I didn't get around to buying Super Darius until I had already played and enjoyed its sequel, so I set my expectations for it at what I believed was an appropriately moderate level. Consensus seemed to indicate that SD was little but a solid shooter that essentially laid the groundwork for its flashier followup. There's no question that its graphics are not as impressive as SD2's--a quick glance at side-by-side screens makes this quite apparent. And I discovered upon playing SD that its bosses can't compare to the end-level monstrosities who star in its successor. In fact, many of SD's gate guardians are utilized in severely shrunken form as mini-bosses in SD2, mere yes-men to powerful new titans.
But it's no big deal that SD isn't as impressive as SD2 with its visuals (as its graphics are still very nice) or its bosses (as SD2's bosses are flat-out incredible). No, Super Darius' real issue is the problem caused during boss fights by its compacted playfield. The decision to stick with the brand of enormous sprites present in the three-screen-wide arcade game leaves players with precious little breathing room when the gigantic bosses arrive, and it doesn't help that said bosses typically fire super-fast spread bullets that leave only the tiniest gaps to slip through. Reaching a level's last battle is something to be dreaded, as the bosses are much more frustrating than enjoyable to deal with.
Comparisons, comparisons. That's what this was pretty much all about, I guess. I feel it was necessary in light of the rap Super Darius takes as SD2's supposedly weaker kinsman. But really, considering that they're both great and both must-gets, it doesn't matter all that much which one is "better." The obvious, sensible thing to do is get both!