Vampire Savior (Darkstalkers 3)
From Shoryuken Wiki, Marvel vs. Capcom 3 Strategy and More!
Vampire Savior - The Lord of Vampire (a.k.a. Darkstalkers 3 in the USA) is the third incarnation of the Darkstalkers series. It was released in 1997 and much of the game mechanics have been borrowed by Capcom's later Versus series. The game can be extremely fast paced, especially at high level competitive play, and in its nine years of life so far it remains pretty well balanced.
Legend & Notation
Attacks are represented with the following notation:
- LP(JP) - Jab/Light Punch
- MP(SP) - Strong/Medium Punch
- HP(FP) - Fierce/Heavy Punch
- PP - Two punch buttons pressed simultaneously.
- PPP - Three punch buttons pressed simultaneously.
- LK(SK) - Short/Light Kick)
- MK(FK) - Forward/Medium Kick)
- HK(RK) - Roundhouse/Heavy Kick)
- KK - Two kick buttons pressed simultaneously.
- KKK - Three kick buttons pressed simultaneously.
The terms are interchangeable, but in most cases, what's stated above will hold true.
Frame Data Notation
The column Header is as follows:
Name | State | Startup | Hit adv | Blk adv | Buff | Blk pos
Listed from left to right:
- Name: The name or command of the Attack being described.
- State: Whether the character is close or far to the opponent, or if it is irrelevant.
- Startup: Amount of frames that it takes for the move to execute into active (hitting) frames.
- Hit Advantage: Amount of frames which you recover ahead of your opponent after a successful hit.
- Block (or Guard) Advantage: Amount of frames which you recover ahead of your opponent after having them block your attack.
- Bufferability: Whether or not the move may be canceled into an ES or EX move.
- Blocking Position: Whether the move should be blocked High (H), Low (L), either (H/L), or is unblockable (UB).
Motions are notated as follows:
shorthand name- actual name- command input
- QCF - quarter circle forward - down, down-forward, forward+attack input
- QCB - quarter circle back - down, down-back, back+attack input
- HCF - half circle forward - back, down=back, down, down-forward, forward+attack input
- HCB - half circle back - forward, down-forward, down, down-back, back+attack input
- DP - dragon punch [motion] - forward, down, down-forward+attack input
- RDP - reverse dragon punch [motion] - back, down, down-back+attack input
- 360 - a 360º motion - 6 consecutive inputs with an attack input pressed simultaneously on the last input
Prefixes in this guide are notated as follows:
- s. = standing ____
- j. = jumping ____
- c. = crouching ____
- d. = dashing ____
- f. = flying ____
- sh. = shorthop ____
D,F,B,U+_ = Press that direction simultaneously with the attack (Is a direction, as oppose to a character state(crouching, jumping, etc…))
(i.e, s.F+HP for B.B. Hood tells you to stand, and press forward and Heavy (or Fierce) Punch at the same time.)
- GC - Guard Cancel
- KD - Knock Down
- TK - Tiger Knee Motion
- UBK - Unblockable
- RTSD - Rush(ing) That Shit Down
- BC - Beast Cannon [See Gallon(Talbain)]
- Anything meant to be repeated over and over again (even things that aren't infinites) are now in this notation:
Where N is the number of repetitions.
- AttackA/attackB/attackC = you have the choice between these attacks while doing the combo
- Representation of a link within a combo is represented by a "+" placed before the prefix of the attack. i.e. comboing two c.mp's with B.B. Hood would look like this:
- Representation of a cancel within a combo is notated by "XX" placed between the moves that are transitioning from one to another. i.e. comboing Dance flash EX with Felicia would look like this:
c.mp XX HCF+PP
c.mp XX (Dance Flash EX)
The Game Engine
The Life Bar works quite differently from your average 1 on 1 Capcom-Styled Lifebar. The normal nature of the lifebar is, you get hit, and the damage stays. Vampire Savior doesn't follow this trend. Rather, damage is dealt in Red(Permanent damage), and White(recoverable damage). While there's not much to talk about as far as red damage goes, there's a bit to know about white damage.
