Gyruss: Classic Arcade Game Video, History & Game Play Overview
With its notable cabinet art and a stereo sound system not yet commonly found in arcade games, Gyruss featured multiple innovations. Gyruss is also what is known as a 'tube shooter,' which is indicative of the player's viewpoint. Although somewhat abstract at times, Gyruss was programmed to depict the action in 3-dimensional graphics. First debuting in Japan in 1983, Gyruss was developed solely by Konami. Yoshiki Okamoto, already known for his work on other arcade classics, was the designer for Gyruss.
The original Gyruss arcade game was programmed by Toshio Arima, who was previously credited for his work on Time Pilot. Character designs for Gyruss were conceptualized by Hideki Oooyama.
While Konami served as the publisher for Gyruss in Japan, the U.S. release was published by Centuri. Soon after Gyruss gained notoriety in the arcade, several ports for home consoles were introduced. For the Commodore 64 and the Atari 2600 gaming systems, the Parker Brothers gained publishing rights. Ports for the Atari 8-bit, the ColecoVision and the Atari 5200 came about in the early 1980s.
The most popular Gyruss port appeared on the Nintendo Entertainment System. However, the game that was ported to this system was a far cry from the original arcade game. While the gameplay itself remained the same, the levels were reordered. Additionally, historical figure Ghengis Khan was introduced as the antagonist – a feature which was not present in the original Gyruss title. More special powers and bosses also came with the NES version. In later years, ports were released for the Game Boy Advance, the XBOX 360 and the PlayStation
The music in Gyruss was an eclectic blend of two well-known classical songs written by Johan Sebastian Bach. Although the theme music was based on Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, Mashahiro Inoue created the musical composition and arranged the tracks. All sound effects and music was rendered with an internal mini-processor and audio circuitry, giving the game a robust sound. One or two players can play Gyruss, by taking alternating turns.
Game Play Overview
Instead of attacking enemies from above, players move what can be best described as a cylindrical tunnel. In most cases, enemies appear on the outskirts of the screen, growing larger in size as they come closer to the center. This was meant to simulate 'reality' and 3-dimensional graphics as best as possible, considering the technological limitations of gaming systems at the time.
The main character is depicted as small spaceship, sent to defend the planet Gyruss. Although opponents aren't coming from a specific place, they work together, attacking in tight formations and predictable patterns. In addition to spaceships, laser generators, meteorites and satellites also pose a threat to players.
All enemies, including object, come in waves. There are multiple waves on each level. As you evade and destroy your foes, you move through the Milky Way galaxy, passing planets until you get to the very edge of the solar system. The game loops back to the first stage after you have defeated all opponents and make it to the planet Mars.
Enemies don't have to be destroyed, but you will only accumulate points if you shoot them down. All spacecrafts that are in motion are valued at 100 points per kill. A spaceship that is not moving is worth 50 points. You can get up to 2,500 points for eliminating an entire wave of spacecrafts.
During bonus rounds, there is a perfect score bonus of 10,000 points. You can get this when you kill all enemies that appear during a bonus stage. Meteorites have a very small point value, but satellites are worth 1,000 points apiece.
There is a total of 24 stages in Gyruss, but the game does not end with a kill screen. After you make your trip around the galaxy, you will be brought right back to the beginning.
The only special feature in Gyruss is the double fire bonus. Players are able to shoot two parallel bullets at a time from their spaceships by shooting a randomly appearing enemy that resembles a plane with two moons in orbit. This enemy usually appears early on in the game.
Player Ship – The main character is a spaceship that can move 360 degree, shooting at enemies as they advance.
Enemy spacecrafts – Any spaceship that is not your own is an enemy. They almost always attack in groups.
Meteorites – These large chunks of space rock sort of drift and move into the screen. You can shoot at them, but they are indestructible.
Satellites - Satellites hold the key to unlocking the double fire bonus. These opponents can also be destroyed for additional points.
How to Play Gyruss
There are two main controls in Gyruss – the fire button and the joystick or directional keys. The main player's ship can move in a complete circle, shooting anything that comes into the perimeter. You can hit one of the direction keys or the hold the joystick in any direction, and watch the spaceship go round and round in a circle. Remember that you are able to move fluid around the entire 'sphere' that makes up the screen, so use the up and down arrows at will to get away from danger.
