R-Type, Gradius and Darius, like the holy trinity of spaceship dodge shoot games they always appear, while Gradius has been painfully quiet lately for obvious reasons, Darius is making sure you remember who it is with various collections and re-releases, this is DariusBurst Another Chronicle EX +.
DariusBurst Another Chronicle EX + is the latest port of the arcade title DariusBurst which was developed as somewhat of a celebration of the Darius series some years back, what’s key to remember here is it’s mostly an arcade port and as such misses a gameplay mode out that was developed for the Vita version which would have been painfully ideal here, Chronicle Saviours mode.
What is on offer here is the original arcade offering, an arranged version, event mode which compiles together all the arcade exclusive events and some brand new ones and the Chronicle Mode which allows you to pick an online cabinet and chip away at the galaxy, more on that later.
What I really want to jump straight into the ocean with is the display ratio, Darius has always had a wicked display and usually across 2 monitors, it was it’s gimmick and it worked well in arcades or for people with dual monitors.
Now imagine taking a ratio designed for 2 screens and porting that bad boy over to the Nintendo Switch (one SKU cannot be docked remember) and making no adjustments aside from a half arsed zoom function which just stops you from viewing anything other than your ship, yeah that wouldn’t be ideal would it.
So DariusBurst Another Chronicle EX+ is a great looking game with some fantastic designs going on, average backgrounds if I’m honest and that famous fish based boss design BUT this is only really noticeable if you have it docked and squint, on the other hand if you play it handheld you might just be able to make the odd ship out here and there, it’s here Chronicle Saviours mode really would have come in handy.
Every Darius has some kind of gimmick and DariusBurst is no exception, here we have the “Burst” which is a powerful Laser attack, this is deployed either in one go as an all out frontal attack or can be deployed in any space on the screen, this handy laser recharges with enemy kills so strategic place not only makes life easier but is a constant score builder too!.
DariusBurst has a plethora of ships on offer that cover the series entire history, each ship has different attacks, bursts and looks different, while there are descriptions in the ship choice menu the ratio makes it nigh on impossible to read.
The backgrounds and set pieces within stages feel slightly stagnant when compared to my personal favourite Darius Gaiden which is a shame considering the leap in technology between the two.
Routes throughout all modes only tend to last 20/30 minutes and the game has a real focus on arcade style hi-scoring over providing an over the top, set piece shooter which is fine if you know to expect this.
Another aspect that puts this version behind the others despite having updated content is that it doesn’t include any of the DLC or currently have any to purchase (I can’t even confirm if this will change) which means some of the awesome cross over content you can get in the other versions such as Fantasy Zone isn’t available here despite it being one of the more pricey options.
DariusBurst Another Chronicle EX + is a fantastic arcade experience without much thought or effort to it’s handheld console experience, being one of the most expensive versions too doesn’t help but if you’re stuck with ShmupAddiction it’s a great experience but in a rather awkward way, one for the hardcore Shmup fans.
A great title held back by a wonky aspect ratio and missing content
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