Reply To: First impressions

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I played through Tyrian about a year back. With it being open source, I actually played this on an OpenPandora where it’s had a full port and runs perfectly. I’m assuming it plays the same as the original DOS version.

It’s long enough ago for the details to be fuzzy so I can’t give a detailed review or anything. General impressions were that it’s a fun and graphically varied shooter. One of the best on the PC at the time it came out but there wasn’t a huge amount of competition. I definitely liked the fact that you have a shield and don’t die in one hit like so many other shooters. The number of weapons available is impressive and the number of different enemies, levels and secrets crammed into the game.

The messages that you can pick up and the storyline are mildly amusing but throwaway. Plot isn’t exactly a neccessity in a shooter so it’s a bonus that it’s there at all really. It does feel a bit cheap that it’s all done through text and some tiny portraits. This isn’t exactly Wing Commander IV in terms of cutscenes.

Where the game mainly falls down for me is that it just seemed to be lacking a creative spark and I wasn’t won over by the level design. It’s highly generic in many ways. I’ve only played a handful of shmups in recent years so I’ve tended to seek out the big name stuff like Radiant Silvergun or Tatsujin Oh. This doesn’t have the wow factor of either of those two for me and it’s amazing how little I can remember about it now in all honesty. It clearly didn’t make much lasting impression on me.

It’s a lot fairer to the player on the other hand than those other shmups. Being able to tackle one level at a time is much less repetitive. The recharging shield is way more forgiving and gives the whole thing quite a different vibe. I suppose Tyrian wants the player to have less frustration and more fun than your typical shmup which may explain the strange humour throughout. It didn’t entirely work for me and I certainly liked Tyrian but didn’t love it. I’d place it a bit higher than Death Rally from last month but still relatively middling, maybe a 65-70% rating.

I just about recall playing this from a demo CD when it first came out. The graphics did impress but it wasn’t even close to persuading me to buy the full version. This was roughly my usual experience with the shareware model at the time. If every £4 magazine had enough demos in to keep you busy for most of the month, why bother buying anything? And if you did buy a game, why make it one where you’ve already played 1/3 of it for free? Even ignoring those hurdles, there were usually much bigger and grander games available for similar money and I went for those instead. I imagine this wasn’t just me as there is a reason why boxed shareware games are often so rare and expensive these days. The easy piracy didn’t help either of course.