I'm 99% sure that every damaging move in Vampire Savior causes white damage. The ratio of white to red damage increases with the length of the combo being done(big combos equal lots of white damage). But white damage, is still damage. You can lose a round, if the white damage reaches the end of your life bar
Reducing your white damage [to just red damage] is quite simple; stay out of hit or blockstun. Being in blockstun (blocking in layman's terms) halts the reduction of your white damage. This can be best done by either: a. running away b. rushing down.
Capcom has followed two trends as far as life points are concerned. In their past [and later] games, characters within their [Capcom's] games have had two main ways of varying life bars:
- Uniform life points, with varying defenses, where characters take a percentage of damage, and deal fixed damage with attacks.
- Uniform defense and offense stats for attacks, but varying life points.
As of now, I believe characters have varying defenses, with uniform life points. It has been stated from a source, that [all] character in the game have 144 units of life, which supports my initial notion.
Following in suit with life bars, Vampire Savior strays away from the generic round system. Your standard match gives each character "bats," which are essentially stocks of life. When you fill a lifebar with full damage, the match pauses briefly, a bat is taken away, then the match resumes.
The opponent who didn't lose a bat (there are cases where traded hits cause both opponents to lose bats simultaneously) is free to run about to setup wakeup mindgames, and heal white damage in the [very] brief intermission.
And of course, the match is 100% over when a character loses both bats. Double KO can happen.
Every character in Vampire Savior has up to 99 levels of meter. Despite this fact, except in special cases, you should really have no more than 3 levels of meter in a higher-level match (It's somewhat of a sign that you don't know how to use your meter).
Generally, ES and EX moves require one level of meter. Some EX moves require two. Dark Forces also require one level of meter.
The Meter bar is made up of 144 units. (Actually maybe 145, but having 144 units of meter does not equal one level. You must go a bit beyond 144 units.)
There are three forms of doing combos in Vampire Savior:
- Two-in-ones require a move to be bufferable. It is the action of doing a special move during the animation of a normal move. The recovery of the normal move will cancel into the special move, allowing for it to combo. Hence two-in-one. Can also work in the air.
- Linking is a play on the startup and recovery of normal and special moves. It is performed by a character doing an attack, recovering before the opponent, and performing another attack all before the opponent recovers.
- Chaining is performed by canceling the recovery of one normal move into another. It is done from weaker to stronger buttons, going from punch to kick. You can google an image of how it works, or one day someone will put an image of the general pattern up.
You CANNOT cancel a normal move during a chain into a special or super move. You CAN link from a chain combo into a normal (or Special) move, thus allowing you to cancel that normal (Provided it is bufferable.) into a special move.
Another special case with canceling chain combos are command input EX Moves. These Supers are done by inputting odd commands in sequence. As such, characters such as Gallon (Talbain), Demitri, Morrigan, and other characters can cancel a chain combo into one of their EX moves.
Vampire Savior allows for ground and air blocking. Blocking while on the ground follows normal trends: Block Standing for high hitting attacks, and Crouching for low hitting attacks.
Air blocking is a bit different. Much like Street Fighter Alpha 3, an airborne character cannot block a normal attack from an opponent who has their feet on the ground. However, some normal moves, such as Aulbath (Rikuo)'s s.fp, or B.B. Hood (Bulleta)'s s.F+mp may be blocked in the air, as well as all ES and EX moves. Air blocking also has virtually no blockstun, allowing for characters to retaliate instantly.
ES & EX Moves
Both ES and EX Moves require meter. Some EX Moves require two or more.
ES moves are special moves to a higher degree. They are generally the special move enhanced in some sort of way. ES moves are performed by doing the motion of the special move normally, except with two buttons of whatever type it requires. (i.e. Morrigan's Soul Flash, QCF+P, can be used in an ES form by doing QCF+PP)
EX moves are the "Supers" of Vampire Savior. But unlike other Capcom games, the Supers of Vampire Savior are merely unique special moves. They have no invincibility, and may not necessarily have high priority. Normal EX moves are performed with their own motions, and two punches or Kicks. Command input (Or Sequential input) EX moves require their own combinations of directions and attack inputs.
