shmupsleft.gif 12.9 K greymiddletop.gif 1.0 K...DARIUS PLUS - TAITOdariustitle.gif 5.3 Kgreymiddlebottom.gif 3.4 K 2dhorizontal.gif 3.9 Kplayersarcadebutton.gif 4.3 Kscore

Darius Plus

Reviewed by Malc

Taito blasted into the shooter scene in style with the 1986 arcade launch of Darius - a three screen horizontally scrolling shooter augmented by some ace Zuntata music and now trademark giant bionic fish bosses. The PC Engine hosted the best version of Darius, albeit minus the extended screens. It came in two flavours - regular HUcard Darius Plus, and the damn hard to get sonically-souped-up Super Darius CD. (I only managed to get a copy after 4 years hunting for it!).

Since then, there's been Darius 2 (Sagaia) which was given sterling treatment on Saturn - complete with a thin screen which emulated the 3 screen mode, plus Darius Gaiden - a single screen arcade shooter which got ported to Saturn and PSX. And the lowly SuperFamicom hosted a couple of spinoffs - Darius Twin and SuperNova. More recently, we've been treated to the polygonal-yet-still-2D gameplay arcade outing G-Darius, with a very good PSX version of that.

This isn't really a review of any particular version though, more of a little trip through the series...

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sagaiasuper darius Left, Darius 2 (Sagaia). The saturn version (pretty hard to find) is smart! Using the Sattie's zoomy facilities, you can replicate the three-screen arcade format of Sagaia!

Right, Super Darius CD - added music from those mad techno/new age Zuntata people. Definitely one of their finest hours, the recent stuff they've been putting out (Raystorm music) hasn't been quite of the same calibre.
....... darius3screen.gif 20.9 K Will you LOOK at the size of that screen eh? Well, imagine it back in the heady days of the eighties, the cabinet was a bloody monster, you almost needed 180 degree vision to see the whole thing. Best thing was it gave the player time to dodge bullets, so I could get a whole lot further than with the one screen home version;)
....... supernovapic.gif 5.6 K Here's SUPERNOVA (aka Darius III) which was a Superfamicom special. It uses a lot of mode7 rotation and fuzzy wiggly background effects, which SNES96 handles quite nicely!

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In keeping with Darius tradition, you can select the next level a la Outrun.

....... dariustwinpic.gif 12.2 K Darius Twin came out pretty early on the SF, with an option for two player simultaneous play. Quite nice, but doesn't have the punch of the original.

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Gratuitous piccie of a Boss monster from Darius Twin!

....... dariuslevel2.gif 13.8 K Super Darius CD - level B! Accosted by what looks suspiciously like clown masks (it can't be, but wtf ARE they?) It's yer typical Darius level, lots of tiny ships fleeing about intent on kamikazeying your ship.
....... dariusboss2.gif 15.5 K End of level B, and an animated amphibious vacuum cleaner spits lasers at you. I've always had my suspicions that recreational chemicals had a hand in game design.

Wait until you see the names of these things - Fatty Glutton is a particular favourite.
....... dariusboss3.gif 14.2 K Oh bollocks, this is where it starts to get a bit hard. Darius is rightly famous for its bosses, and doubly infamous for them being complete basts to kill.
....... dariusboss4.gif 15.8 K Believe it or not, this boss is called HARD MOLLUSC. Think about it, it's an effin' jellyfish. blow its wee legs off first.

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Oh yeh, this is your ship. Bog standard spaceship, except it's water resistant. Aren't all spaceships waterproof anyway? I mean, if they keep space out, must keep water out too eh?

....... dariusboss6.gif 15.5 K I realise I haven't shown you many normal levels, but this page is a bit graphic heavy as it is. The normal levels don't actually look very good, it's the big EOLB's * that impress. This one is near the end - it's called 'My Home Daddy B'. Ermm?? They get bigger and badder near the end.

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All shootemups end the same way. A shot of your ships going home via a large city, with cheesy elevator musak, then it's onto the credits...

*EOLB = End Of Level Baddies.


shmups!   © 1997 - 2007  Malcolm Laurie