One of the best top-down shooters of all time!
(1) There are several modes of play, like full game, arcade game, and 2-player arcade. The full game is like the story mode, and lets you play through Tyrian's original 3 episodes, and 2 new episodes as well.
(2) The game has tons of secrets, be it secret arcade modes, secret levels, minigames, or special weapons. There are just too many to find in a single play through, so playing more than once is a necessity.
(3) The ship you pilot is upgradeable. You purchase shields, generators, a front weapon and back weapon (each with different levels of power), and two sidekicks (side weapons). Furthermore, you can even purchase different ships.
(4) Special abilities. Several of the ships you can obtain have different abilities, where you press the direction and fire keys in a certain manner to achieve something new, usually at the cost of your ship's armor. There are also items in the game that will give your ship a special power, like freezing ships or causing massive explosions all over the screen.
(5) The game also came with a jukebox function, that you run from the command prompt. Here, it lets you listen to the game's music, as well as sample its sound effects.
When all is said and done, you can eventually exhaust your interest in this game. That is to say, eventually, it can get repetitive, as one can only play through the same levels so many times. Also, getting this game to run on a modern system is a chore, although DOSBox makes it a bit easier.
The Bottom Line
One of the best top-down shooters ever! It's like Freelancer, but in 2D.