While plenty of arcade shoot ’em up series have had a simple chronology of releases and oodles of console ports, one of the most iconic and pioneering series in the genre, Darius, has had an incomprehensible timeline and no convenient way to play most of it at home. Thankfully, Taito is finally righting that wrong with a pair of classic collections gathering almost every release, re-release, and port from the iconic shooter franchise. This is our review for Darius Cozmic Collection Console, but we have a review for Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade, the other part of this collection, as well!
Darius Cozmic Collection Console technically includes nine games, but not really. This collection includes five different Darius console games plus alternate versions that were released. There are three different versions of Darius II, each one belonging to a different home console. You’ve also got two versions of Darius Twin and two versions of Darius Force. The game does an earnest effort of including descriptive text of each game and what their differences entail, so having all of these alternate versions of each game will likely delight major buffs of the series or shoot ’em up historians. Still, when you boil it down and realize you’re paying a premium price for so few games, it’s a hard pill to swallow.
The games included in Darius Cozmic Collection Console offer quality though, and whether playing on a TV or the Nintendo Switch screen, the unique hardware of the original release shines through. The Mega Drive version of Darius II recontextualizes the dual-screen action of the first game into a single-screen format with brand new art. While the visuals of these home console releases don’t quite stack up with the artistry of their arcade counterparts, the audio elements of Darius Twin are all too iconic, and the experimental gameplay changes of Darius Force make it a standout inclusion in the package. These are all addictive, vibrant shooters, and while their alternate versions mostly serve as historical curiosities, it’s still incredibly interesting to see just how far-reaching the Darius series was.
While the things that are present in Darius Cozmic Collection Console are a delight, it’s still disappointing to think about what isn’t in this collection. For starters, this isn’t a definitive compilation of every Darius console game. PlayStation 1 entry G-Darius is missing, as is the most recent entry in the franchise, PSP sequel Dariusburst. Darius Plus, a downgraded version of PC Engine-titled Super Darius with half the bosses, is included in this collection while Super Darius is not included at all.
On top of that, a lot of the bonuses and extras you’d hope to see out of a premium collection like this aren’t included at all. The “Manual” button simply takes you to a Japanese web page explaining how the Nintendo Switch controller works, rather than including scans or photos of the original arcade artwork or instruction manuals for the game. There’s no gallery, no behind-the-scenes documentation, and no selectable background border artwork. While you can chase high scores and view replay footage from your runs and those of players on the leaderboard, the lack of an achievement system or even minor unlockables is also a disappointment.
The lack of bonuses outside of the games is made up for, though, by the huge amount of options you have in-game. Darius Cozmic Collection Console provides a boatload of game options, display settings, and more that let you finely tune the experience. Being able to adjust the difficulty, lives, and your display style are basic necessities, but the addition of nearly a dozen different on-screen UI elements that help you keep track of things like boss health and weapon strength, as well as six different quicksave slots for each game, is an absolute blessing.
All in all, like with the companion Arcade collection, this is a high-quality collection of games, but the experience is brought down by some missing content and a high price tag.
Release Date: June 16, 2020
No. of Players: 1-2 players
Category: Arcade, Action
Publisher: ININ Games
A review code was provided by the publisher.