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Darius by ArticCat
Game:DariusCompany:Taito
Type:ShooterPlayers:1/2

Ten years ago there she was, Darius, an enourmous arcade machine, standing two meters high, with six sound exits and an incredible three screens. My, it was the most awe inspiring Machine I'd seen! Not only this, but the different hardware made it demand attention inside that arcade shop, although the sounds were deafening! Many times I saw people disappearing inside the shop, only to discover what was behind the almighty roar. It's accoustics, such as the drum sounds, ensured that people had to stop by and pay attention to it.
Darius is not a run of the mill shooter game, and defiantly flaunts this, from the beginning, until the end. It has three different Power Up levels for each of the three items you acquire. Weapons, Missiles and Shields all change, accumulating power such that the last weapon, the Wave, can anihalate ALL obstacles, as well as your shield, in Ultra level, allows you to collide against a wall and don't blow up imediatelly. It makes me remember the wise words of Augusto, my game partner - You must learn to use the shield as a weapon!
The stages are composed in a pyramidal way, so at the end of each stage you have to make a choice: going up or down will lead you to a different stage named after a letter. After six stages you will cross the last one and face the boss. This pyramid idea was quite original at it's time, for a shooter game, that is.
The bosses are very curious for they are made after oceanic creatures, like piranhas, hammerhead sharks and whales! Indeed, the most beautiful and difficult is the SeaHorse, the last boss in the middle of the pyramid.
I played Darius enough to alrive in all its ends and I know what I'm talking when I say its difficult. If you got shoot you loose all upgraders gotten till the moment, reducing your three itens to the weakest level. If you got the laser and lost one life in your way to the piranha, sorry pal, you're dead.
One thing I did for I don't know how many times was to get the first weapon to it's last level, seven red upgraders, and kept it so. The point is that this weapon relies in it's fire cadency, not in crossing it's target like the Laser and the Wave, so if you fire and want to fire again you have to wait till the shot go out of the screen, what the first weapon handles best. If you shot something the bullet disappears and you can fire again!;)
The bad point in Darius is that after some stages you will think -Hey, I saw this stage before, did'nt I? Yep, you did. Some stages are cloned from others, with a color or other thing changed. There are stages that have the space as the background layer. The space appears more to be a black field with white points than the space itself. The game does'nt have a continue option, so if you want to see one of the ends, GO PLAY and DO IT A LOT! Well, if you can't wait you may try to go saving the game each new stage and keep practicing. The emulator does'nt handle the sound perfectly, so there are tunes that aren't in it's right volume or aren't there at all. Be careful in two players mode, for both ships can't share the same space in the screen! Newton must had liked this one.:)
Taking the bad things out, I can say it's very good to see old Darius again and that it's wonderful to play it again. I remember those days when I and my friend took good care of this machine. We loved it so much that we were disposed to buy the pieces to repair it. We got the friendship of the technician and he gave us some coins to play for free. Seeing Darius alive again is like a dream turning true! Thank you very much Raine team! Keep up the excellent work!
Will you accept the challenge of the Oceanic Armada and see the dreadful beauty of the SeaHorse? How many times will you play till you even have a look at it? Will you got finger aches as many times as I did?
Only Darius knows...
Graphics
8
10
Sound
Play Control
7
10
Challenge
Replay Value
9
8
Performance
1999 EmuViews