G-Darius revolves around a conflict between the humanoids of Amnelia and cyborg/chimera biovessels known as the "Thiima" (meant to mean simply "bringers of death"). The Thiima had been aroused by the Amnelian army's use of the weapon A.N. (All-Nothing) to annihilate the world Blazar, whom Amnelia had been at war with over jurisdiction over the moon Mahsah. Determined to protect their existence, and long ago programmed to protect the universe from just such threats as A.N., the Thiima swarmed on Amnelia. Although the armed forces were badly ravaged, Amnelian scientists and engineers were able to make use of both A.N. and reverse engineered Thiiman technology/life systems to create the Silver Hawk fighters. Ultimately, two pilots—Sameluck Raida and Lutia Feen—are chosen to perform a decisive attack on the main Thiima base: Kazumn, a satellite of the planet Darius.
The gameplay is similar to that of its predecessors, with one main new feature. The Silver Hawk is equipped with Capture balls, which, when launched at an enemy, can Capture it and allow the player to control it. Different enemies have different movements and firing patterns when Captured. Gold enemies, having this color because of Solidnite shielding, cannot be Captured. Captains (i.e. mid-boss vessels) are also armored with Solidnite, but lose this armor after sustaining a certain amount of damage, at which point they can be captured. Captains also have a particularly strong attack that can performed with certain joystick and button motions while they are Captured.
While the stages are arranged in the same branching structure as other Darius games, the stage tree only reaches five steps as opposed to the usual seven; in exchange, each individual stage has unique branching paths somewhere in the stage.
- Normal attack: Tap shot button, or press autoshot button.
- Capture ball: Press bomb button. A capture ball is used only when an enemy is captured.
- Capture Bomb: When an enemy is captured, press bomb button.
- Alpha beam: When an enemy is captured, hold shot button until blue aura is glowing, then release shot button
The player can detonate a captured enemy to create a powerful explosion that destroys both enemies and bullets (called capture bomb), or can absorb it and generate a destructive beam called the Alpha Beam. Captains generate larger explosions and stronger Alpha Beams. Also, a point multiplier is applied to enemies destroyed with a bomb or Alpha Beam, with appropriately higher multipliers if a Captain was sacrificed for the attack. Solidnite-armored foes, however, will obstruct Alpha Beams without harm to themselves.
During boss encounters, the boss can generate a Beta Beam, which can be counterattacked with the player's Alpha Beam. All of the bosses will send out capturable enemies or missiles at some point in their attack routine, many times right before or during the charging of the Beta Beam(s). This way, the player will always have a chance to generate an Alpha Beam in response. If both beams collide, the player must tap shot button rapidly (or simply use autofire) to push back and dispel the Beta Beam and hit the boss, or the Beta Beam will dispel the Alpha Beam and hit the player's ship. If the player successfully overtakes the Beta Beam, his Alpha Beam will double in size. Depending on how many Beta Beams the boss is using at a time or successively, and if a captured Captain was used, this can be repeated until it covers the entire height of the screen. On higher difficulties, clever use of the Alpha Beam attack is often the only efficient way of defeating the immensely strong end of level bosses.
When a Silver Hawk is destroyed, the regenerated player retains upgraded major equipment levels, but equipment sublevels are reset to 1 (except on Easy, where even sublevels are retained).
Stages and Bosses
LEVEL 1: PLANET AMNELIA
Zone Alpha: Green Globe. Takes place around one of the coastal cities. A continues the fight in the city, while B takes the players into an underwater area. Boss: Eclipse Eye (gibberfish)
LEVEL 2: MOON MAHSAH
Zone Beta: Giant Plant. A forest filled with gigantic plants, gigantic pterosaurs, and even larger-than-normal Thiima. C stays to the forest, while D has the players fighting foes anchored to a dormant pterosaur. Boss: Tripod Sardine (tripod fish)
Zone Gamma: Gigantic Ship. Starts out over an oceanic city, but soon shifts to a long fight with the giantic boss Queen Fossil (coelecanth). E and F are different approaches to attacking Queen Fossil's auxiliary weapons—E is against its dorsal surface, F against its ventral.
LEVEL 3: OSU-RAKIA PASSAGE
Zone Delta: Granulated Star (i.e. shattered planets). In an unknown star system, the Thiima are not just attacking Sameluck and Lutia but, for some reason, turning planets into clouds of meteorites. G takes the players into one of the squid-like vessels attacking the planets, H along its surface. Boss: Dual Horn (spiny lobster)
Zone Epsilon: Galaxy Islands. An area of space containing bizarre structures like fungal trees. I has the same form as Delta's H, J is a generic open space area with a ringed gas giant. Boss: Dimension Diver (chimaera)
Zone Zeta: Gravity Zero. Starts out in a shattered space colony whose buildings are detaching and drifting away. K has the same form as Epsilon's J, L as Delta's G. Boss: Absolute Defender (pinecone fish)
LEVEL 4: PLANET MABAHER
Zone Eta: Glowing Cave. A large, lava-filled cavern. As with Gamma, the boss confrontation with Fire Fossil (another coelecanth) begins before the area split, with the same ways of approaching it.
