Born in 1983

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  • konami

  • FormatArcade & Video Games
  • TypeShooter
  • SystemArcade

Hi kids! Welcome to the spinny world of Gyruss, the topsy-turvy 1983 arcade shooter from Konami. This beast of a blaster has recently turned thirty, but don’t let that put you off because this game has aged almost as well as a ‘53 Margaux.

The game is controlled by a joystick and one button (yes COD kids, one button). 
Shaun Holly

It could be said that Gyruss borrows its graphical style, attack patterns  and bonus stages from Galaga, and its gameplay mechanics from Tempest. That being said, time with this bad boy will prove that it is more than the sum of its influences. Its backstory is long and complicated: The evil alien ‘Ideoclan’ conglomerate have taken over the galaxy – shoot them in the face. The game is controlled by a joystick and one button (yes COD kids, one button). 

Whirl like a drunken ballerina around the outside of the screen and shoot the swirling hordes of attacking ships as they move in and out of the play area. The action is presented in a psuedo-3D style, with the star field scrolling out from the centre of the screen. This makes the gameplay feel like you’re travelling through a tunnel of stars, with your bullets bazzing off into the distance. Every so often an asteroid (rock? lump of stilton?) will come hurtling towards you  dodge those.

Also dodge anything that looks like an electrical force field fence, or shoot both ends of it to destroy it. There is but one power-up in this game. You can get it by shooting an orange orb that periodically appears, fizzing away like a mint dropped in coke. Now you have double the fire power, and those pesky aliens are in for a right kicking. One thing I particularly like about Gyruss is that if you lose your double-shot by dying, it’s not long before another fizzy orange thing appears (flanked by two blue pods) and you can power-up again. The action is interspersed with ‘chance stages’, where the aliens don’t shoot and very kindly allow you to kill them. Get them all and a hefty bonus will be awarded, as well as kudos back at the Gyruss Interstellar Training School (GITS). You will also get interviewed by Sky News for being awesome. Maybe.

Now would be an ideal time to mention that the game is split into twenty-three stages, which are in turn grouped into ‘warps’. You start off two warps away from Neptune. Beat those levels and you are greeted with a fancy Neptune graphic and a chance stage. Then it’s three warps to Uranus, followed by Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, and finally, Earth. Upon reaching Earth you’re barely given a second to reconcile with any loved ones that may be left alive before being whisked back to Neptune, to begin the battle again. It’s a long unending war, my friend, but that’s fine with you because you’ve just refuelled your ship with a full tank of woop ass.

No Gyruss review would be complete without mention of its excellent backing music, perhaps its most memorable aspect. It’s a banging rendition of ‘Tocatta and Fugue in D Minor’, written by Vanessa-Mae and copied by some old guy called Bach. It gels really well with the action and gets the blood pumping, much like being chased by a Doberman.

I’ve recently had a couple of opportunities to play Gyruss in its proper arcade cabinet form, which I feel is a much better experience than MAME emulation. If you get the chance on either MAME or in an arcade cab, give this a try.

Review by Shaun Holly

Gyruss Arcade- Gameplay
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Gyruss Arcade- The Arcade in Action
  • konami

  • FormatArcade & Video Games
  • TypeShooter
  • SystemArcade
  • Rastan, originally released as Rastan Saga in Japan, is a fantasy-themed side-scrolling action game originally released for the arcades in 1987 by Taito and later ported to various platforms.

  • Xevious is a vertical scrolling shooter arcade game by Namco, released in 1983. It was designed by Masanobu Endō.

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