Yet another in the queue of crimbo arcade conversions, although this time it appeared that The Edge had bitten off a little more than they could chew. The major feature of the arcade version of Darius was its three screens, an obviously impossible feature on the Amiga. Some of the graphics were extremely large and complicated, and the background scrolled at a very high speed. How could they possibly attempt a conversion? The solution has been to rewrite the game almost completely. It's ended up not so much like Darius but more like Xenon II kicked on its side, which isn't a bad thing.
With its underwater setting, Darius requires you to indiscriminately blast everything in sight. It's not surprising that you don't actually see any fish. You do however find submarines (which look like space craft), missile pods (which look like space craft) and lots more spacey objects. Every now and then pods bob onto screen. The first few increase your ship's initial rate of fire until it is equipped with a flame gun. With further additions you can obtain other add-ons. These include homing missiles, torpedoes, large pods that float by your ship, and different weapons for them.
At the end-of-the-level things really start to hot up. The guardians are huge. On top of that they need to be shot when they're in special locations and these take time to find. Featuring the best graphics in the game, the guardians also provide the biggest problems. If your ship isn't well equipped you're not going to stand a chance as some nasties need to be shot in the hairiest of conditions. If you do die, instead of going back to the main level to build your weapons up, you are automatically stuck with the guardian again. Luckily they appear to be easier to kill the further you get into the game.
If I were to judge this game solely on the basis of whether or not it's a successful conversion, I wouldn't rate it highly. As an example of a rewritten game, however, Darius is superb. The graphics are large, well-coloured, and it has competent sound and a total of twenty-eight levels to provide a multitude of varied blasting action. Darius is a must for anyone who appreciates a good shoot 'em up.
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