G-Darius is a classic arcade shmup that was originally released by Taito in 1997. It’s now back with a fresh coat of paint from the wizards M2, looking fantastic…but is it better than the original? ***G-Darius HD received a major update on June 1st 2022, we reviewed the game after this update. For information on what was included in the update click HERE***
G-Darius is a prequel to previous Darius games and revolves around the conflict between the Amnelia Kingdom and the merciless Thiima Empire. These events take place before the battle between the people of Belsar and Darius. It’s during the conflict that the series iconic Silver Hawks were created. Two pilots (Sameluck Raida and Lutia Feen) are chosen to perform an attack on the main Thiima base Kazumn which is a satellite orbiting the planet Darius.
The core gameplay is classic side-scrolling space shooter goodness. Flying your Silver Hawk through each of the levels dodging tons of enemies, surviving a hail of bullets as you progress. You will face mini bosses and epic bosses at the end of the stages and have to use all your wits to survive. One cool addition to the Darius formula is the capture balls. You are able to use them to capture on screen enemies and turn them into allies!
You can also play the game with a friend in local co-op for even more fun! The addition of quick save is also a great way to increase accessibility and enables people who may usually struggle with these types of games to enjoy them more.
The game features some absolutely stunning psone style 3D graphics and was the first game in the series to feature three-dimensional polygonal graphics compared to two dimensional sprites. I love the sharp jagged look of the era, and this is a prime example of a 2D side scrolling shooter making a successful transition to 3D, whilst still retaining everything that made it so enjoyable. You are able to experience the game as it was originally released with its original resolution and also the HD version which includes higher resolution and other improvements. The game features some really cool enemy designs, stunning explosions and weapon projectiles and the whole thing is wrapped up in strikingly bright visuals that pop from the screen. AUDIO:
The soundtrack to this game is fantastic and is probably the best of the series. It’s full of rocking tracks that really get you in the mood for some fast-paced shooting and it’s brought to us by Taito’s Zuntata band.
Whilst the game will only take you around an hour to finish, there are many reasons for you to give it another playthrough. The game features multiple paths so there’s variety in what you will experience with every playthrough (upto fifteen stages to play on each playthrough). The game also features online leader boards, a training mode and a replay gallery and on top of that the game contains 5 different versions of you to experience. As mentioned previously there is the original 1997 version and the HD version of it, they have also included G-Darius Ver.2 which was released in 1998 and included a beginner mode, rapid-fire and other adjustments to gameplay. A HD version of Ver.2 is also included as well as the Japan console port of G-Darius, so that’s 5 alternating versions for you to spend time with.
G-Darius HD is the quintessential way to play G-Darius. With its selection of versions to choose from, you can really experience everything it has to offer. If you love arcade shooters then you probably won’t find much better, and whilst the upgrades are minimal, they breathe new life into this classic for a new generation and even if you played the game when it originally released the gameplay still holds up amazingly well. This game is a must for shmup lovers!
G-Darius HD was released on 27th September 2021 and is playable on PS4 and PS5 via backwards compatibility. The game can be purchased HERE for £24.99.The game is also available on Nintendo Switch.
We were provided a copy of the game for this review. Big thanks for that!