This thread has survived to the last forum onslaught because of Bydoslasher's brilliant efforts.Many thanks and my infinite gratitude to his work
Ok ladies and gentlemen, i want to try out an hybrid thread: I'm writing the few basics for this *excellent* game and propose a discussion to have many contributions on bosses and routes, which are the main core to a proper approach to the game. So, let's start the experiment:
O. FACT FILES
1.O BASIC MECHANICS
1.1 BASIC ATTACKS
1.2 BLACK HOLE BOMB
2.0 ADVANCED TECNIQUES
2.2 SECRET BONUSES
2.4 MID-BOSSES AND CAPTURE
2.5 FINAL BONUS
0. FACT FILES
Darius Gaiden is the third arcade installment of the much praised Taito series.There's a urban legend about this game: one of Darius II/Sagaia endings had a reference to Darius III in one of its endings.It seems that, at the beginning, Metal Black was planned to be Darius III, a sort of apocaliptic chapter of the series (The original idea was to have Darius devastated by aliens and etc etc).Then, Metal Black was developed as a different game, and we had to wait 5 years for a new Darius, which is a "side story" (Gai-Den=side story).
This new Darius was developed on Taito's F3 board, and was (and still is to some extent) the most popular of the series. For its age, the game was almost a graphic demo, featuring a lot of psychedelic effects and nicely animated bosses...not to mention some of the most hardcore boss battles of the time (Titanic Lance anyone?). There's an extra version which has shuffled zones (instead of A, you get R as the first zone), and an official hack (i.e. Taito didn't sue the hackers or something like that) of the extra version: it has full autofire and,if you start a single player game on 2p side,you will do all zones in alphabetical order!
Now, let's cover the basics:
1.0 BASIC MECHANICS
Darius Gaiden is a pretty simple game, and not really different from the other Dariuses.One main difference is the presence of a much useful "Black hole bomb" and the ability to capture mid-bosses. Let's thus cover the
1.1 BASIC ATTACKS
Forward shot and and missiles (called in this way to distinguish them from the bomb) are mapped to A button, in this game.Like in other Darius games, they will change in nature by levelling them up, i.e. by taking a given number of power-ups without dying (3).Once you level up your missiles and shield, if you die, you will lose partial power-ups but not the weapon level.You have the level-up bar, keeping track of how many power-ups you still need to level up,just under your score.The forward shot works in a different way, being the main weapon for mass destruction at your disposal: there's no bar tracking your progress in power, because you basically lose 2 power levels every time you die. Rank also depends from your basic attack, as we'll cover in the proper section.Finally, a list of the various power-up colours, which will also repeated in the appendix:
I will also put the various weapon levels in the appendix.
Now, let's talk about the
1.2 BLACK HOLE BOMB
Finally!A smart bomb to deal huge damage to enemies!The black hole bomb is very powerful: once you use it, it will "suck in" all enemies and bullets on the screen (you're immune to its effect...damn, i wonder how the physics behind works ).Once the hole disappears, an electromagnetic storm damages all other enemies remaining on screen.
As you can guess, it's very powerful and useful, in fact it's the less frequent power-up you will get.Its icon is:
PURPLE=Black Hole bomb
Once we have covered our weapons, we can easily say that we know all that's necessary (aka basic) to the game.We can then switch to
2.0 ADVANCED TECNIQUES AND KNOWLEDGE
This section is thought to be enriched by the GD part: i'm listing here the simplest tricks and secrets that are useful in the game, but i really would like to put in contributions on bosses (the most important aspect of the game!) and thus create an organized guide after having some insightful discussions on this aspect.At any case:
It's simple: if you power up your main shot, you will trigger the default level for the stage.The default difficulty levels for the stages are:
STAGE 1: 3/15
STAGE 2: 7/15
STAGE 3: 10/15
STAGE 4: 12/15
STAGE 5: 13/15
STAGE 6: 14/15
STAGE 7: 15/15
As you can see, the difficulty's increase is stern at the beginning and slower at the last stages, but the difference between level 14 and 15 is bigger than level 3 and 7!The trick to keep rank relatively low is avoiding to max out the forward shot: every time you level-up with main shot, you will trigger the above increase of difficulty.For example, if you enter the second stage with the laser (lvl 2) shot, you will have that stage at difficulty 7.The interesting thing is that on almost all routes,you will max out by stage 4, so you have to level up 4 times to trigger stage 4 difficulty (12/15).Why? because the rank increase is triggered in this way:
Stage 1/lvl 2 shot (laser)--->rank increase to 7/15
stage 2/lvl 3 shot(small wave)--->rank increase to 10/15
stage 3/lvl 4 shot (big mixed wave)---> rank increase to 12/15
stage 4/lvl 5 shot (not maxed out though)--->rank stops at 12/15.
