G-Darius HD (PS4) Review

Taito’s G-Darius is back in remastered HD glory. We take a look at this sidescroller shoot-em-up from yesteryear. Does it stack up in 2021?
G-Darius HD Header

G-Darius HD has finally arrived! G-Darius from Taito is a game I’ve spent numerous hours on during my childhood. This game and its various marine based bosses kept me occupied for ages and trying to obtain all endings and see every variation of every level was something I spent a long time doing. 

Being able to finally play this classic title again in glorious HD in remastered form on PS4 is a dream come true. It’s something I’ve been eagerly awaiting since the other Darius titles have been given the remaster and re-release treatment too. So how does this game stack up in 2021 though?

Players will take on the role of one of two pilots in G-Darius. You will either be flying the Red Silver Hawk or the Blue Silver Hawk depending on if you are Player 1 or Player 2. The story of G-Darius involves a war which resulted in the disappearance of a planet. The destruction of this planet awakened sentient life forms known as “Thiima” which set forth to destroy all who oppose peace in the universe. 

This is where you come in. The Silver Hawks were commissioned after the Thiima forces decimated a fleet of starships. Using the same technology that the Thiima use, the Silver Hawks are the ultimate weapon and they are now in your hands as the player. Using the Silver Hawk spacecraft’s powerful abilities, players will set forth to destroy the Thiima and save mankind from destruction. 

Gameplay in G-Darius is side-scrolling shoot-em-up perfection embodied. Players will move their spacecraft up, down, left and right and will fire out projectiles, which can be missiles, lasers or waves. The Silver Hawk is also equipped with a shield and rockets which fire continuously from each corner of the ship. Players will fight through waves and waves of enemy forces while side-scrolling across numerous environments and ultimately face off against a huge Thiima battleship. Powerups are collected throughout levels and these upgrade your armaments. Death is severely detrimental in G-Darius since it downgrades your weaponry.

Levels in G-Darius are split at the halfway mark into two distinct versions. By flying near the top half of your screen you’ll select the first version while flying in the bottom half will select the second. These branching pathways in a level lead to different boss and enemy encounters. Given the fact that the game has quite a lot of larger levels, the variation is extremely welcome and adds longevity to the game. 

The PS4 version of G-Darius HD includes both the original G-Darius game and the remastered spruced up shiny HD version. The former is purely for nostalgia purposes since players can enable scanlines and disable smoothing for the full retro effect. The star of the show is of course the HD version though. This looks freaking fantastic and this is what modern gamers will enjoy the most. The original game was already extremely flashy and had lots of effects going on on-screen. The HD version accentuates this and makes everything look so much better. It’s great!

Gameplay in G-Darius HD has been slightly altered with players being able to simply restock their credit supply by pressing a button. Players can also browse through a collection and read through enemy ship names and see their HP values. This expands upon the Darius lore further since we now have official confirmation of enemy ship names. The practice mode which allowed you to select any level and play through it is missing here but it’s not really that big of a problem.

A G-Darius staple, beam battling is as present as ever and this time has a handy charge gauge that shows up underneath your Silver Hawk when you’ve used a capture ball on an enemy unit. Charging this up to full will have your Alpha beam ready to fire against enemies and using this against boss beta beams is a lot easier now. Players can simply hold down a button and the beam will pulse with energy. This can then easily defeat enemy beams and become more powerful, unleashing massive damage in the process.

Players will easily spend hours in this game trying to master each level and racking up high scores. A complete run through G-Darius involves playing through 5 large levels with branching pathways so there’s plenty of variation on offer here. You’ll easily spend up to 10 hours or more trying to get through every level and every variation on offer. The additional content in the form of the “Capture Gallery” adds a bit more longevity to the game as well since players will want to try fill that up to 100% completion.

The audio in G-Darius HD features the iconic Zuntata music from the original and this is still as great as ever. The game’s explosion sound effects and more are all recreated perfectly here too. Kudos to the sound team for doing a great job on this key aspect of the original in this remaster.

Overall, G-Darius HD is a masterpiece of a remaster. The game runs flawlessly on PS4 and while some gamers might notice some “slowdown” in particular parts of levels, if my memory serves me correctly, this is intentional and a part of the original game too. This is a fantastic remaster of one of the best shoot-em-up bullet hell sidescrollers of days long gone by and is highly recommended by us.

9/10
Total Score
  • Gameplay
    9/10 Amazing
  • Visuals
    9/10 Amazing
  • Audio
    9/10 Amazing

The Good

  • Remastered visuals
  • Extremely fun gameplay
  • Brings G-Darius to a modern audience
  • Capture Gallery is a great new feature

The Bad

  • Practice Mode is missing
Total
5
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