Dark Force Moves
Dark Force (abbreviated "DF" for short) is a mode that every character has available. It is activated by pressing the punch and kick buttons of same strength (light punch with light kick, medium punch with medium kick..etc). A dark force requires at least one level of meter (certain dark forces require two or more), and adds additional effects and states unique to each character. DF mode increases regeneration of white damage, but makes all damage taken and dealt during that mode red (permanent). Many of these DF effects can be generalized into 5 different categories:
Helper - The characters with this Dark Force get an assist, which adds an extra hit in intervals relative to your inputs (maybe a half second after an attack input). Since these additional hits do not knockdown and the assist characters are invulnerable, pressure can be applied to a greater extent (opponents must account for being knocked) The additional hit fills holes in not only pressure, but in combos as well.
- Characters with helper Dark Force: Demitri, Felicia, Pyron, Donovan
Silhouette/Shadow - This Dark Force type has two primary types, but both function in much the same way. An additional image of the character mimics the attacks of the character at the enemy in unison, or after the attack input has been inputted.
Morrigan and Lilith have mirror silhouettes available, which appear opposite of the opponent, and attack in unison. Mirror attacks negate hit pushback (since the opponent is being hit from two sides, though needs to block from the direction of the real character (no Urien unblockables)).
Lilith, Gallon, & Phobos have delayed silhouettes, which mimic the inputs of the character behind them. This form of silhouette dark force is generally more advantageous, since it protects the character better than the mirror silhouette, and allows for more damage opportunities with its inherent enhanced pressure and ability to fill in combo holes (allowing for loops)
- Characters with silhouette Dark Force: Morrigan, Lilith, Gallon, Phobos
Flight - This Dark Force type [which is quite self explanatory], allows the character to be in a state of indefinite jump for the duration of the dark force. Characters have full eight direction mobility, and have the same chain rules apply as normal. Aulbath's "flight" puts him in an indefinite crouch state, with 8 direction movement.
- Characters with flight Dark Force: Jedah, Q-Bee, Phobos, Aulbath
Power Moves - This dark force type has a character gain new moves for their normal move set. Some characters gain additional properties, but this change in their movesets are the focus of their Dark Force.
- Characters with Power Moves Dark Force: B.B. Hood, Hsein-ko, Zabel, Victor, Anakaris
Enhanced Armor - There are two forms of enhanced armor used throughout Capcom fighting games: Hyper Armor and Super Armor. Super Armor allows for a character to allow for a hit to connect against them before they go into hit stun. Hyper armor prevents a character from entering hit stun all together. Both Armor enhancements are still susceptible to throws.
- Characters with Enhanced Armor Dark Force: Bishamon (Super), Sasquatch (Super), Lei Lei (Hyper), Aulbath (Hyper), Anakaris (Hyper)
Guard Canceling is the Alpha Counter of Vampire Savior. It is performed while in blockstun, and only on the ground. The command motion for a Guard cancel is:
forward, down, down-forward+attack
while in blockstun. All guard cancels have frames of invincibility. The attack button (punch or kick) varies with the character, and is listed in each character's respective guide.
A guard cancel can be buffered in to, if a player can properly predict the need to block a move correctly within a 14 frame window. This is done by performing the motion, blocking, then immediately pressing the attack button to finish the guard cancel input.
*All guard cancels have ES forms(some only have ES forms) **Also important to know, is that guard cancels do not always guarantee a clean hit.
Also known as pushblocking, Tech Hitting is performed by inputting anywhere from 3 to 6+ attack inputs during block stun within a 12 frame window. It can only be done on the ground.
It pushes the opponent away a distance, depending on your last input of the tech hit. A strong button will push them far away, and a weak button will do the opposite, pushing them far away enough for you to dash at them and retaliate. There is a random success in executing a successful tech hit.
- 6 or more inputs will guarantee a pushblock.
- 5 inputs allows for 75% rate of success.
- 4 inputs allows for 50% rate of success.
- 3 inputs allows for 25% rate of success.
Tech hitting gives the person teching frame advantage. This trait of tech hitting makes it more desirable in some cases over guard canceling.
Also worth noting, is that buttons pressed simultaneously count as only one (1) input toward a tech hit.
