Parker Brothers
There was a young man named Seamus,
At the local arcade he would shame us,
At Gyruss he'd win,
With a big stupid grin,
And never fail to get to Uranus

OK, crap intro over. So what's Gyruss all about then?

Well, it's a shoot'em-up, and it's an arcade conversion. But - as a certain Mr Robert Marley would say - judge not. Because although shoot'em-ups were pretty much common fare back in the early eighties, Gyruss did a pretty good job of standing out from the crowd. If you've never played Gyruss before, its name should give you a clue to one of its more unique features. No, it wasn't designed by a man named Russ. It features a gyrating ship. Oo-er. Let me explain ...

Instead of the usual left-right movement offered by most shooters, Gyruss puts you in control of a ship that circles the outside of the screen shooting inwards. Actually, come to think of it, that sounds a lot like Tempest. Which came out before Gyruss. Ho-hum. Er ...

OK, the other element that made Gyruss so eyecatching ... er ... earcatching, is its classical music score. Johann Sebastian Bach's Tocatta and Fugue in D Minor to be more precise. Which just goes to prove that far from being a nasty, evil, corrupting influence - as some would believe - videogames such as Gyruss can actually be quite educational and even increase cultural awareness. And I really, truly believe that. Honest.

OK, so that's the implausible bullshit out of the way. What's the plot, er ... Scott?

Well, let's see what the manual's got to say ...

'Three billion miles is a long way from home. But there's no shorter route from outer Neptune to Earth. As if that weren't enough . . . it's got to be a shoot-out all the way. You alone in your rapid-firing spaceship, swirling in a circular flight pattern . . . orbiting to the right . . . arcing to the left . . . trying to mow down wave after wave of enemy plane formations, rocketing meteors and run-away satellites. Stops at Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter and Mars will mark your progression towards Earth. Each one's a short visit, though. Then it's off again to the next planet - and the next wave of enemies. Reach Earth in one piece and maybe you'll think twice about leaving home. Then again . . . maybe not!'

Hmmm ... I thought you said that was the implausible bullshit out of the way. Oops - watch out, here comes some more ...

It's hardly Elite, but Gyruss is a good blast

Bet you never thought you'd get this close to Uranus ...

There's no denying that Gyruss is one of the classic arcade shoot'em-ups and Parker Brothers have done a wonderful job porting it over to the humble Colecovision. Although some sacrifices have been made both aurally and visually (as you might expect), this is a surprisingly accurate conversion. The classical soundtrack has been well reproduced (unfortunately to the detriment of spot effects which are almost non-existent) and the graphics, although slightly jerky, zip around the screen at the same pace as the coin-op. Gameplay, too, is almost spot-on, so fans of the coin-op should enjoy this superb conversion. Having said that, the action may be a little basic for some - there is little difference between the waves and the only power-up on offer is pretty feeble. The bottom line? If you like your shoot'em-ups simple, fast and furious, go for Gyruss. If not - well, you could always take up knitting ...

Graphics: 78%

Sound: 79%

Gameplay: 84%

Overall: 82%
The look of the coin-op has been recreated quite well, and the sprites whizz about at a decent speed. Slightly jerky however. A good rendition of the original's soundtrack, but barely any effects at all. The speed and freneticism of the coin-op has been retained and the ship is very responsive. Thumbs up to Parker Brothers for a great conversion of a great game.
R E C O M M E N D E D   A L T E R N A T I V E S

O T H E R   F O R M A T S
Mega Apocalypse (Commodore 64) • Mad Planets (Arcade) • Tempest (Arcade) • Galaga 88 (PC Engine)

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