Darius (video game)

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Darius arcade flyer.jpg
Japanese promotional sales flyer
Designer(s)Junji Yarita, Akira Fujita
Programmer(s)Toru Sugawara
Artist(s)Junji Yarita
Composer(s)Hisayoshi Ogura
Platform(s)Arcade, Amiga, ZX Spectrum, Atari ST, PC Engine, Game Boy Advance, Mobile phone, PlayStation 4
  • JP: February 1987
  • NA: 1987
Genre(s)Horizontal-scrolling shooter
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer
CPUMotorola MC68000
SoundZiLOG Z80, Yamaha YM2203, MSM5205
Display3 raster monitors

Darius (ダライアス, Daraiasu) is a shoot 'em up arcade game released by Taito in February 1987, although its title screen indicates a 1986 copyright. It is the first game in the Darius series, known for using a unique three-screen arcade cabinet setup, non-linear level design and multiple endings.[1]


In order to seamlessly connect the three screens, the arcade cabinet uses a mirror to align the edges of the three monitors together

Darius is a two-dimensional horizontally scrolling shoot 'em up set in a fictional future. Uniquely among shoot 'em ups, the game's screen is three times wider than conventional size, and the arcade cabinet uses an arrangement of three screens to accommodate it. The player controls an ornate fighter spacecraft, named the Silver Hawk, and must navigate through scrolling terrain while battling a variety of fighter craft, ground vehicles, turrets, and other obstacles throughout the game's stages (referred to as zones in the game). The ship's arsenal consists of forward-firing missiles, aerial bombs and a protective force field, all of which can be upgraded by power-ups (in the form of large, colored orbs) that are dropped by specially-colored enemies throughout the game's zones. When the player reaches the end of a zone, a boss appears, which must be defeated to proceed. Once the boss of a zone is destroyed, the player is given a choice of which zone to play next via a branching path. While there are 28 zones in total, only seven can be played in a single run.[2][3][4][5]


Darius was designed by Junji Yarita, with assistance by planner Akira Fujita and programmer Toru Sugawara.[6] Fujita was interested in creating a shoot'em up game where the player fought a huge battleship at the end of each stage — as a way to "spice things up" and make it stand out among other similar games, Fujita made the bosses themed around fish and other aquatic creatures.[6] Yarita designed these battleships and created a total of 26 different designs, however time constraints only allowed the development team to use 11 of them in the final game.[6] A single boss took roughly ten days to create.[6] Some of the unused designs made it onto the game's promotional material, which was attributed to the art being outsourced to a different company.[6]

The arcade cabinet, designed by Natsuki Hirosawa, uses three individual monitors made to appear seamless via mirror effects.[7] The idea was previously used in Taito's earlier games Wyvern F-O and Super Dead Heat, and was added to give the game a more cinematic presentation and to make it feel more unique compared to other shooting games on the market.[7] A headphone jack and volume dials are also present, as is a speaker system installed beneath the player's seat, which is referred to by Taito as a "body sonic" system. This concept was originally meant to be used for the 1983 game Laser Grand Prix, however proved too costly and was scrapped.[6] The enemy names were derived from different types of medicine, alongside names of people within the company spelled backwards.[6] Fujita worked on the stage designs and power-ups himself, which he stated was one of the biggest challenges during development — ship upgrades were originally in the form of small pod-like craft that orbited the player, however Fujita disliked this idea and cut it from the game.[6]

The game's soundtrack was composed by Hisayoshi Ogura, the founder of Taito's "house band" Zuntata.[8] Ogura wanted the music to convey a sense of a deep, expanded universe, and to make it stand out among other shoot'em up games at the time.[8] Much of the music was composed via a combination of FM synthesis and sampling, while some was made by the Yokosuka Symphony orchestra group.[7] The song "Captain Neo", used in the game's first zone, was originally used as the main theme for Taito's earlier arcade game Metal Soldier Isaac II, used as a placeholder track during its presentation at tradeshows — Ogura liked the track for its sense of "overwhelming power", and decided to keep it in the final version.[8] Darius was released for arcades in Japan in February 1987,[9] and in North America later that year.


