Mechanical Starfish: DARIUSBURST Chronicle Saviours

DARIUSBURST Chronicle Saviours [official site] is a very excitable name. If it’s trying to communicate anything at all, perhaps it is that some people are attempting to save the DARIUSBURST Chronicle. Presumably that’s a sort of Lindisfarne Gospels for the sci-fi sea monstrosity world of Taito’s long-running series of shoot ’em ups. Or maybe it’s just an exclamation of pure joy. DARIUSBURST Chronicle Saviours certainly looks like a joyous thing – it’s an enhanced and expanded version of the last full-fat Darius game, and it’s coming to PC via Steam on December 4th.

I’m no expert when it comes to shooters of this sort. By “this sort”, I mean shoot ’em ups in which I control a tiny craft and collect powerups while dodging bullets. For what it’s worth, my favourite multi-directional shooter is Treasure’s Bangai-O, my favourite vertical shooter is Ikaruga, which I wrote about on this very site, and my favourite side-scrolling shooter is probably one of the R-Types because I love the creature designs. I also liked DMA’s Blood Money back in the day and thought the visual effect for the undulating jellyfish was the best thing I’d ever see in a computer game.

The first Darius came out way back in 1987 and this new release doesn’t mark the series’ first appearance on PC. It’ll be my first exposure to the games though. I’ve played Gradius games, which are almost an anagram of Darius, but that doesn’t count. DARIUSBURST Chronicle Saviours seems like a good point to jump on board though – it has “hundreds of stages covering DARIUS history”, “9 playable ships” and “over 40 enormous, robotic sea-monster battleships”. There’s also dual monitor support, which could look fantastic. Something about firing a beam weapon from one screen to another just feels grand.

There’s cooperative play for up to four people as well as all of the other features, and I’m told that “AC Chronicle mode” has 3000+ unlockable stages. I don’t know what that means but as soon as there are thousands of stages available, the number might as well be infinite as far as I’m concerned. I will never play that many stages, particularly given the branching nature of the story mode. I’m looking forward to this.


  1. Da5e says:

    A Darius game, running on a super-wide monitor?! Dear lord, yes please.

    • Eight Rooks says:

      Devs are saying on Steam that it supports the original super-wide aspect ration from the arcade if you have enough monitors, so if that’s you, go nuts. :)

  2. Eight Rooks says:

    Do note that it’s been confirmed this is coming out at full price – so $50, and probably £40 I guess? It’s even more expensive on consoles. I can partly see why – they’re plainly trying to do their version of R-Type Final and it’s stuffed with “content” – but I can’t help feeling a lot of the very people they’re trying to appeal to are going to recoil in horror. I’d like it – I love giant robot fish, and it’s far less bullet hell than most surviving franchises – but I’m very hesitant.

    • Da5e says:

      They’re possibly initially aiming it at the kind of idiot – like me – who gibbered and squealed and spent the best part of £200 on Dodonpachi Saidaoujou (not to mention the embarrassing sums on various PCBs over the years) because BULLETS.

      • Eight Rooks says:

        I think giant robot fish this time rather than bullets, but yes. It does seem like it has a lot of content, though, and there is apparently going to be a 20% launch discount for the first week. I think I might bite (ALERT, ANGLING PUNS ARE APPROACHING FAST).

      • sabrage says:

        Yeah, this is cheap by to anybody who owns a Saturn.

        • Jekhar says:

          Dear god, this. Especially if you jump in late on the retro bandwagon. I still can’t believe i paid close to two hundred Euros for Panzer Dragoon Saga last year. But hey, worth it.

          This digital only steam release for 50,- bucks though? Noooope. And i really like shmups. But that price is just ludicrous.

    • Rane2k says:

      This looks interesting, but if the pricing is anywhere near this I´m not a customer.

      Currently I am playing Steredenn, which falls into a similar niche, and I was hesitant on shelling out 12.99€ for that. But ~3 times as much? Not gonna happen, even if I very much want to play this.

      • Eight Rooks says:

        You’re getting the original arcade campaign, a remixed difficulty version, a new single-player campaign with several hundred stages, a social/co-operative campaign with a strategic map and thousands of different levels, and online or local co-op for the lot. Much of this will be copy and pasting or palette swaps, I don’t doubt, but there’s still going to be an insane amount of playability, and I’ll take Darius production design (terrific visuals, some of the best soundtracks in the industry) over some fairly generic-looking pixel art, procedural generation and cookie-cutter metal riffs.

        If you enjoy Steredenn, more power to you, I guess, but there’s nothing there to justify £10 to me. £40 for this is pushing it, but I can far more readily understand why someone would want to pay it.

        I think it’s one genre where mobile gaming has effectively cemented the idea in too many people’s heads that A Little Ship Shooting Other Little Ships is always the same game; it’s an old idea; anyone can make one, and they should pretty much all be free. I mean, Cave practically went out of business given no-one was willing to pay $10 for their games on Android or iOS, and they’re some of the most talented developers in the industry. PC gamers might be prepared to pay a bit more, but the reasoning seems largely the same.

        • Rane2k says:

          Co-op is indeed a plus.

          I have no idea about the state of Shmups in mobile gaming, as I don´t do mobile gaming. But it is a VERY wide gap, going from free/almost free (anything below let´s say 2€) that you get in mobile stuff, or on Kongregate or similar platforms, and the price of a full-blown AAA-game.

          And I´m very much not in the “play one shmup and you played them all” camp that you name, I am in fact rather picky. I have played these in some form since Raptor: Call of the Shadows back in the 90s, and they are very much hit or miss for me.

          So any new one that looks like it has something that makes it stand out deserves attention, like this Dariusburst.
          But you have to admit that (if its confirmed) a €40+ price tag is rather baffling for a Shmup.

        • Rane2k says:

          Oh, and I think you are brushing over the procedural generation of Steredenn a bit.
          It is for me a very strong selling point, as it defeats one of the weaknesses of many shmups, namely the fact that you can learn the levels by heart and just memorize all the enemy/bullet patterns.

          Graphics/Soundtrack are of course a matter of personal taste, and if pixel graphics don´t do it for you then I can´t argue against that.
          I have started to prefer them over some of the more polished, but often visually overwhelming special effects of newer stuff, as they are often far better readable/parsable for the brain. (See also: Jamestown)

  3. ansionnach says:

    Bangai-O is great. Never knew Darius Gaiden had been released for Windows. Seems to go for cheaper than the Saturn version, too.

  4. syllopsium says:

    That really does have lots of The Pretty, but please, please get rid of that awful song!

    • Jekhar says:

      You mean that one with the strangely pronounced “freeeeeedom” vocals? I’m afraid it’s on full blast during the first campaign level. Not sure about arcade mode. There are other songs with similar grating vocals too, but luckily many more quite good instrumental only ones.

    • Scandalon says:

      “Haunting” vocals, indeed.