Tyrian is a neat little overhead shooter with simple, straightforward gameplay mechanics and a good sense of style. Its main points of interest include a plethora of modes, weapon and ship upgrades, and the opportunity to lay waste to loads of enemies with your massively overpowered arsenal.
The year is 20,031. You are Trent Hawkins, a terraformation pilot. For three years, it has been your job to fly over tough-to-nagivate planetary formations and check for habitable locations on newly terraformed planets. You execute more hair raising maneuvers in a day than most League trained pilots do during the course of their whole career. After many years of war, however, you prefer blasting rock formations to vaporizing enemy starships.
Your latest assignment from the Interplanetary Council is Tyrian, a proposed trading world on the edge of the sector, near Hazudra territory. The Hazudra are a lizard-like race recently discovered in a nearby asteroid field. One of your fellow workers and close friends, Buce Quesillac, was a Huzudra. Yesterday Buce was shot in the back by a waiting hoverdrone that disappeared into the sky before you could blink, let alone stop it. Someone killed your best friend, and if it's the last thing you do, you're going to find out why. THe only lead you have is what Buce told you before he died...."My friend... You must leave Tyrian now, or you will be killed. Even after death, I could not bear to lose you. Still, what I am about to tell you will mark you, so listen well...
You are familiar with the corporation that controls the terraformation of Tyrian, called Microsol. They are responsible for my death. And, do you remember what glowing rock we discovered in the mines west of here? It was more than just a pretty mineral. It is a new source of power called Gravitium. Harness it, and engines will soon be obsolete. It can... Control gravity. Microsol wants it, and will eliminate anyone who knows of its existence. They captured me two days ago and tried to erase my memory as a warning. They did not know my memory is holographic in nature, and cannot be wiped out. Today I would reason that they discovered this fact, and you found me to finish the job.
Now you must go, before they hunt you down. Hurry! Head towards Savara, the free world. It will be difficult for them to follow you there. GO!"
You ran to your quarters and found them torn apart. Luckily you managed to obtain three weeks leave and a Gencore Hawk fighter. You set out for Savara tomorrow, and grieve at the thought of telling your parents that your best friend has been murdered. You grieve even further wondering how you're to stay alive with the whole of Microsol dogging your heels.
Preparing for a troubled day, you close your eyes at last, vowing to avenge Buce's death, not knowing that what will take place in the next three weeks will become the legend of Tyrian.
If you've ever played an overhead shooter before, you know what to expect from Tyrian. The only places where it departs even a little is when you get to upgrade your ship. You have a main gun and two support guns that can be upgraded to fit any number of different weapon types, from the humble 'orange bullet' to the devastating lightning gun, and on into ion beams and things even more bizarre than that. You earn these upgrades by picking up money from destroyed enemies, and power these weapons, and your shield, by upgrading your ship's generator. Have a weapon that's too powerful for your generator, and you'll have to wait for your ship to power back up before being able to fire again.
The graphics embody everything that is good about 'retro' graphics, being bright and artistically deep, and looking nearly as good today as it did when it was first released. The enemies are also pretty diverse, eventually bending off into 'weird' territory, but after you learn the patterns, they're all pretty easy to burn into ion trails before you get too much of a good look at them.
The full game of Tyrian allows you to customize your ship's weapons and defenses by buying and upgrading items. Not only can you configure a ship of your own, but you can upgrade to 3 different ships during the game. Each ship has strengths and weaknesses. There are literally hundreds of ship configurations to choose from in Tyrian.
In a full game, you begin with the standardized USP Perren Scout ship, which is a stripped down fighter craft with less armor than the usual Gencore League ships, but it's quite fast.
At certain spaceports, you will have the oppurtunity to buy better ships. Each ship has different Armor and Speed ratings. These ratings are displayed below the overhead view of your ship.
To purchase items, select the upgrade menu you want and click on an item. The first click on the item selects it for viewing, and the second click purchases it.
To select a weapon for your front weapon port, just click on front gun from the Upgrade Ship Menu and take your pick.
Each weapon has 11 levels of power, so if you have the cash, use the left/right arrow keys to raise or lower the power of the weapon you have selected. Alternatively use the mouse and click on the arrows below the weapon simulator.
Each ship has a rear weapon port. Choose rear gun to select a rear weapon. Some rear weapons have two configurations for even more fun. The default key for changing your rear weapon mode during the game is the enter key.
Like the front weapons, the rear weapons also have 11 levels of power. Just use the mouse and click on the arrows below the weapon simulator to increase or decrease the weapon's power.
Shields are the only thing other than armor that keeps huge ionized beams from ripping into your ship and turning you into space bacon. Be sure to upgrade them whenever possible.
Generators power your ship. They determine how fast you can fire and how fast your shields recharge. A good generator is the key to your offense and defense
Sidekicks are weapons that fly alongside your ship and provide you with additional firepower. Each ship can have a left and a right sidekick. These weapons range from single shot cannons to plasma storms that can devastate entire sectors of a planet.
For weapons that have unlimited ammunition, firing your normal weapons also fires your sidekick. Sidekicks have weapons that charge-up or have a limited amount of ammunition. The left and right sidekicks can be fired separately by using the CTRL and ALT keys.
Front weapon power-ups are characterized by a blue ball with weapon superimposed over the ball. Power-up the front weapons by getting numerous purple power up balls.
Rear weapon power-ups look like red balls with a weapon icon superimposed over the ball. Power-up the rear weapon by grabbing the metal power-ups that flash green and red.
A special weapon can be acquired when one of your weapons is charged near full capacity. The small ship indicating your level of power at the top left hand corner of the screen will be read the number 8 when a weapon is near full capacity. Beware, when you are destroyed the power of your weapons drops by one level.
While some of the special weapons can be fired continuously, others can only be used after they have had enough time to recharge.
- Attracts power ups and coins when you continually press the fire button.
- Repulses shots when you continually press the fire button.
- When you press the fire button you will fire an ice shot, which freezes enemies. Because of their inertia they can still move, but will be unable to fire shots. This weapon is especially helpful with bosses, but only lasts for a limited amount of time on more powerful enemies.
- Continually pressing the fire button will release a coherent light blast powerful enough to devastate everything in its path.
- Pearl Wind, Power of Zinglon, Flare
The 'Tyrian' logo is actually an ambigram
, meaning it looks the same both right-side-up and up-side-down.