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 Post subject: Darius Cozmic Collection: Arcade (PS4 - Switch - PC)
PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2021 9:54 am 

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Location: Autobot City, Sugiura Base
There's always a room for SilverHawks nods when you play with Taito's Silver Hawks.

Bluegrass: First you finish the console games, then Chronicle Saviours and its modes couldn't stop you. You are REALLY something when it comes to Darius. ¿Right, kid?
Copper Kidd: Yes.
Bluegrass: Then I guess you are truly ready for the original Arcade games. ¿Think you can handle them?
Copper Kidd: Sure can.
Bluegrass: Then good luck 'cos they're not gonna be easy, but I'm sure you'll prevail in the end.

*Runs Darius Cozmic Collection: Arcade*

Time to complete this cycle of Darius reviews with the arcade games that started everything. That means play no other than Darius Cozmic Collection: Arcade.
This compilation covers the majority of the arcade released entries of the series. Unlike the console games, these are much harder, and they will push most of the limits.

Vintage Supersized Arcade Action!
Better bring a large TV for a more complete Arcade feeling.

DARIUS (Old Version): The original Darius which was announced in 1986, but released in 87. This game was a pioneer on what we can call "Experimental" gaming since its main innovation was the use of three screens to create a huge one. Instead of having the speakers next to the screen part of the cabinet, they're placed on the players seats, as part of a feature called "Body Sonic" (I'll explain that one later). It was also an experimental in the execution of difficulty levels, since the bosses overall strength will increase as we keep powering up the Silver Hawk throughout the use of the "Game Rank" which also climbed as we passed to the next Zone. ¿Did you know Great Thing's maximum HP is over 2,000 when your ship has the Wave Shot at its maximum level?

This is what you can call "Darius Champion Edition".

DARIUS (New Version): The new version of Darius is pretty much the same, but it rebalances the overall difficulty, including the Boss HP, making them a little more easier to defeat even with the Silver Hawk on its maximum power levels.

On each combat sequence you're gonna meet a different challenge.

DARIUS (Extra Version): Do you ever had that thought of "The Laser is almost useless in the game"?, This revision of Darius improves that small detail and rebalances the difficulty once more as the second half of the game will be increased based on the assumption the players will have their Silver Hawks on a high power level. It also gives you a bonus for your remaining ships: 1 Million per spare Silver Hawk.

NASA denies the existence of ruins on the Moon.

DARIUS II (Dual Screen Version): Darius II makes a whole turn of pace when it comes to the gameplay as it remakes all the key aspects of Darius in order to have a faster, more intense, yet easier combat experience. Powering up your ship takes less items than before, and there's a new weapon at your disposal: The Laser, which is your Air-To-Air and Air-To-Ground back up sub-weapon that passes through obstacles, replacing the Wave Shot, thus, the bombs are more focused on Air-To-Ground until they're maxed out to level 5. Speaking of bombs, there's bombs that can be detonated to destroy all enemies on screen and sometimes a boss, like in Zone A where you can destroy one of the Hyper Stings. Another new feature to the game was the ability of turning to the left during a boss fight. When the enemy was on the other side, the Silver Hawk will automatically turn so you can keep an offensive stance rather than going evasive until the enemy gets on the right side of the screen again. The route selection gives you more liberty to select which Zone you want to go next since it utilizes a Round Select screen instead of a fast branching.

We'll all be planning that route, we're gonna take real soon.
We're launching our Silver Hawks, we can't wait for June.
We'll all be gone for the summer, we're on "Surfari" to stay.
Tell the Belsar we're surfin', with our Silver Hawks.

SAGAIA (Version 1): Unlike most western localizations where the game only gets the traditional translation, logo change and, in Taito's case, the inclusion of the "Taito America Corp. Licensed to Romstar for U.S.A." disclaimer. For Sagaia, Taito decided to make something entirely different with Darius II, and that means make an overhaul of the game as if it was a Rom Hack, changing the order of the stages (Zone A is Earth), making them shorter, rebalancing the difficulty and simplifying the route using a branching after two stages mechanic.

Goin' down, Party time
My friends are gonna be there too, yeah.
I'm on the Hiiiiiiighway to Hell! On the Hiiiiiiighway to Hell!
Hiiiiiiighway to Hell! I'm on the Hiiiiiiighway to Hell!

