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 Post subject: Darius Version Differences Analysis
PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 2:39 am 


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Joined: 19 Jul 2008
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Location: Tokyo
There's been something if a long standing question about what exactly the differences are between the three versions of the original Darius, so I finally decided to sit down with them this weekend and try to thoroughly test them using Cozmic Collection. The following is a list of things I discovered. There are probably other minor differences to be found playing on other courses or power up settings, and it's always possible there are some errors, so feel free to post additional information if you have it.


Methodology:

All differences we're tested by doing multiple back to back runs of ABDGKPZ' while making sure to take every power up available. According to Taito's own description the primary changes between the versions have to do with the rank increase associated with powerups so I felt this was the best method. The differences may be less pronounced on a low rank run.


General Version Differences:

Powerups: Distribution is slightly different across versions

White orbs: untested


Old Version Differences:

- High increase in rank for powering up
- Extremely difficult Fatty Glutton fight when powered up
- All bosses following Glutton have massively more HP than other versions due to rank, making them extremely difficult
- Low HP on ground turrets
- Shield stock limit of 25
- Can abuse a safe spot to defeat Iron Hammer

Notes: The heavy handed rank increase effectively shatters the shot type balance in this version. The game is far easier powered down, so rank control is the name of the game. Glutton is not the only problem here, the other bosses are also brutal.


New Version Differences:

- Lower rank increase for powering up; this becomes apparent from Keen Bayonet forward, and fails to fix the difficulty issues with Fatty Glutton
- Minor changes to powerup distribution.
- Laser is still very weak but wave is more useful; likely a result of changes to the rank system rather than the wave itself
- Low HP on turrets
- Shield stock limit of 24
- Can abuse a safe spot to defeat Iron Hammer
- Can easily point blank kill G.T. with a modest shield stock

Notes: Fatty Glutton is often cited as Darius' most glaringly unfair reason not to power up, and that is unfortunately still true in the update, but if you do manage to beat him the rest of the game is far better balanced. It's actually easier than Extra in many ways.


Extra Version Differences:

- Boss HP is further reduced from New Version to balance more fairly with weapon power ups, fixing the Glutton fight
- Laser damage is improved
- Increased HP on ground turrets; They now take about 4 shots to kill
- New red roe that will more aggressively track the player prior to boss fights
- Later bosses fire more aggressively
- Some changes to yellow orbs placement (apparent in zone G)
- Large score bonus awarded for remaining ships when game is cleared.
- Shield stock limit of 25
- Iron Hammer safe spot no longer works
- G.T. can no longer be point blanked to death

Notes: As I've said many times, Extra really is the definitive version. Not simply easier, the game adds new challenges to maintain balance and fixes some old cheesy strategies. There's a reason the arcades in Japan all still run Extra version, and you should too!
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Last edited by ACSeraph on Wed Mar 13, 2019 2:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Darius Version Differences: In Depth Analysis
PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 3:25 am 


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Joined: 28 Jun 2007
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Location: Paranoia
Wait, the original Darius has adaptive difficulty? After cracking wide open the system in Darius Gaiden I'm surprised I never noticed it. Is it simple like adaptive difficulty in the first few Gradius games and other early shooters where things change directly depending on your current power-up level, or does it actually build up over time?
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 Post subject: Re: Darius Version Differences: In Depth Analysis
PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 3:35 am 


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It definitely has rank, but it is very simple and tied strictly to power up level. This much is detailed in Taito's official description of the version differences. As far as I can tell the rank only affects boss HP and nothing else. The rank also lowers at death (alongside your power level) at least in Extra, where G.T. will fall more quickly if you have died fighting him. Certainly more research could be done into the exact nature of the rank system. I'm still not entirely sure if it has any impact on bullet speed, or if those are static version differences.
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 Post subject: Re: Darius Version Differences: In Depth Analysis
PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 4:03 am 


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For some reason I always kind of thought that a boss's health carried over between lives.
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 Post subject: Re: Darius Version Differences: In Depth Analysis
PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 4:13 am 


