The year is 20,031. You are Trent Hawkins, a terraformation pilot. For three years, it has been your job to fly over tough-to-navigate planetary formations and check for habitable locations on newly terraformed planets. Your latest assignment from the Interplanetary Council is Tyrian, a proposed trading world on the edge of the sector, near Hazudra territory. The Hazudra are a lizard-like race recently discovered in a nearby asteroid field. One of your fellow workers and close friends, Buce Quesillac, was a Huzudra. Yesterday Buce was shot in the back by a waiting hoverdrone that disappeared into the sky before you could blink, let alone stop it, because of his knowledge of Gravitium, which is a special mineral, unique to Tyrian, able to control the force of gravity. You must take revenge for his death and then leave Tyrian the faster the possible before they hunt you down. Hurry! The game presents a variety of enemies and end-level bosses. Note that the game is quite difficult as too many enemies may attack you whilst the game speed is extremely fast at times. Certain hidden levels are only available at hard difficulty, which provide ample opportunities for unique power-ups and upgrades.
The simplicity and frenetic nature of Tyrian is one of the trademarks of this vertical scrolling shooter. It includes many game modes; from a story mode which gives you the option of up to two simultaneous players, to the different arcade modes. The possibility of choosing your ships and the large array of customizable weapons are yet a couple more of its selling points. As long as you shoot down certain enemies you collect points, which can be used as cash to upgrade your weaponry (better ship, armor, extra weapons, shield etc). There are over 150 upgrades, and over 15 different ships! Note that in 1999, Tyrian was re-released as Tyrian 2000, which includes an additional fifth episode and bug fixes.
The graphics are top notch as long as you had a Pentium based CPU (or a high clocked 486). The backgrounds of the levels look excellent and sprites move fast and smooth on screen. Background scrolling is magnificent and varies in speed during gameplay!
The game supports a handful of sound hardware such as Soundblaster series, Pro Audio Spectrum 16, Terratec Maestro32, Gravis Ultrasound, Roland MT-32 and several other! So as you might expected, the sound is awesome here! All tunes support either FM synthesis or midi sound modules. The music is some of the best music I have ever heard, reminding me Amiga quality in games whilst the sounds FX of each weapon firing and the ships exploding is truly brilliant too.