For me, when it comes to video games, nothing can be more nostalgic than shoot ’em ups — or as many people are used to calling it, “smack games”. The genre always took me back to childhood and among the many series that were successful at that time, Darius certainly deserves a prominent place.
Darius Cozmic Collection and his legendary Humankind mechanical fish — Civilization is the reason for equality
With the first chapter released in 1987, the franchise has received titles since then, and the latest to have arrived on both the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch was Dariusburst Another Chronicle EX+. And to understand the origin of this version with such a long name, we need to go back to 2009.
It was that year when the PSP received a game called Dariusburst, where again we needed to advance through the campaign choosing which stages to play and obviously, facing a lot of fish-shaped ships. The following year, Pyramid (the company that had developed the game) decided to improve it, releasing a version for arcades that would adopt the subtitle and, more than a decade later, it was time for it to be re-released.
With its plot set in the year 1904 (of the calendar of that universe), in Dariusburst Another Chronicle EX+ a Belser virus managed to destroy the network that was used by human ships to communicate. With that the Starfleet was quickly decimated, with two of the legendary Silver Hawk ships having been the only ones to escape the onslaught.
Piloted by a human named Riga Pratica and by artificial intelligence Ti2, it will be up to the pair to invade the territory and try to survive one of the most risky missions in history, in order to try to bring peace back to the planet Darius.
Allowing up to four people to play simultaneously, the game has a main campaign where we can take risks with infinite lives (but without getting on the scoreboard) or with three lives per token.
In addition, there will still be the Original Mode, in which we’ll have to face three stages; Chronicle Mode, where we’ll choose individual missions that will feature different stages and bosses; the Original EX Mode, which works similarly to the first, but with 12 new, more difficult stages; and finally, the Event Mode, in which we’ll have online missions, with enemies, amount of lives, ships, power-ups and variable bosses.
Because it’s based on an arcade game and used multiple monitors to deliver a more immersive experience, something that might displease some people is the fact that Dariusburst: Another Chronicle EX+ delivers a more “stretched” action area, without the option to play in 16:9 aspect ratio.
This means that there will be clunky bars at the top and bottom of the screen, which might not bother anyone playing on the Sony console too much, but it will make all the action very small on the Nintendo Switch when experienced in handheld mode.
It’s understandable that the title doesn’t give us the option to change the screen aspect ratio, as this would greatly affect gameplay that is meant to work in a wider field of view. However, Dariusburst: Chronicles Saviors implemented this feature by adding new stages, which demonstrates a certain sloppiness on the part of the studio. In the end, I was left to wonder what it must have been like to face Another Chronicle EX on its original hardware, with the screens connected making everything seem so much grander.
However, as long as the person can ignore this detail, what he will find are beautiful graphics, with lots of explosions and no major problems regarding the drop in frame rate, something that can considerably harm a game like this.
That said, what really deserves attention in the technical part is the soundtrack. Composed by the acclaimed Taito sound team Zuntata, the songs on Dariusburst: Another Chronicle EX+ are so good that it makes us want to keep listening even outside of the game, making this one of the coolest tracks in recent times.
But as has been the case with a number of recent re-releases, what bothers the most about Dariusburst: Another Chronicle EX+ is the somewhat spartan way in which the package is presented to us. Without extra production material like concept art and developer interviews, or lots of additional content, we’ll have pretty much the same stuff as in arcades. What makes the situation worse is the fact that the game is being sold for almost R$ 200, making it an investment suggested only for those who are really passionate about the series or the navinha games in general.