As long as your power level isn't maxed out, difficulty stays "low" (12/15), which means faster bullets than the beginning, but bosses have way less hit points than at 15/15: this also means shorter boss battles, and way easier final bosses!
Once said that, there are a few notes regarding
2.2 SECRET BONUSES
Every stage has usually 2 of both types of secret bonuses.The trick is shooting against the scenery (once you have at least a level 3 shot,it's even easier)to reveal them.They come in two kinds: the bonus icon and the "screen-clearer" icon.The bonus icon's value circles around an invisible centre, if you take it exactly at the equivalent of 3 o'clock it will be worth 51,2k points, 50 points at 9 o'clock: intermediate values are based on the "hour", and they basically increase in the upper sector (from 9 to 3 o'clock), decrease in the lower sector (from 3 to 9 o'clock).The screen clearer icon simply cancels all enemies and bullets on screen (obviously). Their colours are:
GOLD= Screen-clearer icon
also, there's a secret life on all stage 3 and stage 6 zones: it's a small bobble with a miniature Silver Hawk in it.
If you use a cheat ( Press and hold B, and press Y, Right, Left, X, Z, L and R ) you can trigger the equivalent of superfast autofire (like in the official hack) speed, or you can use your Saturn's joystick hardware autofire for the same speed.Else, normal autofire is pretty slow...but!If you actually tap both button shots (on Saturn), you can have two buttons for normal shot), you can reach the same speed with some effort (useful during bosses, you can tire less by doing the double tap only during these sections).
2.4 CAPTAINS AND CAPTURE
All stages save the fourth have a mid-boss, and all mid-bosses have a sphere on their head (more or less).If you can damage enough this sphere without destroying the mid-boss, you will freeze the boss:if you take the floating sphere, you will capture the mid-boss ("captain") and will fight at your side until destroyed!
2.5 FINAL BONUS
The points you will get after you clear the game,obiously.
NUMBER OF SILVER HAWKS IN STORE*1M
NUMBER OF CAPTURED CAPTAINS*200K
Now an appetizer for the discussion:
3.1 BOSSES AND MID-BOSSES
Darius games have always been famous for their boss battles and Darius gaiden is no different.Its bosses can be pretty nasty, though.Now, since Tar-Palantir has written an excellent guide to DG's bosses, i'm reposting here said list with this link . You will find a lot of pics and clear,insightful explanations on the best tecniques to use against the various giant fishes in the game:Not only that, you will also find the most comprehensive guide to Darius games in English
RED= Forward shot
PURPLE=Black Hole Bomb
Silver Hawk=extra life
FORWARD SHOT LEVELS
Note: you always need three power-ups for next level, you lose two levels if you die.
Lv 1: Missile (more powerful than you'd think, but does not pass through enemies or terrain)
SubLv 1: Single Shot
SubLv 2: Double Shot
SubLv 3: Triple Shot
Lv 2: Laser (passes through enemies but not terrain)
SubLv 1: Double Laser
SubLv 2: Triple Laser
SubLv 3: Quad Laser
Lv 3: Wave (passes through enemies and terrain)
SubLv 1: Small Wave
SubLv 2: Small Wave w/ double missile
SubLv 3: Medium Wave
Lv 4: Large Wave
SubLv 1: Large Wave
SubLv 2: Large Wave w/ double missile
SubLv 3: Large Wave w/ double small wave
Lv 5: Red Wave:
SubLv 1: Large Red Wave w/ auto-aiming "Options"
SubLv 2: Ditto, also with double missile
SubLv 3: Same as sublv 1, also with double small green wave
MISSILE SHOT LEVELS
Note:You always need three power-ups for the next level, if you die you lose all power-ups but not the level.
Death will usually knock you back to the first sublevel of the previous level. (Dying with a sublevel 2 red wave sends you back to sublevel 1 Large Wave, for example.)
Bombs work the same way, although they never power down at death and require 3 green power-ups to move up a sub-level (does a simple sublevel increase boost their power? I'm not sure.
Lv 1: Napalm Bomb (down/forward only)
Lv 2: Twin Napalm (forward up and forward down)
Lv 3: Multi Napalm (up and down, forward and back)
Lv 4: Multi-Homing Napalm (forward homing bombs, regular back bombs)
Note: i list colour, number of maximum you can take at full power,the increase on shield's strength with every power-up you take.If you lose your shield, you will get back the maximum level at the next power-up.
LEVEL 1=Normal (green, max 3 hits,+1 per power-up).
LEVEL 2=Super (silver, max 4 hits, +2 per power-up).
LEVEL 3=Hyper (gold, max 5 hits,+3 per power-up).