While I was a pretty big arcade shooter fan in the arcades the Darius series is one I don’t remember playing very much. I couldn’t miss the arcade unit for the original, with its really crazy widescreen cabinet that was unlike any of its peers (which, by the way, is absolutely represented here, just by shrinking the game vertically a bit to make room) but revisiting the series in this collection helped remind me a bit why I may not have sunk many quarters into it. I’d say when compared to its shmup contemporaries Darius is a bit of an oddball, having shooter DNA in common with the likes of the classic Scramble but with some expected shmup power-ups and bosses thrown into the mix for good measure. The branching paths you’d have to choose from, assuming you’re able to survive, are also a pretty cool feature of the games (though not all versions have this) and demonstrate just how much total content is packed into them. While ultimately this collection only has 4 full-fledged titles to choose from (Darius, Darius 2, SAGAIA, and the quite different Darius Gaiden) with some variants if you’re up for the challenge it’s a series that simply has its own unique take on the genre and is well worth appreciating.
Justin Nation, Score: