By EarlessShrimp 4 Comments
Let me preface this by saying: I’ve never been terribly good at the genre of Shoot-‘em-ups. There are a couple of games here and there I have 1CC’d, but I’m sure I’ll get to them in the future. The reason I’ve decided to choose shmups is that it has always tickled my brain in the right ways. The level memorization, the quick reflexes, and excellent variety in difficulty the genre offers. HOWEVER, I think it’s fitting to start with the shmup that started it all for me. Tyrian 2000. Back in 1995 I was only six years old, and somehow this game was appeared on my family computer. To this day I think it still has to do with the fact that my parents got tons of shit from IBM after they had both been laid off from that company; they still received computers for so cheap it’s basically free prices (gotta love those benefits).
This is the first real game that I could clearly remember and reminisce about when I saw it pop up on GoG a couple of years ago. This game was one of the first to get me interested in gaming. It was also one of the first that wasn’t an educational game that I could remember. I believe it was shortly after we had a computer that ran Windows 95 (NON-SEQUITUR ALERT: yes I also loved the shit out of Hover) that I encountered this game. It was easily the best game I had ever played to date. I mean, no other game taught me to make important decisions like picking the higher damage concentrated shot vs. the slightly lower powered spread shot. It taught me the importance of saving funds and to to put off certain upgrades until later. Perhaps I’m getting a bit ahead of myself, so I will use this next paragraph to explain the game to those who haven’t already messed around with the game.
Hey guys, welcome to this paragraph. So, Tyrian 2000, it’s a game right? Okay, so basically you boot it up and you have your basic ship: the Talon. You start off with a bit of points (cash) to spend on upgrades. You can choose to upgrade your front weapon, your rear weapon, your left and right sidekicks, your shields, your ship, and your generator (I should mention before I go on that this was for the story mode of the game). The systems for the game were particularly in depth for a six year old. In fact, even by today’s standard of shmups it’s still pretty in depth. It blew my mind. Before the first level you could pick from several different front weapon types. Throughout the levels you killed enemies to earn more points (cash) to spend in the interim of the next level. The best part was, you always had a slightly different array of weapons/sidekicks to choose from. On the bright side, they weren’t randomized so you could memorize the layout and find the best equipment load out to suit your play-style. This element plays into the whole genre style of strict memorization to gain the upper hand. One more thing won’t kill you, will it?
Back to those points (cash). Well, it isn’t totally a high score dedicated game, unless you’re playing arcade, which is a great way for anyone to dip their toes into the genre. Since all your points go into upgrading weapons it is to the player’s advantage to KILL FUCKING EVERYTHING. Yet, if you miss some and don’t get all the point-money in the level, that’s okay too. Not only do you not have to worry about the high score, but also this game is not of the hell of bullet variety. So, survivability is relatively likely throughout the game.
I’ll cleverly segue into my next point: the fact that it is good as in introduction to the genre. As previously stated, it’s not necessarily a high-score dedicated game. So, getting through the story is about the only thing you have to worry about, right? Well to aid you, you’ll be given those shields I mentioned earlier. This adds yet another layer of outright ease to the game. Before your hull takes damage your shield will. Its regeneration is entirely dependent upon your engine, so if you have a low powered engine you might have slow or nil recharge when firing or slow to decent regen when you’re not firing. Yet another level of depth! Finally, by going through the story from start to finish, you’ll have an almost-always ideal set up to get through each of the acts; all of these acts progressively more challenging. For these reasons, Tyrian 2000 can definitely be an excellent intro shmup for gamers wanting to whet their appetite in the genre. However, if you’re looking for more of a challenge, arcade mode is where it’s at.
In arcade mode, there isn’t much of any upgrading between levels; it’s more pick up guns and power ups as you go. You’re given one ship, and one set of shields and a generator. It’s your job to keep track of all your various weapons and upgrade them, and keep an eye out for your particular favorite weapon. For those that graduated from the basics, or those who simply want to shoot shit for points, the arcade mode is the way to go.
I feel like it’s starting to get a little long here, perhaps, so I will finalize every detail I forgot to mention earlier here. First off, it was the first game I encountered that had date sensitive scenarios. I completely forgot that it had various holiday modes that activated on a particular holiday. This past Christmas I booted it up and, to my nostalgic surprise, was greeted by a ship that shot candy canes and encountered holiday anomalies. Second, specific enemies in each level always harbor secret level pick-ups. If you were to collect them, you’d be taken to a secret level; one level even had you collecting beers as extra tough enemies bounced around the screen trying to kill you. Third, you have your custom ships. I never really used this feature, but I do seem to recall a carrot ship. That, unfortunately, was the extent of my custom ship expedition. Finally, in the story mode you have your data cubes. As a child of six, collectible cubes that were obtained from other specific enemies throughout the level intrigued me. The fact that they added another level to the story was just an extra kicker. My little brain could barely comprehend such sorcery.
I could write pages more on this subject, but I feel for the first edition of this little journey, I’ve highlighted some of the games important points, and went over why it was significant to me. I’ll try to make this a semi-regular thing, posting it whenever I have the inspiration. Also, please pardon the sporadic nature of my writing I’m still trying getting into the swing of things. Oh, and if you’re wondering what I’ll do when I run out of shmups, I have the answer for you: I will never run out of them. But, I might switch it up from time to time. Oh, one more thing, if you feel inclined please try it out and let me know what you think!