Moby ID: 586
DOS Specs

Description official descriptions

Tyrian is a shoot 'em up with a complex plot. You play the role of Trent Hawkings, this galaxy's ace solo fighter-pilot, whose luck forces him to save the galaxy, one time after another. Again and again, Trent must fight off MicroSol, a company with the evil intent of taking over the galaxy. Through your struggles, you will find yourself again and again betrayed by friends and allies, your parents will be killed and you will have to return to points you've already been to (with variations on the levels) in order to remove further threats to the galaxy and to yourself, all for the ultimate goal of overthrowing MicroSol.

Tyrian also has two player arcade mode and supports network/modem/serial play. It features a multi-layered ship upgrade engine, in which you can change hulls, decide upon and upgrade your front and rear weapons, buy better shields and generators and even add ship "sidekicks". Tyrian's complete arsenal amound to over a dozen type of ships and over 100 weapon types.

Groups +



Credits (DOS version)

16 People (11 developers, 5 thanks)



Average score: 72% (based on 10 ratings)


Average score: 4.1 out of 5 (based on 59 ratings with 5 reviews)

A superbly varied game with lots of surprises

The Good
The sheer amount of variation - each level seems to have its own graphics and style * The amount of customisations that can be made - from weapons to game play modes

The Bad
You can get into some very hard hidden levels near the start of the game - near instant death.

The Bottom Line
One of the PC's best shooters. Varied graphics plus a huge range of weapons and other enhancements make this a game to play over and over again.

DOS · by Retron (222) · 2000

I used to think Shoot-em-up's were boring. Then I played Tyrian.

The Good
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.

The Bad
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.

DOS · by phanboy_iv (84) · 2008

The best shoot-'em-up for any platform, ever.

The Good
I doubt even The Reap is better than this one; Tyrian is by far the best, most advanced and funniest vertical shooter ever to be developed. Designed by one of my favorite trackers, Alexander Brandon, this game features delightful graphics, wonderful soundtrack (especially with more advanced sound boards), a genuinely awesome and amazingly fast game engine. What truly makes this game unique, though, is its insane sense of humour - starting with the plot, which is practically mad and filled with bizarre twists, turns and characters. Secrets abound in Tyrian - there are at least a dozen secret levels (some more secret than others) and Version 2.0 adds weird subgames (Zinglon's Ale etc.) which add a lot to the replay value. The game also features from its first version secret subgames (Engage, Ninja etc.) which also add a lot to it, and the jukebox in the setup is simply astonishing. In short, a perfect game which deserved a lot more than it got.

The Bad
The only caveat in this game is its inability to run on anything stronger than a Pentium. It constantly crashes on my P2, which is a shame, shame indeed.

The Bottom Line
A great classic, best shooter ever, the first game for which I put Raptor aside. Simply brilliant.

DOS · by Tomer Gabel (4539) · 1999

[ View all 5 player reviews ]


There has been a major revision of Tyrian (2.0) that all users should upgrade to if they haven't already. Some major bugs have been fixed.

Related Sites +

  • Tyrian
    project page for the iPhone version
  • Tyrian
    official website
  • Tyrian fan page
    Comprehensive fansite of all things Tyrian, including free, legal download of its shareware episode.

Identifiers +


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by IJan.

iPad, iPhone added by Sciere.

Additional contributors: Trixter, Sciere, Pseudo_Intellectual, MrFlibble.

Game added December 17th, 1999. Last modified August 14th, 2023.