( Super Nova )
©Taito Corporation 1993
Release: 1993-09-24 (¥8800)
Cartridge (Backup Ram) SHVC-DH
Shooter / Horizontal
Released in US as
( SNS-DH-USA )
Darius Force is a side scrolling shooter by Taito, and another
episode of the long-running and popular Darius series. This installment is
however exclusive to the Super Famicom system
(as was 'Darius Twin')
and was not ported from an arcade game. Eons have passed since the war against
the Belser empire and its sinister army of fish-shaped and crustacean
war machines. But history is about to repeat itself, as it often does, and
large enemy battleships have started to appear all across the galaxy. The
Silver Hawk space fighters are deployed to counter the emerging threat
and put an end to this new invasion. Darius Force is the first game in
the series to offer a selection of three different ships to choose from, namely
the Green Hawk (codename 229X-0001 from Darius), the
Purple Hawk (codename FFSA-0019 from Darius II) and the
Red Hawk (codename FRSA-6351 and exclusive to Darius Force).
Although all ships look fairly similar (albeit a color variant), they however
feature different weapons systems which range from average (but balanced)
wave shots to powerful (but limited) piercing lasers. In the
Darius tradition, each fighter comes equipped with three different weapon
systems - a primary gun (wave shot, napalm shot or laser shot),
a side weapon (bombs and 6way/round lasers), and a protective
shield. Each weapon can be upgraded by collecting colored orbs left behind
by certain enemies (or enemy formations) - red for the main and side weapons
(red orbs upgrade both weapons at once in this version) and blue for the
shield. Interestingly, the side weapon can be switched from bombs to
lasers at any time during the game (by pressing the right shoulder button),
and, curiously, both primary and side weapons can be fired simultaneously but at
the cost of one power level. Additionally, a special red capsule can be collected
to unleash a powerful laser beam that swiftly wipes out enemies directly facing
the Silver Hawk. Levels also follow another Darius long
tradition - each visited zone branches out into two distinct stages.
However, Taito dropped the classic pyramidal structure for a flatter
layout - put simply, the player can now complete the game by either visiting five,
six or seven levels (depending on what path he decides to take). In reality though,
the game features no less that fifteen different stages and eleven bosses
exclusive to this version - and some levels even include mid-stage branching
paths! Darius Force is single player only.
Game story copied from the introduction sequence:
Since early man first discovered the ability to use weapons, made from
the bones of his kill, he has fought for survival. A long time has passed since
the war with "Berser" and the names of those heroic warriors have long been forgotten.
On this day, History is about to repeat itself.
It's a long saga of war and man's perpetual fight for survival.
Teaser text from the American version:
The Solver Hawk Fleet rises again!!
Prepare to the flight of your life, in a no-holds barred battle for
survival! Super Nova offers three fighter options, a power
balance system and other exciting new features.
Fight your way through the enemy defense zone to destroy the
gigantic battle cruisers of the evil empire!
Game Staff (Copied from the end credits) :
Design & Artwork:
Click on picture to enlarge|
Darius Force's endings:
Darius Force features three different endings (only
Zone O yields the staff roll):
Zone L - five levels:
"The sun is rising again
Although we cannot
see the future.
We will continue
and stand guard over
our maternal star."
Zone N - six levels:
"Peace is not inevitable
But, deep inside every
human heart is the
longing for peace.
If you believe this,
then it must be so."
Zone O - seven levels:
it has been
nature to fight.
When confronted by
has always fought back.
Continue to fight,
for the war is no
One day, peace
will return again."
Zone X - Boss endurance mode:
An option exist to access a secret Zone X which consists of a boss
rush mode where eight bosses come at the player in a row. When the Taito
logo appears (right before the title screen), press Down, X, Up,
B, Left-shoulder, Right-shoulder, Left and A
on the second controller. This code has to be fully entered before the Taito
logo disappears, and a chime sound should signal that it was successfully executed.
When you start the game, the message "Wow!! You discovered the Boss endurance mode!"
The popular Konami code can be used in this game. Pause the game and press up,
up, down, down, left-shoulder, right-shoulder,
left-shoulder, right-shoulder, B and A, then unpause the game.
However, Darius is obviously a Taito franchise, and the Silver Hawk
self destructs when the player enters the code. Sneaky.
Add your Pov here !
I don't know for sure why Darius Force was renamed Super Nova in the west,
especially as Darius Twin had already been released for the Super Nintendo
system... The ways of the marketing world are impenetrable. Anyway, I am a
Darius-o-phile and as such, I love anything related to giant fish machines
and squid like battleships. The latest episodes in the series (such as Darius Gaiden
or G-Darius are unquestionably the best, but this exclusive episode does add a few
new twists worth considering. Firstly, the game features three ships to choose from, which
was a first in the Darius annals. Then the overall stage layout is different, and
you can now complete the game by either visiting five, six or seven levels. In truth though,
the rest of the game doesn't really add anything new to the series, and it is characterized
by an extreme and punishing difficulty level (stiff controls and frustrating power-up system).
There are a couple of unusual bosses here and there, and some stages are very carefully
designed with a meticulous attention to detail. Maybe I'm looking too much into this, but
bosses seem to "evolve" throughout the game, starting by anemones and snails, and ending
with dinosaurs, whales and humans. Anyway, all in all, I feel the game lacks the very soul
of the series, and the worst offender is the poor soundtrack (the first stage's music
really bothers me and sounds really cheap). Darius Force is also technically
better than Darius Twin (although it has lost the two-player option), looks
visually stunning and I find it overall fun to play... but, in my opinion, it feels
like it doesn't really belong to the Darius series...