Written by  :  DarkBubble (376)
Written on  :  May 02, 2007
Platform  :  NES
Rating  :  4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars

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The fun and playability of the arcade game, but with a few twists.

The Good

While not everyone may have played this game in the arcade, I did. What you get is a variation on the wave-based shooters of yore, namely Galaga. The difference here is that rather than standard left/right movement on a vertical playfield, your ship rotates clockwise/counterclockwise within 360 degrees on a playfield that has your ship facing into the horizon. Fans of the arcade original will have no trouble with the controls.

Instead of being a standard port of the arcade original, there have been some additions that make it more appropriate for console play. The double laser upgrade of the arcade is here, but you now have a massive cannon to use against the stronger foes. As you would expect, you have a limited number of shots with this cannon. Another addition are the bosses. These usually consist of an enemy that has four targets that become vulnerable for short periods of time. While these bosses may not have been the most original, they were an excellent addition, as they break the standard enemy wave/enemy wave/bonus wave/rinse/repeat cycle. These bosses are really the only reason that the new cannon exists, as only a few enemies require more than one shot to dispatch.

The great music of the arcade game has made it, though it’s obviously not going to sound identical. Still, the renditions heard on the NES version are excellent and suit the action onscreen. Sound effects are fairly standard fare for the NES, but they do the trick. You’ll likely be too busy dodging and firing to complain anyway.

On the graphics end of things, there’s nothing to nitpick. The graphics of the original were simple, so it stands to reason that the NES version would get the same. I will say, however, that I actually prefer the design of the player’s ship on the NES version over the arcade. It’s got a beefier, meaner look to it overall. If you're familiar with Gradius, the palette used throughout the game will probably make you feel right at home.

The Bad

About the only thing that may turn a person off is the learning curve of the controller. Once you reach the top of the circular movement, you have to hit the other direction to continue in the direction you were spinning. It does take a little getting used to, but it’s a very minor complaint.

The Bottom Line

While Gyruss didn’t stretch the limits of the wave-based shooter, it’s a solid addition to the genre that expands it just a little and goes beyond the arcade original. For a quick game or a long session, it’s fun, challenging, and a nice change of pace from Galaga and the like.