By Steve Baltimore / October 13th, 2021
|Release Date||September 28th, 2021|
|Platform||Switch, PlayStation 4|
Since I have taken a look at quite a few shmups over the last year or so, I thought I would give G-Darius HD a go. I seem to remember this releasing on the original PlayStation back in the day and having a lot of fun with it. I was interested to see what they would add to the HD version and if this hardcore shooter still held up today, so let’s get this show on the road and find out.
Graphically, this title has held up very well over the years. The polygon sprites over pre-rendered backgrounds still look amazing and really immerse you in the action. There are two versions of G-Darius included in this collection. One is a straight port of the arcade, and the other is an HD version where some of the ship models have been cleaned up quite a bit. They play exactly the same, but the HD version does look a bit more crisp. The original arcade version of the game however, does offer graphical smoothing and scanlines options not in the HD version.
Just like with other games in the Darius franchise, the soundtrack here is top tier. It really gives each stage a lot of personality, and this always helps me get into a shmup that much more. The sound effects are nothing special but they get the job done. There is some speech thrown in here and there, like classic arcade games of the era are know for. This gave me a bit of nostalgia for my old arcade hangout.
The gameplay here doesn’t change up too much from other Darius titles. You still go through a number of stages blasting all the enemies to bits while trying to dodge a large number of projectiles coming your way. G-Darius does add two major mechanics that help make things feel fresh. The first is the ability to capture enemy ships. You are given so many Capture balls at the start of each mission and you will expend one each time you capture an enemy ship. You can only do this to one ship at a time and they will add their offensive or defensive capabilities to your own. I really enjoyed seeing what each ship would do once you captured them, and I was really impressed when I found out you can even capture the mid bosses. If you don’t feel like you need this ship anymore you can always detonate it like a smart bomb, clearing out an area of the screen. The other major change up is adding a beam counter to the mix. You can charge your beam by pressing and holding the fire button. This creates one super shot instead of all the smaller shots you get from button presses. Some bosses will use a beam very similar to yours and you can basically duel it out with them to see whose beam is bigger! This is key to defeating some of the game’s way over-the-top boss battles.
While G-Darius HD is mostly just an arcade title with some upgraded visuals, that’s not really a bad thing. This is still one of the best made shmups to ever grace any platform. This port does add things you would expect like leaderboards, video options and a quick save feature. I think for the $29.99 asking price they could’ve added a bit more to this, but I wouldn’t really call it lacking in features either. If you are a big Darius fan, you should probably jump on this soon. You’ll be really pleased with how well handled one of your favorite titles was. If you just have a passing interest in these games, you may want to wait on a sale to dive in.
Game was provided by the publisher.