Darius Cozmic Collection: Console (Switch, PS4)

I’m a huge fan of the Darius 2-D shooter series from Taito.  But what is Darius?  While it may look like a generic classic space shooter at first, it has some elements that helped split it apart from others in the arcade.  One, a lot of the spaceships you battle are designed to look like robot fish.  I don’t know why that is, but it gives the game a weirder tinge to it that I like.  Two, the original arcade game was three screens long!  This was advantageous because you could see far ahead of you and could plan accordingly.  It also gave you a bit of elbow room since the game was also two player simultaneous.  And three, the music was really good!  The stage one theme, “Captain NEO” is one of my all time favorite pieces of video game music.  Taito has an in-house band named Zuntata that does most of their game music, which is cool.  Anyway, I was super excited to find out that now there are two collection of Darius titles for Switch and PS4.  There’s an arcade collection and a console collection, and I’m reviewing the console collection for Switch.

This collection has four main games that were released for consoles, either original games or arcade ports.  Gameplay in all is pretty much the same.  You pilot the Silverhawk spacehips and in most of the games you play as Proco or Tiat, which is just Taito Corp spelled backwards!  Fire shots and missiles to shoot anything that moves, and collect power-ups to increase your projectiles and missiles and the all-important shield.  At the end of each stage you’ll get the iconic message “WARNING, A HUGE BATTLESHIP (insert name here) IS APPROACHING FAST” And then you fight a giant robot fish boss.  After than you usually can select the next stage on a branching path, which helps increase the replay value.  And that’s pretty much what you do.  This collection lets you choose options on how to play each game as well as display modes and other things.  Here are the four main games you can play on the console collection.

Darius II/Sagaia

The sequel to Darius was renamed Sagaia in certain regions.  Not sure why.  Aside from different stages and music, as well as added mini-bosses, this is just more of the same.  But at the time, that was perfectly acceptable.  There are three different versions to play here.  There’s the 16-bit SEGA Genesis and Japanese Mega Drive games, as well as an 8-bit SEGA Master System version that isn’t too bad for what it is.

Darius Twin

You get the Japanese Super Famicom and US Super Nintendo versions of this early SNES title, but it’s pretty much the same game either way.  This was a fairly early SNES launch title, so they really played up the two player simultaneous aspect since there weren’t very many games on the console that did that back then.  I remember renting this game a couple of times back then.  The music was cool in a Mega Man X sounding way, and it wasn’t overly hard since I remember beating it before I had to turn the rental back in.

Darius Force/Super Nova

The second Super Famicom Darius game was renamed Super Nova in the US, which is sad because back then I would’ve never known it was a Darius game.  I would’ve at least rented it had I known, but I don’t remember seeing Super Nova in the rental places anyway.  I don’t like this one as much as Darius Twin because in Twin, when you die, you just start up right where you left off with all your power-ups.  In Super Nova, you must start back a bit with no power-ups, so it’s a lot harder and more frustrating.

Darius Plus/Alpha

The Turbo-Grafix 16, also called the PC Engine in Japan, had a very good port of the original Darius arcade game.  In fact, the only better port I’ve seen of the original Darius arcade game was on the Genesis Mini.  Anyway, Darius Plus is the main game, while Darius Alpha was a limited contest prize that is just a boss rush mode.

And those are the games.  Really the only problem I had with this set is the lack of content.  They really should’ve put G-Darius on here as well.  It was a console game for the PSOne and had neat 3-D graphics and let you capture enemies to help you, which was a great idea.  I also think they should’ve combined the games in the arcade collection and just made one big collection instead of making you buy two to get them all.  And even then, it would be missing games like Dariusburst, the last game in the series.  I know that one you can buy separately, but it’s been around since the PS3 days.  It would’ve also been neat if they went the extra mile and added other games, too.  For instance, Metal Black isn’t part of the Darius series, but it’s made by the same team and has a lot of similarities.  Also how about Space Invaders 95?  That was a silly Space Invaders game, but one of the bosses was a parody of Darius with a seafood platter made up of the bosses from Darius!  Anyway, I guess that since I’m such a big Darius fan, my expectations of this collection were a lot higher than what we got.

Kid Factor:

Darius Cozmic Collection is rated E-10 with an ESRB descriptor of Fantasy Violence.  You shoot spaceships and robot fish that explode when defeated.  Reading skill is helpful for some of the text, and younger gamers may find it a bit difficult.

2 Responses to “Darius Cozmic Collection: Console (Switch, PS4)”

  1. I really like shmups but I’m terrible at them.

  2. Oh, if I see this on Xbox, I’ll be buying it.

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