Throwing & Throw Tech Hitting
Throws are performed by pressing the direction forward or back and P or K. Only Medium and Heavy punches or kicks may perform normal throws.
Throw Tech Hits counter throws. In this case, they are performed in the exact same manner as the throws: press the direction forward or back and P or K. Only medium and strong punches or kicks may counter normal throws.
I also do not have the frame data for these either currently, but from experience, the Vampire Savior engine allows for much leeway in performing a tech hit to counter throws. Very much like Super Street Fighter II Turbo.
All normal throws have a 1 frame startup.
All characters also have an unblockable command throw of some sort. All of which have their own respective command input, and frame data. These command throws are un-techable(with few exceptions)
Upon knocking down your opponent, you have the option to add an extra hit to your opponent with a pursuit. Pursuits deal strictly white damage, but even white damage may be all that is necessary to apply damage to maintain pressure.
To perform a pursuit, simultaneously press up and a punch or kick (U+P, or U+K).
Pursuits can be ES'd, by performing the command with two punches or kicks. They can also be avoided by strategic wakeups. This should not deter players from using pursuits though, since a missed pursuit will still keep you near your opponent, which may be desirable for many characters.
Pursuit Frame data will be listed with their respective characters.
Upon 'being knocked down, press left or right, and an attack input. your character will then move left or right(depending on which direction you held).
This allows for you to evade pursuits, keep on (or away from) your enemy, or just throw off their mind game.
Dashing is performed by tapping forward [or backward] twice in in consecutive succession. Doing so, makes your character dash, hop, or glide (depending on your character). This is a necessity to the game of every character in Vampire Savior, as is discussed further.
Frame data for dashing is located in each respective character's page.
See glossary for best explanation.
Advanced General Strategies
Variable Block Stun Pressure
Yes, VARIABLE, as in different, or changing, blockstun. At first, the conventional Street Fighter player may say "This does not help my game". BUT it does in Vampire Savior, which has the ever looming guard cancel and tech hit waiting behind each blocked hit.
As such, when rushing down, you actually want to leave holes small enough to allow your opponent to falter in GCing (Guard canceling) or Teching (Pushblocking). All done, while keeping holes from being big enough for them to knowingly retaliate and thus possibly changing momentum of the game to their fancy.
Some characters thrive on these holes, for landing hits, while others merely have variable pressure as just an addition to augment their rushdown.
Most people in the fighting game community know chicken guard is jumping at the opponent, and blocking in midair. In Vampire Savior the jumps are quite flexible, so you can chicken guard an attack, and if there's sufficient space between that first hit you blocked and the next one coming (i.e. lei lei's j.hp, which doesn't give you much time as opposed to Q-Bee's random air chains) you can cancel the (air)block stun, and hit them w/ something... OR, if they've stopped all together (i.e. air blocking Victor's big ass headbutt special move), characters with an air dash (i.e. q-bee) STILL have the option to air dash and retaliate. VERY handy. Countered by being thrown of course, and fast air chains I think.
This strategy takes advantage of the absence of blockstun in the air.
Empty Air Chaining aka Drifting Air Poke-linking(D.A.P or DAP)
Empty air chaining. You dont see many other fighters that can use it the way this game does.(aside from Vampire Hunter) It's basically, jumping and doing an early move i.e. talbain's j.mk. as the j.mk ends(only if you wiff), you throw a j.hp/j.hk on. So essentially, you have some attack out for most of your jump. Also, if the second hit hits, its more than likely going to be a deep hit; allowing for a followed up ground combo. for some characters, this becomes a useful added method for them to build meter when not much is happening(i.e. aubath)
Instant Air Dashing
Instant air dashing (IAD) is just as it says, dashing so that you're skirting the ground. Though, not all characters have an air dash to utilize, and not all of the ones who do have one do can utilize it (Mainly Jedah).
How to IAD: a dash is inputted by two consecutive forward motions.
