First impressions

Home Forums Previous Months 17 – June 2018: Tyrian First impressions

Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)

  • Tijn

    I’ve only played a single level so far, so I don’t have a lot to say about the game yet. I think I’ve played some of this in the past, but I’m not 100% sure as all those vertical shooters tend to blend together in my mind πŸ˜€

    One thing I noted was the control scheme, which seemed a bit unintuitive by default. Luckily it allows you to remap the keys, so I’ve got it setup more to my liking now, with arrows for movement, QWE for firing and space for switching modes.

    Another thing which I think is relatively novel is that your shield seems to regenerate when you’re not firing? So at least there’s a reason to release that button once in a while, haha.


    The shield regenerates when you have full energy. So if you make sure to always get the best generator, you can also fire and still recharge your shield.

    I tried using your QWE input scheme, but sadly my trusty old Cherry keyboard doesn’t seem to have reliable four-key rollover and jams when I use fire, left+right sidekick and try to move backwards at the same time (which is basically all the time when you just keep all three fire buttons down).

    I changed to Alt+Z+X and that works reasonable well.

    As for the gameplay, after the first level I thought the game was at least as good as Raptor, but that opinion changed as I went through episode one. It’s often just a ton of enemies thrown at you, without much thought. One level near the end features basically 20s of mostly huge missilies filling the screen.

    The boss fights have been mostly boring to me so far. There have been two possible outcomes for me: Either the boss moves and hits my ship, pushes it around and destroys it, or the boss doesn’t push my ship around and their weapons are mostly useless.

    Then there is the thing with the Bonus levels… I must say I really dislike them. The normal Bonus levels are okay I guess, but still kill every bit of immersion. In those you just shoot a ton of stuff for extra money.

    The other kind though… It almost ruins the game for me. You suddenly get a 4-screen long text explaining to you how the beer of some space dude was stolen and that you have to recover it. Then you get a completely different ship with a horribly weak weapon and start shooting ships and collecting beer glasses, all while southern German brass music plays in the background.

    I mean, wtf? You can skip this bonus level, but man. I think they tried to be funny but it kills every single bit of the narrative and immersion they had built up.

    BTW, I tried the “Wild Game Detail” mode and I think all it adds on top of the “Pentium” mode is a quite okay looking but useless and destracting shadow-wave effect on the background.

    I also have a problem with some of the other design things. For example, there’s one level on a lava planet. The lava is obviously glowing hot and the hot hair is refracting the light and all. But still for some reason you get headlights in this level and cannot see much outside of their range.

    And another thing: It looks cool that there are level parts that your ship goes below, but so do your bullets. But sometimes there’s stuff on those floating islands which explodes despite you having shot below their island… a bit weird, eh?

    The enemies are a bit generic sometimes, I feel. And the same type of enemy ship seems to be used with wildly different attacks. There are two very small ships that sometimes just fly across the screen. But later on they stop and produce a truckload of bullets. This makes the enemies much less memorable than in Raptor.

    Also the music is quite repetetive, I think. I don’t remember thiking that when I last played Raptor, which has a much better sound theme overall.

    I don’t think Tyrian is a bad game, but Raptor has many advantages compared to it.


    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 Β£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.


    Hey dosgameclub!

    Darpey here – I currently have the “world record” on all four main categories on for this game… although to be fair, it’s not very optimized, and there aren’t many players on SRC (yet), but I’ve spent a little bit of time optimizing purchasing and level routing, as well as boss strategies. (Shout out to firefyte, the SRC supermod, who gave me many of the strategies I used for the speedruns)

    I thought I’d reply on a few things mentioned above, with the obvious caveat that I probably am biased towards the game πŸ™‚ – a childhood favorite.

    First, a few things about the game, and the speedrunning.

    1. The game originally had four episodes, and a fifth was later added
    2. To complete all five episodes probably has a floor speedrunning time of slightly over an hour. Playing NG+ (new game plus, where you start with max weapons and the best equipment) will be closer to the hour mark, whereas the arcade mode, and normal full game, will be over that, because you won’t be able to kill enemies as fast, and you’ll have to spend time purchasing things (in full game) and going less-than-turbo speed in arcade mode (it gets hard). You’ll probably also die a few (or more) times.