Zone Iota: Glacier. An icy sea in Mabaher's Arctic area. Q takes the fight up and around a mountain of ice, R into the waters below the ice cap. Boss: Eight-Foot Umbrella (cirrate octopus)
Zone Kappa: Garden of Sky. Up in the clouds, Sameluck and Lutia must confront the Thiima in free-floating islets with small forests. S is a non-snowy version of Theta's P, while T is similar to Beta's C, albeit with giant wasps rather than giant pterosaurs. Boss: Eternal Triangle (goblin shark)
LEVEL 5: DARIUS STAR SYSTEM
Zone Lambda: Grand Cliff. A set of grassy cliffs on Darius leading to an ancient Thiima base. Interestingly, Titanic Lance from Darius Gaiden is shown partially buried in one cliff. U leads to a set of launching bays, V to rock-hewn tunnels under the main base. Boss: Lightning Coronatus (crowned seahorse)
Zone Mu: Great Fortress. The northern hemisphere of the satellite Kazumn. W and X lead to different parts of the base. Boss: Heavy Arms Shell (leatherback turtle)
Zone Nu: Genesis. A bizarre extra-dimensional space that seems to even be outside the usual laws of time. It is from here that the Thiima are actually spawned. Y and Z seem to lead to distinct portions of the space; Z has a double helix/DNA motif. Boss: The Embryon (sea angel),(by far the hardest boss in the game) which is supposed to be the Thiima's leader, or at least the best analogue available to them for a leader.
Zone Xi: Great Fortress II. Very similar to Mu, just the southern hemisphere. Boss: Accordion Hazard (anomalocaris)
Zone Omicron: Grave of Culture. The stage begins in the midst of a fierce thunderstorm, amidst the ruins of an abandoned Darius city, with the boss chasing the players. U' and V' are similar to Lambda's respective zones, albeit underwater. Boss: G.T./Great Thing (sperm whale)
A version 2 of the game was released in arcade, with following changes:
- Increased difficulty.
- Default play cost is increased 2 coins per credit from 1 coin per credit.
- Added beginner mode. In beginner mode, game ended after completing only 3 zones.
- Standard auto-fire.
- When using capture bomb, player is no longer invulnerable.
- With silver barrier, player is vulnerable to obstacles. With gold barrier, it can take 1 hit.
- All stages include mid bosses.
- Boss battle includes timer (180 sec for normal bosses, 420 sec for final boss). 10000 bonus points are added for each remaining second after destroying boss.
- High score database records high scores for each zone.
G-Darius was ported to the PlayStation, and is included in the compilations Taito Memories Gekan and Taito Legends 2, both for the PlayStation 2. PlayStation 2 port only includes the arcade mode from the PlayStation game.
Native PlayStation version added BOSS VS mode, Beginner mode, and auto-fire button over the arcade game.
The Windows 95 version, based on the PlayStation game, has been published by CyberFront Corporation, MediaKite, and Sourcenext.
- G-Darius is the only game of the series that does not use the same pilots from the previous games (Proco & Tiat) and the relationship between the new pilots in G-Darius is given more emphasis than its predecessors. One of the motifs of G-Darius is supposed to be the "exodus of Adam and Eve".
- The Alpha/Beta beam duel addition is not a new motif to Taito; 'beam duelling' between player and enemy first appeared in Taito's experimental shooter Metal Black. Even the color schemes are carried over; player Newalone beams and Alpha Beams are both light blue, while Nemesis Newalone beams and Beta Beams are light purple.
- The Capture Ball system is rooted in the mid-boss capture system in Darius Gaiden. There, the Captain vessels had Capture Ball-like objects embedded in them. By focusing one's fire on the ball, a player could, instead of just destroying the Captain, dislodge the ball. After doing so, catching it would cause the Captain to fight alongside the player for a time before exploding. In G-Darius, most captured enemies sport a Capture Ball in the same way the Gaiden Captains did.
- Some of the game's developers later left Taito and started a new company, G.rev. Their game Border Down is similar to G-Darius, as well as to Metal Black.
- The Omicron ending is meant to portray the Belser Army finding and appropriating the wreckage of the destroyed Thiima around Darius and Kazumn for themselves.
- The game's title is an intentional anagram of Gradius.
- G-Darius+Raystorm PACK page
- Taito Legends 2 page
- G-Darius at MobyGames
- G-Darius at Killer List of Videogames