Shoot Em Up

Darius is a horizontally Scrolling shooters Arcade game released by Taito in 1986. It is the first game in the Darius Darius Series and it is played using a unique three-screen arcade cabinet setup. In 1989 it was released for Amiga, Atari ST, Game Boy, TurboGrafx-16, TurboGrafx-CD and ZX Spectrum as Darius+.


After years of pollution and the depletion of natural resources on Earth, humans decided to search beyond the solar system for inhabitable planets to live on. A space program dedicated to this premise eventually found a solar system similar to the one in the Milky Way galaxy and selected a habitable planet they named Darius.

After settling on Darius, the inhabitants learned to start a new life and thrive in both society and technology. However, their peace was disturbed by an armada of malevolent maritime shaped space craft controlled by the Belser Army, who wished to exact revenge on the Darius inhabitants for making Earth uninhabitable for their ancient relatives.

The Darius inhabitants' only line of defense were the Silver Hawk series: single-piloted fighter craft designed for long space travel with the ability to wield different weapons at the same time. Two of the fleet's top pilots were selected to defend Darius: Proco and Tiat. Together, the two must succeed in thwarting Belser's attack on Darius.


Uniquely among shoot 'em ups, the game screen is three times wider than conventional size, and the arcade version uses an arrangement of three screens to accommodate it.

The player flies an ornate fighter craft called a Silver Hawk. The craft is equipped with two attack weapons: Missile, which refers to the forward gun, and Bomb, which refers to ballistic bombs dropped from the craft. A third capability of the craft is referred to as Arm - a green energy shield that can absorb damaging impacts without harm to the ship.

During the course of the levels the player must navigate the terrain, and battle a variety of fighter craft, ground vehicles, turrets, and other obstacles.

At the end of every level, the terrain fades away and the game issues a textual warning of the form "WARNING! A HUGE BATTLESHIP x-y IS APPROACHING FAST.", where x is the name of a boss and y is a letter identifying the current level. The player then arrives in a tunnel where the boss resides, and must defeat it to progress to a new level. The bosses in Darius, although mechanical, are frequently in the form of aquatic animals, such as fish or squid. There have been exceptions in later games - most notably a foetus(Bio Strong), a Terminator-style robot torso (Galst Vic) and a gigantic Silver Hawk.

If the player defeats the boss, the tunnel splits into two and the player must decide whether to take the upper or lower tunnel, both of which lead to a different stage. This allows many different paths to be taken through the game.

Power ups

In Darius, there are three power-up bars; one each for Missile, Bomb, and Arm (Armour). Each bar has seven divisions.

Power-ups can be obtained by shooting enemies of a certain colour. The power-ups are in the form of coloured bubbles, and the colour corresponds to one of the three weapons, as follows:

  • Red - Missile
  • Green - Bomb
  • Blue - Arm

Collecting a bubble powers up the corresponding weapon, and highlights a new division on the corresponding power-up bar. The Arm, if it is diminished or absent at the time of collecting the Blue power-up, is regenerated and powered up.

If the player powers up a weapon more than seven times, the weapon changes to a new, more powerful type. This then becomes the player's default, and can be powered up further.

Stages and Bosses

Among the twenty-six distinct stages (V and Z are represented twice), there are five motifs: cavern (song: "Captain Neo"), mountains ("Cosmic Airway"), fortress ("Inorganic Beat"), open space ("Chaos"), and underwater ("The Sea"). The boss theme depends not on the type of stage, but rather the number of the stage. The only difference between bosses of the same name in different zones is their color.


  • The names of the lead pilots Proco and Tiat spell TaitoCorp when written backwards.

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