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Review Darius II Review


In my previous review, I mentioned a few things. One that Edie had only one waiting animation (during loading screens as well), which is incorrect as she does do a few things, at least more than (probably) take her hair out of her tank top. Something I didn’t mention is that the voice clips you hear in the game, two of them being when you input the Left, Right, Left, Right, A, B, C, B, which allows you to change your lives count and bombs count, as well as the same code, but replacing the last B with an A which unlocks classic Elevator Action without having to play through Returns, both of those voice clips are from Edie when she’s idle. The line “I’ll get you next time!” which is in the track “Blow Up”, track 25 which is also the first song for the final mission of the game (as each level has more than one song play and they’re all scattered throughout the disc, it’s a bit irritating, aside from Mission 6) is a line from Kart while he’s idle. Jad also has some lines while he’s idle as well. As an addendum to that review as well, an archive.org link to the disc scans are available as well as a track listing for the songs on the CD. I also forgot to mention that while the Saturn used the V.C.O CD mixes (with a soundtrack done by Yasuhisa Watanabe, or sometimes known as Yack., the PS2 Taito Memories/Legends versions did not.), which add depth to the music as compared to the chiptune versions.

Now to the game on hand, that being Darius II.

Like many other Taito games, you had multiple paths, even the Z' and V' levels.

Darius II was a 1989 Taito game. Yes, I’ll be covering some more Taito games. This being a sequel to Darius, which used multiple screens, also used multiple screens. It’s a horizontal shooter that… seems to have some sort of obsession with fish for some reason. Everything is about fish or different sea creatures. Why? Who knows.

This game was played with three screens in the arcade, and across those three screens was the whole game. It and its predecessor were pretty interesting in that manner, as it gives more reaction time unless you are being hit here there and everywhere with enemies shooting at you.

Visually, this game looks pretty good. It’s got the qualities that it needs to succeed and it does it very nicely. Granted, the colors aren’t really the high point of the game, being that it *IS* in space and you’re going from place to place in space to destroy enemy bases. It doesn’t have to be visually stunning, and while it is impressive with three screens, it’s not *that* impressive, really. It’s definitely not ugly, but the colors are… sometimes lacking, but again, that really, really depends on where the game is being based in. There is also the option with the shoulder buttons to zoom in and out of the screen on the Saturn version, adding depth to the sprites while taking away from your visibility, or taking away depth but adding visibility. I usually play it zoomed out but sometimes I zoom in just because I’m waiting for more enemies to come on-screen.

Ah, engrish.

This game sounds good. With a soundtrack composed by Hisayoshi Ogura, sometimes known as OGR, it definitely fits the mood that the game is trying to invoke. The music is also really, really good sounding as well on the Saturn, and sounds like it was specifically re-mastered for CD, which, in all likely circumstances, it was. That, or nabbed from one of Zuntata’s various soundtrack releases. Some of these ports, Mizubaku Daibouken/Liquid Kids in particular sounded pretty bad. The sound effects are pretty satisfying as well. The game sounds very good.

Looks like it's going to be another hot one.

The gameplay is also very good, but one thing of note in this game is that it has no mercy once you beat the first level, that being the sun. The levels go from the Sun to Jupiter, and just man oh man, this game does not forgive at any turn. Either that or I just suck at horizontal shooters, which, you know, I wouldn’t be surprised one bit if I was. It controls well as well, and overall is fun to play, even if I suck at it with rapid fire, 6 credits, and very easy mode turned on. Usually if a game is hard, I’ll say that I hate it, but the only thing I hate about this game is that there are, again, limited credits. That is not OK, as you’d have to insert money into the original machine to help the arcade keep its doors open and the game creators to keep creating their games. This is just an arbitrary difficulty wall and is bad in every game it is implemented in.

You have the detail, but you don't have the visibility.

Other than that though, this game isn’t too bad. It holds its weight well against other shooters, and even against its predecessor. I’d just recommend using cheats to practice this game if you wanted to try to get good at the Saturn version, that’s all. Either that or infinite shields or infinite invulnerability, ha ha.
In terms of ports, this got four. Master System in PAL regions, ported by Natsume, Mega Drive/Genesis as Sagaia for some reason (in the US and BR, but was still Darius II in Japan) by Taito, PC-Engine CD by Taito as well, which included one of those arranged soundtracks everyone loves (not), and then to the Saturn by I.T.L, also known for a few more ports to Sega systems, one notably being Rainbow Islands on the SMS. The Saturn port is the best one hands-down, but the MD port is quite faithful, and the MS version is also quite impressive, and not some sort of hackneyed port done that makes the SMS look like weak and useless hardware when it comes to arcade ports. There’s also the Taito Memories port where you can play three-screen mode or one screen mode, only available on Taito Memories II Joukan. Is it worth it to track down? Nah.

That's a lot of fish.

Another thing of note is that this is quite a late port of this game. A very, very welcome addition to the Saturn’s library, but still quite late in all honesty. About seven years later, in fact. Some talk about how Mortal Kombat II got a lazy late port, and while I can agree with lazy on some parts, something to think about is that this was supposed to be a part of a disc that had MK I & II on one disc on the PS1 and Saturn, so that could explain why the music is done by the on-board processor and not CDDA. They are, albeit, lazy ports with the loading times especially, but that’s another review for another time, more to delve into that one when the time comes.

Overall, I recommend this game. The Saturn version is on the rise for prices, but the game is still quite playable nonetheless. I’d recommend it to someone with a decently deep pocket that wanted a horizontal shooter to play in their free time. It's not worth that much, so I wouldn't recommend paying stupidly high prices. Pick up the Saturn version if you can, but get any which one you want.


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