-Up/toward -> toward
This is the most obvious shortcut. Very efficient when done correctly consistently. What sucks though, is that it's hard as fuck to IAD on an American stick. The vampire engine is really bitchy with the "forward" inputs. Doing the inputs quickly seems to go against what seems to be a natural habit/motion of the hands. B-izm remedies this with an up/toward->down/toward motion.(vid to be accessible soon). Although, this is still more Jap-stick based, this is all I can give as far as IADing goes. If none of these methods work, stick with up, toward, toward. Ghetto, and not nearly as fast.
- Characters with effective IADs:
Lei Lei, Zabel, Q-Bee, Jedah*
- Jedah's IAD is useful via IAD->fireball, significantly cutting the recovery on the blade. Otherwise, don't be too reliant on it for rush.
Offensive Ground Dashing
There's two different types of offensive ground dashing (OGD): Ground OGDs, and Air OGDs.
Just about all ground dashes add to the momentum of your rtsd (there are a couple of exceptions). Implementing them is character specific of course, but just about every character looks to either a. apply pressure b. connect a ground combo off of a dashed hit
There are exceptions though:
-Lei Lei's teleport ground dash has a somewhat obvious & significant startup. Going into dash->throw is viable, but Lei Lei maintains more momentum with an IAD or simply walking. -Demitri's dash is much like lei lei's(a teleport), but since Demitri wasn't designed for the rtsd shit that other characters are capable of, his dash serves more as a means of use for running away, horizontal uppercut setups/combos or random unblockable super setups (risky but doable).
-Victor. I'm still somewhat unsure of whether or not he fits the "out of the ordinary" category. Because he's the cast's main grappler, his dash allows for throw setups in addition to getting in the opponent's face.
Many of the characters with Ground OGDs can just use normals (with little recovery) and rtsd.
Following characters with ground OGDs:
- B.B. Hood
- Bishamon(forward dash)
- Lei Lei
*Not really in VS but still applicable(They are in the home version though).
Air OGDs will actually propel the character into the air, giving the character the ability too add quick overheads to their mixup. This leads to some crazy shit from some characters (i.e. Sasquatch). There's also two types of Air OGD characters. Most of them do a hop that propels them and Jedah and Morrigan outright fly.
- Air ogd characters:
- Bishamon(backward dash)
* a nice thing to remember with these characters is not to dash for too long. They both lose the ability to block once they get too high, they're likely just a flying target (Think X-ism). Also, a unique property about each of them is that Jedah can air dash once he's airborn, & morrigan has 4 different versions of her ground dash(forward, back, upforward, & backforward).
*Another thing to note about the hopping characters(except Bishamon) is that they each have a shortened dash (Shorthop) by simply pressing back after the [forward, forward] command. This state is abbreviated "sh" and is used in the same manner as jump, crouch, and standing states.(i.e. a shorthop roundhouse is "sh.rk" ). The ground dash is significantly shortened.
fly-dashing aircombo note:
-The rule for non-chained air attacks is that you cannot use the same move twice in one jump. If you've done an air chain, however, only the first hit counts toward this rule. It's possible to do forward, chain into fierce, then fierce, but not forward, chain into fierce, then forward again.
Advanced Sequential Input EX's
Sequential Input(SI) EX's, are EX Moves that require a combination of attack and directional inputs in a sequenced manner. These are not your conventional EX supers, since they do not contain any consecutive directional inputs(no QCF's, or HCB's).
So what is it that makes them so important to have a strategy allowable all to their own?... Well, take for example Talbain's SI EX, Moment Slice(lp, mp, toward, lk, mk). During the execution of this move, talbain flails attacks(lp, and likely lk), but when the final mk is pressed, his lk animation is canceled, and Talbain's Moment Slice is activated.
This canceling can be used outside of just the basic input. You can hit with a fierce, and quickly cancel into Moment Slice. SI EX's are the only exception to the chain combo rule; and are the only thing that a chain combo can cancel into.
having this in mind, Talbain can do:
j.mk, c,lk, c.mp XX Moment Slice.
Being able to cancel chains into SI EX's allows for chains ending in normally vulnerable normals to be canceled, allowing baiting, or safety(depending on the character).
Actually more so pseudo-wave dashing, wave dashing, usually used by ground dashers, is performed by performing a ground dash, and canceling its recovery with a fast recovering normal move. The general normal of choice is dashing jab or dashing short; since both normals have the tendency to have the fastest startup and recovery of all normal moves in the cast.
