Taito Corporation Publisher:
Action Shooter Players:
1-2 Release Date:
c. 1991 Rated:
Not RatedWritten by:
Darius Twin. Now this is a game from pretty long ago. The fist real space shooter I ever owned and enjoyed a lot, so it definitely made an impression on me. Although I know this is part of the Darius Series of games and is thus similar to the other games, I will not compare this game to the others because I have never played any of the other Darius games so I don't know what they are like. But make no mistake. This is still going to be a review as in-depth and critical as ever. Now let's get this on.
Based on my experience with these games I'd have to say that the visuals and presentation in Darius Twin are pretty decent. The game series seems to have a pretty deep (and somewhat original) storyline behind it that Twin is a part of, which helps. But even then, story isn't a big part of the game at all while you're playing.
The environments and levels you fly through are really just a foreground scrolling over a background to make up the land and sea in the back. These environments are varied, but only to a certain degree as many of the sixteen planets you visit are really just "copies" of other planets with different color schemes but the same main components. There's your plain Earth-like world where you start, Deep Space, a world in the clouds (kinda like Bespin), maybe two different designs of a deathstar-like world, and I think one underwater world, all in different color schemes to give the illusion of totally different environments. This really doesn't get as old though because of the game's multi-path feature.
Like many space shooters of the time, Darius Twin is a game populated with many different kinds of ships, enemies, and creatures. These all have character designs that seem pretty inspired and at points give the game its own character. The huge bosses, all of which resemble aquatic creatures, are especially well designed. However, as do the stages in the game, the enemies will also start to repeat designs. As early as the second level I already saw enemies that looked the same as other ones I'd seen earlier, just bigger or with different colors. Despite this, aesthetically Darius Twin manages to constantly bring new things at you throughout the game. Of course another aspect of the space shooter seems to be all the pretty effects from shooting different weapons. In Darius you get a pretty good variety of weapons that will change all the time and get progressively bigger as the game goes on, so in addition to new enemies you'll be seeing more and more nice lighting effects throughout Twin.
Although it repeats a lot of backgrounds and enemies, Darius Twin still manages to be a game that brings something new to look at throughout along with nicely designed ships, enemies, and bosses from the game's great production art.
Most Space shooters are games of constantly shooting and dodging. You shoot everything in sight and try to dodge a hail of gunfire filling the screen. This is the same with Twin but seems less intense with this game. First of all, enemies actually don't fire at you that much. Many of them will come at you in schools that are easily taken down if dodged properly. As the game goes on you might see larger and more complex patters of enemies, some of which might try to come behind you. The few enemies that do shoot back are the bigger ones that shoot out large blasts; they also aren't much harder to take down. The only time all this ever gets truly difficult is on the boss battles and throughout the final level. Instead of dodging gunfire constantly, getting past enemies in Darius Twin mostly just involves being at the right part of the screen at exactly the right time while constantly holding both fire buttons throughout the entire course of the game.
Instead of getting powerups directly from enemies, every once in a while in Darius, a set of 10 or so square thingies will fly into screen. If you shoot all of them, a powerup will appear for you to collect. There are only around maybe 5 different kinds of powerups but they are a constant source of help and power in the game.
The weapon system in Darius Twin can be surprisingly complex. First you start out with a primary gun, just a simple laser that's fired with the Y button; and a secondary weapon that comes out of the diagonal sides of your ship, fired with the B button. There are two types of primary weapons to use. The first you'll start out with is Photon Power Disc, which will upgrade every time you get a red powerup. Eventually, these turn into spreadshots that are more likely to hit the enemy. If you pick up a switch powerup, you'll switch over to a different line of weapons called the Segmented Laser Wave Beam, a weapon that, although more powerful, will spread less and require more precision on the part of the player. You only have one kind of sidearm that is upgraded with green powerups. The only real "bomb" in Darius is a yellow pickup that simply destroys all enemies on screen the moment it's picked up. There is also a system of shields present that works similarly, except that you simply collect more upgrades to make your shield stronger, eventually causing it to change color and go from blue to silver to gold. Without the shield, one hit will kill you.
Like many space shooters Darius Twin seems to be just a game about constantly shooting and being in the right place of the screen at the right time. But here it seems a little less intense and really only picks up towards the end. All in all it seems to be a little too easy on the default difficulty levels. If you decide to play with a friend, know that the same number of powerups will appear as in single player mode, so you'll have to share, which may help to balance out the game's difficulty a bit.
As I've played this game periodically over the years and become familiar with it, I've come to like the music in this game, a lot. The different themes played in this game have a sort of Contra-like feel that really just helps illustrate the atmosphere of the game. It also seems to be good enough to have received some remixes from the Minibosses over the years. The only other audio in the game is really just the usual laser blasts and explosions (which convey the impact of the explosion quite well). Overall it makes for some pretty decent sound.
Darius Twin is really just a game you play through in one sitting for maybe half an hour. This is really just expanded by trying to get a high score (which doesn't save for some reason) and three different difficulty modes.
Darius Twin is a short, entertaining fly through a decently designed space world that, while a bit less intense than most space shooters of the time, can still offer enough for shooter fans in somewhat short bursts7/
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