EPIC MEGAGAMES - PC
Reviewed by Malc
are great. You can draw, play music, access the net and of course play
games on them. 3D games in particular: there are multitudes of cards
available to enhance 3D alone. If you're into flight sims and quake-clones
then that's quite handy. And if you love diving into a 600 page manual
to play a C&C-alike that uses every key on the keyboard you're sorted.
Games co's that make PC games realise that a lot of adults own PCs,
and make games to suit. What they don't realise is that: 1. These adults
used to play space-invaders in their youth, and 2. Many adults don't
have too much free time on their hands. So why are we overburdened with
over-complex games that require so much concentration to understand,
much less play? What choice do we have if we want just a quick blast?
Up until recently there really wasn't much in the way of a good shooter
for the PC, until 'The Reap' and Tyrian. Both are out-and-out furiously
manic shooters, and stand proud above the morass of polygons that constitute
the Western PC games scene. (And to think the Japanese got Win95 versions
of LayerSection, Darius Gaiden and Gradius Deluxe pack!)
After a pleasant killing session with Tyrian, I'm convinced it's probably
the best Western produced shmup out, on any platform. Previous occidental
efforts like Project X2 and Playstation Viewpoint have so many elementary
yet crucial design flaws that I was beginning to think only the Japanese
had the required mentality to create shooters. However, I have some
issues with it, and I'll get them out of the way first.
you might consider me a whingy git after that list, but I have played
it to death this morning, and loved every minute of it. Here's what I
do like about it! :-
Your ship doesn't just move or stop. There is an amount of inertia
involved which makes it difficult to position yourself exactly where
you want to be. This in a shmup can be fatal. Many UK and US shooter
games feature this, like Zynaps on the C64, and Project X on the Amiga.
I didn't like it then and I don't like it now. Yes, it FEELS groovy,
but control accuracy should be top priority. You'll find this inertia
and mass effect in platform games too where it is more natural, although
get it slightly wrong and the game is ruined. (Mario of course got
many buttons! Listen up... you have a button for shooting, another
for changing weapon modes, one for the left satellite ship and one
for the right. So to get full firepower you have to be holding down
three buttons at once, with a pinky hovering above the weapon changer.
Add the fact that you are trying to press them all rapidly (the main
weapon changes if you do this) and you are likely to get tired very
quickly. You can't define several buttons to one key either.
Being a man, I surprisingly like shops, but in Tyrian, being impatient
to play the next level, I don't want to browse and buy for five minutes.
Grab 'em and get out there quickly should be the plan - this is why
I prefer the arcade mode to the 'proper' game with its powerup icons
scattered all over the place.
are completely underwhelming and dreary at times. You might violently
disagree, but they look so European and bland. Compare the bosses
to the multiparted animated monstrosities in similar Japanese games
and you'll see what I mean. Everything has this shiny Bitmap-Brothers
look, with thick black cartoony borders and a general lack of design
imagination throughout. Firepower 2000 is the same, and I'm not awfully
fond of the style.
then, from what I've seen of the Shareware version, Tyrian is indeed worth
the small download, and most likely well worth the full fee for the entire
version too. I applaud the creators to have the temerity and balls to
release it and help keeping the genre (barely) alive on the PC.
Levels. I've only found one so far, which wasn't that hard to find
anyway, and I love secrets, bonuses and unexpected extras, which in
a shooter keep the game fresh and exciting.
While they're not as over the top as Super Aleste, they're varied
and fun to kill with. My favourite has to be the blink-and-its-gone
super mega death item I found in the secret area. I'm sure there's
loads more I haven't picked up yet as well. Fortunately you get enough
firepower to actually kill the aliens with, unlike Project X2 whose
ship's weapons were at times woefully inadequate for wasting even
the smallest enemy ship.
It's lovely and fast, and comes close to the heart-pumping botty-clenchingness
that defines a good manic shooter. The Turbo mode is just a little
bit TOO fast though, a midway setting would have been nice.
through a network! Yes!! Except I have no friends available to try
it out, and my daughter can't reach the keyboard.
I love playing a game to the original music, and have no truck with
that deranged 'stick Nirvana on the stereo instead' malarkey. Apparently
there's some tracks in there that pay homage to Zanac - I can't remember
who told me this, being utterly forgetful. The music is tuneful and
quick-tempo'd resulting in a perfect aural accompaniment to the slaughter.
The first level doesn't look promising, all muddy, brown and very
Lovely parallax scrolling, with homage to Salamander here, with
giant spikes to avoid.
End of Level 1 Boss is a pretty nondescript affair and simple to
If you manage to catch a SECRET token, you'll be transported to
a bonus level, where loads of powerups are there to seize and hopefully
Use the Space-Harrier technique to kill this sub-boss...swirl madly
around the screen and shoot all the time.
Later levels hint at the variety within the game, apparently there
are over 60 in the full version! Think I might consider buying it...
well, If I had any money left that it...