When you see enemies far off in the distance, you won't know what direction they are headed until they get much closer. Once you start to see them veering in a particular direction, you can move your spaceship and start to fire at them. For instance, if an opponent starts to go toward the top, you can move to the bottom of the screen and your shots will go upward.
Level 1 - 2 WARPS TO NEPTUNE
The game starts off with the message “2 WARPS TO NEPTUNE,” and the player spaceship heading off into space.
Within a few second, you will face the first assault. A large number of spacecrafts will form in a group and head toward bottom of the screen, but they will not start to shoot at you until all of them have assembled. You will need to start firing right away as there will be more than 40 spaceships coming your way during the first level.
The second wave of enemies also ends up right underneath you, but they will be a little over to the right. A third wave will assemble at the bottom again, this time over to the left. The fourth group goes to the screen at the top, and the last wave consists of small clusters of enemies scattering all over the board.
Level 2 - 1 WARP TO NEPTUNE
At the beginning of level two, you will have to avoid firepower as your opponents will be shooting as soon as they appear. Although the enemy spaceships will be a little more aggressive, they will launch their attacks in the same exact way as first encountered on level one. Lookout for the group directly underneath of you first, then they will come slightly from the right, slightly from the left and on top. The last few groups that you have to deal with will be generated randomly.
Level 3 - Chance Bonus Stage
Chance bonus rounds are a little unpredictable, but you do get the opportunity to add 10,000 plus points to your score. There will be forty enemy ships on each bonus stage, and all will need to be eliminated if you want the 10,000 point bonus.
Four waves of enemies consisting of 10 ships each will come in one after another. The first three waves will come in from the bottom. The last 10 ships come in from underneath and a little to the left.
Level 4 - 3 WARPS TO URANUS
Again, your enemies will be firing upon you right from the start, so be prepared for a battle. Meteorites will also be making an appearance for the first time. They will come in after you see the first wave fully assembled in the center of the screen.
Your first cluster of opponents will move from the middle to the bottom of the screen and over to the left. The second wave ends up on the bottom, toward the right. Your next group of opponents will head over directly to your left. The last formation of spaceships goes out to your direct right. The whole time that your enemies are firing and moving toward you, it is essential that you change your position quickly. A final smattering of spacecrafts will original in the center and move toward random parts of the screen.
Level 5 - 2 WARPS TO URANUS
You will be fighting both enemy ships and meteorites as soon as level five begins. Remember that meteorites cannot be destroyed, so score points by shooting them whenever you can and stay far out of their way. Move toward the top right hand corner of the board so that you can shoot down the first wave of spacecrafts that gravitates to the bottom left side.
Your second group of opponents will fly to the bottom right, so move a little to your left. The third group to appear will be headed toward the left side. A fourth wave will emerge, flying straight to the opposite side. Just as you are shooting at the last few clusters of ships that fly to random areas, you will face the laser generators for the first time. These enemies shoot wide laser beams, so only take a shot when it's clear.
Level 6 - 1 WARP TO URANUS
Meteorites, laser beams and ships will come in at the same time. All enemy formations head into the same direction seen on previous boards.
Level 7 - Chance Bonus Stage
This is another bonus stage, but also a good opportunity for you to see just varied enemy attacks can be. There will be no laser generators or meteorites. Enemy space ships will still come in four separate waves, however, there will be a delay between the first five ships and the second five ships in each group.
During the first attack, the five spacecrafts will fly in between the right bottom corner and the far right side. Their attacks will be staggered. The next group flies dead center, on the bottom. Again, there will be a pause in between the first and the second cluster of ships during this wave.
When you encounter the fourth wave, they will come in the same pattern you saw during wave number two. Gain 10,000 points if you can shoot them all.
Level 8 – 3 WARPS TO SATURN
During level eight, you will head off against enemies that have slightly increased in speed. The first four waves will attack in the same neat formations. The first wave goes to the upper right side, and the second wave flies close to the far right. The third group comes in almost directly underneath, with the four groups going for the lower right hand corner. Deal with the last cluster that comes in at different points, then prepare for level nine.
Level 9 - 2 WARPS TO SATURN
This stage is the same as level eight.
