Developed By: Taito (original games), M2 (ports) Published By: ININ Games (Digital), Strictly Limited Games (Physical) Catagories: Shootemup, Retro Release Date: 06.16.2020
Darius Cozmic Collection Console Edition is the sister release to the Arcade Edition. This collection holds 9 games the Mega Drive release of Darius 2, with the American Genesis release Sagaia, the Master System version of Sagaia, the Super Famicom and enhanced SNES versions of Darius Twin, Darius Force and it’s American release Super Nova, as well as the PC Engine’s Darius Alpha, and Darius Plus. This leaves unique games at 4, two of which are original Darius titles and not ports.
SCALE IT BACK
Darius 2 is essentially a scaled down version of the arcade game. Sprites are smaller, the game now only sports a single screen layout, and co-op has been removed, but otherwise it is a faithful port. While not screencrunch, the lack of widescreen almost makes the game feel more sudden with what is coming towards you. In addition to these, continues have become limited. That all being said, cheat codes can be put in during the intro sequence for infinite continues, as well as invincibility and a level select if needed. The American version Sagaia, is the exact same game, with the removal of the cheat codes. As a novelty, the Master System version of Sagaia, only released in Europe and Brazil is also included. It’s a even further scaled down version of Darius 2 losing out on stages and having even lower quality…everything, but is functioning and outside of jitter, perfectly playable.
Darius Twin would be the first original console game in the Darius series and the first of two for the Super Famicom/SNES. Unlike the previous title, the American release is an improvement from the original Japanese release, coming out months after that release, it has an enhanced soundtrack from a bigger rom chip. Being released relatively close to Darius 2, it takes a lot of inspiration format wise from it, but still feels different enough. The mid-stage bosses that Darius 2 introduced now become mandatory fights. Uncharacteristically for a SNES shoot-em-up, the game plays smoothly and has a fast pace. While the game feels rather easy and in the first level alone, powerups are given out very liberally, the game has absolutely ZERO continues, which makes advancing through the game if unskilled or experienced an arduous task. Darius Force or Super Nova as it’s known in the west is another original title, but this time takes a few more creative freedom. For the first time, you can chose your ship (two of which being from previous Darius titles) before starting the game, the reason for this being a different choice of upgrades. How your upgrade shots work is also a tad different. If shooting like normal or using your secondary shot (bombs or a laser) alone, they’re as strong as they’ve been upgraded, but when used together they both go down one level, unlike the previous games where one could just tear through enemies with both at the same time. This on top of not reviving where killed, but sent back to a checkpoint after death make the game much more difficult than previous titles. Force also feels like the slowest game so far, which makes the long stages feel even longer.
BACK TO THE START
While the original Darius received three ports to the PC Engine, the first being Super Darius, only Plus and the limited Alpha are in the collection. While Super was a game for the PC Engine CD, Plus is a truncated version released for the HuCard format. Super’s music is superior and has a whopping 26 bosses (more than the arcade game even), Plus is missing about 10 of them, and loses out on the CD quality music. The colors are rather loud and garish, which is contrasted to the softer, calmer colors of the arcade release. Otherwise, these were the only home console ports until recently and are accurate besides the previously mentioned changes. Darius Alpha is a further shrunk down version of Darius Plus, but this was deliberate as it’s a boss rush game originally only made as a promotional game given away in a sweepstakes.
LACKING IN COMPARISON
Unlike the Arcade Edition, Console Edition lacks many of the cool additions to the games for beginers. There is no practice mode for any of the games, only three title of the 9 even include alternate modes, all of which being purely for score and online uploading. Darius Alpha being the most indepth with the extra modes including time attack modes. This in itself is rather disappointing, while the emulation is no worse than Arcade Edition’s, the lack of many additional features makes it feel like just another collection of games. Much like Arcade Edition, Console Edition has an issue with only having a small number of games and different versions of them to fill out the game, which puts it’s value to the average consumer in question, especially with Console Edition being a more expensive game than Arcade Edition. With how rare Darius Alpha is though, for fans of the series or genre, it’s more than worth the asking price.
BUY NOW: $59.99 (Digital) €54.99 (Physical)
*Game Download Code provided for review purposes.