Having previously reviewed the Darius Cozmic Collection on Nintendo Switch, I’ve been hoping that would make its way to the console too. Now thanks to Taito, G-Darius has been reborn in glorious HD and it’s a match made in heaven for the Nintendo Switch. Fans of the Darius franchise can rejoice that one of the best games in the series is now available on Nintendo Switch but is it worth buying?
G-Darius originally released way back in 1997 and was regarded as one of the best side-scrolling shoot-em-up games available at the time. Players would control a spacecraft and fire projectiles at aquatic organism based enemy ships. The game’s branching level design allowed for multiple different endings and varied playthroughs. There was a lot to get through in this game and you could easily spend hours playing it without even noticing the time go by.
G-Darius HD spruces up the original game with a shiny new coat of paint and some minor gameplay tweaks. The “Capture Ball” which is one of the core gameplay mechanics of G-Darius still features here in the remaster but the real star of the show, the Alpha beam, has been given a slight change. Players can now see a charge meter. Charge this up to full and you’ll be able to fire off the Silver Hawk’s Alpha beam and unleash massive damage on enemies.
The Alpha beam’s button-bashing beam battling has also been altered in that you can simply hold down the charge button now and it’ll pulsate with energy. Players can therefore easily defeat enemy Beta beams and absorb their power making their Alpha beams super strong. It’s so much fun using this against boss enemies and causing massive damage in the process.
The other core gameplay mechanics of G-Darius however are still relatively untouched. It still involves firing off the Silver Hawk’s standard weaponry against enemy forces while dodging everything else. Players will fire bullets, then lasers and ultimately waves of energy from the Silver Hawk as they upgrade their ship with red orb powerups. Blue and green orb powerups are also available in levels and collecting these all build up your ship’s capabilities slowly but surely. The trick to upgrading your ship in a G-Darius run is to simply not die and keep an eye out for the powerups. This is, however, easier said than done because some of the levels in G-Darius will throw an immense amount of enemies and projectiles at you.
Levels in G-Darius are split down the middle by a line at the halfway point. Players can either choose the top or bottom route with each route leading to a slightly different boss to fight against. After you beat the boss battleship, you will then be offered a choice between two zones. An entire G-Darius HD playthrough involves getting through 5 zones and defeating a literal armada’s worth of enemy ships. Capturing enemy ships and using their own weapons against them plays a key aspect of the game and the Alpha beam is essential for racking up insanely high scores in-game. Thankfully, the Alpha beam is super fun to use and since players have access to numerous capture balls in their Silver Hawk ship, they can make generous use of the Alpha beam too.
Unfortunately, Practice mode from the original G-Darius game isn’t available in this remaster but players can still play through the levels normally without much worry about failure since pressing a button can restock their credits at will. There’s also a brand new “Collection” feature available where you can see enemy ship names and their HP values. Fans of Darius’s extensive lore will be glad to see this included in this title.
G-Darius HD’s side-scrolling looks fantastic in this remaster but if you’re a fan of the original, you can also play the older looking version and enable scanlines and smoothing from the options menu. This isn’t exactly great though because the game looks dated so this is more for fans to compare it with the gorgeous remaster in which most gamers will be spending their time in.
G-Darius HD runs flawlessly on Nintendo Switch with the gorgeous backgrounds and ship models being faithfully recreated in glorious HD. Kudos to the pixel artists who spent time on this. They did an amazing job and it really shows with the game being extremely beautiful, especially with the flashy effects going off all around your crisp looking ship. G-Darius itself featured some segments with built-in slow down and this is recreated too. Both versions included in this HD version run flawlessly and the only slowdown noticeable is during the actual segments where slowdown has been programmed into the game. An example of this is when you’re emerging from the clouds to fight a boss enemy in a certain level. The “Thiima” enemy battleships look great in the remaster and their marine-based theme is still quite iconic even now decades later.
The soundtrack in G-Darius HD features some adrenaline pumping music from Taito’s in-house band Zuntata and this has been remastered too. It sounds great and so too do the explosions and other sound effects in the game. The boss battle theme in G-Darius HD stands out as the best track in the game.
Overall, G-Darius HD is the literal perfect shoot-em-up bullet hell side-scroller title for the Nintendo Switch. The game’s short level lengths and branching pathways makes it an excellent choice for pick up and play gameplay in short bursts. It runs flawlessly too and looks fantastic in both handheld and docked mode. If you’re a fan of the Darius franchise or you’re a newcomer who wants a solid, addictive side-scroller shooter with lots of replayability, G-Darius HD is for you. Highly recommended!
G-Darius HD was reviewed on the Nintendo switch.
Available on PlayStation and Nintendo Switch
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