SHMUPS





Darius Alpha - Taito









Darius Alpha

Reviewed by Felix The Cat

Darius Alpha is a very, very, VERY rare HuCard to find, being a limited edition given to consumers who bought Super Darius CD in Japan. There' s only a few hundred of the HuCards in existence, so keep yours if you have one! It' s worth a fortune to people like Malc!

Anyways, being limited edition Darius, there isn' t anything particularly interesting about Alpha (a few games now with Greek in the name - Darius Alpha, R-Type Delta...). This game is meant to be a competition piece in a way, as it' s Darius just consisting of continuous boss attacks. No levels, no powerups, no enemies, no nothing. This kinda shocked me when I first booted up the ROM, as I was greeted by a boss straight away! And another! And yet another!! Luckily the game powers up your craft after every boss beaten, so you can face the next with a better chance of winning.

All the well known Darius bosses are featured in this game, mainly from Darius PCE games. The big squid, shark and lobster (don' t know the names, but they' re bound to be weird) all feature in here, and they are quite good fun to beat, being the seafood hater that I am...

Graphics wise, theres nothing entirely different from Super Darius CD, with all of the usual sprites being re-used over and over again. Music is re-used from Darius PCE again, and to my ears the music isn' t exactly interesting of enjoyable quality or style, but thats what game music in the nineties does to your ears. makes them \lquote techno-susceptible' =)

What really excels in Darius Alpha is the challenge. The bosses get harder as the game goes onward (obviously), and the only way to get past later bosses is to not die (duh). Keep those shelds! Some bosses have really powerful weapons!

I wouldn' t exactly call this a classic, as it' s too obscure to be cool, but it' s a good, fun ROM or HuCard (if you' re lucky enough to own the original), and the Time Attack (achieved by pushing something or over buttons) is good for competitions - get as far as you can in four minutes! Plain yes, but packed with challenge - unless of course you' ve beaten all Dariuses already =)



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What the hell are this things? They just multiply when shot!

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Ooh this one's a live one! Pack the rod, get the bait, catch this whoppa! Careful though, this one fires spreadshots! Oh it's an ugly bastard...

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I don't know what this one is exactly, looks like a weirdo squid. Very annoying scallop this one, fires lasers! Watch out for the swarmers that approach as well!

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This one's modelled on a stingray creature, but I ain't ever seen such a stingray like this before...must be the robotic modifications...

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I don't like that laser below me. This thing is very powerful! How'd ya think it took out most of my shield? =)

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Oh, more fish. Great. This one gets rather PMS-like and goes all stroppy, charging your craft! (The craft are called Silver Eagles aren't they? Creators must be nature lovers =)

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With this aquatic genocide going on, you'd think I'd have enough seafood to open a restaurant! This little beaut would look quite nice on the dinner table...don't know about its laser blaster though...

(Hey Simon, watch out for Greenpeace =P - Akira)

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Ahh, the King of the Seas...the Shark. The shark here attacks differently and fires a lot of small shark-like plasma bursts at your craft, which can kill in one hit! Avoid!

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More aquatic mayhem =)
This one would look good beside the lobster on the table =)
My eyes hurt. either is that awful colour scheme or it was that bottle of Smirnoff Vod I just drank <=

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Now it gets chaotic. This large squid-like creature has lots of crazy attacks ranging from three way shots to these very dangerous and powerful splash lasers. Make sure you take out the tentacles immediately or it's curtains for you!

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Unfortunately, that's as far as I managed to get =)

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Simon does it again, now in Jacques Costeau territory! The Darius development team at Taito must have been a bunch of fishing-maniacs, or something like that =P.

From the Darius games, the one I really found terrific is Darius Gaiden. It has an arcade perfect conversion on PC, if you are lucky to find it, and there is a Saturn version too, but I don't know how good is it. Go to Toys 'R Us and get it for 9 bucks =]

- Akira



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