SAGAIA (Version 2): This is another western localization of Darius II. While keeping the route branching and stage length of Sagaia's "Version 1", this version makes whole new scenes with the games graphics and there's one zone with some original effects. This version drops more power ups and enemies than Version 1. The only problem is that Version 2 was very rare and even hardly marketed, making it one of the "Holy Grails" of arcade enthusiasts, and the only most available (and affordable) way to play it is in this compilation.

We will teach you to fly the Silver Hawk faster than you've ever flown before.
And more dangerous.

DARIUS GAIDEN - SILVER HAWK: This is not just Darius' first entry in standard single-screen arcades. It is Darius at its finest in gameplay and fun factor. The game introduces two new features: The Black Hole bomb which is the special weapon of the Silver Hawk, and the Enemy Capture which allows you to capture a "Captain" and use it in your favor for 20 seconds. The game's fire rate was vastly improved in order to keep the much faster pace this game demands, but also it does the difficulty since the game rank gradually increases with time, Once again, the Power up system was changed combining the standard Darius upgrading with the powering levels of Darius II. The music also got a change as it makes the flat out weirdness aside in favor of a more New Age-like soundtrack in the style of Robert Miles and Enigma.

Darius 3 times. Versions shouldn't be counted as separate games.
Also, a "404 - G-Darius Not Found" was encountered.

The variety in this arcade compilation is lesser than the console counterparts. As we have three versions of the first Darius, and two variations of Sagaia along with the required Darius II and the amazing Darius Gaiden: Silver Hawk, but I think this compilation could be better as we have missing games like in the Console compilation: Where's G-Darius? (both versions), The "Extra Version" of Darius Gaiden and the original Dariusburst Another Chronicle?, that would be a nice addition since Dariusburst CS: Chronicle Saviours has the EX "Phase 2" version and the upcoming Darius Cozmic Revelation has Another Chronicle EX+ which is the second update of the game. Including the original G-Darius would be a wise move since the Taito Legends 2 version is a simplified port of the PS1 version along with the hard to find Ver.2 for those who are looking for something new on G-Darius.
Like in the Anniversary Collection compilations of Castlevania and Contra, M2 tags the versions of Darius and Sagaia as separate games rather than selectable versions after picking the game we want to play.

Fully functional interface that reveals the ins-and-outs of the game.

However, there's features that compensate and improvise the arcade games. One of them is the status indicators on your HUD, which indicates the Arm Points (back then we didn't know the AP were accumulative as we kept picking more items), an indicator that "tracks" how many bonus items we've picked and the overall bonus we've got, and in the bottom of the screen the game will display the name of the song for each stage.

Basic navigation guide, essential to know where to go.

The game includes a Zone navigator which tells you where you are and which zones are the next, so you can figure out where to go once you've finished with the current zone.

Full analysis of the bosses and their respective weak points.

The Boss Analyzer feature displays how much energy they have and how the number of weakpoints, being Great Thing from Darius Gaiden the one with the most weak points.

What it would be?, Saved in the nick of time or Here comes trouble?

When you take a lot of time fighting a boss, a formation of cubes called Yazukas will appear to destroy your ship. For your luck, you can rely on this indicator which indicates when they will appear and then when they will fire at you, once the second timer drops to zero it will run a timer to indicate how long you're surviving their firing.

Arcade faithfulness, followed by a waaaaay long Boss HP bar.

To complete the decorational aspect of the game, there's the cabinet sticker depicting the controls and a basic zone map to guide you. During boss battles you'll see the Boss HP on your HUD. That detail is not too bad ignoring they utilized a way too long lifebar for the bosses.

Carta Geográfica Completa di tutti i Regni del Darius

Pausing the game will bring one last surprise: A full, comprehensive map of the Zones of Darius, indicating the number of power ups, which scene will be the next zones and even their respective bosses.

One of the most interesting arcade-related features of the original Darius and Darius II was the Body Sonic feature. While its name sounds like a fraudulent exercise mumbojumbo from those "Call Now" infomercials, it was one of Taito's revolutionary ideas. This one involves the bass speakers were located on the cabinet seats causing vibrations with some specific sounds like the Credit inserted, WARNING! screen and exploding bosses, resulting in a "Play, Hear and Feel" experience which was innovating back then. This is recreated in the PlayStation 4 controller and we can increase the strength of the vibrations.

