’s Water Jail, at least vertically. The honey ball briefly loses its ability to hit during the bounces.
Bishamon’s Iai Giri moves are unique in that the longer you charge back, the more hits you get. The required charges for the three levels are 50, 80 and 110 frames in Darkstalkers and Night Warriors, and 60, 70 and 110 frames in Vampire Savior. These moves can also negate projectiles.
Here is VSav Bishamon’s kick and punch Iai Giri, left and right. The first pic shows fully charged regular versions, the second shows the ES versions on the last swing. Although the stronger versions have bigger sprites and more active frames, all non-ES strengths have the same hitboxes. The low version comes out two frames faster and has longer range.
The series introduced Guard Cancels, or Guard Reversals as they were called before Savior. Some moves don’t give any invulnerability unless they are done as a GC/GR. Examples of these are NWarr Hsien-ko’s gong and VSav Bishamon’s Kien Zan.
Bonus question: How was the Bishamon shot set up?
Taunts (or “friendships”) were introduced in Vampire Savior.
Victor is the only character with taunts that can hit.
Phobos (Huitzil) and Pyron in Hunter 2/Savior 2 are the only characters with taunt hitboxes that aren’t the same as their ordinary standing or crouching boxes.
Every character in Vampire Savior can be divided into one of two hitbox classes: regular and tall. The regulars retain the same hitboxes as their standing or crouching idle animations when hit, whereas the tall characters shrink when attacked.
Hsien-ko and chainsaw-wielding Rapter are two of the best combo dummies because the large hittable area extending in front of their pushboxes stays large when they get hit. Demitri, Q-bee and Huitzil are the tallest of the regular characters, which makes them good targets for air chains.
The tall characters are Victor, Anakaris and Jedah. The head retracts into the torso when they reel from any attack. The big guys would be too vulnerable to air chains otherwise. (The exceptions are Rikuo’s Sonic Wave, Poison Gas and Water Jail, Bishamon’s Karame Dama, Hsien-ko’s heavy projectiles, and Q-bee’s Royal Jelly. When stunned by these attacks, even the big characters retain their full-size hitboxes.)
In Hunter 2/Savior 2, the tall characters still shrink when hit, but less. The head box moves back instead of down. This is probably because air chains were basically removed in those games.
Prior to VSav, there were no reeling hitbox differences for any character. This is unexpected considering the precedent set by SF2 and the amount of work that went into animating the sprites.
The blade swing of Lei-Lei (Hsien-ko) is a cycle of twelve attack animations, with the red box following the leading edge of the blade sprite. Every time the attack area moves, the enemy can be hit again. The fastest spin moves the blade once per frame, and the slowest once per three frames. The speed of the first spin depends on how many times you press punch after her feet leave the ground, and the speed of the following spins depends on presses during the current spin. Four punches per cycle are required for the highest speed.
As with getting hit, raising your guard doesn’t change your hitboxes either.
Moves that got toned down:
Felicia’s Rolling Buckler and Delta Kick, in Darkstalkers and Vampire Savior.
Rapter’s Death Hurricane and Skull Sting, in Night Warriors and Vampire Savior.
Pyron’s Cosmo Disruption, Orbital Blaze and Galaxy Trip in Night Warriors and Vampire Hunter 2. His teleport doesn’t get a single frame of invulnerability in the later games, not even when his sprite disappears.
Lilith’s s.HK and Rapter’s F+MP in Vampire Savior and Savior 2. There wasn’t much to tone down about Lilith’s roundhouse but it gained overhead ability, got even slower, and lost its higher hitting area. Rapter lost the initial close hitting area on his F+LP and F+MP, and consequently these moves got slower.
Bishamon’s command throw makes him invulnerable until the throw succeeds or he starts leaning forward from the whiff animation. The whiff invulnerability is only observable if he’s attacked by a delayed projectile, and he can only attempt the throw at close range. In this shot, he attempts the throw against Hsien-ko, who escapes with her invisible teleport dash while her time bomb goes off underfoot. No one was harmed. This only works in Vampire Savior.
Demitri’s Vampire Savior version of Demon Billion turns him into a glob of bats that rushes forward. After some brief invulnerability, his normal standing hitboxes reappear behind the swarm. Despite having no corporeal form, he’s about to slip on Sasquatch’s banana peel.
The first game covered, the one that started this ball rolling, was Vampire Savior. felineki had coaxed the hitbox routine out of the game with MAME’s debugger to help with a Mugen conversion, and mz translated the code to Lua (which he had ported to FBA-rr and MAME-rr) so that the boxes would be displayed in realtime. After the Alpha and SF2 series had been added, felineki and I had no problem figuring out Night Warriors and Darkstalkers.
The Vampire Savior code is the same as SFA3 but with different addresses. The later games had simpler code, with no pointers for anything except the animation pointer for the attack box.
While all the SF2 games have a projectile limit of eight, it’s only four for the first Darkstalkers, despite the fact that it’s easy to throw two projectiles at once, with Demitri at least. It has pointers for both the animation frames and the hitbox tables, a complication which is typical of the earlier games, but by the time I looked at this one I had learned to recognize them by looking at the memory browser.
Night Warriors, the middle game, is unlike any of the others because it has two separate banks of memory space for projectiles. There are 12 slots for ordinary ones like soul fists and another 28 for special projectiles like the Tenraiha spikeballs and the Demon Billion bats. This was the first Capcom game with massive numbers of simultaneous projectiles (predating SFA2 custom combos) and for some reason the developers made two overlapping systems instead of just doing it the usual way on a larger scale.
The blue boxes on projectiles are responsible for negation, but we’re not sure what the green and yellow are for. They probably have something to do with getting pushed by other projectiles, getting reflected by Hsien-ko’s gong, getting eaten by Anakaris, or causing special hit effects like dizzy, burning, freezing, etc.
Now, please enjoy some of Xenozip’s videos: