Finally, October, which means that it’s time to talk about our favorite monsters again, and this time is the turn of the vampires.

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Spooky

You know, vampires aren’t very different from dragons. They are both known worldwide, they are both powerful creatures, each culture in the world has their own interpretation, and in video games they are usually bosses that you have to battle hard in order to finally kill them.

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Just die god dammit.

This is going to be a long entry, so let’s start explaining what a vampire is. Believe me this is not an easy explanation.

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And YES, I’m going to use movie posters instead of classic art

In essence, a vampire is an undead being with supernatural powers who feeds of the life essence of the living, usually blood. Of course the rest of the details vary depending of the culture or the type of vampire which we are talking about such as…

Regular Vampires

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These are the vampires that you know and love, with supernatural powers such as super strength, speed, agility and an accelerated healing factor. They also have the usual weaknesses such as garlic, crosses, holy water, silver (because if it works on werewolves why not vampires too?), and sunlight. Some old beliefs that I particularly like about vampires: they can’t enter a house unless they are invited, they don’t have a reflection which is why they can’t appear on mirrors or pictures, if they see rice or seeds on the floor or in a sack they have to count every single one, as well as the the classic stab to the heart.

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And if everything fails you can always rely on Fire.

Vampire origins vary. Some beliefs center around relative deaths from illness such as tuberculosis. The loved one will come back from death in the night to spread the disease to the rest of the family. In other beliefs vampires are created because another undead monster turns the victim into one of their own either by sucking their blood or by fusing their blood with them. The final explanation has vampires revived by a powerful being such as a necromancer, or a god, serving as their minions. These minion type of vampires are not usually as strong as their creators.

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and they’re easily dispatchable 

Minion type vampires appear in games from the Vampire the Masquerade franchise, the whole Legacy of Kain series, classic Final Fantasy games, the Bloodrayne franchise, several games about Dracula, Vampire Rain and Night Trap (because vampire aren’t exclusive to good games) among others.

Succubus

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By the way, this is why I didn’t’ use classic art. Too many nudes with Succubus

Succubus is a terminology to describe demons with the appearance of a beautiful woman. They seduce men in order to feed of their life force, and coerce them into doing the Succubus’s dirty work. This is probably why they are always portrayed wearing kinky outfits.

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If you think that by 1796 standards this is too revealing just wait to see her original artwork.

In some version Succubi are described to have some kind deformity such as bird-like claws, serpentine tail or, in more popular culture, bat wings. In other words demons like Lamias or even harpies could be considered a Succubus. They can be considered a special kind of vampire because they have a lot of powers that regular vampires don’t, such as shapeshifting, invisibility and the ability to project themselves into other people’s dreams. That’s the easiest way to get into your bed without being noticed.

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I know that I’m not one to judge, but Morrigan has some really weird fetishes 

Succubi don’t have an specific origin, but it’s said that they are the descent of Lilith, Adam’s first wife who left the garden of Eden and became a Succubus. Other tales that involve their creation involve a demon who steals the sperm of a deadman and transports it to a host. There’s also their male counterpart, where a demon seduces a woman, the Incubus. But to be honest, nobody cares about them.

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Sorry

These ladies of the night appear in several games such as the Shin Megami and Persona franchise, where we have Lilims, Lilith and Lamias as demons, the Castlevania franchise from  Symphony of Night to the new Pachinko machines, Catherine from… well Catherine, Nevan from DMC3 A.K.A “The one who becomes a guitar at the end of mission 9”, and my personal favorites, Morrigan and Lilith from Darkstalkers. These two characters are two big reasons of why Darkstalkers should return this generation.

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So instead of adding her on every spin-off, why not make a new Darkstalkers game?

Jiangshi

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Believe or not, even vampires have a Chinese knock off. In this case they brought us the Jiangshi, also known as the hopping vampire.

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They see me hoping, they hating. Patrolling they tryin to catch me ridin dirty.

These monsters are a combination of vampires and zombies. They are mostly portrayed having a greenish or bluish skin, which they attribute to a fungus or mushroom growing on the corpse. Jiangshi have white hair (but this doesn’t seem to be usual now in popular culture) and really long nails. What makes them different from their western counterpart is that they can only move by hopping (in most cases) with the arms outstretched. This is due to the stiffness of their dead bodies which forbids them to bend most of their limbs. Instead of blood, these guys feed by absorbing the life force of the living beings called Qi or Chi.

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Basically sucking up your soul like the Dementors from Harry Potter

Jiangshi origin goes back to the Qing Dynasty, which is why they are usually wearing a uniform coat-like robe and a characteristic mandarin’s hat. According to folklore, a corpse can turn into a Jiangshi when a spirit takes possession of a body, when a body absorbs enough yang qi (positive energy) to return to life, (So, being too positive after dead makes you a killer vampire), when the spirit refuses to leave the body, when a person is injured by another jiang-shi or when the resurrection spell in final fantasy goes horribly wrong (there’s also another explanations but they are most the same and I don’t have the patient to learn a new religion only to explain how dead bodies works… again).

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And unlike the previous NES gif, this is not running at 600% of their original speed.

Another thing that makes Jiangshi different are their weaknesses which range from logical to nonsensical. (Again, remember that garlic is a weakness on our vampires…kinda nonsensical right?) Among the these weaknesses: Mirrors, because Jiangshis are afraid of their own reflections. Wood, because it can subjugate evil auras. Taoism talismans stuck in their foreheads. A Bagua Sign which is a symbol used on Daoism Cosmology to represent the fundamental principles of reality. Jujube seeds nailed into the acupuncture point of the back of the body. Fire, which I don’t have to explain how it works. A rooster’s call, because it usually occurs when the sun is going to rise so the evil spirits withdraw to hide in the darkness. This is where it gets really weird: Hooves of a black donkey. Blood of a black dog. A handbell. There’s no explanation on those last ones, it just works somehow.

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Amazingly enough, stepping on their heads doesn’t work 

In video games these guys appear in games like Phantom Fighter for NES, Boku Dracula-Kun for Famicom, Super Mario Land for Gameboy, Double Dragon Neon. The most popular of the Jiangshis is no doubt Lei-Lei from the Darkstalkers franchise.

The Vampire Lord: A.K.A The Goddamn Dracula.

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There’s a huge difference between dirty casual vampire plebs and the lord vampire master race. These are the granddaddies of the vampires, and one of the best examples of them is Dracula from the novel by Bram Stoker. The popularity of the novel and subsequent film adaptations is the reason why most vampire video games have Dracula or a Dracula like vampire in it. Eespite the fact that he’s not the first vampire in literature, he is one of the most well known. This version started some of the basic myths about vampire, such as their allergy to garlic.

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From mist to bat, from bat to… a purple mongoose… I guess? 

The novel never explains an origin for Count Dracula. However, every movie, video game, or game series has their own interpretation that explains why a guy that bites people needs legal support on real estate transactions. From what I learned the origin of a Vampire Lord isn’t very different from that of regular vampires. The only thing that makes them different are that they are usually older and they don’t feed of the blood of anybody except virgins or somebody pure of heart. Their preferred feeding source makes me think that if vampires ever existed, they would have been extinguished by this point.

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But I guess that by this point they conform with anything

In video games, the Vampire Lords are pretty much the final boss of the game, an undead monster that can control an army of creatures from the dark. They have a bigger resistance to some of their typical weakness than regular vampires, have the power to turn themselves into hellish monstrocities, and even crush the souls of their fallen enemies. Some of the best examples are Kain from the Legacy of Kain franchise, Nosferatu from Nosferatu (or how I like to call it “Prince of Castlevania”), Count Auguste from Vampire Night, Demitri Maximov from Darkstalkers, Orlox from Symphony of the Night, Alucard, and of course the one and only Dracula from the Castlevania Franchise. The Castlevania Dracula is of course the guy who has brought us nightmares since the NES era, but not because he was scary but because he was always so hard to beat in pretty much every game.

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God Dammit! Now I have to make the whole level again

If you are going to deal with vampires then gear up on some wooden stakes, a few bottles of holy water, and of course a big ass sword or even a freaking whip like our friend Simon. Otherwise you’ll end up as an empty juice box.

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I mean, Damn! and this is a kid’s show