But if you ask me which ones are my favorite, it has to be the Autofire function, while having the standard shot, bomb and normal autofire, the game gives you a Fast Autofire of 20/30 per second, this is very helpful in Darius Gaiden, since you don't have to tap the fire button like crazy at the point of injuring your hand. My other favorite is the player select. Like in Raiden IV, you can decide if you want to play with Player 1 or 2. In Darius Cozmic Collection: Arcade, you can utilize this for your advantage, start as Player 1, pause the game, switch the Player ship as Player 2, put the blue Silver Hawk on the screen, pause again and re-gain control of Player 1. This trick is helpful to get all the power up achievements in Sagaia Ver.1 since the enemies drop more items when two players are simultaneously on screen.


3F-1B, Origin, 229X-0001. Different names, same Silver Hawk.

- IN REVERSE: The pilot names Proco and Tiat written backwards spell TAIT OCORP (Taito Corp.)
- RANKIN-BASSED: The name of the ship, Silver Hawk, shares a coincidence with the 1986 cartoon SilverHawks just like After Burner's F-14 "Thunder Cat" did with the 1985's ThunderCats.
- SHIP NAMING (PART I): The 3F-1B Silver Hawk is known as Silver Hawk Origin in Dariusburst and as the 229X-0001 Silver Hawk in Darius Force / Super Nova.
- SHIP NAMING (PART II): The ship from Darius II is called Silver Hawk Second and FFSA-0019 Silver Hawk.
- SHIP NAMING (PART III): The Silver Hawk from Darius Gaiden was simply called Silver Hawk Gaiden.
- SECOND IN LINE: The 3F-1B / Origin is actually the second Silver Hawk, being the ARCF-ROTA PLUS (Silver Hawk Genesis) from G-Darius the first one.
- THE CLOUDS HAVE A NAME: The sea of clouds seen through all the games is called BBF, which means "Big Battle Field".
- HOME PORTED: Of all the arcade conversions, Darius was the most ported as it was subsequentially released to the Amiga and Atari ST computers as Darius+, in the PC Engine as Darius Plus and Super Darius on the CD Engine, and as Darius R on the Gameboy Advance.
- WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?, NINTENDO TO MAKE ONE?: Darius R was the only port of Darius for a Nintendo console.
- MIXED BAG: Darius R, while being a port of Darius, it features the music of Darius Gaiden and G-Darius, along with a simplified route and mixed bosses of Super Darius.
- LOST IN THE SANDS OF TIME UNTIL TODAY: There was a Sega Genesis port which was cancelled, until it was unearthed, enhanced by M2 and released as part of the game list of the Megadrive Mini.
- YOU CAN'T DO THIS ON NINTENDO, GENESIS DOES!: The Genesis port of Darius is the most arcade faithful in terms of gameplay, graphics and even the sound, living up to the old Nintendo-trolling commercial slogan "Genesis does what Nintendon't" (and Turbografxn't) and breaking with everything we knew about 16-bit conversions.

Yeah, my surfin' knots are rising and my board is losing wax.
But that won't stop me baby, 'cos you know I'm coming back.

- A VERY FAMILIAR SCENERY: Zone N's scenery was reutilized on Darius Twin as Zone A (Planet Rilair).
- HISTORICAL EVENTS: Super Nova calls the events of the first two arcade games as "PLN "Darius" Exodus War" and "Solar System Defend War".
- ITS IN THE FAMILY: Proco Jr. and Tiat Young will take their ancestors place in Darius II.
- UNIQUE SPACE TOUR: Darius II is the only entry in the series which takes place on our Solar System.
- ORBITAL SCREW UP: In Darius II's Zone Map, the game depicts the Earth's Moon with an orbit of its own instead of being a satellite orbiting the Earth.
- FOR TWO OR THREE SCREENS: Darius II was also released as a three-screen conversion kit for The Ninja Warriors and the original Darius, unfortunately, the triple screen version was not included in the collection.
- DREAM ON, JR.!: The Joke ending of Darius II is the lone instance where the "It was just a dream" became the gag for the ending.
- PATH SPLITS AFTER THE ZONE B: Sagaia's "Path splitting after Zone B" was later reutilized on Dariusburst.
- TURN AND BURST: Darius II's ship turning feature was later reintroduced in Dariusburst.

Unless we count Metal Black as the Darius III you're talking about...

