Forgotten Old Games – Tyrian

Hello every one! Today I’m covering up for Danilo, so I’m going to talk one of the sweetest memories of my childhood: Tyrian (of course it’s a videogame, what else did you expected?)!!!

Tyrian is a scrolling space shooter made by World Tree Games Productions and published in 1995 by Epic MegaGames. In 1999 there was a re-release of the game under the name Tyrian 2000 with extra stages, in 2004 the game became officially freeware and in 2007 the graphs have been made available under an open license, so you can legally make custom levels of  this game. The original game had 3 episodes, each one composed by many planet stages, but in version 2.0 a episode 4 was added  and in Tyrian 2000 a episode 5. I’m reviewing the original Tyrian, with 3 episodes, but I also discuss some of Tyrian 2000 features.

screenshots by MobyGames

Well, now let’s talk about the game itself. Tyrian is set in the year 20,031 and you play as a skilled terraformation pilot named Trent Hawkins who scouts out habitable locations on newly terraformed planets for a living. One day, while in the new terraformed planet named Tyrian, Trent’s best fried is shot and before dying, he lets Trent know that he secretly worked for the giant company Microsol. Microsol had recently discovered a mineral in planet Tyrian called Gravitium, which had the power of controlling gravity. Gravitium power could be used in Microsol’s warships, which would make them pretty much unstoppable, so the company was also attempting to eliminate anyone else who knows of its existence. So, Trent has to, all by himself, stop Microsol evil scheme.

screenshots by MobyGames

But enough with the talking, mainly because this is just an excuse to blow out whole planets in one of the most frenetic and difficult space shooters ever made! Tyrian can be played whether in story or arcade mode, even though it was never released to arcades, just PCs. The main difference is that in arcade mode, player gets power-ups dropped by enemies in middle of the stages to upgrade weaponry, while in story mode he must earn money in each stage in order to upgrade his spaceship.

screenshots by MobyGames

Also, there are three initial playable difficulties (Easy, Medium, Hard) as well as the hidden options of Impossible, Suicide, and Lord of the Game. Honestly, playing in medium can be already really challenging, so I’d recommend hard and higher difficulties only if you are really really really sure of what you are doing. One funny fact about this game is that by spelling WEIRD at the main menu screen, your spaceship becomes a carrot and your attacks are now somewhat fruit-like things [thanks for the tip, Diogo Abdalla!]

Talkin’ about weird…. More codes for this game here.

Graphs are truly beautiful for its time, with nice colors and well worked textures. Stages are basically about going back and forth to the same planets, but every time you pass trough one, the level design is quite different. Talking about level design, Tyrian stages are very challenging, with a lot of enemies and blasts everywhere.  Sometimes there is so many enemies and laser blasts on-screen that it fells like you need another brain to process that. Well, at least my PSP fells like it for sure since many stages have some serious slowdowns. Enemy’s designs are really creative and every planet have a different sort of enemies. Bosses are really cool too tough, in my opinion, a bit disappointing compared to the stage itself. To fight all that, player also have a lot of weaponry to choose from [in story mode, since in arcade mode weaponry are power ups within the stage]

There are also some gameplay changes trough the game, for instance in bonus stages. Those are minor changes, as stages that you don’t have to shot any enemies, just avoid mines, or stages in which you have to kill enemies while trying to reach a bouncing beer (???), but are fun enough! Songs and sound effects are also great! Sometimes, I find myself humming some of the songs (but that can be only a side effect of playing this game 8 hours straight for months when I was 9 years old…). Since the game is freeware now, I guess there is no trouble to link where you guys can download it to tell it for yourselves. So, that was Tyrian, a space shooter that I highly recommend to all ages!