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G-Darius HD Review

Official Score

Overall - 85%

85%

The team at M2 had an incredible eye for detail when creating G-Darius HD. Not only does it respect the already solid source material, it encourages shmup fans to pour over every last detail. G-Darius HD isn’t just a re-release; it is a love letter.

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M2 and Taito have felt that a proper fish fry is in order with the aquatic creature-based shmup G-Darius HD. This cult classic originally made waves in 90s arcades – does the Silver Hawk manage to capture the hearts of a new generation with this release?

G-Darius HD Review

This horizontal shmup shakes the formula up right from the get-go with its capture ball mechanic. If anybody is looking to get ahead, they’ll have to capture their foes for some added firepower. Successfully pull it off, and you can also have you new buddy charge up a beam or can even dump them as a makeshift bomb. With three bombs on you at any given time, this mechanic is not just a nice-to-have; it’s an absolute must.

No need to worry though; there are minibosses that can get this same treatment too. Break down their armor and capture them before they kick the bucket and they can fight right at your side. As an added bonus, each one has select fighting game inputs that dish out additional firepower – just the thing to bring the heat.

Let it be known these previous two paragraphs were no exaggeration; G-Darius HD is tough as nails! Ships fall apart like tissue paper after one shot, and there are countless lasers and bullets flying across the screen at any given time. That’s before you get in front of one of its larger-than-life aquatic robot creatures, each of which has multiple phases.

Thankfully the core action is pretty solid overall. There are some cheap shots – background elements and bullets tend to run together, even in its HD variant. However, there is often a method to the madness, and sheer skill through pattern recognition and muscle reflexes will put you on top.

For those who grew up with the original, the team at M2 has set out to make this the ultimate G-Darius HD release. Options include G-Darius, G-Darius HD (with high poly models), G-Darius for Consumer (featuring a beginner mode and the ability to watch Zone Endings), G-Darius Exhibition (featuring a dual-screen setup), G-Darius Ver. 2 (with adjustments to shorten playtimes), and G-Darius Ver. 2 HD. There are small differences between each of these, but the sheer amount of variety and attention to detail is most welcome.

Thankfully, this is one release that shmup fans will keep coming back to. A single playthrough can be polished off in around an hour, but there is a level tree with branching paths akin to the system found in Outrun that encourages playability. There’s also achievements for getting high scores and beating minibosses in under 10 seconds, along with replays that can be downloaded from the web.

The team at M2 had an incredible eye for detail when creating G-Darius HD. Not only does it respect the already solid source material, it encourages shmup fans to pour over every last detail. G-Darius HD isn’t just a re-release; it is a love letter.

This review of G-Darius HD was done on the PC. The game was purchased digitally.
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Casey Scheld

Drawn to the underground side of gaming, Casey helps the lesser known heroes of video games. If you’ve never heard of it, he’s mastered it.
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