Gyruss is a 1983 shoot 'em up created by Yoshiki Okamoto and Konami in which players take command of a ship trying to warp to Earth. Along the way, enemy spaceships, lasers, and meteors will appear and must be destroyed before the player can advance.
Upon starting the game, players will be greeted with the message "2 WARPS TO NEPTUNE". Each level means the player is one warp closer to reaching the planet. Killing all enemies that appear in the level will complete the warp. The opposing spaceships will fly towards the player's ship in a pattern, often curving around the tube perspective and flying back towards the center, where they will wait. Enemy ships who are not shot while waiting in the center will fly off screen and reappear flying out from the center. Completing all the warps will display a quick cutscene of the player ship zooming towards Neptune. Next, a small bonus round called the Change Stage will start. The ships in the Chance Stage will not shoot back, allowing the player to rack up points with ease.
In the arcade version of Gyruss, gameplay remains the same as the player warps from Neptune to Uranus, then Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, and eventually Earth. The final level, "3 WARPS TO NEPTUNE", is extremely fast. Completing it restarts the game over at two warps to Neptune.
In the NES version, the player starts at the edge of the Solar System, then warps to Neptune, Pluto, Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Earth, Venus, Mercury, and finishes the game at The Sun.
The most unique feature of Gyruss is the perspective: the field of play is a similar to a giant abstract tube with the player's ship flying through. Enemies will most often appear at the center of the 'tube' and fly outward to give the effect of rapid approach. On occasion, 'flocks' of enemy ships will fly out from the left or right side of the screen, breaking the tube perspective.
Gyruss proved to be a bit of a success for Konami, and ports were soon made for the Atari 2600, Atari 5200, ColecoVision, Atari 8-bit, and Commodore 64. A port to the European ZX Spectrum was also planned, but later scrapped. In 2007, an Xbox Live Arcade port of Gyruss was released with updated sound and graphics. Gyruss has found its way onto several Konami compilations, such as the Playstation Konami Arcade Classics and Konami Collector's Series: Arcade Advanced for the Game Boy Advance. Gyruss is said to be coming to Microsoft's Game Room for the Xbox 360 and PC in July 2010.
Differences between the NES remake and the Arcade version
In 1988, Konami released Gyruss to The Famicom Disk System/ Nintendo Entertainment System under the Ultra Games label. This version was much more of a remake than a mere port. Along with a slight hint of story came improved art, new music, boss battles, more planets to warp to, added Chance Stages, and different power ups. A major difference in the story was that it featured Genghis Khan as a villain.
Excerpt from the Atari 5200 Gyruss manual -
Within each warp you'll face FOUR different formations of enemy planes. The formations might emerge from the center of the screen where the planes band together--or form off screen where they can create a surprise attack. In either case, shoot down as many planes within the formation as you can and don't let them hit your own ship. Planes fire missiles, too...your only option is to avoid them...or be shot down. After the last formation appears, all the planes NOT shot down will regroup in the center and attack again. They will continue to do so until you've eliminated the last one--unless, of course, one eliminates you first.
BUT PLANES ARE NOT ALL YOU NEED TO WORRY ABOUT. THERE ARE SWIRLING AND DEADLY SATELLITES AND METEORS, TOO.
There are several reoccurring types of enemies in Gyruss: enemy ships, asteroids, satellites, and laser generators.
Enemy ships will fly in formation from either the center (giving the illusion of depth) or from the left and right side of the screen. They will then head back to the center of the screen, growing smaller in size as they get away from the player ship. Ships in the middle of the screen can still be shot at, and neglecting to do so will cause the enemy ship to fly away and reappear later.
Asteroids are round, blue blobs that start in the middle of the screen and suddenly zoom past the player. Asteroids will never change position in the 'tube' and are easily avoided.
Satellites will phase into view usually right in front of the player ship and follow it around for a time. The satellites include three sections, the blue triangles, and the spiky orange middle. Shooting the orange spiky ball in the middle will double the player's firepower.
The final type of enemy in the arcade version of Gyruss are the laser generators. Each generator consists of two small blue circles with yellow energy pulsing between them. Similar to asteroids, lasers will never change position and moving out of the way is the simplest way of combating them. Another way to stop the threat of laser generators is to shoot one of the two small blue circles holding the laser beam in place. This will stop the beam from pulsing and destroy the circle the player shot at, but the other half will remain on the screen and fly past like an asteroid.
Like many old arcade games, all enemies are on a set pattern and basic memorization is key for high scores.
- Gryuss makes a brief cameo in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
- As with many Konami games, the Konami Code can be entered into the title screen of the NES remake, albeit backwards (A B A B right left right left down down up up).
- The main theme of Gyruss is a contemporary arrangement of Johan Sebastian Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor.
- An even more fast-paced and electronic arrangement of the Gyruss theme can be found in Konami's Dance Dance Revolution: ULTRAMIX 2 under the name GYRUSS -FULL TILT-.
- According to TwinGalaxies, the highest score ever recorded for the arcade version of Gyruss was Michael Bangs's perfect score of 47,024,400.
- Gyruss creator Yoshiki Okamoto was fired after the release of the game due to financial disputes. He then joined Capcom where he would later produce 1942 and Street Fighter II.
- After making Gyruss, Yoshiki Okamoto created another classic shoot 'em up, Time Pilot.
- The Atari 2600 and Commodore 64 ports of Gyruss were released by Parker Brothers.
- According to an article in Electronic Gaming Monthly, a lifeform from the planet Gyruss is known as a Gyrussian.