Zone Nu - Genesis
This is it. You're at the home stretch, about to decide the fate of humanity. Here in this zone, you'll be treated to a trippy background and some of OGR's very best work - no, the very best track ever created for a video game. (This is not disputable)
But I'm getting ahead of myself. The first part of this zone is quite easygoing, surprisingly. The only real threats here are some enemies emerging from multiple sides of the screen, particularly behind you - and not having the protection to compensate for that, hence you should stay somewhere in the center of the screen whenever possible. Those enemies seen above (YATTAH) can be captured, and you should grab one immediately.
If you're not trying to attain a high technical rank, just keep firing. Having full upgrades at this point will make this a lot easier, but this zone has enough powerups that you can recover pretty quickly should you have lost a ship.
The first enemies you really need to watch out for are the large, gold-plated ones (gold = no capture). They take some hits to destroy, and they move fast, so they can really screw you over if you don't anticipate where they're going to move.
At the midpoint, one of the gelatinous things down at the bottom center splits into two when it is shot. This yields TWO blue powerups, meaning instant full restoration of a hyper arm barrier, which takes five hits. Believe me, having hyper arm at this point can make all the difference for a no miss clear. Select Area Y at this midpoint.
Watch out! This powerup may look real. It may appear as an extend, a tricolor powerup, or something else, but...
...it's a fake! When you run into it, another enemy appears and immediately shoots fire in your direction. When you do move out, it's pretty easy to destroy. But then you have to watch out for all the gold rockets firing quickly at you in all sorts of directions.
Here comes the last captain, Dream Tender. It'll ascend from the bottom left, so stay clear of that space. When it's moved up, you can detonate your existing capture to protect yourself against the waves aiming towards you, or you could have beamed somewhere. Capture this after breaking its shield. While it can take a lot of hits, you really have to take great care of it, because it could possibly collide into a plentiful of things that could eat away at its energy - and fast!
Like these polygons with gold spheres in them. They move in quickly, and take a lot of hits to destroy. In order for your captain to survive, you have to pay attention to the background for whatever's coming up next and drag it out of the way.
Two more blue powerups should become available near the end of the zone. Leave them floating around for a while just in case you do get hit, but when you get really close to the end where this barrage of gold rockets is firing, you've really gotta pick them up, or they will disappear when the warning comes up. Then, stay to the left of the screen for the final wave of gold rockets, and...
Huge Battleship: The Embryon
Position yourself in line with the heart and move behind your captain. If you think your captain got hit too much, just charge it and release an alpha beam immediately. The single counter strength it provides is enough to finish The Embryon's first phase.
Otherwise, you can wait through the first two bullet attacks, and when the boss moves to the left side, charge, and release when those rings of bullets start firing out (for safety purposes, you could also start it later if you can dodge them). It will fire out a few fish heads that can give you some extra points. Just aim for the head to break it, and then at the heart until the boss fades out.
After destroying some more gold missiles and evading another string of bullets, move to the left side of the screen. You'll get trapped in a pyramid-shaped polygon and dragged towards The Embryon. Pull left more, and fire constantly to destroy the polygon while evading homing lasers.
Grab a capture, and hide either above or below The Embryon to avoid its laser spanning across the screen. Only the head and heart cause damage upon collision. After that, move out, and evade more bullets and homing lasers.
If you have mutli bombs, this might be a safe corner, although I cannot provide any warranty on that. While the bullets will be well out of your way, the anchors can still move towards you, which can be destroyed by said bombs (all while applying more damage to the head). If you'd rather not do that, just be prepared to charge after one or two bullet waves.
If you're sitting in the corner, charge after the head begins to ready its own beam (making sure there are no anchors headed towards you, then immediately release and pull out. While you can still take damage from behind, you do get a brief period of invulnerability when you first release the beam, about a second. (Other events may trigger invulnerability as well; see the last section for details).
When firing the beam, STAND CLEAR of the head until it fires its beam. or it will be destroyed and its beam will be cancelled. You want to counter it. When it fires, move in, and the chest will fire shortly thereafter. The beam coming from there is a double beam, being twice as thick, so when you counter both beams, it's a triple counter. Aim at the heart and the second phase is finished.
Keep firing. The first column of gold rockets only has a narrow passage, so if you're turned left too soon before some of them are destroyed, align yourself in between that gap, then destroy the other rockets.
As The Embryon reforms, immediately move back to the upper left corner. This time it's definitely a safe spot, and can conserve valuable hits for the next pattern, which is painful.
More rings of bullets will be fired, AND you will be trapped in another polygon. Pull left until that breaks. You can use tap dodging to avoid the bullets.
Grab another capture, and move above or under the head and heart to avoid the laser. Charge, and release on the head when it fires its beam, making sure to avoid the swarms of enemies that will emerge (or destroying them with that beam). But this is just a single counter, which is not as valuable, so try not to kill it right at this moment. You should also try to stick to one side, as there will come another set of captures you can take right as the beam ends.
The Embryon will fire another beam that you can make a triple counter out of. That will be your surefire winning move.
Read on for more advice!
If you're still struggling to pull through, there are a number of things that could help you...
Yes, really. It's dirty, and it will illegitimatize your run, but at the same time, it is an invaluable tool for practicing. Sometimes you have to make the game easier before you can play it exactly how it was meant to be in its arcade cabinet. Here are some things you can try:
Changing the game settings
Start off with more lives than normal, perhaps the maximum allowed. Reduce the difficulty, and max out the capture balls as well. You'll still qualify for the online leaderboards, but will be restricted to the "All Mix" section. Those of honor will use the default arcade settings!
Using save states
I had brushed it off at first, but this is actually a great way to learn boss patterns a lot more quickly than you would otherwise. G-Darius HD has this functionality built in, thereby acknowledging its importance. This will disqualify you from all online leaderboards, and you cannot pass your run off as a real no miss clear, but it will help you get there when you're ready for the real deal.
G-Darius HD has a training mode that lets you test the waters with any zone, and you can equip whatever powerups you please, sort of like the beginner mode on the PlayStation port. So, if you'd rather just coast along with full power, you can do that. You won't earn achievements in training mode, though.
If recording your own gameplay isn't enough, watching other gameplay footage may help. I've uploaded my own run to my site if you want to use that for reference, and there are plenty of other good recordings on the internet you could refer to as well, from players like Smraedis, HARUKA, and others. Just watch out for the credit feeding playthroughs, as those will not help you.
Some Noteworthy Things
In G-Darius, the floating powerups can block projectiles, which is an incentive to not pick them up right away in tight situations. Also, when picking up a powerup, you gain about half a second of invulnerability.
Some other events appear to trigger a brief period of invulnerability as well, including capturing an enemy successfully and firing an alpha beam. Due to their short duration, these aren't completely reliable, but every little bit helps.
Trying Something Else?
If you find this is still too extreme for you but you're trying to get into STG in general, there are many other options available which you can try as an entry point, before you take this on. XOP Ultra is my personal recommendation. It's free to download, and has a very sensible difficulty level. But make sure to specify "game" in your search, as it appears a set of climbing sticks is trying to override its existence...
Good luck on your journey. You'll need it!