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Mechanical Starfish: DARIUSBURST Chronicle Saviours

Out December 4th

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.

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