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The Darius Series is a video game series from Taito. All of the games in the series are 2D horizontally scrolling shooters (also known as SHMUPs or shoot 'em ups). The players control space ships called Silver Hawks, and fight enemies that mostly consist of ships based on aquatic animals such as sea horses, lobsters, sea turtles, etc. The most well-known enemy character is the coealacanth-based battleship named King Fossil, which has become an unofficial mascot for the series.
The first Darius game was released in 1986 to the arcades, and was the first Taito arcade game to use three monitors mounted side-by-side. What set it apart from most other horizontal shooters at the time, aside from the triple-screen setup and the distinctive bosses, was the ability to choose one of two zones after beating a boss, resulting in a fan-shaped map. Non-direct ports of Darius are: Darius+, Darius Plus, Darius Alpha, Super Darius, Sagaia (for the Game Boy), Darius-R and Darius Gate.
The second Darius game, Darius II, was released in 1989 and used the same triple-screen setup as its predecessor (a double-screen setup was also released). The game introduced a new stage select screen after defeating a boss and a new power-up system. Darius II also introduced the Captains, which were minibosses that would appear during the middle of the stage. English localizations of the game were renamed Sagaia. Non-direct ports of Darius II were released for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive and Sega Master System. An altered port of the game was also released for the PC Engine CD as Super Darius II, and a direct port of Darius II was released for the Sega Saturn in Europe and Japan.
The third Darius game, Darius Twin, was released in 1991 and was the first game in the series that was a console exclusive. It was also the first game in the series to only allow one path after finishing certain zones.
The fourth Darius game, Darius Force, followed Darius Twin on the SNES and was otherwise very similar to its predecessor. It did not feature multiplayer support, but instead gave the player three different Silver Hawks to choose from. The game was released in North America as Super Nova, and is likely the last game in the series' chronology.
The fifth game in the series, Darius Gaiden, was released in the arcades in 1994, but used a single screen rather than the elaborate monitor setups of the first two games. Two player support and the original branching map returned and new features, like Smart Bombs and the ability to capture stage Captains was included. Chronologically, it is placed between Darius and Darius II.
The series' sixth installment, G-Darius, was released for the arcades in 1997 and is the first game in the series timeline. It expanded upon Gaiden's "Captain-Capturing" by giving the player the ability to capture almost every enemy trough the use of Capture Balls, but scrapped the Smart Bombs in favor of letting the player detonate the captured enemy ship, or use it as fuel for the Alpha Beam when dueling with bosses. The game was ported to the Sony PlayStation and PC, and was also included in the PlayStation 2 port of Taito Legends 2.
The seventh Darius game, Dariusburst, is the first and so far the only game in the series exclusive to a handheld console, in this case the PSP. An updated version, Dariusburst: Another Chronicle, was released for the arcades in 2010. Another Chronicle is the first in the series to use a widescreen setup since Darius II in 1989.