Darwin 4078 (1986)
By: Data East Genre: Shooting Players: 1 Difficulty: Medium-Hard
Featured Version: Arcade First Day Score: 38,740
Also Available For: MSX
Genetos, its evolutionary theme reminded me of a shoot 'em up I used to enjoy on my MegaDrive. It was a conversion of a Data East coin-op, Super Real Darwin, which as I discovered much later, actually turned out to be the sequel to this very game featured here. It takes place inside a gigantic spaceship which was created using Evol, the lifeforce of the planet Lakya which was unwittingly unleashed by the advanced inhabitants and harnessed by their neighbours from the planet Cokyo (nice name). What this all basically comes down to is a vertically-scrolling shooter in which you must pilot a biological ship through the giant ship over no less than sixteen stages, taking out as many of its defences as possible as you go.
The music and sound effects are average and there are few different tunes, and graphically the game is rather disappointing too. There's a reasonable number of enemy sprite designs but they don't really look like anything in particular and, unlike your own ship, their animation is very limited. Equally uninspiring are the backgrounds. Some parts are detailed, others are not, but again they don't really resemble anything and the colours used throughout are rather dull and gloomy so the desire to see the later stages isn't very strong. In many ways this game reminds me of Slap Fight but Toaplan's effort was much more appealing in pretty much every way. The concept of Darwin 4078 isn't a bad one and the execution is hardly a disaster - there's even an innovation or two like the ability to stun and seize certain enemy ships - but it's more often an annoying game to play than an exciting one, and I think once all the different ship variations here have been seen, interest will wane quickly. It did for me, at least!
RKS Score: 5/10