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 Post subject: Darius Cozmic Collection: Console (PlayStation 4 - Switch)
PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2020 7:58 am 

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Joined: 11 Oct 2008
Posts: 379
Location: Autobot City, Sugiura Base
Partly Metal, Partly Real. There's a room for a SilverHawks reference.

Bluegrass: So, you've got tired of nowadays shooting games eh, kid. ┬┐Do you wanna play with those Silver Hawks?
Copper Kidd: You bet.
Bluegrass: Well, they always say "You can rely on the classics because they never fail". The Darius series is one of them. But one thing is to learn how to control the Silver Hawk, and another thing is to deal with difficult situations. So, before you start playing the hard-to-beat arcade titles, let's take a look at the console ports of Darius.
*Runs Darius Cozmic Collection: Console on the computer screen*

9 Exciting Darius games to play. "Old School" fun guaranteed!

For this review of Darius Cozmic Collection, I'll start reviewing the games from my least favorite to my overall favorite, and it doesn't matter if you're a first timer or a long-time Darius fan, I'm sure you'll agree in the order I've played the games.

I wasn't about to mention this giant shrimp for seafood topics, but here it is.

DARIUS ALPHA (PC Engine): The once ultra rare HuCard game is now available for the public. For a rare game, Darius Alpha is only a "Survival Mode" where you fight 16 bosses. The objective here is to reach the end or at least see how far you can survive. There's a hidden 4 minute mode where you have to make the highest score possible by killing the boss hitting it on its main weakpoint. Although this game, together with Darius Plus and Super Darius are the very first console ports of the original arcade and it was an incredbile accomplishment how NEC tried their best on making the whole thing look arcade-like, we've gotta admit that the colors used are simply way too bright, I swear that after playing the PC Engine ports, my eyes hurt for a few minutes.

DARIUS PLUS (PC Engine): The first home release of Darius based straightly on the arcade rather than the "Enhancements" of PC ports like Darius+. Darius Plus is actually a downgraded port of the CD Engine game Super Darius where the game uses the soundboard of the PC Engine and reduces the improved 26 boss roster to only 16. Like in Darius Alpha, the bright graphics problem that I've mentioned before are still present in Darius Plus. The game's main problems are the size of sprites, which is a double-edged sword of some sorts. While its intention of being arcade accurate despite console limitations its worth of praise, that accuracy is a problem because we are talking of rendering a three screens long game into a single screen television, making things look somewhat crammed and there's not too much space to make bullet dodging, being a problem on later boss fights like Hard Mollusk and My Home Daddy.

Meanwhile, NASA denies the existence of crystals under the surface of Mars.

SAGAIA (Sega Master System): Like I said on my review of Raiden ports when I criticized the Atari Lynx port of Raiden, some arcade games are definitely not meant for 8-bit consoles. History itself gave us examples: After Burner, Alien Syndrome, Altered Beast and Space Harrier on the Master System and the NES (both by Tengen, Sunsoft (Only the sound was the best part), Asmik and Takara), and the best example of those failed ports: Galaxy Force and Shadow Dancer on the Sega Master System. Sega's 8-bit pioneer had another instance of "Want to port it, but I've failed on execution" and the second chapter of the Darius series was that instance. While the Genesis makes its best to pull arcade faithfulness even when the game focused on the sound rather than the graphics, the SMS port fails in almost everything. First off, the game simplified the stage branching resulting in 1 stage for Venus, 2 for the Moon, 1 for Earth, 2 for Mars and 3 for Jupiter, leading to three different endings. Like the Genesis port, the game lacks of a 2 player mode, but gives the player the option of playing as Tiat Young who's more powerful than Proco Jr. The game suffers from graphic flaws as we have flickering on the enemies, an indication that this game was not meant for this console. On the bright aspects, the background utilizes waving effects (Zone A - Sun, for example) and some well executed visual effects for the Master System's standards and the enemies are very recognizeable (King Fossil sub-boss). Like in the Amiga Darius+, the boss fights take place on a black background. The music is well rendered even with the SMS soundboard. Otherwise, its a port that can easily be forgotten.

DARIUS II / SAGAIA (Sega Megadrive / Sega Genesis): The only Darius game that saw the light on the Genesis, until the "unearthed" Megadrive Mini port of Darius came up. This version of Darius II keeps all of the arcade action on the home release, except for the co-op two player mode. Taito addressed that by powering Tiat Young and making her a selectable character. Playing with her makes the game much easier when it comes to regain strength 'cos unlike Darius where your power bar only resetted to the lowest level of a powered weapon (losing the Level 4 Laser back to its Level 1), in Darius II you'll go all the way down to power level 1. Another feature was the inclusion of the "Laser", green beams that act as the "Second bomb" of the game providing both air and ground support. During boss battles you'll be able to turn to the left or right, depending on which side the boss is. It is admirable how the game makes a re-balance between arcade quality in graphics and arcade accurate sound kinda like in the Genesis port of Super Hang-On, while the graphics were remade to fit on a single TV screen you can recognize everything in the game. Like in After Burner II and Kuhga: Operation Code "Vapor Trail", the Genesis port of Darius II concentrates the arcade accuracy on the sound rather than the graphics, as we have an envolving soundtrack that brings the arcade feeling at home despite being rendered on the Genesis soundboard, a testimony of Sega's claims of arcade quality on the sound. The Japanese Megadrive port features a Japan-exclusive "Special Mode" that consists of 12 short levels and their respective boss fights.

