With people now gaming with panorama viewing modes on smartphones and tablets, the classic arcade shooter Darius was at the start of widescreen gaming way back in 1988.
The widescreen gaming feature was built within the arcade cabinet, with the manufactures placing screens in the bottom of the cabinet with their visuals reflected into the view of the player via a one-way mirror. The third monitor, which displays the middle portion of the game’s screen, is placed behind the mirror and is the only one actually facing the player.
The reflection of the two bottom monitors partially overlaps the third monitor, giving the illusion of a seamless widescreen using its clear crisp Raster graphics. Naturally, this can’t be replicated on the home console system however there are are few emulators out there that could replicate the dimensions onto a single screen. The Darius game featured a unique system that attached together three monitors to create one massive horizontal playing field that also included some intense stereophonic sound.
Sound Track 2x ZiLOG Z80 @ 4 MHz
2x Yamaha YM2203
1x MSM5205 “For its time it was extremely avant-garde music. I assigned this piece the role of Darius’s main theme. I’ll have them hear something no one’s ever heard in a game before! With these kinds of thoughts in mind, I composed a piece with the expressive scale of the beginning of the universe. Hisayoshi Ogura, on composing the game’s main theme “Chaos.” ( Greening, Chris (April 2011). “Interview with Hisayoshi Ogura”. Square Enix Music Online. Retrieved 7 July 2011. ) The musical score saw its first commercial release on CD, vinyl and cassette tape on June 25, 1987 by Alfa Records through their video game music-centric imprint G.M.O. Records. I find that Darius has a great replay value, especially with its feature of multiple endings, depending on which zone you end up at. The arcade version of the game was ported to practically every home system available at the time which saw a difference in the visuals according the power of the system. Darius have now spawn off with multiple sequels landing on most home consoles and portable systems.
The attraction of the Arcade version of Darius widescreen was that at the player was able to play the game on an awesome scale however in later arcade versions the players sat in what was made to look like a cock pit from an actual space ship. Darius is now marked as one one of the best shmup series of all time and the franchise is still releasing games with a 2012 release for the iOS game Darius Burst Second Prologue .
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