Release date: September 28, 2021
Players: 1 Player up to 2 Players
Genre: Action, Arcade, Adventure
Publisher: ININ Games
"Review Copy Provided By ININ Games"
I always like to say that if you’ve played one SHMUP then you’ve played them all, however, that isn’t always the case as G-Darius has some very unique mechanics to it that set it apart from other bullet hell shooters.
Like other SHMUPS, you have the ability to move about the arena and fire your basic shot while also having a stronger more screen clearing shot. Where this differs is in the fact that you have 3 different buttons assigned for your shooting. One button will fire a single shot while another will fire a volley of shots for 15 seconds and the last will do an endless volley of shots so long as you hold down the button.
Your shots are powered up based on what colored orb you pick up from downed enemies. These powerups range from a traditionally more powerful shot to being able to have secondary shots that arc and hit at different angles such as dropping a missile that can hit enemies right below your ship.
The mechanic I mentioned earlier that sets apart G-Darius is the ability to capture enemies and have them surround you and act as both a shield and provide back up fire that can help clear the screen of enemies. The bottom left of the screen will notify you of how many capture balls you have and as you use them you start to run out of them until the next level or until you restart the level. The capture ability also works on level bosses and require you to perform the capture shot at specific moments during the boss fight in order to capture them.
The last aspect of the capture mechanic is the fact that you can also detonate your captured enemies which will cause them to explode for roughly 5 seconds or so in the area you move to causing tremendous damage to your enemies. This is especially helpful during boss fights.
The campaign offers branching paths both during a stage and after the completion of each stage. At various points within a stage, you will have the option of going upwards or downwards to head to s different section of the level you’re in and are given a few seconds to make this decision. After completion of a level, you are given the opportunity to select 1 of multiple routes to follow for the next stage which ultimately gives the game a lot of replay value incentivizing that you replay the game and levels multiple times.
So, the game originally released in 1997 and was a cult hit back then and still is to this day. You’re able to play the game with the original graphics when you select G-Darius. This is the original game with late 90’s era arcade 3D graphics in all it’s polygonal glory which surprisingly looks good near 25 years later.
The second option you’re given is to play (by default) G-Darius HD which basically is a graphically superior version of the game even though it’s not that much more impressive looking than the original game. You’ll notice it has sharper presentation, clearer font, better (although basic looking) 3D models, and slightly rebalanced difficulty from what I can tell.
The downside of this game is that there isn’t much of a difference, at least from what I could see, between the 2 titles and no matter which one you select you will guarantee run into a lot of slow down when too much is happening on the screen at once.
If you’re in the market for a retro SHMUP with some unique mechanics and near endless replayability; then you need to go ahead and dive right into G-Darius HD as it offers some tight and responsive controls, white knuckle action with fun boss battles all in a neat little package. Despite it’s aged look and the slowdown during gameplay at times; G-Darius is a must own SHMUP and must own game that’ll keep you coming back for more!