Wave dashing allows characters to traverse the screen to reach the opponent. Because of their controllability, wavedashing may or may not be more desirable over a full-screen pursuit(which will generally miss, but allow you to keep on your opponent).
Chain & Unchain State
This is kinda obvious, but odd w/ some characters. Worth taking note of for people trying to do shit. When you jump or walk, you're in a chain comboing state. You can start a combo (Provided the hit connects/is blocked) and chain away. Any form of dashing takes that ability away, which may or may not be a fair trade, depending on how good your offensive game is.
An oddity is with Lei Lei, relative to the other air dashers (Q-Bee, Zabel, Jedah). After an air dash, Lei Lei for some unknown reason or another can't do special moves. Minor, but Jedah's blade/command throw, Q-Bee's DA, or Zabel's Skull Stinger are viable for use after an air dash. Lei Lei would've taken great use out of air dash XX Gong.
Like many other games, its more advantageous of you to be building meter at the other side of the screen, as opposed to just doing nothing while waiting for them to come at you. If you and your opponent are being asses, and aren't rushing down. so, here are my best suggestions w/ each character for building meter:
- Aulbath: j.MP->j.HP, LP Sonic Wave/ LK Poison Cloud
- Anakaris: j.D+HK
- Bishamon: s.HK
- B.B. Hood: Light Missiles, & j.MP>j.MK
- Demitri: Chaos Flare
- Felicia: manual charge (in pulses), or j.MK, j.HK (Which is safer)
- Gallon (Talbain): j.MK, j.HK
- Jedah: wheels, c.MK, air command grab
- Lei Lei (Hsien-Ko): TK gong
- Lilith: TK Soul Flash (Alternate with ground Soul Flash)
- Morrigan: j.mk->j.rk
- Q-Bee: j.mp->j.rk
- Sasquatch: Big Breath
- Victor: LP Gyro Crush (qcb+lp)
- Zabel: j.hp-> j.rk
Note: Jedah doesn't get meter from Dashing back or whiffing normals
Tier 1 (60 Damage, Highest Defense)
Tier 2 (64 Damage)
Tier 3 (65 Damage - Average Defense)
- B.B. Hood
Tier 4 (67 Damage)
- J. Talbain
Tier 5 (72 damage, Lowest Defense)
- Hsien Ko
Victor Anakaris Bishamon Jedah
Hsien Ko/Lei Lei
Foot Speed Comparisons
Character-Walk Forward-Walk Back
Data gathered via Artmoney and memory examination while the CPS-2 arcade game was running. Characters Oboro Bishamon, Gold Lord Raptor and Dark Talbain have the same walk speeds as their base characters. Raptor's crouch walking speed is the same as his regular walking speed.
- Lei lei (Hsien-ko)
*Note footspeeds can be tiered further, but the necessary means to research so are currently not at hand
Generally Accepted Tier List
(No particular order within each category. As unbiased as possible and taken from varying sources. Can be further divided, but resources currently not at hand)
- Zabel(Lord Raptor)
- Lei Lei (Hsien-Ko)
- Aulbath (Rikuo)
- BB Hood(Bulleta)
Character Specific Strategies
- Aubath (Rikuo)
- B.B. Hood (Bulleta)
- Gallon (J. Talbain)
- Lei Lei (Hsien Ko)
**Note: There's no Oboro Bishamon, Donovan, Phobos(Huitzil), nor Phobos. This is due to the fact that they were in the other incarnations of the Vampire Series, and though they appeared in just about all of the console ports; this section maintains arcade purity. Also to boot, none of the 4 characters are used in tournament play, since they are not available in the arcade versions of Vampire Savior.
many tidbits & just about all of frame data was found from this site:
if someone would be so kind as to translate the name of it, that would be nice.
Past Vampire Savior videos
Lilith - in research ;
Anakaris - info(frame data to be transposed)
Jedah - info being reworked (frame data finished)
Sasquatch - info & frame data(finished?)
Lei lei(hsien ko)-info & frame data(finished?)
Aubath(Rikuo)-info & frame data(finished?)