Review – Darius Cozmic Collection Console

Nowadays, the word “Darius” is mostly related to the Hootie & the Blowfish lead singer, but there was a time in which Darius used to be one of the most iconic shoot ’em up franchises in arcades and consoles. This was Taito’s answer to Konami’s Gradius, Irem’s R-Type and Sega’s Thunder Force, featuring easy controls and an even more simplified upgrade system. Suffice to say, the franchise disappeared alongside Taito’s disappearance from the mainstream gaming world… until now. With Taito’s sudden resurgence, as witnessed by its brand new Bubble Bobble game for Switch released a few months ago, came a brand new collection of Darius classics coded by the good people at M2.


Darius Twin is possibly the best game in the collection.

When it comes to emulated retro collections, no other company is as trustworthy as M2. These guys were the ones responsible for the Contra, Castlevania, Mega Man and Mana collections. They know how to perfectly emulate older games in modern hardware, making it look like as if you were just playing a retro console with a resolution upscaler. That’s both good and bad, though. While they aim to provide the most realistic retro experience possible, they rarely fix issues that were previously present in those games’ original releases. This is no different in Darius Cozmic Collection Console.

As the title suggests, this is a collection featuring console ports of Darius games. Those are all titles that unlike their arcade counterparts, were somehow hindered by their respective console’s limitations. A good chunk of them feature framerate issues, sprite jittering, and limited sound capabilities. You also need to realize that despite featuring nine games to choose from in the main menu, some of them are just different localizations of the same title.


This is probably the first time I have ever seen a Master System game being included in a retro collection not published by Sega.

The game Darius II is featured three times, for instance: the Japanese Mega Drive version, the Western Mega Drive/Genesis version, and the Master System version. Although the latter was plagued by framerate issues, I felt it was a nice addition, as I rarely see Master System games being included in retro collections. Darius Twin, the best game in the collection, is included twice: in its Super NES and Super Famicom iterations. The same applies to Darius Force, which was known as Super Nova in the West. Finally, two remakes of the original Darius, originally released for the PC Engine in Japan, are also included, and they are probably the best games in the entire collection.

All of the nine games included in the collection are simple to grasp and very responsive. You only have a shooting button and a bomb button for the most part, making the act of jumping from one game to another quick and painless. Given the weaker hardware, all of those games are noticeably slower-paced than their arcade counterparts. This is less about avoiding bullets like crazy, and more about carefully shooting enemies and avoiding the occasional slow fireball coming your way, as you die with just one hit unless you grab a shield power-up.


What is it with all enemies being shaped after fish? Who made this game, Spongebob?

In short, I did enjoy this Darius collection, but being limited to older console ports meant that I was stuck with the less impressive versions of each of the games included in this package. They are definitely not bad games, on the contrary, and being able to add even more shoot ’em up classics on a portable console is a great idea. However, if I had to choose between the two currently available collections, I’d have to suggest grabbing Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade instead. Those arcade games look, play, and sound better than any console port included in this collection.


Graphics: 6.0

A perfect and upscaled recreation of how these games used to look in their respective consoles back in the day, but also featuring all of the graphical glitches and framerate issues that were present due to their respective hardware limitations.

Gameplay: 8.5

The controls themselves are excellent, as they are simple to grasp and very responsive. The problem lies in the aforementioned framerate issues, especially in the PC Engine and Master System ports.

Sound: 7.0

The soundtracks included in here are decent for the limited sound chips they were composed on. They’re not as memorable as the soundtracks featured in other shooter franchises, but get the job done nevertheless.

Fun Factor: 7.0

A great way to revisit a classic shoot ’em up series on a portable platform, with the pristine emulation only M2 knows how to offer. With that being said, this is a collection that features less games than what they’re actually advertising in the box, as a good chunk of them are just regional variants of the same title.

Final Verdict: 7.5

Darius Cozmic Collection Console is available now on PS4 and Switch.

Reviewed on Switch.

A copy of Darius Cozmic Collection Console was provided by the publisher.