Tyrian 2000

Moby ID: 923
DOS Specs

Description official description

Tyrian 2000 is a direct re-release of the original action smash, Tyrian. It is essentially the same game with an additional new episode (Hazudra Fodder), a revised engine (less bugs and better controls) and added Windows support. It also adds another option called "Timed Battle".

Tyrian is nothing like your run-of-the-mill shoot-'em-up. It gained a following even larger than the classic Raptor: Call of the Shadows, and rightfully so: it has a plot. A plot, you ask? Yes. And even a complex one. 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!

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Credits (DOS version)

16 People (12 developers, 4 thanks) · View all

Project Leader
Music / Sound Programming
Level / Scenario Design
Graphics / Artwork
Additional Graphics / Artwork
3D Modelling
Writing / Dialogue / Story
Acting / Voiceovers
Special Thanks To
[ full credits ]



Average score: 64% (based on 9 ratings)


Average score: 4.1 out of 5 (based on 53 ratings with 3 reviews)

The best shooter ever just got updated!

The Good
What's not to like about Tyrian? It is without a doubt the best shooter, vertical or otherwise, ever to grace any gaming platform. And with the extra fifth episode, Windows support and bugfixes, Tyrian 2000 is even better!

So what's so damn good about Tyrian anyways?

  • First and foremost, the game has the best MIDI soundtrack in any game to date, even better than The 7th Guest. One of my favorite trackers, namely Alexander 'siren' Brandon, did one hell of a job on the music for this game, which is varied, well-composed and professional.
  • A shooter with a plot? Hell yeah! Even the bizarre quirks in Tyrian (fruit flying around in space and sounds of explotions in outer space?) are dealt with, and the plot is actually surprisingly complex and well-written. Another thumbs up for Alex.
  • Graphics: this game has, to date, the best graphics in any shooter (possibly because of the decline of the genre), especially considering that the original game is dated back to 1995. Lush environment and detailed sprites (ships, enemies and whatever there is anywhere else), along with an extremely well designed interface make this a true masterpiece.
  • The programming that went into this game does not cease to amaze me. Although with lower visual detail, this game is completely playable on a 386, let alone an 486. It truly excels on a Pentium, but it's not mandatory. The visuals in this game originally left me flabbergasted -- six or seven layers of sprites, tiles and even transparent clouds? Along with fully mixed sound effects, soundtrack and dozens of sprites onscreen at any given time? Now that's the stuff.
  • Great -- pardon me, AMAZING gameplay. This game has it all. Single player arcade? Got it. Single player full game with the ability to build your ship from scratch? Hallellujah. Two player? Yup. Timed battle? Hell yeah. Scorched Earth? Yes, even that. Several difficulty levels? Yup. Hard is too easy for you? No problem, just select suicide and you're on your way. Tyrian 2000 has several secret subgames and all sorts of play modes that will forever keep you busy.

The Bad
Bad? In Tyrian? Don't kid yourself. This game is perfect.

The Bottom Line
In short, Tyrian's got it all. Where it really counts, and also where it doesn't.

Windows · by Tomer Gabel (4539) · 2000

My first DOS game ever.

The Good
I got this game for free when I signed up for GOG.com, a website that specializes in PC games from the past. Seeing as there is nothing more nostalgic and classic as 2D space shooters I decided to give this a go and see if Tyrian 2000 could rise above the huge amount of similar games in this genre.

I was quite amazed when I started playing this game and was treated on graphics that aren't even half bad, I would even say they were quite nice. Another game I got from this website was Dragonsphere, also for the DOS systems, but that game looked ugly as hell (like you would expect). Maybe it is because of 2D shooter is much simpler to make, but this is was still quite an initial surprise for me.

One thing I did expect however was a very meaty challenge and I got just that. Tyrian 2000 is a very tough game and you will need some genuine skill to make it through the five episodes of action. The game doesn't tread upon Bullet Hell territory, but it does get really close considering the many things that can kill you almost instantly.

Thanks to the challenging gameplay that doesn't go too far, Tyrian was able to last me almost an entire week. Especially when you play it an hour or two at a time it can keep you busy longer than the average Iphone game.

The game also features a very good upgrade system which is probably what sets it apart from most other games in the genre. By collecting money and killing enemies you gain currency which you can spend on buying and upgrading parts of your ship in order to do more damage or provide better defenses. While it is fairly obvious which items are the best, there is still room for taking what you like nearing the end, therefore allowing you to buy the weapons that fit your style of playing.

The controls for this game are also really smooth which is a requirement for a game where almost everything can fire multiple bullets at you. The ship responds very fast and I never felt like I died because of clunky movement or sliding farther to the side than I wanted.

The Bad
Aside from the nice upgrade system this is a fairly standard 2D shooter that doesn't really have anything all that special. The boss fights are fairly unimaginative and the only special stages were parts where I was suddenly flying in the other direction. Compare this to say... Lylat Wars where you have some very interesting stages with moving scenery that changes what you can do (shoot a steel door and you can pick up the collectible on the other side, to name the most simple of them). Here the stages are just backgrounds.

