By Josh Speer / July 14th, 2020
While I played SHMUPs in my youth, I very rarely beat them. I just wasn’t patient enough to deal with series like R-Type and Darius. But I clearly recollect that the latter had giant fish robots (or aliens?), so I still fondly remember it to this day. The good news is, now I can move beyond remembrance to actually playing the games I grew up with thanks to Darius Cozmic Collection Console. Awkward title aside, it’s a pretty snazzy collection of several Darius titles that came out on various consoles over the years. It also includes region specific variants, so you can see how the games played differently. And while it’s true I have yet to beat any of the games included in this collection, I have played long enough to discuss the Darius Cozmic Collection Console.
First things first. Though there’s technically 9 titles included in the Darius Cozmic Collection Console, it’s actually more like 4. That’s cause those 4 games have different regional versions, including US, Europe and Japan. This is reminiscent of both Konami collections for Castlevania and Contra. That said, aside from some minor changes, each game pretty much plays the same between regions. The key difference is whether or not a game features continues. That might not sound like a big deal, but each and every Darius game is HARD. So hard I can’t beat the first level in several of them. One of the games also has different ship types, giving you more control, but don’t let that give you the illusion it’s any easier.
That said, another commonality in each game in the Darius Cozmic Collection Console is the graphics. Though all these games are dated, mostly from SNES and Sega Genesis, they’re still quite attractive. The giant fish ships are menacing, and the smaller ships are sharp and fast. None of these games are messing around, and if you can’t memorize the ship patterns in every level, you’re not gonna last long. Even then, you’ll have to contend with the boss battles, which range from somewhat simple to anxiety inducing. While most of the bosses are some form of giant fish, there’s also some weirdos like giant Seahorses and others.
Besides just playing through the game, you can also select from different modes, such as boss rush or time attack. Suffice to say, I had enough trouble with the basic levels, so I didn’t spend much time with the more exotic options. For what it’s worth though, even though the games in Darius Cozmic Collection Console are all pretty challenging, they might be a bit easier than Cozmic Collection Arcade. But the real determining factor in whether this collection is for you is the price. Unfortunately, the Cozmic Collection Console is about $60. And while that might sound fair given there’s 9 games, a lot will depend on your tolerance for suffering. I thought I had gotten better at SHMUPs in recent years, and while that’s probably true, I obviously haven’t gotten good enough yet. But if you’re a hardcore enthusiast of the genre, this is an easy purchase.
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