Darius © 1987 Taito Corp.
A horizontally scrolling shoot-em-up that was unique at the time for featuring a game screen that was three times wider than the conventional size, with the arcade cabinet utilizing three CRT screens to accommodate it.
In the game, the player flies an ornate fighter craft called a Silver Hawk. The craft is equipped with two attack weapons : Missile (forward-firing standard gun) and Bomb (drops from the bottom of the ship). The Silver Hawk is also equipped with the 'Arm' (armor); a green energy shield that can absorb enemy attacks without harm to the ship.
During the course of the levels the player must navigate the terrain and battle a variety of fighter craft, ground vehicles, turrets, and other obstacles. At the end of every level, players are greeted with the obligatory end-of-level boss. The bosses in Darius are often in the form of mechanical aquatic animals, such as fish or squid. If the player defeats the boss, the tunnel splits into two and the player must decide whether to take the upper or lower tunnel, both of which lead to a different stage. This allows many different paths to be taken through the game.
Power-ups can be obtained by shooting enemies of a certain color, with the power-ups appearing in the form of colored bubbles. Each color corresponds to one of the ship's three weapons :
* Red - Missile
* Green - Bomb
* Blue - Arm
If the player powers up a weapon more than seven times, the weapon changes to a new, more powerful version. This then becomes the player's default weapon, and can be powered up further. There are also two other colors of power-up bubble, white and orange; which can be obtained by shooting at certain sections of the terrain; unfortunately, there are no visual clues as to where these may be on any given level. These hidden power-ups offer the following :
* White - Gives a score bonus.
* Orange - Smart bomb that kills all on-screen enemies.
Prom Stickers : A96
Main CPU : (2x) Motorola 68000 (@ 8 Mhz)
Sound CPU : (2x) Zilog Z80 (@ 4 Mhz)
Sound Chips : (2x) Yamaha YM2203 (@ 4 Mhz), OKI MSM5205 (@ 384 Khz), (18x) Volume (@ 384 Khz)
Players : 2
Control : 8-way joystick
Buttons : 2
Even if the title screen says 1986, Darius was released in February 1987 in Japan. It was then released in March 1987 in North America.
Darius was unique in the shoot 'em up genre for having a game screen three times longer than the usual size, and thus required a huge mirror to align the three screens in order to play.
The player flies a small spacecraft called a Silver Hawk, which is also distinctive in being highly detailed in design - indeed, Taito devised mock blueprints for it. The Silver Hawks are a trademark of the series.
Another trademark of the series is the unique branching level structure. The levels are arranged in a large binary tree, and at the end of each level, the player must choose one of two paths to follow. This means that there are many different paths that can be taken through the game.
The heroes' names in Darius series, 'PROCO' and 'TIAT', spell 'TAITO CORP' backwards.
The first stage music is a remix of the "Metal Soldier Isaac II" intro music (1985).
Pony Canyon / Scitron released a limited-edition soundtrack album for this game (Darius - PCCB-00093) on August 21, 1992.
Zuntata Records released a limited-edition soundtrack album for this game (Zuntata History L'ab-normal 1st - ZTTL-0038) on April 1, 1999.
* Progression of the bubbles :
Weapons (red) : Bullets --> Lasers --> Wave
Shields (blue) : Green --> Silver --> Gold
Bombs (green) : Single --> Dual --> Quad
* Miscellaneous bubbles :
Points (grey): Points
Extra-ship : Bomb certain key spots on the terrain.
* Power levels : There are eight power levels (0-7) within each armament category. Your weapons, shields, and bombs improve as you go from 0-7 :
Weapons : The shots move faster and therefore recharge more quickly.
Bullets increase in number and waves increase in height, thus destroying more enemies at once. Waves, once fired, will go through anything until leaving the screen to the right.
Shields : They just recharge, but the better classes of shields absorb more hits. Gold shields will also protect your ship from collisions with objects as well as shots, but on certain screens that have lots of little squeezeways, gold shields can actually kill you by ricocheting your ship back and forth until you die.
Bombs : They get 'smarter' in seeking out targets.
* How to complete the game : Completing the game is easiest with triple bullets.
Explore the different paths this way, and when you're ready for a challenge, try to get wave.
Lasers are not weapons so much as a handicap you have to endure while building to wave.
* Recommended paths (easiest) : A-C-E-H-M-R-X
1. Darius (1987, Arcade)
2. Darius II (1989, Arcade)
3. Darius Twin [Model SHVC-DT] (1991, Super Famicom)
4. Darius Force [Model SHVC-DH] (1993, Super Famicom)
5. Darius Gaiden - Silver Hawk (1994, Arcade)
6. G-Darius (1997, Arcade)
7. G-Darius ver.2 (1997, Arcade)
8. Darius Burst (2009, Sony PSP)
9. Darius Burst - Another Chronicle (2010, Arcade)
10. Darius Burst - Another Chronicle EX (2011, Arcade)
Directed and produced by : Toshio Kohno
Game designers : Toshio Konho, Akira Fujita, Kazuya Mikata
Programmers : Ken Hasegama, Takashi Kuriyama, Hideaki Tomioka, Tohru Sugawara, Hidenori Sasatani, Hideki Hashimoto
Art designers : Tetsuroh Kitagawa, Yoshihiro Wakita, Junji Yarita, Yukio Ishikawa, Kohzoh Igarashi, Genya Kuriki, Taira Sanuki, Masami Kikuchi, Mitsuru Ogama
Mechanical engineers : Takeki Nakamura, Eiji Kubota
Cabinet designers : Takeo Shiraishi, Hisayoshi Nakane, Natuki Hirosawa
Hardware designers : Takashi Ohhada, Syuji Kubota, Seigo Sakamoto
Music composers : Yasuhiko Tanaka, Hisayoshi Ogura, Naoto Yagishita, Tsukasa Nakamura, Eikichi Takahashi, Masahiko Takaki
[JP] NEC PC-Engine (1990) "Darius Alpha"
[JP] NEC PC-Engine (sept.21, 1990) "Darius Plus [Model NAPH-1009]"
[JP] NEC PC-Engine CD (mar.16, 1990) "Super Darius [Model HACD 0003]"
[JP] Sony PS4 [PSN] (aug.26, 2016) "Arcade Archives - Darius [Model CUSA-03707]"
Nintendo Game Boy [AS] (1991) "Sagaia [Model DMG-116 CHN]"
[JP] Nintendo Game Boy (dec.13, 1991) "Sagaia [DMG-S8A]"
[JP] Nintendo GBA (dec.13, 2002) "Darius R [Model AGB-A2DJ-JPN]"
[EU] Atari ST (1989) "Darius Plus"
[EU] Commodore Amiga (1989) "Darius Plus"
[EU] Sinclair ZX Spectrum (1990) "Darius Plus"