The Nintendo Switch is fast becoming the portable handheld of choice when it comes to retro arcade remakes. Of course, it also helps that it’s really the only handheld console this generation. Anyways, the latest from TAITO is G-Darius HD, a remastered port of the classic 1997 shoot’em up arcade game that also comes with the original game. Take flight in the iconic Silver Hawk as you battle against the Thiima Empire for the Amnelia Kingdom.
Developed by M2, G-Darius HD is completely remastered. All the 3D polygons from the original have been cleaned up and increased for the new hardware, basically giving it that modern, smoother touch. Since the original version of the game is included with all its original graphics, you can compare the two yourself and choose the one you like more. While G-Darius HD looks pretty good in its modern form, the original G-Darius game actually doesn’t look that bad at all, considering it came out in 1997. Despite the notable jagged edges and slight polygonal look, the original game holds up quite well in my opinion. I will note that both versions are still presented in the original 4:3 aspect ratio.
Moving away from the graphics, let’s talk about the gameplay which isn’t changed from the original and the remastered version. G-Darius HD is 100% an arcade shoot’em up. That means that this game was meant to eat through quarters and make life difficult for you when you play. Enemies come at you pretty fast and heavily with barely enough time for you to breathe. The only way for you to stand a chance is to learn the ins and outs of the mechanics and gameplay. That also just inserting more tokens, which in this case is to just add extra credits while you play for infinite lives.
This brings me to what made G-Darius special, to begin with. So yes, the game does play like a traditional shoot’em up but it adds some very unique features. For starters, your Silver Hawk is equipped with capture balls. Like Pokemon, you can capture enemy ships to be used as part of your arsenal. Different enemies have different enhancements so you’ll want to learn what each type of enemy can do for you. Some add extra turrets, some can fire all wound you, and others can act as shields. You can also dispose of these ships and create a huge bomb.
Other gameplay elements include the collection of powerups to increase your weapon’s damage and also being able to shoot backward if you switch to the other side of the screen. There’s also a super special move called Beam-Dueling. This is where you absorb enemies and fire off a powerful laser beam that can destroy any enemy near it. It’s also effective against bosses and can even counter a boss’s own laser beams.
For the most part, G-Darius HD and the original game really held up well over time. This is still a great arcade shoot’em up game that is still quite challenging and fun. I appreciate that it’s still presented in its original format with the original soundtrack and everything. The Darius series is still pretty interesting, especially with the aquatic-themed bosses which are still something very different from anything else I’ve ever seen. Who would have thought that fish would make excellent bosses?
With that said, if you’re a fan of arcade shoot’em ups, especially classic ones, you can’t go wrong picking up G-Darius HD for your collection.
Received game from developer and/or publisher for coverage purposes.
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