Three PC Engine ports were produced by NEC Avenue for the Japanese market in 1990. Super Darius was released for the CD-ROM² System add-on on March 16, followed by Darius Plus as an 8-Megabit HuCard version on September 21. Darius Plus is the only commercially-released HuCard that has enhanced support for the PC Engine SuperGrafx.[10] A third version, Darius Alpha, was released as a sweepstakes giveaway and was limited to only 800 copies. Darius Alpha is an alternate version of Darius Plus where the player fights only the bosses. Like Darius Plus, it has enhanced support for the SuperGrafx.[11] All three PC Engine versions were developed by Bits Laboratory. During the same year, a home computer version of the game titled Darius+ (unrelated to the similarly-titled PC Engine port) was published by The Edge and developed by Softek for the Amiga, Atari ST and ZX Spectrum in Europe. In 2002, PCCW ported the game to the Game Boy Advance in Japan as Darius R.

In August 2016 the original arcade version was re-released for PlayStation 4 in Japan and other Asian PS-Stores. The port was made by Hamster Corporation and is part of the Arcade Archives on PlayStation 4.[12] Darius R, a remake of the first Darius game with some different tunes and a fewer number of stages, was released for the Game Boy Advance in 2002. While never originally ported to the Sega Genesis, a port of the game by M2 is featured on the Sega Genesis Mini microconsole.[13]


Review scores
AllGame3.5/5 stars (PCE)[14]
CVG79% (Amiga)[15]
Commodore User81% (Amiga)[16]
Raze88% (PCE)[17]

List of sequels and related-games[edit]


  1. ^ Kurt Kalata. "Darius". Hardcore Gaming 101. Retrieved 2011-01-10.
  2. ^ Wolf, Mark (2007). The Video Game Explosion: A History from PONG to PlayStation and Beyond. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. p. 97. ISBN 978-0-313-33868-7.
  3. ^ Cite error: The named reference KLOV was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  4. ^ Cite error: The named reference ys was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  5. ^ Edgeley, Clare (March 1987). "Arcade Action". Computer and Video Games (65): 92. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h "Darius Developer Interview". Japan: Shinseisha. Gamest. 1987. Archived from the original on 30 July 2019. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
  7. ^ a b c "The Making of Darius". Japan: SoftBank Creative. BEEP!. April 1987. Archived from the original on 14 September 2019. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
  8. ^ a b c Greening, Chris; Kotowski, Don (April 2011). "Interview with Hisayoshi Ogura". Square Enix Music. Archived from the original on 13 July 2018. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
  9. ^ Akagi, Masumi (13 October 2006). アーケードTVゲームリスト国内•海外編(1971-2005) (First ed.). Japan: Amusement News Agency. p. 51. ISBN 978-4990251215. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  10. ^ "スーパーPCエンジンファン" [Super PC Engine Fan] (in Japanese). Vol. 1. Tokuma Shoten Intermedia. January 15, 1994. Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  11. ^ "ダライアスプラス ( ゲーム ) - ゲーム広告資料館 - Yahoo!ブログ" (in Japanese).
  12. ^ Romano, Sal (August 19, 2015). "Darius Series, Other Taito Classics Coming to PS4 Arcade Archives". Gematsu. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  13. ^ Dayus, Oscar (June 5, 2019). "Full Sega Genesis / Mega Drive Mini Games List Confirmed, Includes Some Super-Rare Titles". GameSpot. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  14. ^ Knight, Kyle (1998). "Darius Plus - Review". Allgame. Archived from the original on 15 November 2014. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
  15. ^ Glancey, Paul (January 1990). "Review: Darius Plus" (98). Computer + Video Games. p. 92. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
  16. ^ Patterson, Mark (December 1989). "Darius+" (75). Commodore User. p. 81. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
  17. ^ "Darius Plus" (7). Raze. May 1991. p. 62. Retrieved 24 October 2019.

[1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

External links[edit]

  1. ^ Darius at the Killer List of Videogames
  2. ^ Maughan, Teresa (September 1987). "Slots of Fun". Your Sinclair. Dennis Publishing (21): 81. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  3. ^ Edgeley, Clare (March 1987). "Arcade Action". Computer and Video Games (65): 92. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  4. ^ Greening, Chris (April 2011). "Interview with Hisayoshi Ogura". Square Enix Music Online. Retrieved 7 July 2011.
  5. ^ Kurt Kalata. "Darius". Hardcore Gaming 101. Retrieved 2011-01-10.