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I thought that at first too. That would be easy to test, I'll try it tonight.
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 Post subject: Re: Darius Version Differences: In Depth Analysis
PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 5:11 am 


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I also believe that, at least on Extra. I seem to recall it wasn't the case when I played New version at Mikado a few months ago, though...
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 Post subject: Re: Darius Version Differences: In Depth Analysis
PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 9:59 am 


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great work ACSeraph. 8)


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 Post subject: Re: Darius Version Differences: In Depth Analysis
PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 1:28 pm 


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Joined: 16 Aug 2008
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Location: BRA
Awesome post!

I never thought of rank while playing the Old Version.
I stuck with the ACEIMRX through all of them and only noticed much higher HP on Keen Bayonet and Octopus (not so much on Iron Hammer, which is kinda odd). I didn't think there were any changes at all in orb placement, waves or bullet speed/density from the New Version.

Granted, I only beat Old Version once and never came back to it. :lol:
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 Post subject: Re: Darius Version Differences: In Depth Analysis
PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 3:37 pm 


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Joined: 18 Jun 2012
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The only time I 1CC'd Old Version of Darius was by keeping myself at the default fire level with triple-shot - just one power-up shy of upgrading to the yellow laser. Dodging those circling red orbs became part of the challenge itself, ha ha. Funnily enough, I still haven't managed to 1CC Extra. Maybe with the Cozmic Collection I'll finally get to it.

It's good to know that Extra has a life bonus at the end. For some reason it has that, but Darius II doesn't, which kind of limits the scoring potential of the game.

Thanks for tabulating the differences, AC. New might be worth a few tries to see if I can muscle through the Fatty Glutton fight. You'll have to let us know what that safe spot is on Iron Hammer, too. 8)
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 Post subject: Re: Darius Version Differences: In Depth Analysis
PostPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2019 2:34 am 


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Joined: 19 Jul 2008
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Darius Rank Analysis

Alright so as promised here are the results of round two of research into the nature of the rank system. Please note this testing is unfinished, but it did yield some interesting results.


Methodology:
At this point I have only tested Darius Old Version. The goal was to determine exactly how much HP King Fossil has and whether or not powering up beforehand makes a difference. I also tested his HP values after player death. HP just means exactly how many shots it takes to kill him. I carefully counted each of my shots.


Results:
When taking all powerups found in the stage King Fossil has exactly 30 HP. If you shoot him 29 times and then suicide he will have 10 HP for the second round. If you shoot him 15 times and suicide he will have 15 HP for the second round. This means that there is no rank decrease at death, instead he is spawning with his remaining HP or a minimum of 10 HP.

When taking no powerups at all prior to the fight the HP value does not change at all. In other words there is no rank increase for taking individual powerups. Also this demonstrates that there is in fact no difference in damage between the variations of the basic missile. The only benefit of taking any powerups is an increased hitbox.


Conclusions:
While not definitive proof, the results suggest there is only an increase in rank for upgrading to an entirely new shot level. It is unclear whether this increase also applies to increased shield and bomb levels. I would also hypothesize that Bosses have a minimum HP spawn cap of around 33% HP based on prior close runs against G.T.. This information is valuable in that we now know you should stop taking shot powerups the moment you get the triple shot, to avoid accidentally powering to laser. It is also nice to know that you are by no means screwed when dying against a later boss.

---

To answer your question about Iron Hammer, you can camp out in the top left corner scraping the ceiling and he won't fire at you. It's not 100% safe because of cubes and zako, but if you position slightly right of the left edge and are careful with bomb useage you won't get hit. The catch here is that the strategy takes ages to finish, but on the other hand milking all those cubes and zako is good for your score.
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 Post subject: Re: Darius Version Differences Analysis
PostPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2019 10:08 am 


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Really love this topic, thanks. Revisions are always fascinating - and it's good to be reminded that games needed additional work after release even back in the golden age.
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