Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade (Review) Nintendo Switch

Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade (Review) Nintendo Switch
Review Score:

Game developer Taito is known for its inherently long list of arcade titles, including iconic games such as the side-scrolling, hack ‘n slasher Rastan and the obscure laserdisc adventure game Time Gal (i.e. a game that played very much like Don Bluth’s Dragon’s Lair). Taito would continue to develop a wide variety of coin-ops to appease arcade-goers, but it wasn’t until the release of Darius – a 2D side-scrolling shmup that used a massive, three monitor display for its graphics – that gamers began to really take notice of the developer and its talented team of artists, musicians and programmers.

Due to the popularity of the Darius series, developer Taito decided to release two versions of their Darius Cozmic Collection – Arcade and Console. The Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade – which is being reviewed here – contains 7 arcade titles, which are as follows: Darius (Old Version), Darius (New Version), Darius (Extra Version), Darius II (Dual-Screen Version), Sagaia (Version 1), Sagaia (Version 2), and Darius Gaiden. 

For purists who may be wondering, the emulation software used for this release does maintain the aspect ratio for each game. For example: the three monitor display from Darius has been technically preserved in this release. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work well in Portable Mode. For example: When the game is played, the playfield is drastically reduced in size (and stretched horizontally) to accommodate the coin-op cabinet’s aspect ratio. In Portable Mode, it’s difficult to see bullets and certain enemy ships. This issue affects most of the games in this release, sans Sagaia (which is a dual-screen shooter). The available in-game options do not provide a way to manipulate the aspect ratio or the large border that appears around the playfield. The best way to avoid these issues is to play in Dock mode on a large screen television.

As for the games themselves, they play virtually the same as their arcade counterparts. Before starting a game, the player has to insert virtual quarters by pressing the Left Shoulder button. When finished, the game can be started by pressing the Right Shoulder button. The player can use either the left Analog Stick or the D-Pad to control their ship, and fire by rapidly pressing the A button. Bombs can be dropped separately by pressing the B button. (As a side note: the button layout is fairly universal for just about every game in the collection.)

Gameplay is essentially flawless across the board, replicating the arcade experience perfectly. Whether its one of the Darius games or Sagaia, the action is fast-paced and unforgiving; the levels are large and intimidating; and the boss encounters are just as thrilling as they were back in the day. But more importantly, none of the available games suffer from slowdown (even when the playfield is occupied by multiple enemy types). There is also a ‘Pause Menu’ where the player can save/load their progress; check online ‘Rankings’; and change the number of continues/lives received via a secondary Options’ menu. The in-game difficult can also be changed in this menu.

There is also a ‘Select Play Mode’ menu that can be accessed from the ‘Game Selection Menu’. From there, the player can choose between ‘Normal’ mode and ‘Training’ mode. Normal mode is self-explanatory, but Training mode is where the player can practice on any stage, and also adjust their ship’s capabilities. For example: in Sagaia, the player can adjust the power of their ship’s Shot Level, Bomb Level, Laser Level, Arm Level and Arm Strength. This feature is available for every game in the collection.

Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade is a shmup fan’s dream come true. The emulation is rock-solid; the games play flawlessly; and the extras provided therein add to the collection’s value. And despite the aforementioned issue(s) regarding Portable Mode, Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade is still a high-quality release that every Nintendo Switch gamer (who is fond of shooters) should own.

Mike Pittaro
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Developer: Taito
Publisher: ININ Games
ESRB: E (Everyone)
Price: $44.99

Darius Cozmic Collection Official Website: https://darius.jp/cozmic/

Review Score
Graphicswww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Beautiful 2D sprites and backgrounds.
Soundwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
A great soundtrack and loud explosions round out the experience.
Gameplaywww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Despite the issues previously mentioned about Portable mode, Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade is a great playing collection of shmups.
Overallwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Fans of classic 2D shmups will not be disappointed by this collection.
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