For those that may have missed out on the games the first time around when they hit the import scene, ININ Games have finally made the Darius Cozmic Collection titles available for Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 this week. But let’s clear up some confusion when it comes to the two different games available.
The first bundle includes arcade favorites, including a number of variations of the original Darius, its follow-ups Darius II and Sagaia; and the fantastic Darius Gaiden. We’ll be reviewing that one soon enough.
Then there’s Darius Cozmic Collection Console, which focuses on games specifically made for consoles like the Mega Drive/Genesis and Super Famicom/SNES. These include games like Darius II, Sagaia for Genesis and Master System; and a couple of PC Engine titles. But the real question is should you get both; or would one be enough to satiate your fish-shooting needs?
Yes, You’re Taking On Robot Fish
Taito built Darius from the ground up with a pretty common theme – taking on evil robotic fish. Throughout each scenario, you’ll shoot away at enemies, collecting power-ups and taking on bosses that range across various types of robotic aquatic life. It’s a bit silly, sure; but “shmup” fans have been eating this series up for decades. (Not the fish themselves, of course – imagine the upset stomach.)
While Darius Cozmic Collection Console lacks the bonus features of what Arcade has to offer, there is some neat stuff here. For instance, the boss chart lets you take a good look at what enemies lie ahead; and there are display options that let you turn on some great old-school options, like scanlines. But M2, the guys behind Sega’s awesome Switch arcade ports and other retro releases, could’ve easily loaded this with so much more. As it stands, however, fans will find enough here to suffice, especially when it comes to getting right into the shooting action.
What To Play First?
Darius Cozmic Collection Console includes the following games:
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)
Sadly, there’s no sign of the G-Darius hit from the PlayStation era, which would’ve been a perfect topper here. But the other games offer lots of good fun, even if the general controls remain the same.
Besides, some of these games are quite rare, like the PC Engine releases and the Master System version of Sagaia, which only came out in Europe beforehand. M2 has done a great job porting over these games, warts and all, so they run just like their classic counterparts. Again, there’s not too much in the way of variety, but you’ll find hours’ worth of shooting fun nevertheless. And that goes double if you don’t really care for fish.
The visuals for each game look nice (even the Master System version is kind of cool to watch); and the sound is spot on too, even if most of the themes are the same. Some more exploration – or maybe even a music player – would’ve gone a long way. But when it comes to the games themselves, they’re honored good enough.
Only One Thing Holds the Fish Back
The only thing holding Darius Cozmic Collection Console from being a must-have is its price. Currently, it sells for $59.99 on Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4. That’s a lot higher than most retro collections, though you do get some good value from the very rare games, which obviously would’ve set you back a lot higher. But this would’ve been a good instance for the two Darius games to be sold together as a package for a deal price, like the aforementioned $60. The other collection goes for $44.99; so having to fork over $105 for both may be too much for some. Purists and “shmup” fans, however, probably won’t mind so much. (We know who you are, people that paid $500+ for a sealed copy of Radiant Silvergun on Sega Saturn.)
Reel It In, “Shmup” Fans
Even with its high price and lacking extras, there’s something neat about Darius Cozmic Collection Console. It pays loving tribute to the series of old with its perfectly rendered home releases and various options. Plus, they’re good fun to play – even the Master System port of Sagaia has surprising value.
So if you don’t mind forking over a few extra dollars, these metal fish should fit quite smoothly in your collection. We’ll see how the other volume of this series fares soon enough.
A bit pricey, but Darius Cozmic Collection Console offers suitable value for die-hard series fans.