Tyrian 2000 (DOS)

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Written by  :  Pixelspeech (1006)
Written on  :  Feb 18, 2012
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  3.4 Stars3.4 Stars3.4 Stars3.4 Stars3.4 Stars

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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.