Darius Cozmic Collection Console Edition Switch Review

Darius Cozmic Collection Console Edition is, you guessed it, a collection of Taito’s classic Darius shoot ’em up games from the glory days of the genre. This collection features essentially 4 games with a few versions of each. We have Darius II (Mega Drive and Master System), Darius Twin (SNES), Darius Force (SNES) and Darius Plus (PC Engine).

In Darius games you board a spaceship in order to save planets from evil by killing copious amounts of aquatic themed enemies. Shoot bullets and drop bombs repeatedly with auto fire on both, dodge all the incoming craziness, collect upgrades to your bullets, bombs and gain an all important shield to save you from doom and inevitably die again and again trying to master the classic hard as nails games.

Each game feels fresh with slightly different shooting mechanisms, upgrades and level structures. Even the way your lives work is different in each game, making all 4 feel fresh and worth playing.

Every Darius game features branching levels adding great replay value, much like Outrun at the end of the level you pick your route through towards one of the sometimes many ends. Darius II will take 7 playthroughs to beat all the levels but thanks to the extreme difficulty it will take you a ridiculous amount of time to actually be good enough to do that. Darius II also features letting you play as a partly upgraded ship from each time you die helping you on your quest to save the world and making it a good starting point in your quest to become passable at Darius games.

On top of the 4 different games on offer 3 of the games have special score attack modes, Darius II has a score attack mode where you play through some of the levels and Darius Force and Alpha (a boss rush version of Plus) have boss rush modes, all with online leaderboards and downloadable replays so you can learn how to best the huge sea creatures. For those are skilled in the ways of Darius these add excellent replay value.

The ports have been expertly developed by the masters of porting classic games: M2. They have been perfectly ported in every way including all the blinking on the Master System version, an optional smoothing graphical feature and CRT scanlines have been added to either neaten the graphics or add that retro flair. The games look great however you decide to set them, except if you decide to stretch the 4:3 screen to widescreen; yuck! The best and most important addition to make these games accessible is quick save. Thank you M2, quick save allows you to have 12 save states for each game, except when you’re doing a score attack. Even with save states don’t expect an easy ride because every game in the Cozmic Collection will get revenge for every single fish you’ve ever eaten.

Darius Cozmic Collection is a collection of amazing classic shoot ’em ups but also a missed opportunity, it could have been a celebration of all things Darius and an absolute must have for anyone with a passing interest in the shoot ’em up genre if they had just put the entire collection in one package. Unfortunately they’ve split this collection into two, an arcade pack with 3 unique games and a console pack with 4 unique games, missing out on the PC Engine definitive version of the original Darius: Super Darius, the PSX G-Darius and the Saturn version of Darius II. It seems strange to me that they released the Cozmic Collection instead of the much better value Dariusburst Chronicle Saviours which contains hundreds of levels including the history of the Darius games and local 4 player, whereas in Cozmic Collection only Darius Twin even has two player. On the other hand if you were to attempt to buy original copies of these games they’d set you back £40-£150 each making the Cozmic Collection seem very good value. 

Darius Cozmic Collection is a fantastic dive into the hardcore past of shoot ’em up games. There’s plenty of replay value across tons of levels and just getting good enough to complete one of the games included is going to be quite the mission in itself. The biggest drawbacks are the price and the split nature of the collection, potentially limiting Darius Cozmic Collection to the biggest of Darius fans. 

A huge thank you to Taito for providing the review code. Darius Cozmic Collection Console Edition is available now on the Nintendo eShop for £44.99.

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