I used to think Shoot-em-up's were boring. Then I played Tyrian.
Really, I never saw the appeal of Shoot-em-up's. The screen auto-scrolls, you scotch-tape the fire button down, and get killed by swarms of bullets. I found these games, well, boring. When I mentioned this to a friend, he smiled knowingly and said, "You haven't played Tyrian, have you?"
Tyrian is shoot-em-up. But it is so masterfully done, the gameplay is so fast and addictive, the graphics and music are so vibrant, the shipbuilding and humor are so captivating, that Tyrian ends up being the best of the bunch, and defines the genre in the same way that DOOM defined first-person shooters.
Tyrian, like many games from the shareware heyday, is episodic. In between each mission, you can purchase parts, weapons, and new ships with the money you gained from killing swarms of enemies. Interestingly, the plot is revealed via datacubes, which can be picked up after you destroy certain enemies. You'd think a plot in a game like this would be throwaway, but again Tyrian surprises with humor and a surprisingly epic plot that truly entices you to proceed.
The game is split into four episodes, and has enough difficulty levels to challenge any veteran. Unique weapons and ship customization options abound, and playing though the game with a new ship build contributes greatly to Tyrian's replayability. And trust me, you will replay this game.
Really, the only bad thing about Tyrian is the desire for more you're left with after you finish it.
The Bottom Line
If you don't like shooters, try Tyrian. If you do and you haven't tried it yet, you are in for the treat of your life. Tyrian is one of those masterful game that hits all the right notes, and so becomes something legendary. Tyrian is hands down the best shooter ever, and is so good it deserves to be played even by people who don't dig the genre.