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.