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G-Darius HD, Switch review

The 90’s gave birth to some classic families of Arcade Games, and for the time the original G-Darius HD was among one of them. Now have brought it back.

The formula is classic Arcade, side-scrolling shooter, Bullet Hell and Boss Fights. What could go wrong? Well, back in the day not a lot, it was challenging and fun with some interesting nuances. The in-game systems were worth a second look and the use of polygons was refreshing. So, how does it fare with a fresh coat of paint? Being the fourth title in the Darius series, the pedigree was already in place.

HD or not HD, that is the question.

Partway through this review I upgraded my Switch to the new OLED model, its fair to say the HD in G-Darius HD is put to good effect. The game is bright and colourful, while some of the mobs are pretty unimaginative there are some that stand out. The nautical elements always make for interesting creatures and giant polygonal robot fish do not disappoint. However if you let the screen get busy, and it will, with enemies, bullets and pick-ups. Then things slow down considerably. This also makes you aware of the limited real estate on the screen, there’s very little wiggle room.

G-Darius HD

On firing up the game you get two options, to run in modernised HD or classic modes. Having tried both, its worth the visual treat to go with the new version. Although I do opt for scanlines to be present, for a touch of retro goodness on the classic mode. The Darius ‘Silver Hawk’ is unmistakable and has been nicely remodelled for the HD version with its weapon systems intact.

Silver Hawk Capture Balls, what more can I say?

In the midst of what could be overwhelming Bullet Hell the Silver Hawk has a most excellent weapon, its Capture Balls. Shoot a Capture Ball into an enemy and it becomes pat of your arsenal. Great for extra firepower, but also belies some strategic depth once you experiment with the different types. It’s a step up from the R-Type Force and certainly gave G-Darius the edge back in 1997. Add to this Smart Bombs and a Rapid Fire button, you’ll be tooled up. Which is essential, because it doesn’t take much to fill the screen if you miss a wave or two.

Then imagine trying to get Player 2 involved.

G-Darius HD

If you can ignore the overlong intro and get straight into the action you’ll be happy. The levels offer innovation, changing direction away from standard left-to-right and a touch of 2.5d landscape backgrounds. Even the Boss Fights show some teeth, by allowing you to switch to the other side of the screen for attacking. Sadly, these Bosses are well out of my league these days, I don’t have the patience for their health bars and just end up whittling them down with as many continues as it takes.

G-Darius HD, worth another go, or is this your last man?

G_Darius HD absolutely delivers a slice of nostalgia at a solid price.

I just don’t remember it being this hard, and if it was I don’t have the drive to fully explore its optional paths to the end. It’s a classic game, tidied up to serve the fans and they won’t be disappointed. For me, its a mainstay on my Switch for a quick rainy day blat now and again, but not an obsession.

G-Darius HD