Blast from the Past Part II
Title: Darius Cozmic Collection Console
Platform: Nintendo Switch and PS4 (reviewed)
Publisher: ININ Games/TAITO
Release date: Out Now
tl;dr: A lot of bang for your buck
Price: £45 / $60
Family Focus: Click here for more information.
The Darius games are a 2D shmup or shoot’em, which first released in arcades during the late 80s. As it was with other titles, the Darius series made its way to consoles shortly after first with Darius Twin for the Super NES. The Darius games could be found on a plethora of platforms such as the aforementioned Super NES/Super Famicom, SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive, SEGA Master System, and the PC Engine. And now here we are in 2020 with console versions of various Darius games now available on Nintendo Switch and PS4.
The biggest difference with this bundle compared to the Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade one is that it features 6 different games from the Darius across 9 versions:
- Darius II (Mega Drive, JP version)
- SAGAIA (Genesis, US version)
- SAGAIA (Master System, EU version)
- Darius Twin (Super Famicom, JP version)
- Darius Twin (Super NES, US version)
- Darius Force (Super Famicom, JP version)
- Super Nova (Super NES, US version)
- Darius Alpha (PC Engine, JP version)
- Darius Plus (PC Engine, JP version)
While the games are part of the Darius series, the console games are a bit different than their arcade counterpart. The first thing being obviously these games are way harder than those found in the Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade mostly because of the lack of unlimited continues.
There are even instances of games not having any continues; however, you can adjust the difficulty and number of lives in the options of some of the games. As I dabbled between Easy and Normal modes, I found that there’s isn’t much of a noticeable difference between difficulties; it’s as chaotic as any shmup either way. One of them doesn’t even have an Options menu, so you’re pretty much screwed.
The lack of unlimited continues/lives also means that once you’re game over, you’re either thrown back at the beginning of the level or even the game. This is where quicksaves will come in handy: when starting a new level, I recommend doing a quick save so if you’re game over then you won’t have to start all over again.
As with any shmup, you’ll pick up power-ups to help you on your fight; some power-ups will allow to you shoot more projectiles forward or even up and down in order to take on those pesky enemies that sometimes comes out of nowhere. Dying means that you lose them so you have to be careful. Thankfully, you can pick up shields that will allow you to sustain a few hits before going down.
Additionally, some of the games here offer additional challenges besides the standard normal mode such as a scored based Special mode, Time Attack and a Boss Rush mode. When it comes to various versions of the same game, overall, there aren’t any major differences; except for Darius Plus which features only 16 of 26 original bosses. Otherwise, it’s either improved audio, disabled cheats or name change (Super Nova is actually Darius Force).
The biggest gem in the compilation is definitely Darius Alpha. The game was never officially available for sale as it was only available to pick up during a special promotion for Darius Plus. There are only 800 copies available that found homes.
The games in this collection look (overall) great and are a faithful replica of their original versions. As with the Arcade bundle, shmups live and breathe on gameplay so 20+-year-old games such as these will (more often than not) hold up visually 20 years later. However, not all is perfect as the SEGA Master version of SAGAIA isn’t pretty. The game is a downgrade of the SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive version and it shows; visuals look like a mess and due to colour limitations, it’s easy to lose track of incoming projectiles causing unnecessary deaths. Soundwise, everything sounds great and faithful to the original; again, the downgrade SAGAIA suffered to be available on the SEGA Master makes for a really ear-grating experience.
Darius Cozmic Collection Console is another great shmup package with a handful of great games. Sure not everything is perfect as the SEGA Master version of SAGAIA proves to be, but the games are intact and still feature the branching path options which will provide different playthroughs through time. Once again, the main hiccup here is the price. 60$ is hard to swallow for games that people might never even see-through; especially with other similar bundles offering more for way less. I do recommend both this and Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade but at these prices, you really have to think about it.
- A few more games
- More shump is always a good thing
- Darius Alpha available to everyone!
- Games are a bit more challenging
- Feels a bit pricey for the package
Darius Cozmic Collection Console is rated E10+ and PEGI7 for animated violence.
This review is based on a review copy of the game provided by the publisher