You probably thought scrolling shoot ’em ups were mind numbingly simplistic. Not so with Tyrian. Though the same hectic pace found in typical arcade shooters is present – how would it even be an arcade shooter otherwise? – the game is also infused with a cool layer of complexity to give it a longer lease on life.
Your enemies attack from multiple angles, some flying in fixed patterns, others stationary, and there are a wide variety of end-of-level boss battles, mostly consisting of set patterns of attack or fixed gun emplacements. These bosses get blown into bits as their health bar lowers, then your ship warps out. The most interesting part of the game are the weapon combinations, as well as the upgrade shop you visit between levels – it adds real strategy to the gameplay. The game also isn’t linear, since you can choose which area to visit next.
Unique weapons and ship customization options abound, and playing though the game with a new ship build contributes greatly to Tyrian’s replayability, more so than you would normally have a right to expect from an overhead arcade shooter. The game is split into four episodes, and has enough difficulty levels to challenge any veteran. The game gets more difficult overall as you progress. More enemies assault you and the pace gets quite chaotic.
Overall this is a solid, even innovative arcade shooter. It’s a smart blend of something old and something, and quite unique in its own way.
System Requirements: 486/66 CPU, 8 MB RAM, DOS
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