Game: Dariusburst: Another Chronicle Ex +
Genre: Arcade, Action
System: Nintendo Switch (Also on PS4)
Developer|Publisher: Pyramid, Taito | ININ Games
Age Rating: EU 7+ | US Everyone
Price: UK £34.99 | US $39.99 | EU € 39,99
Release Date: July 27th, 2021
Review code provided with many thanks to PR Hound
That Fishy Feeling
The Darius games are a series of space shooter style titles that have always been very popular in Japan. But over the last few years, the series has seen quite the renaissance in the West. I’m a huge fan of Taito games yet I only knew the Darius games from their brief cameo in a secret level of Rainbow Islands (One of my favourite games of all time). Fast forward to the era of the Vita and I finally got to enjoy Dariusburst Chronicles Saviour and I quickly became smitten with this fishy series.
Dariusburst: Another Chronicle Ex + feels like a title that is trying to give Street Fighter stiff competition for the longest most exhausting title possible. But long titles aside this is a port of the arcade title of the same name. Finding an arcade these days, let alone one that would have this extraordinary machine, is a rare sight indeed. But rather than stress yourself with this challenging quest, you can grab a copy of the game and enjoy the arcade antics on your TV or in handheld mode.
Warning ! A BattleShip is Approaching Fast
This is a side-scrolling 2D space shooter that offers four game modes. Original and Original Ex mode which offers branching paths of varying difficulty. You have a decent selection of ships to choose from, all of which offer different perks and weapons. You fly through levels that contain multiple enemies to shoot down and hazards to navigate around.
There’s a standard shot which you can fire by holding down a button and avoiding some finger cramp. You can also use the ship’s burst move, like a concentrated laser which can charge and cause massive damage. The most memorable moment is when you conclude a level and a giant ‘WARNING’ sign engulfs the screen and an enormous boss presents itself. These fights are quite grindy but once the bursts of light shine from its centre and it explodes it’s quite the satisfying experience.
There is also Chronicle mode which allows you to take on various missions and objectives that you can tackle in any order you fancy. Finally there’s Event mode which offers additional missions which were featured in the arcade, as well as some new missions exclusive to this port. Basically, by getting this game you are getting the complete experience.
The Chronicle Mode was fun to dabble in but the missions became quite repetitive and didn’t really have the same bite as other modes for the game. I enjoyed the game mostly in short ‘Bursts’; a single playthrough of the original arcade mode takes less than half an hour and is ideal for those well-needed game break times.
What has always made the Darius series stand out is the graphical style which is heavily influenced by aquatic creatures. Presented in 3D design you will be fighting a wide range of space ships from the small ones which move around like a shoal, to medium ones which look like shrimps and bigger fish or the gigantic bosses which represent puffer fish to enormous whales. It’s a style that has never been matched by any other space shooter and still looks fantastic in this entry. Accompanying the art style is an addictive soundtrack that is worth plugging the headphones in for. Particularly if you’re enjoying the game on handheld while someone else in the house is watching something on TV. I certainly felt the arcade atmosphere from this title.
Niggles and Difficulty
The main niggle of the game is its screen translation from arcade to console. You see the arcade game is set across multiple TV screens in a sit-down cabinet. To mimic this on Console the screen is shrunk down to squeeze the widescreen in. So if you play this handheld the text gets significantly compressed and is hard to read. I still found the game ran well in handheld but it is a compromise. It does offer the ability to zoom the screen in with the tap of a trigger but doing this you are unable to fully see what is ahead of you. In a game like this, it’s better to see what hazard lies ahead.
The difficulty of the game is not as crazy as some of the bullet-hell games. But things do start to get a bit crazy if you opt for the higher difficulty. The game does offer free to play mode across most settings so even if you exhaust all of your lives you can add another credit and carry on. You are also able to enjoy the game with up to four players locally, like the arcade, which is a brilliant addition if you’re lucky enough to have that many space shooter friends in the same room. Sadly I did not.
Conclusion – Gone Fishing
Dariusburst: Another Chronicle Ex + is a solid port of the arcade title. It’s never easy to convert an arcade game of this magnitude onto Switch or TV but the developers have done a decent job in its translation to the home system. It’s also one of the more affordable titles in the series so if you have been wanting to see what all the fuss is about this may be a good game to start with. A great arcade game to enjoy alone, with friends or even on those weekends away fishing. Just try not to cast your Switch into the lake by accident.
Final Verdict: I Like it a Lot