- COMING SOON, A SEQUEL THAT NEVER CAME: Zone X's No Miss ending of Darius II announces "Next Year, Darius III" (1990 back then) which never realized as such, but instead it became "Project Gun Frontier 2", better known as Metal Black, which was released in 1991.
- ONE THING LEADS TO ANOTHER: Zone X's ending in Darius II leads to the events of Darius Twin, this is backed up in Super Darius II's Zone X ending as the Belsar ship was replaced by a Red Mist-like boss.
- GONE EXTRACANONICAL: Both Zone X and Darius Twin don't count as part of the official canon.
- NAVIGATION ERRORS: In the Cozmic Collection port of Darius II, the Next Zone indicator spells Mercury as MARCURY, and during the Venus zones, tags Earth as the next zone when is actually the Moon.
- NEW PILOTS: Darius Gaiden was the first arcade game where Proco, Tiat or their descendants are not the pilots. The job of fighting Belsar is encommended to Keith Arden and Anna Steiner.
- MEANT TO BE THE THIRD: Darius Gaiden is sometimes referred as Darius III despite that title was for what later became Metal Black.
- THE JOKE STOPS HERE: Darius Gaiden was the last entry in the series where the Joke endings were utilized.
- ENGRISH NO MORE: The US console versions of Darius Gaiden by Acclaim re-writes all the ending scripts making them more coherent.
- G-FORCED: The bird transformation seen in Darius Zone V's 2-players ending, Gameboy's Sagaia and G-Darius Zone Xi are reminiscent of God Phoenix's "Secret Ninja Technique Hinotori" transformation from Tatsunoko's Gatchaman (Firebird Module in G-Force: Guardians of Space).
- TATSUNOKO SUPPORT: As if it was a coincidence, I.G. Tatsunoko/Tatsunoko Production supported the Darius series in both Darius Gaiden and G-Darius.
- MY SHIP, MY ENEMY: Mother Hawk was the first ship built by Belsar based on the player's ship as a form of psychological intimidation. This was later followed by Dark Helios in Dariusburst which is based on Syvalion from the shmup-maze game of the same name.
- RELATED WITH OTHER GAMES: Belsar are also the enemies of Syvalion in the Darius based random scenes of the game. Although it is unknown what relation Belsar has with Varia, it is implied they're part of them (¿could be a splitted faction?) or they had a similar origin.
- ALL IN A BUNCH: The japanese releases of Darius Cozmic Collection weren't just Arcade or Console separated. There was a Special Edition including all the games in one bundle, with the exception of the Genesis Sagaia, SNES Super Nova and Darius Plus, which were later included as patches for the Switch.


Silver Hawk flyover at the end of "Eagle Fly Free" during Vision Divine's concert.

Anyone would break his/her head trying to understand the endings of the original Darius. Fortunately, these are explained in the book Darius Odyssey.

ZONE V "Like a Phoenix": This ending congratulates the player and says goodbye to them until the next game with the Silver Hawk flying. This is the ending of the 1 player only. The "Phoenix" name makes sense when the ending is reached with 2 Players. Both Proco and Tiat merge their Silver Hawks into a phoenix and crashes with a base/core destroying it and apparently killing the pilots in the process.

ZONE W "To a New World": The pilot/s are out of the Silver Hawk/s standing on an open grassfield looking the sunset. What happens here is that both Proco and Tiat failed to stop Belsar, as a result, Darius became an inhospitable world. Both pilots began to warp through space constantly until their sensors detected a hospitable world without need of terraforming it. For their luck, they've found one that reminds them of Darius. Proco and Tiat settle there and watch the sunset together.

ZONE X "Journey to the Unknown": Proco and Tiat are picked by a large ship. Another "We've failed to save Darius" ending. Once again Proco and Tiat were unable to save Darius from being destroyed by Belsar and to make things worse, they ran out of fuel to find a new world by themselves, ending up flying through space until a ship which was neither from Darius or Belsar (a neutral) picks them up.

ZONE Y "NICE FIGHT!": A pilot (either male or female depending of who finished the game) sitting on the arcade machine with the congratulatory text of 1P's Zone V ending. No need to explain what's going on, the events of the game were just a game played by a pilot in an arcade machine. This is the "Joke Ending" of the game.

ZONE Z "Peace Regained": While the game shows us the Silver Hawks flying over a large city, Darius Odyssey explains that the destruction of Great Thing caused the rest of Belsar's fleet to go dormant, finishing the war. The flyover is the return of Proco and Tiat as heroes.


Tonight on CNN: NASA denies the presence of volcanism and atmospheric phenomena on Mars.

- Active Volcanism and Aurora Borealis on Mars. Something like that is possible?, In the past both were possible since the planet had an active core just like the Earth, however, it cooled off with time. The backgrounds seen in the game are more of speculation since our knowledge of Mars was very limited back then.

