Darius is a side scroller shoot ‘em up franchise from Taito Corporation. The games were iconic in the Japanese market with numerous releases back in the 80s and 90s. Now in 2020, gamers worldwide will finally be able to enjoy the classic side-scrolling goodness thanks to two collections that have been released for Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4. The two collections are the Darius Cozmic Collection Console and the Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade. As their names suggest, one collection features the arcade titles while the other features the console titles. Arguably, the console collection is the better purchase since it features 6 titles (9 versions) in total. These being:
- Darius II (Mega Drive, JP version)
- SAGAIA (Genesis, US version)
- SAGAIA (Master System, EU version)
- Darius Twin (Super Famicom, JP version)
- Darius Twin (Super NES, US version)
- Darius Force (Super Famicom, JP version)
- Super Nova (Super NES, US version)
- Darius Alpha (PC Engine, JP version)
- Darius Plus (PC Engine, JP version)
The arcade collection features 4 titles (7 versions) in total. These being:
- Darius (Arcade, original version)
- Darius (Arcade, new version)
- Darius (Arcade, extra version)
- Darius II (Arcade, Dual Screen version)
- SAGAIA (Arcade, ver.1)
- SAGAIA (Arcade, ver.2)
- Darius Gaiden (Arcade)
Gamers who were around in the golden era of gaming in the late 80s and 90s might be familiar with Darius but for those who aren’t, these games were tough as nails side scrollers that featured fish themed enemies. The storylines of the various Darious games were negligible and the action itself did the talking. Players would take control of a “Silver Hawk” attack spacecraft and fire lasers, rockets and bombs at a large selection of on-screen enemy ships that would fire back at you.
Players will have to dodge ships, asteroids, bullets, lasers and other projectiles as the screen gradually scrolls along. The games featured in the collection are all incredibly similar. They all feature much of the same core shoot ‘em up gameplay with some various tweaks and changes in-between. For example, in Darius Force or Super Nova, there are multiple different themed enemies but the game does not feature the same instant-respawn system seen in SAGAIA. Instead, you’ll have a checkpoint system which unfortunately interrupts the flow of gameplay quite significantly.
The SAGAIA Master System version included in the console collection is the 8-bit version of the same game available on the Sega Genesis. This means that the graphics and the sound is vastly different to the Sega Genesis version which gives it its own unique flair. Darius II or SAGAIA is the star of the console collection line up offering plenty of challenge and replayability throughout.
In the Arcade collection, Darius Gaiden is the star of the show with its gorgeous arcade graphics recreated extremely well on Nintendo Switch. The game not only looks great but plays great too and this is a title many shoot ‘em up gamers will definitely sink hours and hours into thanks to the branching level paths. Darius, Darius II and SAGAIA in the arcade collection also feature the extended screen look which mimics the arcade cabinet feel of the original games.
Graphically, each Darius game available in the collection looks about as great as you’d expect for 80s and 90s video games. The pixelated graphics are there and so too are the authentic sound effects. It’s retro all the way and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. This is a great collection of classic games and one that shouldn’t be overlooked if you’re a fan of old school side-scrollers.
Overall, both Darius Collections deliver great gameplay throughout. There’s enough content in each of the games to keep you busy for hours on end and speedrunners and the more hardcore shoot ‘em up fans will love the challenge they present. The Arcade collection is cheaper than the Console collection, however, the Arcade collection includes Darius Gaiden and that alone would probably be enough of a reason to purchase it. Ultimately, we recommend checking out both collections. The two-player co-op on offer in some of these titles such as Darius Gaiden also sweetens the package since you can load up a game with a friend and enjoy some classic retro shoot ‘em up goodness together. Currently, both collections are quite pricey though so do bear that in mind.
This Review is based on the Nintendo Switch Versions of the game.
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Darius Cozmic Collection
Experience one of the most influential horizontally scrolling shoot 'em up series of all time from the comfort of your home, on your TV screen or on the go in portable mode.
Product Currency: GBP
Product Price: 44.99
Product In Stock: SoldOut