I've never expected to play this one again...

DARIUS TWIN (Super Famicom / Super Nintendo): The Darius game you will love and hate. On its respective review I said what I had to say about that game from its few positive aspects to the obnoxious negative ones and I'm not gonna repeat all that again, but still it was nice to revisit this in a console instead of an emulator. While the Japanese SFC version only has Monaural sound (one speaker), the SNES version is Stereo based (two speakers) taking full advantage of the sound card of the Super Nintendo.

Sometimes landscapes are more impressive than the battlefield itself.

DARIUS FORCE / SUPER NOVA (Super Famicom / Super Nintendo): "The Ultimate Adventure!" as it was tagged on the SNES Game Pak. I've decided to leave this game on the end 'cos it's my personal favorite of the whole collection just like Super Castlevania IV and Contra III: The Alien Wars are for the Anniversary Collection compilations of Castlevania and Contra, keeping the best for the end. Darius Force/Super Nova is perhaps the best of the Non-arcade based console games and in my opinion better than Darius Twin, while it sacrifies the co-op gameplay, it compensates it with the option of playing with three different Silver Hawks with unique weapons and a hidden Endurance Mode which can be accessed via a code or selecting the Special Mode in the Game Selection menu. Like in Sagaia, picking the Special Mode in Game Selection will disable the save states, however, Darius Force's Endurance Mode is much easier and with some practice you might not need to save the game. While both games are virtually identical on their localizations, the only differences between them are a couple of censorship instances. The first one is in the opening when it says "made from the bones of his kill" to "made from pieces of wood and stone" (which ironically makes more sense) and the renaming of Devil Fish to Icthyion.

Imagine you are there making a beach BBQ with your friends.
Burgers and beer on the sand and sea breeze as the sun goes down.

The emulation on the games is very solid and flawless unlike some emulators like the ZSNES, making the compilation as good as playing the good old SNES, Genesis or the PC Engine. The game also gives you the option of add screen effects like scanlines like those Trinitrons of the 90's if you want an additional dose of nostalgia, but emulating the Trinitron in a Bravia isn't a good idea if you ask me. While the game selection screen allows you to play the hidden special modes of Darius Alpha, Darius II and Darius Force separately, you can also access them in the normal mode by using the cheat code like in the original console, doing this in the original game allows you to save if you make a mistake (this REALLY HELPS in Darius II's Special Mode) while the separate modes disables the save function.

While this compilation is pretty well and comprises the essentials of the console games, there's still games missing that deserved to be included. Starting off with Super Darius which is the original CD Engine game where Darius Plus comes from, along with Super Darius II. Not including the CD Engine games is a fatal mistake, especially Super Darius II which feels like a "Semi-Enhanced" port with the redesigned enemies and arranged soundtrack. Sagaia on the Game Boy is nowhere to be found, although it shares the same name as the localization of Darius II, it was an entirely new game. Darius R for the Game Boy Advance is also missing in the compilation. The Amiga Darius+ could be another title that deserves to be included despite how atrocious it was. Like the Contra III-Super Probotector thing in Contra Anniversary Collection, M2 repeats the trick of considering the international localizations as separate games rather than giving the player the option of switching between them like Capcom and Digital Eclipse did in Megaman X Legacy Collection where we can choose to play Megaman X2 or Rockman X2 by pressing a button.

- The instances of weapons "Made from the bones of his kill" and "pieces of wood and stone" are in fact true since primitive humans created both weapons and tools from bones of dead animals and even human bones along with the more common use of wood and stone like the Neanderthal tools and spears made with obsidian blades.
- It is unknown why Taito decided to rename Darius Force as Super Nova.
- Darius Force/Super Nova is the only game that features a speed escape in the style of Gradius III.
- Darius Plus was the first game to introduce the arcade cancelled Big Rajarnn boss.
- While the SNES games omits the "Licensed by Nintendo" in the title screen and/or start up, in Super Nova's "END" screen the disclaimer still appears.

On March 3, 1969 the United States Navy established an elite school for the top one percent of its pilots.
Its purpose was to teach the lost art of aerial combat and to insure that the handful of men who graduated were the best fighter pilots in the world.
They succeeded.
Today, the Navy calls it Fighter Weapons School. The flyers call it...

In the end, Darius Cozmic Collection: Console is more than a bundle of console Darius games, is the "Starter Deck" for those who are new into the franchise and want to give this saga a try.
A game no one could miss in their collections.
Fan of Transformers, Shmups and Anime-styled Girls. You're teamed up with the right pilot!
Bringing you shmup reviews with humorous criticism.

STG Wikias: Thunder Force Wiki - Wikiheart Exelica - Ginga Force Wiki

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