The objective of the current review is to present the development of a large vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT) since its naissance to its current applications. The turbines are critically reviewed in terms of performance, blade configuration, tower design, and mode of failure. The early VAWTs mostly failed due to metal fatigue since the composites were not developed. Revisiting those configurations could yield insight into the future development of VAWT. The challenges faced by horizontal axis wind turbine (HAWT), especially in the megawatt capacity, renewed interest in large scale VAWT. VAWT provides a solution for some of the immediate challenges faced by HAWT in the offshore environment in terms of reliability, maintenance, and cost. The current rate of research and development on VAWT could lead to potential and economical alternatives for HAWT. The current summary on VAWT is envisioned to be an information hub about the growth of the Darrieus turbine from the kW capacity to megawatt scale.