Release Date: 1988 (Home Console Version; 1983 as Arcade Game)
First Played: November 3,1991
Status: DEFEATED, August 2, 2014
Adamus – GYRUSS!
Startled Stranger – Gah! Don’t you mean the famous space shooter Galaxian?
Adamus – Nope. GYRUSS!
Startled Stranger – So, what’s Gyruss?
Well, it’s kind of like Galaxian; You are a spaceship…IN SPACE!! There are aliens that fly around the screen and fly at you and shoot at you. You shoot them; get points, everyone’s happy! What makes Gyruss stand out, however, is the improved graphics and music, as well as some pretty crazy boss fights! But the MAJOR difference is, instead of your ship being at the bottom of the screen moving left and right, shooting baddies up top; your ship moves in a circle around the screen with aliens and monsters flying at you from the centre of the screen. But I’m getting ahead of myself…
When First We Met…
I got Gyruss for my birthday. I’ll be honest and say that when I opened my present, I was sceptical. “Guy…Geye…Gyruss…ooohhh! Thanks! It’s what I always wanted!” I had never heard of this, but I plopped it into the ol’NES and gave it a whirl. You’re greeted with a short blurb that acts as the story to the game…
Apparently the evil lovechild of Patrick Stewart and Mr. Magoo is up to no good! And only your awesome Spaceship can stop him! I like how this description is just vague enough to make you think you’re actually playing a game with a story instead of just an excuse to shoot things. It doesn’t fully answer your question, like, who is the giant man you’re shooting at? I’m guessing he’s the evil? And what did he do wrong exactly? Why must I kill? Why???
I remember having a lot of fun playing this! Its best quality besides its unique layout is that it’s TOUGH! But the good kind! The kind that makes you want to play it hour after hour just trying to get one stage further than last time! Each boss was unique in its own way, some were legitimately creepy! The music was another great feature, it was fast paced and added even more tension and adrenalin to the already action packed boss battles! So what happened? Well, like many games before it, I left this behind to try the newer “better” one; I’m going to blame Super Mario Bros. 3 on this one. But time passed and I gradually forgot about Gyruss. The Evil was still out there, the universe still waiting for its hero…
Meanwhile in the Present…
While looking through my games as I started this quest, I lifted this up and had a good look at it. “Gyruss? Oh my GOD!! Gyruss!! GYRUSS!!!” I’ll be honest, I like saying Gyruss. A lot. Anyway, I couldn’t wait to play it! Though I noticed one thing when I stared to play it this time around. In between levels, you are shown a “Map” of your progress through the game…
POP QUIZ HOTSHOT! What planet is furthest from the sun? It’s Pluto, not Neptune…though since Pluto is no longer technically a planet (Lousy NASA) I guess Neptune is the last planet…but you get what I mean. Maybe this is the evil? Patrick Magoowart switched the last 2 planets around? Such…EVIL!!! Moving on, each level is called a “Warp”, each planet having 3 warps, the third warp being a boss battle. Call me what you will; I can’t help but laugh when I’m told there is only 1 warp left to Uranus! I don’t care! I laughed then and I laughed now! Careful! There’s a blackhole near Uranus!! If you’re still reading this, thank you…..I’ll stop now. Let’s get back on track.
This game has aged well. The controls are comfortable and the graphics are among the best available on the NES. Your basic game play is this: You start out with a single laser which, via floating upgrade, can turn into a more powerful double laser. You also have a rocket (Which looks like a shooting star) that you can fire and pick up more via the floating upgrades as well. It was great running into that one boss I hated so much the first time.
That’s the one! Still a badass S.O.B. This guy starts out as a strange gold casing, with debris falling off of it. As you shoot it, the casing gradually falls away until the thing you see above you is finally freed! Not only does this guy fly around in circles, his weird spike arms slash randomly at you, destroying you instantly! The first few times I played it, this is where I died, just like before. However, I quickly learned his pattern, something I wasn’t able to see before and I was onto the next planet. I discovered that your goal isn’t earth, but the SUN. So I finally get there and the final boss is….THE SUN ITSELF!! AND IT’S BLUE FOR SOME REASON!! But, if I kill the sun, doesn’t everyone lose? Even the good guys? Throwing caution to the wind, I fight the sun, dodging solar flares and in a huge explosion, I defeat the very thing that gave us all life. But it’s not over yet…the Blue Sun was actually a giant robot eye that shoots smaller robot eyes at you!! And I just pissed it off!
One thing I found added some suspense to the game was that, during Boss battles, the number of lives and shooting star rockets you have disappear from the bottom of the screen! You’re flying blind! Which worked against me in this final battle; I lined up a shooting star rocket only to discover I used them up!! Dead! How many lives did I have left?? No time for that!! Shoot damn it! In the end, I was able to defeat the eye! Suddenly the REAL sun appears! And you’re greeted with this screen!
(Sorry for the quality; it says “The Universe is at Peace.”)
It’s kind of an ending I guess. No credits after this, you just start over at level one. But all in all, I’m satisfied… Though it begs the question: If the final boss was a giant robot eye, then who the hell is Patrick Magoowart? Also, it only took me maybe an hour and a half to beat, that includes starting over a few times. There was a cheat code for 30 lives (The Konami Code backwards), but I didn’t need it.
If you haven’t, I would recommend playing this game. You might be able to blast through it quickly like I did, but it’s still a fun nostalgic way to pass the time. To my knowledge I don’t think there was a sequel to this, which is odd seeing how good the original one was. I’d like to see them build on the unique game play and to see what other crazy extra-dimensional space monsters they could come up with on a more advanced system!
So what did you think? Have you played Gyruss? Is there a similar game to Gyruss that you could recommend? Do you like to say Gyruss as much as me? Hmm? Gyruss?…..Gyruss…?
Stay tuned next time for number 21! What game is it? Well, it’s creepy and it’s kooky, mysterious and spooky, it’s all together ooky….it’s awful!!!!