Now that we enjoyed some awesome Darius arcade games, let's see if their console counterparts are worth a few tubs full of quarters.
If you grew up gaming in the '80s and '90s like I did then you'll know that the console adaptations of classic arcade games were rarely as good. With that in mind, Darius Cozmic Collection Console definitely offers some solid ports and original creations in the form of 4 main games and 2 additional obscurities that are fun to play simply for their nostalgia factor. The primary games include Darius II (AKA Sagaia) for Sega Genesis, Darius Twin and Darius Force (AKA Super Nova) for Super NES, and Darius Plus for PC Engine (AKA TurboGrafx-16). Meanwhile, the couple of rarities include the Sega Master System port of Darius II and the super-limited Darius Alpha. The former is a choppy 8-bit version of the classic that's quite difficult to enjoy nowadays while the latter is merely a boss rush mode for Darius Plus.
Back to the main attractions; Darius II is a simple and enjoyable home version of the arcade game and it features rather impressive visuals and audio. Overall, it's a solid game although definitely not as epic as the arcade Darius II. Next, Darius Twin is an original game that's fairly enjoyable but at the same time, the repeated enemy formations become quite tedious within the lengthy stages. On the plus side, you can enjoy it simultaneously with a friend and doing so offers an impressive amount of co-op shoot 'em up fun. As the other original SNES entry, Darius Force is a fantastic shmup as you can choose from 3 ships and it has great graphics and sound. However, there is no co-op mode and it has a super-annoying checkpoint system. These 3 games include their Japanese and western versions, by the way.
Finally, there's Darius Plus which is a console version of the original arcade Darius. That being said, it may as well be an entirely different game because its visuals fill up 1 screen as opposed to 3 and the graphical style is charmingly bright and colourful. Although I enjoy it quite a lot, it's basically a stripped down version of Super Darius for TurboGrafx-CD and it features much less content. That makes me wonder; why didn't they include Super Darius instead? Also, why not include Super Darius II while they're at it? The fact that these hard-to-find and highly enjoyable classic games are missing is rather disappointing for a long-time Darius fan such as myself.
As with Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade, the emulation here is excellent and I didn't notice any graphical or auditory issues at all. Well, aside from Darius II for Sega Master System which is quite clunky to begin with. Anyway, there are a decent amount of options for each game such as configurable controls and various display options that allow you to adjust the zoom and toggle smoothing, scanlines, and the background. However, there are no cool HUD options like there is in the Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade compilation. The only similar feature here is a little boss progress chart in Darius Alpha but that barely adds anything to that game's fun factor.
Considering I was blown away by Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade as it features 3 incredible shmups with awesome HUD options and emulation, Darius Cozmic Collection Console simply doesn't live up to it. In general, it comes across more like a straight-up collection of games as opposed to a fleshed out compilation complete with modernizations and extra content. Because of this, you may as well try to get your hands on the original cartridges which likely wouldn't be all that difficult to do with the exception of the super-rare yet superfluous Darius Alpha and possibly Darius Plus but if you're going for physical retro copies, why not get Super Darius instead?
Darius Cozmic Collection Console includes a handful of solid classic 16-bit shoot 'em ups. Although they're not as enjoyable as their arcade counterparts, you surely can't deny that there's a lot of fun to be had shooting up all sorts of space sea creatures here.
- + Contains 4 solid Darius console games plus 2 hard-to-get rarities
- + Solid emulation and array of options
- + Playing Darius Twin co-op is great fun
- - Most of these console releases pale in comparison to the arcade games
- - Where are the Super Darius games?!
- - Lacks nifty HUD options