I am not a big fan of how the story is told. The idea is that you pick up data cubes that are hidden in the stages and then you can read them, but the problem is that I am never going out of my way to actually open a separate menu to read information. It would have been a lot better if the game occasionally opened up a text box telling me what was happening because then I would read it, simply because I don't have to put any effort into opening a menu to read it.

There are no check-points in the middle of missions which is a big problem. Essentially this means that if you die on the boss-fight, you will have to go all the way back to the stage and while I know most retro games are very unforgiving, this is just overdoing it a fair bit. It's also annoying that you will have to find all the items and secret stages again when you have to restart and if a stage is really too tough, you can't just try it a few times to get some money and upgrade, because money is set back too.

The Bottom Line
The problem with simple games like this is that you can't really say a lot about them. Still, I must say that Tyrian exceeded my expectations because I didn't really expect much to begin with. As far as space shooters go, it's a very good place to start due to the challenging gameplay and the inclusion of the upgrade system that sets it apart from crappy shooters (like the ones on Action 52.

If you like this genre than this is a must-have and if you are interested in your video game history this might also be a stop worth taking. For most other people however, this is a rather outdated game and today's kids can play games like this on websites with Flash games.

DOS · by Asinine (957) · 2012

One of the best top-down shooters of all time!

The Good
(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.

The Bad
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.

DOS · by willyum (1020) · 2006


Subject By Date
Non-English versions MrFlibble (18013) Jul 20th, 2014


Bonus Games

Tyrian is STUFFED with secrets, it's simply amazing. Over a dozen secret levels can be reached, and there's also a secret level which leads to another. There are several levels in which you can get to as much as 3 different secret levels from 3 different places inside the same level!

Also, several (believed to be 3) secret games were added to Tyrian v2.0 (and consequently, Tyrian 2000), the first of which is called Zinglon's Ale. One secret game (see screenshots), which is something of a simultaneous Scorched Earth, was forgotten in the original Tyrian and added to Tyrian V2 (then to Tyrian 2000). To reach it type 'destruct' in the main menu.

Freeware release

This game, along with unreleased ports of it to the GameBoy Colour and GameBoy Advance, were re-released as freeware August 17th, 2004, by the author, Jason Emery.

They can be downloaded at http://www.freewebs.com/worldtreegames/ , or through mirrors at its preeminent fanpage: http://members.iinet.net.au/~vannevar/tyrian/downloads.html


Tyrian's logo (in the main menu) can be read both the usual way and upside down!


MicroSol, the company which tries to take over the world in Tyrian, is arguably a non-very-small pun at Microsoft. A lot of people are still speculating which company/organization MicroSol's rival, Gencore, represent.

Secret Messages

Epic Megagames, the original distributor of Tyrian, has embedded various messages inside the plot. Among them are: A message from Stephan, one of the characters in Epic's One Must Fall 2097 (and also one of the songs in the game is called "One Mustn't Fall"), another which introduces you to other Epic games such as Jazz Jackrabit and also a message which fits the game's plot, hinting at the prospect that "access to subtitle 'Registered Version' might bring further information".

Epic hasn't made any shortcuts in the game, and even bothered to place a message entitled "Mega Soundchair" in order to explain why Tyrian has sounds of explosions in space. Apparently, having learned from the deaths of many young fighters who were terrified by the silence in space, ship manufacturers devised a way to pick up the minute distrubances caused by sound in space and amplify it a thousandfold.


  • There are three hidden difficulty levels: Impossible, Suicide and King of the Game. To reach Impossible, press 'shift-}', then to reach Suicide press 'shift-G'. It is believed that King of the Game is only attainable with a special game type. To reach it write 'engage' in the main menu.
  • Over a dozen secret ingames exist. The codes to each will be given to you upon completion of the game. The code to the first is 'techno', which has to be written in the main menu.
  • There's an unbelievable variety of secret weapons in the game, as well as a ship called "Super Carrot", which adds hotdog attacks and the dreaded superbanana bomb. Fruits are a bizarre aspect of the game, and somewhere down the road you will receive a message explaining "what in the name of Zinglon is all this fruit doing floating about in outer space?"
  • Tyrian 2000 features a secret detail level: wild. To access it, enter the setup, go to detail level selection and (without first pressing enter) click 'w'.
  • Start up Tyrian 2000 during Christmas and you'll get a message asking if you'd like to enable Christmas mode. Don't say no. The ship, weapons and some audio clips change into Christmas themed gfx and clips.
  • Tyrian 2000's extra episode adds over a dozen new weapon types, new character portraits and several new ship types.


  • The Tyrian 2000 CD includes 25 audio tracks of music from the game, recorded at very high quality.
  • Tyrian 2000's setup includes a jukebox, which along with very nice lissajious effects has all the songs in the game available for playing.

Information also contributed by glidefan and Pseudo_Intellectual

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Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history!

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Tomer Gabel.

Macintosh added by Sciere.

Additional contributors: Hitman23, Patrick Bregger.

Game added February 27th, 2000. Last modified September 10th, 2023.