    My run times are:

    Arcade (1 Player) 1h 23m
    Arcade (2 Player) 1h 48m
    New Game Plus 1h 07m
    Full Game 1h 16m

    All of those times could probably be improved by tens minutes, except NG+ which could maybe only be improved by 4 minutes or so

    “The boss fights have been mostly boring to me so far.”
    True – the majority are boring… or at least as simple as shoot until it dies. There are three actually difficult bosses which require a little bit of tactics, all at the end of episode 4.

    “You suddenly get a 4-screen long text explaining to you how the beer of some space dude was stolen and that you have to recover it. ”
    Tyrian definitely has many, MANY silly parts – they don’t take themselves too seriously. I don’t know if this falls in the territory of spoilers (oh well), but once you beat the game, you are given a banana ship (it’s just like it sounds) – if the computer date is near Christmas, it shifts into “Christmas Mode” and the textures are redrawn so that the bullets are some variants of candycanes and presents, and ships are Christmas themed. Many of the final bosses are facial body parts, with boogers floating around. And yes, many of the bonus levels require collecting “Ale” for… not really much of a reason.

    “Also the music is quite repetetive, I think. I don’t remember thiking that when I last played Raptor, which has a much better sound theme overall.”
    Once again, let me admit that I have a bias – but I LOVE Tyrian’s soundtrack. Do a YouTube search for Tyrian theme, and you’ll find a few people playing the music on electric guitars and such. But again, who doesn’t love the music from their childhood? even if it’s bad πŸ™‚

    The game definitely has its flaws though. It’s very unbalanced, particularly in the arcade mode. The First (of five) episodes is rich with the purple spheres, which upgrade your weapons and give you lives. However, after that, they’re pretty scarce, ironically as the enemies start to get more difficult. So, if you start to die, you’ll lose lives while your weapons get weaker… starting a vicious cycle. On the other hand, once you have maximum weapons, you become unbalancedly powerful.

    To sum it up, I think Tyrian is a great game, especially since it’s completely free through now – it runs great… crashing and game-ruining glitches are rare. It’s definitely worth a playthrough even for people that have never heard of it.

    There are also a few hidden features in Tyrian – try typing “Destruct” in the main menu, and you’ll get into a minigame similar to scorched earth… which is really well done. There are several other “secret” things you can type as well to change difficulties or unlock various things.


    hey, welcome! that’s awesome!

    what do you recommend as a starting ship for someone who can barely finish the first level?


    Hi everybody,

    I played the shareware version of Tyrian (non-2000) to death back in the day, and enjoyed the life out of it too many times, clocking possibly over 1000 hours over ‘forever’.
    The game itself is a great top down shooter, after playing such classics as Raiden and Raptor, you should be just at home in ‘arcade mode’.
    The story itself is rather interesting, as far as that era goes, plenty of tongue-in-cheek along the way.

    As Darpey mentioned earlier, I was the first to really speedrun the game and make the routing, which is from the rule ‘pick a game you really love’ (unlike speedrunning Loom, which was due to a conversation).

    To ‘complete’ the game… just keep playing, learn the patterns, learn what you can do, and just shoot everything that moves. Also, to test your skills, once you get to a boss, just spend a lot of time avoiding. The shield regen also depends on your power, so if you stop shooting, you have more power for your shield. Check Darpey’s or my speedrun for a commentary on the gameplay and the game.

    There are a lot of gameplay mechanics and ways to play in Story mode, which is great.

    P.S: Don’t forget to play “destruct (type that in the main menu)”. A bit of Scorched Earth all over again.


    Yeah, I tried Destruct (along with some other cheat codes) and it’s pretty cool. I wonder if that was ever released standalone? Because I clearly remember those sprites from somewhere but I’mm 99% sure I never played Tyrian before.

    Very weird feeling.


    Nope, it was never released by itself, it was always a bonus game. I think there’s a hint in-game during playthrough that directs you to the game.

    I think there’s also a way to start it directly from the command line.


    Welcome Darpey and firefyte !

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Home Forums Previous Months 17 – June 2018: Tyrian First impressions