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atari yars

Cave-flyers and Thrust variants

Group Description

This sub-genre goes by many names, such as "Gravity shooters", "Cave-flyers", "Thrust-types", "Gravitors". This is a type of shoot 'em up in which the protagonist pilots a rotatable craft with thrusters (similar to Asteroids) while being subject to gravity and, often, the craft's inertia. Gravity shooters feature multi-directional, 360 degree, movement and shooting. They also feature free-scrolling stages that allow the players to roam freely around the map and approach targets however they wish. The action is presented in a side-view and usually takes place in enclosed, cavern-like, environments (thus, the term "Cave-flyers") filled with various types of enemies and hazards. Using the ship's "rotate & thrust" capabilities, the players must aim, shoot, dodge and carefully maneuver their way through the landscape while constantly taking gravity and (usually) fuel refill needs into account.

The most classic examples of this type of shoot 'em up are Gravitar and Thrust. Atari's Gravitar (1982) created most of the genre's conventions (thus, the term "Gravitors"). However it wasn't until Thrust (1986) was released (and ported to almost every home computer available at the time) that the genre gained some popularity. The genre flourished in Europe from the mid-80s to mid-90s on 8-bit home computers, Atari ST, Amiga and PC. Inspired by Thrust, many commercially released gravity-based shooters were developed in Europe during this time period, giving birth to the terms "Gravity shooter" and "Thrust-type". The phenomenon included numerous caveflier games published by young Finnish coders and shareware groups which spread around quickly through BBS systems and the registered versions were popular at copy parties. In the early 90s, the genre even ventured in multiplayer-focused games, with titles such as GF2, AUTS and Turboraketti II becoming popular among home computer users.

Selected Covers

XNaCAVE Xbox 360 Front Cover
Front cover for XNaCAVE
Pilots of Darsalon Macintosh Front Cover
Front cover for Pilots of Darsalon
Gravity Crash PlayStation 3 Front Cover
Front cover for Gravity Crash
ThrustLander Windows Front Cover
Front cover for ThrustLander

Selected Screenshots

Title Screen
Screenshot from Space Madness
Title screen (Trial version)
Screenshot from XNaCAVE
Title screen
Screenshot from V-Wing
Title Screen
Screenshot from GraviTron
Title screen
Screenshot from Comet Racer
Game group created by Игги Друге (46314), additional games added to group by Adam Milecki (1), Patrick Bregger (270904), Shoddyan (14354), Loggo (128), Rik Hideto (460610), chirinea (47006), firefang9212 (76377), Fet (5), vileyn0id_8088 (21185), BdR (7044), JudgeDeadd (27643), MegamanX64 (16047) and durplu pobba (377)
atari breakout