Wednesday, September 1, 2021

DariusBurst: Another Chronicle EX+ (NSW) Rapid Review

Let's not waste any time starting the rollout of reviews for this month. SuperPhillip Central dives right in with a review of DariusBurst: Another Chronicle EX+. It's a mouthful of a game name, for sure, but one seriously fun shoot-em-up. Here is the rapid review of the game.

Bursting from the seams with side-scrolling shooting action

Shoot-em-ups (or shmups, if you'd prefer) are no stranger to the Nintendo Switch. In fact, there have been plenty of popular genres from yesteryear that are receiving a second (or third) lease on life on the Switch. Taito's DariusBurst: Another Chronicle EX+ is another of these side-scrolling shooters, offering intense space combat, requiring deft dodging, precision-based movement, and apt shooting to survive waves upon waves of enemy forces.

DariusBurst's main campaign features a total of 24 stages (12 in the regular mode and 12 in the original mode) of side-scrolling shooting action for perspective pilots to encounter. However, only three of these are played in a given playthrough. You start out by choosing one of three stages, and after completion of that stage, you get to decide between a choice of two stages to play next. The stage selection is basically a branch where the lower you go on the tree of stages, the harder and more difficult the stage will be for your ship to endure. 

You get a selection of a multitude of ships to choose from as well in DariusBurst, each possessing their own primary and secondary weapons. Regardless of which vessel you pilot, you're in for a thumping good and wild space ride. The controls are solid, delivering pitch perfect movement, firing bullets and missiles with the B and Y buttons, firing your special attack from your companion ship with the L button, while the R button pivots your ship in the opposite direction for foes that try to take you on from behind. Meanwhile, ZL or ZR zooms the camera in and out to a close degree. Too close for that matter.

The latter isn't very helpful in most situations, as it often left me getting hit by stray bullets that I couldn't see coming at me. It was also worthless when encountering the game's many bosses, which despite their behemoth sizes meant that I couldn't get a glimpse of what I was firing at or alternatively what was firing at ME. The field of view is rather awkward, as it's authentic to the original arcade version to a fault, presenting a narrow horizontal view of the action with a ton of wasted negative space. This makes seeing things like bullets, particularly in undocked mode incredibly challenging to see for a game that already demands high, skillful play.

Fortunately, there is an unlimited lives mode available to you if you don't particularly care about setting high scores or worrying about getting to the top of the leaderboards. Other modes include an Event mode that presents a series of premade loadouts and challenges that you can complete to squeeze out plenty of extra playtime with the game. There are a plethora of missions to take on, though some of these aren't able to be completed without multiple players (some requiring up to four).

On the Nintendo Switch, DariusBurst runs ravishingly on the Switch. It's a great looking game, though I did encounter times where elements of what I perceived to be the background were actually enemies or hazards I could crash my ship into. I'm not proud to admit, but I did lose more ships than I would have liked that way. This is on top of the already mentioned limited screen space afforded by the game, which makes playing in handheld mode quite difficult in an already difficult game. Musically, I really enjoyed the themes, whether they were themes with soothing female vocals or more bombastic pieces, either with a symphonic sound or a rock angle to them.

DariusBurst: Another Chronicle EX+ is another shoot-em-up to add to the pile of stellar games within the genre on the Nintendo Switch. There is a ton of content to be found for those who enjoy partaking in the genre, and plenty of challenge to be discovered as well. The limited field of view and screen real estate utilized for the Switch version is a bummer, but ultimately, DariusBurst: Another Chronicle EX+'s mission to be an entertaining Switch home port of an older arcade game is a success.

[SPC Says: B-]

A code was received by SPC from the publisher for the purpose of writing this review.

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