Monday, September 17, 2012

Game of the Day - Darwin 4078

Time to evolve.  Darwin is a mid-school vert shooter with more tricks up its sleeve than a Vegas magician.

You are a ship flying through all kinds of wacky craziness (not normal craziness) - blasting as you go.  The beauty of Darwin is two-fold - your ship is ever changing (yeah, evolving) and the enemies are myriad and extremely variable.

You play Darwin with the joystick and two buttons.  The buttons are the familiar fire and bomb.  Although both of these change types as you gather power-ups.  The main and most frequent power-up is the "E" (get it?).  Your ship changes/morphs/evolves into the next creation or adds some new weapon. Meanwhile there are other power-ups - in fact, some are so unusual that I played the game several times before I realized some of them were power-ups at all. On the first level, there is a radar looking sort of thing that spins and sends off grid thingies.  Yes, they can kill you, but if you fly into the radar thingy first, it attaches to your ship and enhances your bomb type.  This is the crux of Darwin - so many different ships/weapons/bombs and discovering them all.

Now, a little about the enemies.  If you've read my blog much, you've seen that my favorite feature in a shooter is the variability of the enemies.  And Darwin has that in spades.  I can't even begin to tell you all the shapes, sizes and differing flight patters and behaviors the little bastards show up in.  And I haven't even seen much of the game yet.  They skittle and skuzzle and grow and shrink and morph and anything else Dr Seuss could have imagined.  They come from all directions, circle, fly right at you, fly away from you, everything you've ever seen in an enemy happens here.

Another variant in the game is what happens when you get hit.  Sometimes, depending on what hits you (enemy fire or craft) and how powered-up you are, you simply are knocked back to a previous version of the ship - sometimes you die.  You'll get the hang of when and how you die versus just losing the power-ups.

One other things to explain about your weaponry...The bombs are the kind that are dropped below you (land vs air) NOT bombs that blow up everything on the screen like some games.  Darwin plays with both land and air enemies and sometimes it's hard to tell which is which, so keep firing ahead and dropping bombs.

The possibilities are so numerous for evolving in Darwin, I had to copy and paste the following from the MAME history file:

- TIPS AND TRICKS -
* General sequence :

1) When you are not invincible -> (get hit by a bullet) -> PISTER
2) All states -> (fixed time without collecting power-up) -> degenerate
3) PISTER -> (get hit by a bullet) -> die
4) All states -> (get hit by an enemy) -> die

* Evolution sequence (when you collect a power-up) :
PISTER -> BEAS (your starting level) -> BASUM -> SHARRU -> MISEAVE -> TWIPET -> DODOK -> ZUGAU -> KUES -> SHASUEM -> ZUGOGA -> GYASHARRU

* Degeneration sequence (at fixed time without collecting power-up) :
1) GYASHARRU -> ZUGOGA -> SHASUEM -> KUES -> ZUGAU -> DODOK -> TWIPET -> MISEAVE -> SHARRU -> BASUM -> BEAS
2) LAYSPER -> BASUM
3) SUPPURATE -> PISTER
4) BLACK DEAME -> PISTER
5) DEAME -> SEAS -> MALTO -> MEASA -> ZUGAU

* Mutation sequence :
1) All states -> (hit the orange smoke released by the 'bird' alien that flies from the screen bottom) -> SUPPURATE (bullet invincible) 
2) SHARRU -> (degeneration) -> BASUM -> (collect power-up) -> LAYSPER (you front shot is invisible)
3) KUES -> (degeneration) -> ZUGAU -> (collect power-up) -> MEASA -> MALTO -> SEAS -> DEAME


* Opposite evolution :
DEAME -> (get hit by a bullet) -> BLACK DEAME (bullet invincible)


* Bomb upgrade :
1) Shoot horizontal stick aliens the right number of times and they will drift slowly down the screen. Dock with this to get extra firepower. This also works with the aliens that have extendible poles that spring out from their sides : just shoot them until they flash and dock with them.
2) You can also dock with the rectangular aliens (after you have shot them a few times). These appear close to the start of the game. It seems anything you shoot that then drifts slowly down, you can dock with (which increases the bomb power).

1 comment:

  1. Strange game, but addictive due to all the different forms and ways to get there (and back).

    There's an improved sequel called Super Real Darwin, which was ported to the Mega Drive as Darwin 4081. Also related apparently is the hori run/gun Act Fancer.

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