Remember arcades? Not many people do these days. Arcades are a great example of the gaming landscape from a time long past. Back in the day, consoles were less of a thing and they certainly weren’t able to deliver the same level of gameplay and visual fidelity one would expect from an arcade machine. Instead, you’d go drop chunks of cash for the chance to try out the spiciest games – and many of those spicy games were shooters.
Taito’s Darius franchise of shooters was a highlight of the era, and now we’ve got another chance to re-experience the space fish-zapping franchise in G-Darius HD, the latest in a series of remastered Darius games that have been hitting modern consoles.
There’s probably a deep, involving plot here, but really, who’s to say? You control the Silver Hawk, a heavily armed fighter craft. Your foes are a giant horde of mechanical fish. You’ll need to defeat them and collect power-ups to ensure you’re able to defeat the giant boss fish at the end of each stage. Defeat them all and save the galaxy from the aquatic menace!
If you’ve played any of the Darius games before, you’ve got a pretty good idea of what’s going on here. Your ship has straight-firing lasers and downward-firing missiles, both of which can be improved by collecting power-ups that emerge from defeated enemies. The regular attack eventually upgrades to lasers and the missiles can eventually hit most of the screen, so you can get a lot out of collecting power-ups.
The new trick here, though, is the addition of the Capture Ball. If you launch the ball at a regular enemy or weakened mid-boss, you’ll capture that enemy and add them to your own entourage. Captured enemies add their firepower to your own. Most enemies can be captured and offer their own fire patterns, allowing you to adjust your weapons to result in the best possible coverage for the area you’re in.
You’ve also got a superpowered beam weapon in your arsenal. This is an Iron Man-style giant laser that’s useful for clearing a screen when things get hectic. On the other hand, it’s got a second, more impressive use – your weapon is the Alpha Beam and enemies tend to use the Beta Beam, meaning that you can wield your Beam to counter theirs. Properly countering an enemy Beam results in massive damage to the opponent, so carefully deciding when to unleash your Beam is vital.
This is an older game, originally releasing in 1997, so it’s not surprising that all the platforms it’s available on can host it without any issues. The 3D graphics might be a little rough, but that’s just a result of the era that this game released in. If you’re able to accept a little bit of jank, you won’t have too many problems with G Darius on PS4, Switch or otherwise.
Darius remains one of the mainstay shooter franchises from throughout the genre’s history. G-Darius, then, represents an upgrade to the franchise’s staple gameplay. The new Capture and Beam Fight mechanics soup up the system to offer a lot more choice and dynamic experiences than previous entries in the Darius series. With that in mind, it’s worth taking a look at G-Darius HD, particularly if you haven’t experienced this entry in the franchise before.