Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade is a well put together but ultimately very pricey retro compilation. You’ll know exactly if you fit into this game’s target audience, and that’s probably its biggest problem.
A collection of the first three Darius games – with multiple variations of this trio, including Sagaia (the western version of the second entry) – this will be heaven for fans of the shoot em up series, or old school side scrollers in general.
Every title has been ported perfectly, with Darius three screen wide play area remaining intact – it’s almost impossible to play handheld, but in terms of accuracy to the original it can’t be faulted.
The games become steadily smaller in terms of screen size, but far better in terms of scale and spectacle. Some of the battles in the third game, Darius Gaiden, see you constantly bombarded with bullets from various angles for instance.
It’s overwhelming but if you manage to survive it’s a massive thrill you won’t forget.
However it’s that ‘if’ that’s the biggest problem with the game. It’s brutally difficult, with one hit usually seeing you lose any weapon upgrades you’ve earned – and another seeing you lose one of only a few lives.
Save states can only go so far in easing the difficulty level, and it’s not much easier playing with a friend. They’re often just another distraction to avoiding the hail of enemy fire.
There’s also the issue of price, with ININ Games asking for a hefty $44.99/£34.99 for the title via the eShop. With several other shooter compilations offering far better value at a canter – including the flawed but still solidly assembled Arcade Classics Anniversary – this makes Darius Cozmic Collection a very hard sell.
It’s bereft of any in-depth making-of material that makes it essential for Darius die-hards, and lacks much to appeal to casual shooter fans – meaning it’s really only worth considering at a cut price.