- Zone W's ending in Darius II mentions the habitants of Darius in Olga were already ruined (friendly engrish for ALREADY DEAD) ¿Is there a scientific explanation for that? Actually yes. Considering the beyond lightspeed accelerations after clearing levels, it is possible that time passed by unaffecting Proco Jr. and Tiat Young, while the universe get older, this is based on Einstein's Theory of Relativity as time goes slower in a spaceship flying at the speed of light, for instance a flight to Andromeda and back will take 57 years to the crew, but on Earth they've passed 4 million years. This can also explains the ending of RayStorm's Tanz Mix mode where Earth is gone as the events of RayCrisis, and subsequentially RayForce took place while the pilot was in Secilia.

- The "Oops, we've destroyed Darius" ending in Darius Gaiden's Zone Z. ¿Is it possible that a battle in Darius' core could make the whole planet explode in a Death Star cliché?, The answer is "Very unlikely", considering that the battle takes place between the Core-Mantle Boundary, anything that goes down the CMB it will melt and disintegrate (missiles) with the exception of Curious Chandelier who's capable of submerge in the 2,730–4,230 °C molten iron core. Also, the radius of Earth's core is of 3483 km, If Darius' core is the same size, then the damages would be minimal or even unnoticeable (I guess, since I'm not a geologist to know for sure), considering the mantle's ceiling is hardened rock due to the heat and pressure.

- How does the BBF change the scenery for a totally different one?, That implies the idea of other dimensions, think of it as a parallel, "pocket dimension" which teleports the Silver Hawk to a different place before and after destroying the battleship that generates it, explaining the warp to different areas in the first game. A good example of pocket dimensions could be Leliel's Dirac Sea in Neon Genesis Evangelion which Ritsuko Akagi describes it as "an imaginary space, called a Dirac Sea. I think it's probably connected to another universe".


Even Thunder Force makes a reference to this game.

- PUZZLED AND BUBBLED: Puzzle Bobble 2 / Bust-A-Move 2 features Darius cameos, one of them is King Fossil which appears in the world map and as a constellation in the ending, along with a Silver Hawk.
- BUST-A-MOVED: The Egypt boss Mechanical Prototype Bubblen from Puzzle Bobble 2 is a Darius nod as it utilizes the Warning sound, and the Darius Gaiden version of the BBF as background.
- SYMPHONY OF BUBBLES: Bubble Symphony / Bubble Bobble 2 has a world of rounds based on Darius II's Zone A.
- METAL BLACK: Traces of Metal Black's origin as a Darius game can be found in the game, there's a Yamato-like sub boss in Stage 1, Feeder (Stage 2 boss) is a successor of Drio Sawm, Amazo (Stage 4) is reminiscent of Titanic Lance, and there's mechanical fishes as enemies.
- THE SYVALION CONNECTION: There's several stages and endings of Syvalion which involve Belsar and lore that mentions Darius II since one of the endings is a message from Tiat warning about Belsar's plans of invading the Earth.
- SPACE INVADED: Space Invaders 95 is not excent of Darius cameos, starting off with the Silver Hawks as playable ships, a spoof of Yamato that resembles a japanese sea food dish with King Fossil and Octopus (and Darius Gaiden's BBF as background), and there's a parody of My Home Daddy as "My Home Daddy Girl".
- A WORLD BEYOND THE RAINBOW: Rainbow Islands features a world dedicated to Darius called "Darius Island".
- BREAKING THROUGH: In the NES version of Data East's Breakthru there's a Silver Hawk in the hangar of the 5th stage.
- SONIC WINGED: Aero Fighters 3 / Sonic Wings 3's boss Soh-Takeko utilizes the "A Huge Battleship is approaching fast" as an introduction. Also, the "Techno-Ninja Fire Bird" of Hien's Zero plane is a Phoenix transformation like the Silver Hawk.
- VASTEEL TECHNOLOGY: Thunder Force VI's Vasteel Nocht is an oversized Fire LEO/RVR just like Mother Hawk from Darius II.

Soshiteee! Tsuyokuuuuu! TOBIDASUUUUUUUUUU!!

In the end, Darius Cozmic Collection: Arcade is a good compilation of the good old school Darius arcade games that will make you come back again and again.
Like the rest of Darius titles for the PS4 and Switch, this is an essential for your game library.


The "Lea Scale" is on the positives this time.

Before ending this review, you know what else I've learned with these games?, That I want some seafood soup right now.

¿You think?, Belsar might not be happy with this comment.
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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