G-Darius HD PlayStation 4 Review

By Published On: October 6, 2021Categories: Gaming

Source: ININ Games

A Taito classic returns at just the right time.

Ask any die-hard fan the risk of converting a game series from 2D to 3D and they’ll tell you about the risks involved. I’ve heard some people say, “Oh, you’re betraying formula,” or “It’s not going to work, it’s not.” Even so, sometimes, you get a nice, little surprise from such a move.

Case in point, – G-Darius. After playing the 2D front for several years, Taito shook things up a bit, converting the game with 3-D visuals (well, 2.5-D, to be fair) while keeping the traditional gameplay intact. The result was a triumphant success for the franchise and resulted in one of the hardest-to-find PlayStation 1 games on the market.

Fortunately, G-Darius has since become more accessible. It received an entry in the Taito Legends 2 collection for PlayStation 2; and now, thanks to ININ Games, it’s available on Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 in a new, high-definition format. And despite it being damn near 30 years old, G-Darius HD hasn’t lost a single step.

A Return To Old Form

First off, for those worried that something would have gotten lost in this glossy new presentation, relax. G-Darius looks better than ever in this new format.

The visuals are still spectacular, despite the aged appearance of the game. Characters and ships are nicely smoothed over; the backgrounds look great; and the whole thing moves with effortless grace at around 60 frames per second, with slowdown only dropping in with the introduction of the larger, robotic fish battles. (Oh yeah, did we mention you’re battling giant robotic fish?)

Credit: ININ Games

What’s more, the original G-Darius is also included, so, if you feel like going back to the original PlayStation entry, all it takes is a simple selection on the menu and BAM! You’re covered. It’s been treated well too, without missing a beat in its design. I will tell you what, it really makes me yearn for the days of Philosoma and Einhander.

Along with this, the music and sound effects are excellent, with those classic rhythms you’ve come to expect from the series. A remastered soundtrack along the lines of Actraiser Renaissance would’ve been aces, but what’s here isn’t bad in the least.

The gameplay isn’t fishy.

G-Darius excels because of how well it continues to adapt the play style of the series as a whole. Like before, the stages split into a large pyramid, so you can decide what stages you want to take on. This warrants multiple playthroughs to see them all, giving this shooter the ability to be replayed multiple times. That’s something you don’t see often, and, what is more, you can do it in the original game to see any subtle changes that have come about.

As for the traditional shooter gameplay, it’s still great. You can power up your ship with the help of various colored orbs that increase your firepower, shielding, missiles, and more. As you snag these, you’ll be more than ready to take on the bosses that come across your path around the end. Just remember – you can’t shoot all the bullets.

There’s also a neat Capture Ball technique that grants you additional firepower. By using this, you can take an enemy under your wing and temporarily use their abilities against their kin. It’s a neat technique, even if it doesn’t work on all types. No matter – the more firepower you have, the better.

Go ahead, shoot some fish.

While G-Darius isn’t the glossiest looking shooter out there (even with its HD treatment), it’s still a welcome return, coming along at a time when “shmups” seem to be enjoying a comeback. It’s got gameplay that lasts, along with a fun structure with robotic fish galore. And its visuals and music have been treated with the utmost care, coming across better than ever.

Sure, the concept is silly, but G-Darius HD still shines like a diamond in the rough, as it should. And who knows, if it becomes successful, we could always see that revival of Einhander come up. Don’t blow this, folks.

RATING: 9/10

About the Author: Captain Steve