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 Post subject: Darius Force /Super Nova (SNES)
PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 9:15 am 


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Joined: 11 Oct 2008
Posts: 138
Location: Autobot City
Second SNES Darius game and one of the best of the whole series, because it seems like Taito pushed the limits of the SNES in this game.

The gameplay was completely changed from what we saw on Darius Twin, first off you have to select one of the three Silver Hawks available, while this game is a one player only, they compensate that with a 3 ship select option. The green one is the Wave beam type, blue is the "Air to Ground, Power Type" and the red one. My strategy is picking the green one. The in-game weapon system was also improved to be challenging but still useful at the same time. In the other games your Silver Hawk can shoot the laser and bomb at the same time by pressing both buttons, but in Super Nova, as soon as you start the game you'll notice that you can't, why?. It's because you need to pick power ups, once your ship is on "Level 2" of fire power you'll be able to fire both shot and bomb simultaneously, but at the cost of downgrading a level. Fortunately this can be compensated by constantly increasing your power level, by picking enough power ups you'll be able to shoot both weapons without the level downgrading. There's also the shield which will be of great use in this game. Keeping the shield was always a necessity, but in this game is a must since if you die, you'll go back like in the R-Type games, this also means downgrading your firepower to Level 1 except for the Shield, which downgrades after using a continue, which is also a change from Darius Twin's "Keep Power Ups after dying". Speaking of Power Ups, the red power up increases the shot and bomb, and the blue is the shield, then what happens with the green one?. The green orb is now a "Bonus Item", it can give you a 1up or bonus points. In some stages they appear as flashing asteroids flying fast. I almost forgot that you can change your bombs to a green laser like the ones from Darius II by pressing one of the buttons, however the laser is weaker than the bomb.

The stage route was changed once again, while in Darius Twin the ramification was different and you were still able to pick up or down (let's say "H" or "I"), in Super Nova's case if you are on Zone "E" and you pick "G", there's no way to go down, so you only have three routes: the 5 stage "L-Route", 6 stage "N-Route" and the 7 stage "O-Route". While all endings are good, the "True Ending" can only be found on Zone O.

Graphically, this game is just beautiful, featuring not just well detailed machinery and visual effects but also some of the most beautiful landscapes and scenery seen on a shoot'em up, from space clouds floating in the stars to mysterious caverns and relaxing river coasts. The visual effects can be seen in stages like Zone C and J, where the Mode 7 engine is used to rotate the stage, making the game scroll into another direction, it's a big step from the Thunder Force III-like Zone D from Darius Twin. Other instances of Mode 7 effects are seen on Spiral Snail and Galst Vic's "size shifting" head. Super Nova is notorious among fans for "breaking the habit" of relying only on aquatic lifeforms, there's still plenty of mechanical fishes, squids and anemonae in this game, but also we will see designs based on other lifeforms like chamaleon (Stealther), snail (Spiral Snail), Plesiosaurus (Zandick II), Pteranodon (Megalopros) and a human skeleton (Galst Vic). One of the most remembered boss battles is Peace Destroyer in Zone H, where the action takes place inside the mechanical oarfish. King Fossil makes a short appearance in the game introduction, and while Great Thing doesn't appear, there's a successor: Great Force. The atmosphere of the Darius series had an overall change towards a dark and mysterious tone, but still familiar and recognizable for the fans of this game.

The continue screen in this game is just beautiful, a sunrise/sunset on the beach representing the hope that comes with the next dawn.

The sound department is another great point in favor of this game. While in Darius Twin we had the "Capcom-like Hardrocking" soundtrack reminiscent of U.N. Squadron or Megaman X, Super Nova replaced that with an Epic-styled soundtrack, combined with marches, themes with calmed and relaxing paces that increase their strength as the level progresses, the boss battle themes vary from hard rocking to enigmatic (Peace Destroyer) and sinister (Galst Vic), all of this giving an entire new twist to the game.

The differences between Darius Force and Super Nova are minimal, aside from the obvious title change, they're only two things "censored" in the game. The first one can be seen in the opening "prologue" where the phrase "made from the bones of his kill" was replaced with "pieces of wood and stone", and the second one was in a boss renaming: Icthyion, whose original name is "Devil Fish".

Darius Force / Super Nova is one of those "Must Play" and "Must Have" for shmuppers. The US Gamepak advertise Super Nova as "The Ultimate Adventure!", it will be the Ultimate Darius Adventure, because the "Ultimate Adventure" (in general shmupping) already has its own name and is Axelay. But still, Super Nova get's the 10/10 since it really deserves it.
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