Level 10: 1 WARP TO SATURN
Again, use the same strategy you used to complete levels eight and nine.
Level 11 - Chance Bonus Stage
There will be four waves of spacecrafts to defeat on this bonus round, but each wave will be broken into two parts. Wave one starts off with five spacecrafts just below the far left of the screen. The next five ships come in a little above the first group. Prepare for the second wave of attackers, with five coming in from below, and the rest coming in from above.
Look to the far right, where all 10 enemy spacecrafts will attack from roughly the same area. Lastly, there will be 10 more ships, split between the top and the bottom of the screen.
Level 12 - 3 WARPS TO JUPITER
This level is a little repetitive as enemies will only attack from three positions. The first formation will come in overhead. Wave two will come from below and a little over to the left. The third way comes from the far left, with the fourth group coming in from the same spot that wave two originated. There will be 10 or 12 more enemies that come in at different areas before this stage is complete.
Level 13 - 2 WARPS TO JUPITER
Level 13 repeats the same attack patterns encountered on level 12.
Level 14 - 1 WARP TO JUPITER
Use strategy follow on boards 12 and 13.
Level 15 - Chance Bonus Stage
This is another chance bonus round where the waves are split into separate groups. All 10 enemies in the first way come from just below the far left. Next, move your ship slightly to the right so that you can shoot the first half of wave number two. There should be around five enemies that come from the bottom.
During the third way, look to the far left again. After you have defeated approximately five enemies, the rest will come from overhead. The fourth wave will start from the far right, and the last group comes in from the top again.
Level 16 - 3 WARPS TO MARS
Although your enemies have been firing at you since the beginning of the game, you will see just how strong their combined gunfire can be on level 16. The first wave attacks from the upper right hand corner. The next formation will assemble to the far left. Wave three comes from the upper right hand corner again, with the fourth wave repeating the attack pattern seen with wave number two.
Again, around 10 or so individual spaceships will appear all over the screen. When they are destroyed, you will advance to stage 17.
Level 17 - 2 WARPS TO MARS
Repeat of level 16.
Level 18 - 1 WARP TO MARS
Use instructions listed on stage 16.
Level 19 - Chance Bonus Stage
This Chance Stage Level is similar to Level 7 and quiet easy.
Refer to directions used for completing chance bonus stage 7.
Level 20 - 3 WARPS TO EARTH
At the start of this stage, you should immediately notice the dramatic speed changes within your enemies. Although they will be moving in similar patterns and trajectories, it will be nearly impossible for you to destroy them all. Additionally, your opponents will have employ another attack method – dive bombing. Move as quickly as you can in order to avoid a loss of life.
The first wave comes fast and hard, complete with laser generators and meteorites. Look down to the right for the first five enemies, then to the bottom left for the last few spacecrafts. The first part of the second group flies near the right side, but down a little. The last five ships of this group will come in slightly overhead of the last cluster.
The first five ships of the third group come in an equally awkward position, this time in between the top of the screen and the right side. Next, look below the far right side for the last attack of this formation. During the fourth wave, you will need to attack ships coming from the upper left hand corner first, then upper right hand corner. As usual, there will be about 10 to 12 stragglers that come in from various points.
Level 21 - 2 WARPS TO EARTH
Use same techniques used to complete stage 20.
Level 22 - 1 WARP TO EARTH
This is another repeat of the attack patterns encounter on levels 20 and 21.
Level 23 - Chance Bonus Stage
Each wave will again be split up into two separate parts. The first 10 enemy ships will head directly to the bottom, but the second wave will be broken up. Five enemies will be to the far left and five more will come at the top. The third wave will come in right after the last few ships encountered during the second wave. During the fourth wave, your enemies will come from the far right and above once more.
Level 24 - 2 WARPS TO NEPTUNE
This stage is setup exactly like the first level. Your enemies will be no more difficult to defeat than the first time around.
Hints and Tips
- The double fire feature will allow you to shoot twice as many bullets, and it remains active even across all stages. If you lose a life, you will lose this feature. However, the yellow planet with two orbiting moons will appear again soon.
- Players get extra lives when they score 60K points. After that, extra lives are awarded in 100K point intervals.
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